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Coaches must consider domino effect when top players return to lineup
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Dave Barr
Nikita Kucherov
Evgeni Malkin
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Evan Rodrigues
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Welcome to, the official site of the National Hockey LeagueBienvenue à , le site officiel de la Ligue nationale de hockeyДобро пожаловать на, официальный сайт Национальной хоккейной лигиTervetuloa NHL:n viralliselle nettisivustolle NHL.comiinVälkommen till, NHL:s officiella web-sidaVítejte na, oficiálních stránkách National Hockey LeagueVitajte na, oficiálnych stránkach National Hockey LeagueWillkommen auf, der offiziellen Seite der National Hockey LeagueBienvenido a, el sitio oficial de la National Hockey LeagueThe Coaches Room is a regular feature throughout the 2021-22 NHL season by former NHL coaches and assistants who will turn their critical gaze to the game and explain it through the lens of a teacher.In this edition, Dave Barr, former assistant with the Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks, goes over the coaching decisions related to bringing top players back into the lineup.There is always a lot for coaches to consider when they have to work a top player into the lineup.The Tampa Bay Lightning did it last week with right wing Nikita Kucherov. He scored 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) without Kucherov and five points (one goal, four assists) on the power play, which went 19.0 percent, 17th in the NHL during that span.No one can replace Kucherov on the power play, where he has to be one of the top two or three players in the NHL. Now that Palat had to go to the second unit, the Lightning's power play is that much deeper.Forwards Mathieu Joseph and Ross Colton got extra 5-on-5 minutes in Kucherov's absence and proved they could handle the additional load. It would, or should, instantly become one of the top lines in the NHL.But if Eichel plays on that line, Chandler Stephenson, who is having a career season, will take on a different role, likely in a bottom-six spot because the second line of William Karlsson, Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault has chemistry that shouldn't be messed with.The Golden Knights shouldn't be concerned about Stephenson. He could play right wing on Malkin's line with Jason Zucker at left wing and the Penguins should feel great about it because he has stepped up, earned the extra minutes, provided extra offense and proven he can play with top players.His versatility also gives coach Mike Sullivan the option to put Rodrigues at center on the third line if he wanted to utilize Jeff Carter as the right wing on Malkin's line, assuming the top line remains Sidney Crosby with Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust.Sullivan and his coaching staff have learned enough about Rodrigues now to know they have a lot of options with him like the Golden Knights do with Stephenson.

As said here by Dave Barr