KHL Purge

19thOct. × ’11

The Lines Are Dead! Long Live the Lines!

The Lines Are Dead! Long Live the Lines!

A mainstay of last season was the Krejci, Horton, Lucic triad. At times they were world beating. At times they were. Now they are no more. This should be no great shock, as has been pointed out across the blogosphere, the line was often stagnant. There are some great things about the once (and future?)  great line started sputtering during the playoffs. The Montreal series saw little production, and they were not often effective from their until the infamous Rome hit.

Who’s to blame? A systemic failure of all three players can’t be pinned on just one guy. None of the three has ever had poor Octobers. But if you look at the three there’s certain things that trail all three across their career. For Milan Lucic it’s pretty obvious he’s stopped being the guy who delivered a couple hits that turned guys inside out per game. He’s also not done the same level of work along the boards either retrieving or protecting the puck.

Nathan Horton’s play is a little harder to gauge. He’s only been here one season. That said, 100% of shots not taken don’t go in. In six games this season he’s had just six shots. Against the Flyers and the Avalanche he had zero shots. Through the first six games Horton has averaged 16:16 per night. Shawn Thornton who plays less six and a half minutes less per night has 8 shots on goal. Brad Marchand who plays a little over a minute more per game, and spends most of the difference killing penalties has 16 shots, and five hits to Horton’s two.

David Krejci is a high end passer. Unfortunately, he’s showing a pronounced tendency towards complacency. When he played that magical season between Wheeler and Ryder the three spent more than a month as the best line in the NHL. Injuries cropped up, off ice life effected people and bodies were shuffled leading to the lines breakup. The next year when reunited the spark only lasted a couple games. Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler are not perfect any more than Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton are, but the only common factor in all four breaking down after extended time on a line with Krejci is Krejci.  By comparison Savard and Bergeron’s linemates (as they’ve stayed with the team) have more often become more productive the second year together than less.


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