What Makes a Great Line?

What Makes a Great Line?

Grit, finesse, speed, scoring touch, compete level, smarts, trust and chemistry.

All the components of a great line, but it’s never that easy.

So the obvious question remains what makes up a great line?

Well just ask Daniel Lacroix and the Moncton Wildcats coaching Staff and brain trust.

It would appear they know the answer to that question.

A New Voice, Again?

As expected things didn’t get off to a smoothest of starts when Lacroix arrived and former Asst. Coach Josh Hepditch returned behind the bench in late December.

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

The Wildcats were a team in transition on a number of fronts. Clearly that has all changed as of late.

Of course the Cats have had their share of ups and downs, in the search for chemistry and building championship caliber trust amongst the group, but one thing is certain, the Cats have hit the jackpot with their line combinations, especially the line of Philippe Daoust, Elliot Desnoyers and Jacob Hudson.

It’s really strange to think the Cats are on their 3rd Head Coach in a year, but there’s no question Lacroix and his staff are pushing all the right buttons when it comes to line combinations recently.

It would also appear that they fixed their power play woes as well.

Nevertheless, what makes Hudson, Dauost and Desnoyers so unique and effective?

By Design or By Necessity?

When coaches are searching for chemistry there’s always a willingness to try anything, and throw combinations into a blender.

Daniel Lacroix had all the right ingredients when he put 92, 9 and 10 together.

Was it by design or necessity?

To be brutally honest all three of those player weren’t particularly lighting the world on fire at the time.

Elliot Desnoyers was just returning from injury and had seen his ice time and role in the top six disappear. Jacob Hudson had gotten off to the a slow start under John Torchetti this season and seemed to be lacking something to his game while Philippe Daoust was simply trying to find his way in the league.

The unlikely trio found chemistry almost instantly.

It’s clear things happen for a reason, but it’s good karma because you won’t see three others work as effectively and efficiently as this group.

Versatility, hockey sense, chemistry, speed and a relentless desire to cause havoc, get to the net and never give up a on a puck battle in all three zones, that’s what makes that threesome so lethal.

The Cats 3rd line is without a doubt the league’s best as a of right now, and are potentially the best kept secret across the entire circuit.

They aren’t going to over power opponents, they aren’t going to dazzle with skill or flashiness, the Cats 3rd line is just going to play the game the right way and support each other every time they step on the ice.

In all honesty it’s been a honour to watch that line play ever since their inception.

Key Situations Build Trust

From a coaching perspective, when you trust your 3rd line to be out at the end of every period you know you have a very deep club, and trust in your players.

Hudson, Desnoyers and Dauost are all honest players, they aren’t going to cheat offensively, they aren’t going to take risks, and it’s their second effort and commitment to doing all the little things right that also have them playing big minutes in those critical times.

There’s no question Desnoyers has been squeezing the stick and fighting his game this season one would think in large part to this being his NHL Draft year.

Seeing himself moved down in the lineup has lit a fire, but in all likelihood it’s taken away some of the pressure that comes with what some players call the most stressful year of their lives. Desnoyers wasn’t out of his element in the Cats top six last year, and on any other team in the Q would be playing there this year. I truly believe he’s found his niche with Hudson and Dauost.

All three compliment each other so well.

Philippe Daoust’s journey in the game is truly inspiring.

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

From the moment I watched that kid play in the first day of Training Camp I knew the Cats had hit the jackpot.

The mature well spoken quiet but confident free agent forward just need a little time to adjust to the league and style of play. By all accounts even the Wildcats brain trust couldn’t have predicted such a quick transition.

Dauost has been nothing short of spectacular in the last month for the Cats.

The Glue

In any great line you need the glue guy, that guy that has an engine that won’t quit. The guy that would do whatever it takes to win.

The guy that wears his heart on his sleeve. The guy that doesn’t crave the limelight that just wants to make everyone around him better.

Every line needs a Jacob Hudson. Every team needs a Jacob Hudson.

Night in night out, you are going to get the best Jacob Hudson has. As previously mentioned Hudson got off to a slow start this season from a stats perspective, but you see Hudson always delivered in other areas and continued to be Mr. Versatility for the Cats.

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

You see that’s the true sign of character and a team first guy, even when things aren’t going your way individually, you are always there for your teammates.

That’s Jacob Hudson and that’s why he’s not only the glue for that line, but for the entire team.

What makes a great line?

All you have to do is watch the Wildcats 3rd go over the boards and you will get your answer!


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