ATD #9 Jim Robson Final: #1 Nanaimo Clippers vs. #2 Trail Smoke Eaters

FissionFire
06-05-2008, 11:55 PM
Nanaimo Clippers
Head Coach: Jack Adams
Captain: Bobby Clarke
Alternate Captains: Viacheslav Fetisov, Lionel Hitchman, Ivan Hlinka

Reg Noble - Frank Boucher - Sergei Makarov
Woody Dumart - Bobby Clarke - Alexander Maltsev
Jiri Holik - Ivan Hlinka - Johnny Peirson
Ab McDonald - Vyacheslav Starshinov - Leo Labine
Tom Dunderdale, Helmut Balderis

Viacheslav Fetisov - Red Horner
Lionel Hitchman - Ott Heller
Lars-Erik Sjoberg - Red Dutton
Rod Seiling

Clint Benedict
Vladimir Dzurilla

PP#1
Reg Noble - Bobby Clarke - Sergei Makarov
Viacheslav Fetisov - Frank Boucher

PP#2
Woody Dumart - Vyacheslav Starshinov - Aleksandr Maltsev
Ott Heller - Lars-Erik Sjoberg

PK#1
Bobby Clarke - Woody Dumart
<all defensemen rotated>

PK#2
Frank Boucher - Leo Labine
<all defensemen rotated>



Trail Smoke Eaters
Coach: Scotty Bowman
Assistant Coach: Claude Ruel
Captain: Bryan Trottier
Alternate Captain: Art Ross, Jim Peplinski

Aurele Joliat - Bryan Trottier - Ken Hodge
Keith Tkachuk - Igor Larionov - Martin St. Louis
Dean Prentice - Rick MacLeish - Shane Doan
Dave Balon - Joel Otto - Jim Peplinski
Henrik Zetterberg

Jacques Laperriere - Harry Cameron
Art Ross - Leo Reise Jr.
Dollard St. Laurent - Joe Simpson
Don Awrey

Bill Durnan
Charlie Hodge

PP#1
Aurele Joliat - Bryan Trottier - Ken Hodge
Joe Simpson - Harry Cameron

PP#2
Keith Tkachuk - Igor Larionov - Martin St. Louis
Jacques Laperriere - Art Ross

PK#1
Dean Prentice - Joel Otto
Jacques Laperriere - Dollard St. Laurent

PK#2
Dave Balon - Bryan Trottier
Art Ross - Leo Reise Jr.

shawnmullin
06-06-2008, 12:00 AM
I don't like how the line-ups only list the two PK options when my roster has multiple options and I think that's probably the best way to build a PK. But anyway I'll post that myself.

Good luck to Pit and HO. The two toughest GMs in recent years are going to be teaming up on me here. Have mercy guys ;) I think my team can beat yours, but it won't come even remotely easy.

pitseleh
06-06-2008, 03:22 PM
Good luck to you too mullin. I envision this being a ridiculously tight series either way. I'll try to post some thoughts later today.

shawnmullin
06-06-2008, 07:59 PM
Ladies and gentlemen before we really start debating, I want to talk about CHANGE. We've seen the sentiment sweep the American political scene. It's time for CHANGE lets talk about CHANGE we all desire CHANGE! Well we can't CHANGE things around here if we let those Washington fat cats Pitseleh and Hockey Outsider continue to have the keys to the All-Time Championship. No ladies and gentlemen, if there is ever going to be hope for the little guy there must be CHANGE. Have you ever dreamed of winning an ATD? What about all those newbie GMs who can only dream about the chance to achieve something special. If we don't push these guys out the door they'll just keep dominating and dominating and dominating. It's time for us to get together ladies and gentlemen... it's time for us to TAKE BACK THE ATD!

We must end their reign of terror!

When a newbie GM or a vet who has never tasted sweet victory asks you "Hey, can I be an ATD champion too? Can we ever get the chance to win?"

