Jim Coleman Conference 2nd round - Québec vs. Baltimore
All-Time Draft #7 Division Winner and Quarter Finalist
All-Time Draft #8 Division Winner and Semi Finalist
All-Time Draft #9 Division Winner and Finalist
All-Time Draft #10 Division Winner and Semi Finalist
All-Time Draft #11 Division Winner and Quarter Finalist
All-Time Draft #12 Division Winner and Champion
All-Time Draft #13 (2010) Division Runner-Up
All-Time Draft #14 (2011) Division Runner-Up
All-Time Draft #15 (2012)
Les Nordiques de Québec
General Manager: DaveG & EagleBelfour
Head Coach: Peter Laviolette
Assistant Coach: Father David Bauer
Richard Martin - Mark Messier - Bill Cook
Sid Smith - Eric Lindros - Didier Pitre
Alf Smith - Fred Stanfield - Gordie Drillon
Mel Bridgman - Michal Handzus - Stan Smyl
Jack Stewart - Babe Siebert
Frantisek Pospisil - Leo Boivin
Frantiek Tikal - Ron Greschner
Mark Messier - Gordie Drillon - Bill Cook
Babe Siebert - Didier Pitre
Richard Martin - Sid Smith - Eric Lindros
Fred Stanfield - Frantisek Pospisil
Mark Messier - Michal Handzus
Jack Stewart - Frantisek Pospisil
Babe Siebert - Mel Bridgman
Leo Boivin - Frantisek Tikal
Head Coach: Pat Burns
Cy Denneny-Bobby Clarke (C)-Rod Gilbert
Dean Prentice-Adam Oates -Peter Bondra
J.P. Parise-Brent Sutter-Dirk Graham
Ryan Smyth-Jonathan Toews-Milan Hejduk
Spares:Gerard Gallant (LW), Alexander Almetov (C)
Tim Horton (A)-Jan Suchy
Craig Hartsburg-Red Horner (A)
Steve Smith-Phil Russell
Spares: Doug Bodger (D), Dave Langevin (D)
PP 1: Cy Denneny-Adam Oates-Rod Gilbert-Jan Suchy-Peter Bondra
PP 2: Ryan Smyth-Bobby Clarke-Milan Hejduk-Craig Hartsburg-Tim Horton
PK 1: Dirk Graham-Bobby Clarke-Tim Horton-Red Horner
PK 2: Dean Prentice-Brent Sutter-Jan Suchy-Phil Russell
After Bryan Trottier vs. Mark Messier, Bobby Clarke vs. Messier!
Good luck to the Baltimore Blades, I will analyse this series in the next few days.
Good luck to Quebec in this series, will take a look at the forward matchup today.
After a hard fought, 7 games, battle against the University of Nanooks and Guy Lafleur/Chris Pronger, the Baltimore Blades will now face the Québec Nordiques, who went through the first round in 5 games.
Bobby Clarke vs. Mark Messier. Well, if that's going to be another dandy to watch! Cy Denneny is a great offensive talent, getting passes from a fantastic playmaker, but he's up against and even bigger offensive machine in Bill Cook. The other matchup is Rod Gilbert & Rick Martin. I always founded Rod Gilbert a tad overrated, and unworthy of his usual placement in the draft. I guess the same could be said with Rick Martin, who's the weaker player of the two, no question. Overall, it's two powerful & well assembled first line. Can I give the Nordiques a 'tiny' advantage here, on the fact of a strong Messier-Cook destroying duo? Ok, maybe I shouldn't. It's a very even matchup.
Adam Oates is an elite playmaker on an ATD second, while Eric Lindros is a another superior second line centre, who brings fantastic brute force and offensive skills. In the playoffs, give me the guy that will hurt physically and offensively. Am I bias saying that? Perhaps. Sid Smith vs. Peter Bondra is a matchup of non-physical forwards who were excellent at scoring goals. Sid Smith brings a well more rounded game, but against Peter Bondra, how hard id it to be more well-rounded? Dean Prentice is a great 2nd line glue guy, always been a fan. However, Didier Pitre is just a better player. Faster, stronger (not physical, mind you). A better offensive player who can hurt you with one of the hardest wirst shot of All-Time. Good defensively. I definitely prefer the Nordiques second line, a favorable matchup for them.
