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MITTS/SHEARY/VESEY/EROD

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29 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Don’t think it was strange at all considering it was in response to a post that stated Casey should be dropped from his centre ice role in favour of ERod.

Not sure if it’s chicken or egg with ERod: lacklustre play leading to benching, or benching leading to lacklustre play.

Am sure I think that ERod is better than he’s shown, that Casey has contributed more this year than ERod, that Casey is far more talented and important to the Sabres future than ERod, and that based on what I’ve seen on the ice so far, I am OK with what Ralph has done with his lineup choices.

Dont think benching any of the four in favour of the other three is a terrible decision, and I like the fact each has a somewhat tenuous hold on a lineup spot.

But Casey is the last of the four I’d sit.

I honestly missed that you had quoted two posts, which is why I was confused. Thanks for clearing it up! 

And me either, but considering that we saw it last year too, before Evan took the spot and never let it go around December, putting forth a completely solid season for any bottom six utility option in this league, and that Ralph has said he's taken everything perfectly well and is doing all the right things, I'm inclined to lean on track record and assume that will happen again given the opportunity. Combining the fact that he and Casey look good skating down the ice together, and Vesey's general meh-ness, I hope we don't break the line up so we can keep putting Vesey with Jack for 5 useless minutes at the end of every game when Sheary gets healthy.

The level of Casey's actual in-game hockey talent is an argument I'd be happy to have, because I believe it's significantly lower than what other fans do, but in another setting cuz it's tangential to this current discussion 😉 but yeah, he's certainly better at stickhandling than Evan at the very least, if that's what you mean. NHL productivity both raw and relative to ice time, on-ice effectiveness via plays that translate over long periods of time to team-level results, and impact on these team metrics, from goals to the most obscure advanced stats around? It's a clean sweep to this point in actual NHL games, on a team that is indeed trying to win now too as well as develop for the future, and not by Mitts. Though I'm certainly not saying I'd bench Mitts or anything. It's pretty clear which Sabres forward has brought the least through 7 games, and it's neither 71 nor 37. But my compulsion to defend Evan is because, while not a traditional "whipping boy," he's the only player I've seen wide swaths of fans (not so much here, definitely on hf and twitter) downright WISH to fail spectacularly, ie GLOAT rather than MOAN when isolated plays don't go his way. It's strange, considering guys who skate like their hair is on fire every shift are normally endearing to fans. So I happily come to his defense any time his name comes up. Of course, I'm not accusing you of this behavior, moreso justifying the amount of words I'm willing to give a depth forward. 

One thing is for sure - Rodrigues isn't important enough for the future of the team to draw wide amounts of concern in either direction, and most importantly will not settle into a role effectively if not getting used more than every few games, and 5 minutes per game that he gets into. This is the same reason that Girgensons and Larsson were able to go from being so lost for years, to putting forth the defensive efforts we've seen the last 12 months. So at this point, I'd rather see him get moved than continue to point out that he can be and has been a more effective NHLer  than what some guys in this lineup will likely have contributed once all 82 games are up. Because once attention has risen to this point, every puck jumping a stick becomes evidence a player sucks, and every shot on goal or completed pass becomes evidence they're good, and the quality of the hockey discussion around said player deteriorates. This is why I actively avoid trying to talk about my least favorite players in-game unless they do something good, because I'm so guilty of seeing a play die on Vlad's stick and going "SEE!" 

Which is why we're gonna trade Risto and Rodrigues and a 1st for Rakell  

Edited by Randall Flagg

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@Randall Flagg I have the opposite problem, in that I tend to see some value in every player and am willing to give too many opportunities for them to succeed. 

As far as the subject of the thread goes, I see a few factors here, not necessarily connected, but all relevant and probably going into the overall consideration.

***

Jason and Ralph and Randy Sexton have all stressed how much they value internal competition. If we are talking about a meritocracy based on what Ralph has asked for, and his players have delivered, it makes sense to me that this foursome is bearing the brunt of that. I’m sure things can and will change over the season as injuries open opportunities and reactions to the competition come into focus.

***

I’ve read how many coaches deliberately pinpoint a “whipping boy” who they lean on a little harder than the others. They do this partly as bonding tool for fostering a sense of team and also so the other guys look at hima as a bit of a measuring stick in terms of “I don’t want that to be me” and behave accordingly. Generally this player is not a core player, but has a) the respect of his teammates and b) the strength of character to absorb the adversity. ERod seems to fit. (And should probably grateful that he is enduring Ralph Krueger’s version this as opposed to Mike Keenan or Scotty Bowman).

