It seems so obvious... so simple. Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk are two of the NHL's brightest stars, throw them on a line together and you'll get magic. At the beginning of this season I was an advocate for this line; memories of the experiment's failure at the beginning of last season were overpowered by the logic that these two players are far too skilled to fail.
But as we've learned, for the second time, over the past couple of games... they don't work together. They have incompatible skills, and putting them on a line together is destroying what both Zach and Kovy are good at.
For Kovalchuk, that's owning the ice: taking the puck and playing as a one-man team in the offensive zone, looking for the net and shutting out the rest of the world. Having Zach out there with him is tempting Ilya into making bad passes, because he feels obligated to get the puck to his equally skilled line-mate.
For Zach, a player who's calling card is his excellent team play, he looks lost out there while Kovy skates around in circles desperately looking for a lane. Zach needs line-mates who are team players, willing to go out there and work as a unit.
The experiment needs to end now; we've only won one game since it began, that win coming mostly because of a three-goal performance by the second line, with almost no contribution from Parisalchuk.
We can be a winning team again, of course our issues are far deeper than a lack of production from the first line - but if we were to split it up, and give Zach line-mates who will play with him, and Kovy line-mates he can over shine, it'll certainly fix one of our issues.
What do you think? Chime in in the comments section.