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devilsrule33

We might have a problem

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The winning has been great. The kids have been great. But there are some things that are a little problematic. I don't wish any harm on Jay Pandolfo and Rob Niedermayer, but in the back of my head I think it be better if they just weren't playing. And that's the problem with Jay Pandolfo. I like Jay...but as long as he is on this team, he's going to play major minutes, He's going to be matched against top lines, and he's going to be out there in key situations. And the scary thing is if Pandolfo and Niedermayer continue to do alright, Jacques might keep using this. Hopefully this ends when Zubrus is back...but I'm not sure.

I said yesterday that seeing Alexander Ovechkin on the same ice as Jay Pandolfo for parts of the game was one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. Well tonight Pandolfo and Niedermayer were matched up against Kovalchuk the entire game. I didn't see the entire game, and maybe they did an alright job, but this is just silly. And this is what having Jay Pandolfo and Rob Niedermayer matched up against Kovalchuk means:

Zach Parise - 20:24

Rob Niedermayer - 19:44

Jay Pandolfo - 17:56

Patrik Elias - 15:57

The Washington game TOI is a little different because the Devils had a ton of PPs and were losing most of the game. Sadly, I think if the game was close we would have seen a lot more Jay Pandolfo and Rob Niedermayer against Ovechkin.

Against Pittsburgh:

Niedermayer: 19:34

Parise: 18:06

Pandolfo: 17:59

Elias: 16:08

Against Atlanta (in Atlanta):

Niedermayer - 20:12

Pandolfo - 19:17

Parise - 18:44

Elias - 16:35

Against Philly:

Niedermayer - 22:57

Parise - 18:16

Pandolfo - 15:53

Elias - 15:46

Against Detroit:

Niedermayer - 19:17

Parise - 18:00

Pandolfo - 17:58

Elias - 14:05

The scary thing is Niedermayer has done a pretty good job, and Jacques might continue to do this for a lot longer. How long can a 35-year-old (birthday was yesterday) keep this up playing so many minutes? In the 13 games the Devils played in December, Niedermayer had more minutes than Parise in 7 of them. Anyone think it isn't just coincidence that Parise didn't score a goal in all of December until the Atlanta game when some of his minutes had been given to Rob Niedermayer? Remember at the beginning of the year when the Devils finally became a threat to score goals with the net empty? That's because Lemaire used Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner out there with the empty net. Now Niedermayer replaced Zajac, and Pandolfo and McAmmond have been replacing Parise. The result has still been some good defensive play, but there has been no threat to finish games off with 40-45 seconds left like Parise and Zajac were doing earlier in the year.

One last thing I noticed. Parise and Zajac used to be in the top of the league at quality of competition, but now Niedermayer has leaped frogged into 10th in the entire league for forwards, and will probably be higher after the Atlanta game.

So what's the verdict here? Anyone else scared what could happen late in the year? Is Niedermayer and Pandolfo the new Madden and Pandolfo? Wasn't this stuff supposed to stop in the new NHL? Should two 35-year-old forwards be getting more minutes than Zach Parise and Patrik Elias? Will things change when Zubrus comes back?

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Trust me I've noticed and I'm not happy.

Niedermayer isn't even a great Madden replacement.

Edited by Cowutopia

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I mentioned in the GDT how I've been against line matching all season - except for last night. If we went top line vs. Top line Bergfors would have played opposite Kovalchuk - I can't really envision a scenario where that would be a good thing. Pando may not be what he once was but for games like last night we he served his purpose.

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At this point of the season I really don't care about icetime, actually I want the third and fourth line to play more until March and April to pace the top players before the playoffs.

Problem is it's how Nieds and Pando are getting their icetime that worries me, especially with who the coach is and the general organization philosophy that's been flawed for years.

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Why even include Elias on the list? It seems to me that he isn't 100% so they're really limiting his minutes. That has nothing to do with line matching and all in keeping Elias' TOI down by design.

It's funny that we have this thread and we also have people that complain that the Devils try too hard in the regular season. 18-20 minutes TOI is not some low number for a player. It's better to burn out the guys not as important and not playing in the Olympics than the other way around.

Anyone think it isn't just coincidence that Parise didn't score a goal in all of December until the Atlanta game when some of his minutes had been given to Rob Niedermayer?

If we're just going to suppose things a person could just as easily suppose all those 22+ minute TOI games wore Parise out and left him too exhausted to shoot rather than his 1 or 2 less minutes a game caused his shooting to misfire.

