Foster Hewitt Division Second Round #2 Spartak Moscow vs. #3 Quebec Citadelles

Frightened Inmate #2
11-27-2006, 06:34 PM
http://www.azhockey.com/images%20-%20logos/LogoRussiaHCSpartakMoscow.jpgvs.http://www.brandsoftheworld.com/brands/0002/0641/brand.gif

Spartak Moscow

Coach: Al Arbour
Captain: Bryan Trottier
Alternate Captains: Danny Gare, Jacques Laperriere

Gillies-Trottier -Bossy
Elias-Starshinov-Iginla
Gallant-Smith-Gare
Lambert-Hunter-Pronovost
Unger

Laperriere - Desjardins
Quackenbush-Talbot
Gardiner-Mantha
Butcher

Hall
Thompson
Connell

Quebec Citadelles

Coach: Jacques Demers
Captain: Steve Yzerman
Alternate Captains: Vsevolod Bobrov, BOris Mikhailov

Valery Kharlamov - Vladimir Petrov - Boris Mikhailov(A)
Anatoli Firsov - Steve Yzerman(C) - Dino Ciccarelli
Vsevolod Bobrov(A) - Erich Kühnhackl - Pat Verbeek
Rick MacLeish - Frank Nighbor - Larry Aurie
Edgar Laprade

Denis Potvin - Reijo Ruotsalainen
Red Kelly - Pekka Rautakallio
Alexander Ragulin - Edward Ivanov
Dave Manson

Jiri Holecek
Vladimir Dzurilla
Arturs Irbe

Frightened Inmate #2
11-27-2006, 07:14 PM
What I love about this matchup is that the Russians are all on the Quebec team it seems and the Russians have the same number of Quebers as the Quebec team. Odd how that one turned out.

I don't know how the Citadelles reliance on the older Soviet players will turn out just because they are not used to the rigors of the NHL playoffs which is a completely different beast than anything they are used to. I think that just might be their downfall as they at least in my opinion have more tallent there are just those questions that keep ringing around in my head. That as well as the complete lack of a physical presence on the top three lines - I don't see any grinders there at all or someone who can make the big hit in order to gain control of the puck.

Moscow on the other hand also has issues at the forward ranks, especially when it comes to pure offensive skill something that I personally think they are lacking in their lineup as it stands right now. I do like the way in which he was able to get Gilles - Trottier - Bossy on the same line again... looks good, really good.

Defense wise I know close to nothing on many of the Quebec players... makes it hard to judge.

Goaltending.... The European goaltenders are once again difficult to get a handle on... heck if it was as easy as looking up best goaltender at the world championships I would have drafted Seth Martin a long time ago but it isn't. A Hall - Thompson combination is just about as good as they come and I have to favour them in this.

John Flyers Fan
11-27-2006, 08:05 PM
The toughest series to call with so many older Eastern europeans.

Quebec

MacLeish should be more than a 4th line winger, he did lead the Flyers in playoff scoring during both Cup years. Yzerman, Verbeek and Cicarelli all have grit and were good or better playoff performers.

They certainly have the edge of defense with Potvin, Kelly and Ragulin.

They have game breakers in Kharlamov & Mikhailov up front on the top line.


Spartak

Arbour has a clear edge in the coaching category While Gillies isn't suited to be a top line LW in this tournament, he does compliment his two former Isles, and the chemistry and winning they produced is a big plus.

Elias and Iginla are two absolute studs with great all-around games and proven big time clutch players.

The 3rd line is a bit shaky ... but I love the 4th line with Dale Hunter and Pronovost. With Hunter on the ice Kharlamov may want to watch his ankles.

Their defense is a bit shaky. I love Desjardins and he's extremely under rated, but he shouldn't be playing on a top pairing in a tournament like this.

Hall gives them a clear edge in goal.



The result ... for Quebec to win they'll need to use that European speed and skill to take advantage of the Spartak defense. Quebec should have a devastating power play and they will need to score a ton of power play goals to win the series.

In the end I think it will come down to officiating. If this becomes a power play fest, I think Quebec finds a way to win the series. The more the game is played at even strength the more the game favors Spartak.