If we can knock these guys down a peg your answer could very well be...

YES WE CAN!

CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE!

Hockey Outsider
06-06-2008, 08:44 PM
:)

Shawnmullin is soft on terrorism. He has gone on record stating that if he wins the Jim Robson division, he'll hold talks with Bob Probert and Tiger Williams. That demonstrates his inexperience and reckless judgment. Should Probert or Williams acquire skates with sharper blades, that danger would become very dire, indeed.

We all know that skates are getting more expensive by the week. I've gone on record as favouring a summer skate tax holiday, which is a lot more practical than Shawnmullin's plan to promote alternative energy-skates, which might not benefit our players for over a decade.

Medical costs are also skyrocketing. I was talking to a poor hockey player who got cross-checked by Sprague Cleghorn. It was heartbreaking. Under my plan, I won't force any players to get medical insurance, but there will be tax breaks for those that do. I believe in the power of markets, and, as Hooley Smith envisioned, the Invisible Hand will bring prices down and increase affordability.

By the end of our first term as Jim Robson winners, Pitseleh and I will have won the war against the Polls & Petitions board, and all of our GMs will have returned home.

Finally, in one word: experience. When you elect the winner of the Jim Robson division, you need somebody who can lead starting on day one. Pitseleh and I have proven we can handle discussions with the winner of Bob Cole division- can Shawnmullin say the same thing?

FissionFire
06-06-2008, 10:33 PM
I really hate election years.

pitseleh
06-08-2008, 10:55 PM
Ok, some thoughts:

Goaltending: Pretty much a wash. I have them right next to each other all-time. Durnan probably has a slight edge in regular season performance while Benedict has the slight edge in playoff performance but neither gives either team much of an advantage.

Defense: Fetisov is the best defenseman in the series and the Clippers top pairing is better than Trail's. Horner and Cameron are quite different defensmen stylistically but are fairly close in overall effectiveness. I'd say that the second pairings are quite close, with maybe a slight edge to Trail. Ross and Heller are similar type defensemen, ditto with Hitchman and Reise, and the difference in quality between the two sets pretty much offset one another. I'd give us the edge in terms of bottom pairings, with St. Laurent being a solid albeit unspectacular defenseman and Simpson being a bit of a wildcard (I don't think you can say he was better offensively than Sjoberg).

Offense: Top lines head to head, offensively there isn't much of a gap between either (but obviously a top line with Trottier and Joliat brings a lot more than offense). Our second line has a fairly substantial advantage over Trail's. Trail's third line has the best offensive player (MacLeish) but also the weakest (Doan), while our line is more balanced offensively. Clippers have the advantage on the fourth lines, though Trail's fourth is more of a checking unit.

Coaching: Consider Bowman is top-3 all time (I consider Bowman, Blake and Arbour to be 1a, 1b, 1c) and he has Ruel to go along with him it's an obvious advantage for Trail.

Some advantages that could push the series in our favour:

Second Lines Head to Head: With home ice advantage, we can take advantage of getting the Clarke line out against Larionov's line. Tkachuk and St. Louis are weak defensively in an ATD context and aren't great offensively either. There should be a pretty big discrepancy in production between the two second lines that Trail will have difficulty in overcoming in other areas, even if we don't get the preferred matchup.

Toughness and Speed on Defense to Handle Trail's Top Line: Trottier and Joliat bring an impressive combination of speed, skill, and toughness that Bowman could use to exploit against many team's pairings. However, all three of our pairings have size, toughness, and speed which means that they have the tools to deal with that duo. Obviously we can't expect to stop them, but we can hope to at least contain their production.

Leadership/Character: Players like Trottier, Joliat, Doan, etc. were great leaders, but Trail also has a couple of players who were known for being somewhat flaky (Hodge, Tkachuk, Cameron). I know this is going to be a long, tough series, and there has to be a bit of a question mark as to whether the leadership of Trail will be able to rally the troops.

shawnmullin
06-09-2008, 02:56 AM
I can't comment until tomorrow, but Pit I'd say that was a well balanced analysis considering your stake.