Will the Blades will try their luck at home to play their defensive third line against the Nordiques first? I wouldn't be surprise. There's no way to compare two such different third line. What I can say that the Nordiques wouldn't mind that 3rd line vs. 1st line matchup, as we believe JP Parise would be completely mismatched by Bill Cook, while Mark Messier would have the best of Brent Sutter.
With that in mind, Brent Sutter is a good 3rd line defensive centre, as Dirk Graham on the right side. JP Parise brings some intangible and hard work on the left side. The Nordiques holds far more talent on their line. Gordie Drillon is a bonafide ATD scoring machine with speed. Alf Smith is an elite 3rd liner who brings a truckload of intangibles and fear. Fred Stanfield is a decent 3rd liner with decent playmaking abilities. No question in my mind that the Nordiques do own a far superior 3rd line, although they play different roles.
When I made my regular season of the Baltimore Blades, I was vocal that I really liked their first pairing, but now that we play against each, I think it's a sub-par duo ... You know I'm kidding! Tim Horton is a fantastic, rock-solid, defensive defenceman with decent offensive output. He's flank by smallish, but offensively talented Jan Suchy. They work great together. The Nordiques have a botton #1 defenceman in BJ Stewart, another rock-solid defenceman, and Bebe Siebert, who brings a good all-around game with grit. Especially in the playoffs, I'll take Siebert over Suchy, but Horton vs. Stewart is no contest.
Never been a huge fan of Red Horner and his position in the draft. We was absolutely fearless and physical. Your scared when that guy is on the ice. But what else? Is that enough to select this penalty machine with the other elite #3 defenceman? Craig Hartsburg was a good rushing defenceman when he was not injured. With Jan Suchy already having a short prime and oft-injured by his reckless shot-blocking and Red Horner who will end on the penalty bench more often than any other defenceman in the draft, having another oft-injured defenceman might be a problem for the Blades. For the Nordiques, Frantisek Pospisil is an elite #3 defenceman, VERY close to Jan Suchy in term of talent and achievement. He's flanked by Leo Boivin, a good defensive defenceman who's arguably the hardest body-checker of All-Time. No contest on this one, and a huge advantage for the Nordiques.
Edge to the Blades. Roy Worters is a middle of the pack goaltender in this draft, and although he doesn't have any playoff experience, I still think he would of fare well in crunch situation. It would be dishonest for me to question is playoff experience, when I believe he would of been adequate. Tom Barrasso is good playoff goalie, but a step under Worters.
Well, Pat Burns couldn't ask for a better captain in Bobby Clarke. Who would be his scapegoat? My guess is Rod Gilbert. Anyway, Pat Burns was fabulous to get the best of his players the first 2-3 years. In this formal, and with team team at his disposition, I think he would do pretty well. Laviolette is an offensive coach that have his kind of team in front of him. Burns is better though.
The Nordiques hold a clear edge on the PP, while the Blades in on PK (I'm in a hurry, sorry for this short description!)
Can't wait to argue this series, good luck Tony, you have a very nice team assembled :)
Again Baltimore is looking forward to a well thought out argument here with Quebec. Quebec is a very tough team but not unbeatable.
Let's look at the matchups line by line:
Forward Line 1:
Cy Denneny-Bobby Clarke-Rod Gilbert vs. Rick Martin-Mark Messier-Bill Cook
Comments: First off let me say that Messier and Cook together is going to be quite scary and give teams cold shivers, it was my plan to play them together last year so I'm intrigued by this combination. I think that Clarke will do his darndest to stop them and I think that him and Denneny together with their offense should counter any damage Messier and Cook would do. As to the individuals on each line I think that Cy Denneny's goal scoring should help the Blades out a lot here. Clarke will serve 2 roles here: Feed him the puck and also battle Messier and Cook. Rod Gilbert will also chip in with good offense. As to the Nordiques Rick Martin is a decent enough goal scorer but he is going to be the weak link of the 1st line for the Nordiques (Which is no shame being with Messier and Cook). Mark Messier is of course Mark Messier, the guy was someone I got lots of praise for when I drafted him last year, he's a great leader and should do well for your team. Bill Cook is a great goal scorer. As you said both 1st lines are quite good.
