ATD #9 Foster Hewitt Semifinal: #2 Minnesota Fighting Saints vs. #3 Ottawa RCAF Flyer

FissionFire
05-27-2008, 12:58 AM
The Minnesota Fighting Saints
Coach: Pat Burns
Captain: Jean Beliveau
Alternate Captains: Earl Seibert & Rod Langway

Rick Martin - Jean Beliveau - Danny Gare
Adam Graves - Syd Howe - Pavel Bure
Nick Metz - Bobby Holik - Bill Ezinicki
Bob Errey - George "Red" Sullivan - Anders Kallur
Hobey Baker

Rod Langway - Earl Seibert
Alexander Ragulin - Edward Ivanov
Carol Vadnais - Dallas Smith
Sylvain Lefebvre

Harry "Hap" Holmes
Mike Liut

PP#1
Adam Graves - Jean Beliveau - Pavel Bure
Carol Vadnais - Earl Seibert

PP#2
Rick Martin - Bobby Holik - Danny Gare
Alexander Ragulin - Edward Ivanov

PK#1
Bobby Holik - Nick Metz
Rod Langway - Earl Seibert

PK#2
George "Red" Sullivan - Anders Kallur
Alexander Ragulin - Dallas Smith



Ottawa RCAF Flyers
Coach: Tommy Gorman
Captain: Milt Schmidt
Alternate captain: Larry Robinson, Clarence "Hap" Day, Johnny Bucyk

Johnny Bucyk - Milt Schmidt - Cam Neely
Shayne Corson - Jacques Lemaire - Steve Larmer
Mike McPhee - Wayne Merrick - Bobby Rousseau
Brenden Morrow - Glen Skov - Blair Russell
Russell Bowie, Ray Getliffe

Larry Robinson - Clarence "Hap" Day
Doug Mohns - Bill Barilko
Ted Harris - Brad Maxwell
Joe Watson

Gerry Cheevers
Hugh Lehman

PP#1
Johnny Bucyk - Milt Schmidt - Cam Neely
Larry Robinson - Brad Maxwell

PP#2
Shayne Corson - Jacques Lemaire - Steve Larmer
Clarence "Hap" Day - Doug Mohns

PK#1
Bobby Rousseau - Milt Schmidt
Larry Robinson - Bill Barilko

PK#2
Brenden Morrow - Glen Skov
Ted Harris - Doug Mohns

Nalyd Psycho
05-27-2008, 04:23 AM
The word epic fails to describe how epic this series will be. If there's one GM I've wanted to face but never have, it's GBC. We don't agree on much when it comes to building teams, but, I think we both agree that we're good at it...

I look forward to this one.

FissionFire
05-27-2008, 02:46 PM
After discussions with NP, the Minnesota Fighting Saints will have one minor lineup change:

RW Bill Ezinicki will move up to the 3rd line and RW Anders Kallur will move to the 4th line.

Murphy
05-27-2008, 02:58 PM
The word epic fails to describe how epic this series will be.

Like Kingston vs Toronto in the first round, this is the second round series that interests me most.

Defense seems a wash, Offense seems a wash & I really like both first lines. Goaltending seems a wash as well. At first glance I can't call a winner. I don't see much of a difference between the 3rd and 4th lines either, although Rousseau is a personal favourite.

raleh
05-27-2008, 03:23 PM
Like Kingston vs Toronto in the first round, this is the second round series that interests me most.

Defense seems a wash, Offense seems a wash & I really like both first lines. Goaltending seems a wash as well. At first glance I can't call a winner. I don't see much of a difference between the 3rd and 4th lines either, although Rousseau is a personal favourite.

Well if Defense, Offense, and goaltending are all washes, then you should probably vote for the team who will be coached better. To me that's a no brainer.

God Bless Canada
05-27-2008, 03:35 PM
Good luck to RP and FF. Looking forward to the debates. I'll have more posted on this series later tonight or tomorrow.

FissionFire
05-27-2008, 03:45 PM
Well if Defense, Offense, and goaltending are all washes, then you should probably vote for the team who will be coached better. To me that's a no brainer.

I realize we have strong coaching, but to say we're a no-brainer over you seems a bit harsh.

If the teams are really even in his mind I'd think home-ice advantage would be a strong factor in deciding the victor.

God Bless Canada
05-27-2008, 07:45 PM
About half-way through the draft, I had a pretty good idea of how the regular season ratings would shake down: Detroit, Ottawa/Minnesota, Kansas City, Dallas/St. Louis, Montreal and Donair City. I thought we would finish ahead of Minnesota, but I knew it would be close.

And this series will be close, too. Both teams have excellent team defense and team toughness, strong work ethic and big-game goalies.

I think we do have some advantages. The first is character. Playoffs are about character. Our toughest decision was not who to pick, but who to get the letters. Schmidt was our captain from the start. Robinson, Bucyk, Robinson, Day, Lemaire, McPhee and Morrow would have all been great choices for a letter. We decided to assign three on a rotating basis.


Any one of our centres can play against Beliveau. That's a big perk. Any of our lines can play against Beliveau's line. That's also a big advantage. We have a strong assortment of two-way players on all four lines. When you have forwards like Bucyk, Schmidt, Lemaire and Larmer on the top two lines, you can wait to start assembling the third line.

We're going to try to get Mohns out there against Bure whenever possible. This is why we got Mohns: a strong, very mobile, two-way defenceman who could take care of his own zone. I watched Bure play some terrific hockey in the playoffs. People talk about his performance in 1994; I thought he was more consistent in 1995. Frankly, in 1994, there were stretches, especially against the Rangers and Calgary, when he was ineffective. But I also watched him struggle in the playoffs. And not always against star defencemen. (Alexei Zhitnik in 1993, anyone?). Mohns can definitely neutralize Bure.

Rod Langway's playoff record isn't sterling. He wasn't the biggest reason the Caps failed year after year in the playoffs in the 1980s. But he wasn't immune from criticism, either. I watched players not in Neely's class really take it to Langway in the playoffs. This could be one of the big difference makers. Langway just wasn't as effective in the playoffs as he was in the regular season.

We also have much better playoff production from the wings. As I've said previously, it's not that Martin and Gare have bad playoff records. It's just they're underwhelming. Especially Martin. I think if Martin had Neely's playoff record, Martin would be in the HHOF. For such a dynamic goal scorer, I'd like to see more than 24 goals in 63 games. Gare's an excellent two-way player, and he can be effective when he's not scoring. But again, there isn't much that stands out for Gare.

Nalyd, you asked why Corson is on our second line? Same reason Graves is on your second line. But Corson actually scored at a better clip, in both the regular season and the playoffs.

I think we definitely have an edge in coaching. Gorman, for my money, is one of the top 10 coaches of all-time. If you think this series comes down to coaching, and there are a lot of reasons to think it will, then the Flyers are your pick.

I'd much rather have a legitimate edge behind the bench, than home ice advantage. I don't think home ice advantage is an issue. Not with our character. Not with our depth. And not with our coaching.

Nalyd Psycho
05-28-2008, 05:22 AM
I think we do have some advantages. The first is character. Playoffs are about character. Our toughest decision was not who to pick, but who to get the letters. Schmidt was our captain from the start. Robinson, Bucyk, Robinson, Day, Lemaire, McPhee and Morrow would have all been great choices for a letter. We decided to assign three on a rotating basis.

And The Fighting Saints lack character? Beliveau is arguably the best leader in hockey history, follow that up with captains:
Danny Gare: Sabres: 77-81, Red Wings: 82-86
Syd Howe: Senators/Eagles: 33-35, Red Wings: 41-42
Bobby Holik: Thrashers: 07-present
Bob Errey: Sharks 93-95
Red Sullivan: Rangers: 57-61
Rod Langway: Capitals: 82-93
Earl Seibert: Blackhawks: 40-42
Carol Vadnias: Golden Seals: 71-72

And that's not including the character leadership of Graves, Metz, Ragulin, Smith and others.

I'm not going to slander your teams heart, but you certainly have no advantage in that department.


Any one of our centres can play against Beliveau. That's a big perk. Any of our lines can play against Beliveau's line. That's also a big advantage. We have a strong assortment of two-way players on all four lines. When you have forwards like Bucyk, Schmidt, Lemaire and Larmer on the top two lines, you can wait to start assembling the third line.

And any of our centers can play against Schmidt, but we like Holik because he's one of the few centers who can neutralize Schmidt's physical advantage and thusly throw him off his game.


We're going to try to get Mohns out there against Bure whenever possible. This is why we got Mohns: a strong, very mobile, two-way defenceman who could take care of his own zone. I watched Bure play some terrific hockey in the playoffs. People talk about his performance in 1994; I thought he was more consistent in 1995. Frankly, in 1994, there were stretches, especially against the Rangers and Calgary, when he was ineffective. But I also watched him struggle in the playoffs. And not always against star defencemen. (Alexei Zhitnik in 1993, anyone?). Mohns can definitely neutralize Bure.

Love to see a scoring breakdown of the '93 series, as Bure was a PPG player in the two-round playoff. And while Mohns could skate with Bure, I think you underrate how unstoppable Bure was. Even if you take him out for a few games, in a seven game series, he is going to single handedly win a game or two. Bure, Beliveau and Neely are the only players in this series that can dominate a single game on that level. If you think over seven games you can stop him, you're foolish.


Rod Langway's playoff record isn't sterling. He wasn't the biggest reason the Caps failed year after year in the playoffs in the 1980s. But he wasn't immune from criticism, either. I watched players not in Neely's class really take it to Langway in the playoffs. This could be one of the big difference makers. Langway just wasn't as effective in the playoffs as he was in the regular season.

I think you are massively overstating things, Doug Harvey probably had an off series here or there. No one is stating that Rod Langway can singlehandedly neutralize a threat like Neely. That said, we do think that Langway and Metz will be able to combine to give Neely a challenge he never had to face in reality.


We also have much better playoff production from the wings. As I've said previously, it's not that Martin and Gare have bad playoff records. It's just they're underwhelming. Especially Martin. I think if Martin had Neely's playoff record, Martin would be in the HHOF. For such a dynamic goal scorer, I'd like to see more than 24 goals in 63 games. Gare's an excellent two-way player, and he can be effective when he's not scoring. But again, there isn't much that stands out for Gare.

Bure and Neely are pretty much washes offensively. Both are equally capable of tearing out their opponent's heart. Neely is more consistent, but Bure is harder to contain when he brings it. (Which is why Bure is relied on for secondary scoring. He won't be a three star every game, but when he is, he'll be 1st star.)

Please point me to the time Steve Larmer lead his line in playoff scoring? You'll find him tying Savard once. Conversely in 4 extended playoff runs, Gare leads his line once, ties twice and has one year where I assume he was on Perrault's line and played below Perrault's level.

Bucyk had a playoff scoring record of 3g, 10a, 13pts in 32 games when he was the age Rick Martin retired at. Bucyk is a perfect example of the fatal flaw of your offense. You assume that a player who needs to be offensively protected in the NHL to succeed will be able to duplicate that in the ATD. Bucyk isn't going to be facing 2nd pairings here. He isn't going to be on the rush with Bobby Orr. No. While he may have Robinson, Schmidt and Neely watching his back, he's also on a head on collision with Ezinicki and Seibert. And that's going to put him closer to the disappointment of his youth than it will the glory of his later years.

Nalyd, you asked why Corson is on our second line? Same reason Graves is on your second line. But Corson actually scored at a better clip, in both the regular season and the playoffs.

You have Shayne Corson on your second line because Pavel Bure plays better with a guy who will drop the gloves on his line? That seems kind of odd...

The difference here is that we concede that Graves is better suited to an energy line than a scoring line, but, that Pavel Bure is, when on his game, a 1st round talent. And thus we did everything humanly possible to make Pavel Bure comfortable and effective. And a critical part of that was to get a player who would go to the corners, go to the front of the net to screen and get garbage goals and drop the gloves all while being a character guy and positive influence. Graves was the best we could do to fill that role. Corson could have filled that role except he is absolutely not a character guy and would be a proactively bad influence. (And what's more, Graves is significantly less penalized, having a 180PIM player like Corson logging 2nd line minutes just gives us more PP time. Which is another advantage the Fighting Saints have, while both the Saints and the Flyers are roughly equal when it comes to toughness, the Fighting Saints live up to their name and have one of the best toughness to penalty ratios in the ATD.) I would go so far as to say Corson has as much cancer potential as Bure has, the difference is Bure backs up his BS on the score sheet, while getting smashed and winning barroom brawls the night before game seven has no benefit to your team.

The bottom line is this. Neither Graves nor Corson belong on a 2nd line. Adam Graves absolutely belongs on the Pavel Bure Line. Shayne Corson just flat out doesn't belong on a second line.

I think we definitely have an edge in coaching. Gorman, for my money, is one of the top 10 coaches of all-time. If you think this series comes down to coaching, and there are a lot of reasons to think it will, then the Flyers are your pick.

I'd much rather have a legitimate edge behind the bench, than home ice advantage. I don't think home ice advantage is an issue. Not with our character. Not with our depth. And not with our coaching.

I'm not going to disrespect Tom Gorman as I'm not a hypocrite. That said, tomorrow I'm going to focus on my team and our strategy (and why home ice advantage will break the RCAF Flyers.) and while doing that I will explain why Burns is not nearly as far behind Gorman as you seem to think.

Sturminator
05-28-2008, 06:22 AM
I think you are massively overstating things, Doug Harvey probably had an off series here or there.

I dunno about a bad series, but Doug Harvey did tip a harmless Tony Leswick dump-in shot past his own goalie in overtime of Game 7 of the 1954 Cup finals to win it for the Red Wings. It's one of the worst gaffes in NHL history, but seemingly forgotten because of Harvey's greatness. No one, not even Doug Harvey, is perfect.

Bucyk had a playoff scoring record of 3g, 10a, 13pts in 32 games when he was the age Rick Martin retired at. Bucyk is a perfect example of the fatal flaw of your offense. You assume that a player who needs to be offensively protected in the NHL to succeed will be able to duplicate that in the ATD. Bucyk isn't going to be facing 2nd pairings here. He isn't going to be on the rush with Bobby Orr. No. While he may have Robinson, Schmidt and Neely watching his back, he's also on a head on collision with Ezinicki and Seibert. And that's going to put him closer to the disappointment of his youth than it will the glory of his later years.

I took a little shot at Bucyk's playoff scoring numbers in the last round to point out that even great players can turn in disappointing postseason performances when they're not put in position to succeed, not because I think Bucyk was a poor playoff performer.

Bucyk - Schmidt - Neely
Robinson - Day

...is an awful lot of offensive talent together on one unit. Bucyk is really the support player on that line and I think in that role he's fine, and will get his points. What an epic physical battle this series will be.

Based on your comments about Ezinicki vs. Bucyk, I assume that you're planning on matching the Minnesota 3rd line against Ottawa's 1st line. You have home-ice advantage and Burns is a strong X's-and-O's coach, so I don't see any problems there, but how much icetime are you planning on giving the 3rd line? You can't match them against the BBB line on every shift without doing your scoringlines a real injustice. Danny Gare was a pretty good 2-way player in his own right (one of the reasons you drafted him, I'm sure) and although he gives up a lot of size to Bucyk, you might be better off just letting him do his best against Bucyk and not taking away shifts from your scoringlines.

Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think GBC and raleh are planning on line-matching in this series, and rightfully so. Line-matching is an ATD phenomenon that is quickly becoming unfashionable for a good reason. It is certainly useful in some situations to throw a line of shutdown forwards on the ice, but as an overall, shift-to-shift strategy, it has been pretty often overrated in this forum.

FissionFire
05-28-2008, 12:09 PM
Rod Langway's playoff record isn't sterling. He wasn't the biggest reason the Caps failed year after year in the playoffs in the 1980s. But he wasn't immune from criticism, either. I watched players not in Neely's class really take it to Langway in the playoffs. This could be one of the big difference makers. Langway just wasn't as effective in the playoffs as he was in the regular season.

I've been hearing this nit-picking of Langway since the moment he was drafted and it's starting to get tedious. I've been trying to find articles or writeups or anything from his playoff runs to make the assertion that Langway was responsible for a lost series, or even a lost game and frankly I can't find anything. All due respect GBC, but when the only evidence you offer is watching "players not in Neely's class really take it to Langway" you can understand I might be a touch skeptical when I can't anything else to back that statement up. At best this is just a prime example of a player getting unfairly overanalyzed because some people may have remembered some bad plays or a bad game they watched while we turn around and pretend guys from the pre-NHL through 50s were nearly flawless because nobody has yet found something written against them. Nobody points to Tim Horton as an overrated defensive defenseman who makes occasional mistakes, but that doesn't mean it happened. We just don't have anyone who watched him able to tell us about them. Sturm's example of Doug Harvey is just a highlight of how those older player gaffe's seem to be forgotten by history. If a modern player does that (Steve Smith for example) we'd forever remember it and he'd suffer as a result.

While I can't find anything suggesting he was overmatched at any point in the playoffs, I was able to find items suggesting that he was a difference maker defensively when on the ice in the playoffs. Sports reporter Alex Yannis says in a April 28, 1988 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE3D8173BF93BA15757C0A96E9482 60) New York Times article that "Coach Bryan Murray of the Capitals has had limited choices in his selection of defensemen for the series. Rod Langway's absence from Washington's defense, combined with an injury to Garry Galley, was more evident Tuesday night than in any other game of the series.". Later in the article he mentions that Langway "usually plays about 35 minutes a game". Averaging 35 minutes a night in the playoffs during the fast-paced offensive 80's isn't something just any player can do. It's inevitable that if you play that many minutes against the oppositions best players there might be one of two plays during a series where you make a mistake. In an earlier series against the Flyers, reporter Joe Sexton in an April 16, 1988 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE7DA163DF935A25757C0A96E9482 60) article suggests that Langway's presence in the lineup completely alters the team defensive effectiveness, "Much of the reason for the Capitals' dominant performance Thursday night lay in the fact that their defense was finally able to play as a healthy unit. Both Rod Langway, who had missed most of the last three games with a bruised thigh, and Scott Stevens, whose play had been hampered by a sore shoulder, were instrumental in defusing the Flyers.".

