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Changes Coming, but Which Ones?

Friday, 04.17.2009 / 1:58 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
Audio: Paul Maurice | Eric Staal

He refused to go into specifics (it is playoff time, after all), but Coach Paul Maurice did say that there would be some lineup changes for Game 2 at New Jersey tonight.

Paul Branecky
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Exactly what those will be are anyone’s guess, but they will more than likely involve lower-minute players on the fourth line and possibly the third defensive pairing.

“We’ll move some guys in and around a little bit,” said Maurice. “We think that we probably didn’t have anybody individually stand out worse than anybody else, but we have some players that can bring some jump and some legs into our lineup.”

Among the possibilities being discussed is removing Tim Conboy from the lineup. For a team that lacked energy and physical play, at first glance it might seem a little counterproductive to take Conboy out of the game. Also, the team’s record when he’s in the lineup speaks for itself.

However, if that were to occur, someone like Ryan Bayda could provide a different kind of spark.  Bayda isn’t the punisher that Conboy can be when he’s on his game, but he can provide a boost through his constant hustle.

As an example of that, you may have noticed that a lot of opposing players often take shots at Bayda after the whistle. Around the press box earlier in the year, we found that a little confusing as it didn’t seem as though Bayda was saying anything that might draw the ire of the opposition. Turns out, they just find the way he never quits on a play to be annoying. In that way, he as much of a pest as someone like Chad LaRose, who is a bit more vocal.

Other than that, it’s hard to see a change among the forwards. Rod Brind’Amour will play after missing yesterday’s practice, so Dwight Helminen should be out. Michael Ryan is another guy that I think could do a good job if called upon, but as of Tuesday’s practice he had been relegated to the “black ace” group that skated seperately from the regulars, which makes me think he’s a bit further down the pecking order than a Bayda or Helminen.

At any rate, don’t expect the combinations among the lower lines to stay consistent throughout.

“We’ll move guys around because we want to make sure we’ve got some balance in our bottom two lines,” said Maurice.

On the defensive side, Frantisek Kaberle is available. Ever since he became a regular scratch, I’ve always thought he did a serviceable job in the few games that he’s played. The coaching staff has put him in games in place of Niclas Wallin in the past, so if a change were to be made on that end, I’d expect that to be it.

As long as I’m speculating, you may as well too. Feel free to play coach on the message boards. Here’s a fresh depth chart to help you out.





1 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
2 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
3 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
4 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
5 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
6 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
7 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
8 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79


E. Staal 79 21 40 -13 61
J. Skinner 71 33 21 -14 54
A. Sekera 74 11 33 4 44
A. Semin 65 22 20 1 42
J. Staal 82 15 25 2 40
J. Faulk 76 5 27 -9 32
N. Gerbe 81 16 15 -6 31
J. Tlusty 68 16 14 2 30
R. Nash 73 10 14 0 24
P. Dwyer 75 8 14 -2 22
A. Khudobin 19 14 1 .926 2.30
C. Ward 10 12 6 .898 3.06