***

I said Casey is far more talented than ERod, not that he is better. Over 82 games last season ERod was pretty clearly better, IMO. Over 7 games this year Casey has been better, by a smaller margin. Over 90 games, it’s Erod. But the difference in talent is considerable and across the board. Casey is bigger, faster, has a quicker burst, is stronger on his skates, is just as competitive and has a better shot. And his puckhandling abilities are sick. ERod is probably a better hockey player because he has spent the past seven years playing against men who are bigger and stronger and faster and he learned how to adjust, while Casey has spent his entire life save the past 100 games being able to toy with his opposition. But that advantage is failing fast with every NHL shift Casey gets.

***

I find it odd that half this board complained non-stop about Casey being thrown to wolves as a 2C last year yet few seem to be celebrating that Ralph has addressed that almost perfectly. Instead of being overwhelmed by Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman he is able to grow his game against Ben Chiarot and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, with NHL wingers who have scored 20 goals and just enough PP and OT time to pad his confidence. Phil Housley was wrong to put Casey into top six situations instead of ERod last year because it hurt both Casey and the team, short- and long-term. But in a sheltered regular season offensive centre role while Larry is tilting the ice in harder minutes as a defensive 3C and Marcus and Jack are holding their own as traditional 1C and 2C? Develop the young talent over a guy like ERod every time. The ultimate goal is the Stanley Cup, not a debatable boost to your fourth line.

***

Finally, I’ve long maintained the Sabres will be good when ERod becomes their 10th forward: the guy who kills penalties, can play centre or wing, starts on the fourth line, but has enough offensive pop and competitive effort to rotate into the top nine and make the “better” guys up there nervous.

So maybe all we’re seeing with ERod right now is an indication that we’re finally a good team.

 

Edited by dudacek
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15 minutes ago, dudacek said:

@Randall Flagg I have the opposite problem, in that I tend to see some value in every player and am willing to give too many opportunities for them to succeed. 

As far as the subject of the thread goes, I see a few factors here, not necessarily connected, but all relevant and probably going into the overall consideration.

***

Jason and Ralph and Randy Sexton have all stressed how much they value internal competition. If we are talking about a meritocracy based on what Ralph has asked for, and his players have delivered, it makes sense to me that this foursome is bearing the brunt of that. I’m sure things can and will change over the season as injuries open opportunities and reactions to the competition come into focus.

***

I’ve read how many coaches deliberately pinpoint a “whipping boy” who they lean on a little harder than the others. They do this partly as bonding tool for fostering a sense of team and also so the other guys look at as a bit of a measuring stick in terms of “I don’t want that to be me” and behave accordingly. Generally this player is not a core player, but has a) the respect of his teammates and b) the strength of character to absorb the adversity. ERod seems to fit. (And should probably grateful that he is enduring Ralph Krueger’s version this as opposed to Mike Keenan or Scotty Bowman).

***

I said Casey is far more talented than ERod, not that he is better. Over 82 games last season ERod was pretty clearly better, IMO. Over 7 games this year Casey has been better, by a smaller margin. Over 90 games, it’s Erod. But the difference in talent is considerable and across the board. Casey is bigger, faster, has a quicker burst, is stronger on his skates, is just as competitive and has a better shot. And his puckhandling abilities are sick. ERod is probably a better hockey player because he has spent the past seven years playing against men who are bigger and stronger and faster and he learned how to adjust, while Casey has spent his entire life save the past 100 games being able to toy with his opposition. But that advantage is failing fast with every NHL shift Casey gets.

***

I find it odd that half this board complained non-stop about Casey being thrown to wolves as a 2C last year yet few seem to be celebrated that Ralph has addressed that almost perfectly. Instead of being overwhelmed by Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman he is able to grow his game against Ben Chiarot and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, with NHL wingers who have scored 20 goals and just enough PP and OT time to pad his confidence. Phil Housley was wrong to put Casey into top six situations instead of ERod last year because it hurt both Casey and the team, short- and long-term. But in a sheltered regular season offensive centre role while Larry is tilting the ice in harder minutes as a defensive 3C and Marcus and Jack are holding their own as traditional 1C and 2C? Develop the young talent over a guy like ERod every time. The ultimate goal is the Stanley Cup, not a debatable boost to your fourth line.

