26.07.2010: In which we perform inception on Clouston’s lineup choices

Alternate title: Deus-ex Cloustina

From James to Conrad, Peter

So you may have seen this projected on the screen of a passing dirigible in the last 24 hours but the Ottawa Senators have signed forward Nicholas Hyacinth Boutros-Boutros Aloysius Foligno to a two year hockey playing contract (that’s what lawyers call them). So answer me these questions 4 (or more..or less…just answer the questions…m’kay?)

  1. How do we feel about Li’l Nicky as a player overall?
  2. Is this porridge to hot too cold or just right?
  3. Do you think this dictates that Peter Regin could command more, less or equal amounts of porridge?
  4. Does we have room to sign Regin right now or does a move have to be made?

Pour Moi?

I feel really good about Foligno. I find there is this weird out of date complaint that lingers about Ottawa’s lineup needing more grinding net crashers…I think with Michalek, Fisher and Neil,  Foligno only bolsters this element of the teams game…with young legs to boot! He’s only 22 years old! His development jumped significantly this past season and saw him earn a point in almost 50% of his games. Maybe im a softy on points but I feel if he could up that more this season and get a point in say 65-70% of his games I think that’s totally reasonable at 1.2M. A good prove yourself contract. Also, people call it an injury riddled season for him in 09-10 but I think breaking your leg blocking a shot is more of a street cred season. Foligno is a player I don’t find myself getting mad at very much and I like that.

In terms of Regin, you can see Foligno had very comparable points to Regin in 14 fewer games. Raygun also got a good amount of time on the first line with some local wizards. We all know Regin had an amazing six games of glory in the playoffs which for me evens things out a little bit twix his and Foligno’s stats. You gotta give it up to how he stepped up under pressure. I could see Regin getting 900 to 1M not making smoke come out of my ears at all. I think both of these guys are worth developing as our own in a cap world. Regin is one of those diamond in the rough late-ish picks that you have to feel a bit lucky Ottawa scored and …I don’t know…I feel Foligno is just one of those hard nose, weirdly creative, score a goal falling on his ass while people pile on him guys that I can totally picture getting better each year. If we’re not going to be all about the first line anymore we need players like these guys

Stats via Master of Disguise star Pierre McGuire:

Nicky Funlingo

Year to date 61 9 17 26 6 2 4 0 0 2 53 83 10.84
Playoffs 6 0 1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 0 2 11 .00

Peter Regin and Kathy Lee

Year to date 75 13 16 29 10 1 4 0 0 1 20 135 9.63
Playoffs 6 3 1 4 -1 0 1 0 0 0 6 11 27.27

From Peter to Conrad, James

Ah yes, the 2006 draft. Outside the top five picks, one of the weakest drafts I can remember. Using hindsight, I think the only two other guys drafted behind Foligno I’d rather have are Milan Lucic and Steve Mason. All this to say, the jury is still out on Foligno. Yes I think he gets better but also I think there’s a ceiling and it’s partly not his fault. Sticking a guy on a third line and asking him to bang around and score goals with his face doesn’t do much for one’s development. If you want him to play on the second line he can’t be the best player on that line. Put him with Chris Neil and it turns into a scenario of doing just enough to dodge Clouston’s lazer beam glare. I’m all for him playing a second line role with Kovalev and Fisher. To me I see Fisher, Kelly and Foligno as essentially similar players. If my hunch about Foligno needing the right linemates to continue his improvement is plausible then what do we do with Regin? Third line with Kelly and Neil? Have we put him in the similar situation of stunting his development? Especially since he logged first line minutes last year. So yeah, I think a move is made, I feel like there’s too many similar players on this roster and we could use a little more speed than just Ryan “Hot Wheels” Shannon.

From James to Peter, Conrad

I respectfully disagree with this. Everyone talks about lines like Moses came down from the mountain with them. Who says Foligno is stuck on the bottom of the heap all the time? Did Regin start the year on the first line (Cheechoo did btw)? Now he’s just assumed to be on the first line. Weve got the line jugglinest coach around (see: too many men on the ice penalties) and I think effort and two way play goes a long way with him and I saw a couple of games last season where Foligno’s effort really stuck out on a line of who knows what spice? Im sure that if it continues on a consistent basis it likely wont be lost on Clouston. The ceiling is what Foligno makes it I think.
I expect to see more juggling this season and potentially the Sens making a move based on mid season performance. If all can fit under the cap that is. I have a secret love for the log jam…it can make players feel like its a contract season every season.

I just re-read your email and i am now not so certain we are saying different things actually.
But i will say this: I am a human man who needs to eat lunch. I own many leather bound books.

From Peter to James, Conrad

Even if we are in agreement you bring up a salient point on our line juggling coach. To wit:Your earlier mail contains very good points featuring strong logic. A few of the sens would be wise to treat this year as a contract year (For Kovalev, Phillips and Leclaire it is a contract year for realsies)To be honest, I wish Moses would come down off the mountain and slip his lineup card under Clouston’s door. As long as the rotation works I think there’s something to be said for stability and familiarity. I’m an unabashed “Never let em see you sweat” kind of guy. That is to say I’d like to see Clouston tinker early, find three or four lines he can run with and tell each opposing team “Here’s our lines, if you can’t stop us, it’s your problem.” Obviously its a huge IF, predicated on putting pucks in the net and playing responsible defence. But numerous adjustments and tinkering on the fly (aside from the odd double-shift when trailing late) tends to give the impression of desperation. Tinker with minutes allotted to each line if they’re going well or getting out played. Then again, there’s something to be said for being unpredictable and keeping your opponent on the edge. I guess I’m old school. Clouston is obviously a better qualified coach than I’ll ever dream of being. I suppose it boils down to analysis and how opponents scout the sens. For once though I’d like to see them make teams react to them instead of the otherway around.

That last paragraph was very well recieved during group therapy this morning.



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