All-time Draft First Round: #2 Trail Smoke Eaters vs. #7 Winnipeg Jets

God Bless Canada
05-22-2007, 07:07 PM
The second-ranked Trail Smoke Eaters will face the No. 7 Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the Jim Robson Division playoffs. This is the first-ever playoff meeting between the two franchises. Trail is guided by GM GBC, who is in his third draft, while Winnipeg is guided by first-time GM vancityluongo.

ROSTERS

TRAIL SMOKE EATERS

Coach: Punch Imlach
Captain: Clarence "Hap" Day
Alternate Captain: Leonard "Red" Kelly
Alternate Captain: Henri "The Pocket Rocket" Richard
Alternate Captain: Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion


Sweeney Schriner-Henri Richard-Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion
Valeri Kamensky-Duke Keats-Mickey Redmond
Gilles Tremblay-Joel Otto-Claude Provost
Curt Fraser-Dale Hunter-Wilf Paiement
Garry Unger

Leonard "Red" Kelly-Rob Blake
Clarence "Hap" Day-Stefan Persson
Gus Mortson-Brian Engblom
Gary Bergman

Grant Fuhr
Al Rollins
John Ross Roach

WINNIPEG JETS

Head Coach: Harry Sinden
Captain: Steve Yzerman
Alternate Captain: Joe Sakic
Alternate Captain: Paul Henderson

Forwards:
Syd Howe-Steve Yzerman-Rod Gilbert
Ace Bailey-Joe Sakic-Tomas Sundstrom
J-P Parise-Vincent Lecavalier-Jason Arnott
Dick Duff-Frank McGee-Paul Henderson
Steve Thomas

Defense:
Art Ross-Red Horner
Mattias Ohlund-Dale Tallon
Ed Jovonovski-Andrei Markov
Dion Phaneuf

Goaltenders:

Tony Esposito
Roberto Luongo
Kirk McLean

raleh
05-22-2007, 07:12 PM
Just really quickly looking at the rosters, there's one thing that jumped out at me.

Tony-O vs Fuhr. To me, this could make the difference. It's playoff time; Fuhr will stand on his head, Esposito will let in goals from the red line.

Who on the jets gets the job of shutting down Richard and Boomer? Lecavalier? Mcgee?

Kelly and Blake just made my jaw drop.

I hate to be a dick, and I'm trying to find somewhere where Trail is outmatched, but I see this as a 5 game series. Yzerman and Sakic will ensure it's not a sweep though.

vancityluongo
05-22-2007, 07:15 PM
I hate to have no confidence in my team, but this is a clear mismatch. Credit to Trail. This team is just too good for Winnipeg to beat.

raleh
05-22-2007, 07:19 PM
I hate to have no confidence in my team, but this is a clear mismatch. Credit to Trail. This team is just too good for Winnipeg to beat.

I bet that's what most ducks fans thought about the first round in 2003 too. It's not over until it's over, so you might as well keep fighting!

If Esposito can come up with a big series then a lot of the advantage is gone. Trail's not going to score many goals, so although you'll be in tough, you'll be IN most of the games. They won't blow you out on the scoreboard and a few breaks here and there could win you some games.

shawnmullin
05-22-2007, 07:20 PM
You have a dynamite group of scoring centres at the very least. It could make life difficult.

vancityluongo
05-22-2007, 07:30 PM
Oh yeah, I know I've got the ability to win a few games, but I'm facing a super opponent in GBC, and I can only think of a few teams that I think could beat him. This guy is good. Scary good. I like my chances of giving him a hell of a fight, but nobody can honestly say that his team isn't better then mine.

That's a fact and a reality that Winnipeg is going to have to deal with. We may go down, but it won't be easy. Sakic, Yzerman, Bailey, Henderson and Parise will all make sure that we don't.

God Bless Canada
05-22-2007, 07:36 PM
A breakdown of the series, using six key components for the playoffs:

OFFENCE. Edge: Vancouver. If Vancouver wants to win this series, they're going to have to get Trail to play their style: wide-open, high-octane offence. A definite edge here, and Vancouver has defencemen who can get the puck to their forwards. The Yzerman-Sakic combo is the best 1-2 punch up the middle in the draft. Lecavalier and McGee are potent offensively, too. Howe, Gilbert, Bailey, Sandstrom and Parise are very good to excellent offensively, too. Art Ross must have been pretty good offensively - the league wouldn't have allowed the top scorer award to be named after Ross if his skill level mirrored Randy Wood's. Trail has a lot of players who had a knack for coming up big in the post-season, and they'll get more offence from their defence, but they'll lose a series that features 6-5 games instead of 3-2 games.

