posted at 11/23/2010 10:21 AM EST
In Response to Re: Fundamental
[QUOTE]In the first period, Thornton had more ice time than Bergeron. God forbid they try to get the lead.
Posted by Not-A-Shot[/QUOTE]
This might be the best post on the subject if you think about it. Basically, it's about the impact of CJ's roll-em-over philosophy - when there are no special teams situations or opportunities to catch the opposition after an icing, a 4th liner may well end up with more ice than a first or second liner. One of the things it should tell you, though, is maybe the 4th line's getting pinned in its end and therefore getting stuck for longer shifts.
The reason you stick with a 4 line strategy is that it manages your energy. Your best players should be giving you better minutes, especially in the 3rd. We've also seen that the 4th line, when it's really going, can keep the tempo and momentum up when it's contributing a regular shift. And that seems to be working for the Bruins when the 4th line is playing well - that's one part of why they're able to be dominant in the 3rd after being dormant in the 1st and 2nd - and they've stormed back from three goal deficits twice that I remember this year.
That said...maybe you don't need to storm back if you've pushed to get the lead. The Bruins are a much better team with the lead than when pursuing it. Not perfect, but better. Rolling 4 when you have the lead is what the Devils did so effectively in their hey-day, and it made the careers of their fourth liners like Randy McKay who beat down the opposition with fresher legs and the knowledge that they could be that little bit more aggressive with the lead.
I'd love to see Julien go no-huddle to start a game here. Roll something like Krejci, Bergeron, Krejci, Wheeler, Krejci, Bergeron, Wheeler, Bergeron, Krejci, Campbell, Bergeron, Krejci, Wheeler. That's your first 10 minutes, and, based on 47 second shifts, it gives Krejci's line 3:55, Bergeron's 3:11, Wheeler's 1:34, and Campbell 0:47. Seeing as I'm using football terms for this - it would be like Bill Walsh scripting plays. Don't react to game situations with it - except PK/PP of course - just roll it out with instructions to push the pace. If you did need to adjust, you could change wingers rather than alter this rotation.
Worst case scenario is probably that you play the third and fourth line more for the second half of the period to give the top lines time to preserve some energy.