Frightened Inmate #2
11-27-2006, 08:26 PM
One of the best ways to beat a Soviet team was to do as the Flyers did in 1976 and that is to physically dominate them through taking the body at every opportunity. They could beat you with skills but the Russian's heart never came close to matching that of the Canadians. The problem with this matchup for Moscow is I really don't see the tema toughness in order to do this. Some tough players yes but I really don't get the sense that it is a tough team from the top in Arbour down. That is unless Hunter can physically dominate and be the nasty imposing figure that we all know he can be

pitseleh
11-27-2006, 09:55 PM
I agree that this will be the toughest series to judge. I'm not well versed in a lot of the older European players.

My initial impressions are that Spartak has the edge in goaltending.

A one-two punch of Potvin and Kelly is outstanding. Spartak's biggest weakness is it's defense. It has a bunch of solid guys, and while Laperriere is a very good defenseman, no one really stands out as a guy you'd want to log big minutes in this type of draft.

Up front, both teams have very good first lines, although I like Spartak's a little better. Again, I don't know enough about the old Europeans, so I'm having trouble pitting them against each other.

This one will definitely take some insight from others and research.

kruezer
11-27-2006, 10:06 PM
Looks like a great series, I really like the team Wisent made, maybe he can upset my old nemesis #66.

I think Quebec definitely has the better defense, Potvin and Kelly are both amazing, I don't think anyone on Spartak can match. I really like Quebec's forward lines, I think MacLeish-Nighbor-Aurie is one of the best fourth lines in the tourny. I am a very big fan of the older European players though, I think they are highly underrated and would perform just fine Kharlamov-Petrov-Mikhailov pretty clearly have proven they could compete with the elite of the NHL, matched straight up with Gillies-Trottier-Bossy would be a battle, but I don't think GTB is necessarily the better line, the only question marks are Firsov, Bobrov and Kuhnhackl and I personally think they would be fine, Firsov and Bobrov were elite talents, and I don't agree with the idea that they would not survive the rigors of an NHL schedule. I think Hall will have to stand on his head, and I think he can, he is clearly the best goalie in this series, he will be the difference maker.

Frightened Inmate #2
11-27-2006, 10:20 PM
The issues that I have with the older Soviet players is that weak competition lead to inflated goal totals - Bobrov for instance, many people point towards his records as a testimate to his skills while ignoring the fact that his competition was significantly weaker than what was the standard in the NHL at the time - heck the real challenge during Bobrov's time was the amature Canadian teams which still were able to win the gold medals. For that reason I must admit that I don't rank the older Russians as highly as you do. As I have stated before if you are prepared to rank Bobrov so high then you must be prepared to do the same with the amature Canadians of the time period who were able to win the same tournament

I view Soviet hockey as taking off in the mid 1960s and undergoing a rapid rise due to the tactics of Tarasov and the like

God Bless Canada
11-27-2006, 10:24 PM
A lot of intriguing matchups to look for in this one. I think Elvi hit on one of the intangible ironies right away: there's a lot of Quebecers playing for Moscow, and a lot of Soviets/Russians playing for Quebec.

Moscow definitely has the edge in goal. In fact, I'd say they have the best goaltending in the draft. You could make a case for Hall as the best goalie ever, with those record seven first-team all-star selections. Tiny Thompson is one of the best back-ups in the draft. And Alex Connell is definitely the best No. 3. Arturs Irbe is the only goalie on Quebec's team with that experience in a grinding, North American seven-game series.

In the same respect, give Quebec the edge on defence. That's not to say that Moscow's defence is weak. They have some very good defencemen. But they don't have that minute-muncher stud defenceman, a top 10 or even a top 20 all-time blue-liner. It's a solid, but unspectacular crew.

Quebec has two of the top seven (some would say top six) defencemen ever. Moscow will enter every game knowing that Potvin or Kelly will likely be on the ice at some point throughout the contest. Very daunting to say the least. Wisent, this is why you have them - the playoffs. There is nothing more demanding in North American team sports than the Stanley Cup playoffs. And it's easily the toughest test in hockey. Kelly and Potvin keyed a total of 13 Cup champions. Firsov is a strong No. 3 who would log top-pairing minutes on a lot of teams. Quebec's other three defencemen will likely average about 10-15 minutes each per game.

Forwards are a very interesting matchup. I don't think Petrov-Kharlamov-Mikhailov, or especially Bobrov, ever faced anything like seven games of Dale Hunter after a lengthy regular season. Some still haven't forgiven Hunter for the overhyped hit on Pierre Turgeon. Too bad, he's only the charter member of the 1,000 point/3,000 PIM club, and one of the best leaders of his generation. This is the time of year that you want Hunter on your team. The ultimate Grind Line-type centre.

