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At the Rink blog

Hitchcock shakes up Blues lineup

Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 2:25 PM

By Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Hitchcock shakes up Blues lineup
The Blues will make a switch with their forward lines, moving Alex Steen up to the top line and dropping Vladimir Sobotka down to the third line.

It's a move coach Ken Hitchcock says is more about execution and not a promotion/demotion.

"That's a coach's swap because I have this phobia about three lines making one line for power play and two lines making one PK pair," Hitchcock said. "It's not based on, 'Oh, this guy's going to help there.' They're both going to help either line, but it's more just continuity. It ends up for me when you're coming out of special teams, it ends up in massive confusion because you're using three lines on two sets of power play, using two and sometimes three lines on PK and then you're coming out trying to put a line together where all three guys don't even play together. This is about continuity that I want to see."

Hitchcock got Sobotka out on a line with Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner in Thursday's 3-2 shoot out loss against Toronto and liked it.

"They were really good and created the pressure," Hitchcock said.

Here is what the Blues' lineup tonight should be against the Lightning:

Alex Steen - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
Matt D'Agostini - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Vladimir Sobotka - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Evgeny Grachev - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Brian Elliott gets the start in goal; Jaroslav Halak is the backup.

Hitchcock has an interesting take on getting Elliott in goal tonight. Elliott is 5-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.

"As Chief Taylor (Philadelphia Flyers coach Fred Shero) once said, 'After Bernie (Parent) played 60 in a row, it's his turn,'" said Hitchcock, referring to Parent's 37 consecutive starts as he got a rousing laugh from the media gathering. "It's (Elliott's) turn. ... I gotta tell you, I haven't seen Brian play this year. I want to make him part of the team.

"He's part of the team. He's played well."

The Blues are without defenseman Kent Huskins (ankle) and forwards David Perron (post-concussion syndrome), Andy McDonald (concussion) and B.J. Crombeen (shoulder). Along with Cole, winger Chris Porter is a healthy scratch.

Here’s the projected lineup for the Lightning as well:

Steve Downie - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell
Martin St. Louis - Vincent Lecavalier - Brett Connolly
Nate Thompson - Dominic Moore - Tom Pyatt
Ryan Shannon - Blair Jones - Adam Hall

Eric Brewer - Matt Gilroy
Marc-Andre Bergeron - Pavel Kubina
Brett Clark - Bruno Gervais

Mathieu Garon gets the start in goal; Dwayne Roloson is the backup.

The Lightning will be without Mattias Ohlund (knee, is on injured reserve), Victor Hedman (upper-body, is day-to-day) and Ryan Malone (upper-body, is also day-to-day). Hedman was on the ice for the skate this morning but now a likely target for a return is Monday.
Quote of the Day

There was a lot of talk off the ice. From a player's standpoint, that's not the talk in the room. GMs make decisions, coaches make decisions, but as a team you have to come together and be ready to go, and we are.

— San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels on his team's approach entering training camp