Ted Nolan has tried just about everything to get the offense going this season. He played d-man Aaron Jonhson at wing on the 4th line, mixed in Shawn Bates for the 2 games he was healthy, bounced Bergenheim around from the 4th line to the 2nd line, inserted Jackman, Bootland, Jackman, Tambellini and Comeau through call ups from Bridgeport and has now placed forward Richard Park on the first line with Guerin and Comrie.

Per Greg Logan’s latest blog entry, Nolan says this about Park:

“Richard has been probably our best forward all season long,” Nolan said at the pre-game skate. “Hopefully, he’ll provide a spark. He’s very good on his forechecking, very good defensively, and he’s smart. Maybe just a little tweak there will get those two guys going.”

If you know Richard Park, you know he is a work horse – he has no fear and will go hard into the corner and take the body to support the puck, something not many of our players are willing to do. He also has a nose for the net – much like another quick skater we had……named Jason Blake.

What are the other lines you ask? Greg goes on to talk about Nolan moving Fedotenko down to Hunter and Sillinger’s line because Tank has the size needed for the checking line, yet he can add more offensively than Hilbert. The Satan, Vasicek, Bergenheim remains intact while the new fourth line is now made up of Hilbert at the center of Bootland and Comeau.

Another interesting quote from Greg’s blog:

Nolan said his moves, which include keeping defenseman Freddy Meyer in the lineup and scratching Bryan Berard and Marc-Andre Bergeron, should send a clear message to the team about the need to start producing. “We had a meeting to address that fact,” Nolan said. “The players have to play at a certain level. If you’re not playing at that level, other people will move in. We move into a merit system. That’s life in general. If you produce, you get rewarded. If you don’t, someone else gets an opportunity. That’s the way I’ve coached my entire life, and that’s the way it’s going to be from here on in.”

It appears that Ted Nolan has almost lost whatever little patience he had remaining. He wants to hold players accountable for their poor play, which is how it should have been from day one. It has always been my opinion that a player shouldn’t be too comfortable, it’s one thing to be known as a players coach like Nolan has been – it is another when you tend to be too loyal to your players. I think Nolan is beginning to find an edge to his coaching style that wasn’t ever there before – tough love. In my opinion it is the perfect mixture and a quality that many of the most successful coaches in the game have had.

Hopefully the team will come out tonight and win 2 points for their coach and more importantly – their psyche.

Michael Schuerlein

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