And let's not underrate this guy. Attacking his defensive acumen is the very definition of grasping at straws. This is the guy who during the highest scoring era in the NHL was able to beat out elite defensemen for the Norris and is one of the few defensemen since Orr to finish in the top 3 in Hart voting. He beat Mark Howe (20 goals, 67 points, +47) and Ray Bourque (22 goals, 73 points, +49) for the Norris in 1982-83 despite posting seemingly far inferior numbers (3 goals, 39 points, +0). That same season he finished 4th in Hart balloting. The very next season in 1983-84 he beat Paul Coffey (40 goals, 126 points, +52) and Ray Bourque (31 goals, 96 points, +51) for the Norris despite again seemingly poor numbers in comparison (9 goals, 33 points, +14). If not for a guy named Wayne Gretzky scoring 87 goals and 205 points he'd have won the Hart trophy that year. A defensive defenseman in the era were defenseman were scoring 80+ points every season was the best player in the NHL after Wayne Gretzky. Just think about that for a minute and how incredible that is. John McGourty said it best in this September 1, 2002 (http://www.nhl.com/hockeyu/halloffame/langway.html) article on NHL.com, "Langway won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defender in 1982 and 1983 and is the only purely defensive defenseman to have won the award since it was first presented in 1954 to Red Kelly, who five times led all NHL defensemen in scoring.". The ONLY PURELY DEFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN in history to do that. We give these voters the benefit of the doubt for the older players so why is it OK to dismiss their thoughts just because we remember a couple possible weak moments? Voters felt that at his peak during the highest scoring era in history a defenseman who couldn't crack 40 points for the most dominant defenseman in the NHL not Paul Coffey, not Ray Bourque, not Mark Howe, not Denis Potvin, not Larry Robinson. Even in 1984-85 where he finished 3rd in Norris balloting behind Coffey and Bourque, we was still 4th in Hart voting ahead of both of them and he finished a mere 20 points behind Bourque for the 1st all-star team. He was an elite defensive defenseman in the eyes of the voters of his time and trying to use a few anecdotes about how a player might have played him tough in a series doesn't change that. He was also able to succeed on the international stage, being named a Canada Cup all-star (along with Viacheslav Fetisov) in 1984. Despite playing only 4 seasons in Montreal he was inducted into the Canadiens Hall of Fame.

Now it's no secret that player/coach quotes aren't high on my list of credible sources but that opinion isn't shared by everyone here so I'll provide a few:

"Rodís presence made a statement to all the other teams. Nobody wanted to play against him when he was in his prime. The statement that I heard most from opponents was that he was like playing against an octopus. He had the size, the reach and the strength." - Craig Laughlin, former teammate

"Rod Langway was the prototypical defensive blueliner - a hard hitter who more often than not cleared the puck from danger. In other words he was a goaltenderís best friend, and the perfect team player." - Joe Pelletier, hockey historian

"They're the guys (along with Engblom) you want out there in the last minute of a 3-2 game because you know they're going to get the puck out." - Mike Gartner, former teammate

The Fighting Saints won't need Langway to play 35 minutes a night, which should keep him very fresh. In addition, the modern playoff schedule is far less taxing than it was in his day. Langway mentions here (http://www.nhl.com/hockeyu/halloffame/langway.html) what a grind the playoffs were, "Back then, the playoff schedule was so tough. We played seven games in 10 nights...But I don't care what kind of body you have, your legs just don't return." A more forgiving schedule, fewer minutes, and a team that won't need him to be perfect every single night to win should more than compensate for any wear he'll take physically in the series and certainly will reduce any mistakes, real or imagined.

I'm sorry for the mini novel, but I'm getting a little tired of the attempts to try and make him look like Andreas Lilja in his own zone come playoff time. He was his teams best player, the leagues best defender in his own zone (yes, better than Bourque), and a difference maker even in the playoffs. Trying to say that one player supposedly gave him fits (still waiting for something more tangible than anecdotes) so he's suddenly vulnerable to that style is ridiculous.

raleh
05-28-2008, 06:37 PM
NP- "Even if you take him out for a few games, in a seven game series, he is going to single handedly win a game or two. Bure, Beliveau and Neely are the only players in this series that can dominate a single game on that level. If you think over seven games you can stop him, you're foolish."

Am I missing something about Bure? He does not have the ability to single handedly win a game or two against this D. Bure, Beliveau, and Neely? You seem to be forgetting someone. Schmidt is not nearly as far behind Beliveau as you might think and is definitely the second best forward in this series. If you think Bure can win a game by himself then Schmidt can do the same. He was for a period of time the best player in the world, Bure can not say the same. Doug Mohns can neutralize Bure enough that his care free play in his own end will make him a liability for the Saints. No single player short of Orr, Gretzky, and Lemieux are going to break our defense open. This is the best defensive team in the draft. I admit your offense is good, as is your defense and this is going to be a hell of a series, but Bure is not going to win any games by himself I can promise that.

God Bless Canada
05-28-2008, 07:53 PM
I've been hearing this nit-picking of Langway since the moment he was drafted and it's starting to get tedious. I've been trying to find articles or writeups or anything from his playoff runs to make the assertion that Langway was responsible for a lost series, or even a lost game and frankly I can't find anything. All due respect GBC, but when the only evidence you offer is watching "players not in Neely's class really take it to Langway" you can understand I might be a touch skeptical when I can't anything else to back that statement up. At best this is just a prime example of a player getting unfairly overanalyzed because some people may have remembered some bad plays or a bad game they watched while we turn around and pretend guys from the pre-NHL through 50s were nearly flawless because nobody has yet found something written against them. Nobody points to Tim Horton as an overrated defensive defenseman who makes occasional mistakes, but that doesn't mean it happened. We just don't have anyone who watched him able to tell us about them. Sturm's example of Doug Harvey is just a highlight of how those older player gaffe's seem to be forgotten by history. If a modern player does that (Steve Smith for example) we'd forever remember it and he'd suffer as a result.

While I can't find anything suggesting he was overmatched at any point in the playoffs, I was able to find items suggesting that he was a difference maker defensively when on the ice in the playoffs. Sports reporter Alex Yannis says in a April 28, 1988 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE3D8173BF93BA15757C0A96E9482 60) New York Times article that "Coach Bryan Murray of the Capitals has had limited choices in his selection of defensemen for the series. Rod Langway's absence from Washington's defense, combined with an injury to Garry Galley, was more evident Tuesday night than in any other game of the series.". Later in the article he mentions that Langway "usually plays about 35 minutes a game". Averaging 35 minutes a night in the playoffs during the fast-paced offensive 80's isn't something just any player can do. It's inevitable that if you play that many minutes against the oppositions best players there might be one of two plays during a series where you make a mistake. In an earlier series against the Flyers, reporter Joe Sexton in an April 16, 1988 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE7DA163DF935A25757C0A96E9482 60) article suggests that Langway's presence in the lineup completely alters the team defensive effectiveness, "Much of the reason for the Capitals' dominant performance Thursday night lay in the fact that their defense was finally able to play as a healthy unit. Both Rod Langway, who had missed most of the last three games with a bruised thigh, and Scott Stevens, whose play had been hampered by a sore shoulder, were instrumental in defusing the Flyers.".

And let's not underrate this guy. Attacking his defensive acumen is the very definition of grasping at straws. This is the guy who during the highest scoring era in the NHL was able to beat out elite defensemen for the Norris and is one of the few defensemen since Orr to finish in the top 3 in Hart voting. He beat Mark Howe (20 goals, 67 points, +47) and Ray Bourque (22 goals, 73 points, +49) for the Norris in 1982-83 despite posting seemingly far inferior numbers (3 goals, 39 points, +0). That same season he finished 4th in Hart balloting. The very next season in 1983-84 he beat Paul Coffey (40 goals, 126 points, +52) and Ray Bourque (31 goals, 96 points, +51) for the Norris despite again seemingly poor numbers in comparison (9 goals, 33 points, +14). If not for a guy named Wayne Gretzky scoring 87 goals and 205 points he'd have won the Hart trophy that year. A defensive defenseman in the era were defenseman were scoring 80+ points every season was the best player in the NHL after Wayne Gretzky. Just think about that for a minute and how incredible that is. John McGourty said it best in this September 1, 2002 (http://www.nhl.com/hockeyu/halloffame/langway.html) article on NHL.com, "Langway won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defender in 1982 and 1983 and is the only purely defensive defenseman to have won the award since it was first presented in 1954 to Red Kelly, who five times led all NHL defensemen in scoring.". The ONLY PURELY DEFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN in history to do that. We give these voters the benefit of the doubt for the older players so why is it OK to dismiss their thoughts just because we remember a couple possible weak moments? Voters felt that at his peak during the highest scoring era in history a defenseman who couldn't crack 40 points for the most dominant defenseman in the NHL not Paul Coffey, not Ray Bourque, not Mark Howe, not Denis Potvin, not Larry Robinson. Even in 1984-85 where he finished 3rd in Norris balloting behind Coffey and Bourque, we was still 4th in Hart voting ahead of both of them and he finished a mere 20 points behind Bourque for the 1st all-star team. He was an elite defensive defenseman in the eyes of the voters of his time and trying to use a few anecdotes about how a player might have played him tough in a series doesn't change that. He was also able to succeed on the international stage, being named a Canada Cup all-star (along with Viacheslav Fetisov) in 1984. Despite playing only 4 seasons in Montreal he was inducted into the Canadiens Hall of Fame.

Now it's no secret that player/coach quotes aren't high on my list of credible sources but that opinion isn't shared by everyone here so I'll provide a few:

"Rod’s presence made a statement to all the other teams. Nobody wanted to play against him when he was in his prime. The statement that I heard most from opponents was that he was like playing against an octopus. He had the size, the reach and the strength." - Craig Laughlin, former teammate

"Rod Langway was the prototypical defensive blueliner - a hard hitter who more often than not cleared the puck from danger. In other words he was a goaltender’s best friend, and the perfect team player." - Joe Pelletier, hockey historian

"They're the guys (along with Engblom) you want out there in the last minute of a 3-2 game because you know they're going to get the puck out." - Mike Gartner, former teammate

The Fighting Saints won't need Langway to play 35 minutes a night, which should keep him very fresh. In addition, the modern playoff schedule is far less taxing than it was in his day. Langway mentions here (http://www.nhl.com/hockeyu/halloffame/langway.html) what a grind the playoffs were, "Back then, the playoff schedule was so tough. We played seven games in 10 nights...But I don't care what kind of body you have, your legs just don't return." A more forgiving schedule, fewer minutes, and a team that won't need him to be perfect every single night to win should more than compensate for any wear he'll take physically in the series and certainly will reduce any mistakes, real or imagined.

I'm sorry for the mini novel, but I'm getting a little tired of the attempts to try and make him look like Andreas Lilja in his own zone come playoff time. He was his teams best player, the leagues best defender in his own zone (yes, better than Bourque), and a difference maker even in the playoffs. Trying to say that one player supposedly gave him fits (still waiting for something more tangible than anecdotes) so he's suddenly vulnerable to that style is ridiculous.
I never said that Langway cost his team a game or a series. With very, very few exceptions, I don't believe that individual players cost a team a game or a series in hockey. Hockey's a team game; individual players don't cost a team a game.

My simple assertion was that Langway didn't elevate his game in the playoffs. He wasn't as airtight as some would make him out to be. I watched Washington play a lot of hockey in the 1980s. Langway was never the biggest reason the Caps lost a series. Coaching, goaltending and Mike Gartner were bigger reasons. But Langway shouldn't be immune from criticism over Washington's failure. Those Washington teams might rate among the biggest playoff chokers of all-time.

Great that Langway was the last defensive defenceman in league history to win the Norris.

(Note: To Nalyd - you've criticized Butch Bouchard for being the captain of those Montreal teams that struggled in the playoffs. What's your stance on Langway?)

God Bless Canada
05-28-2008, 08:25 PM
And The Fighting Saints lack character? Beliveau is arguably the best leader in hockey history, follow that up with captains:
Danny Gare: Sabres: 77-81, Red Wings: 82-86
Syd Howe: Senators/Eagles: 33-35, Red Wings: 41-42
Bobby Holik: Thrashers: 07-present
Bob Errey: Sharks 93-95
Red Sullivan: Rangers: 57-61
Rod Langway: Capitals: 82-93
Earl Seibert: Blackhawks: 40-42
Carol Vadnias: Golden Seals: 71-72

And that's not including the character leadership of Graves, Metz, Ragulin, Smith and others.

I'm not going to slander your teams heart, but you certainly have no advantage in that department.



And any of our centers can play against Schmidt, but we like Holik because he's one of the few centers who can neutralize Schmidt's physical advantage and thusly throw him off his game.



Love to see a scoring breakdown of the '93 series, as Bure was a PPG player in the two-round playoff. And while Mohns could skate with Bure, I think you underrate how unstoppable Bure was. Even if you take him out for a few games, in a seven game series, he is going to single handedly win a game or two. Bure, Beliveau and Neely are the only players in this series that can dominate a single game on that level. If you think over seven games you can stop him, you're foolish.



I think you are massively overstating things, Doug Harvey probably had an off series here or there. No one is stating that Rod Langway can singlehandedly neutralize a threat like Neely. That said, we do think that Langway and Metz will be able to combine to give Neely a challenge he never had to face in reality.



Bure and Neely are pretty much washes offensively. Both are equally capable of tearing out their opponent's heart. Neely is more consistent, but Bure is harder to contain when he brings it. (Which is why Bure is relied on for secondary scoring. He won't be a three star every game, but when he is, he'll be 1st star.)

Please point me to the time Steve Larmer lead his line in playoff scoring? You'll find him tying Savard once. Conversely in 4 extended playoff runs, Gare leads his line once, ties twice and has one year where I assume he was on Perrault's line and played below Perrault's level.

Bucyk had a playoff scoring record of 3g, 10a, 13pts in 32 games when he was the age Rick Martin retired at. Bucyk is a perfect example of the fatal flaw of your offense. You assume that a player who needs to be offensively protected in the NHL to succeed will be able to duplicate that in the ATD. Bucyk isn't going to be facing 2nd pairings here. He isn't going to be on the rush with Bobby Orr. No. While he may have Robinson, Schmidt and Neely watching his back, he's also on a head on collision with Ezinicki and Seibert. And that's going to put him closer to the disappointment of his youth than it will the glory of his later years.



You have Shayne Corson on your second line because Pavel Bure plays better with a guy who will drop the gloves on his line? That seems kind of odd...

The difference here is that we concede that Graves is better suited to an energy line than a scoring line, but, that Pavel Bure is, when on his game, a 1st round talent. And thus we did everything humanly possible to make Pavel Bure comfortable and effective. And a critical part of that was to get a player who would go to the corners, go to the front of the net to screen and get garbage goals and drop the gloves all while being a character guy and positive influence. Graves was the best we could do to fill that role. Corson could have filled that role except he is absolutely not a character guy and would be a proactively bad influence. (And what's more, Graves is significantly less penalized, having a 180PIM player like Corson logging 2nd line minutes just gives us more PP time. Which is another advantage the Fighting Saints have, while both the Saints and the Flyers are roughly equal when it comes to toughness, the Fighting Saints live up to their name and have one of the best toughness to penalty ratios in the ATD.) I would go so far as to say Corson has as much cancer potential as Bure has, the difference is Bure backs up his BS on the score sheet, while getting smashed and winning barroom brawls the night before game seven has no benefit to your team.

The bottom line is this. Neither Graves nor Corson belong on a 2nd line. Adam Graves absolutely belongs on the Pavel Bure Line. Shayne Corson just flat out doesn't belong on a second line.



I'm not going to disrespect Tom Gorman as I'm not a hypocrite. That said, tomorrow I'm going to focus on my team and our strategy (and why home ice advantage will break the RCAF Flyers.) and while doing that I will explain why Burns is not nearly as far behind Gorman as you seem to think.

Alexei Yashin wore a C. Doesn't make him a high-character player. I respond Holik's character - we wouldn't have considered him for a letter on our team - but the fact that he was the captain of Atlanta means nothing to me. Same thing with Errey in San Jose. Respect his character, but I don't care if he was a captain for two seasons in San Jose.

You really, really underestimate Milt Schmidt if you think he isn't a game-breaker. He is absolutely a game-breaker. Twice a point-per-game when it was incredibly difficult. Two other times he came close when it was incredibly difficult.

Corson's on our second line for the same reason that Adam Graves is on your second line. Provide toughness, open up room for his linemates, work hard,

You'd be surprised at our combination of toughness and discipline. Bucyk played tough. Won two Lady Byngs, too. Schmidt was a physical and clean player. So was McPhee. So was Skov. (One season in the top 10 for PIMs). Corson only had one season in the top 10 of PIMs, too, for what it's worth. And look at our defence. Robinson, Mohns, Harris and Day all played the tough physical game. They combined to have one top-10 finish in PIMs in their career - Day was No. 8 in 1928-29. We aren't going to spend a lot of time in the penalty box, either. And we have terrific penalty killing when we are in the box.

On the Bucyk playoff front: keep in mind that in his first year, he was an early season call-up. Almost half the games you mentioned were in his first two years. I guess you expect more than three points in 15 games for a guy who had 30 points in 104 games. Don't know why he didn't have a big playoff in 1958 (it was his breakthrough year), but he did have six points in seven games the following year. Six points in seven games in the O6 was pretty impressive. I'll give you a bottom line argument: Bucyk was a point-per-game player in the playoffs post-expansion. I'm really not concerned if he had two points in 10 games as a 20-year-old rookie in 56. At his peak, with the exception of his breakthrough year, he delivered in the playoffs.

Larmer was a point-per-game player in the playoffs until the last couple years. And even then, he still finished darn close to a point-per-game for his career. Whether or not he was second in team scoring four times is of secondary importance. I care whether or not he delivered. He played in a pretty similar era as Gare - good playoff numbers were very attainable for both Gare and Larmer - but Larmer was a lot closer to a point-per-game.

We're looking forward to the argument that Minnesota's home ice advantage will "break us." And I'm looking forward to shooting it down. Sort of like I did with your Bucyk "effort."

raleh
05-28-2008, 09:21 PM
How can home ice advantage break a team that isn't interested in playing a matchup game? We're just going to roll four lines, all of which, as Nalyd has said two or three times, could be considered checking lines. If you're going to play that third line against the BBB line you're just going to be limiting your scoring chances. I really don't understand how home ice is going to change this.

