WWYDW: Sedin Ducks?

It’s here. Game Day folks. What Would You Do Wednesday Returns and we’re talking about what to do with the Sedins.

Most enlightened Flames fans can appreciate what the Sedins have been able to accomplish over the course of their career. They are truly special players. However, I can safely say that I hate them. I hate their precision passing, their ease with the puck, but most of all, their penchant for dismantling the Flames.

So it goes without saying that if we are still going to be talking about lineup possibilities in 10 days time, the Flames are going to need to find a way of mitigating the Sedin factor. Let’s talk about how after the jump!

In a story from Monday’s Calgary Herald, it was noted that the Sedin’s have performed at an exceptionally high level against the Flames throughout their careers, posting a combined 152 points in 161 games. So what can the Flames do to slow their attack? Which combination of forwards and defenders can neutralize them?

The Flames currently do not have set lines for their bottom nine group of forwards, with open questions as to who will be in for tonight’s game. Additionally, it goes without saying that Vancouver has last change for games one and two therefore line matching will be difficult for the Flames tonight and Friday. With that in mind, let’s have a look at how Flames forwards were used this season and try to imagine a line that may be tasked with stopping the wonder twins:

player usage

thanks to hockey abstract for this chart

As you can see, among the forward corps, the Flames relied heavily on Lance Bouma, Matt Stajan, Mikael Backlund, and David Jones to soak up defensive zone minutes this season. It also seems as though Drew Short, whom I believe to have been a very effective player in his limited time this season, is also being groomed for this same type role. Monahan is out of the question as his coolest/best line will be relied upon for scoring. All of it.

Brodano obviously was the most heavily used defensive pairing back in those halcyon days but alas, we are stuck with Brengelland. Which is not as good. 

Each of these forwards may have been given shutdown-type roles this season but some were more effective than others. For example, Paul Byron was rather good (in Flames terms) at limiting shots against during his time on the ice this season (second lowest among forwards with 26.6/60min) while starting majority of his shifts in the defensive zone. Byron has been hurt recently but is skating again and could potentially be a useful piece for the Flames in the playoffs if they decide to play him. 

Lance Bouma was not as effective in his shutdown role but scored a lot and got hit by a lot of pucks this year so let’s just agree to let him have a pass. On a somewhat unrelated note: for no good reason, I whipped together a video wishing Lance a speedy recovery, highlighting some highlights from this season. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

I will accept my FN Oscar any time now. In lieu of fan mail to me, please call into Overtime with Pat Steinberg and complain about Jim Hughson being chosen to call this series.

However, the Canucks may have some problems of their own when it comes to defending, Our ‘friends’ at Canucks Army posted a really interesting piece about the Canucks team defense woes and it is certainly worth a read. Also, @Thats_Offside (Rhys Jessop) tweeted out some interesting details as well regarding the defence of both teams:

So, while the Flames may struggle to match the Sedins, the Canucks may struggle just as mightily with Hudreanahan. Either way, that encourages me that it could be a fun series to watch from an offence standpoint. 

So let’s get to it. What forward groupings would you assemble to try to stop the Sedinery? Let’s assume that Byron is healthy enough to play (which is by no means a sure thing). Let’s use these lines as a reference point for the combinations:

I would think that Byron-Backlund-Jooris would be a good combination to try out against them at some point. All three players can skate well, pass well, and are adept at entering the opposition’s end and controlling the puck if need be. The best way to stop the Sedin’s is to never let them have the puck, though, that is easier said than done. What do you all think? 

  • scoopz

    I actually like that third line against them. They should be able put pressure on them and take away a little bit of time and space. Ferland will battle and Stajan and Jones are both vets who understand how to effectively contain those guys.

  • RedMan

    Byron – Backlund – Jones

    Let others score. Backlund’s for shutting down! Maybe Stajan instead, but you have to think that Jones gets in on the shutdown minutes either way.

  • mattyc

    I think they start Stajan/Jones/Ferland against them. Hartley matched this line hard against Kopitar/Gaborik last week and it worked reasonably well. I’d expect Backlund to see some shifts against them too, but no with Bennett on his wing (maybe watch for Jooris to take a few shifts there?).

  • beloch

    I have a funny feeling Desjardins is going to try to go power-on-power and play the Sedins against the Monahan line. The Sedins probably won’t score much if he does that, but neither will the Flames’ top line. At least, not until the third or OT when the Sedins are gassed. Desjardins may simply hope that the Vrbata line and his bottom six can make the difference.

    Hartley will likely want to get a possession guy like Backlund out against the Sedins, but he’ll likely combine him with a guy like Bouma (if he’s healthy) whose job it will be to wear the Sedin’s down physically. This strategy might pay off by game 7 but, if the Sedin’s get that match-up they may take advantage of the bruisers to generate a lot of offence.

  • beloch

    If it were up to me, I’d roll the following forward lines for game 1:

    Johnny-Mony-Hudler
    Bennett-Backs-Byron
    Shore-Staj-Jones
    Ferly-Grans-Jooris

    Shore has been super solid defensively imo. Slot him onto a line with Stajan and Jones and try to match them against the sedins as much as possible. Effectively our shutdown line. Granlund and jooris have shown great chemistry lately and Ferland has been one of our best forwards the past couple games, so pair those three together on the bottom line and give them the high ground as much as possible. Keep the first line the same (obviously) and then put Byron on that second line to push possession with backlund and then let Bennett go to work in the offensive zone.

    All speculative because I bet hartley scratches Byron and shore and plays Colborne and Bollig instead, but this is the lineup id ice.

  • Nick24

    With the inclusion of Bennett on that 2nd line I’d suspect Hartley is looking for them to be a more threatening scoring line than usual. I’d hope that Ferland-Stajan-Jones get the shut down minutes. If thats not working, then fine, give Backlund the job.