Oscar Lindberg

Can’t Win Without Four Lines

At some point in time Coach Vigneault and his Assistants have to comprehend how ordinary the fourth line has been this season. They have to admit it is a huge issue going forward. With Brassard, Milller, Zuccarello, Kreider, Stepan, Staal, Nash, Stalberg and Fast on the top three lines they are OK. However Stalberg and Fast should be playing third line minutes. And I’m not so sure Fast is a better choice over Lindberg, but Lindberg could be the key to a new fourth line.

All the negativity and complaining about Tanner Glass holds no water with me. As far as I’m concerned he gives a  honest effort every night, doing what he is supposed to. If it wasn’t for Glass no one on the fourth line would hit. In the playoffs he will do his job. Oscar Lindberg will help, he competes and battles, needed ingredients of a good fourth line player. He also has a ability to get under the skin of opponents, another good attribute in the playoffs.  Kevin Hayes like Lindberg, affected by the lineup trickle down, caused by the return to health of Rick Nash, and the acquisition of Eric Staal, doesn’t play a effective fourth line player game. Contenders need quality minutes from its fourth line. Every shift must be a physical, grinding, dump it in, relentless wave. Simply put Hayes doesn’t play that way. 

Dominic Moore has played like a 35 year old hockey player most of the season. He is a mainstay in Coach Vigneault’s lineup every night , even with a questionable important face off winning percentage, and not much else in contribution.  There is little optimism he flips the switch and his game improves in the playoffs. 

Oscar Lindberg at center and Tanner Glass on one wing and possibly Hrvik from Hartford or Jesper Fast on the other wing are possibilities. If it’s Fast the assumption is Kevin Hayes takes his spot in a role more suited to his abilities. If it’s not Fast, Hrvik proved himself capable in his earlier call up. Lindberg has won enough draws to take most regular draws. And Eric Staal has already staked a claim as the go to face off guy if needed. 

The Coach seems to be operating on the theory his veterans are going to turn it on and win the day. And they can, but not without a few lineup tweaks. The defense is story for another day.

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