I think #66 definitely has a team that's built for the playoffs. Al Arbour's one of the best coaches ever. The top line has a mere 14 rings between them, and Trottier and Gillies aren't exactly shrinking violets. I have my doubts about the offensive potential of the second line, but Elias is more than capable defensively, and Iginla's a bull who has won everything except the Stanley Cup. JFF, I don't think the third line's shaky. Bobby Smith, Gerrard Gallant and especially Danny Gare are all multi-purpose players. Gare led the league in goals and is a strong two-way player. Smith's one of the all-time leaders in post-season points. One of the beautiful parts about this team is their 13th forward. Unger's best known as hockey's former iron man, but he was good enough to play in seven straight all-star games, and brought plenty of different elements to a team.

In the end, Wisent's European forwards are the key. If you think they'll adapt well to the grind of a best-of-seven, and against a very gritty team, then you pick Quebec. If you think they'll get swallowed up by the grit and experience of guys like Hunter, Pronovost, Gillies and Trottier, then Moscow's your team.

Nalyd Psycho
11-28-2006, 03:18 AM
The key to beating Quebec is definitely to pound their small forwards. The question is, does Moscow have the ability to do that.

The othjer question is, will Hall choke? He is beyond a doubt the best regular season goalie ever. But his playoff record is very inconsistent.

Holocek played his best when going toe to toe with the Russians, so, he can steal the show when it is all on the line. Most notably in '76. But, can he pull it off here.

In the end, the most interesting part of this team is that it combines two of the best lines to ever play the game.

Wisent
11-28-2006, 05:35 AM
The toughest series to call with so many older Eastern europeans.

Quebec

MacLeish should be more than a 4th line winger, he did lead the Flyers in playoff scoring during both Cup years. Yzerman, Verbeek and Cicarelli all have grit and were good or better playoff performers.

They certainly have the edge of defense with Potvin, Kelly and Ragulin.

They have game breakers in Kharlamov & Mikhailov up front on the top line.


Spartak

Arbour has a clear edge in the coaching category While Gillies isn't suited to be a top line LW in this tournament, he does compliment his two former Isles, and the chemistry and winning they produced is a big plus.

Elias and Iginla are two absolute studs with great all-around games and proven big time clutch players.

The 3rd line is a bit shaky ... but I love the 4th line with Dale Hunter and Pronovost. With Hunter on the ice Kharlamov may want to watch his ankles.

Their defense is a bit shaky. I love Desjardins and he's extremely under rated, but he shouldn't be playing on a top pairing in a tournament like this.

Hall gives them a clear edge in goal.



The result ... for Quebec to win they'll need to use that European speed and skill to take advantage of the Spartak defense. Quebec should have a devastating power play and they will need to score a ton of power play goals to win the series.

In the end I think it will come down to officiating. If this becomes a power play fest, I think Quebec finds a way to win the series. The more the game is played at even strength the more the game favors Spartak.


The only reason I put MacLeish on my forth line is that it is supposed to be my checking line and he plays excellent defensively. As I see it, if things didn`t work out the way they are supposed to, I can juggle most of my left wings on a different line (except for Kharlamov, I wouldn`t want to touch that line). The scoring depth on the left wing should still be there.

As Nalyd pointed out, I think the biggest issue with my team is the size. In the grit and strength department they should be fine.

I agree that Kühnhackl was a gamble, but I just loved that player. Of course he never played NHL playoffs but he stood out in international play fetching the scoring title in 76 (was it 76?) on a German team that was a joke compared to the others (he almost singlehandedly kept us in the A-pool in that time) and getting a whopping 1500 points in 700 league games in Germany (700 of those were goals). If he turns out to be a weak point (which I would love to doubt) I can move Nighbor in a scoring role on the 3rd line and put Laprade in my two way role. He should be fine there. Kühnhackl would be my no13 then (and a lot of Germans would booo me for that move ;) )

