Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey colunm on the internet without any spelling mistakes.
Speaking of mistakes, did Elias Pettersson make a terrible one when he missed the 2021 Vancouver Canucks training camp?
There’s no denying that Pettersson’s 2021/22 start has been a slow one by his own lofty standards. As of this writing, he’s managed four points in seven games, well below his usual pace. (And if he scored a bunch in the interim, you’re welcome for the reverse-jinx).
Even worse, the eye-testers will attest that he’s looked “a step behind” and “unengaged” on the ice, and that he’s just not the same Pettersson that we’ve all come to know and admire.
The real debate lies in whether or not Pettersson’s slow start is something to worry about.
Some see it as a natural consequence to a tumultuous offseason, and one that will be rectified in the immediate future, as soon as Pettersson shakes the rust off.
Others aren’t so sure. They’ll contend that a slow start could quickly turn into Pettersson’s second questionable season in a row, and maybe even a continuation of an overall downward trend from his rookie season onward.
Still others will inevitably fall somewhere in between.
So, where do you fall? This week, we’re asking:
Are you worried about Elias Pettersson’s slow start to the 2021/22 season?
What is your ideal top-six configuration for the 2021/22 Canucks?
Your ideal configurations are below!
For me this is easy. Canucks already had two proven first lines and Green should go back to them. Constant player shuffling is not allowing the players to form any chemistry with each other.
Top Line: Boeser, Pettersson, Miller – They have proven they can get the job done
Second Line: Höglander, Horvat, Pearson – They have had chemistry since day one, and Green really shouldn’t mess with this line.
Third Line: Garland, Dickinson, Podkolzin – This would be a tough, responsible line that can score goals.
Fourth Line: Dowling, Lammikko, Chiasson – I’ve liked Dowling and Lammikko but they are fourth line players. Quit playing them higher in the lineup. Chiasson could be interchanged with Podkolzin for third/fourth line duties.
Garland is skilled, hardworking, and tenacious, but has not developed any chemistry with teammates yet that I can see. Why mess with the existing chemistry just to shoehorn Garland into the top-six?
My experimental combo:
Höglander Pettersson Boeser
Miller Horvat Garland
Fallback plan #1 if that’s not clicking:
Höglander Horvat Garland
Fallback plan #2
Podkolzin Pettersson Boeser
Pearson Horvat Höglander
Dowling Miller Garland
Green is out in left field with line combos this season. They should have got things mostly in order during camp and given them some time to sync up and get used to each other. Now it’s just a blender of rotating experiments.
Today`s practice in Chicago:
What should be obvious to Green but isn`t:
1- Hoglander is not a LW. He should be Horvat`s RW.
2- Pearson does not want to be a third line checker but Horvat`s LW.
3- Miller needs Pettersson and Pettersson needs Boeser.
There tends to be three prevailing philosophies used by different hockey coaches at all levels:
- Lines don’t matter, put your best forwards in the top-six and rotate in other players based on who’s going and who isn’t.
- Stay consistent with two players on a line and rotate the third player.
- Keep lines consistent most of the time.
Green moves players around a lot between lines but seems fixated on keeping Boeser and Petterson together, as well as Horvat and Pearson. I think the line inconsistency is detrimental and his consistent pairings aren’t necessarily right.
Miller needs to play with Pettersson. Boeser is fine on right wing there but he was also fine or Horvat’s right wing. I’d at least try Höglander or Garland with Miller and Pettersson.
Move Pearson to the third line. Use two of Boeser, Höglander, and Garland with Horvat.
Make a decision on the best combinations of those six before the last two exhibition games, then have them play together for an extended period of time.
This line created some good scoring chances in the preseason. Sadly, they only got to play a few shifts together.
This line is getting better each game because Green has not mixed it into his line blender. They are slowly developing chemistry and more importantly, they are starting to score goals.
We have all seen what Boeser and Miller can do when they play on the same line. Bailey was making a lot of smart plays in the offensive zone last season until Lucic put a stop to that. He is fast and talented, but also horribly unlucky. It’s too bad he couldn’t properly participate in training camp this year. One game at the end of camp wasn’t enough.
Beer Can Boyd:
Need to see a lot more out of Dickinson. He sure looks a lot more like a fourth liner than a third so far. Otherwise, Miller becomes the de facto third line center, which is bad news for the Lotto Line.
I am Ted:
Miller – Petterson – Boeser
Pearson – Horvat – Garland
I don’t like Pearson there but you know he will be with Bo…always. I’d rather Pod or Hog.
