A Case Study in Two-Man-Line Chemistry: Boston vs. Dallas

I think one of the nice things about the NHL pre-season is that it’s truly a rebirth for teams. Basically, everything that worked the season before could be thrown out the window. There are no givens. Coaches, for the most part, scrap everything. Obviously, most coaches return to lines that worked in the immediate past, but for the most part, they’re open to the idea that there could be an even better line within their existing combinations.
Over in Boston, Marco Sturm and Patrice Bergeron, who have played together successfully in the past, are clicking again (login info.). Bruins coach Claude Julien says he’s hoping to get some similar chemistry from Marc Savard and Michael Ryder, who’s new to Boston.
I’m noticing a lot of coaches doing that this season; focusing on two-man lines, with the third-member almost like a throw-in. Over in Dallas, coach Dave Tippett is seeing a tremendous amount of chemistry between Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow. So much so, that he’s basically been rotating the other wing, since pretty much everyone who’s played with the two has had some success.
The two-man line concept makes a lot of sense with a salary cap. Most teams don’t have enough depth to put their three best players on one line (ask Tampa how that worked out for them last year) so by focusing on two-man lines, coaches can spread out their talent over two lines a little easier.
Finally, two quick things:

  1. The Senators won’t have any games on pay-per-view this season, which is great for the fans. I think it’s so sleazy to have pay-per-view games. Why should fans pay for games twice? It’s not like when games are moved to pay-per-view, the cable price is adjusted down.
  2. The Boston Globe has a nice profile of Zdeno Chara. The most interesting part? He studied financial planning from 2001-2005, while also playing for the Senators. Which kind of makes sense, since during that same time period, many NHLers reported hearing “You’ve been diversified!” after getting knocked into the boards. I guess I can close that Check File.