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Living in Ohio, it's tough to follow the Hawks. And with so many roster moves this year, it's hard to keep track of the line combinations they are using. Do you think Brian Sutter is going to settle on line combinations so guys can get used to playing with each other and get some rhythm going? Also, what line combinations do you think would work best, especially now that Daze and Fleury are back? Thanks. --Jim Schroeder, Columbus, Ohio
Jim, I think, barring injuries, the lines that Sutter has used the last couple weeks will be the ones he goes with unless they begin to slump. Those combinations are: Alex Zhamnov-Theo Fleury-Kyle Calder; Tyler Arnason-Eric Daze-Steve Sullivan; Andrei Nikolishin-Steve Thomas-Chris Simon/Igor Korolev; Mike Eastwood-Mark Bell-Sergei Berezin. I think these lines are pretty good, there's some balance as far as scoring on all of them.
What's wrong with Chris Simon? He doesn't hit, stand up for his mates, put fear in the hearts of opponents or score points. Is he that much better a skater than Probie? He's never going to produce like he did that one year in Washington. At least Vandenbusch will stick up for his teammates. --Mark Goss, Chicago
That's an excellent question, Mark. Right now I'm not sure Bob Probert wouldn't have given the Hawks more. Whether it's because he's in the last year of his contract and doesn't want to risk getting hurt, or the impending birth of his child has something to do with it, I don't know. Unless he picks it up the last half, I doubt he'll be here next season.
Can you explain for me how the plus/minus (+/-) rating is calculated and which one is considered good? --Gary Mitchell, Sugar Land, Texas
Basically, when teams are at even strength, players receive a plus whenever they score a goal. Conversely, the players that are scored against receive a minus. Plus/minus is also awarded when a team scores a short-handed goal--the short-handed team receives a plus and the power play boys get a minus.