As this season has unfolded, I've been largely surprised at how well the Devils had played. They've been able to be successful in spite of missing their number one defenseman (Paul Martin) and probably their most key character player who also happens to score (David Clarkson). They've also missed a lot of key players at different times, including Elias, Oduya and Zubrus.
But one thing that has been disturbing to me as the season has progressed is Jacques Lemaire's tendency to change lines as often as NBC changes programming. He does it way too much. And I'm not going to question the wisdom behind it because I know what he's doing. He's trying to find a combination that clicks and stick with it. But there have been periods where a line works extremely well, like Zajac-Parise-Zubrus or even the Elias-Zubrus-Kovalchuk line, and it will have a bad two periods in the next game and he'll be changing it already. I would hope that once the Olympic break is over and the Devils hopefully get Clarkson back regularly that Lemaire can pick a couple of lines and stick with them, especially the scoring lines. I'd personally like to see the Zubrus-Elias-Kovalchuk line get a little more time to gel. And keep the ZZ Pops line together. That would then give you a third line that would feature Clarkson and Rolston. That's a lot of good depth.
But I truly think that players need time to learn each other and their tendencies. Lemaire was the one who former the infamous Crash Line that had a huge factor in leading the team to the Stanley Cup in 95. The A Line was absolutely crucial in getting them Cup number 2 in 2000. I know the team doesn't need that to win it all, but I don't think it can hurt, especially when you can develop two top scoring lines and I think the addition of Kovalchuk would give them that. Hell if he wanted to keep Parise-Zajac-Kovalchuk together and then just have Elias-Zubrus-Langenbrunner, I'd be fine with that. I just want to see some consistency for a more than a couple of periods. Give the lines a chance to develop that chemistry.