It was a cold streak, he was getting chances, not burying them, and still playing well. An extra minute or two of ice time isn't going to dramatically shift a players game, unless those minutes are on the PP, which Parise was obviously still getting.

Remember at the beginning of the year when the Devils finally became a threat to score goals with the net empty?

I watched tonight as the Devils whiffed on a wide open empty netter for the second or third time this year. Does Langenbrunner's shot go in because Parise is on the ice or does he miss because he knows Parise is on the bench? Some things have a little bit of randomness in them.

-----------

Elias isn't up to playing right now, probably one reason he got shifted away from center, so the team really lacks as quality center after Zajac so Niedermayer ends up picking up a lot of minutes since he plays in all situations.

And you left out the Washington game because of PP but that isn't really fair since the PP were only 4 to 2, that's not a large number. Ovechkin saw 15:43 of even strength ice time, Parise 14:42, Nieds 13:58, and Pando 12:57. Those don't seem crazy and that's going up against one of the top players and lines in the league.

Also, Pando wasn't matched up against Kovie all game since he wasn't on the ice when Kovie scored, none of his line was.

What would a better distribution of minutes be then what the Devils are currently doing now? The Devils pretty much have to throw out Zajac or Niedermayer on every defensive zone draw right now and since the team tries to save Zajac for offensize zone draws it means you're going to see a lot of Nieds out there against the other teams top lines by default.

The team is playing well and winning, most teams would take it as a positive that they can spread the minutes around while doing that.

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TG has a take on it that I pretty much agree with:

I really don

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i really don't trust dean mcammond to be able to match up against top lines, so to that end, fine. i'm just not convinced that pandolfo and niedermayer actually prevent any goals besides the ones they mess up for the devils.

i also don't mind them limiting elias's ice time for a while.

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We'll see how it goes when guys get healthy and what not...but I'm not thrilled at those ice times either.

There's a lot of options when Zubrus comes back. I'm also not entirely against Langenbrunner sitting, out when Zubrus comes back if Jamie needs to rest that back.

Are we going to be looking at..

Parise-Zajac-Bergfors

Elias-Zubrus-Rolston

Clarkson-NIedermayer-Langenbrunner

Pandolfo-Mcammond-xxxx

Edited by HellOnICE

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What was Parise's TOI last year? What was the goals against average when Pando and nieds were both out?

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Why even include Elias on the list? It seems to me that he isn't 100% so they're really limiting his minutes. That has nothing to do with line matching and all in keeping Elias' TOI down by design.

It's funny that we have this thread and we also have people that complain that the Devils try too hard in the regular season. 18-20 minutes TOI is not some low number for a player. It's better to burn out the guys not as important and not playing in the Olympics than the other way around.

Remember the title of the thread. I said we might...not this is a problem. Who knows what Jacques is thinking? Maybe he absolutely loves the Pandolfo-Niedermayer combo and will continue using it down the stretch.

I watched tonight as the Devils whiffed on a wide open empty netter for the second or third time this year. Does Langenbrunner's shot go in because Parise is on the ice or does he miss because he knows Parise is on the bench? Some things have a little bit of randomness in them.

Parise definitely scores that goal tonight. That whole sequence with Niedermayer and Langenbrunner was slow and sloppy. The Devils aren't going to score many empty netters with Niedermayer on the ice.

Also, Pando wasn't matched up against Kovie all game since he wasn't on the ice when Kovie scored, none of his line was.

I am aware of that, but the shift charts seem to perfectly match up for the entire second and third period.

What would a better distribution of minutes be then what the Devils are currently doing now? The Devils pretty much have to throw out Zajac or Niedermayer on every defensive zone draw right now and since the team tries to save Zajac for offensize zone draws it means you're going to see a lot of Nieds out there against the other teams top lines by default.

The team is playing well and winning, most teams would take it as a positive that they can spread the minutes around while doing that.

Again, right now it hasn't been a problem, but like Tri said, I don't know if those two are actually preventing goals despite what the scoreboard says. It seems Jacques is really liking their work. What I do know is having Pandolfo and Niedermayer out in key situations against the leagues best players in big games is a recipe for disaster.

And just for the record on Elias, his TOI numbers have dramatically dropped since Pandolfo and Niedermayer have come back. This hasn't been a plan all season by Jacques. This could be good to get Elias some rest, or this could be a repeat of the Hurricanes series. Elias played 21:56 on Nov 27th, 20:42 on the 19th, 19:26 on the 16th. Maybe that was just because of the injuries.