And what's up with everyone completely ignoring Schmidt? He's the second biggest forward in the series by a large margin and quite possibly the most complete player.

shawnmullin
05-28-2008, 09:31 PM
This is clearly the second round's Toronto vs Kingston ;)

Fantastic teams with mediocre (in an ATD context) and game breaking forwards. I'm still listening intently to the arguments. I don't think either team will give an inch. It's a facinating series. I don't think any one player will decide it. Minnesota has the best forward in the series by far, but Robinson I think is a significant advantage on Robinson. Coaching I'd give to Ottawa, but Burns is hardly a slouch. Minnesota has more of a second line threat, but Ottawa has four lines built to shut teams down. It's a hard hard series.

Nalyd Psycho
05-28-2008, 10:38 PM
Bucyk - Schmidt - Neely
Robinson - Day

...is an awful lot of offensive talent together on one unit. Bucyk is really the support player on that line and I think in that role he's fine, and will get his points. What an epic physical battle this series will be.

Based on your comments about Ezinicki vs. Bucyk, I assume that you're planning on matching the Minnesota 3rd line against Ottawa's 1st line. You have home-ice advantage and Burns is a strong X's-and-O's coach, so I don't see any problems there, but how much icetime are you planning on giving the 3rd line? You can't match them against the BBB line on every shift without doing your scoringlines a real injustice. Danny Gare was a pretty good 2-way player in his own right (one of the reasons you drafted him, I'm sure) and although he gives up a lot of size to Bucyk, you might be better off just letting him do his best against Bucyk and not taking away shifts from your scoringlines.

Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think GBC and raleh are planning on line-matching in this series, and rightfully so. Line-matching is an ATD phenomenon that is quickly becoming unfashionable for a good reason. It is certainly useful in some situations to throw a line of shutdown forwards on the ice, but as an overall, shift-to-shift strategy, it has been pretty often overrated in this forum.

The way I see it is this, line to line 100% of the time match-ups are foolish. But, to take an advantage like last line change and not use it is even more foolish. Will Metz-Holik-Ezinicki be on the ice every moment the Big Bad Bruins are? No. Will Langway and Seibert? Yes. Will Nick Metz? Yes. Here's some info on the 1942 comeback:
Benched players included Gord Drillon, and Bucko McDonald. Picking up the slack was Gaye Stewart and, most notably, Don Metz. Metz took's Drillon's spot on the top line. That line also featured brother Nick Metz on the opposite wing.

Centering the Metzs was the outstanding Syl Apps. He tied the NHL record of 14 points in a post-season. He would score 7 points in the finals, including a 2 goal, 5 point night in game 5 against the Wings.
Detroit led the series 3-0, and led in the fourth game 3-2 with 15 minutes left. But the Leafs, with goals by Syl Apps and Nick Metz in the waning minutes, pulled out the win, and eventually came back to tie the series at 3 games apiece.

Detroit then managed to turn victory into defeat in Game 7 at Maple Leafs Garden. They led 1-0 going into the third period, but surrendered three goals in a 10-minute span to lose the game, the series and the Stanley Cup, and win a permanent place in the record books.
So, based on the info I've gathered, it looks like Nick Metz played a major role in the most significant on ice turnaround in a Stanley Cup final series ever. So I have no problem giving him big minutes. Generally speaking, elite defensive forwards get big minutes, and Metz is the best defensive forward in this series.

After that, what becomes critically important is the when and why of who matches against who when. For example, Red Sullivan can't shutdown Schmidt and he can't physically control Schmidt, but, he can piss of Schmidt. He can make Schmidt take bad penalties, but not if we over play our hand. So, what do we want? We want to choose when Sullivan gets to play Schmidt, we want them to meet in the 3rd period, when the Flyers are down and Schmidt is frazzled and desperate. And right then and there, we want to make the Flyers glorious leader snap and lose his cool. Sullivan can do that.

Sometimes it will be Metz-Holik-Ezinicki. Sometimes Metz-Beliveau-Gare, sometimes Metz-Sullivan-Kallur. Heck, maybe sometimes we'll get more creative and have Howe-Beliveau-Kallur. But what matters is, this. We have home ice advantage. We control the when and we make sure to know the when. We will use home ice advantage to systematically control match-ups to break the Flyers. And we will succeed. We have to much diversity in our line-up for anything else to happen.

The logic is this:
Bucyk-Schmidt-Neely
Robinson-Day
Is an offensively potent unit, no if ands or buts about it.

But, after that all the Flyers have are players who need star players on their line to succeed, and no stars to guide them.

The Flyers need the Big Bad unit to score a large percentage of their goals. The Fighting Saints match-up too well to not significantly reduce their output. Thus, we neuter their offensive game.

What's more, yeah, all of the Flyers lines are strong defensively. That means we have no lulls to exploit. The flipside is, it means the Flyers have players with no purpose. We'll gladly send Martin-Beliveau-Gare against Corson-Lemaire-Larmer. They certainly aren't better defensively than the Flyers other lines, so there's no harm on our end. But for the Flyers if their only thing resembling secondary scoring is too busy trying to contain our line, where will the offense come from? What role do the Flyers bottom two lines play? They are empty filler lines, not able to pick up the slack offensively and no one to try and check. Go ahead and shutdown Sullivan and Kallur. And if anyone thinks McPhee or Morrow pose much of a threat to Bure, they're fooling themself.

And that's the next point. With the Beliveau line scoring at roughly the same clip no matter who they face. The Metz line giving the Big Bad Bruins a smothering they'll never forget. Where does that leave the Bure line? Exactly where they want to be. No one on the Flyers can contain Bure for long and we'll pick and chose the most tired lines to match him up against. Our secondary scoring cannot be worked around like the Flyers can, that is why we will win.

And then the other advantage is, power plays. Both teams are equally tough, but the Flyers will take more penalties. The Fighting Saints Power Play will be a deciding factor in winning the series for Minnesota.

vancityluongo
05-28-2008, 11:01 PM
This is clearly the second round's Toronto vs Kingston ;)

Fantastic teams with mediocre (in an ATD context) and game breaking forwards. I'm still listening intently to the arguments. I don't think either team will give an inch. It's a facinating series. I don't think any one player will decide it. Minnesota has the best forward in the series by far, but Robinson I think is a significant advantage on Robinson. Coaching I'd give to Ottawa, but Burns is hardly a slouch. Minnesota has more of a second line threat, but Ottawa has four lines built to shut teams down. It's a hard hard series.

Robinson is a significant advantage on himself? ;)

I agree with you mullin, I quoted your post because it's the only short one. :) I'm not going to add much, I'll let the four GM's continue their novel, but this has to be the closest series for me. Not really much to seperate both teams, it's a shame one of them has to go out this round, because both teams are capable of winning their division, IMO.

shawnmullin
05-28-2008, 11:11 PM
well you know.. um... himself... uh... oops

Langway.

FissionFire
05-28-2008, 11:26 PM
well you know.. um... himself... uh... oops

Langway.

Well I'd hope that Ottawa's #1 defenseman would have an edge over our #2. Of course, if you want to compare Robinson to our #1 I'll gladly provide some evidence that Earl Seibert is elite in his own right and not as far behind Robinson as you might think.

shawnmullin
05-28-2008, 11:30 PM
Well I'd hope that Ottawa's #1 defenseman would have an edge over our #2. Of course, if you want to compare Robinson to our #1 I'll gladly provide some evidence that Earl Seibert is elite in his own right and not as far behind Robinson as you might think.

Did you pick Seibert first? It's a pretty good 1A 1B anyway. I think Robinson is going to have a distinct advantage over either guy... but that's no slight on them. Robinson is one of the best in the draft. Langway and Seibert are a great pairing.

God Bless Canada
05-28-2008, 11:42 PM
The way I see it is this, line to line 100% of the time match-ups are foolish. But, to take an advantage like last line change and not use it is even more foolish. Will Metz-Holik-Ezinicki be on the ice every moment the Big Bad Bruins are? No. Will Langway and Seibert? Yes. Will Nick Metz? Yes. Here's some info on the 1942 comeback:


So, based on the info I've gathered, it looks like Nick Metz played a major role in the most significant on ice turnaround in a Stanley Cup final series ever. So I have no problem giving him big minutes. Generally speaking, elite defensive forwards get big minutes, and Metz is the best defensive forward in this series.

After that, what becomes critically important is the when and why of who matches against who when. For example, Red Sullivan can't shutdown Schmidt and he can't physically control Schmidt, but, he can piss of Schmidt. He can make Schmidt take bad penalties, but not if we over play our hand. So, what do we want? We want to choose when Sullivan gets to play Schmidt, we want them to meet in the 3rd period, when the Flyers are down and Schmidt is frazzled and desperate. And right then and there, we want to make the Flyers glorious leader snap and lose his cool. Sullivan can do that.

Sometimes it will be Metz-Holik-Ezinicki. Sometimes Metz-Beliveau-Gare, sometimes Metz-Sullivan-Kallur. Heck, maybe sometimes we'll get more creative and have Howe-Beliveau-Kallur. But what matters is, this. We have home ice advantage. We control the when and we make sure to know the when. We will use home ice advantage to systematically control match-ups to break the Flyers. And we will succeed. We have to much diversity in our line-up for anything else to happen.

The logic is this:
Bucyk-Schmidt-Neely
Robinson-Day
Is an offensively potent unit, no if ands or buts about it.

But, after that all the Flyers have are players who need star players on their line to succeed, and no stars to guide them.

The Flyers need the Big Bad unit to score a large percentage of their goals. The Fighting Saints match-up too well to not significantly reduce their output. Thus, we neuter their offensive game.

What's more, yeah, all of the Flyers lines are strong defensively. That means we have no lulls to exploit. The flipside is, it means the Flyers have players with no purpose. We'll gladly send Martin-Beliveau-Gare against Corson-Lemaire-Larmer. They certainly aren't better defensively than the Flyers other lines, so there's no harm on our end. But for the Flyers if their only thing resembling secondary scoring is too busy trying to contain our line, where will the offense come from? What role do the Flyers bottom two lines play? They are empty filler lines, not able to pick up the slack offensively and no one to try and check. Go ahead and shutdown Sullivan and Kallur. And if anyone thinks McPhee or Morrow pose much of a threat to Bure, they're fooling themself.

And that's the next point. With the Beliveau line scoring at roughly the same clip no matter who they face. The Metz line giving the Big Bad Bruins a smothering they'll never forget. Where does that leave the Bure line? Exactly where they want to be. No one on the Flyers can contain Bure for long and we'll pick and chose the most tired lines to match him up against. Our secondary scoring cannot be worked around like the Flyers can, that is why we will win.

And then the other advantage is, power plays. Both teams are equally tough, but the Flyers will take more penalties. The Fighting Saints Power Play will be a deciding factor in winning the series for Minnesota.
Again, you really show you don't have a clue about Milt Schmidt. Schmidt didn't take bad penalties. He played a tough, physical game, but he played a clean game. You're more likely to see Beliveau take a bad penalty than Schmidt. Schmidt's career high PIM total was 57. There goes one strategy out the window.

You talk about Ottawa taking more penalties. Prove it. You have guys who play a tough but clean game? So do we. And one of our guys did it while winning two Lady Byng Trophies. This is not the GBC/raleh entry of the last draft. But here's the beautiful thing: we can trot out five effective PK duos up front, with guys like Larmer, Lemaire, Russell, McPhee, Merrick and Corson, and every one of our defencemen can kill penalties very effectively.



And you really underestimate Lemaire. Lemaire was not just Lafleur's lackey. He isn't just a complimentary offensive player. With his speed, his shot and his smarts, he can generate offence in this thing. You leave Lemaire alone, he will burn you. And he's got a pretty good gunner on his right wing.

Sturminator
05-29-2008, 01:39 AM
What a great discussion in this series. This is what makes the ATD great. Assorted comments:

- I don't buy the criticism of Langway's playoff performances; it seems like nitpicking to me. Saying that a defensive defenseman "didn't raise his play" in the postseason is pretty easy because no statistical argument can be made to disprove (or prove) it, and is extremely subjective, at any rate. I was not a fan of the teams for which Langway played so take my recollection with a grain of salt, but I can't remember ever hearing criticism of Langway's postseason performances.

- I have the impression that Milt Schmidt played anything but a clean game, but was good at getting away with little fouls, at any rate. In his Legends bio, Schmidt jokingly says that he would put himself out of the running for the Lady Byng on the first shift of the first game of the season and is called at another point "a dirty little player". This was not a clean player, but also not a heavily penalized one, which I count in Milt's favor. Chippiness is great, even better if it goes unpenalized. I have a high opinion of Schmidt, and think he's bar none the second best forward in this series.

- Doug Mohns is a good 2-way #3, in my opinion. He was never a postseason all-star, but played in 7 all-star games despite never winning a Cup, which gives me the impression that he had something of a Zubov-like career in which he was never really elite, but consistently a top-10 defenseman in the league for a long time. I do not, however, think much of Bill Barilko as a #4. Even if his career had been longer, I'm not convinced he's really a 2nd pairing ATD talent. He seems to have been a solid though unspectacular 2nd pairing defenseman during his career and I don't have the impression that he was ever anything close to a dominant player. If not for the historical oddity of his career (playing for the dynasty Leafs, scoring that goal and then promptly dying), I don't know if he'd be remembered well enough to draft in an ATD, at all, nevermind as a 2nd pairing defenseman. Take Bill Barilko the player out of the context in which he played and he is profoundly forgettable.

Mohns is going to push the puck a lot and can only cover his half of the ice, at any rate. Although I'm not a fan of Adam Graves on a 2nd line, the Howe-Bure combo looks dangerous in the counterattack against that Ottawa second pairing. I can't see the Minnesota 2nd line being particularly successful on the cycle, but I do think it's a line that can score goals very suddenly. Of course, the RCAF 2nd line is going to be better in halfcourt offense and I'm not in love with Ivanov's defensive abilities, either. It's an interesting secondary scoring matchup.

The way I see it is this, line to line 100% of the time match-ups are foolish. But, to take an advantage like last line change and not use it is even more foolish.

Of course, but many coaches use last line change to get the best offensive matchups they can find, rather than the other way around. Also, the rules change prohibiting line changes for a team that ices the puck have made defensive line matching that much harder in recent years and shutdown lines less valuable because they can no longer bail a team out as easily as in the past.

All coaches try to exploit line changes to their advantage. Many do it here and there as opportunities arise, but for some, it is a systematic part of the gameplan. There is nothing wrong with trying to get your top checking forwards on the ice against the opposition's best scorers at certain points in the game, but the point here is that the way we've evaluated these matchups in the ATD has been often grossly oversimplified in the past. I've seen a lot of analysis of matchups that basically says:

"3rd line vs. 1st line - my shutdown forwards will give your scorers fits"

...and people seem to accept that this matchup will occur every time the relevant players step on the ice, which is patently untrue, even if the team icing the shutdown line was willing to give that unit 1st line minutes. Forward vs. forward matchups are much more fluid in the course of a game than we've made them out to be, and I think the paint-by-numbers view of how defensive forwards can be employed in a playoff series explains, in large part, why many of them remain quite overrated as players.

The most valuable "defensive forwards" are the guys who can be used without recourse to line matching - the Bob Gaineys and Claude Provosts of the hockey world who are competent complementary scoringline players in addition to their checking prowess. If you plan to use Nick Metz in that role for this series, then one can assume that you'll get your preferred matchup with some frequency. What Metz does for the offensive output of the lines in question is another matter.

FissionFire
05-29-2008, 01:48 AM
I've been waiting for NP to post the gameplan (didn't want to steal his thunder) so I could get to work doing what I do best. Let the deconstruction begin.....

I think we do have some advantages. The first is character. Playoffs are about character. Our toughest decision was not who to pick, but who to get the letters. Schmidt was our captain from the start. Robinson, Bucyk, Robinson, Day, Lemaire, McPhee and Morrow would have all been great choices for a letter. We decided to assign three on a rotating basis.

Is this somehow an implication that your team has more "heart"? Are you trying to suggest the Fighting Saints lack leadership? I'm not sure what point you are trying to prove here, but the Saints have players who have proven to have tons of "heart" and some of the games outstanding leaders. Beliveau's leadership really needs no mention. Langway's leadership simply can't be questioned, either in the NHL or internationally. I can provide several quotes to that if you doubt it. Metz was a leader on one of only two teams to win a series after going down 3-0. Ragulin was a leader on teams with enormous pressure to win. Guys like Graves, Gare, Errey, Baker, and Howe all provided leadership for teams. There is no lack of "heart" or leadership on this team. Several players on our roster were parts of some of the greatest upsets and comebacks in NHL history. Any edge you feel you might have is slight at best, and if you consider home-ice advantage to be trivial than your perceived miniscule edge in leadership won't even register on an electron microscope as far as series-determining factors.

Any one of our centres can play against Beliveau. That's a big perk. Any of our lines can play against Beliveau's line. That's also a big advantage. We have a strong assortment of two-way players on all four lines. When you have forwards like Bucyk, Schmidt, Lemaire and Larmer on the top two lines, you can wait to start assembling the third line.

None of your lines will be dominated by the Beliveau line, but if you all 4 of them would be equally effective against it you are mistaken. NP has already covered this.

We're going to try to get Mohns out there against Bure whenever possible. This is why we got Mohns: a strong, very mobile, two-way defenceman who could take care of his own zone. I watched Bure play some terrific hockey in the playoffs. People talk about his performance in 1994; I thought he was more consistent in 1995. Frankly, in 1994, there were stretches, especially against the Rangers and Calgary, when he was ineffective. But I also watched him struggle in the playoffs. And not always against star defencemen. (Alexei Zhitnik in 1993, anyone?). Mohns can definitely neutralize Bure.