Later in the year, the bottom-six should be:
Podkolzin – Dickinson – Höglander
Motte – Sutter – Lammikko
Tkachuk – Pettersson – Nylander
Toffoli – Horvat – McCann
Coulda shoulda woulda.
This is what I think Benning sold the fans last summer, and it hasn’t happened yet, making us all deeply unhappy:
- Miller – Pettersson – Boeser …Bring back the Lotto Line! We’re not a deep team, we should be concentrating our firepower up top.
- Höglander – Horvat – Garland …Horvat and the angry Lilliputians. Benning had us excited in the summer that Beast Mode Bo was going to be unleashed. So, unleash the beast!
- Podkolzin/Chaisson – Dickinson – Pearson …Pearson’s an offensive black hole at this stage of his career, but he can still play good hockey. So put him on a shutdown line with Dickinson and Chaisson. Plus, the three vets can bring along Podkolzin and teach him how to be a pro in The Show. Miller’s wasted in this spot.
- Motte – Sutter/Lammikko – Highmore …Energy line, pest line, whatever. We just need these guys to play eight minutes of dependable hockey a night and contribute to the PK.
Miller – Pettersson – Boeser
Pearson – Horvat – Höglander/Garland
Höglander/Garland – Dickinson – Podkolzin
Free the Lotto Line. Build some consistency in the group. Shuffle Höglander and Garland for the right fit, but lay off the blender.
Höglander Pettersson Boeser
Garland Miller Podkolzin
My ideal top-six has Miller on the second line, he is our best overall player, so I can’t understand why people always peg him as a 3C. Pettersson needs to prove he’s our number 1C without the Miller crutch. If there is anyone I would want to see Garland spark, ignite, and drag into the fight, it would be Miller, because he has that Kesler-like ability to get mad, go beast mode, and physically dominate a team.
By the way, why does everyone always have to hedge their lines by putting infinite number of players in one spot like: “my first line would be” Miller/Höglander/Garland – Pettersson – Boeser?
Well, I guess that’s what our first line actually looks like when Green’s team is down two goals…
It’s so easy, no wonder Green hasn’t tried it yet.
Bo with Garland and Hogs would be relentless, leaving Pearson, JD, and Pods on the third line.
So, a great hockey team needs to have at least a couple great lines, and great lines need to have great names. This is just basic logic as far as I’m concerned, so I’m thinking Lotto Line is our de facto great top line name, and we just need a great name for our second line and we’ll be set. Enter the “Christmas Line” of Garland, Horvat, Höglander, or “Garland, Ho, Ho!”
If that doesn’t catch on, I’d like to see:
Höglander Petterson Garland; won’t win a faceoff but will be possession monsters.
Pearson Horvat Podkolzin; Tanner and Bo off the rush with Pods setting them up.
Miller Dickinson Boeser; wtf? No, it’ll be great on matchups and Miller/Boeser were legitimately very good together last year. Just don’t put JT at centre.
Coaching staff needs to look at it as top-nine instead of just top-six. Unless they are planning on exhausting their top-six forward group with 20+ mins a game, during the meat grinder that is the NHL 82-game season.
I like the idea of two-player pairings (BoHo/TP, JTM/BB, Petey/Garland) and rotating the third player in. By all means, shorten the bench and throw the Lotto and (BoHo/TP/Garland) lines out when we are behind a goal in the third.
Ensuring that every player is involved and feeling like they have a defined role encourages team chemistry and long-term success. And for god’s sake, stop with the panic line blender and let them lines develop some chemistry (something that should have been done at training camp, Petey’s absence notwithstanding).
I think Höglander deserves to be on the first line right now and I’d mix it up in a big way.
Höglander – Pettersson – Garland
Miller – Horvat – Boeser
I know that will never happen. Highmore is a “Green guy.” Good effort, low skill level, so expect Podkolzin to keep getting scratched and then sent to the AHL when Motte comes back.
Right now, Miller doesn’t seem disciplined or interested enough to centre/carry his own line, but if he was, this is what I’d do:
That third line could be a matchup killer, and with the way Dickinson has shown he can shoot and generate offence on the cycle, all three lines would be dangerous.
I’m going to give more than top-six, because that’s the only way this makes sense. I think all these lines are dangerous and potential matchup problems. Miller and Chiasson bring the grit and physicality for Pettersson to be effective (anyone remember Anson Carter and the Sedins? Guy parked his butt in front of the net and got a career year and contract out of it). Real easy to swap Boeser for Chiasson when you want the “Lotto” Line. Theres really no “top” line. The more I think about it, the more I like this. How do you match up/game plan against it?