I saw the news item today by Chuck Gormley that the Zherdev is sharing alternate reps on the 4th line.
It's clear that his career as a Flyer is over. They must be close to a deal for him, or have plans to waive or dump him in some way. There doesn't seem to be a shift, or a play, or an incident that explains what touched this off, other than moving Zherdev over to the Richards line.
While Versteeg is a great pickup, only time will tell if he finds his niche on the team. He's a fantastic role player, and should make the team better, but it seems clear when looking at this from outside, that there's something else going one.
What we already knew was that Giroux Carter Zherdev was not only a combination that works well, it was a combination that at times took over games, and had the ability to carry the Flyers to a number of wins and contributed substantially to getting Carter back to flashes of the form he hasn't displayed since his broken feet.
Since when is it good strategy to break up a line that is clicking based on the argument that you need to get more out of another line that is not, especially when that line is adding to the W column? Maybe that's something you do when you're desperate -- when the entire team is floundering, but when you're first in the conference, I have a hard time understanding what possible justification there is for such a move. If your goal was to come in and give Mike Richards a better wing to play with, then getting Kris Versteeg makes sense, but that's not what we're seeing happen. Any reasonable person would expect to see a restoration of a line that was smoking only a few short weeks ago, before YOU broke it up.
I know my own agenda: I've bled Flyers orange since I was a kid, and I'll continue to do so for the rest of my days, so I feel completely justified in saying, that this doesn't look like a move to make the team better, it looks like there's a relationship between a coach and player that doesn't seem to work, and the one thing I know for sure about that relationship is that the one with all the power happens to be the coach. I'm livid right now, and I have been throughout this entire affair. Peter Laviolette -- you better be right, because you'll have no excuses if things go southwards. This is a team that has been masterfully built for a Cup. There are no guarantees, but what I do know is that the players have to play the games, and you made a decision to put players with less skill and with less on ice results in the lineup, over a better player for reasons that only you and perhaps your inner circle of coaches seems to understand.
So long Nick. You made some fans here, and I wish you luck in your quest to reestablish yourself in the NHL against the best hockey players in the world.