Doug Mohns can neutralize Pavel Bure? Really? Firstly, your claims that Bure "struggled in the playoffs" make me scratch my head. When exactly did this struggling occur? The guy scored at least a point-per-game in every playoff year except his rookie season (where he scored 6 goals and 10 points in 13 games). You dismiss criticism of Johnny Bucyk's playoff results claiming it was his first two season, yet you say Bure was shut down in his sophomore campaign and that's a strike against him? As a 21 year old he scored 12 points in 12 games during the 1993 playoffs so I don't think anyone really shut him down that season. This is a guy who averaged over 1 goal every 2 games in his playoff career. That's not a type of track record ANYONE is going to neutralize. You can try to contain and minimize it, but you can't shut it down completely. Let's also remember all but 4 games of his playoff career occured well before his prime from the ages 20-23 so I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that had he been on playoff teams during his prime years his goals-per-game numbers might even be better. I don't care how fast you think Diesel is, one mistake or fumbled puck is all it takes to spring Bure. Just ask Ray Bourque what happens when you make one tiny mistake with Bure on the ice (nPqwtaFwTJM). Here's another clip showing just how incredible his speed is in a footrace with Brian Leetch in the 1994 playoffs (ulUFtK2xLnY), and pulling away even. Bure could score against anyone, and Doug Mohns isn't going to be the first to "neutralize" Pavel Bure.

Even when he's not scoring he elevates the level of his teams play. In a November 29, 1999 column in The Sporting News (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1208/is_48_223/ai_58170228/pg_1), Larry Wigge claims "You don't calculate Bure's value to South Florida on a per-game basis. Even when he's not in the lineup, there's an aura of Pavelmania in the Panthers locker room. You can feel it. ". What is Pavelmania exactly though? Teammate Rob Niedermayer describes it as "It's sort of like just being in the building with Michael Jordan. There's just a special sort of feeling in the air.". Neidermayer explains how this affects the team "He works just as hard at practice as he does in the games. You constantly judge your improvement to his level of play. And even when he's not around, you find yourself doing those same things to get better.". Panthers coach Terry Murray said "Pavel has made an impression on every player on our roster.". Teammate Ray Whitney said "When he has the puck, it brings people out of their seats--and he brings us to our feet on the bench. There aren't many players in hockey who can do that.". Even opposing coaches noticed how Bure's presence elevated the play of his entire team:
"You can see the confidence on their faces when Pavel is around," Penguins coach Kevin Constantine says. "Give him an inch, and he'll find an opening and either score the winner or set it up."
Pavel Bure simply make everyone on his team better, whether he's on the ice or off it.

We also have much better playoff production from the wings. As I've said previously, it's not that Martin and Gare have bad playoff records. It's just they're underwhelming. Especially Martin. I think if Martin had Neely's playoff record, Martin would be in the HHOF. For such a dynamic goal scorer, I'd like to see more than 24 goals in 63 games. Gare's an excellent two-way player, and he can be effective when he's not scoring. But again, there isn't much that stands out for Gare.

This is a team that doesn't have a ton of WOW playoff years, but we built them to be consistent. You know exactly what you'll get from every player on the team. There isn't any boom-or-bust player that can sink the team with a bad series. Everyone is simply consistent, and consistently productive.

My simple assertion was that Langway didn't elevate his game in the playoffs. He wasn't as airtight as some would make him out to be. I watched Washington play a lot of hockey in the 1980s. Langway was never the biggest reason the Caps lost a series. Coaching, goaltending and Mike Gartner were bigger reasons. But Langway shouldn't be immune from criticism over Washington's failure. Those Washington teams might rate among the biggest playoff chokers of all-time.

Again, this is all fine and dandy but can you find anything from a source out there to corroborate this? Any other hockey historian or player or coach or book or ANYTHING calling him overrated or unable to elevate his game in the playoffs? I respect your opinion GBC, but in the battle of an ATD you'll have to forgive me for wanting more than just that in this case.

You'd be surprised at our combination of toughness and discipline. Bucyk played tough. Won two Lady Byngs, too. Schmidt was a physical and clean player. So was McPhee. So was Skov. (One season in the top 10 for PIMs). Corson only had one season in the top 10 of PIMs, too, for what it's worth. And look at our defence. Robinson, Mohns, Harris and Day all played the tough physical game. They combined to have one top-10 finish in PIMs in their career - Day was No. 8 in 1928-29. We aren't going to spend a lot of time in the penalty box, either. And we have terrific penalty killing when we are in the box.

Not being in the top 10 only proves a player isn't one of the leagues most penalized, but it doesn't change the fact that they take penalties at a high clip. Cam Neely averaged almost 1 penalty per game in his career. Shayne Corson averaged more than 1 penalty per game in his career. Glev Skov actually had a quite a few seasons of high PIM numbers when you consider he was a 3rd/4th liner and had totals comparable to Gordie Howe on the same team. Brenden Morrow averages a penalty every 1.5 games. Blair Russell actually had several times where he averaged 1 penalty per game or more. Bill Barilko averaged close to 1 penalty per game in his short career. You lineup features alot of players who aren't dirty, but have proven to be prone to penalties throughout their careers and I see no reason why any of that would change now.

How can home ice advantage break a team that isn't interested in playing a matchup game? We're just going to roll four lines, all of which, as Nalyd has said two or three times, could be considered checking lines. If you're going to play that third line against the BBB line you're just going to be limiting your scoring chances. I really don't understand how home ice is going to change this.

Whether you like to admit it or not, having a Metz-Langway-Seibert trio on the ice at all times against your BBB is a big factor. Some teams have the offensive trio of doom. We have a defensive trio that's hard to beat. Those three will slow down your Bruins. Since we aren't line matching either in this series, it won't affect our scoring one bit. Metz will also bounce between the Beliveau and Holik lines at times, both of which can matchup defensively with your top line.

The biggest factor is Pavel Bure. You talk about trying to have Mohns out against him all the time, but 4 times in a 7 game series we'll be able to avoid that matchup part of the time if we so choose. We can toss him out there after an icing against a tired defensive squad and let him use his speed and skating to it's fullest.

Pat Burns in a great X's and O's coach who creates strong defensive schemes. He's the type of coach who can use that home-ice advantage to its fullest potential over the coarse of 7 games.

And what's up with everyone completely ignoring Schmidt? He's the second biggest forward in the series by a large margin and quite possibly the most complete player.

I'm assuming by second biggest you don't mean size, because he isn't in that case. He a strong player and good 1st liner in the ATD without a doubt. His accolades are impressive. But he's no Jean Beliveau. They aren't even in the same class and if you are trying to insinutate that the matchup between them is even you are way off. He won the Art Ross, but was only top 10 in scoring 4 other times (4th twice and 10th twice). He was top 10 in goals 3 times (2nd, 6th, 9th) and assists 4 times (1st, 3rd, 4th twice). All this while playing a physical game. A very strong resume indeed. But still not in the same league as Believeau. Jean also has an Art Ross, but was top 10 in scoring 11 other times as well. Let's just straight compare them:

Top 10 Scoring - Beliveau 12-5
Top 5 Scoring - Beliveau 8-3
Top 3 Scoring - Beliveau 7-1
Scoring Leader - Tied 1-1

Top 10 Goals - Beliveau 10-3
Top 5 Goals - Beliveau 7-1
Top 3 Goals - Beliveau 6-1
Goal Leader - Beliveau 2-0

Top 10 Assists - Beliveau 11-4
Top 5 Assists - Beliveau 7-4
Top 3 Assists - Beliveau 6-2
Assist Leader - Beliveau 2-1

Beliveau was also an excellent defensive player and a physical player as well. At 6'3" 205lbs he'd be big in today's NHL and was towering in his era. His accomplishments were against some of the best top-end talent in NHL history as well. Schmidt never won a scoring title competing against Howe, both Richards, Lindsay, Bathgate, Geoffrion, or Dickie Moore. I love Milt Schmidt and think he's very underrated by most people here, but let's not go overboard with this guy. He's not Beliveau's equal, or even peer. He's a clear step below.

Let's not forget Schmidt had a few clunker playoff seasons as well, so he's not immune to criticism in the playoffs.

Ok, running out of steam for now. I'll have to pick this up again tomorrow after some sleep.

raleh
05-29-2008, 02:09 AM
haha, by second biggest I meant second best. My bad!

Sturminator
05-29-2008, 02:18 AM
Pavelmania?!

Although I think you're justified in defending Bure against what are largely personal and not performance-based criticisms, the claim that he makes all the players around him better is a bridge too far. Pavelmania on a bad team in a dreary Florida hockey market? Ok, maybe, sure. Pavelmania in an all-time league? Uhmmm...no.

Nalyd Psycho
05-29-2008, 04:13 AM
On Schmidt's offense, it's worth noting that his scoring title and one of his other top ten finishes came prior to the Original Six era. And it is foolish to say that the depression and war didn't start effecting competition until after players like Schmidt and Metz left for the war.

Again, you really show you don't have a clue about Milt Schmidt. Schmidt didn't take bad penalties. He played a tough, physical game, but he played a clean game. You're more likely to see Beliveau take a bad penalty than Schmidt. Schmidt's career high PIM total was 57. There goes one strategy out the window.

The thing with Schmidt is, he was very good at controlling his temper, but he also played a very tough and physical game. It takes some finesse to take him off his game and make him take a bad penalty. I admit that. That's why we have a specific strategy in play. That's why we have a player like Red Sullivan. And if we used Sullivan all the time, Schmidt would adapt, tune him out. But we won't, no. Sullivan and Schmidt will only meet after bad line changes, icings and late in the game when the Flyers are desperate. When Schmidt is vulnerable, and only then, Schmidt will be face to face with the best shift disturber in the series. It's also worth noting, Schmidt only had a PIM total higher than his GP total in his final season, but did it three times in the playoffs.

You talk about Ottawa taking more penalties. Prove it. You have guys who play a tough but clean game? So do we. And one of our guys did it while winning two Lady Byng Trophies. This is not the GBC/raleh entry of the last draft. But here's the beautiful thing: we can trot out five effective PK duos up front, with guys like Larmer, Lemaire, Russell, McPhee, Merrick and Corson, and every one of our defencemen can kill penalties very effectively.

FissionFire has already covered this point. (Although he missed that Hap Day's ability to play disciplined hockey was VERY inconsistant. And that Brad Maxwell was a thug.) But, here are players on your roster with significant increase in penalties come post-season:
Jacques Lemaire
Steve Larmer
Mike McPhee
Bobby Rousseau
Larry Robinson
Doug Mohns
Ted Harris (Who was far from discipline in the regular season.)

Your team isn't as disciplined as you would lead people to believe.

And you really underestimate Lemaire. Lemaire was not just Lafleur's lackey. He isn't just a complimentary offensive player. With his speed, his shot and his smarts, he can generate offence in this thing. You leave Lemaire alone, he will burn you. And he's got a pretty good gunner on his right wing.

I'm not saying he isn't good. But he never didn't have a good supporting cast. He was always either a secondary player on his line or on a secondary line. That kind of protection helps a player a lot. And we won't give him that space. We want to force him to play defense. Force him to play Beliveau. Lemaire simply isn't good enough to play a shutdown role and a scoring role. Neither is Larmer.

Pavelmania?!

Although I think you're justified in defending Bure against what are largely personal and not performance-based criticisms, the claim that he makes all the players around him better is a bridge too far. Pavelmania on a bad team in a dreary Florida hockey market? Ok, maybe, sure. Pavelmania in an all-time league? Uhmmm...no.

You are right that he won't be an inspirational leader. But, these quotes say two important things:
1) Bure got along well with his team. He may not play a complete game, but he is no cancer, he is simply a specialist who dominates at his specialty.
2)That Bure is one of those few one of a kind talents that can blow anyone away, players and observers alike.

FissionFire
05-29-2008, 09:14 AM
Did you pick Seibert first? It's a pretty good 1A 1B anyway. I think Robinson is going to have a distinct advantage over either guy... but that's no slight on them. Robinson is one of the best in the draft. Langway and Seibert are a great pairing.

I agree Robinson is better in some facets of the game than Seibert (and all facets except one than Langway) but I don't think the gap between him and Seibert is as large as you imply.

Larry Robinson had an incredible peak on the dynasty Canadiens. However, to compare the players on an even basis you have to throw his two Norris Trophies out the window since the award didn't exist when Seibert played. Using postseason all-star balloting results, Seibert is actually better. Robinson had 6 total postseason all-star berths (3 first, 3 second). Seibert had 10 consecutive postseason all-star berths (4 first, 6 second) and was narrowly edged out of a spot in at the start of that run by Eddie Shore when they tied in voting but Shore was given the nod due to LD verses RD breakdowns (Source (http://hfboards.com/showpost.php?p=9909540&postcount=124)). To put into perspective the type of extended dominance that represents, consider that only Doug Harvey amongst defenseman can claim this accomplishment and if you include all players only Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, and Bobby Hull get added to that list. His level of competition wasn't low either with players such as Eddie Shore, King Clancy, Babe Siebert, Ebbie Goodfellow, Red Horner, Hap Day, Ott Heller and Lionel Conacher as just a few notable names in competition. Both have similar Hart voting records with Seibert twice finishing 4th but Robinson with more top 10 finishes (although a few of those were single-digit point totals so I'm not sure how much credence to place in that).

Larry Robinson and Earl Seibert played very different styles. Robinson was a rushing defenseman and his style occasionally led to scoring chances against on odd-man rushes. Seibert was a guy who was defense-first and didn't take chances pinching deep. He's a much safer defensive player than Robinson is. He's also a more physical player and more of a hitter. Robinson could play the physical game when he had to, but it wasn't where his strengths were. Seibert's game was built around hard-nosed bruising hockey so he doesn't have to sacrifice any of his game to play that way.

Seibert can't be intimidated or physically outmatched. His Legends bio states "Seibert was generally regarded as second only to Eddie Shore in terms of skill and rugged play, and Shore once confessed that Seibert was the only man he was afraid to fight. Defensively, Seibert was one of the best shot-blockers in the game, and he could move the puck just as quickly as anyone.". Larry Robinson is called a giant at 6'4" and 225lbs so imagine how big a 6'2" 220lb Earl Seibert must have seemed in the 30s and 40s. Joe Pelletier echos the Legends bio calling Seibert "a no-nonsense defender with a reputation as among the toughest in the game." and that "Some old timers insist only Eddie Shore was better.". Earl's defense partner in New York Ching Johnson (no shrinking violet himself) said "Letís put it this way, no one wanted any part of ĎSií in a fight. Even Eddie Shore (Boston) and Red Horner (Toronto) steered clear of him, and Shore and Horner were considered the toughest guys in the League at the time.". That level of physical intimidation is something that no player, even in the ATD context, will come out and dominate and something Larry Robinson could only dream of achieving.

That last part is the most interesting. Few people realize that Seibert was also a top offensive talent from the blueline in his time. I'm kicking myself for losing the link but in the board archives there was a table showing the Seibert was actually the 3rd highest scoring defenseman in the 30s and 40s. In 2005 our own Hockey Outsider placed Earl Seibert on the All-Decade team from both the 30s and 40s (Link (http://hfboards.com/archive/index.php/t-133177.html)). His low point numbers were actually sterling for a defenseman of his time. So he was a defense-first, physical, rock-solid tough defenseman who scored at a high clip in his era. Is he as fast as Robinson, no. Is he the scorer Robinson is, no. Is he more physical than Robinson, yes. Is he a better defensive player in his own zone, yes. Is Robinson better? Yes, but not by much. Seibert is a top 20, probably top 15 all-time defenseman and there are only a very select few players at his position who can claim to have a distinct advantage over him.

Pwnasaurus
05-29-2008, 09:24 AM
imagine how big a 6'2" 220lb Earl Seibert must have seemed in the 30s and 40s.

Hockey Reference has him at 198lbs.

FissionFire
05-29-2008, 10:32 AM
Hockey Reference has him at 198lbs.

Are we certain that's completely accurate? Hockeydb lists him at 200lbs and their data has been questioned in the past on player heights and weights, especially older players.

Hockey historian Joe Pelletier calls him 6'2" 220lbs here (http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/LegendsMember.jsp?mem=p195802&page=statsawards&list=ByName#photo).

Another hockey historian John Halligan says "He stood 6-2 and weighed 220, one of the biggest defensemen of his era." on the official New York Rangers website here (http://rangers.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=tra_lookback_Seibert).

I guess it comes down to which sources you feel are more credible. I know of the work and effort Mr. Pelletier does in researching players and Mr. Halligan's data is posted on the NHL teams official website. By contrast, I have no idea how hockeyreference or hockeydb research all the height/weight numbers for players or how much time is put into it. It comes down to which sources do you think are more credible, hockeyreference/hockeydb or Joe Pelletier/John Halligan.

It's also very possible that both numbers are correct. Maybe he broke into the league at 200 but his playing weight bulked up to 220 once he physically filled out. If you use height/weight data on players from early in their career I'd suspect they wouldn't match data from their primes or end of the career.

Hockey Outsider
05-29-2008, 12:28 PM
A couple of quick points

- From 1932 to 1945 (ie every full season of Seibert's career) he ranked second in scoring among defensemen, and was 9th in points per game (min 100 gp). He was third in playoff scoring during the same span.

- During the span of Schmidt's career (1937-1955) he ranked 1st in games played but just 19th in PIM, taking penalties at a rate roughly comparable to Lach, Pavelich and Abel. Even in the playoffs, Schmidt's PIM rate doesn't rise too much (he's still roughly comparble to Abel and Pavelich) and ranked 20th in PM versus 6th in games played. I know Schmidt had a reputation as a tough player but the numbers just don't show that he was especially undisciplined.

God Bless Canada
05-29-2008, 06:58 PM
I really don't care how heavy Seibert was. I care about how good he was. I don't care that half of his first-team all-star spots were during the war years. He was an eight-time all-star before the game's best went to war. He was terrific. He's a rock defensively. He's tough as nails. He doesn't have the mobility or the offensive dimension of a Larry Robinson, but he has talent and quickness. He starred for the Miracle Hawks of 38. We know it's going to be six or seven games of tough sledding going against him.

Seibert's a credible No. 1 defenceman in this thing, a top 20 defenceman of all-time. Robinson's a No. 6 or 7 defenceman of all-time. Robinson was so dominant against Philly in 76 that Philly went looking for a Robinson of their own. Just think about it: the meanest, toughest team in the history of the league had no answer to Larry Robinson.