We're voting awfully soon

God Bless Canada
06-10-2008, 12:14 AM
When I looked at the divisions at the start of the draft, I thought pit would cruise through his division. But this is going to be a very tough match-up for the Clippers.

I think Sergei Makarov is really in a lot of trouble. As I've said before, I'm not impressed with his playoff record, especially in Calgary. He nearly played his way out of Calgary in 1991. Except nobody took him. A guy like Dave Balon, with his speed, grit, tenacity and smarts, could give Makarov fits. And Aurel Joliat could have a field day against Makarov.

I think Nanaimo has a big edge on the blue-line. As I've said from the start, I think Trail's only weakness is on the blue-line. That being said, Trail's team defence is excellent. They have terrific third and fourth lines (maybe the best in the draft). And they have guys on the top two lines who are also very strong in their own zone.

Both teams are deep down the middle. Nanaimo has the best 1-2 punch at centre remaining. Trail isn't far behind. I give the edge to Trail up front, but not by much, but I really like Trail's team offence. While I'm not big on Trail's defence, they have quite a few guys who can get involved in the rush.

Both teams have excellent goaltending. mullin's done a great job at getting us to take a second look at Durnan. No edge here.

If you think that this series is too tough to call, and it comes down to coaching, then you have to go with Trail. Bowman's the best coach in the draft. He has his old running buddy, Ruel, with him. Nothing against Jack Adams, but he's not as good as Bowman, and not as good as the Bowman/Ruel tandem.

shawnmullin
06-10-2008, 03:37 AM
Unfortunately I remain very limited for time with work being busy here.

I want to stress something that GBC's analysis kind of pointed to.

Team Scoring
Team Defence

The emphasis on my units working together to create something bigger than the individual, that's how this squad was built.

My actual players on D may not match up one for one with Nanaimo's in terms of top defenceman... my forwards offensively may be close to even (though I think I have a significant edge especially once we move to third and fourth lines)... but the Smoke Eaters are built on a very strong team concept and team foundation. The team was drafted as one that could work exceptionally well together as a unit.

The actual defenceman alone are perhaps average or a bit bellow because I don't have as strong a top pairing, but the team defence as a whole is strong with a very good goaltender and coaches who knew how to teach team D better than anyone.

The forwards are very good, but also complimented by some of the best puck moving and scoring defencemen of their eras. No line will be out there without someone who can get them the puck and score. They're almost all good first passers with a few of them being great. The puck movement will be constant.

This is a team built to play as a team with a constant mentality throughout the line-up. One player like Hodge (go to the corners and the net and score on rebounds) or Tkachuk (go to the net, clear traffic, hit and score in rebounds) here and there doesn't take away from that when the rest of the team fits the mould perfectly. They instead compliment the group because they can add their own elements to what's working.

That's why I could send out four or five forward units to PK. That's why I could have a third PP unit. However I don't think I'm a team where because we don't have a Gretzky you question whether we can score... becaues the offensive ability is there on every line and the defencemen can all score and move the puck.

There's no weak link line IMO. There's no weak link pairing. We don't really have the superstars but we have guys who can score on every line. We have guys who can defend on every line. We have warriors on every line. We have winners on every line. The leadership is strong and the coaching is hands down IMO the best in the draft and definately an advantage in this series.

Usually Nanaimo would have an enormous advantage up the middle with their 1-2 punch, in this case they absolutely don't... it's an advantage slightly, but Boucher/Clarke is not going to outclass Trottier/Larionov... those are all elite players in their positions.

I do really like the match-ups for Joliat. I think he'll handle all those RWs especially on the top two lines.

I think our third and fourth lines are clear advantages, but yes I'd give them an advantage at the second line. Still the team and forward depth are definately something I feel comfortable about being in my corner.

