Friday, January 22, 2010

Badgers Edit Lines For Marquee Matchup

I wasn't sure if 60 was going to do a Friday preview so I figured I'd at least give an update on the lineup for tonight's premier match up between the number one ranked team in the nation, the Denver Pioneers, and the third ranked team in the nation, your Wisconsin Badgers.

Coach Eaves has changed up the forward lines and for the most part, I like what he has done. Starting with the top line, I think this is clearly a move to negate Denver's top line. The Pioneers throw out one of, if not the best lines in the conference with Tyler Ruegsegger centering Hobey Baker candidate Rhett Rahkshani and former first round draft pick Joe Colborne. Eaves is countering with senior Blake Geoffrion at the pivot between senior Ben Street and freshman Craig Smith. This is going to be a line for the Badgers that has an opportunity to put up points but also be strong defensively. With a good faceoff man in Geoffrion, and three players that are strong both ways, I like what we've done here.

Our new second line is actually just a version of an old line. Left winger Jordy Murray has been paired back with Center Derek Stepan and Michael Davies. I can guarantee you that this is one of the most dangerous second lines in the entire country. I don't think there are many second lines out there with two guys with point totals of 26 (Davies) and 27 (Stepan). Add in Murray who can do the little things and get the puck to those two, and you have a dynamic combination.

Our third and fourth lines are a combination of players who have played a lot of games in a Wisconsin uniform and that is crucial in important games down the stretch. Eaves has paired three seniors (Mitchell-Bendickson-Grotting) on our third line, and one senior and two juniors (Bohmbach-Dolan-Johnson) on our fourth line. I would have liked to see Derek Lee get in the mix somewhere, but in my opinion he needs to be on one of the top 2 lines in order to be successful. The biggest problem I have is Thurber being out of the lineup. I really like the way that kid plays and while I know he is a good centerman, he has the ability to play on the wing over Pat Johnson. Prove me wrong Patrick.

The defensive pairings stay the same. Scott Gudmandson starts in goal.

Here are the lines for tonight according to Baggot.

Wisconsin

Ben Street-Blake Geoffrion-Craig Smith
Jordy Murray-Derek Stepan-Michael Davies
John Mitchell-Aaron Bendickson-Ben Grotting
Andy Bohmbach-Sean Dolan-Patrick Johnson

Ryan McDonagh-Jake Gardiner
Brendan Smith-John Ramage
Cody Goloubef-Justin Schultz

Scott Gudmandson

Denver

Rhett Rahkshani-Tyler Ruegsegger-Joe Colborne
Anthony Maiani-Jesse Martin-Kyle Ostrow
Matt Glasser-Drew Shore-Chris Knowlton
Shawn Ostrow-Brian Gifford-Brandon Vossberg

Patrick Wiercioch-John Lee
Matt Donovan-Chris Nutini
Paul Phillips-Cody Brookwell

Marc Cheverie