DEFENCE. Edge: Trail. Biggest edge in the series right here. Trail has always loaded up on defence early, and while it's not as good as their best defences in terms of personnel, we believe that this is our best-built defence. Every defenceman can move the puck, and every defenceman can take care of his own zone. Good size, too, with the smallest blue-liners at 5'11" - a switch from past drafts. An excellent team defensive system with players like Richard, Geoffrion and Keats who are excellent defensively to go with offensive skills, in addition to defensive aces like Provost, Otto, Hunter and Fraser. Winnipeg's defence is the worst in the draft. With the exception of Red Horner, there's nobody who intimidates anybody. They should get a lot of help from the forwards, though, as most of the forwards on Winnipeg are very responsible defensively. Yzerman, Sakic, Syd Howe, Bailey and Parise will need to further their reputations as guys who can play defensively.

GOALTENDING. Edge: Trail. In the regular season, I'd give the edge to Winnipeg. But much like the Siberia/Saskatoon series, that edge switches in the playoffs. Fuhr was the No. 1 goalie for four championships. Esposito had as much to do with his one championship as Fuhr did with his fifth championship. This was the time of year that Grant Fuhr loved. It's the playoffs. The regular season is over. Time for Fuhr to really care. Esposito's most memorable playoff moment is giving up a parking lot goal to Henri Richard in Game 7 of the 71 Cup final. And geez, look who Trail's top centre is.

COACHING. Edge: Trail. I know what you're saying: Geez, GBC, didn't you pass up on Imlach to pick Sinden in your first draft. Correct. But I also had Carl Brewer on my roster. And while the thought of Brewer/Imlach Round 2 sounds appealing, I went with better judgement and basically threw out the first coach and bypassed Imlach. I did say, after claiming Imlach in the minor league draft, that I would have picked Imlach if not for the presence of Carl Brewer. Sinden's an excellent coach, don't get me wrong. But Imlach's a better coach, and Trail has the character for Imlach to thrive. It's not a big edge, but I think Imlach is the better coach.

INTANGIBLES. EDGE: Trail. We said from the start that at the very least, we felt we had the team that would win the intangibles battle with any team in the draft. Sixty-eight Stanley Cup rings. An excellent captain in Hap Day, and leader after leader dotting the roster. An excellent work ethic. Guys with big game mentalities. The gap in intangibles isn't that large, you never question the intangibles of a team with Sakic, Yzerman, Henderson, Duff, McGee and Thomas (who is an excellent No. 13 forward), but if this series comes down to factors such as experience, leadership and character, we really like our chances.

GRIT. EDGE: Trail. Toughest call of the series. Went with Trail because the two teams have a good blend of grit and defensive play up front, but Trail has a definite edge on the blue line with Blake, Day and four-time PIM king Gus Mortson, against Jovanovski and Horner for Winnipeg.

KEY MATCHUP: Trail's defence versus Sakic and Yzerman. The Smokies have boasted from the start that they have a well-built defence, with six guys who are excellent in their own zone. Sakic and Yzerman will put GBC's claims to the test. We don't have a set pairing that we'll throw out there against Sakic and Yzerman, since we think all six defencemen can keep them in check, but we'd really like Hap Day out there against one of them as much as possible.

PREDICTION: Trail in five. Too much defence, too much experience, too much will to win. Defence wins championships. Trail's going to put that theory to the ultimate test. Winnipeg wins one when Yzerman and Sakic break through on home ice.

THREE STARS:
1. Red Kelly
2. Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion
3. Steve Yzerman

Murphy
05-22-2007, 07:46 PM
Credit to Trail. This team is just too good for Winnipeg to beat.

pfffft.... They're not that good.

Esposito lets one bad goal in and suddenly he's chopped liver?? Fuhr's been known to let a bad goal or two in himself. Note to Winnipeg, Fuhrs got a weak five hole.

ck26
05-22-2007, 07:55 PM
I'm with Murphy on this one. The other 19 players are close, but it's advantage Trail. Even if I am the only one (because he keeps getting picked top-100), I still think Grant Fuhr is awful. Just completely overrated.

Fuhr was good enough to not waste a Gretzky-Kurri-Messier lead. But he's not going to have that ... he's going to have a Richard-Geoffrion-a bunch of warm bodies lead. Yes, defense wins championships, but that defense isn't good enough to cover for the fact that Grant Fuhr wins championships in spite of himself.

Give me the Jets in 6.

God Bless Canada
05-22-2007, 08:04 PM
I'm with Murphy on this one. The other 19 players are close, but it's advantage Trail. Even if I am the only one (because he keeps getting picked top-100), I still think Grant Fuhr is awful. Just completely overrated.

