One of the commenters in the A2Y liveblog (PaulInMiamiBeach at 11:03 ET) brought up something that’s been in the back of my mind as I watch Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa play together like long-lost brothers.Â
Random thought…I feel sorry for Zetterberg.Â Hossa has made Datsyuk better just by being on the ice, and Z is relegated to the second line which now pales by comparison whereas last year they were more equal.
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One of the more unfortunate results of the Johan Franzen injury Â is that Hank is now stuck with two of the prime underachievers on the team, Mikael Samuelsson and Dan Cleary. The guy still plays his heart out, but with Samuelsson in “scoring: off” mode and Dan Cleary still figuring out how to play with a shield, he can only do so much.Â
I’m starting to wonder what a whole season of watching Pavel work magic with Hossa from the bench will do to Zetterberg’s mindset come contract negotiation time. I’ve been a fan of Hank since before he came over and so I’d like to think I can say with confidence that he’s not “that guy,” but I think it’d be good if Babock gives him and Marian some time to develop on-ice chemistry.Â
Even without my irrational paranoia, it would make sense to give the two playing time together in order to shore against possible injury down the line. Wouldn’t it be better to switch things up a bit when it’s optional rather than when the situation forces it?
Of course, a healthy competition between the first and second lines when Franzen returns would be a good thing. Hank’s been acquitting himself quite well without #13 and #81 on his wing, so maybe that will be fulfilling enough for him.