AAA 2011 Ambrose O'Brien semi-finals: #2 Regina Pat Habs vs. #3 Philadelphia Sting
The Ambrose O'Brien Divisional Semi-Final Round
Regina Pat Canadians
coach Ron Wilson
Adam Brown - Viktor Polupanov - Earl Robinson
Vinny Prospal - Radek Bonk - Ken Mallen
Dave Reid - Bill Clement - Lucien DeBlois (C)
Pete Horeck - Earl Ingarfield (A) - Darren McCarty
Jim Conacher, Jim Lorentz
Scotty Bowman (A) - Nikolai Makarov
Jimmy Fowler - Evgeny Paladiev
Art Wiebe - Mark Hardy
Bert McCaffrey, Gord Murphy
coach Orval Tessier
Mark Osborne - Mickey Roach - Jeff O'Neill
Eric Daze - Cam Davidson - Brian Mullen
Ken Smith - Dave Hannan - Roxy Beaudro
Scott Pellerin - Shawn Horcoff (A) - Gary Sabourin
Murray Henderson - Tom Kurvers (A)
Alfred Kuchevsky - Joel Quenneville (C)
Norm MacIver - Ron Harris
Stephane Robidas, Tobias Enstrom
Ah christ. I have little to no time to argue, so I'll try to provide some counter-arguments to what seventies posts. We'd like to announce Andy McDonald will be inserted into our lineup in favor of Scott Pellerin at 4th line LW.
I'll start off with a little overview of what I see as real advantages and not just evidence that judgments vary at the AAA level:
- Polupanov over Roach: Roach had one good season in the pre-merger NHL. Anatoli Firsov is considered by most of us to be a top-100 player, and for four years, Polupanov was reasonably close to him offensively, both at the domestic level and internationally.
- Brown over Osborne: I really do like Osborne as a 1st line glue guy, but it appears Brown does everything he does, only better. He even has equally impressive percentage scores despite being a pre-expansion player.
- Prospal over Daze: Yeah, Daze's a good goal scorer, but Prospal put up the same adjusted points per game and has done so in over 50% as many years, right into his late 30s.
- Clement over Hannan: Hannan was pretty good at what he did. But Clement was much better offensively (39% higher adjusted ESPPG) and on the PK (was used 17% more often for PKs that were more successful)
- DeBlois over Beaudro: I don't know what to make of Beaudro, and that's the problem. It looks like he was good defensively, but we know DeBlois was, plus he was a physical, defermined player and a leader. Beaudro's stats in relation to his teammates makes it appear he was inept defensively, while DeBlois was the all-time leading ES scorer when I selected him.
- Horeck over McDonald: I think these two are about even offensively when you look at their percentage scores and account for era. But I question whether McDonald is really a 4th line type of guy. Horeck was built for 4th line duty!
- Bowman over Henderson: I like Henderson a lot and would have selected him if I could have. Both guys' claims to fame is that they earned some token all-star recognition in a couple of seasons. Bowman just received more (12 voting points as opposed to three)
- Hardy over MacIver: This one is the biggest one of all. Hardy lasted nearly 1000 games and played 22.7 minutes a game. MacIver, 20.7 for 500 games. It's only 19.5 per game if you take out his year as the default #1 for the 2nd worst team of all-time. He was a #5 guy at even strength and a PP specialist. Hardy was a #1 for half of the 1980s. MacIver had 285 points in 500 games; Hardy had 275 in 516 at one point, and played 400 more on top of that as a defensive veteran presence.
- Collins over Casey: Casey had two very good seasons and was mostly an average starter aside from that. Collins is not easy to compare or extrapolate how impressive his achievements are in modern terms, but he was considered the best goalie in Canada after Paton retired. I am confident that that's better than being approximately the 15th-best goalie of Casey's generation.
It's unfortunate that the first time I actually have time to analyze is voting day, but I'm going to do a very rough breakdown of player by player.
Brown vs. Osborne: Brown's best years came in war years, which discounts what he did. I'll say Brown is probably a little more physical, but Osborne is a better defensive player considering he was actually used on a very good shutdown line, where's Brown was "decent". Osborne's adjusted PPG is .4755. Also consider that's with a good amount of time being spent on a 3rd line as a checker. Brown's adjusted PPG(when you adjust his games played) is .496. Considering difference in era and Osborne's edge in defensive play, I'll give him a slight advantage here considering he got those totals playing in a defensive role for the most part.
Roach vs. Polupanov: I was actually going to take Polupanov, but you beat me to it. His scoring finishes are pretty impressive, and I'll give him the advantage here offensively. Neither looks like he brings much in terms of intangibles.
O'Neill vs. Robinson: O'Neill definitely has the advantage in grit and physicality, being one of(if not the) best power forwards in this draft. In terms of offense, I think there's an obvious advantage to O'Neill. His peak offense, and adjusted PPG(.655 to .499) is way better. Advantage O'Neill.
Overall, I think 1st lines are very close. The gap between Roach and Polupanov is very close to the gap between O'Neill and Robinson. It depends on which gap you perceive is bigger and if you believe Osborne is better than Brown(which I believe he is).
Prospal vs. Daze: Overall, Prospal is probably the better player. Better career adjusted PPG(Daze was the better goalscorer, Prospal the better playmaker) and Prospal did it for longer. I actually really underrated Vinny Prospal. He's a very good 2nd liner here.
