Hlavac off Richards' line
It may be for one game. It may be for one shift, but to start Tuesday's game against the Thrashers, it appears that underachieving Jan Hlavac will be off Brad Richards' line and on a line with Jason Ward and Nick Tarnasky. Joining Richards and Darche will be Andreas Karlsson.
Small picture: The moves are spanking to Hlavac who just can't seem to convert the many scoring chances he has had. It also is a bit of a pat on the back to Karlsson who coach John Tortorella said had three scoring chances against the Capitals, one of the few secondary players to achieve anything in that game.
Big picture: Tortorella is desperately looking for a combination that will get more scoring out of his lineup. Consider that Vinny Lecavalier, Vinny Prospal, Marty St. Louis and Brad Richards have accounted for 59 of Tampa Bay's 99 goals. Ten other forwards have accounted for 26.
It is one of the main reasons the team has been outscored 74-60 while playing five-on-five.
Tortorella called it "unacceptable'' that his secondary forwards have not been able to score. It also causes what you got Saturday, when the top guys didn't have great games, there was no one there to pick up the slack and the team lost 3-2.
The move actually has been a long time coming for Hlavac, who, along with Michel Ouellet (both of whom were supposed to be the finishers on Richards' line) have been major disappointments. The real question is Karlsson. The guy has zero goals and one assist. Is he really going to be the answer on the second line? He played well with Richards in the playoffs, so we'll see. Guess it can't be any worse than what has been there as far as production, and Karlsson at least adds a defensive sensibility. That is important because Torts said he wants to use less, if he can, his top guys in all situations, offensively and defensively.
The trouble is, Torts has lost some trust in the secondary guy so he keeps throwing the big guys out there
"This is the dynamic of our club right now,'' Tortorella said. "I'm using all our top players offensively and defensively. We need some other players to step up in certain areas to take some of that. We need people to step up in all areas of the game.''