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What are lines?

I joined this league 5753 days ago, give or take, and one thing that has always baffled my mind is how such bad rated teams could make the playoffs and have success and how such good rated teams could come up short and finish outside of the top 8 in their conference. Certain teams that come to mind recently would be the Flyers of last season who got off to a horrible start with a top 10 team based on ratings or perhaps the leafs of this past season, though injuries certainly didn't help their cause. And on the other side of the coin, the Sabres winning the division with a very pedestrian team while always boasting on the forums about turning a poorly rated player into a star in the sim. Heck, if you look at the Montreal Canadiens, I for one didn't even see them as a playoff team yet they came so close to an eastern conference final before losing games 5 to 7 against the flyers. 

Of course we have had power house teams win the cup like the panthers, blues and flames but one could argue that those teams could have won more. Again on the flip side, could anyone have predicted that Drew and the kings would have won back to back cups with their roster. How about the Sens winning it in 2 out of 3 years, could anyone really have looked at that roster and been like wow, those teams were stacked? I'll throw one more at you, the inaugural season, the Avs won the cup with a 78 OV goalie, the GM obviously had a cheat code, thought the league was too easy and just decided to quit. 

In all seriousness though, Simon did not have a cheat code but sometimes one must wonder with the only real influence on the actual sim that GM's have aside from picking the players on the roster is which players will play on which lines. This all to say which leads me to beg the question, what are lines? 

In my 7347 days or however many their are I've tried a multitude of strategies like balanced attack throughout, load up the top lines, 1 grinder on every line, 2 good passers with 1 good scorer, i good scorer with 2 good passers, one offensive D with a defensive D on each pairing, honestly you name it and I've tried it but after day 6345 I still haven't found a consistent recipe for success.

I know there are GM's out there that have gotten more out of some of their players than they should have and there are GM's out there that are left baffled by their 37 point season performance from their 81 OV stud but is the reason for these results great line matchups and manipulation or is it just blind randomness from the sim? 

At the end of the day, doesn't the base strategy always end up being that your best players should play more than your lesser players? 

If some of you have found this cheat code to success with line combinations, I congratulate you! Me on the other hand, 5347 days into this league am going to continue believing in the randomness of the sim and believe that my 2 playoffs appearences in 241 seasons is bound to take a turn for the better and the sim gods will turn my way one day!