So here's how I see it.
Denneny > Martin
Clarke > Messier
Gilbert < Cook
Advantage: A slight 1 to the Blades, still your 1st line is extremely talented, the 1st line match should be a great 1 to watch.
Dean Prentice-Adam Oates-Peter Bondra vs. Sid Smith-Eric Lindros-Didier Pitre
Comments: Another even matchup here. Prentice vs.Smith features a very good glue guy vs. a very good goal scorer. Being that I went with more of an offensive 2nd line, I expect Prentice to draw the defensive assignments for the 2nd line for the Blades. Sid Smith will be the goal scorer on your 2nd line, solid guy for a 2nd line. Adam Oates and Eric Lindros present 2 different styles of play. Oates is the supreme playmaker while Lindros is the supreme power forward. A healthy Lindros was among the game's best, the thing was can he stay healthy? That's a big question here. Pitre and Bondra are offensive guys who probably won't do much else. I can see why people would criticize Bondra but I think that his playing with Oates will bring out the best in him.
So here's how I see it:
Prentice < Smith
Oates > Lindros
Bondra < Pitre
Advantage: Slight 1 to the Nordiques
Gerard Gallant-Brent Sutter-Dirk Graham vs. Alf Smith-Fred Stanfield-Gordie Drillon
Comments: Lineup change here for the Blades. We'll slot in the ultra-tough Gerard Gallant here to draw matches vs. tough lines. Alf Smith is the glue guy of this line, he's not as physical as Gallant is but he's better offensively. Solid matchup. Brent Sutter offers a good 2 way game, I expect him to play more of a defensive game though here. Fred Stanfield's an excellent play maker. Dirk Graham's one of the better 3rd line right wingers in this, Gordie Drillon will give your team a great goal scorer, how he does vs. Graham should be interesting.
How I see it.
Gallant < Smith
Advantage: Blades if we're going with the definition of what a 3rd line should be, personally I think my 3rd line and 4th line match up similarly and the same goes for your 4th and my 3rd line.
Ryan Smyth-Jonathan Toews-Milan Hejduk vs. Mel Bridgman-Michal Handzuz-Stan Smyl
Comments: On a team that might be the meanest in the ATD it makes sense that you would draft Mel Bridgman. It was between him and Toews for me when I picked Toews. Bridgman's a solid player. Ryan Smyth is gritty himself and a good goal scorer. Jonathan Toews is one of the better 2 way centres in the league today, he's a guy who's only going to get better. Handzuz offers a good 4th line game and little else IMO. Better to have someone like that on your 4th line than your 1st line. Milan Hejduk will give my 4th line another goal scorer. Smyl is a good energy guy for your team late in games.
So here's how I see it:
I'll debate the defense tomorrow, looking forward to debating this series further with both Eagle and Dave.
- So Clarke will singlehandedly feed passes to Denneny while countering Mark Messier & Bill Cook? Bobby Clarke is a fantastic hockey player, but no super human. Just being able to counter Mark Messier while being the great playmaker that he is would be quite an accomplishment, something that he will have is hand full.
The way I see it:
Clarke = Messier
Denneny < Cook
Gilbert > Martin
I don't see how the Blades holds an advantage on the first line, really. I think I was very fair by saying it was a wash.
- Ayayaye: Pitre is an offensive guy that bring nothing else? Where are you picking this up? Pitre is a fantastic offensive player. Although he do have great stats, they don't even paint the whole story, as we was use at defence on and off for so long during his career. He own one of the best and most powerful wristshot of All-Time, he played good defence & although not a physical player, he was strong as an ox, very difficult to outmuscle him. To top that, he owned fantastic wheel, a very fast player. Didier Pitre holds a lot of intangible, and a matchup between Pitre and Bondra is a significant advantage for the Nordiques.
