ATD#8 Bob Cole Semi-Final: #2 Nanaimo Clippers vs. #3 Boston Bruins

VanIslander
11-28-2007, 05:53 AM
The Bob Cole division:

Second Round Match-Up



Nanaimo Clippers

Coach: Hap Day
Captain: Hap Day
Alternate Captains: Bobby Orr, Lionel Hitchman

Sweeney Schriner - Joe Primeau - Charlie Conacher
Kevin Stevens - Frank Nighbor - Ed Litzenberger
Dean Prentice - Cooney Weiland - Bobby Rousseau
Hec Kilrea - Glen Skov - Eric Nesterenko
Camille Henry

Bobby Orr - Brad McCrimmon
Lionel Conacher - Hap Day
Gilles Marotte - Lionel Hitchman
Viktor Kuzkin

Clint Benedict
Tom Barrasso
Viktor Konovalenko



vs.



Boston Bruins

Coach: Art Ross
Captain: Sid Abel
Alternates: Doug Harvey, Keith Magnuson

Frank Mahovlich - Sid Abel - Bernie Geoffrion
Vsevolod Bobrov - Billy Burch - Tim Kerr
Nick Metz - Joel Otto - Alf Smith
Gerard Gallant - Pit Lepine - Odie Cleghorn
Ken Randall
Ron Duguay

Doug Harvey - Ott Heller
Pat Stapleton - Keith Magnuson
Dollard St. Laurent - Reed Larson
Joe Simpson

George Hainsworth
Curtis Joseph


-----------

VanIslander
11-28-2007, 05:54 AM
Nanaimo Clippers

PP1: Schriner - Primeau - C. Conacher - Orr - Rousseau
PP2: K.Stevens - Nighbor - Litzenberger - L. Conacher - Day

PK1: Weiland - Rousseau - Conacher - McCrimmon
PK2: Skov - Nesterenko - Day - Hitchman

vs.

Boston Bruins

PP1: Mahovlich - Abel - T.Kerr - Harvey - Geoffrion
PP2: Bobrov - Burch - A.Smith - Stapleton - Larson

PK1: Metz - Otto - Harvey - Magnuson
PK2: Abel - Lepine - St. Laurent - Heller

God Bless Canada
11-28-2007, 01:09 PM
This one should be a beauty, maybe the premier match-up of the second round. I'm going to break it down, but I'm also going to let pit and E-Speak's discussions convince me.

Boston's top line is arguably one of the best left in the draft. Mahovlich-Abel-Geoffrion is terrific, a good blend of size, skill, grit and two-way play. Nanaimo's two-way line will have their hands full. If Weiland's line comes up short, the Clippers have a back-up - that Skov line will be very difficult to play against. Nestorenko is one of the best fourth line RWs in the draft.

All four of Nanaimo's centres are excellent in their own zone. We haven't seen many teams, since the draft expanded to 28, that can trot out four centres like Primeau, Nighbour, Weiland and Skov. Weiland was one of the biggest steals in the draft. He's good enough to play on the second line.

In keeping with tradition, Boston has one of the best defence corps in the draft. But Nanaimo is at least their equal. Nanaimo has the best defenceman ever (Orr). I'd like to see Big Train Conacher partnered with Orr. But McCrimmon is pretty darn good, too. Day's terrific. One of the most underrated players in the draft.

This is the only match-up left in the draft that Harvey won't be the best defenceman in the series.

Neither team has a glaring weakness in their blueline. Both have a good blend of skill, speed, offensive and defensive awareness and toughness.

Bullet Joe Simpson at pick 600-something was the biggest steal of the draft.

Give the goaltending edge to Nanaimo. Benedict was a heck of a goalie. Some have him in the top 10. Some also have Hainsworth in the top 10, but his record-setting seasons were reflective of the absence of the forward pass. I'd take Benedict ahead of Hainsworth (I think most of my peers agree). And I believe Benedict went to the final of the last draft.

Also give Nanaimo the edge behind the bench. Art Ross was a fine coach. I think he belongs in the HHOF more as a builder than as a player. And he was a pretty darn good player. But you could make a case for Day as a top five coach of all-time. Coaching is probably the biggest edge in the series.

pitseleh
11-28-2007, 08:56 PM
I want to start off by saying good luck to Speaker. He's put together a great team.

I also want to mention that Kuzkin will draw back in over Marotte. With Orr and Conacher eating up in excess of 50 minutes a night on the left side, Kuzkin will be used primarily as a powerplay specialist with occasional shifts at ES. He will play alongside Orr on the first unit with Rousseau moving down to the second unit replacing Day.