Fuhr was good enough to not waste a Gretzky-Kurri-Messier lead. But he's not going to have that ... he's going to have a Richard-Geoffrion-a bunch of warm bodies lead. Yes, defense wins championships, but that defense isn't good enough to cover for the fact that Grant Fuhr wins championships in spite of himself.

Give me the Jets in 6.
Actually, I got Fuhr outside of the top 100 in ATD #6.

Fuhr's a guy you never evaluated on stats. With him, it was all about the big save. When you needed that big save in the last five minutes of the third period in a close game, he was the man. And once the playoffs started, he took his game to a completely different level. Didn't care about the number of goals he surrendered, just as long as he got the W. He was all about winning, and at the end of the day, that's what we want from our goalie.

Buffalo swept Boston in four straight in the 1993 playoffs. Grant Fuhr was terrific in every one of those games.

He showed in St. Louis late in his career that he could bring that "just win, baby" mentality to a 2-1 or 3-2 game as effectively as he did in those 6-5 games with the Oilers.

MXD
05-22-2007, 08:26 PM
It might sounds weird, but I'd prefer having a team like the Jets ahead Fuhr than a team like Trail. I give the nod to Trail, but the goaltending match with have nothing to do with it.

shawnmullin
05-22-2007, 11:07 PM
It's funny, as an Oiler fan I'm also not THAT high on Fuhr. I mean it's easy to say "he doesn't care how many he lets in if he wins" but doesn't that argument somewhat feed into the criticisms that he's a good goalie who looked great because he was surrounded by a terrific team?

He HAS let in some softies at key times. I still prefer him over Espo however.

Winnipeg could steal a couple of games with momentum and scoring, but that's about it I'm affraid.

Trail in 5 or 6 but a good first effort.

I got swept in my first draft.

Nalyd Psycho
05-22-2007, 11:10 PM
The Jets have a very distinct advantage down the middle where their #2 would be Trails' #1. I say goaltending is a wash. Slight edge to Trail for scoring wingers. Large edge to trail for bottom 6, although Parise is a great pick. And Trail's defence is absolutly 100% the kicker here. Just a massive edge there.

Yzerman and Sakic will try, and I do think the Jets have a solid team, just, well, Trail is one tough team to play a 7 game series against, and honestly, well. I'm gonna say it. Trail in 4.

vancityluongo
05-22-2007, 11:42 PM
The Jets have a very distinct advantage down the middle where their #2 would be Trails' #1. I say goaltending is a wash. Slight edge to Trail for scoring wingers. Large edge to trail for bottom 6, although Parise is a great pick. And Trail's defence is absolutly 100% the kicker here. Just a massive edge there.

Yzerman and Sakic will try, and I do think the Jets have a solid team, just, well, Trail is one tough team to play a 7 game series against, and honestly, well. I'm gonna say it. Trail in 4.

My feelings exact. And I really don't want pity picks, just becasue I'm young, or because it's my first draft. I want a fair evaluation. Sakic, Yzerman and the rest want a fair evaluation as well. No win is a win to us, unless its deserved.

EagleBelfour
05-23-2007, 07:11 PM
My feelings exact. And I really don't want pity picks, just becasue I'm young, or because it's my first draft. I want a fair evaluation. Sakic, Yzerman and the rest want a fair evaluation as well. No win is a win to us, unless its deserved.

Your team is solid enough to win at least a game over any teams. Sakic, Yzerman, Gilbert, Ross and Esposito won't let a sweep happen, and quite frankly, a couple of players I named have the ability to steal a game on their own.

pitseleh
05-23-2007, 07:52 PM
Your team is solid enough to win at least a game over any teams. Sakic, Yzerman, Gilbert, Ross and Esposito won't let a sweep happen, and quite frankly, a couple of players I named have the ability to steal a game on their own.

I agree. Winnipeg is in a little over their head, but I don't see this being a sweep. As we've seen in recent years, both Yzerman and Sakic are capable of putting a team on their back. Tony O is very hot and cold, and has the potential to steal a series.

John Flyers Fan
05-24-2007, 10:59 AM
Trail definitely gets the edge, but Winnipeg does have one distinct advantage, and that's the big three up the midlle. They'll be talented enough to win a game or two.

shawnmullin
05-24-2007, 01:33 PM
Lecavalier's career is starting to look a lot better with the Cup win and the MVP type season he just had. Not only is he a dangerous scorer who will likely get to feast on some weaker defensive opposition (compared to the first two lines anyway) but he's ever dangerous short handed. Could be an overlooked factor for Winnipeg if Vinny scores a momentum shifting shorty.

Again, the Jets ar elikely overmatched, but they can put up a fight.