***

Finally, I’ve long maintained the Sabres will be good when ERod becomes their 10th forward: the guy who kills penalties, can play centre or wing, starts on the fourth line, but has enough offensive pop and competitive effort to rotate into the top nine and make the “better” guys up there nervous.

So maybe all we’re seeing with ERod right now is an indication that we’re finally a good team.

 

I think we're pretty much in the same spot here, aside from Casey's 'sick hands' in any situation other than the shootout. They churn out soft-pass turnovers and muffin shots that roll to the goalie's pads far too often for me to call them anything but practice-hands just yet. I cannot recall an instance of his stickhandling look like anything that legit good NHL-stickhandlers can lay claim to, when not in the shootout. Maybe I just watch too much Tampa, Toronto, Philly, Kane, and McDavid in my down time. But if we're talking sick skills, there are a lot of players in there that set the bar exponentially higher than anything Casey has shown me, including players that could do it at 18, 19, even if overwhelmed in other areas of the game. 

But, he's growing as a HOCKEY player. So it doesn't bother me at all.

And I'm going to put something together on Casey and his line in general, which have gotten the fewest minutes in these last two games. Which is good for the reasons you state re Casey's usage versus under Phil - and the results of which will likely lead to a bump in responsibility and ice time soon. I'll b r b 

Edited by Randall Flagg

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Practice hands is very fair.

Again, I’m talking raw talent, not the ability to execute good plays with it at an nhl level.

Edited by dudacek

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I just got done re-watching the Stars and Ducks games. The first thing I'm going to point out is that the number of teams that play tougher, more physical hockey than these two over the years can be confined to one typical human hand. 

The second thing is that the identity of the Mittelstadt line has been made clear. Three of its four players are strong transition players. It's what they do. They amassed only about 13-14 minutes 5v5 together in these two games, but were able to consistently generate positive strong transition plays as shown (and this is missing the Rodrigues partial breakaway, sprung by Casey): 


Coupled with Eichel and Johansson, we have three lines capable of generating chances on the rush reliably, and defensemen that can get them the puck. It's pretty neat.

I know we want the goals to be there, but these guys are playing hockey that will make that happen sooner than later, especially if Sheary comes back. And they're playing seriously limited minutes, which exacerbates the lack of scoring. So many times even in these two games I re-watched, they did something good the second they got on the ice, to get an offensive zone faceoff, and Ralph (smartly) took them right off to give the Eichel line the faceoff in the offensive zone. So their lack of production is as much a usage thing as it is anything else. When you consider that Sheary and Rodrigues were both in the top 6 skaters in terms of ES production per minute played last season, I don't think that will be an issue for too long. It's only been 7 games for the team, and 4 for this line, in which the first 2 it was obvious that Rodrigues needed to get up to speed. But they're there now. I know we lost, but I don't really see a reason to jerk around any of them too much. So much of hockey is getting settled into your role, as I mentioned before with the Larsson and Girgensons example. This line has one and should be allowed to grow into it, with typical asterisks for internal competition and whatnot. 

The line was essentially sat for the last two periods last night, and jumbled up when allowed to play in the third briefly. I didn't understand the reason for it, as it led to alternating shifts between 9/90's lines a lot, and they were getting caved in playing on just a minute or two's rest. The reason I didn't understand it is that I didn't see anything egregious with these guys at all in re-watching the game, even though they're all kinda small and kinda weak for the games that Dallas and Anaheim bring. In fact, in both games, I didn't see anything alarming in the tape, and I watched and re-watched every single shift more than once. 

Which funnels into my ERod exasperation at this point, which has flared up in my GDT comments for tonight's game and last night's game. Guys, I legitimately have no idea what you're all talking about. He and his linemates were fine-to-good in each of these games. Rodrigues' "mistake" on the goal was less egregious than typical nhl DEFENSEMEN mistakes from the same position you'll see all season long. It was a split-second inability to tie up a guy from the LHD position for a RHD forward, and he was still draped on him anyway. And there were seven Sabres who made seven worse mistakes on the other goals against last night, from their actual, natural positions. It's hockey. It happens. I understand that Evan isn't great, and I don't argue that he is. But the sentiment that he has been awful these last two games? You have to show me, because I've seen them several times now, and his shifts probably 4 times each, and I simply didn't see it. It wasn't there. SHOW ME! Of course he was rusty in the first two, but in these most recent two I saw his typical strong transition game, smart positioning, and capable defensive stick that led to a full season of positive impacts on anything imaginable relative to teammates, which was also backed up by stuff you can see yourself on a shift-in-shift-out basis: 

