Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Fourth Line

The grinders. The grit. The muscle. These are the guys who you usually find on the ice on an NHL 4th line. The offensive line of a hockey club, doing the thankless work that rarely shows up on the stat sheet. Winning a key face off, delivering a meaningful hit, intimidating an opponents star player. The Sharks lack a truly effective 4th line. We have seen different versions of it the past few weeks, but the combination usually revolves around Goc, Bernier, Brown, Rizz and now the new and improved LW Rob Davison. While Bernier has shown flashes of life and physical play as a 4th liner, the others have rotated in and out of the line up and haven't performed the duties described above with any consistency or fire. The 4th line is just the collection of players that suck enough to not be on the top two lines, but good enough to avoid being scratched.

I'm not a big Rizz guy - Mike and I both agree that he does everything average and we've seen everything there is to see from him. Good guy, tries really hard, but we know what we know about the Rizz. He needs to be replaced. I certainly don't think he is in the Sharks long term plans. Send him to the press box. I suggest rolling Bernier-Brownie-Davison for now, but this is an area DW needs to address before season's end.

A few other comments/notes

- Toronto continues to implode. Maybe Mike and my wish for Darcy Tucker could become a reality??? He has never played out West and maybe he has no desire to. We will see...

- Eklund has gone off the deep end, I've decided. Today he commented that the Sharks and Ducks are asking Montreal about Huet. Huet now? What do the Sharks want with another #1 goaltender? The Ducks just got rid of one - so now they want Huet? Nonsense. I enjoy reading his blog for fun but his rumors are going sour...

- Hey Ron Wilson? Please no more rolling out seven defensemen please. I would rather see the Sharks call up Kaspar or Armstrong than endure another game of seven D.

See you at the Tank on Wednesday!


Brian Boitano (aka the Hip) said...

Good stuff, Grier...

CuBro should be in the lineup every night (that he is physically able, that is.) They played a different brand of hockey with him on the ice 2 weeks ago.

I hope in this weeks practices Ehrhoff, Patty and Cheech stayed an extra 30 minutes every day and just took shots at the empty net to remind themselves of it's dimensions. If just one of these guys can find the mesh again we are in business.

Mike said...

I'm more worried about CuBro's offence and speed. As in he doesn't have any. I'm not sure he would cure what ails us right now.

I think the Ehrhoff missing the net thing is a bit of a red herring. His first priority when he winds up at the point is to get the puck through. The worst thing that could happen would be to bank it off the shin pads of the guy covering the point and spring a breakaway the other way. He's doing that job ok. On the contrary, I think he's not skating enough to create a lane for himself to shoot.

That being said, watching Cheech have the game on his stick in between the circles and miss high is dispiriting.