Here's a few comments from Ken Dryden's The Game on Larry Robinson:

On the Dornhoefer hit: "He had delivered a message- to the Flyers, to the rest of the league, to himself. A series that had been moving our way found its irrevocable direction, and we won in four straight games."

On the importance of the 1976 Canada Cup and Stanley Cup wins: "He had found a game. Not Orr's, not Salming's or Savards. A game of strength and agility, a commanding mix of offense and defense, his size a lingering reminder of violence."

On Roinson's game:

"In the next few years, more than just an outstanding player, Robinson became a presence. It had to do with being so big, so strong, so tough, so agile, that no one knew how good he was, and no one wanted to find out."

"He had a numbing reputation, an imperial manner, and the goods to back them up, a game rooted in defense, opportunistic on offense, limited, economic and dominant."

"What set him apart from other players was his size and strength, his implicit toughness and chilling manner; what set him apart from other big men was his agaility and puck-handling skill; what made him unique was the mix. What made it all work was a game rooted in defense - strong, limited and commanding."

I'm not a big fan of plus-minus to evaluate defensive play, but it is worth noting that he has the best plus-minus since it's been tracked. A plus-120 one year. Never a negative in his career. A single-digit plus player three times. I don't think a guy who put his team at a risk from jumping up into the play so much could do that.

FF, I watched pretty much every Bure playoff game during those four years in Vancouver. Outside of the final three games in 1992 against Winnipeg, he was a non-factor. I think eight of his points came in those three games. In 1993, he was a 110-point player. A lot of people were disappointed with his playoff performance. Alexei Zhitnik was terrific playing against Bure that year. And well, you don't even want to know why Bure suddenly turned it up a notch against Calgary in Game 7, after six games of being a non-factor.

Incidentally, FF, your co-GM has said several times that Bure didn't make the players around him better. And he's right.

I really can't believe you guys are still drawing on Bucyk's playoff record in his first two years. What was his role? He wasn't a scorer. He was a minor league call-up the first year. He didn't put up points. In Bure's first two years, he was a Calder winner, and a 110-point player. World of difference in roles. If Bucyk was playing the same role as Bure, and playing post-expansion (boy, that's a huge difference-maker right there) then you might have a case. Instead, you're arguing in circles with an apples and oranges comparison.

I don't FF realizes just how tough it was to put up points in the post-season when Schmidt was playing.

I find it interesting that you called into question Schmidt's Art Ross because it came pre-O6. If that's your stance, then you're also calling into question Seibert's accomplishments.

The thing about post-season PIM totals is they often get scewered. Were the higher PIM totals for Larmer and Lemaire a reflection of an inability to keep up with the opposition? No. In most cases, it's a reflection of a misconduct from the late-game skirmishes that were more prevalent in the 70s and 80s.

God Bless Canada
05-29-2008, 07:03 PM
One other edge that I think we have is offence from the third and fourth lines. I think we would both agree that Bobby Rousseau is the top offensive threat for either team on a third or fourth line. Former assists king. Had some very, very productive playoffs while not sacrificing his defensive game. And I'd say Blair Russell is probably the second-best offensive player. Series like this often come down to who can get that goal from a third or fourth line in a close contest. That's definitely an edge for us. And we also have the edge in offence from our blue-line, with Robinson, Mohns, Day and Maxwell. (That "thug" had 61 points in 79 post-season games. When he was healthy, he was productive. He was usually healthy for the playoffs).

God Bless Canada
05-29-2008, 07:10 PM
I think Barilko has enough in his short run to warrant No. 4 status. We know he was a two-time PIM leader. But his offence is pretty underrated. He led the Leafs defence in goal in three of his four seasons. And he was fourth in goals for defencemen in 1950. (Behind star defencemen Red Kelly, Bill Gadsby and Bill Quackenbush). He was definitely a difference-maker in the time he played.

raleh
05-29-2008, 07:15 PM
I love how FF will talk about the huge gap between Beliveau and Schmidt and then have the guts to say that the gap between Robinson and Seibert is huge. You guys have the best forward in the series, but not by as much as we have the best Dman. Beliveau is the third best centre of all time. Schmidt might be the fourth. He's in the crapshoot that also includes Clarke, Trottier, Esposito, Morenz, Mikita, and Dionne. I'd take Clarke over him, but I have him as the fifth best centre of all time. GBC already mentioned that Robinson is the #6 or 7 Dman. He was the #1 guy on the best defensive corps of all time. Seibert is fighting for a spot in the top 15. Robinson did everything, just like Schmidt. They are two of the three most complete players in this series.

The overvaluing of Bure in this thread is getting absolutely ridiculous. The guy could put the puck in the net. Everyone acknowledges this. But he does NOT make the guys around him better. He's not going to win any games by himself. He is containable. If he was absolutely unstoppable in an ATD context he would be a far more sought after player.

raleh
05-29-2008, 07:38 PM
You talk about the Beliveau line as if it's the most intimidating line in the draft. The team we just beat was lead by a line far superior to your top line with a superior offensive post season player leading the way. Lemaire will not shut down Beliveau. Nobody can do that, including strictly defensive centres. But we're comfortable with the matchup. The other two guys on the line are Martin and Gare. Good little players, but not overwhelming by any means. Larmer is more than capable of handling Gare and putting up points at the same time. We don't need Lemaire's line to do the bulk of the scoring; you won't be shutting down the BBB line, but whether they're matched up against Beliveau or not they're going to score timely goals. Remember Lemaire has three playoff OT goals. He'll score. So will Larmer. Not to mention the points we'll get from Mohns, Robinson, and Blair Russel who can put the puck in the net as well.

FissionFire
05-30-2008, 12:03 AM
Oh ****. I just lost 2 hours worth of typing. I'm going to bed.

Sturminator
05-30-2008, 03:34 AM
Schmidt might be the fourth. He's in the crapshoot that also includes Clarke, Trottier, Esposito, Morenz, Mikita, and Dionne. I'd take Clarke over him, but I have him as the fifth best centre of all time.

Although I am a fan of his, placing Milt Schmidt above Stan Mikita and Howie Morenz strains credibility. Depending on how you evaluate the eras in which they played, Schmidt can be at least credibly compared to Trottier and Clarke. Esposito is so different that comparison in a vacuum is very difficult. Mikita and Morenz are unambiguously better, though, and I don't think you help the argument for Schmidt by pushing it past the point of reason.

Nalyd Psycho
05-30-2008, 05:09 AM
I may not get another chance to write on the series, so, here's another novel...

Seibert's a credible No. 1 defenceman in this thing, a top 20 defenceman of all-time. Robinson's a No. 6 or 7 defenceman of all-time. Robinson was so dominant against Philly in 76 that Philly went looking for a Robinson of their own. Just think about it: the meanest, toughest team in the history of the league had no answer to Larry Robinson.

We're not saying Seibert is better than Robinson, just that the difference is not what you are saying it is.

FF, I watched pretty much every Bure playoff game during those four years in Vancouver. Outside of the final three games in 1992 against Winnipeg, he was a non-factor. I think eight of his points came in those three games. In 1993, he was a 110-point player. A lot of people were disappointed with his playoff performance. Alexei Zhitnik was terrific playing against Bure that year. And well, you don't even want to know why Bure suddenly turned it up a notch against Calgary in Game 7, after six games of being a non-factor.

Thank you for proving my point. 8 points in 3 games is exactly what I'm talking about. Bure may be streaky, but one or two games at that level, which he absolutly will provide, will turn the series in the Fighting Saints favour.

I really can't believe you guys are still drawing on Bucyk's playoff record in his first two years. What was his role? He wasn't a scorer. He was a minor league call-up the first year. He didn't put up points. In Bure's first two years, he was a Calder winner, and a 110-point player. World of difference in roles. If Bucyk was playing the same role as Bure, and playing post-expansion (boy, that's a huge difference-maker right there) then you might have a case. Instead, you're arguing in circles with an apples and oranges comparison.

Actually, it's first four years, which include two years as a scorer in Boston. It is a shame that Bucyk missed the playoffs 8 straight years because it eliminates samples of his prime as an on ice leader. But given what we have, there are question marks and you know it.

I don't FF realizes just how tough it was to put up points in the post-season when Schmidt was playing.

From 1937-1948
Milt Schmidt playoff PPG: 0.654
Nick Metz playoff PPG: 0.528
Difference: 0.166

Milt Schmidt regular season PPG: 0.824
Nick Metz regular season PPG: 0.489
Difference: 0.335

I find it interesting that you called into question Schmidt's Art Ross because it came pre-O6. If that's your stance, then you're also calling into question Seibert's accomplishments.

Most of Seibert's accomplishments were pre-1940, and I'm not calling into question the quality of 1930's hockey, which I believe to be one of the most competitive decades. It is up to the voters to decide whether 1940-42 was high quality or not, but I have suspicions.

One other edge that I think we have is offence from the third and fourth lines. I think we would both agree that Bobby Rousseau is the top offensive threat for either team on a third or fourth line. Former assists king. Had some very, very productive playoffs while not sacrificing his defensive game. And I'd say Blair Russell is probably the second-best offensive player. Series like this often come down to who can get that goal from a third or fourth line in a close contest. That's definitely an edge for us. And we also have the edge in offence from our blue-line, with Robinson, Mohns, Day and Maxwell. (That "thug" had 61 points in 79 post-season games. When he was healthy, he was productive. He was usually healthy for the playoffs).

Please, provide some evidence on Russell, the Hall of Fame barely has any stats.

Rousseau was good, and your probably right, he is the best scoring bottom 6 player, but, may I remind you who's wing he was productive on?

But I think you significantly underrate the offense from our bottom 6.
Metz and Ezinicki were 20 goal scorers adjusted for era.
Sullivan had a couple of top 10 appearances in assists and points.
Kallur was an offensive star in Sweden and an SEL Player of the Year. He was very productive early in his NHL tenure, but had the character to adapt to team needs.
Bobby Holik is a three time 60 point player playing on the most defensive team in the league during the dead puck era.

And don't underrate the offense from Seibert, Ragulin, Ivanov and Vadnais.

Also, DO NOT TWIST MY WORDS. You said your team was disciplined, in that context, I said Maxwell was a thug. I was not implying he was a bad player, just that he racked up very high PIM totals. Which is the truth.

I think Barilko has enough in his short run to warrant No. 4 status. We know he was a two-time PIM leader. But his offence is pretty underrated. He led the Leafs defence in goal in three of his four seasons. And he was fourth in goals for defencemen in 1950. (Behind star defencemen Red Kelly, Bill Gadsby and Bill Quackenbush). He was definitely a difference-maker in the time he played.

What separates Barilko from Doug Barkley asside from the song "Fifty Mission Cap"? Yes, Barilko had a solid four year career. But, when push comes to shove, HE HAD A FOUR YEAR CAREER! He coulda been a contendah. But, alas, twas not to be. Tell, me, what exactly separates Barilko from Dion Phaneuf?

I love how FF will talk about the huge gap between Beliveau and Schmidt and then have the guts to say that the gap between Robinson and Seibert is huge. You guys have the best forward in the series, but not by as much as we have the best Dman. Beliveau is the third best centre of all time. Schmidt might be the fourth. He's in the crapshoot that also includes Clarke, Trottier, Esposito, Morenz, Mikita, and Dionne. I'd take Clarke over him, but I have him as the fifth best centre of all time. GBC already mentioned that Robinson is the #6 or 7 Dman. He was the #1 guy on the best defensive corps of all time. Seibert is fighting for a spot in the top 15. Robinson did everything, just like Schmidt. They are two of the three most complete players in this series.

Hi, I'm on planet Earth, what planet are you on? Schmidt better than Mikita? You're kidding right? The only edge Schmidt has is size. They were equal defensively, equally tough, but, Mikita was a SIGNIFICANTLY better stickhandler, skater, shooter, passer and just about everything than Schmidt. If you think we're exaggerating, you need a lot of perspective. He may be equal to Messier and Trottier, but, honestly, I'm wondering what makes those two better than Yzerman, Sakic and Lalonde. Schmidt is a good upper-mid-tier center, but he's not one of the elite few like Beliveau is. Not even close. Defense is the only area where Schmidt may be better, but other than that, not even close. Beliveau is bigger, tougher, a better leader, shooter, passer, puck carrier, away from the puck player, playoff performer and emissary of the sport.

Now, Robinson vs Seibert. Lets look at this little stat.

All-Star Selections:
Robinson:
1st Team: 3, 77, 79, 80
2nd Team: 3, 78, 81, 86

Seibert:
1st Team: 4, 35, 42, 43, 44
2nd Team: 6, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41

What was that about a huge gap between Robinson and Seibert? What about consistency? What about career value?

What Larry Robinson are you going to get? 1977 Robinson? Or 1984 Robinson? And you can't scream that he was past his peak, he was 32, that is a defenseman's peak. He was past his peak before he finished his peak.

When Earl Seibert was that age he was a 2nd team all-star and had 2 more still to come. There is no question of consistency with Earl Seibert. You know exactly what you get. One of the best combinations of size, mobility, defense, offense and physical play ever seen.

I'd rather not have question marks in a role as important as #1 defenseman. Robinson has question marks, Seibert has no such question marks. Larry Robinson's peak may blow Seibert out of the water. But four years of that peak versus Seibert's 10+ year peak tells a whole different story.

And even though Robinson is the best defenseman in the series, the Fighting Saints have the 2nd, 3rd and 4th best d-men in the series. Because you'd be seriously grasping at straws if you argue that Hap Day is better than the Secretary of Defense or the Russian Bear.

The overvaluing of Bure in this thread is getting absolutely ridiculous. The guy could put the puck in the net. Everyone acknowledges this. But he does NOT make the guys around him better. He's not going to win any games by himself. He is containable. If he was absolutely unstoppable in an ATD context he would be a far more sought after player.

The only references to Bure making teammates better are quotes from teammates and coaches. And even then, we aren't trying to say he's some great leader, just that his teammates and coaches respect what he brings to the team and wish to work with him and what he offers.

As for why Bure doesn't go higher, I have no idea. People are blindsided by injuries and innuendo and forget that he's the 2nd best goal scorer of the last 20 years. (And by goal scorer I am combining the act of finishing and creating the opportunity into one overall attribute.) If Bure was taken based on what he is capable of when happy and healthy he'd go close to 30th, slipping to the 5th round is really sad and well, awesome for us because the Fighting Saints get a steal and the best goal scorer of the series.

You talk about the Beliveau line as if it's the most intimidating line in the draft. The team we just beat was lead by a line far superior to your top line with a superior offensive post season player leading the way. Lemaire will not shut down Beliveau. Nobody can do that, including strictly defensive centres. But we're comfortable with the matchup. The other two guys on the line are Martin and Gare. Good little players, but not overwhelming by any means. Larmer is more than capable of handling Gare and putting up points at the same time. We don't need Lemaire's line to do the bulk of the scoring; you won't be shutting down the BBB line, but whether they're matched up against Beliveau or not they're going to score timely goals. Remember Lemaire has three playoff OT goals. He'll score. So will Larmer. Not to mention the points we'll get from Mohns, Robinson, and Blair Russel who can put the puck in the net as well.

The reason you beat the Eagles has nothing to do with Maurice Richard not cutting it and everything to do with the Eagles top defensemen not being suited to stopping a physical scoring line. With Langway and Seibert facing off against the Big Bad Bruins, you get no such advantage. In fact, I'd say no defense pairing will hurt the BBBs as much as the Joint Chiefs of Defense. They're bigger, tougher and more mobile that the BBBs. They may not completely shut down the BBBs, but the JCoD will severely limit them, to the point where secondary scoring will be your only chance of victory. And while Lemaire and Larmer may be able to offer a few clutch goals here and there while checking Beliveau, you're delusional if you think they can carry the offensive load while preventing the Beliveau line from scoring.

Oh, and Larmer would be up against Martin, who's speed will often undress Larmer.

As for why we are so high on the Beliveau line. Here are some charts compairing the Big Bad Bruins to Jean Beliveau.

Goals:
|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th|10th|Total
Jean Beliveau|2|1|2|1|1||1|1|1||10
Big Bad Bruins||3|1|||1|1|1|5||12


Assists:
|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th|10th|Total
Jean Beliveau|2|3|1|1||1|1||1|1|11
Big Bad Bruins|1||2|2|||1|1|1|1|9


Points:
|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th|10th|Total
Jean Beliveau|1|3|3|1||1||2|1||12
Big Bad Bruins|1||1|2|||2|1|2|2|11


Yes. That is correct. Our 1st line center is singlehandedly more offensively accomplished than your first line. Feel free to do the math comparing top 5 finishes. (It's 7/4, 7/5, 8/4)

Sturminator
05-30-2008, 05:56 AM
What separates Barilko from Doug Barkley asside from the song "Fifty Mission Cap"? Yes, Barilko had a solid four year career. But, when push comes to shove, HE HAD A FOUR YEAR CAREER! He coulda been a contendah. But, alas, twas not to be. Tell, me, what exactly separates Barilko from Dion Phaneuf?

You mean besides the fact that Phaneuf is already an all-star? I have no idea. Your flippant attitude about Barilko's tragedy is a little off-color, though. Both sides of this debate are taking some pretty wild swings.

I'd rather not have question marks in a role as important as #1 defenseman. Robinson has question marks, Seibert has no such question marks. Larry Robinson's peak may blow Seibert out of the water. But four years of that peak versus Seibert's 10+ year peak tells a whole different story.

Insofar as you're implying that Larry Robinson had a short peak, I think it's pretty unfair. Larry Robinson's peak was really six years: 76-77 to 81-82, and he had two more good ones from 85-87. Many great players have had peaks no longer than that. Although I consider the claim that Robinson is underrated and better than Lidstrom silly, I also don't think he is overrated. For all the time we've wasted on Larry Robinson, I don't see how anything has changed.

The only references to Bure making teammates better are quotes from teammates and coaches.

And Larry Wigge. Booooooooo!!! Let's just drop the Pavelmania business; it's a joke.

And even though Robinson is the best defenseman in the series, the Fighting Saints have the 2nd, 3rd and 4th best d-men in the series. Because you'd be seriously grasping at straws if you argue that Hap Day is better than the Secretary of Defense or the Russian Bear.

Perhaps I am alone in thinking this, but I consider both Day and Mohns better than Ragulin. The Joint Chiefs of Defense is a good name for your top pairing, though. Bonus points for that.