I'm throwing around a couple of lineup changes in my head, I'll post a more thorough analysis when I have a bit more time.

pitseleh
11-30-2007, 04:28 PM
Alright, here are some preliminary thoughts on this series (Evil Speaker's been AWOL for a while, so I'm hoping he comes back on to respond):

Strategy:

Our obvious focus will be on shutting down the big line. Prentice-Weiland-Rousseau will be given that responsibility and will hopefully be able to play strong defense against them and chip in with timely offense. I know that we can't negate their offense, but if our third line can limit how much they are outscored, offensively we feel we have the guns to win the series. That leaves Kilrea-Skov-Nesterenko to matchup against the Boston's big strong second line. Our second line will also see time against this line as we feel that they may be able to counter attack strongly against that line with Nighbor's defensive conscience and speed.

I thought about moving Conacher up to the top pairing with Orr and using McCrimmon/Day as the second pairing, but I feel that Conacher's size and strength will be needed to neutralize the size advantage that Burch and Kerr bring. Hitchman will likely play with Conacher on defense on the first PK unit to handle Kerr and Mahovlich. Orr will also see more playing time on the PK as we begin to rely on him more as the playoffs go on (we were trying to save him from injury before this series).

On that note, as I mentioned, Conacher and Orr will eat up over 50 minutes per game on the left side (Orr creeping towards 28-30 and Conacher around 25). That leaves Kuzkin to be used primarily as a PP specialist. On the right side, Day will get the most ice time, but all three of Hitchman, Day and McCrimmon will see close to 20 minutes. Hitchman will once again move up and spend most of his time beside either Orr or Conacher (so in that sense we run more of a depth chart system than a true pairings system).

Strengths:

Defensive Personnel: Speaker has put together a strong defense but I feel that we have an edge in terms of personnel. Other than Larson on the third pairing (and Bullet Joe as a spare), I feel as though we have the edge at every other position on our defense. This will hopefully translate into team success, which brings me to my next point...

Team System: The Clippers fit into our team philosophy of defense first. I personally have Benedict in the #7-10 range for goalies all time, and at worst he's an above average starter IMO. We have a very good defense top to bottom. Then there's a strong two-way line and a good checking line as well as strong defensive presences on our top-2 lines. Finally, there's Hap Day behind the bench, one of the best (arguably the best) defensive coach of all time. Hopefully the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts with this team.

Two-Way Line Scoring: Though Speaker's line brings extra intangibles (such as Otto's size and strength and Smith's mean streak), I think our line has a distinct advantage in terms of scoring ability. Rousseau and Weiland had very strong offensive peaks while Prentice was a very consistent contributor who had a couple of very strong goal scoring seasons.

Weaknesses:

Top Line Scoring: The most obvious weakness on our team compared to Boston is our top line scoring. While Geoffrion and Conacher are pretty close, Abel and Mahovlich are clear upgrades on Schriner and Primeau. In order to neutralize this advantage, hopefully our team defense and scoring depth (both up front and on defense) will allow us to compete with Boston.

Containing Boston's Size Up Front: With the exception of Abel and Metz, Boston has a very big top-9. Conacher and Hitchman will have to leverage their size and strength to try and neutralize their presence in front of Benedict.

Nalyd Psycho
12-04-2007, 05:43 AM
Game 1: Nighbor wins the opening faceoff back to Orr, Orr skates through Abel and Mahovalich, fakes wide but cuts inside on Harvey...BOOM! Harvey flips Orr skate over helmet with a vicious hipcheck. I can count on one finger the amount of players with that kind of anticipation. Throughout the 1st Harvey is stifling Orr. Hap Day can't use his line change advantage because Harvey is always ready when Orr hits the ice. Geoffrion gets a powerplay goal. Ross continues to keep his team playing a strict road game and prevents Day from getting a line matching advantage. Bobrov, Rousseau and Smith score.

Boston wins game 1 3-1 to take a 1-0 series lead.

Game 2: Day mixes it up a a bit and uses Orr with the Nighbor and Weiland lines. Leaving the Primeau line with Lionel Conacher. This has some early success as Charlie Conacher gets a goal. But soon after it becames a defensive game of chess, which suits Boston fine. That said, a team coached by Hap Day is never unprepared defensively. Boston has an advantage but Benedict stands on his head, putting on a brilliant performance to take the game.

Nanaimo wins Game 2 1-0 to tie the series 1-1.