Nanaimo probably has the best forward (Clarke by JUST a hair IMO, him and Trottier are very very close) and the best defenceman in the series. I don't think they have the best team. He'll probably win the star voting, but I think we should win the 7 game war.

I think goaltending is slightly more than a wash. However, I'm not going to slag Benedict as he was a fantastic netminder and clutch so it's not like that's an insult to Durnan. But Durnan won the first all star spot in all but one year in his NHL career. I'd bank on him against anyone left in this draft.

I don't think our second line will get torched by any means. St. Louis is a fine defensive player, Larionov was very good defensively and had great hockey sense... Tkachuk is not a defensive player but he's not known to be particularely awful and likely to bleed goals. I don't think I have an elite 2nd line, but I have an elite 2nd line C and the wing isn't going to get torched.

I don't know if I cleared anything up here, just kind of doing a stream of conciousness.

Ultimately if I lose to a Pit/HO team I won't feel any shame. These are two of the best GMs if not the best GMs in this thing over the past several drafts so who could be upset by that? However, I truly believe in this case I have a team built to beat them in a close, exciting series. I think my team is deeper, smarter and will be more prepared. That's up to you guys. May the best team win... and either way I salute Nanaimo for another fine, interesting team.

(CHANGE! YES WE CAN!)

shawnmullin
06-10-2008, 09:05 PM
The other thing... character was brought up in Pit's analysis. How will a couple of guys he mentioned fit in and how will they react when the going gets tough. It's easy to say that when a lot of the guys on my team have played their careers in front of a television, internet, etc audience. When looking at some of the lesser known european types on the Clippers roster how are we to evaluate their character?

We don't know.

We also don't know whether they can adapt to their old school, north american coach. We don't know how they could handle an intense seven game playoff war with a tough team in an intimidating old arena like Trail's.

That's not to say I know they won't either, but those are question marks to me as much as it would be to say... well how will Tkachuk or Hodge or Cameron act. One thing I can say about Hodge and Cameron, they've been winners. They won the cup multiple times and were able to do their jobs on winners. Tkachuk might have some problems when he's the absolute go to guy, but as a complimentary, physical player he is perfectly suited for that role. No one is asking him to be our star player so he should fit in just fine... just as he did when he played on those US world cup teams. The rest of our line-up is filled with proven leaders and proven winners... Trottier being the ultimate example, but Joliat, Larionov, Doan, Otto, Peplinski, Ross... all known to have leadership qualities.

Every team will have a couple of enigmatic personalities... but mine are surrounded by great leadership and the best coaching staff in the draft. I think it's fair to also question how your europeans will adapt and work with Adams because we frankly don't know a lot about their personalities.

Don't think either will be a deciding factor against our teams, but I think the character of my team is a strength.

Transplanted Caper
06-12-2008, 08:14 PM
Trail Steals Game One

The Trail Smoke Eaters came out flying and shocked the hometown Nanaimo Clippers, 3-2 last night in an overtime thriller that set the tone for what should be a phenomenal series. Aurele Joliat opened the scoring for the Smoke Eaters at the midway point of the first period when he snapped a shot past Clint Benedict. The Clippers were quick to answer however, when Frank Boucher tied the game up on a great wrap around goal that send the homecrowd into a frenzy. Things began looking up for Nanaimo when the ever dangerous Bobby Clarke fired a one timer into the back of the net to make it 2-1 Clippers. But the Smokies were undaunted. Ken Hodge tied the game up in the 3rd period when a puck came loose from under Clint Benedict. Hodge was happy to chip the puck in to tie the game up at two goals apiece. The usual suspects would get their chances in the overtime, Trottier, Clarke, Boucher and Joliat. But it would be Joel Otto, the unsung hero, who was the real hero on this night firing a shot past Benedict to give the Smoke Eaters a 1-0 series lead.