Nalyd Psycho
05-24-2007, 01:37 PM
Thing I find interesting about Vinny L is that, if he applies himself, he has all the talent to be a high end shutdown center.

Nalyd Psycho
05-28-2007, 12:31 AM
GAME 1


Lecavalier towers over Richard at the opening faceoff. Richard bumps Lecavlier to win the faceoff to Schriner, sending Schriner and Geoffrion in on a two on two, Schriner dekes Horner but Esposito makes the same.

Yzerman and Gilbert break in on a two on one, Kelly blocks the pass so Yzerman shoots, Fuhr makes the save but bobbles the rebound, Gilbert is about to score when Kelly gets his stick in the way of the shot and clears the puck up ice.

Keats makes an up ice pass to Kamensky, Kamensky dekes past Henderson, just as he's getting past him Jovanovski comes out of nowhere to flatten Kamensky.

Bailey passes to Sakic for one of his patented wrist shots, but Kelly blokes the shot.

This one's going to overtime!

Early in OT, Kelly passes up to Richard, who tips it ahead to Geoffrion. Geoffrion pushes the puck forward and slips by Ross. With the puck still moving forward, Geoffrion winds up...BOOM! Game over Trail wins!


The Train Smoke Eaters lead the Winnipeg Jets 1 game to 0. After a 1-0 victory.

Nalyd Psycho
05-28-2007, 12:49 PM
Game 2:


Winnipeg is coming out flying tonight, Yzerman leads the way with 3 shots in the first period. But, Fuhr is bringing his "A" game tonight. Turning away all comers. But, Winnipeg's offense pins Trail back.

A bit more back and forth in the 2nd, with Howe getting a goal off an Yzerman pass, and Keats powering his way into the slot and getting a pass from Day to tie it up.

In the third, Geoffrion undresses Markov, but has no shot on Esposito. He passes back to Kelly who one time passes to Schriner, who gets a quick shot off on a now out of position Esposito.

Provost gets an empty net goal.


The Train Smoke Eaters lead the Winnipeg Jets 2 game to 0. After a 3-1 victory.

Nalyd Psycho
05-29-2007, 03:49 AM
Game 3


The Jets come out hard to try to get back into the series in front of the hometown crowd. But Red Kelly isn't going to make things easy on them. In the first period alone Kelly creates 5 turnovers off steals.

In the second, Winnipeg isn't giving an inch, Yzerman is able to get on the ice against Mortson and Engblom. Mortson commits to a hit, but Yzerman swerves. Yzerman fakes the pass to Gilbert, throwing off Engblom, one on one with Fuhr. Yzerman scores!

Winnipeg keeps pressing, but as Kelly logs more on more minutes, chances become further apart.

Late in the third period, Richard fakes to Schriner, backpasses to Geoffrion, one-timer...SCORES!

This one's going to overtime!
Winnipeg comes out flying, but just can't solve the workhorse Red Kelly.

On a bad rush by Jovanovski, Hunter and Blake get a two on one, Hunter passes back to Blake, one-timer...Stopped by Esposito! Rebound bounces out, Hunter chips it over Espo's sprawled out pad.

The Train Smoke Eaters lead the Winnipeg Jets 3 game to 0. After a 2-1 victory.

Nalyd Psycho
05-29-2007, 12:00 PM
Quick summary:

Game 4: Esposito gets in the zone and no matter how much offense the Richard line, Keats line and the Kelly/Blake pairing generate, nothing gets through. Once the Yzerman line and Sakic line get to Fuhr, the gates open. Winnipeg wins 4-0.

Game 5: Fuhr recovers due to great team defense. Esposito stays in the zone. zero/zero tie into overtime, Geoffrion lets go a howitzer, Esposito catches it, but, the force of the shot knocks him in the net, video review shows his glove was completely over the line. Trail wins 1-0.

Trail wins the series 4 games to 1.

Three Stars:
1st Star-Leonard "Red" Kelly
2nd Star-Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion
3rd Star-Steve Yzerman

God Bless Canada
05-29-2007, 12:46 PM
We'd like to thank Nalyd for the write-ups, and all of the GMs who voted for us.

Also thanks to VCL and the Winnipeg Jets for a good series. The work he did, at his age, in his first draft, was very impressive. I know I wouldn't have had nearly as good of a team as he had if I tried this thing when I was 13. We'd better enjoy beating him while we can, boys. In a couple years, the VCL's and lebda's of this draft are going to be extremely tough to beat. (Lebda already is, judging by his win over pnep).

vancityluongo
05-29-2007, 06:17 PM
Thanks GBC.

I also have to congratulate you for just plain beating me out. A veteran ATD GM, from the start it was clear I had no chance. You're just too good GBC, but thanks for the series.

Thanks Nayld as well for the writeups.