Clouston May Need to Shuffle Ottawa's Deck Up Front

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Clouston May Need to Shuffle Ottawa's Deck Up Front
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Ottawa has been on the wrong end of a some ugly loses this year and obviously there are a number of factors at play. Undisciplined play, inconsistent officiating, underachieving stars, and suspect third period goaltending just to name a few.


Some of these elements are out of the Senators hands but the underachieving stars is something that can be fixed.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Cory Clouston and the up tempo, high pressure system he's brought to Ottawa, but when it comes to line combos I've been left scratching my head at times.

I really think Alex Kovalev has to be given a chance to skate a regular shift with Jason Spezza.  The two think the game the same way and have a creativity that needs to be complemented properly.

I've read this suggested in the comment section here as well as on other sites , and I really think there's something to it. Here are the line combinations I'd like to see Clouston try in an effort to get Kovalev and Cheechoo going.
Michalek-Spezza-Kovalev
Cheechoo-Fisher-Alfredsson
Foligno-Regin-Neil
Ruutu-Kelly-Donovan

Like any line combinations these won't work all the time. With that first line there are obviously going to some high risk high reward type plays, but I think putting Kovalev with Spezza is the best way to get a slumping Kovalev going. Giving Cheechoo a shot with hard working guys like Fisher and Alfredsson could finally help him get on the board.

I know the Cheechoo haters will say he hasn't earned top six minutes and that's fine. Reality is Cheechoo is/was a very good goal scorer in this league and didn't completely lose those abilities. He's never going to get back to the level he was at a few seasons ago but with his work ethic, he can still be a 20 goal scorer in this league.

Lastly, Shean Donovan need to be in the line up on a regular basis. He's been one of the Senators most consistent forwards the last year or so and has earned a spot on that fourth line.

There may be a reason these lines don't work but I just don't see it.
Just seems like its worth a shot at this point.

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