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How Ryan Potulny's Rockford Shuffle Works

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How Ryan Potulny's Rockford Shuffle Works

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NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 01: Ryan Potulny #16 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the New York Rangers battle for the puck at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The minor news first; the Hawks have recalled center/wing Ryan Potulny from Rockford. 

In the most practical sense, the 'Hawks are facing one of the fastest teams in the league and probably don't want John Scott watching things go by him as if it were a sappy music video for a song about disillusionment by some band that only female lawyers who live in Lincoln Park like. 

Potulny is not going to redefine the sport by any means, but he's at least competent and can skate a little bit, and the guess is the Hawks want a little more production from their fourth line. 

Or, more to the point, something that threatens production. 

Counting on your fourth line to score is like counting on the stoner who never shows up to class to set the curve. 

Or maybe you do want him setting the curve?  I forget how these things worked, as I was a terrible student and barely showed up myself.  Either way, the fourth line is the fourth line.

As for what it means in a wider sense, it's hard to know. 

But Saturday night was the second time that Stan Bowman left Coach Joel Quenneville with only 10 forwards to play. 

There's no way that's what Coach Q would want.  At this point, from what I can tell, Bowman's Rockford Shuffle accomplishes not much more than Stan trying to demonstrate just how clever he is, or rather how clever he thinks he is.  It was one thing when Jack Skille made about $1.5 million last year.  It matters way less with Morin's $700,000.  

It's hard to ignore the messaging that's gone on between coach and GM this season. There have been benchings and call-ups and demotions that defy explanation occurring at a maddening rate.

Do I think Coach Q and Bowman are really at odds?  No, I don't.  But the first time they went with 10 forwards, Quenneville didn't seem to know if it was for financial reasons or not.  Was he in the loop?  Coach Q has benching Jordan Hendry in favor of Nick Boynton for a month straight now, and Nick Boynton is a clown car.  Pining for a third-pairing d-man?  This isn't a fire yet, but we shouldn't turn away either.

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