Per Hammond, the Kings are skating as follows:
Well, The Great Lineup Shakeup of 2011 has taken place, with Andrei Loktionov moving to center, Jarret Stoll to wing and only the fourth line remaining intact. Here’s how the forwards and defensemen are lined up early in practice…
This is both fascinating and amusing because it’s as if Terry Murray reads this site and my wishes (yeah, right) but decided to mess with me and only give me part of what I have been asking for since the preseason.
I asked for Dustin Brown on Kopitar’s right wing – I got Brown on Anze’s left.
I asked for Gagne-Richards-Williams – I got 2/3 of that line and Justin Williams moves to the third line.
I asked for Stoll on the second line left wing if we are not going to go with Gagne-Richards-Williams. I got Stoll on right wing with that line.
I asked for Clifford-Loktionov-Kozun as the dream third line. I got 2/3 of that with Williams in Kozun’s place.
Last night, I mentioned in the post game article that we would probably see Trent Hunter on Kopitar’s left wing on the first line. Viola…well, kind of, we got Hunter on Kopitar’s right. That one had me laughing when I read Hammond’s post. Miss two glorious open nets, get elevated to first line duties.
Last night, I mentioned I would not mess with the fourth lines too much and he didn’t.
On defense, per Hammond:
I would have preferred Mitchell-Doughty, Johnson-Voynov, Scuderi-Greene.
Let’s address these lines or at least what I believe to be the theory behind them.
First, he is spreading out the skill, a common tactic among all NHL coaches when none of the lines are hitting on all cylinders and some are badly struggling.
Kopitar and Brown have history. Hunter becomes the wild card. You have two players who are capable of going to the net. The line is designed to create traffic in front of the net with Brown and Hunter while Kopitar and the defense fire away.
Gagne and Richards have history and chemistry. That is really the first line now as the addition of Jarret Stoll creates two players who are good at faceoffs (Mike Richards being a deity in that regard). Richards, the playmaker, feeds two scorers, Gagne and Stoll. Stoll has a hard one timer with a quick release. Gagne is a sniper.
The third line plays to Andrei Loktionov’s strengths at center. He, like Richards, is a playmaker. You have the sniper in Williams and the front of the net presence in Clifford. That is the theory.