Some thoughts on the lineup changesFebruary 16, 2017, by
Much was made yesterday when news broke that Alain Vigneault would be scratching Pavel Buchnevich for a game, subbing in Matt Puempel. I’m actually glad I wasn’t around to peruse the Twitters yesterday, because I’m sure I would have lost my mind. I did see a few reactions, and I have to admit, it’s really not worth getting all worked up over this.
I understand that a lot of folks are sensitive to Vigneault’s lineup choices. The defense choices this year alone would make anyone cringe. I understand that last year scarred people for life, as Tanner Glass was routinely in the lineup over significantly more skilled forwards. I get it. But let’s also be clear that sitting a rookie for a game in the middle of a slump can be an educational tool.
Buchnevich has one assist in his last ten games. He’s lost his top-nine spot on the team, as Michael Grabner has clicked with Kevin Hayes and JT Miller. Sure, he’s likely not going to light up the opposition playing with Jesper Fast and one of Oscar Lindberg or Brandon Pirri. But when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, watching the game from above has worked for players in the past.
The argument I hear thrown out there is that Jimmy Vesey didn’t get scratched during his struggles. This is very true. However it’s not like the Rangers were fully healthy at that point either. The Rangers haven’t had 14 healthy forwards for most of the year, and didn’t during Vesey’s struggles. Timing matters.
As an aside, it’s not like the Rangers are playing a vastly inferior skater over Buchnevich either. Puempel is skilled, and was once considered to have as high a ceiling as Buchnevich. It’s not like the moves of past, where an enforcer would play over a skilled player. This barely moves the needle.
Sitting Buchnevich is likely a temporary move. He will get one, maybe two, games to sit in the press box and watch live action and compare to tape. If Puempel goes on a run, then perhaps Buchnevich sits longer. This isn’t the hill to die on when it comes to roster moves. At least not for me."Some thoughts on the lineup changes",