Nalyd Psycho
05-30-2008, 06:06 AM
You mean besides the fact that Phaneuf is already an all-star? I have no idea. Your flippant attitude about Barilko's tragedy is a little off-color, though. Both sides of this debate are taking some pretty wild swings.


Hey, if AIDS is officially funny...

Sturminator
05-30-2008, 06:26 AM
Hey, if AIDS is officially funny...

Forgive my prudishness. I've been watching a lot of Aaliyah videos lately.

FissionFire
05-30-2008, 10:31 AM
Here's a few comments from Ken Dryden's The Game on Larry Robinson:

On the Dornhoefer hit: "He had delivered a message- to the Flyers, to the rest of the league, to himself. A series that had been moving our way found its irrevocable direction, and we won in four straight games."

On the importance of the 1976 Canada Cup and Stanley Cup wins: "He had found a game. Not Orr's, not Salming's or Savards. A game of strength and agility, a commanding mix of offense and defense, his size a lingering reminder of violence."

On Roinson's game:

"In the next few years, more than just an outstanding player, Robinson became a presence. It had to do with being so big, so strong, so tough, so agile, that no one knew how good he was, and no one wanted to find out."

"He had a numbing reputation, an imperial manner, and the goods to back them up, a game rooted in defense, opportunistic on offense, limited, economic and dominant."

"What set him apart from other players was his size and strength, his implicit toughness and chilling manner; what set him apart from other big men was his agaility and puck-handling skill; what made him unique was the mix. What made it all work was a game rooted in defense - strong, limited and commanding."

Just out of curiosity, but aren't those Dryden quotes from the same book he was quoted as saying his backup would have won all the Cups he did behind that defense if they swapped places? How much credibility do we give that statement? Probably about as much as we should give all the others he makes. I think it's pretty clear that Dryden exaggerates alot in his quotes.

I'm not a big fan of plus-minus to evaluate defensive play, but it is worth noting that he has the best plus-minus since it's been tracked. A plus-120 one year. Never a negative in his career. A single-digit plus player three times. I don't think a guy who put his team at a risk from jumping up into the play so much could do that.

Really GBC, plus/minus? Have things become that desperate in the Ottawa camp that you are trying to use the most flawed statistic at evaluating a player? At the very least provide some context to see how he rates on his own team.

However, since you've opened the +/- door I'll toss a little something out there for you to consider. In his three full seasons as a Canadien, Rod Langway twice finished above Robinson in +/- and once finished barely behind. Also consider that this was a young Langway (22-24) versus an in-his-prime Robinson (28-30). You've been critical of the defensive reputation of Rod Langway but it appears before he hit his prime he was outperforming Robinson during Larry's peak years. Are you underrating Langway's defense or overrating Robinson's? I mean, since you're throwing plus/minus out there and all.....

1979-80: Robinson (+38, age 28), Langway (+36, age 22)
1980-81: Robinson (+46, age 29), Langway (+53, age 23)
1981-82: Robinson (+57, age 30), Langway (+66, age 24)

Oh, and Dallas Smith led the NHL in +/- just as many times as Larry Robinson did, for what it's worth.

FF, I watched pretty much every Bure playoff game during those four years in Vancouver. Outside of the final three games in 1992 against Winnipeg, he was a non-factor. I think eight of his points came in those three games. In 1993, he was a 110-point player. A lot of people were disappointed with his playoff performance. Alexei Zhitnik was terrific playing against Bure that year. And well, you don't even want to know why Bure suddenly turned it up a notch against Calgary in Game 7, after six games of being a non-factor.

So your saying even if he's getting contained in a series he'll still break out and get his points? That he's a clutch Game 7 performer? You've just helped prove our point. You can't shut him down because eventually he'll get his no matter what. He's proven that in every single playoff year.

I don't FF realizes just how tough it was to put up points in the post-season when Schmidt was playing.

Is this a reference to Beliveau versus Schmidt? I compared both using Top 10 and Top 5 finishes against their peers so I'm not sure how different scoring rates is relevant. Beliveau was the far more dominant player against his peers, and I'd argue he had a far strong cast of peers to compete against. I didn't add playoff numbers to that analysis but if I did Beliveau again wins that comparison. Both players led the playoffs in points once, but Beliveau led in goals once and assists three times, things Schmidt never did. Two of Beliveau's playoff assist titles were at ages 38 and 39.

If this is a reference to my comment about Schmidt having a few playoff duds, then I think you should look over his playoff record again and you'll see I'm not off-base. I don't care how hard it is to score in an era, you can't say his 1939-40 playoffs (0 points in 6 games after scoring 6 points in 12 games the previous season) or his 1950-51 playoffs (1 assist in 6 games after winning the Hart) weren't duds.

The thing about post-season PIM totals is they often get scewered. Were the higher PIM totals for Larmer and Lemaire a reflection of an inability to keep up with the opposition? No. In most cases, it's a reflection of a misconduct from the late-game skirmishes that were more prevalent in the 70s and 80s.

Prove it. It's easy to dismiss a high PIM number as "late game misconducts" but seriously prove it. Show me something to back that up.

One other edge that I think we have is offence from the third and fourth lines. I think we would both agree that Bobby Rousseau is the top offensive threat for either team on a third or fourth line. Former assists king. Had some very, very productive playoffs while not sacrificing his defensive game. And I'd say Blair Russell is probably the second-best offensive player. Series like this often come down to who can get that goal from a third or fourth line in a close contest. That's definitely an edge for us. And we also have the edge in offence from our blue-line, with Robinson, Mohns, Day and Maxwell. (That "thug" had 61 points in 79 post-season games. When he was healthy, he was productive. He was usually healthy for the playoffs).

I think you're underrating our teams scoring abilities. Nick Metz scored some big goals and was an instrumental part of the first 3-0 comeback in history. Red Sullivan was a great scorer who produced in the only playoff season we played in that role. Anders Kallur proved he could score and had at least one shorthanded goal in 5 consecutive playoff years. Holik produced. Ezinicki produced. Our defense is being vastly underrated offensively I feel. Seibert was an offensive force from the blueline during his career as HO pointed out. Carol Vadnais was an offensive player who by al accounts excelled when paired with a defensive rock (which he is with Dallas Smith), Ivanov's 6 goals and 7 points in 8 games at the 1964 Olympics earned him the Top Forward award there - the only defenseman to ever win that honor proving he certainly was a scorer when called upon. If there's an injury to our forwards in the series we've got arguably one of the most dominant players of his era offensively on the bench in Hobey Baker. Our team isn't filled with players who had one or two dominating playoff runs, but simply guys who were consistently good and who consistently produced. You probably won't see many of them dominating a series, but you certainly won't see any of them lay an egg either and that's something Ottawa can't claim.

I think Barilko has enough in his short run to warrant No. 4 status. We know he was a two-time PIM leader. But his offence is pretty underrated. He led the Leafs defence in goal in three of his four seasons. And he was fourth in goals for defencemen in 1950. (Behind star defencemen Red Kelly, Bill Gadsby and Bill Quackenbush). He was definitely a difference-maker in the time he played.

Barilko is a fine player and what happened to him is tragic, but he's a weak #4 in an ATD context and arguably the weakest link on your team and in the entire series. MXD and I really went at it over the Hy Buller pick but really Buller has the better career with an All-Star berth and I don't think he's a credible top 4 defenseman in the ATD either. Barilko's claim to fame was being 4th in defenseman goals in the NHL one season. That's not exactly a dominating peak and he doesn't have any career value to offset this. He's the weakest defenseman in this entire series and he's in your top 4. I'd LOVE to have him out there against Bure's line because in an ATD context Barilko doesn't measure up in that spot.

I love how FF will talk about the huge gap between Beliveau and Schmidt and then have the guts to say that the gap between Robinson and Seibert is huge.

The gap between Beliveau and Schmidt is significant, and I've provided the evidence to prove that.

Robinson's peak was dominating but Seibert's career value was actually better. Not enough to overcome Robinson's peak but it does close the gap a bit. 10 All-Star berths for Seibert versus only 6 for Robinson is a pretty significant edge for Seibert. You can't discount peak vs. career in the ATD. Sure, peak vs. peak Robinson blows Seibert away. Factoring in career it's not quite as lopsided as you portray it to be. You also seem to underrate Seibert's offensive abilities. He was the 2nd best scoring defenseman in the NHL behind Eddie Shore in his career. That's not something a player with limited or no offensive abilities accomplishes. He was and elite offensive blueliner in his era, and you can't really deny that. He was also the more physical and punishing defender and was considered one of the best shot-blockers in the league during his time. Was he a better offensive player than Robinson? No. Was he a better defensive player than Robinson? I think so, but at worst they are even. Was he a more physical player than Robinson? Unquestionably. Even Eddie Shore, maybe the toughest player ever to lace up skates, wanted no part of Big Earl. Did players ever feel that way about Robinson? No.

You guys have the best forward in the series, but not by as much as we have the best Dman. Beliveau is the third best centre of all time. Schmidt might be the fourth. He's in the crapshoot that also includes Clarke, Trottier, Esposito, Morenz, Mikita, and Dionne. I'd take Clarke over him, but I have him as the fifth best centre of all time.

Oh please. 4th or 5th best center ever? Let's be realistic. Schmidt is a better player than those players mentioned? Better than Messier? He's a guy on par with players like Yzerman or Sakic or Lalonde. Let's not turn him into something he's not.

The overvaluing of Bure in this thread is getting absolutely ridiculous. The guy could put the puck in the net. Everyone acknowledges this. But he does NOT make the guys around him better. He's not going to win any games by himself. He is containable. If he was absolutely unstoppable in an ATD context he would be a far more sought after player.

Actually, Bure IS going to win games by himself. He made a career out of moments like that. Remember his 5-goal game in the Olympics? 2 goals, 3 points (including the triple OT winner) in a 3-2 Game 7 win to cap a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit? Do you really need more examples of Bure winning games by himself on big stages of pressure situations?

Remember Lemaire has three playoff OT goals.

You have one guy. We have a team littered with players who were key parts of some of the biggest clutch playoff efforts in history. Bure was a key in recovering from a 3-1 series deficit in 1994. Metz a key part of coming back from down 3-0 in a series. Seibert's '38 Hawks. You certainly don't have the corner in clutch playoff play or performance under pressure.

You mean besides the fact that Phaneuf is already an all-star? I have no idea. Your flippant attitude about Barilko's tragedy is a little off-color, though. Both sides of this debate are taking some pretty wild swings.

Exactly. I used Hy Buller as an example, but Dion Phaneuf is another good one. Would either of those guys we considered strong ATD #4's? Why should Barilko be seen as such when he accomplished less than either Buller or Phanuef has.

Perhaps I am alone in thinking this, but I consider both Day and Mohns better than Ragulin. The Joint Chiefs of Defense is a good name for your top pairing, though. Bonus points for that.

I'm not sure why you feel that way. Ragulin was an IIHF All-Star 5 straight seasons and was the IIHF Best Defenseman in 1965. His scoring rate was actually better in games against Canada and the United States than it was against Sweden or Finland. The only knock on him was skating, but he was an exceptional positional player and the leader of the Soviet defense. Then Tarasov instituted his crazy 2-2-1 system, it was Ragulin who was the lone defenseman back to cover his own zone. He was named the World Championship's Best Defenseman in 1966 and 1967. Arthur Chidlovski says of Ragulin that "He was an established organizer of both defensive and offensive team efforts and had excellent tactical and puck handling skills. Due to his amazing sense of hockey, he was famous for a quick and accurate one-timer from the defense zone sending his teammates into a counter-attack. His powerful slapshot also led to numerous goals and assists on his scoring list.". He was on his last legs when asked to contain Phil Esposito (who was at his peak) in the '72 Summit Series and he wasn't dominated.

Sturminator
05-30-2008, 01:14 PM
He was named the World Championship's Best Defenseman in 1966 and 1967.

As long as we're checking facts, this is also not true.

shawnmullin
05-30-2008, 03:11 PM
Intense stuff!

FissionFire
05-30-2008, 04:56 PM
As long as we're checking facts, this is also not true.

It might be. I've had a ton of conflicting data on this.

Arthur Chidlovski mentions he was the IIHF Best Defenseman in 1965 here (http://www.chidlovski.net/1954/54_player_info.asp?p_id=r002), and says he was an IIHF All-Star in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1967. He makes no mention of any World Cup accomplishments.

Later, however, during his Summit Series profile here (http://hfboards.com/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=14255665) Arthur states he was the World Cup Best Defenseman in 1966 but makes no mention of him ever being an IIHF Best Defenseman. To make matter worse, he conflicts his own data by listing Ragulin as an IIHF All-Star in 1963, 1965, 1966, and 1967 but not 1964 as the other profile stated.

Then to add to the craziness, the HHOF here (http://www.hhof.com/HTML/t6gp08.shtml) states "He won nine consecutive World Championships in the 1960s and into the '70s, being named best defenceman in both 1966 and '67.".

Finding a straight-up list of award winners for the IIHF or Olympics hasn't been easy either.

Near as I can tell, the general consensus I've found so far is Ragulin was a 5-time All-Star, was once IIHF Best Defenseman (Source (http://www.swehockey.se/files/%7B6F65A0A5-A341-4CDE-9AD1-7C7340B39A75%7D.pdf)), and shares the record for most Most IIHF World Championship (including Olympics) titles wins at 10 with Tretiak (Source (http://www.iihf.com/search.html)). I'm pretty sure that's right but heck if I can find any two sources in complete agreement yet.

God Bless Canada
05-30-2008, 05:47 PM
Time to diffuse some more arguments...

*You'll never hear me say a bad thing about Beliveau. He's No. 3 on my all-time centre list. He was magnificent in the playoffs. Schmidt was No. 10 on my list for centres, I think he's a mirror image of Bryan Trottier. I wouldn't put Schmidt on par with a Mikita or Morenz. That being said, I don't think there's a lot of difference between Beliveau and Schmidt. I want an actual "how he played the game" argument for a big gap between Beliveau and Schmidt. And the linemates for Schmidt work a lot better than the linemates for Beliveau. The Big...Bad...Bruins Line has been lauded by several teams as the best in the draft, the ultimate combination of size, skill, toughness and styles that mesh well together.
*I would say that the gap between Beliveau and Schmidt isn't as great as the gap between Robinson and Seibert. That being said, you'll never hear me question Seibert.
*Schmidt might have had a couple disappointing playoffs, but so did Beliveau. Beliveau actually did face criticism in the early 60s for his playoff efforts; people wondered if he could get the job done without Richard.
*As I've said before, I don't think you've done a good job of surrounding Beliveau with playoff performers. Martin and Gare were good playoff performers, but not great. Didn't consistently step up their play in the post-season. Didn't have that post-season that defined a career.
*We all know why Bure had the big Game 7 against Calgary in 1994. It's not good. It's one of the biggest black marks for a star player in the history of the game. And in 1992, Winnipeg rolled over. Period. A lot of the Canucks put up a lot of points in those three games. The Canucks outscored the Jets 21-5 in those three games. It wasn't a reflection of how well Bure played; it was a reflection of a total choke job by Winnipeg.
*And again, if you think Bure's going to be able to get it done against Mohns (Mohns, he of the great smarts and speed), you're in for a big surprise. And if you try to get Bure out there against another pairing, you could also be in for a surprise.
*There are no questions about Bucyk's playoff career. Not from those who take a deeper (a second?) look. In those first four years, he had one playoff in which you could say he didn't perform to expectations. In his first two years, he wasn't a scorer. In his third year, he struggled. You just don't get that six points in seven games in the playoffs in the O6 era was impressive. Love those apples and oranges arguments.
*The quality of hockey from 40-42 was not suspicious. Look at the players in the game. The Great Depression was over. The war stimulated the economy. It created jobs. Schmidt was actually one of the first prominent players to go to war in 1941.
*Legends of Hockey has a good scouting report on Russell. Most of their write-ups for early players are more stats-based, but they encapsulate Russell's style pretty well. I have my concerns about Russell's ability to be a primo offensive player (he played before goalies could leave their feet), but as a fourth line two-way player, who can get an occasional goal, I think he fits the role well. And I think he's the second-best offensive player among the bottom six from either team.
*Rousseau played with Beliveau. And he put up points. He also put up points with other players. He was over a point-per-game in the playoffs with the Rangers in 72.
*What separates Barilko from Doug Barkley, Dion Phaneuf, Hy Buller and others? Barilko was good enough to play a fairly important role on a dynasty. He played a tough, physical game, but he had skill, leading Leaf blue-liners in goals three times, and finishing fourth among goals by defencemen. He played four years; he played pretty well in those four years.
*Nalyd, you still haven't grasped how much hockey Robinson played early in his career. When you look at the guys who played on the dynasties of the 70s and 80s, most of them peaked in the 26-30 range. Other guys who were in their 30s tailed off after the dynasty years ended. In 1980, Robinson was 28 or 29, but he had the mileage of a player in his mid-30s. And Robinson was outstanding in the playoffs. Won a Conn Smythe in 78, and could have won it in 76, too. I don't think Robinson has any question marks; I've seen a lot more reports to believe that there aren't question marks.
*FF, have you ever read "The Game?" There's a reason it's widely considered the greatest hockey book ever assembled, and one of the greatest sports books ever. If you think there's lots of exaggeration, and it shouldn't be taken seriously, that's fine. But geez, there's a lot of hockey people who disagree. If you read The Game, you'd also read that players wanted no part of Robinson, especially after the Dornhoefer hit.
*No desperation in citing plus-minus. It's not a be-all and end-all stat, but there's a reason hockey players make a very big deal out of it. Bottom line is Robinson was never a minus player. You can count on one hand the number of times his plus total was a single digit total. And he has the best plus-minus since they kept tracking the stat. Robinson usually played against the opponent's best players; that likely explains why Langway had a better plus-minus in those two years in Montreal.
*You'll never hear me say a bad word about Dallas Smith, either. He's a rock-solid, third pairing defenceman. He could run into trouble against some of our guys who have that great combination of speed and hockey sense (like Lemaire, and please note, Lemaire is not our only clutch player, if you're inferring we don't have clutch players, then you're in big trouble), but Smith is simply solid.
*If you watched the game in the 70s and 80s, you would have seen how common the late-game scrum was. It was a pretty common occurence. A lot of players had their PIM/game total increase in the 70s and 80s. It happened.
*Ivanov can play forward? So can Mohns. And we saw Mohns dominate against a high-level of competition. 1964 Olympics? I'm not impressed. Olympic competition doesn't mean much in terms of an evaluating point pre 1998, and it definitely doesn't mean much for the 60s.
*Which one of our defencemen will lay an egg, FF? Please, tell me. We're all waiting for an answer. Robinson? The six-time Cup champion, Conn Smythe winner who motivated the Broad Street Bullies to find a player who could match Robinson? Day? The two-way toughie who scored an end-to-end goal in a Stanley Cup final in the 30s (unheard of for a defenceman back then) and was a great leader? Mohns? The turbo-skating, intelligent, two-way defenceman who could beat you with skill, smarts and toughness? Barilko? He sure didn't hurt the Leafs in their years. Career value? I think I showed his career value already. An excellent combination of talent and toughness. Harris? A feared, tough player who didn't spend an abnormal amount of time in the penalty box? Very rugged, very smart defensive defenceman. (The only defenceman on our team who doesn't get involved offensively). Maxwell? The big, talented, mobile, two-way defenceman who was a force when he was healthy? Well, he was healthy in the playoffs. And he got 61 points in 79 games. And then there's the ultimate No. 7 defenceman: Joe Watson. He's good enough to play a top six role. But you want to talk about character, leadership, a team-first attitude and work ethic? Joe Watson had all of it. A prototypical steady defenceman. So who's it going to be, FF? Who will lay an egg?
*I really like Metz. I'm a big fan of his. He never faced anyone like Cam Neely, but Metz is excellent defensively. I'm a big fan of Ezinicki from the perspective of a fourth line toughie (think Murray Balfour), but not so much as a defensive line player. He could be in trouble against a guy like Bucyk, and he could prove to be a weak link defensively. And I don't know if Kallur's Swedish success is exactly the best argument for him.

raleh
05-30-2008, 07:21 PM
Hey, if AIDS is officially funny...

