It all started with the Kraut Line.
That’s the first time that an NHL line was given a nickname.
It was Boston’s tag for Bruins forwards Woody Dumart, Milt Schmidt and Bobby Bauer, who played together for most of the 1940s.
The Production Line soon followed.
That was, of course, the identifier of the Red Wings’ trio of, from left to right, Ted Lindsay, Sid Abel and Gordie Howe, who first started playing together in the late-1940s.
Others followed, slowly but surely.
The GAG line (Goal a Game)—the Rangers’ line of the late-1960s, early-1970s: Vic Hadfield, Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert.
The Red Wings had the Production Line II: Frank Mahovlich, Alex Delvecchio and Howe, from 1968-1970.
The French Connection—Buffalo’s lethal 1970s threesome of Richard Martin, Gil Perreault and Rene Robert.
The Red Wings, in the 1990s, even had an entire quintet with a nickname—the Russian Five.
To name a few.
Lines don’t have nicknames as much anymore. Maybe because the modern NHL coach likes to shuffle trios like decks of cards on a nightly basis.
I’d like to change that, with today’s Red Wings.
How does My Three Sons grab you?
The Red Wings have an exciting line going now of LW Tomas Tatar, C Riley Sheahan and RW Gustav Nyquist. Coach Mike Babcock has been granting ice time to this young line (average age of 23) at a more liberal rate, and the coach has been rewarded with hard work, nifty passing, quality scoring chances and a trio that is hard to play against.
How long Babcock chooses to keep the kids together is anyone’s guess, but on a team where injuries have hit hard and goal scoring is at a premium, My Three Sons have been carrying their share of the water lately, and then some.
(from top to bottom: Tatar, Sheahan, Nyquist—My Three Sons)
Sheahan is the newest of the three, having played in just 16 games this season. But the team’s no. 1 draft pick of 2010 has already chipped in with three goals and seven assists, mostly playing with Tatar (13/11/24) and Nyquist (13/10/23).
It’s been fun watching these youngsters skate circles around opponents, dig pucks out of the corner, and set each other up for goals and near goals.
As an opposing coach, you now have a decision to make. Do you match MTS with your fourth line, or do you grant the Red Wings’ young trio more respect than that?
Going further, the line’s speed, skill and puck instinct makes for a headache as well. All three players seem to exhibit a pretty high hockey IQ.
Nyquist, for one, has eight goals in his last seven games. Many have been assisted by either Tatar or Sheahan.
The silver lining to the cloud of injuries and unexpected lack of production from many of the Red Wings’ veteran forwards is that more ice time has been available to so many Grand Rapids Griffins.
But so many of the Griffins-turned-Red Wings are proving that they’re not borderline NHLers—they’re legitimate and are to be reckoned with.
My Three Sons.
What do you think?