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Thoughts on Pens’ line combinations



  1. Tim - Imperial says:

    Hello Rob – Staal & Dupuis would join Sid on the #2 line. Staal & Dupuis have had good chemistry since Staal came back from his injury. The reason I’d move Staal is the improved play of Joe Vitale who would center the 3rd line between Cooke and Kennedy. The #1 Power Play Unit would be Malkin, Neal with Kunitz in front of the net. . The Pens top PP Unit is #5 in the league the highest for the Pens in recent history. Putting Crosby on the top power play unit with Malkin would CROWD the ice for Geno. Crosby would play on the 2nd unit Staal & Dupuis. This would cut down on Sid minutes, something I thought should have been done the last time Sid came back from a concussion. I still believe Staal would be ideal on the #1 PP Unit in front of the cage with his improved strength and hands.
    Tim – Imperial

  2. Bruce says:

    I think that this is one of the most defining issues for Coach B. How to include crosby without diminishing the role of Malkin. As such I would leave Malkin’s line alone. I would also not have them both on the ice at the same time on the PP.

    I would play Crosby with a shooter like Kennedy and a physical, defensively responsible guy like Asham or maybe Vitale. You cant screw up Malkins head because we all know with Crosby the next big hit could end his season/ career.
    I would also limit him to 15 min. Let Stahl get the minutes he deserves.

  3. Ryan says:

    Well said sir.

  4. Matt Hauger says:

    Could just be me, but the content on this page seems to be missing.

  5. Jandy says:

    There already has been a lot of controversy over where Kunitz will play when Sid comes back. The thing is, Sid can play with anyone. He brings out the best in any other player. Malkin has struggled with different line mates in the past. Will he still? Who knows.
    It’s my opinion to leave the Kunitz/Malkin/Neal line as is. Let Sid return with Dupuis (who Sid has done well with in the past) and add Staal to the other wing. Before I catch verbal abuse, let me say that the Cooke/Vitale/Asham line has been great. Very gritty, very in-your-face, down and out great. The loser here will be Sully. But he can be plugged in where/when needed.
    If Sid has problems with Dupuis and Staal, then by all means, give him back Kunitz. But give it a chance. Don’t mess with what is working.
    One thing is certain, it’s wonderful to have this problem, and so many choices that will work.

  6. Rick says:

    To Jandy. I agree with all except Sullivan. His play as of late is much improved. But I won’t give you verbal abuse over it. Actually, this is a nice problem to have. And I am warming up to the idea of Sid’s minutes being reduced upon his return as Tim mentioned by keeping him off the top PP line. Although the PP is 0 for it’s last 4 games, that may be more attributable to the loss of Letang.

  7. Jandy says:

    Rick, I’m not saying Sully’s play is bad. He’s been on of the few healthy players and his history is otherwise. I just see him getting bumped around when Sid returns. I have to agree, keep Sid off the PP, he and Malkin suck together out there. And you’re dead on, the PP struggles are definitely because of Tanger being out.
    Thanks for not verbally abusing me =)

  8. Jandy says:

    That was *one* of the few healthy players

  9. Jay Walker says:

    Matt: As Mike Lange would say, “Where’s the T-R hockey content? There IS no content!’

  10. Harry says:

    J-Walk: LMMFAO!

  11. TheForgottenMan says:

    The Penguins are a difficult matchup for any team because of the 3 guys down the middle. Why in the world would we make Staal a winger and reduce what is a strength for a marginal return on a wing. Do we think Staal is going to make a Dupuis-Sid line that much more potent than a Dupuis-Sid-Sullivan line?

    The lines should be…

    Adams-Vitale-Asham or Vitale-Adams-Asham (though I also would not complain if Park played as well — so long as Asham was playing all of the time in the playoffs as he is like Claude Lemieux, ramping his game up for the playoffs.)

  12. Gabriel says:

    Isn’t it time to give Thiessen more starts? The guy is our best goalie right now.

  13. Eric says:


    Sounds like a sound plan to me or as mentioned Using Staal as a wing.
    Still 3 solid lines would make it very difficult for the opposition to defend.
    The CSK line has been excellent in the past, great chemistry and abrasive.