I had time constraints in this video, so there are only a few clips, but the guy provides hours of smart, heady, nifty plays that ultimately add up to tilting the ice in the right direction and scoring a reasonable amount given the ice time handed to him (again, 5th among all skaters for them last year). His game literally hasn't changed this season, so I simply don't understand the gloating for giveaways, and the general "wow this guy is awful out there" I'm seeing all over the internet. Where is it? And we're only 4 games into the guy's season! I thought that, after 25 games absolutely burned some people, the tendency would be to be more cautious with declarative statements, and yet here we are after 7, and 4. Nuts! Show me the film! 

Anyway, steering this in the direction of the second video posted here...my entire summer's work was dedicated to watching off-puck players in the offensive zone and how they move to create space (or don't). It was clear that the Sabres had no idea what to do and where to go, and over long periods of time, this manifested in some of the worst offensive zone scoring chance metrics, and  therefore some of the lowest goal totals, in the NHL. 

We saw our team doing stuff like this:

or this:

(referring just to one shift at a time when linking these.) Watch the forwards off the puck in these clips. They're stagnant, and only move as a reaction to following the puck from one side of the rink to the other, with little meaning to the motion. This is while other teams did stuff like this:

 

The purposeful position-switching and off-puck rotation of players is designed to confuse defensemen and open up space, increasing the chances for generating scoring chances, and making your team better at offense over long periods of time. We had none of it last season. You know what I saw this third line doing in these games? Check it out yourself:

Ladies and gents, it's identical to what these other teams were doing to us. Whatever it is, Ralph is showing them how to do it, and it's leading to extended possession and scoring chances. And our third line can do it! Look at Evan dice up the middle of the ice longitudinally like Kucherov's purpose was in the Tampa clips from the video, the way the other wingers defend, fill in, switch positions, and continue the storm-cell rotation. The line is fine, and might even be good. I'd love for Krueger to give them more offensive shifts, and up their ice time to ~14 minutes at ES per game. They'll start scoring when Vesey figures out how to finish, or Sheary comes back and can contribute to this hockey. 

In  conclusion, our third line is fine, Mitts keeps growing slowly, everyone is out to lunch on Rodrigues until I see an actual analysis of any kind that either shows that his last year metrics and film were a mirage, or that he's a fundamentally different player this year, and Ralph may well be a damn good coach. 

It's all in the tape!

And yes, I'm aware I reposted the same video eight times, I'm referring to the specific shifts linked in the video at different times.

Edited by Randall Flagg

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On 10/16/2019 at 11:15 AM, GASabresIUFAN said:

What should be our expectations for this group/line going forward?  Is this line the team’s possible Achilles Heal?  Would calling up Thompson at some point make the team better?

Right now those 4 players have 5 pts total (3 on the PP) in 6 games.  Mitts has 2 assists and Sheary has 2 goals and an assist.  Vesey and Erod have goose eggs.  

I thought Mitts would be dramatically better this season and in some ways he is better.  I also thought playing with 2 proven depth wingers in Sheary and Vesey against better matchups would make them more effective.  So far nothing.  Obviously with 76 games remaining we have a long season in front of us, but I’m beginning to worry about this line.  

We can’t rely on GLO to continue to play at their current level.  They will be fine, but we will need more secondary scoring and guys like Vesey, Mitts and Sheary need to add 15 goals each this season if we are to truly contend for the playoffs.  

How can RK get these guys going?  How long will JBot wait to make a move to enhance this line if these guys remain ineffective?  I’m thinking after this West Coast road trip that if Sheary returns and the line remains ineffective, I can see Thompson recalled and someone like Vesey and Mitts benched with Erod centering Sheary and Thompson.  

Benching Mittelstadt for Rodrigues? Lol, yeah, that's the solution. 😕

Maybe it's the fact he's playing with 4th liners, like Vesey* and Rodrigues...give him better talent and he will look much better.

(Olofsson only scores on the power play, maybe he should be taken off the first line. /sarcasm)

*I expected big things from him this season, but he looks totally lost and like garbage.

