The Death of the Fourth Line ?

The Day and Time have come when Hockey Minds should start to think outside the box….

There were alot of improvements last year in the game…

Although I think we can all agree that we lost some aspects that should be returned…

With sour notes such as the minimal amount HEAVY CHECKING… and the lack of WARS in front of the net battling for position between the forward and the defender… and of course the nonexistance of FIGHTING….

In this day of watered down talent… 30 Teams with Four Lines isn’t it time the GM’s rethink the use of the Fourth Line Players…?

I would rather see the Fourth Set of Players turn into a Specialty set of players…. instead of a Line that would get a regular shift..

This could include a defenceman for the powerplay who is enept in his defensive duties but has a great offensive upside… or a forward for the same offensive punch…

Also a strict penalty killer with no offensive flare what-so-ever…

A Fighter for protection purposes….

and or a skilled rookie who lacks the two way game to play the full game so that you can interchange as the game goes along to gain experience and groom him to be that offensive talent…

Especially with the heavy way special teams are required in the modern era… I think the 4th line is a waste… and the game is already disjointed without trying to reorganize all your lines…

That Fourth Line only takes away playing time from the talented players… and further degrades the talent pool…

I believe that a switch to the NFL football specialty teams mentality could payoff big with the fourth set of players…

Personally I hate Jason Allison as a player (too slow and offensive minded with no care for his defensive responsibilities), but he could hold up the puck and coming off the bench to help your powerplay would make sense…

or even a Suglobov type of player for that matter…

How about a discounted aging veteran such as a Brian Leetch stepping off the bench to quaterback your power play…

or a Shayne Corson or Carboneau in their day sliding in to kill your penalties…

A Tough Guy such as Bob Probert to step in and dole out some punishment… for abusers of your star player would make sense…

I believe it is time to step outside the box…. and improve the game with skill and toughness and get rid of a fourth line that just helps to deteriate the level of play in this great game…

I think it is Time for the NHL to introduce a new PARADIGM to our game.

So what I ask you is…. Should the Fourth Line Die as we know it or should it be pardoned from extinction..?


14 Responses to The Death of the Fourth Line ?

  1. rollinfatty says:

    Not a bad concept but I can’t really see it happening. I’ve thought about this as teams used to play with only 2 lines but they played about 50 games so they would get less worn out as the season went on. I can definately picture people hiring shootout and powerplay specialists but teams usually have a few of these with a full roster.

  2. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    say what you want, but carolina, buffalo, and ottawa all had great 4thlines.

    Maurice will play his first line a lot, and dish out the other 3 lines evenly. assuming uys like Suglobov, Pohl, and Westrum can still score during the season

  3. orlandomac says:

    Nice point about the shootout specialist…

  4. orlandomac says:

    I get your point but I wouldn’t have said Great…

    but you have another 27 teams… of not so great aging veterans…

  5. mojo19 says:

    very interesting article.

    i’m not sure if you mentioned it, but add shootout specialist to the list too.

  6. mojo19 says:

    never mind. I see someone made the same comment above.

  7. wingedim says:

    Interesting concept. It would definately, save the wear and tear on some of the guys if you have specialists, however, trying to adjust salaries to those ‘types’ of players could be an issue.

    Do you really want to be paying a ‘Brian Leetch’ type specialist $2M per season if he’s only going to be playing 5+ mins a game? I realize that dependant on the specialist would determine the number of minutes played, but, I think you see where I was going with that.

    It would be interesting to see some thing like that adopted or trialed to see how thingg would work though.

  8. orlandomac says:

    It’s a concept that makes sense as long as the penalty minutes stay high…

    as for salaries that would depend on the excellence of the player…

    My wish is for a high tempo, hard hitting game, with end to end rushs….

    I think for too long many old hockey minds diminished the game into an ultimate snooze fest…

    I am a huge Leaf fan but those 2-1 neutral zone trap games with New Jersey even bored me….

    I am glad some fresh approaches are being tried, and love to brainstorm with others on ways to improve the great game of hockey…

  9. wingedim says:

    Excellence of the player will help justify the salary, I’m just saying from a financial standpoint, paying a guy millions of dollars for 5+ minutes a game because he’s a specialist doesn’t make sense.

    I like the idea though, it’s an interesting concept.

  10. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    what does every team that rolls three lines have in common. Fatigue. the 4th line will only get more ice time as the new nhl goes on. aging vets on the 4th line was something teams will learn to avoid. soon enough those spots will be filled with speedy guys straight out of college

  11. rollinfatty says:

    Is your concept that it would benefit a team to have only three lines or that the league should change the rules to hire shootout specialists and such?

    If you say it would benefit a team to have three lines when others have four than I would disagree. I think your three lines would get too tired but who knows. I just think that with a full roster you get most of those players. I think it would be alright to hire a guy like Allison for your powerplay but I think you will find better players on your roster.

  12. orlandomac says:

    I hope so too I enjoy new blood in the game…

  13. GoalJudge says:

    Very Astute!

    It’s good to see a different article come out of left field like this.

    I think that this is not a very likely possibility as the 4th line is now known as the energy line, and its speedier players are helping the game appear faster.

    However, a less deep team that is rebuilding or does not have the depth of some clubs could do well by this plan I think. It is just a matter of conditioning and whether or not they can last the season on three lines.

  14. orlandomac says:

    “Although the Flyers could open the season with eight defensemen, they will likely lose one more, which puts Randy Jones on the bubble. Lars Jonsson, the 24-year-old free agent from Sweden, made the cut and is assured of making the roster, probably as a power-play specialist, where he’s seen the most time.”

    — Philadelphia Inquirer

    Maybe the Wiley Clarke will attempt to a similar system as the one I mentioned above… will see if it starts to become a norm…

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