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Coaches Want More From Their 4th Line Players

from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe,

... it will be telling to see what happens to the large number of free agent enforcers this summer, with quite a few set to be unrestricted, a quirk of enforcers mostly getting short-term contracts. In addition to Thornton, George Parros, Paul Bissonnette, Kevin Westgarth and John Scott, among others, are without deals.

“I think if you look across the league, you look at more and more teams rolling four lines and getting some production out of the fourth line, like we’ve had for a number of years,” Neely said.

“If you look at certain players, their ice time is two or three minutes a game. I think coaches probably look and say, ‘I could really use someone who could give me six, seven, eight, 10 minutes a game.’ I think that’s where you see things going, more than just fighting getting out of the game completely.”

That, of course, was what Thornton was for the Bruins.

“Everybody’s been talking about it for a few years that the guy that does nothing but sit on the bench and play one minute a game isn’t as relevant as they used to be, and I’ll definitely agree with that,” Thornton said. “But because there’s only a couple of them in the game, I’m not sure why the guys that can play and have played get thrown into that grouping.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hank1974's avatar

I’d love it if the NHL and NHLPA could agree to just remove the 4th line entirely.
Go to 16 skaters dressed per game.

Or, maybe the coaches can do what they did in the past and just mix the 4th line guys throughout the top 3 over the course of the game.

That’s what Don Cherry used to do. It gave all the other 9 guys a rest here or there, and the 4th line guys a chance to play with more talented linemates.

Posted by Hank1974 on 06/18/14 at 09:15 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

I almost think the better thing would be getting more out of the 3rd D-pair. You could line up each pair with your Top 3 lines and just roll with that instead of relying so much on your top pair and only slightly less for the 2nd pair.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 06/18/14 at 09:47 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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