You’ll never find a better explanation of how not dead-set in his ways head coach Claude Julien is — and in fact does make changes when necessary — than what general manager Peter Chiarelli said today during a pre-Stanley Cup Final press conference at the TD Garden today.
“Well as much as you see the changes that he does on the ice, there is stuff that goes on too behind [the scenes] as far as changing the way a player plays on that specific line and that can be subtle. But I know for a fact that can happen and I’ve seen it before my own eyes this past series.
“As far as making changes on the ice, he’s, we talked about [Rich] Peverley and [Chris] Kelly, how many times did you see those guys get put onto a line when you needed a faceoff? You put a good defensive situation, something that we’ve all seen, but it was a conscious effort on the part of the coaching staff and the management group, was to get [Zdeno] Chara and [Dennis] Seidenberg those heavier minutes, to really put them in to a strong shutdown role. Prior to, I think we made the change after Game 2[vs. Montreal]. … And really, they’ve blossomed and allowed the other D to settle more comfortably into their roles. So, that’s from the defensive perspective.
“From the forward prospective, you’ve seen Rex [Mark Recchi] get spelled a little bit and then he came back really strong, almost scored the go-ahead goal, he had a couple of shots there and I thought he was skating well. You see Peverley and those guys switch a little bit, and you see [Tyler] Seguin get dropped into certain situations. And he’s another one, I know has been a hot-button topic. I thought he played really well last night. And he had obviously the great game [Game 2 vs. Tampa Bay]. But he had the great game, and then I thought it dipped a little bit, but the last two games I thought his play has come around again.
“So he’s moved up the line-up. You see Greg Campbell get up the line-up. So I commend Claude [Julien] and his staff for doing that. It’s a double-edged sword when you hear all the water cooler talk about this and that line combination, we should do this and that. Well often times, the momentum, the capital that you’ve accumulated on a certain line, you can throw it all away by making a certain change too. And I understand that you don’t always have to stick with the same lines and you should. But it’s a fine line and I thought Claude did a good job.”
As far as playing different on different lines, Chiarelli is obviously talking about the more offensive role Brad Marchand took over the course of the season and the different roles Peverley and Kelly have had to play depending on their line assignment. There are others too, I’m sure.