The Washington Capitals’ second line has been rolling lately, consisting of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Justin Williams, and Andre Burakovsky. Burakovsky has gone on the best scoring stretch of his career. That’s why we were all very confused when news broke that the top two lines had changed. Against the Islanders, Kuznetsov played between Alex Ovechkin and Justin Williams. Nicklas Backstrom centered the a line with Andre Burakovsky and TJ Oshie.
After the Caps 3-2 overtime win, Trotz explained his changes by referencing a marriage gone south and spaghetti.
Why did you change the lines?
Barry Trotz: Just sometimes it’s a little refreshing. It’s no different than — I’ll use this analogy, you guys will like this — sometimes it’s like a marriage. You got a line that’s like a marriage. Sometimes the love goes out of the marriage a little bit. You get it separated a little bit. You know, you get a little vacation from each other.
I think it’s good during the year because you have injuries. You have to play different people. I think it’ll be great for a guy like Burakovsky playing with a guy like Backy, who plays a little different than Kuzy. I think it’s going to be good for all the players with Kuzy a little bit just so they don’t get stuck in a rut. Then we can always flip flop. Last year, I flip flopped centermen. We flip flopped on the left side. I think we have good balance so I think it’s good for growth of the players in the middle and also some of the players on the wing. It’s just going through the dog days of February and, like you say, sometimes the love goes out of the marriage a little bit for a little while so they’re not as excited. You get a little bit of separation, a little vacation, and you come back and they’re excited again.
Is this going to hold?
Barry Trotz: Yeah, for at least next game. Probably.
Was it to go to school on these line combinations and file them away for later?
Barry Trotz: We’re always thinking about different lines. As coaches, we throw sometimes a little spaghetti against the wall. I’ve got some great people around me who have a feel for it. We talk about it all the time. It was a good change for all involved.
The Caps new first line pic.twitter.com/GQmcN6ZkLR
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) February 19, 2016
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