In light of the Sens' 5-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers, it has become overwhelmingly obvious that the line of Spezza-Heatley-Alfredsson should never be broken up. They are the engine that propels the Senators offensively, and much pieces of an engine, they don't work well unless they're in the same place at the same time (don't ask about the time I forgot to put the brakes back on my '94 Honda Accord).
Has any experiment where those three players were dispursed to different lines led to success? Bochenski, Winchester, Ruutu, Foligno, Neil... has any player in recent memory filled in well in Alfredsson's absence?
Until Bryan Murray acquires another scorer, the Senators will live and die with their top line. Replacing any of Spezza, Heatley, or Alfredsson simply demonstrates this point. Craig Hartsburg, do not break them up again this season, don't even try it.
Sure, John Paddock demonstrated that playing the top line too much leads to failure -- so don't do that. But trying to create secondary scoring by splitting the only line that produces offence has only led to one result: losses. Let's not go down that route again. This season, those losses could result in the Sens missing the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.