    Thiessen has played well but he is still unproven at the pro level. I would not say he is the best, Fleury has worlds more experience and numbers just as well.
    He will be good but his two wins came against very weak teams.

    This does not bode well for Johnson even at his bargain rate. I would not be shocked to see Thiessen backing up Fleury next year and getting his feet wet more.

  14. statz61 says:

    I think the interesting part is where to put Sully. His play has been fantastic of late with Staal.

    And I see still No love for the Flower!

  15. Patrick says:

    No other team can present the 3 center matchup problem we provide. They drafted and developed these to be centers. 2 great offensive threats and one great defensive center. They won a cup with this strategy…stick with a plan that proved successfull.

  16. Jack says:

    In my opinion, the ideal situation would be to have Staal play wing for Crosby. But…

    I know the Malkin line was fantastic last month, but they have been slumping as of late. Also, though Kunitz is contributing on that line, I don’t think he is the catalyst for their success.

    Sid got more out of Kunitz and Dupuis than anyone else can. The slumping Malkin line could use a shake-up; keep Malkin and Neal together, maybe swap a revamped Sullivan for Kunitz, and reunite 87 with Dupuis and Kunitz. Lines would be:


  17. Jack says:

    Also, this idea of limiting Sid’s minutes is a bit crazy. I understand everyone’s trepidation considering his injury risk, but you ACTUALLY think that Coach B is going to limit 87’s minutes in the playoffs? Furthermore, do you think that any coach COULD limit Crosby’s minutes? That guys is a competitor. If he is healthy, there is no way he doesn’t play 20+, especially in the playoffs.

  18. Shawn says:

    Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
    Sullivan – Staal – Dupuis
    Cooke – Crosby – Kennedy
    Asham – Vitale – Adams

    I really like the balance of the Malkin and Staal lines right now. Crosby was a 100 point rookie with Andy Hilbert and Colby Armstrong, he’d be fine with 24 and 48. Plus, they can do the dirty work, keeping him out of the corners as often. And add some toughness if anyone takes liberties with Sid.

    I would not break up the top PP unit (when 58 is healthy). The only skill set that Crosby can replace on the current unit without altering it’s formula is Geno’s.

    Let Sid, Staal, Cooke or Kennedy with Martin and Niskanen be the second unit.

  19. butch says:

    Staal taking regular shifts at wing makes absolutely no sense to me….he is a beast in the center of the ice…plus his defensive game is predicated on it…he’s a pure center

    and Thiessen as the best goalie right now, are you kidding…..another blatantly delusional Fleury hater?? cmon

  20. Harry says:


  21. Harry says:

    Check that.


  22. Lady Di says:

    Give MAF four goals to work with and he’s money, I tell ya.

  23. tomas says:

    @ Lady Di He’s also got a ring which makes him money for the Pens. Fixed it for ya!!!

  24. Marc says:

    I vote for Staal-crosby-Dupuis and if Dupuis falls off slide in Sully.

    Also is there a way for Sully to teach Crosby how to run the point? If Crosby played the point like Sully that would mean great things for the next several years. That solves the top PP unit problem.

  25. Wayne says:

    What do you think Rob ?

  26. cosmo says:

    Theissen our best goalie?? why do people hate maf so much.

  27. Bruce says:

    Well I guess Shawn nailed but i was close with the shooter and physical guy on sid;s line. ( i think I win because I said to limit his minutes to 15 per game)

  28. Gregory says:

    Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
    Asham – Crosby – Dupius
    Cooke – Staal – Kennedy
    Sullivan – Vitale – Adams

    It’s not like 45 doesn’t have any skills – plus he’s a “deterrent”. Sullivan can add some spark to 4th line without giving up all of the “grinder” mentality.

  29. Shady Hoss says:

    I like the Flower, but he just can’t seem to get a shut out. He is good for giving up 1-2 per game. He would be the all impresive goalie, if he could put together a few shut outs…

  30. sjb says:

    I guess as long as they don’t touch the Malkin line anything goes because the Malkin line is the No. 1 line regardless of Crosby coming back or not. I’m just worried about the PP going to hell because the feeling that having Crosby and Malkin on the same unit is a positive. The PP was bad for the past 2 seasons with that thinking and this season, without Crosby, the PP was ranked no. 5…he can back and it dropped to 15 and when he was out again it went back up to 5 and is now hovering around 7 I believe. They need two PP units with Malkin and Crosby split up. They can’t have two half board hogs on the same unit. As good a coach as Bylsma is, sometimes he just doesn’t get it. Sometimes more isn’t better and this is a classic example of too many cooks ruining the soup.