22.3 years!

Holy ****! We're not even half way to the amount of posts from the Kingston-Toronto series of the last round!

vancityluongo
05-30-2008, 09:28 PM
Holy ****! We're not even half way to the amount of posts from the Kingston-Toronto series of the last round!

That's because none of you have used 30 posts to count the number of goals on your team. :sarcasm:

FissionFire
05-31-2008, 01:51 AM
Lotta stuff

I really want to respond to some of that, but I got done with 5 straight hours of baking and I'm toast. With the Wings playing tomorrow night and it being the deadline, I don't think I'll have the time (or the focus) to do it tomorrow either. Just in case I don't get another chance to, I just want to post up the discussions with yourself and raleh in this thread have been a lot of fun and I wanted to thank you both for helping make my first ATD experience absolutely fabulous. Win or lose (hopefully win), just want you both to know there are never any hard feelings and I hope our paths cross in future drafts. Best of luck to you both!

Nalyd Psycho
05-31-2008, 02:02 AM
Quick answer on the difference between Beliveau and Schmidt.
1. Never read anything on Schmidt being an elite puck carrier, have read Bauer was the lines transition player.

2. offensive excellence. Schmidt was good offensively, but not an elite playmaker or goalscorer. While Beliveau was a consistant top 5 presence against increadibly fierce competition. So, it is fair to say he has a better shot and offensive hockey sense.

And, just to add, if I've pushed too hard or anything, it's because I fear and respect you guys, so I'm bringing my "A" debate.

Sturminator
05-31-2008, 03:14 AM
It might be. I've had a ton of conflicting data on this.

Yeah, chidlovski's inconsistency on this point is maddening. The only complete list I've found is here (http://www.hockeycanada.ca/5/0/5/1/index1.shtml).

It's a hockey Canada site, so take it for what it's worth, but it seems to be correct in all of the particulars that I know to be true. Eurohockey's profile (http://www.eurohockey.net/players/show_player.cgi?serial=27030)of Ragulin also agrees with this. Apparently, Ragulin won the Best Directorate award only in 1966.

At the risk of beating a dead horse of my own creation, the question I have about Ragulin is mostly one of competitive era. Outside of his own teammates, who are the great European forwards during his peak (63-67)? He clearly had a good deal of consistency in those years, but how good could his peak have been if he was beaten out in 4 out of his 5 peak seasons by defensemen who are not generally considered ATD material (yes, I realize Davydov was drafted in ATD#9)?

For players who competed against limited competition, I like to see something like absolute dominance before I credit their peak as something special by ATD standards. If a player in a lesser league is truly off the charts great, then we really don't know exactly how good he was - like a person with a perfect score on an intelligence test that only measures up to 120. He could have an IQ of exactly 120, or it could be 200. I think this is a fairly rational point.

The thing about Ragulin is that I don't see him as a player of this type. He wasn't off-the-charts dominant, as Sologubov arguably was. He is certainly one of the best European defensemen of the 60's, but arguably not even the best, and given the level of competition, I think that raises serious questions about just how good Ragulin's peak really was. Had Ragulin been clearly the best defenseman of his somewhat limited generation, as Sologubov was, then I would be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and split the difference as I generally do between how good and how bad he might have been. I don't think that's the case, though.

FissionFire
05-31-2008, 10:36 AM
Yeah, chidlovski's inconsistency on this point is maddening. The only complete list I've found is here (http://www.hockeycanada.ca/5/0/5/1/index1.shtml).

It's a hockey Canada site, so take it for what it's worth, but it seems to be correct in all of the particulars that I know to be true. Eurohockey's profile (http://www.eurohockey.net/players/show_player.cgi?serial=27030)of Ragulin also agrees with this. Apparently, Ragulin won the Best Directorate award only in 1966.

At the risk of beating a dead horse of my own creation, the question I have about Ragulin is mostly one of competitive era. Outside of his own teammates, who are the great European forwards during his peak (63-67)? He clearly had a good deal of consistency in those years, but how good could his peak have been if he was beaten out in 4 out of his 5 peak seasons by defensemen who are not generally considered ATD material (yes, I realize Davydov was drafted in ATD#9)?

For players who competed against limited competition, I like to see something like absolute dominance before I credit their peak as something special by ATD standards. If a player in a lesser league is truly off the charts great, then we really don't know exactly how good he was - like a person with a perfect score on an intelligence test that only measures up to 120. He could have an IQ of exactly 120, or it could be 200. I think this is a fairly rational point.

The thing about Ragulin is that I don't see him as a player of this type. He wasn't off-the-charts dominant, as Sologubov arguably was. He is certainly one of the best European defensemen of the 60's, but arguably not even the best, and given the level of competition, I think that raises serious questions about just how good Ragulin's peak really was. Had Ragulin been clearly the best defenseman of his somewhat limited generation, as Sologubov was, then I would be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and split the difference as I generally do between how good and how bad he might have been. I don't think that's the case, though.

Ragulin, in his final season as a player, participated in the '72 Summit Series and acquitted himself rather well against the best of Canada. Keep in mind this was the absolute end of his career and not his prime when this happened. I think that series proved that he could compete with NHL players considering he did so against the best NHLers and not just some random NHL team with only a few stars. Did he shutdown Esposito? No, but then again nobody in the NHL was shutting him down during the absolute pinnacle of his prime either. Ragulin also got under Esposito's skin in that series, drawing a 5-minute high-stick major on him and making the burly Canadian look like a thug when Espo tried to goad him into a fight. Esposito said every time the two skated by each other he'd get a sneaky spear into the ribs from the big Russian. Sounds alot like Ragulin was playing an NHL-style game against Canada's brightest star in that series and was being effective.

"Up until that time, there was a perception that no matter how good a European player was relative to other European players, they were not good enough to play in the NHL. After that series came the realization that European players can play in the NHL." - Ken Dryden on the 1972 Summit Series

If a Ragulin on his last legs as a hockey player could compete in the NHL, I'd assume that an in-his-prime Ragulin in the mid-60s would have been just as effective and probably even moreso.

Another thing to consider is that the international stage boasted far better overall talent in the 60s than it did in the 50s. The Czechs were a much improved team with some strong players (they actually won 3 of 5 Best Defenseman awards during Ragulin's peak, as well as 1 Best Forward and 1 Best Goalie). I'd imagine that international voters were like any other voter in the world where players who post big offensive numbers tend to get ranked much higher than the more stay-at-home players like Ragulin who don't take chances to post huge numbers.

God Bless Canada
05-31-2008, 11:10 AM
Yeah, it has been a lot of fun, gentlemen. I actually would have done more, but this is peak time at work. Had to do a special publication for the local Relay for Life, had a big concert in town last night with City and Colour that drew national media coverage, and today will be spent smoking stogies and drinking beers with friends at an event in a neighbouring community. I love my job.

Just one point I didn't get to yesterday: Nalyd said Martin will line up against Larmer. We'll take that match-up. You really underestimate Larm's speed. But more importantly, you underestimate Larm's hockey sense. Speed is nice, but hockey sense is even nicer. The guy who can out-think his opponent will have the edge. And that edge goes to Larm's. The guy was one of the best two-way wingers of the 80s. You could line him up as the hard-shooting goal-scorer; you could line him up against the opposition's best. And you weren't going to see guys blowing by him.

Schmidt was outstanding offensively. He won an Art Ross. He put up over a point-per-game twice, and came damn close twice, at a time when very, very few players did it. Again, a point-per-game when Schmidt played was like 100-120 points in the 70s (might have underrated how easy 100 points was in the 70s), and 120-150 points in the 80s and most of the 90s. Bauer and Dumart were by no means offensive forces, yet Schmidt elevated their games. Bauer's a good second line scoring winger in this thing; Dumart is likely one of the top 5 or 10 defensive forwards ever, but by no means, based on what I've read, was he an offensive force.

And, as has been established, you won't be goading Schmidt into any bad penalties. I like Sullivan for the role you have for him, but he's going to be in trouble lining up against Uncle Milt.

And you always have to remember it's all about constructing lines. I think we've found the perfect linemates for Schmidt: a rough-and-tumble goal scorer in Cam Neely who can dominate the front of the net; and the multi-purpose, rugged, but clean offensive player in Bucyk who had five top-10 finishes in both goals and assists. I think Bucyk and Neely are more effective linemates for Schmidt than Martin and Gare (who I'm a huge fan of) for Beliveau. Gare just seems to be out-of-place on this line; Beliveau isn't a guy who needs a defensive conscience. And you have Martin there to play the role of the gunner.

Still waiting to hear which one of our defencemen will lay an egg.

Also, you mentioned earlier that Ezinicki was a 20-goal scorer. I don't see it. I see a 17-goal season, and a 16-goal season, but not 20. I really respect Ezinicki, I really like him as that tough, grinding fourth line winger. I still don't know if he has the defensive ability to play the role you want. He could be a weak (I never thought I'd use that word about Wild Bill) link on that third line from a defensive perspective. I don't know if he has that Bobby Schmautz/Shane Doan defensive ability to make him a strong asset for a third or a fourth line.

I do think we have an edge in goal. I really like Hap Holmes. I don't think he's going to steal any games, but he won't hurt you, either. I think he's better off as a No. 2 (much like we have Hughie Lehman as our No. 2), but he's an okay No. 1. I do think Cheevers gives us an edge. I know what Holmes did with the four Cups; Cheevers was widely lauded as the best big-game goalie of his time. And I think this type of series is right up his alley. He won't face a lot of shots. Not with the types of teams that are assembled. When it came to those one-goal games, making the big save at the right time, Cheevers rates among the greatest of all-time. He might only face 20 shots per game, but I don't think either team is going to be pulling away in any games, so every save he makes will be huge. He won't be in a situation in which he can let one sail by (or bail out in the net) when it's a three-goal game late in the third period.

One aspect to Cheevers game that we haven't covered is his puck-handling ability. He wasn't the first goalie to capably handle the puck (our own Hughie Lehman might have been the first). But it gives us a real edge to have a goalie who can capably advance the puck up the ice. Especially when Minnesota's bottom two lines, and Adam Graves, and even Jean Beliveau, are out there, because those are guys who can really be effective with the forecheck, and could cause some problems for our defence if we didn't have a nomad like Cheevers, or a goalie who simply can't handle the puck. (Dominik Hasek, anyone?)

And, as I've stated before, I think we have the edge behind the bench. And if it comes down to it, coaching will be the difference in this series. I really like Burns. Hey, the guy was a cop before he was a coach. The only thing better than that is to be a sports reporter before he was a coach. (ie: Tommy Gorman. Tommy was also big into horse racing. Can't beat that). Gorman took a last place Chicago team to the Cup in 1934, and then after he left the Hawks, he took a middle-of-the-pack Montreal Maroons team to the Cup in 1935. I would have loved to have a guy like Tommy Ivan (favoured smart, two-way hockey, which I think fits our squad perfectly, with guys like Schmidt, Bucyk, Lemaire, Larmer, our third line and Russell out there) or Dick Irvin Sr. (who perferred the aggressive, hard-nosed style, which also suits our team). But after the run of coaches started, Gorman became the guy we zeroed in on. We thought we might be able to get Dick Irvin Sr., but we were very happy to get Tommy Gorman. I have him as one of the top 10 coaches of all-time, and along with Pete Green, the most underrated coach in the ATD.

Is my old friend/rival/partner in crime Murphy doing the write-ups for this one? Or do we get the understated and punctual efforts (which you know I love) of TC or Jungosi?

FissionFire
05-31-2008, 12:22 PM
Yeah, it has been a lot of fun, gentlemen. I actually would have done more, but this is peak time at work. Had to do a special publication for the local Relay for Life, had a big concert in town last night with City and Colour that drew national media coverage, and today will be spent smoking stogies and drinking beers with friends at an event in a neighbouring community. I love my job.

Just one point I didn't get to yesterday: Nalyd said Martin will line up against Larmer. We'll take that match-up. You really underestimate Larm's speed. But more importantly, you underestimate Larm's hockey sense. Speed is nice, but hockey sense is even nicer. The guy who can out-think his opponent will have the edge. And that edge goes to Larm's. The guy was one of the best two-way wingers of the 80s. You could line him up as the hard-shooting goal-scorer; you could line him up against the opposition's best. And you weren't going to see guys blowing by him.

Schmidt was outstanding offensively. He won an Art Ross. He put up over a point-per-game twice, and came damn close twice, at a time when very, very few players did it. Again, a point-per-game when Schmidt played was like 100-120 points in the 70s (might have underrated how easy 100 points was in the 70s), and 120-150 points in the 80s and most of the 90s. Bauer and Dumart were by no means offensive forces, yet Schmidt elevated their games. Bauer's a good second line scoring winger in this thing; Dumart is likely one of the top 5 or 10 defensive forwards ever, but by no means, based on what I've read, was he an offensive force.

And, as has been established, you won't be goading Schmidt into any bad penalties. I like Sullivan for the role you have for him, but he's going to be in trouble lining up against Uncle Milt.

And you always have to remember it's all about constructing lines. I think we've found the perfect linemates for Schmidt: a rough-and-tumble goal scorer in Cam Neely who can dominate the front of the net; and the multi-purpose, rugged, but clean offensive player in Bucyk who had five top-10 finishes in both goals and assists. I think Bucyk and Neely are more effective linemates for Schmidt than Martin and Gare (who I'm a huge fan of) for Beliveau. Gare just seems to be out-of-place on this line; Beliveau isn't a guy who needs a defensive conscience. And you have Martin there to play the role of the gunner.

Still waiting to hear which one of our defencemen will lay an egg.

Also, you mentioned earlier that Ezinicki was a 20-goal scorer. I don't see it. I see a 17-goal season, and a 16-goal season, but not 20. I really respect Ezinicki, I really like him as that tough, grinding fourth line winger. I still don't know if he has the defensive ability to play the role you want. He could be a weak (I never thought I'd use that word about Wild Bill) link on that third line from a defensive perspective. I don't know if he has that Bobby Schmautz/Shane Doan defensive ability to make him a strong asset for a third or a fourth line.

I do think we have an edge in goal. I really like Hap Holmes. I don't think he's going to steal any games, but he won't hurt you, either. I think he's better off as a No. 2 (much like we have Hughie Lehman as our No. 2), but he's an okay No. 1. I do think Cheevers gives us an edge. I know what Holmes did with the four Cups; Cheevers was widely lauded as the best big-game goalie of his time. And I think this type of series is right up his alley. He won't face a lot of shots. Not with the types of teams that are assembled. When it came to those one-goal games, making the big save at the right time, Cheevers rates among the greatest of all-time. He might only face 20 shots per game, but I don't think either team is going to be pulling away in any games, so every save he makes will be huge. He won't be in a situation in which he can let one sail by (or bail out in the net) when it's a three-goal game late in the third period.

One aspect to Cheevers game that we haven't covered is his puck-handling ability. He wasn't the first goalie to capably handle the puck (our own Hughie Lehman might have been the first). But it gives us a real edge to have a goalie who can capably advance the puck up the ice. Especially when Minnesota's bottom two lines, and Adam Graves, and even Jean Beliveau, are out there, because those are guys who can really be effective with the forecheck, and could cause some problems for our defence if we didn't have a nomad like Cheevers, or a goalie who simply can't handle the puck. (Dominik Hasek, anyone?)

And, as I've stated before, I think we have the edge behind the bench. And if it comes down to it, coaching will be the difference in this series. I really like Burns. Hey, the guy was a cop before he was a coach. The only thing better than that is to be a sports reporter before he was a coach. (ie: Tommy Gorman. Tommy was also big into horse racing. Can't beat that). Gorman took a last place Chicago team to the Cup in 1934, and then after he left the Hawks, he took a middle-of-the-pack Montreal Maroons team to the Cup in 1935. I would have loved to have a guy like Tommy Ivan (favoured smart, two-way hockey, which I think fits our squad perfectly, with guys like Schmidt, Bucyk, Lemaire, Larmer, our third line and Russell out there) or Dick Irvin Sr. (who perferred the aggressive, hard-nosed style, which also suits our team). But after the run of coaches started, Gorman became the guy we zeroed in on. We thought we might be able to get Dick Irvin Sr., but we were very happy to get Tommy Gorman. I have him as one of the top 10 coaches of all-time, and along with Pete Green, the most underrated coach in the ATD.