Game 3: With the series coming to Boston Art Ross is elated with his teams play, hoping to get a 3-1 vice grip before going back to Nanaimo. And well, that sounds about right. Harvey, Geoffrion, Bobrov and Otto score for Boston, Orr and Nighbor for Nanaimo.

Boston wins Game 3 4-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

Game 4: Hap Day is getting nervous. Geoffrion scores an early goal from Harvey. 10 minutes latter, Orr is leading the rush, he cuts along the boards and Harvey clips him, hitting the latter half of his body and Orr goes down in pain. Orr is helped off the ice by his teammates and goes to the dressing room. Orr is back at the start of the second, but he's playing tentatively and conservatively. Early in the third Orr is carrying the puck to center when Metz makes a move towards him, and Orr gets a burst of speed right past him, he weaves past Otto and leaves Harvey in his dust, scoring mid height blocker side. He was playing possum! Litzenberger scores the game winner.

Nanaimo wins Game 4 2-1 to tie the series 2-2.

Game 5: The action returns to Nanaimo with the Clippers having momentum. Day realizes is that his best bet is to use Bobby Orr unpredictably. He has him with different defense partners, different forwards and changes on the fly shortly after the faceoffs. Lots of short shifts. Ross and Harvey can't get a handle on him, allowing him to setup Kerr, Schriner and Kilrea for goals. Abel answers with a goal, but a Lionel Conacher point shot seals the deal.

Nanaimo wins Game 5 4-1 to take a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6: If Bobby Orr is a group of Jazz virtuosos in a smoky club improvising whatever comes to their finger tips, Doug Harvey is a classic orchestra where every note is precise, planned and picture perfect. If Day is going to use Orr to create confusion on the Bruins bench, Ross is going to use Harvey to trap and cage the Clippers so all they can do is what Doug Harvey wants them to do. Every chance they have, Harvey holds the puck, waiting, patiently, moving swiftly and definitively whenever pressured, immediately assuaging the pressure. Harvey, Geoffrion and Mahovalich score to give Hainsworth the shutout.

Boston wins Game 6 3-0 to tie the seires 3-3.

Game 7: The battle of wills is on. Hap Day has the line change advantage, but neither team looks cocky, not after the roller coaster ride they've been on these past 12 days. The Nanaimo crowd is thunderous, drowning out the few jet-setting Bostonians trying in vain to support their troops. Both teams keep the puck moving with precision and creativity, but neither team can configure a strategy that could break the other teams stranglehold. Harvey counters Orr. Orr counters Harvey. The scorelessness continues into the third. And the final frame changes nothing. Everyone is on the edge of their seat. Even those who don't have seats. Geoffrion, the series top goal scorer gets a breakaway with seconds left, goes for the shot, fakes, left, right, shoots... STOPPED BY BENEDICT! THIS ONE'S GOING TO OVERTIME! Midway through overtime, Harvey goes for the pass to Geoffrion, Nighbor comes out of nowhere to intercept, Heller forces him to the outside, Heller and Harvey have him in a pinch. Wild pass. Orr comes out of nowhere! One timer! Orr...SCORES! NANAIMO WINS! NANAIMO WINS!

Nanaimo wins Game 7 1-0 in OT to win the series 4-3.

Nanaimo wins 4 games to 3.

Three Stars:
1. Bobby Orr
2. Doug Harvey
3. Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion

pitseleh
12-04-2007, 10:24 AM
Thanks for the quick writeup Nalyd.

I figured this series would be tight, so OT in game 7 definitely is not surprising.

Evil Speaker
12-04-2007, 11:56 AM
Congrats to the Clippers!

For the 3rd draft in a row our team draws an extremely tough opponent in the 2nd round and ends up losing. In all 3 of those drafts I figured I had built a top 5 team. Hopefully my luck will change next draft.
Sorry for being so lazy in the disscussions this draft. I'll try to take a more active role in the next round of discussion... Or at least I will vote.

pitseleh
12-04-2007, 06:14 PM
Congrats to the Clippers!

For the 3rd draft in a row our team draws an extremely tough opponent in the 2nd round and ends up losing. In all 3 of those drafts I figured I had built a top 5 team. Hopefully my luck will change next draft.
Sorry for being so lazy in the disscussions this draft. I'll try to take a more active role in the next round of discussion... Or at least I will vote.

I definitely thought you had the guns to pull out the division win. The difference in seeding is rather significant.

Hopefully next time you'll have better luck (though not at my expense ;)).

Sturminator
12-05-2007, 01:36 AM
This is a matchup that may well have come down to nothing more than home ice. I thought both teams were contenders and seeing them matched up in the second round just seemed unfair.