Final 3-2 Trail
Trail Leads Series 1-0

Transplanted Caper
06-12-2008, 08:27 PM
Nanaimo Ties It Up

The Clippers came out on fire last night and were able to sustain it for 60 minutes rolling over the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-0 in Game Two of their best of seven Jim Robson division Final in Nanaimo last night. Bobby Clarke opened the scoring with his 2nd goal of the series last night, and was followed by another goal soon after by Frank Boucher giving the Clippers a 2-0 lead going into period number two. Midway through the 2nd period Red Horner fired a shot from the point that went in off a Trail defender and in to make it 3-0 for the Clippers. Nanaimo would shut things down from there, playing a smart, hard checking defensive effort, not giving Trail an inch from which they could get back into the game. Late in the game, the Clippers would notch their final goal of the game on a goal by Bobby Clarke, his 2nd of the game and 3rd overall in this series. Benedict made 22 saves for the shutout. This game was going back to Trail tied up at 1. The province of British Columbia was in for a helluva series.


Final4-0 Nanaimo.
Series Tied 1-1

Transplanted Caper
06-12-2008, 09:07 PM
Smoke Eaters Take Series Lead

Paced by two goals by Bryan Trottier, the Trail Smoke Eaters won Game 3 of the Robson Division Finals last night 3-2 over the Nanaimo Clippers. It would be the aforementioned Trottier who would open the scoring on the powerply, with Harry Cameron and Ken Hodge drawing assists. Trail would go up 2-0 when Aurele Joliat scored from what looked like an impossible angle. However, it squeezed through the pads of Clint Benedict and the Smokies were up by two. The first two periods would be all Trail, and Trottier would cap the great play off with seconds remaining in the middle period scoring his 2nd of the game to make it 3-0 for Trail. The 3rd period would be all Nanaimo that nearly sent this game to overtime. Bobby Clarke would score his series leading 4th of this tilt, and minutes later Frank Boucher would tally a huge goal cut the lead to one. This would push the Clippers even more and they dominated play the final 10 minutes of the 3rd, but to no avail. Bill Durnan would stand tall the rest of the way, sending the Smokies onto a 2-1 series lead.

Final 3-2 Trail
Trail Leads The Series 2-1

Transplanted Caper
06-12-2008, 09:20 PM
Naniamo Comes Out On Top In Goalies Duel

The Nanaimo Clippers evened their best of seven division final at a two games apiece last night, thanks to a phenomenal performance by Clint Benedict. In fact, both goalies were phenomenal on this night with the lamp being lit just once all night long, a 2nd period goal by Bobby Clarke was all it would take to summarize the night's scorecard. Despite the low scoring, the night was not without action. End to end rushes were the story of the night but both goalies turned virtually everything away. Perhaps the hilight of the night was the two minute 5 on 3 advantage the Smoke Eaters could not capitalize on despite firing 9 shots at Benedict in those two minutes. Many sticks were sent to the wood chipper as frustrated players on both sides slammed down their lumber in frustration as pucks they envisioned hitting twine, would up going of a blocker, a stick, were kicked away or gloved at the last second. Clarke's goal wasn't one for the ages, a simple tip in on a point shot, but given then importance of one goal in this game, it could very well be remembered by Clippers fans for a very long time.

Final 1-0 Nanaimo
Series Tied 2-2

shawnmullin
06-12-2008, 09:31 PM
Scotty Bowman talked to the Trail Times after Game 4:

"I like a lot of things we've done in the series, but this team should not be getting shut out twice in four games. A tie is certainly an acceptable result through four games, but some of our depth players have to deliver on the score sheet. In the games we've won it's been the top line carrying all the mail. I expect Igor, Rick, Dean, Keith, Dave and our defencemen to start producing. We counted on our depth all season long and this is not the time for them to go into hiding."

Bill Durnan:

"I don't know what else we could've done out there tonight defensively. This Nanaimo team is going to score at least a goal or two on you no matter how well you tighten up in your own zone. I suppose now it's my turn to deliver a shut out."

