We're early into the season yet and but a few patterns have emerged. The obvious one being the Blues penchant for falling behind and the other being they usually come back. Another pattern is the inability of some of our defense to make a good breakout play or pass. None of the D-men seem to keen on rushing the puck or making the move on the intial forechecker but are quick to get rid of it and usually by doing so, causing a turn over.
So you might be asking what in the hell does this have to do with the fourth line. Well it doesn't have much to do with the defense as much as it does with offense. Looking at what is available in Peroia, and looking ahead to the future, some of which should be now for a few players, I dumbfounded when I think where a player might and might not fit on a roster. How that effects depth and development down in the minors for these players. My answer is to roll out four lines. By that I mean gone is Hinote, gone is Janssen and gone is King and his ilk. In their place you put out some talent. We know CHris Porter can play there how about Nikolia Lemygutov? I can see it. So where does your protection come from? It comes from Tkachuk, Backes and your defense at this point.
And here is where I break ranks with many people and say you don't need an absolute goon on a team to insure your players. These are pro atheletes and a few of them are big enough and capable of taking care of themselves. But then you lose scoring is the next answer due to injury either from a fight or becvause of a penalty. But if that's the thought you ignoring the fact that my version of a team is rolling four lines out that can score. This team is coming into it's own in depth.
Which begs the question...should the Blues see what talent is available on the blue line?
These are a few thoughts I have been wondering about as the game changes in a multitude of ways. I really look forward to players like Livingstone coming up even more so than I had looked forward to seeing Chris Porter on the Blues. Here's another power forward type like Backes but with more skill. There's another big body you can throw out against the likes of Hossa and have him hitting and making life tough. We have speed but we need to add some size with that speed. Not too much of it but another two forwards who have speed, skill and size. One for each line.
Probably more important we need some more defensemen capable of playing in the new style of game. Players who can hold onto the puck when they are checked and create openings and force the opposing team to drop more than one forechecker in on us. That will open up the neutral zone and allow our team to use it's greatest asset which is team speed.
Happy to here the thoughts of my fellow Blues fans.