How I see it:
Oates = Lindros (as a #2 C, with weaker competition, give me Lindros)
Prentice = Smith (I'm surprise you give the edge to Sid Smith. He's very underrated at #34X, and the better goalscorer, but Prentice brings far better intangible to the table)
Bondra << Pitre (Huge difference in talent & effectiveness)
It's a clear advantage to the Nordiques IMO
- Alf Smith not as physical as Gerard Gallant? I'm very unsure about that. Alf Smith is an elite third liner in this draft. A great offensive talent, good playmaker, fantastic playoff performer, but recognize as the roughest SoB of his time. No question that Alf Smith is the best player of both third line. Dirk Graham will have the assignment of checking him, good luck to him!
- Talking about Dirk Graham: one of the better 3rd liner in this draft? Let's take a look: Cecil Dillon, (Dave Taylor), (Eric Nesterenko), (Ron Ellis), (Tony Amonte), (Pie Mackenzie), Claude Provost, (Claude Lermieux), Ed Westfall, Larry Aurie, (Igor Liba), (Jerry Toppazzini), (Blair Russel), (Tod Sloan), Danny Gare, Vladimir Vikulov, Gordie Drillon, (Johnny Peirson)
There's very few elite 3rd liner in this draft, but there's plethora of guys that I consider in the same group. Some play different style of play, so it's hard to judge, but I counted 18 3rd line RW (didn't look at better 4th liner) that are clearly better or in the same group. You want to call Dirk Graham above average? Definitely. One of the best? No.
- The two best forward of the six are own by the Nordiques, this is a big win for the Nordiques
Graham << Smith
Sutter > Stanfield
Gallant <<< Drillon (Very unfair matchup in term of skills)
With that in mind, the Blades definitely have more players that should be scared of Eric Lindros than Lindros have players on the Blades to be scared of.
Great points I say to Eagle Belfour. Good to see a good argument in a series, I'll debate the defensemen when I get home from work. Also it should be noted that Phil Russell, should he get shifts vs. Lindros, is another player Lindros should worry about.
I think there's too much focus on 'Eric Lindros worrying about physical player'. Yes, Lindros did got his head down on Scott Stevens and got his socks knocked out. Couldn't stay healthy afterwards. But now it seems the conversation has turn into: poor little Lindros should play sheltered minutes against non-physical player so he could play at his potential. Why do I feel this is completely wrong? Eric Lindros, one of the greatest machine of hockey, a tower of strength, a player that everyone was scared to play against around the league, should worry about a #6 defenceman? You wanna play Phil Russel against Eric Lindros? I'll take this matchup everyday of the week & twice on Sunday.
Now time to debate the defense
Tim Horton/Jan Suchy vs. Jack Stewart/Babe Siebert
Comments: One of my team strengths is my 1st pairings both Horton and Suchy are pretty good defenseman and will make for a good pairing. Horton's going to get a lot of assignments against the physical Nordiques players, a role that I'm sure he'll handle well. Jan Suchy will be our #1 offensive option on defense. The Nordiques first pairing offers Jack Stewart, a great hitter in his day and Babe Siebert, who will play the Tim Horton role on your team. Again it's a solid pairing that should play its role well.
Here's how I see it:
Craig Hartsburg/Red Horner vs. Frantisek Popisil-Leo Boivin
Comments: Hartsburg and Horner offers the classic offensive defensive battle. Still they're matched up here vs. a really good 2nd pairing. Hartsburg was such a good offensive defenseman and he could have been so much better had it not been for injuries. Going against Boivin won't help him much here but I expect the best for Hartsburg. Red Horner vs. Frantisek Popisil is a great battle between 2 hard hitting defensemen.
How I see it:
Comments: A clear advantage here to the Nordiques, you guys have a really good 2nd pairing, good job.
Steve Smith/Phil Russell vs. frantisek Tikal/Ron Greschner
I've always been a fan of Ron Greschner, the guy is probably 1 of the better 3rd pairing offensive defensemen in this. 1 question though is what kind of defensive game does he play? Because he's matched up here vs. Steve Smith and while Greshcner might be Smith's better offensively Smith seems to be better than him in a lot of other ways. Tikal and Russell is a good battle of 2 physical defensemen.
How I see it:
Advantage: Goes to the Blades, it's close though.
Looking forward to a rebuttal here. I'll debate the goalies, coaching and special teams tomorrow.
