MOVED: Time On Ice: 3 Lines Vs 4

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Time On Ice: 3 Lines Vs 4

For a while now there have been discussions on the PPM forums regarding ice time distribution over a teams lines. There have been 2 main lines of thought on this issue; all lines play the same time on ice and that the line time on ice shortens with each line.

Tonight however we discovered that a veteran player stated that as of this time, all the lines play the same length shifts and that in the future, PPM developers will be adding a function where managers can prioritise their ice time distribution.

This news brings 2 vital things to our attention:

  1. PPM are aware that manager controlled ice time is important for the game and plan to offer it. Kudos to PPM.
  2. Your 4th line could be dramatically weakening your team an effective immediately, I suggest leaning towards playing just 3 lines every game.

Why Only 3 Lines?

Simply put.. your 4th line (assuming it is a weaker line) is taking ice time that is better spent on your top players. Or, to put it another way, your top line players are on the ice a lot less than they should be. This potentially costs you scoring chances, goals and alternatively, better defensive skills available on the ice.

Counting It Down

If you play 4 lines and all play equal time, it means each line is playing 15 minutes on the ice. While having 15 minutes for your top lines is great, your 4th line, often the weakest offensive & defensive line is also playing that same 15 minutes – not good.

If you drop the 4th line from the match it greatly increases the ice time to 20 minutes for each line, meaning you top scorers and defensemen are on the ice when you need them. While it may seem that a 5 minute increase is not too much of a difference, it’s the removal of that weaker 4th line that truly gives you benefit.

The Top/4th Cross-Over Benefit

I know what you’re thinking… what the heck is a Top/4th Cross-Over benefit? What it refers to a situation that would happen when your 3 line team plays a 4 line team; your top line being on the ice at the same time as your oppositions 4th line. This is the ideal situation as you have your most offensive guys out there against what you would assume to be your opponents weakest defense. That advantage swing in your favour can make a huge difference to your chance of winning. This also goes the other way where your 3rd line may face the other teams top line, but as i’m sure you’ll agree, this is a far smaller issue than your 4th line being out there.

Drop Or Not?

It needs to be pointed out that choosing to drop the 4th line is entirely a managers personal preference. My suggestion is this: if you have a 4th line that is dramatically weaker than your other 3, drop it for league and tournament matches and only play it for the friendly games.

You should also take the time to analyse your opponent before every single game! If you have an opponent who plays 3 lines, make sure you drop your 4th. If they always play 4 lines, drop to 3 and see how you go. A bit of research into your opponents can make all the difference when the game engine kicks in and the daily update is run.

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