Wisent
11-28-2006, 05:52 AM
The issues that I have with the older Soviet players is that weak competition lead to inflated goal totals - Bobrov for instance, many people point towards his records as a testimate to his skills while ignoring the fact that his competition was significantly weaker than what was the standard in the NHL at the time - heck the real challenge during Bobrov's time was the amature Canadian teams which still were able to win the gold medals. For that reason I must admit that I don't rank the older Russians as highly as you do. As I have stated before if you are prepared to rank Bobrov so high then you must be prepared to do the same with the amature Canadians of the time period who were able to win the same tournament

I view Soviet hockey as taking off in the mid 1960s and undergoing a rapid rise due to the tactics of Tarasov and the like

With Bobrov you have to take in to account that he never played hockey before his twenties and still managed to be an elite player for the Soviet team. He was a workout horse and naturally gifted to do sports, that is what made him so strong. Often after a long day of training, he and his linemates stayed on the ice and practiced a few hours more to improve their technique and chemistry (after a nine hour training day!). And this is what I expect from him. I have little doubts that he would give his everything. The rest of that soviet team wasn`t like that and it takes more than a line to win a tournament. That is why I think that he really was what he is now made.

John Flyers Fan
11-28-2006, 08:44 AM
The only reason I put MacLeish on my forth line is that it is supposed to be my checking line and he plays excellent defensively. As I see it, if things didn`t work out the way they are supposed to, I can juggle most of my left wings on a different line (except for Kharlamov, I wouldn`t want to touch that line).

MacLeish, really wasn't great defensively, certainly more known for his offense. He also could be a bit lackadasical at times, but he was a big time big game player, leading the Flyers in scoring during both of the Cup winning years.

Great skater and a devastating wrist shot. I also don't recall him playing the wing. He always played center for the Flyers.

Wisent
11-28-2006, 09:10 AM
MacLeish, really wasn't great defensively, certainly more known for his offense. He also could be a bit lackadasical at times, but he was a big time big game player, leading the Flyers in scoring during both of the Cup winning years.

Great skater and a devastating wrist shot. I also don't recall him playing the wing. He always played center for the Flyers.

I definately didn`t see as many Flyers game from that time as you did. But I think I remember him playing left wing as well. Hockeydb has him listed as a leftwinger as well. Perhaps he played both but rarely on the wing? I don`t know.

John Flyers Fan
11-28-2006, 10:36 AM
I definately didn`t see as many Flyers game from that time as you did. But I think I remember him playing left wing as well. Hockeydb has him listed as a leftwinger as well. Perhaps he played both but rarely on the wing? I don`t know.

He usually centered Ross Lonsberry and Gary Dornhoeffer on the Flyers 2nd line. Also he wasn't poor defensively as Shero matched that line against the French Connection during the 75 finals, and the MacLeish line outscored Buffalo's top threats.

Frightened Inmate #2
12-01-2006, 04:42 PM
With Bobrov you have to take in to account that he never played hockey before his twenties and still managed to be an elite player for the Soviet team.
That is exactly the problem before roughly 1947 the game of hockey wasn't played in the Soviet Union - the inferstruction just wasn't there for the Soviet league in general to mean much of anything. People will say look at the relative dominance but he dominated against something that couldn't beat an amature team from Canada. Elite player for the Soviet team sure but to say that he was an elite player relative to the rest of the world is questionable.

Wisent
12-01-2006, 05:40 PM
Well, they beat an amateur team all the time except in 55.

BM67
12-01-2006, 05:57 PM
Clear coaching advantage to Moscow.

Goaltending is fairly even, since neither of Hall or Thompson have stellar playoff records.

Defense is also fairly even, but Quebec has to be given the edge for having the 1-2 punch of Potvin and Kelly. The main thing holding them back from having a large advantage is that neither Ruotsalainen or Rautakallio are ideal partners for Potvin or Kelly and are not suited for a pairing either. They do make a fine 2nd PP unit tandem though.

At forward, both teams reunited a first rate trio for their first lines. I'd be hard pressed to give any advantage except for that the Isles have been through the playoff wars. I'd also think Moscow has a checking line a little more up to the task of containment, but Quebec does have Potvin and Kelly to even it out, on both offense and defense. I doe like the Moscow 2nd & 3rd lines for a little bit more of an all-around game, but I keep looking at the combo of Yzerman and Firsov as a potential explosion.

Overall, I see it as pretty close, but Potvin or Kelly is going to spring a speedy LW for the winner, if they don't just do it themself. Of course Arbour just might have a card up his sleeve.