Malkin- Crosby -Recchi
Malone- Staal - Hall
Roberts - Talbot -Sykora
Ruutu - Christensen - Armstrong
With the way the message boards, or Darwin's Waiting Room (as one occasionally amusing Caps blogger refers to them), you would have thought Coach was talking about making Crosby and Malkin healthy scratches.
"Why tinker with success when the Pens have won three straight!" they yell and, "Therrien has lost it, Hall on the 2nd line?" others whine.
Random protestor guy, your thoughts?
Therrien is no fool, he knows what he's doing. Fact is, practice IS the time to mix things up and let players get some time to play with new combos, to see if there's chemistry (like Staal-Hall) or to give your best two players (Crosby-Malkin) more icetime together. Maybe throwing in a sniper like Sykora with two grinders like Talbot and Roberts would be money. No risk trying it in a practice situation.
Clearly long-term Hall is not going to be a top 6 forward, and Sykora is not going to play a checking role. But in practice, to get a feel for the team, why not work some of the newer additions (Hall and Sykora) with some fresh faces. An in-game injury or penalty situation might mean they have to play with different players anyways. Now they atleast have something to build upon.
It will be interesting, when the Pens come out at home against another stumbling opponent-the Toronto Make Beliefs, if Therrien trots out line combos like this. Unless practice revealed something out of the ordinary, I highly doubt it.