Daniel Lacroix is masterful coach.
Lacroix has taken the Moncton Wildcats to entirely new levels since taking over behind the bench in late December.
The Cats winning streak couldn’t last forever, but if you were to really study and dissect it during that stretch Lacroix kept the players fresh and in many ways kept them on their toes by changing up the lines.
Now I’ve gone on record countless times saying it’s no ones place to criticize line combinations due in large part to the coaches discretion.
As an analyst I feel it’s not my place to criticize the coaches decision on the framework and design of his line up.
That’s all on him.
Criticize effort, structure and systems but don’t you dare criticize line combinations.
Firstly people have no clue what is happening behind the scenes, secondly we have no access to practices so we can’t comment on work ethic or practice tendencies of certain players.
Daniel Lacroix is entitled to his line combinations and that’s final.
Public outcry and criticism soared when star rookie Zachary L’Heureux found himself on the fourth line.
Oh what happened next?
Franchise record winning streak.
One has to look beyond the numbers, look beyond all the wins and there have been a lot of them to fully appreciate the job Lacroix has done.
Since his arrival he’s solidified the Cats defensive structure, incorporated a forechecking scheme that works consistently and has improved their speciality teams.
One area that I have been very vocal on is their power play structure.
I think you will see the return of Jeremy McKenna to his office on the left face off dot come playoff time.
You see Daniel Lacroix has been experimenting with every aspect of his hockey club.
The last three months have been a trial run for the playoffs.
His line combinations have been experimental.
His PP and PK units experimental.
His team systems experimental.
Yes Daniel Lacroix has employed the “rope a dope” hockey strategy and trust me it may have looked strange while it was being executed, but it will pay dividends when it matters most.
I’ll let you in on a little secret.
If you aren’t happy about the current line combinations, they will change.
If you aren’t happy with the PP structure and their zone entries with the man advantage that will change as well.
It’s all part of Lacroix’s rope a dope.”
Never fear the Wildcats line combinations will reappear.
#24 will be back playing with #91 and #17 soon.
#9 and #26 will be interchanging on a line with #10 and #92.
#11, #31 and #12 will never be broken up and haven’t been.
#9 will play center on the Cats energy line sometimes with #18 and #16, #19 and or #15 all platooning in.
On the backend once healthy the pairings will probably look like
You see the Wildcats coaching staff will reunite those lines for the final game of the regular season and or the first game of the playoffs.
You want all of your lines hungry come the post season you don’t want things to be too stagnant.
You want to have your players excited to play with each other again so everything feels like new, new but not foreign.
The chemistry between those lines once reunited will be spectacular to watch.
“Reunited and it feels so good.”
Never fear the Wildcats lines will reappear.