Sure enough, Coach Murray is going to give me a workout this year on that lineup card page.

Rich Hammond posted new lines from practice today:

Loktionov-Kopitar-Brown
Smyth-Stoll-Williams
Ponikarovsky-Handzus-Stoll

No definable 4th line.

We’ll go ahead and assume the 2nd Stoll on the 3rd line is a misprint and should read Simmonds.

The big change is in the top 6.  Clearly, assuming Murray goes with these lines for tomorrow night’s home opener against Atlanta, he wants more creativity on the 1st line.  Loktionov doesn’t bring size.  He doesn’t bring toughness.  But he damn well sure does bring creativity.

As exciting as it seems on the surface to have the rookie get some time next to the big man Kopitar, these lines provide me with cause for concern.

Will Murray ever let a line gel?

He had all training camp to watch Smyth-Kopi-Brown together.  In the preseason games I saw, they didn’t do much differently than the first two real games.  The difference was in the opposition, facing rookies on defense and crappy goalies in preseason.  I can’t comment on how effective these new lines will be… on the surface I like them, but if they can’t score after one game, what then?  More changes?

I do not want to see shake ups after every loss or every low scoring/low opportunity game.

Changing up the lines can be good, but only once the lines that are have had a chance to find a groove.  I will reserve judgement for the lineup card after tomorrow’s game.  While I do like the Smyth-Stoll-Williams line, personally I would have done this:

Smyth-Kopitar-Williams

Loktionov-Stoll-Brown

Poni-Zus-Simmonds

We’ll see what the 4th line looks like tomorrow.  I would prefer Westgarth get the benching, but I have a feeling Clifford won’t be playing.  I can’t imagine Richardson getting benched either.  Richardson-Schenn-Westgarth is my guess.

The magic lineup hat has begun spitting random bunnies.

***UPDATE*** Of course, right after I hit “publish” I go back to Hammond’s site and see that the 4h line will indeed be Richardson-Schenn-Westgarth.  I’m not smart, I swear.  Murray is just a bit predictable.  Its not like Westgarth took bad penalties in both games or anything…