This is Ales Kotalik a couple of years ago in that beauty Sabres jersey from the French connection era. Kotalik has been moved off the top line according to this report which came about because of this article. If you’re too lazy to read what Willis & Ireland wrote, allow me to quote from the Joanne Ireland article:
Liam Reddox, scratched the last two games, was skating with Andrew Cogliano and Fernando Pisani on Sunday, bumping Marc Pouliot out of the top 12. Ethan Moreau was with Kyle Brodziak and Dustin Penner, while Patrick O’Sullivan practised on the top line with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky. Ales Kotalik, Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson rounded out the trios.
Jonathan did a really nice job breaking down the pro’s and con’s of each line and there are some nice quotes from Sam Gagner in the Ireland piece. I’m not going to comment too much about the lines except to say there are things to like about all of them. For instance, if Gagner (who’s doing well lately) can help form a scoring line from Nilsson & Kotalik that offers all kinds of options for the rest of the roster.
I think the keys remain special teams (which we’ve beaten to death) and goaltending (which they’ve beaten to death by playing Roloson). As a fan, I’d like to see Marc Pouliot among the top 4 lines but it’s also understandable that if your front office trades for Kotalik you’re going to try and find him a place to play and flourish. I also think Zack Stortini takes a hit here but should draw back in (likely for Reddox) later in the week.
Mostly, I’m just happy that these lines make sense. Much of the season has been a mystery and I’m a little worried they’ll roll out some nonsense for the penalty kill tomorrow night. I’m also concerned that Ladislav Smid hasn’t been on the ice for a few days and that some of the teams below the Oilers in the standings refuse to cool off.
The bottom line is that none of this matters if they don’t win the game. And soon we’ll be adding two words to that sentence: in regulation.