The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun gave the Winnipeg Jets’ fourth line a hell of a compliment after Winnipeg’s 3-2 win over Minnesota on Wednesday.
LeBrun suggested that the Jets’ Lowry-Tanev-Copp line evokes memories of the Red Wings’ Grind Line:
Watching from the press box on this night was Kirk Maltby, scouting the game for Detroit, he of the famous Grind Line from late ‘90s Red Wings Cup glory lore. That was a unit centred by Kris Draper that scored big goals while providing important minutes in big matchups.
“It didn’t really click in for me in terms of what were able to do as a line until we started Game 1 of the Cup final in 1997 against Philly’s Legion of Doom line,’’ Maltby told The Athletic after Wednesday night’s game.
That was an achievement. It was such an asset that the Wings could deploy their fourth line against any line that spring.
“We knew our stars would be stars from Stevie (Yzerman) on down, but for us, we always had the mindset if our line could chip in the odd goal and keep the other team off the scoresheet, that would be huge for our team,’’ Draper, driving back late Wednesday night from a scouting assignment, told The Athletic over the phone.
“We got to play against Gretzky’s line when he was in St. Louis that year in the playoffs, it was a fun challenge,” added Draper. “We had the trust of Scotty Bowman to play in all kinds of situations. That trust from your coach allows you to have the confidence to chip in offensively and play minutes.’’
LeBrun continues (paywall), with Maltby suggesting that the “Lowry Line” does indeed have a boatload of potential…