Is my old friend/rival/partner in crime Murphy doing the write-ups for this one? Or do we get the understated and punctual efforts (which you know I love) of TC or Jungosi?

Murphy has commitments that will prevent him from doing any write-ups this round. TC will be handling the Foster Hewitt division write-ups.

Transplanted Caper
05-31-2008, 12:24 PM
Murphy has commitments that will prevent him from doing any write-ups this round. TC will be handling the Foster Hewitt division write-ups.

Cool. I'll be away tonight, but my hungover self will write these tomorrow provided the results are in.:)

Sturminator
05-31-2008, 12:55 PM
Ragulin, in his final season as a player, participated in the '72 Summit Series and acquitted himself rather well...

What series did you watch? It would probably be better for Ragulin's cause if you didn't mention 1972.

I think that series proved that he could compete with NHL players considering he did so against the best NHLers and not just some random NHL team with only a few stars.

Actually, both Bobbys (Orr and Hull) did not play in the Summit Series. The best of Canada stayed in Canada.

No, but then again nobody in the NHL was shutting him down during the absolute pinnacle of his prime either.

Not true. The previous year, an underdog Habs team had given Esposito fits en route to knocking the Bruins out in the first round. And that was Esposito with Orr on the ice.

Ragulin also got under Esposito's skin in that series, drawing a 5-minute high-stick major on him and making the burly Canadian look like a thug when Espo tried to goad him into a fight. Esposito said every time the two skated by each other he'd get a sneaky spear into the ribs from the big Russian. Sounds alot like Ragulin was playing an NHL-style game against Canada's brightest star in that series and was being effective.

You are grasping at straws. Without Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito went 7-6-13 in the 8 game Summit Series, and was easily the most dominant offensive player on either side. Spin Ragulin's performance all you like; it wasn't pretty.

FissionFire
05-31-2008, 01:42 PM
Not true. The previous year, an underdog Habs team had given Esposito fits en route to knocking the Bruins out in the first round. And that was Esposito with Orr on the ice.

Yes, because scoring only 10 points in 7 games against the Habs was a much more dominating performance than 13 points in 8 games.

Of course, that underdog Habs team won the Cup and featured a defense of Laperriere, Lapointe, Tremblay, Harper, and Bouchard and a center tandem of Beliveau and H.Richard. Yes, despite all that HHOF talent he STILL got 10 points in 7 games. Sure, they slowed him down but so did Ragulin. Esposito's 1.63 points/game was lower than either his 1970-71 or 1971-72 total so it's not like Esposito was dominating at a far higher level than he was dominating the NHL and really not that far off the pace of him 1970-71 "given fits" playoff total of 1.43 points/game against the Habs. I'm not saying Ragulin stopped Esposito. I'm just saying he was just as effective against him (possibly a slight bit moreso) than the many of the top NHL players were against him. Am I saying Ragulin would dominate the NHL? Hell no, but I am saying that he wouldn't be dominated by it either and that'd he been a good defenseman in the league, not some 3rd pairing scrub.

And again, like I said, Ragulin was less than a year from retirement when he met up with Esposito at his peak, and he did a pretty good job all things considering.

P.S.: The first goal of Game 8 was credited to Esposito but it was really touched by the Russian defenseman so Esposito's numbers should only have been 6-6-12 in 8 games for a 1.50 points/game average and is that really significantly better than the 1.43 average against the Habs team you say "gave him fits"? Richard Bendell has a nice analysis on how inaccurate alot of the stats from that series were and provides some revised numbers here (http://www.1972summitseries.com/statisticsstudy.html) on Joe Pelletier's 1972 Summit Series.com (http://www.1972summitseries.com/index.html) website.

Just another thing to consider as well.....despite playing head-to-head most of the series, Esposito was only a +2 and Ragulin only a -2 so it's not like at even strength Ragulin was being abused when it came to goals scored against him.

Sturminator
05-31-2008, 02:04 PM
You obviously didn't watch the 1971 playoffs if you think Phil Esposito was effective. After a season in which he put up damn near a goal-per-game and shattered the NHL single season record, Espo scored one even strength goal in the series. It looked even worse on the ice than it did on the scoresheet. Of course, that was Dryden's Conn-Symthe year, so the opposing goalie had something to do with it.

You credit those Habs with being better than they were. It was Beliveau's last year in the league (he was ancient) and Lapointe's first. In the immortal words of Jules Winfield, the Habs were "in a transitional period". It was bloody shocking that they won it all. Jacques Lemaire actually drew the assignment of checking Espo, and did a great job of it. My memory of that performance is one of the reasons I regard Lemaire perhaps more highly than some. At any rate, there's a reason those Habs were matched up against the powerhouse Bruins in the first round that year: they weren't that good.

Phil Esposito wasn't superman.

God Bless Canada
05-31-2008, 02:33 PM
Just quickly on the home ice front, it's not going to be much of a factor. We think we've built a team that shouldn't have trouble on the line matching front. I don't think Minnesota will want to get the Beliveau line out there against either of our top two lines, and even our third and fourth lines have guys who will cause problems for Beliveau and Bure. (Beliveau-Skov is not going to be a fun fight for the Gros Bil). And there won't be easy match-ups against our defence, either; every pairing has a defenceman with the size and the toughness to go against Beliveau, and the speed, smarts and aggressiveness to play against Bure. That's what we wanted after about the sixth round - a defence with the speed and smarts to match Detroit's outstanding offensive talent, but also the aggressiveness to lean on their smaller forwards; and then have the speed, toughness, hockey sense and courage to match up with Minnesota's excellent team. We think we succeeding. And they're accentuated by terrific team defence.

As for crowd noise should this series reach a Game 7: it's a factor, but not insurmountable. Not like at the junior level. The guys (on both sides) are polished players who have been in hostile environments before. They might get intimidated if they were in junior. Crowd noise won't intimidate a Schmidt or a Robinson or a Skov. Plus, they've all probably played in more hostile environments, such as the old Chicago Stadium or the old Boston Garden.

raleh
05-31-2008, 08:05 PM
NP and FF, this has been the most fun I've had on HFboards. Well done.

Transplanted Caper
06-01-2008, 10:52 AM
Flyers Take Game One on the Road

The Ottawa RCAF Flyers scored a pivotal win on the road last night, beating the Minnesota Fighting Saints 3-1 in their best-of-7 Hewitt division semi-finals. All the talk before the game was how important it was for the Flyers to come away with a split of the first two games, and after Game One, that goal has been achieved. Bill Barilko opened the scoring for the Flyers with a one-timer that eluded several legs and went under the glove of Hap Holmes. A strong forecheck kept the Fighting Saints at bay most of the game, and the Flyers went up by two on a goal by Milt Schmidt who continued his fantastic playoffs with another great all-around effort last night. The second goal seemed to wake the Saints up and they would go on the offensive for the better part of the 3rd period. Jean Beliveau finally put one past Gary Cheevers who had made 30 saves up until that point, to cut the lead in half. With minutes remaining, the Saints would fight hard for the equalizer, but would fight too hard when Earl Seibert took an elbowing penalty late in the 3rd. Despite the blood trickling from the nose of Steve Larmer, Burns and the Saints were irate with the call. Their mood didn't get any better when Cam Neely would convert on the powerplay to put the Flyers up 3-1 in the game, and 1-0 in the series.

Tonight was the perfect road game for us. We came in, kept it simple, used our forecheck to keep their offensive stars as neutralized as possible and converted on our opportunities. Home or away, it's how we're going to have to play all series long. - Coach Tommy Gorman after his team's Game 1 win.



Final: 3-1 Ottawa

Ottawa Leads Series 1-0

Transplanted Caper
06-01-2008, 11:00 AM
Series All Square Going to Ottawa

The Minnesota Fighting Saints were much more poised last night, and were able to handle the Ottawa forecheck, helping them to a 4-3 win last night. After the loss in Game One, the pressure was on Minnesota to ensure they'd be going on to Ottawa with the series tied. Jean Beliveau would get Minnesota off to a fantastic start scoring 2 goals in the first period, the first on the powerplay, to put the Saints up 2-0 at the first intermission. Tommy Gorman's intermission pep talk seemed to work and Ottawa came out flying in period number two and were able to keep their intensity at that high level for virtually the entire 20 minute frame. Johnny Bucyk would score the first of 3 2nd period Ottawa goals midway through the frame, and goals by Larry Robinson and Shayne Corson would follow in the next ten minutes to put Ottawa 20 minutes away from stealing two straight games on the road. But the Saints were not going down without a fight. Syd Howe and Adam Graves had a phenomenal final frame and used their bodies to create room for Bure who would tie the game up with 10 minutes remaining in the 3rd. Once again, the deciding factor would be a powerplay goal, but this time the Saints would be the beneficiaries, when Beliveau completed the hattrick with 4 minutes remaining, propelling the Saints to victory.

Final: 4-3 Minnesota

Series Tied 1-1

Transplanted Caper
06-01-2008, 11:58 AM
Flyers Take Series Lead On Home Ice

The Ottawa RCAF Flyers took advantage of a boisterous home town crowd and won Game 3 of their series with the Minnesota Fighting Saints last night. Beginning with 18,000 belting out the national anthem, the crows was on its feet for a good portion of the night cheering their team on. Jacques Lemaire opened the scoring for the Flyers at the midway point of the first period on a feed from Steve Larmer. The Saints would get one back a few minutes later when Beliveau fired a shot that just eluded Gary Cheevers and we were all even at a goal apiece. From here on out it would be all Ottawa, and whenever the Saints did get a chance it was kicked, swatted or corralled by Gary Cheevers who was excellent in goal for Ottawa. Cam Neely would make it 2-1 Ottawa with a goal in the 2nd period, and before the period was out, Johnny Bucyk would give the homes side a 2 goal advantage. With a two goal lead going into period number 3, Tommy Gorman ensured his played a safe, slow game the rest of the way. Great discipline kept Ottawa out of penalty trouble in the 3rd, as the game would end in a 3-1 Final.

Final : 3-1 Ottawa

Ottawa Leads Series 2-1

Transplanted Caper
06-01-2008, 12:12 PM
Back and Forth Series Continues As Minnesota Wins Game 4

The Minnesota Fighting Saints eeked out a 2-1 win last night against the Ottawa RCAF Flyers to tie the series up at 2 games apiece going back to Minnesota for Game 5 tomorrow night. The Saints were able to keep the hometown crowd out of their heads for almost the entire night, and played a patient game, ensuring to capitalize on the opportunities they did get. It woudl actually be Ottawa opening the scoring on a goal by Glen Skov which sent the fans into a frenzy. The Saints played several,simple and effective shifts afterwords and ensured that the Flyers wouldn't gain any momentum from their early goal. Minnesota would respond of a goal of their own when Earl Seibert fired a point shot past Cheevers to tie it up at one. Neither team wanted to given an inch after that. Strong, physical play with several scoring chances at each end marked a good portion of the rest of the game, but the goalies were both up to the challenge and kept the game tied up at one late into the 3rd period. Fainlly, the tie was broken when the Saints came in on a 3-2. After a fake pass, the puck was left for Seibert who came across the blueline and fired one right past Cheevers and into the net, for this 2nd of the night and the game winner.

Final 2-1 Minnesota

Series Tied 2-2

Transplanted Caper
06-01-2008, 12:20 PM
Minnesota One Win Away

The Fighting Saints put a stop to the back-and-forth wins in this series by winning their second consecutive game, putting the team up 3 games to 2, and one step away from the division finals. As has been the custom more often than not in these playoffs, Jean Beliveau was once again the leader, tallying 2 goals in his team's 4-2 triumph over the Flyers. Beliveau would open the scoring for Minnesota midway through the first period on the powerplay putting the Saints up 1-0. Milt Schmidt would answer for the Flyers alter on a goal assited by Larry Robinson. The Saints would then score 2 back to back goals in a matter of minutes. The first on a beautiful deke by Pavel Bure, and the 2nd on Beliveau's 2nd goal of the night, which would wind up being the game winner as the Saints went tup 3-1. Larry Robinson would get his 2nd point of the game when he fired a point shot past Holmes to make it a one-goal game, but this was as close as Ottawa would get on thsi night, Despite a huge push at the end of the game, they wouldn't get anything else past Holmes on this night. Bobby Holik would fire one into an empty net late in the 3rd and the Saints were one game away from a series win.

Final 4-2 Minnesota
Minnesota Leads Series 3-2

Transplanted Caper
06-01-2008, 12:30 PM
Schmidt Scores 3 As Ottawa Stays Alive

Milt Schmidt was far and away the best player on the ice as the Ottawa RCAF Flyers knocked off the Minnesota Fighting Saints 5-2 in Game 6 of the Hewitt Division Semis last night in Ottawa. Schmidt would tally a natural hattrick in the 2nd period to blow the game wide open and the Flyers never looked back. The Flyers would notch the first goal of the game when Larry Robinson scored his 2nd goal in as many games. Minnesota would respond late in the first when Syd Howe scored a big goal to tie the game up at 1. Once the first intermssion was over, the fans were about to witness a performance that they'll remember forever. Milt Schmidt was a man possessed in this period. He would hit the scoresheetf first with a powerplay goal to give his team a 2-1 lead. This goal lifted the Flyers' spirit and they would control the play for several minutes afterwords and be rewarded when a rebound from a Hap Day shot wound up right in front of Schmidt. He made no mistake and fired it past Holmes for a 3-1 Ottawa lead. Perhaps most impressively,with Ottawa holding the fort on a late 2nd period penalty kill, a Larry Robinson blocked shot kareemed the right way and Bobby Rousseau and Schmidt game in on a 2-1, Schmidt recieved the pass and found the back of the net, for the natural hattrick, with one on the poweplay, one at even strength, and one on the penalty kill. The Flyers were up 4-1 going home. Jean Beliveau would try and get his team back into the game with an early 3rd period marker to cut the lead to 4-2, but the Flyers came back soon after on a goal by Lemaire to put the game away.

Final 5-2 Ottawa
Series Tied 3-3

Transplanted Caper
06-01-2008, 01:11 PM
The Saints Go On

In an epic Game 7 matchup, the Minnesota Fighting Saints knocked off the Ottawa RCAF Flyers 3-2 to win Game 7 and move onto the Hewitt Division Finals. It seemed as if the entire state of Minnesota was stuffed inside the arena on this night and once again the crowd was loud from start to finish. The crowd would have reasont to cheer early on when Earl Seibert fired a puck past Gary Cheevers and into the back of the net to give the homeside a 1-0 lead. Cam Neely would have a monster shift soon after, levelling Saints with a couple of huge hits and springing in on a two-on-one with Bucyk. Nelly would pass to Bucyk who immediately fired a pass back to Neely who ended the give and go with a howizter past Holmes, tying the Game at one. Midwayy through period number two, Jean Beliveau would find Rick Martin and Martin would not err, scoring his first of the series in the pivtoal 7th game to put his team up 2-1 heading into the final frame. The Flyers were not ready to roll over though and came out firing in the final frame and would be rewarded on a huge goal by Milt Schmidt that set the stage for an epic final ten minutes. It wasn't officially overtime, but it might as well of been. One more goal and this game, and this series would be over.and with 4:07 remaining......

The point shot by Robinson goes nowhere, what a block by Langway. Day tries to keep it in, but he can't get to the puck in time, the puck is chipped away by Martin, Martin coming down the wing, fires a pass and finds Danny Gare, Gare shoots! BIG SAAAVE by Cheevers, another shot OH BABY! What a save there by Cheevers! OH WHAT A HIT BACK THERE BY SIEBERT! The puck comes loose, SCOOOOOORES! JEAN BELIVEAU! AND THIS ONE IS OVER! WHAT A SERIES! AND...NOW...THE SAINTS MOVE ON!

Final 3-2 Minnesota
Minnesota Wins Series 4-3

1. Jean Beliveau
2. Milt Schmidt
3. Earl Seibert


Congrats to both teams on a great series.

raleh
06-01-2008, 02:47 PM
Thanks for the write ups TC. Great series you guys. Beliveau got a lot of points! haha.

Good luck in the next round!

GBC, I think we'll win next time. (How often have I said that?)

shawnmullin
06-01-2008, 03:35 PM
I thought this Ottawa team was built for the playoffs... and they were, but Minnesota is a great team to. I won't tip my hat. Anyone could've won this. I definately thought heading into the original voting that Ottawa would go further. Congrats to the Saints!

God Bless Canada
06-01-2008, 04:22 PM
Congrats to Minnesota. Good job assembling your team. If I would have been checking in all day, I would have known it was over when we had a 2-1 series lead. Every time TC does a recap for my series, the team that leads 2-1 goes on to lose.

pitseleh
06-01-2008, 09:03 PM
This will go down as one of the all-time epic playoff round threads. Both sets of GMs did a hell of a job putting together a team and arguing their case.

Transplanted Caper
06-01-2008, 09:05 PM
Congrats to Minnesota. Good job assembling your team. If I would have been checking in all day, I would have known it was over when we had a 2-1 series lead. Every time TC does a recap for my series, the team that leads 2-1 goes on to lose.

I don't have enough intelligence to do any of this on purpose though:laugh:

FissionFire
06-02-2008, 08:31 AM
This was an incredible series and major props to GBC and raleh for a tremendous team. Once that BBB line was assembled NP and I had to alter our strategy somewhat in the draft to be able to defend it. I'd say the Holik pick was as a direct result of making sure we had a big, physical defensive center who could play you guys without getting outmuscled. Congrats on an excellent team. I really think that you guys would still be alive in any other division and I hope to meet up again in the future. Well, not really since your teams scare the pants off me lol.

Nalyd Psycho
06-03-2008, 05:21 AM
I would have felt fine losing to GMs of your caliber. But damn it feels good to win. :)

EagleBelfour
06-03-2008, 09:11 PM
Good luck Nalyd. It's a pretty nice squad you have build. Let's hope for another fine series between us.

Nalyd Psycho
06-04-2008, 04:05 AM
Good luck Nalyd. It's a pretty nice squad you have build. Let's hope for another fine series between us.

3 ATDs and two division finals against each other. I think we may have to declare each other arch-rivals...