So, the story making the rounds today is that there's been a fair bit of line juggling ahead of tonight's clash at the hellhole knows as Honda Center (see a game there, I fucking dare you). They will be:
There are a couple natural reactions to this, and the first is, "Oh my god, we just went from the best third line in the league to a steaming pile of mangoo!" You'd be right to think that, but the Bolland-Ladd-Havlat line has been more than our third line for over a month now. In fact, in recent games it's been our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. It's disappointing to see it broken up, but when you're team needs a spark, that'll happen. I'm curious to see what happens when VERSTEEG! returns. I thought I remember him playing a little center in the AHL, maybe someone can clarify that for me. Seems like an awful big ask of a rookie who's been such a surprise on the wing, if that is indeed the plan.
Clearly, this meant to jump start Sharp, Kane, and Toews. I think Toews will benefit greatly from someone else on his line doing the dirty work that Ladd will so happily do. Captain Marvel, after being on a line with the waste of space -- and 3 million-- that is Buff, had to do it all himself. Sharp? Not so sure. The Shooter needs a genuine playmaker on his line, and I don't know if Toews is that. He could be, but Kane's always been the one to make Sharp blossom (though McClure does in his dreams). It's no coincidence that Sharp's slump came at the same time as Kane's.
As for Kaner, we've seen him try and play on a line with Havlat before. It hasn't worked. Both players like to have the puck a lot, though Havlat can probably more easily adjust his game to play without it. But they haven't done it on either side of Bolland, and the Bolls-Beard Axis has been pretty damn mean. Hopefully it works, but we'll have to see.