Davidson vs. Bonk: It's near impossible to compare these two, so I'll leave it at Davidson is better offensively, and Bonk is better at everything else.
Mullen vs. Mallen: Difficult comparison. I'll say Mallen is probably better offensively, but I picked Mullen for his consistent production and fairly high PPGA on ice, indicating he probably had some needed two-way ability.
Smith vs. Reid: Smith is better offensively, Reid is better defensively. I think the gap between the offense is bigger than the gap between the defense. Smith's adjusted PPG is .502(with games adjusted) and Reid's is .363. But, do note that Smith played in the post-war era, which discounts his PPG a bit. Smith also has this quote, which I like:
Beaudro vs. DeBlois: I hoped that I would get around to doing a bio for Beaudro, but didn't get the chance. He wasn't much of an offensive player, and DeBlois is better there. DeBlois is probably the better overall player.
McDonald vs. Horeck: Not sure how you're getting Horeck and McDonald are equal offensively. McDonald's adjusted PPG is .764, and Horeck's is .517 when adjusted for game totals. McDonald isn't really suited as a 4th liner, but he's there to help out my PP and chip in timely goals when possible. McDonald is easily the better player in a vacuum, but who's the better 4th liner is up for debate.
Horcoff vs. Ingarfield: Before I even adjust for games played for Ingarfield, Horcoff already has the superior PPG .668 to .574. When I would adjust for games, the difference would be even larger. Ingarfield was more of a checking forward, which could be a source of lower PPG. Ingarfield is probably better defensively. They're close.
Sabourin vs. McCarty: Two very gritty players. Both solid two-way players. McCarty is the grittier of the two. In terms of offense, Sabourin's adjusted PPG before I adjust for games is .539 and McCarty's .416. Meaning once games were adjusted, it would probably just be a slight advantage to Sabourin. Overall, 2 very good 4th liners in this.
Henderson vs. Bowman: Bowman has the better all star record for sure. Henderson provides a decent amount of offense, 4x top 16 among defensemen with %s of 77, 63, 60, & 48. Bowman's offense is pretty much nothing. Bowman is still the better overall player because of all star record.
Kuvers vs. Makarov: It's difficult to decide which was better offensively, which is the main job of both of them. I'll leave it at these are two very good offensive defensemen that play the same role.
Kuchevsky vs. Fowler: Difficult comparison. Fowler had a very short career, but up good #s as a defenseman that was sometimes a "utility forward", whatever that means. I take it as his finishes aren't as impressive as they seem. Kuchevsky offers little in terms of offense, but was a 3x Soviet 1st Team All Star, twice getting in ahead of Nikolai Sologubov, who is a high ATD selection. That's more of a matter of Sologubov being too high, but I'll take Kuchevsky because Fowler just doesn't really impress me.
Paladiev vs. Quenneville: Two similar players, good defensive defensemen with a little bit of offense. Paladiev's all star wins get him the nod here over Quenneville's quiet effectiveness.
MacIver vs. Hardy: MacIver is better offensively(significantly), adjusted PPG .534 to .322, but Hardy is the better all-around player in a vacuum. MacIver's here for his offense and is the better PPQB, but Hardy is the better ES and PK player.
Harris vs. Wiebe: Serve the same purpose, Harris brings a little bit offfense to Wiebe's basically none. But, Wiebe's small all star voting record is better than anything Harris has.
Casey vs. Collins: I wouldn't even know where to begin.
Maniago vs. Zinger: Call them even I guess.
Finally some action!
The fact that Brown's adjusted PPG is ahead despite being a pre-expansion player should tell you everything. More on this later.
(you did mean postwar era, right? Brown excelled in 1946 and 1947, and didn't play in 1945)
When I selected Robinson, he was far and away the most offensively established pre-expansion player - despite being a winger (almost all the time the top offensive guy left is a center who has just gotten caught in a numbers game). His best 5 percentages top O'Neill's best 5 by a total of 316 to 310, despite being a pre-expansion guy, and he was actually always the best player on his own line, so he didn't ride anyone's coattails to success. O'Neill would not have earned his 70%+ seasons without the help of Ron Francis.
You could ignore the linemate factor and use percentages to say that they are more or less equal offensively, but the thing about percentages is that they start to break down once we are down at players of this caliber. If you become a slave to the percentages in the AAA, then you have to think that the best 10 offensive NHL players in the draft, and about 18 of the top 20, are all from after 1967. I personally don't believe that. As you may have noticed during this draft, I talked about pre- and post-expansion separately when talking about offense for this reason.
Anyway, I didn't make this comparison because it was pretty close. Robinson is one of the few premier players here. O'Neill is close and has the physicality bonus. Good enough to call even.
If you are not convinced that there should be a different standard for pre- and post-expansion players, then your bolded statement is at least fair.
Both have the leadership and defensive resumes that make them capable 4th liners but I think Ingarfield is better equipped to put in some points in this role.
the per-game stats punish McCarty for playing beyond the lockout when he was a pure grinder with no other skills. Obviously Sabourin is a better offensive player but it's not by as much as the numbers above may indicate.
Regina tops Philadelphia in game 7
1) Herbert Collins
2) Victor Polupanov
3) Jeff O'Neill
Good series. I think the better team won, but just barely. I think the 7 game series was indicative of the quality of these 2 teams.
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