If you’ve even lightly followed hockey over the years, you’re probably aware that coaches shuffle their lines quite often.
Still, from the sound of things, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and others believe that Mike Babcock will stick with the Team Canada line combination of Sidney Crosby and two Boston Bruins (Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand).
Considering the star power available to Babcock, that might not seem like the sexiest combination, but sometimes it’s as much about chemistry, communication and cohesive styles.
Apparently this trio was something Babcock’s had in mind for months, and it’s no surprise to see the pairing of Crosby and Bergeron.
The two have been linked since as far back as 2005, and it seems symbolically fitting that a Hockey News story about Bergeron being more or less lucky to be there is a dead link. Bergeron is a nice scorer who also ranks as perhaps the absolute best two-way forward in the NHL.
Marchand, then, is the interesting addition, even considering his familiarity with Bergeron. His inclusion raises eyebrows even with those 37 goals from 2015-16.
“He earned his way on this team with the way he played last season,” Bergeron said, according to TSN. “He took a big step forward. He’s improved year to year, but last season he became truly an elite player in my mind.”
Bergeron and Babcock aren’t the only ones who can see why the talented-yet-pesky winger would be a good fit for such great linemates. Jonathan Toews played up Marchand’s all-around credentials, too, as NHL.com reports.
“He’s out there getting under guys’ skin, but he can make plays,” Toews said. “I played with him at the World Juniors a long time ago and I always knew he had the skill, the offense, but I didn’t know how smart he was, just positionally as well. I can see why he and [Bergeron] play so well together.”
Hey, let’s not kid ourselves either; sticking with Bergeron and Crosby at such a high level wouldn’t hurt Marchand in contract negotiations.