Edited by OhMyDahlin

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While Vesey has likely been overall the least effective of these 4, really can't see Krueger benching the only non-smurf veteran on that line (and though Mittelstadt isn't a surf, he isn't man strong yet) especially when he's RK's 3rd PKer (maybe Sobotka edges him, but it'd be close if he isn't 3rd).

Mittelstadt was making a case to get benched games 2-4 but he's been alright the last 2 and is deadly in the shootout.  He's also gotten to be pretty effective as the high forward when the puck didn't get deep (like on the Sheary goal to start the year).  And if guys could finish, he had 2 primary assists last night.  While he's had a turnover or 2 in his own zone each of the last 2 games, (he wasn't alone in that) he had looked fat more in control in his own zone than last year.  Which should be expected because he's playing lesser competition than last season and everyone around him seems less lost back there as well relative to last season. 

Still expect it's 50/50 whether Mitts sits any games, but don't expect more than 1-2 and doubt he gets sent down.  And don't expect to see even a short benching for a couple of months.  He's better this year than he was.  He no longer looks like a Labrador puppy chasing a ball out there.  Doubt he'd be learning to pick his spots in the AHL.

Which pretty much brings it down to Sheary and Rodrigues for press box duty when all are healthy.  And W/ Sheary having a higher offensive ceiling, expect he'll continue to get the nod.

(Of course, I'd still be open to seeing E-Rod skating with a couple of scorers.  But that's not happening v anytime soon.)

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13 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

But why would we put Cozens at 4c? He's better than that. 

To start. Work his way up and increase his ice time based on his play. Initially, being a bigger stronger body he'd fit into a 4th line role and it gives him time to develop fully. No being rushed into top minutes like Mitts last year. Back to junior this year, 4th line to start next year, then 3rd, and then 2nd...........how fast he moves up depends on his play and physical development. 

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Erod's a good depth player, can play all thruout the lineup, but he's not as good a goal scorer as Sheary is & I do think that line has better balance with him on Casey's wing.

But its nice to see Casey was able to capitalize on a couple opportunities tonight. Kids been working hard & putting in the effort & getting some chances. Its great to see him be rewarded for it.

And i'm sure it'll relieve some of the pressure he's put on himself & from some fans as well.

It'd be awesome if he got a hat trick tonight!

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@dudacek

I like your earlier post, but blaming PH for using Mitts as his 2c and not sheltering his minutes is wrong.  ERod played the 2c most of the season following Berglund’s departure and Sobotka’s failures.  He also played Larsson the majority of the time, 86%, in defensive situations.  

However, given the roster limitations, PH had no choice but to hope that Casey could deliver some much needed offense.  

One season later, Jbot has added a full line of legit forward talent in VO, MoJo and Jimmy V thereby giving RK the luxury of giving Casey room and time to develop properly.  Last night was the first huge dividend from that added forward depth and the better situation Casey finds himself in.

The only person to blame for Casey’s lost season is Jbot.

 

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3 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

@dudacek

I like your earlier post, but blaming PH for using Mitts as his 2c and not sheltering his minutes is wrong.  ERod played the 2c most of the season following Berglund’s departure and Sobotka’s failures.  He also played Larsson the majority of the time, 86%, in defensive situations.  

However, given the roster limitations, PH had no choice but to hope that Casey could deliver some much needed offense.  

One season later, Jbot has added a full line of legit forward talent in VO, MoJo and Jimmy V thereby giving RK the luxury of giving Casey room and time to develop properly.  Last night was the first huge dividend from that added forward depth and the better situation Casey finds himself in.

The only person to blame for Casey’s lost season is Jbot.

 

I mostly agree with this, but I was referring to the large part of the first half of the season where Berglund was on the fourth line, ERod was an afterthought and Casey was being deployed a lot like Marcus is now.

Phil liked Casey over Patrik early and it took him a long time to discover ERod.

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Erod was good last year, but he’s a lost puppy in this system. 
 

Sheary has been a quiet contributor. Vesey finally woke up in the LA game. Mittelstadt suddenly looks decent with decent wingers. 

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1 hour ago, triumph_communes said:

Vesey finally woke up in the LA game.   

I would suggest he is more than woken up. He has a different role than we expected and is now starting to look like a solid defensive forward. The line, with Sheary, is starting to outplay opposition 3rd/4th lines. 

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23 minutes ago, PerreaultForever said:

I would suggest he is more than woken up. He has a different role than we expected and is now starting to look like a solid defensive forward. The line, with Sheary, is starting to outplay opposition 3rd/4th lines. 

