There's been some speculation among the writers in Boston today that Dan Carcillo will return to the lineup this evening in place of Nikolay Zherdev. Peter Laviolette didn't confirm anything, but Carbomb was off the ice before both Zherdev and Jody Shelley, which is usually an indication that he's playing.
Zherdev also stayed out longer than Shelley, which is, again, an indication that that he'll be the one sitting. So, if that's exactly what happens, you'll likely have a fourth line of Carcillo, Shelley and Blair Betts.
There are two schools of thoughts on this.
One says that Carcillo's place on the fourth line makes that line an actual fourth line. It's a grinder line. It's a physical line. It's the line you throw out there when you need a spark. With Zherdev, that's just not the case. He's not a typical fourth line guy. He doesn't fit that mold, and therefore, he's wasted on the fourth line. There's simply no reason to have him there.
The other says that Zherdev is useful no matter where he is. He's scored nine goals despite mostly playing with Shelley and Betts. His presence on the fourth line means you have a chance of scoring a goal no matter which unit is on the ice. If you take him out and plug Carcillo in that hole, you take away that scoring threat -- however mild it may be.
The rest of us probably see Carcillo and wish he would simply replace Shelley in the lineup, but again, that doesn't turn that fourth line into a "real" fourth line. In any event, it doesn't look like Carcillo will be in over Shelley any time soon. He might be in over Zherdev tonight, though. What's your thinking on the subject?