gcom, you continually say that we should split up Z and Pav, yet each of the past three years, we ended the playoffs with Z and D being put back together after trying them split up. What does that tell you? Our team is best when they are together, period.
2008 was a complete team effort from goalie, offense and defense. Ozzie had what, a 1.5ish GAA??? We didn't need to score many goals to win. Cleary was terrible and Franzen was out down the stretch with that concussion. It limited our options a bit. But we won this year because every part generally worked.
2009 was a disaster that somehow became a masterpiece despite a game 7 Finals loss. I thought it was a better run because we never should've gone as far as we did with all the injuries we had. Datsyuk didn't play in 6 or 7 games and scored 1 goal. He was beat up bad, as was Hossa. They weren't capable of playing up to their ability and at that point, there's no way Datsyuk can carry a line on his own. That's the problem. Aside from our 5-0 blowout in Game 5, we only scored 6 goals in the last 5 games. We ended struggling with Dats and Z together. Doesn't seem like that's our "best" either, nor a good supporting example. After all, with as many injuries as we had, we never should've gone as far as we did. That was mostly on Osgood who was a win away from a Conn Smythe for playing even better than he did in 2008 with far less help.
And in 2010, when were we ever at our "best" in the playoffs? I seem to remember us getting our asses kicked by San Jose in the 2nd round. So how does that work?
Think of our top 2 scoring lines being centered by Dats and Z, each with a sniper like Hossa/Franzen as well as another solid winger like Cleary/Hudler (pre-Russia)/Holmstrom/Bertuzzi. Other teams are going to have a hell of a time playing against those lines. Then you throw in a 3rd line centered by a Modano type with probably someone like Bertuzzi (Huds can sign elsewhere in my world) and maybe an Eaves/Miller in the mix. Solid, cheap, capable. Then you've got a great checking line with the Eaves/Miller/Draper/Helm/Abs etc...whoever would be around in such a world.
Loose idea of current (if healthy) lines:
Holmstrom Datsyuk Zetterberg - $14-15 million
Cleary Filppula Franzen - $10 million
Hudler Modano Bertuzzi - $7 million
Draper Helm Eaves - $3 million
Total Salary - $34-35 million or so...
Loose idea of lines and salaries of what I'd rather see:
Holmstrom Datsyuk Hossa - $13-14 million
Cleary Zetterberg Franzen - $13 million
Eaves Modano Bertuzzi - $3-4 million
Draper Helm Miller - $3 million
Total Salary - $32-34 million or so...
I like those lines better and there'd still probably be a bit of money to spend up if we would've traded Flip and not signed Hudler. Not only do I feel that there's going to be more balance on the top 2 lines, I also feel like each line is going to be better defensively. The top two lines would be as strong on defense as offense while the 3rd line would benefit from Eaves moving up as he not only can score, he's also a solid guy at both ends of the ice. Plus, the 3rd line would have less pressure on them after teams chase around our top 2 lines. Our checking line is always strong for a checking line and Eaves and Miller would never have to sit out games...WHICH IS A CRIME!!!!!!!!!
I just see things being a lot more balanced with our inconsistent, over-priced mid-level players out of the picture. Spend a little extra to keep a guy like Hossa around who's willing to buy into the system on and off the ice and let Kenny and the scouts do the brilliant work they do in bringing in the overlooked and the forgotten vets on the cheap to round out a great offensive group. I think we score more goals and prevent more goals with those lines, and I think we skip unnecessary line-shuffling that occurs when you're waiting on your inconsistent guys to decide to produce.
Know where the brunt of your scoring comes from. Know where your support scoring comes from, Never compromise on defense. Everybody has a defined role and a spot that suits them. Simple.