Nice job so far TC.

Transplanted Caper
06-12-2008, 09:50 PM
Trail Looking To End the Series On Home Ice

The Trail Smoke Eaters will have the chance to win the Jim Robson Division Final on home ice tomorrow night after notching a 3-1 win over the Clippers last night in Nanaimo. It would be the Clippers who opened the scoring on yet another goal by the gritty and legendary Bobby Clarke fired the opening salvo in this one. It would be the Trail 2nd line who got the Smokies going in this own, scoring both the first and second Trail goals of the game. The shifty Martin St. Louis would elude a Nanaimo defender and put the puck past Benedict for an unassisted goal to tie the game at one. Later on, it would be Igor Larionov tallying his first goal of the series when a snap shot went five hole on Clint Benedict putting Trail up 2-1. With their backs against the wall, the Clippers turned up the heat, but could not beat Durnan the rest of the way. In the last half of the game, Durnan made 24 of his 36 saves on the evening, many of them spectacular. Rick MacLeish would score the final goal for the Smokies to put them up 3-1, and 3-2 in the series with the allure of closing it out on home ice potentially on the horizon.

Final 3-1
Trail Leads Series 3-2

shawnmullin
06-12-2008, 10:27 PM
The Fire Marshall has been paid off so we can cram as many Smoke Eater fans into the Cominco Arena as humanly possible. A fire may kill the entire population of Trail.

Transplanted Caper
06-12-2008, 10:52 PM
Trail Off to Semi-Finals

The Trail Smoke Eaters are off to the final four after a 2-1 win last night at home eliminating the Nanaimo Clippers from the post-season.Frank Boucher would open the scoring to put the Clippers up 1-0. With a goal under their wings, the Clippers took momentum for the remainder of the first period, but Durnan stood his ground and kept this team afloat and within one goal as the game moved into the first intermission. Scotty Bowman got his team in gear in the 2nd period, and Trail didn't look back from there. Bryan Trottier would set up Harry Cameron who fired a shot from the blueline that went past Benedict and into the net to tie things up at one. Back and forth action summed up the rest of the action, with both goalies sweating off pounds of weight as they kicked pucks aside. Midway through the 3rd period Bryan Trottier would score the game winner sending the Smokies into the final four where they await the winner of the Buffalo/Glace Bay series.

Final 2-1 Trail
Trail Wins Series 4-2

shawnmullin
06-12-2008, 10:56 PM
Wow... I'm floored that it only took six games. I thought it could be a victory but I didn't think for a second that the series wouldn't go seven games.

Pitseleh and HO are still the gold standard. Thanks to those who voted for Trail here that's really an awesome accomplishment to knock them off.

I'll get on my series now.

Great job TC thanks for doing it and making it timely.

Transplanted Caper
06-12-2008, 11:12 PM
Wow... I'm floored that it only took six games. I thought it could be a victory but I didn't think for a second that the series wouldn't go seven games.

Pitseleh and HO are still the gold standard. Thanks to those who voted for Trail here that's really an awesome accomplishment to knock them off.

I'll get on my series now.

Great job TC thanks for doing it and making it timely.

Congrats to you mullin. Helluva team you have there. Wish I could have spent more time on the writeups, but a busy weekend beckons and tonight was when I'd have the time to do them quickly.

pitseleh
06-13-2008, 12:42 AM
Congrats shawn, you put together a heck of a team. You better win it all so we can pull the 'we lost to the eventual champs' card. ;)

FissionFire
06-13-2008, 12:59 AM
Three Stars
1. Bobby Clarke
2. Bryan Trottier
3. Clint Benedict

Hockey Outsider
06-13-2008, 03:52 PM
Congrats Shawnmullin. Great team, with one of the best top lines in any ATD. I wonder what Barack Obama would say about this. :)