LooJay brought up the thought that Bert needs some bench time for the sole reason that, the lineup from last night won, so don't change anything. Generally speaking...I couldn't agree more. But then I took a look at some of the numbers and I didn't like seeing that Holmstrom had more shifts and almost as much ice time as Helm. It makes zero sense for Babcock to play him that much. I know it was a blow out and guys need time on ice to stay fresh just as much as they need rest time, but Holmstrom does not seem to be the same Holmstrom of even 3 years ago, let alone 6 or 7. He just doesn't deserve starters minutes anymore. He deserves our respect for what he's done for so long with so little regard from the league or the officials.
So with that being said here are my thoughts on some front line moves:
Hudler - Datsyuk - Cleary
Filppula - Zetterberg - Franzen
Abdelkader - Helm - Bruunstrom
Miller - Emmerton - Holmstrom (until Eaves is better)
Once Eaves is back, I think he takes Abdelkader's spot on the 3rd line.
Line 1 - Datsyuk makes everyone better. He has chemistry with Cleary already and with his puck control, Hudler can skate free in the offensive zone to find the slot for one timers. Plus Datsyuk can make up for Hudler's lack of effort on defense and Cleary makes up for his lack of hustle. Two very smart hockey players on a line with a talented player who lacks discipline.
Line 2 - Hank, Franz, and Filp. Probably the most gifted line in the NHL. Not the best, but definitely the most gifted. All three can possess the puck for long periods of time, make mind boggling moves, fake defensemen out of their skates. They read the ice well and run set plays better than any one out there. Filp has progressed in his defense the last couple of years and we know how good Hank is in his own zone. Franzen needs some work on that end of the ice, but he seemed more alive last night in the offensive zone, so we'll take what we can get at the moment. No other team in the NHL has a 1st line with 3 guys that are capable of 35+ goal seasons, and the Red wings have that on their second line. I'd be happy with 55 total goals from this line.
Line 3 - Speed, Speed, and more speed. With Abdelkader, this line has power and with Bruunstrom, they have finesse. Helm adds hustle, defense, and drive. When Eaves comes back, this line can really play. All three are capable 20 goal scores. Eaves and Helm are a poor man's Datsyuk and Cleary while Bruunstrom is a poor man's Zetterberg. None of them are as good as the original, but they work in similar fashion and style without the talent. If I were one of the originals, I'd be honored to see them playing 'my' style of hockey.
Line 4 - Miller and Emmerton are classic 4th liners. Miller has scoring touch here and there. Emmerton is a gamer that is working hard to stay with the team. So far, he's been showing that he continues to deserve ice time. Not above 4th line minutes, but time none-the-less. I've already talked about Holmstrom. He deserves minutes. He's earned it. He just doesn't deserve 1st, 2nd, or 3rd line minutes. And he should be a healthy scratch from time to time. Abdelkader's 4th line minutes are to make a grind line. Finish checks, body up on guys, hit hard all over the ice, and get in a fight or two.
Bertuzzi - I think he still has value to this team, but I think it's to spell a break for Franzen, Holmstrom, or Hudler. I just don't see him being an on ice contributor as much as I had thought during preseason. He has wisdom and presence that I wouldn't want them to dismiss. He seems willing to play any role that Babcock gives him. But talent, it's just not there. To me, he remains in the 'healthy scratch' role so that Nyquist and Tatar are forced to stay down so they get that much more experience. But if someone gets injured and is going to be out of the lineup for an extended period of time, Nyquist gets the call to play, not Bertuzzi.