  31. Patrick says:


    leave the Malkin line alone – don’t mess with the chemistry, or Geno’s head.
    leave the Staal line alone – they have been better than the Malkin line as of late.
    Drop Crosby between a sniper in need of better passes, and someone w grit to provide some protection. Cooke also has produced in the past with 71 and/or 87 at center. (my original thought had Cooke and Ashom riding shot-gun with 87 [with 5 on the back side] particularly considering 45’s recent shooting trends – would McSorly-him X3)
    turns the 4th line abbrassiveness up to an even higher notch.

    for PP, keep them separate. tend to be too much of a passing display with them together. this also makes sure 58 and 71 don’t stay out the entire 2 minutes, get exhausted, and leave them vulnerable for shorties. also means you can separate letang and sully to have 2 PP QBs and spread out your PP time to additional players (both D and F)
    also, with the improved face-off abilities of 87 and 71, it lets you consider playing them each a couple minutes a game short-handed (for o-zone face offs, for example)

  32. Marm says:

    Crosby est un joueur talentueux et vous voulez le voir sur la 2e unité de PP. Je suis très désappointé des commentaires que je lis.

    Crosby mérite d’être sur la 1ère unité de PP.

    Avez-vous oublié qu’il était THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD

    Il ne mérite pas non plus d’être un 3e centre

    Vous plaisantez

    (Crosby is a talented player and you want to see on the 2nd PP unit. I am very disappointed that I read the comments.

    Crosby deserves to be on the first PP unit.

    Have you forgotten that it was THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD

    It deserves not to be a third center

    Are you kidding)

  33. Dejan Shortpants says:

    If we score five goals every game, I like our chances with MAF between the pipes.

  34. Bruce says:

    After the rangers game, I am already worried that Coach B will screw this up by overcoaching. His cannot constantly shuffle lines at this late date in the season. Everyone knows that guys need to know their role and not have to think too much to be effective. I mean look at neal this season as opposed to last, he justs shoots and trust his instincts. If coach b keeps shuffling all of his lines, guys come playoff time will spend more time thinking snd less time reacting and this will cause the hesitation that is a cancer to a hockey team.

    Dan, set your lines now and trust the force, i beg you!

  35. Van Man says:

    it’s time give Thiessen more starts.

  36. Bruce says:

    Well coach b did it again. He is overcoaching. The PP is a shorthanded breakaway goal machine and he is effectively pigeon-holing Staal. And moreover i would have started the back-up in Philly, with a 3 point lead and a game in hand, even if you lose you give your team some breathing room. It’s about strategy Dan, not putting your foot to the gas for 60 minutes!

  37. Joe says:

    I cannot believe i actually see comments on here calling Thiessen the best goalie for the Pens. If i were in charge i would ban you from watching hockey for at least 15 games. Flower is having an unbelievable season and is without doubt a top 5 goalie in the league. Please stop the madness!!!!

  38. Barb says:

    Malkin is not, cannot, and never will be No.1, as bad as he wants to be! All the talk about the top line and its chemistry is hogwash. Malkin has a good shot, but the chemistry is with him and Crosby, but since he is so egotistical and has to have “MALKIN’S” line, so he’s important, they can’t play together. This is what all the teams do – put their two top players together. Sidney then should be on the top line (which I’m sure he will be soon), and be given the player that was brought in to play with him. Does anyone really think that Neal & Crosby, along with his original wing (Kunitz), wouldn’t put up the points? Give me a break! It wasn’t Malkin that made Kunitz the player he is, it was Sid. But since Malkin will pout and not play well if he doesn’t get his own way, it puts Bylsma & Sid in a hard spot. They need everyone playing their best (and Malkin knows it). Plus that’s just the way Sid and Dan are – unselfish and caring. I really wish Malkin would just go back to Russia and stay there, and take Kennedy with him (as they both are totally selfish players) and don’t belong in Pittsburgh!

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