Edited by devilsrule33

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Elias looked exhausted most of the night yesterday. He was suckin wind at the end of every shift. He's not nearly 100%. If I was his coach he'd be lucky to get 16 minutes a night.

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All I can say is that I hope Lemaire makes an adjustment if the checking line falters. I'll repeat what others have said: We've seen some ugly results from line matching in the playoffs the last three years.

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As I watch this team I sometimes think Lemaire is holding them back... deliberately, saving what they really have to offer for mid April

The lines and TOI as constructed last night were not designed to score lots of goals

I guess what I am saying is Lemaire seems to be big on sparing his players early.

I'll reserve judgement on this issue when we have a healthy team in April

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All I can say is that I hope Lemaire makes an adjustment if the checking line falters. I'll repeat what others have said: We've seen some ugly results from line matching in the playoffs the last three years.

+1.

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Since Elias is clearly not 100%, and Langs looks slow/hurt right now, it takes away some flexibility at RW. They can't play Langs on the top line for the whole game, and they can't give Elias Parise's minutes. This leaves Bergfors on the top line, which has had some great results, but as someone said earlier, you don't trust Bergfors on Kovalczuk. If Langs and Elias are in good shape, Jacques can shuffle his top line more in big situations and trust them on d. Til then, you have to trust him. Based on the results so far, I'd say trusting Jacques is a good idea.

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Trust me I've noticed and I'm not happy.

Niedermayer isn't even a great Madden replacement.

John Madden 38 7 6 13 -1 10 0 0 0 63 11.1

Rob Niedermayer 26 5 7 12 1 10 0 1 0 40 12.5

I think he's done a fine job replacing Madden. And I love Madden.

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John Madden 38 7 6 13 -1 10 0 0 0 63 11.1

Rob Niedermayer 26 5 7 12 1 10 0 1 0 40 12.5

I think he's done a fine job replacing Madden. And I love Madden.

Except that what the numbers don't say is Madden's much better on faceoffs and has helped a Blackhawks team with Huet in net become tops in the league defensively.

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Except that what the numbers don't say is Madden's much better on faceoffs and has helped a Blackhawks team with Huet in net become tops in the league defensively.

Niedermayers average ice time: 17:52 / faceoffs: 52.5%

Maddens average ice time: 16:09 / faceoffs: 53.8%

Madden has taken 591 faceoffs, winning 318

Niedermayer has taken 402 winning 211

Not only that but Huet and Niemi have 7 shutouts between them (3 and 4) with Niemi having the better 1.81 average. If Huet played more games instead of Niemi, I think the would have more goals against.

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I am more concerned about Zubrus the stiff screwing up the chemistry. We seem almost unbeatable since he has been out.

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I am more concerned about Zubrus the stiff screwing up the chemistry. We seem almost unbeatable since he has been out.

That makes no sense. We're 14-5-1 with him and 13-4 without him.

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people who hate on zubrus are idiots. he maybe overpaid buy the guy is a beast along the boards and brings a great physical presence.

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Zubrus may not be a perfect player at all, and I don't love him on the second line, but by all accounts he's great in the clubhouse. Their chemistry is gonna be just fine when he gets back, and, overpaid or not, he's a whole lot better than the current 4th liners. When he's back, we become the deepest team in the league.

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this greatly annoys me. they don't hardcore matchup, but in general, when the team is winning, you start to see it rear its' ugly head. which I guess is better than Julien-style, where they did it all game.

that line isn't bad defensively (although there are matchups you want to avoid), the thing is that they cannot score. Kovalchuk's line stunk defensively last night and there were a bunch of wasted chances... mainly on the part of Pandolfo. Pandolfo is like a curse that causes checking lines. and it disrupts roles and changes other matchups. now, instead of having Zajac and Parise on defensive stiffs, they have to play more checking oriented players.

I'm hoping it'll go away, but I doubt it, I expect Rob Nieds and Pando to have minutes similiar to, if not more than, players like Parise and Elias in the playoffs, because that's how we roll. they'll probably go -1 for the series, give up 3, 1 of which will be a backbreaker, score 2, and we'll lose a tight series because we don't score enough.

it's much worse at home games than on the road, which is I guess the only hope, the line matching isn't so anal that they chase it around with on-the-fly changes.

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