Who'd have thought. I doubt that's what JBotts had in mind when he acquired Vesey. Just goes to show... "clean slate," looking at a player with fresh eyes & without bias of previous utilization- that's what a real coach does.

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2 hours ago, erickompositör72 said:

Who'd have thought. I doubt that's what JBotts had in mind when he acquired Vesey. Just goes to show... "clean slate," looking at a player with fresh eyes & without bias of previous utilization- that's what a real coach does.

ikr. It's looking like Krueger took this whole roster and analysed it deeply, got to know everybody, and then matched up and utilized all the best bodies he had into the best possible roles they could handle, all within this larger fully balanced system. Is everybody perfect? No, far from it, but you get the sense he is going to get the most out of the roster he has. 

He might just be the new Barry Trotz. 

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On 10/17/2019 at 11:42 PM, GASabresIUFAN said:

Apparently we just needed to bench Erod

 

7 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

They continue to play so much better.  Nice tip by Casey.

Much-maligned Conor Sheary is good. 

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7 hours ago, TrueBlueGED said:

 

Much-maligned Conor Sheary is good. 

This frequent maligner has liked what’s he seen this year.

Also thought the Sharks game was Vesey’s best.

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On 10/18/2019 at 8:26 AM, GASabresIUFAN said:

@dudacek

I like your earlier post, but blaming PH for using Mitts as his 2c and not sheltering his minutes is wrong.  ERod played the 2c most of the season following Berglund’s departure and Sobotka’s failures.  He also played Larsson the majority of the time, 86%, in defensive situations.  

However, given the roster limitations, PH had no choice but to hope that Casey could deliver some much needed offense.  

One season later, Jbot has added a full line of legit forward talent in VO, MoJo and Jimmy V thereby giving RK the luxury of giving Casey room and time to develop properly.  Last night was the first huge dividend from that added forward depth and the better situation Casey finds himself in.

The only person to blame for Casey’s lost season is Jbot.

 

Not exactly true.  After Berglund's last game (December 8 vs Filly) Mittelstadt was the 2C 8 out of 10 games in December and 5 out of 10 in both January and February. 

Housley didn't figure out that Rodrigues should consistently be the 2C until March 1 vs the Pens.  After that, the only times Mitts played 2C was when Eichel was out.

Absolutely, Botterill should've given Phil a better option at 2C, but Phil probably would've played Johansson on the 4th line in Girgensons slot.  He didn't even start bringing E-Rod into the mix (not counting a game Eichel missed in January) until mid-February.  Housley consistently threw Casey into the fire until after the season was officially toast.  That's on him, not J Bott.

(And there are about 3 games I don't have lines for, but even w / out those; the picture is clear.)

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41 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Not exactly true.  After Berglund's last game (December 8 vs Filly) Mittelstadt was the 2C 8 out of 10 games in December and 5 out of 10 in both January and February. 

Housley didn't figure out that Rodrigues should consistently be the 2C until March 1 vs the Pens.  After that, the only times Mitts played 2C was when Eichel was out.

Absolutely, Botterill should've given Phil a better option at 2C, but Phil probably would've played Johansson on the 4th line in Girgensons slot.  He didn't even start bringing E-Rod into the mix (not counting a game Eichel missed in January) until mid-February.  Housley consistently threw Casey into the fire until after the season was officially toast.  That's on him, not J Bott.

(And there are about 3 games I don't have lines for, but even w / out those; the picture is clear.)

the office thank you GIF

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1 hour ago, Taro T said:

Not exactly true.  After Berglund's last game (December 8 vs Filly) Mittelstadt was the 2C 8 out of 10 games in December and 5 out of 10 in both January and February. 

Housley didn't figure out that Rodrigues should consistently be the 2C until March 1 vs the Pens.  After that, the only times Mitts played 2C was when Eichel was out.

Absolutely, Botterill should've given Phil a better option at 2C, but Phil probably would've played Johansson on the 4th line in Girgensons slot.  He didn't even start bringing E-Rod into the mix (not counting a game Eichel missed in January) until mid-February.  Housley consistently threw Casey into the fire until after the season was officially toast.  That's on him, not J Bott.

(And there are about 3 games I don't have lines for, but even w / out those; the picture is clear.)

 

52 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

the office thank you GIF

No, it’s on Jbot, because Jbot didn’t give him any alternative. 

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