Lemieux, Crosby to remain apart
Sure, Eddie Olczyk says, he has thought about it. When a coach's team goes six games without a victory, he considers just about every possibility.And, yes, he acknowledged, the time might come when he decides it's worth a try.
But, at least for the moment, Olczyk has no plans to use Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby on the same line. Although Lemieux said repeatedly in the summer that he expected to play alongside Crosby, they've been on the ice only occasionally since the start of training camp.
And because a line featuring Crosby between Mark Recchi and Ziggy Palffy has been consistently productive -- its members have accounted for eight goals and 14 assists in six games -- Olczyk is reluctant to tamper with it in an effort to jump-start another unit. Lemieux has played primarily with left winger Ryan Malone. He has had a variety of wingers on the right side; John LeClair, a left winger by trade, was there for the Penguins' 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay Saturday.
Lemieux, Malone and LeClair have combined for five goals and four assists so far. The Penguins had been hoping for more production from Lemieux (two goals, two assists) and Malone (two goals, no assists), so it could be that both would benefit from sharing a line with Crosby.
Conversely, if Olczyk believes the Malone-Lemieux-LeClair line has the potential to be effective, giving its members more time to mesh is logical and separating them would only impede the process.
"Do I keep changing line [combinations], or do I give them a chance to settle in?" Olczyk said yesterday. "I'm not saying yes or no [to the idea of playing Crosby with Lemieux], but we're looking for the right mix, the right chemistry."
17. 10. 2005, Will