I really like the way we handle this series: you write something down on a part of our confrontation, some back & forth rebuttal, and then move on to something else :) Let's keep it up that way!
My only qualm is the ranking, it should read:
Horton > Stewart
Suchy =< Siebert
Suchy is a very talented defenceman, moreso than any of the Noirdiques defenceman, but he's got a very short prime, with a bunch of unimpressive season after his accident. Babe Siebert got a productive career as a LW, and a fantastic (just as good IMO) prime as a defenceman. It's close, but give me Babe Siebert. Horton is a better defenceman than Jack Stewart, no doubt about it.
About how I see things as well EB. Tikal is most definitely the anchor of the #3 pairing, and likely will stay that way regardless of who he's paired with. As you suggested it may be a good idea to swap out Greschner with Marotte for this series since Grech isn't being used as a PP specialist.
This one will likely come down to a battle of depth. I think Quebec's physical nature would give the team a bit of an edge here, but Clarke can easily get opposing players off their game via his own chippyness as I well know from having him last season. Clarke vs Messier is probably one of the most interesting matchups of the ATD this year, two of the only high end centers in this with the ability to run the #1C spot on ES, PP, and PK. Though having Oates on the #1 PP instead is the right call, not utilizing him in such a manner would be wasteful IMO. But overall I think Quebec just brings too much depth to the table in this series.
Roy Worters/Evgeni Nabokov vs. Tom Barasso/Ed Giacomin
Comments: Worters is the best goalie in this series. As I've said in other instances he's a goalie that I think, had he not been stuck on bad teams, would have been regarded on a much higher level. He's going to be a goalie that should steal some games for the Blades. Tom Barasso's a lower end #1 goalie in this but he's still pretty good, his temperament matches your team quite well. Barasso's not as good as Worters but he's still pretty good. Nabokov is a mid level #1 who won't play much due to the presence of Worters but he won't leave our goaltending in dire straits should Worters get injured. Ed Giacomin's pretty good and might be the best backup in the league this year.
So here's how I see it:
Advantage: A close 1 here to Baltimore mainly due to the presence of Roy Worters
Pat Burns vs. Peter Laviolette/Fr.David Bauer
Comments: In drafting Pat Burns, I got a coach who got the most out of his players. I think Burns and Clarke will get along great the same as Burns and Gilmour did in real life. I think both coaches are going to get the most out of their lineups which will make for a good battle.
How I see it:
Advantage: A close 1 to the Blades here but neither team willl be hurt by its coaching.
Due to the toughness of your team I expect there will be a good many power play opportunities for your team. Denneny and Bondra should be the beneficiary of many of Oates passes. The 2nd power play unit for the Blades is pretty good with the net presence in Smyth, the playmaker in Clarke and the goal scorer in Hejduk. Horton and Hartsburg will look good on the defense's back end. The Blade's PK should be pretty good as well. I like your special teams unit but think Greschner should be there on the power play and think Messier should be on either the 2nd PP unit or 2nd PK unit to prevent tiredness as I am doing with Clarke.
Final Thoughts: Looking forward to seeing how this series turns out, while Quebec has the toughness advantage I think this series is close enough in other areas to ensure it'll be a close series, good luck to you guys in this series.
- The Nordiques have a plethora of talented offensive player to use on the PP, and it's hard to fit Ron Greschner on the blueline. He was a great PP quarterback, but was he better than Babe Siebert? Fred Stanfield? Frantisek Pospisil? In our evaluation of our staff, we don't believe he was. Does that mean we should perhaps bench him and use another defenceman, considering we don't use Greschner main asset? For now, we will leave it like that, but perhaps next round we will make a switch.
- We believe Mark Messier is the only forward in the draft that can play 1stES, 1stPP & 1stPK in this draft (base on longevity + talent). Ironically enough, the only other player that could make a case is Bobby Clarke IMO. We're not planning to make any changement in our special team lineup, and we're comfortable with the way it is setup.
Quebec defeats Baltimore in 6 games.
Congrats to Quebec on their win and to Eagle and Dave on a well-fought and well-argued series. The best of luck to you guys for the rest of the playoffs. I'll be back for the MLD in a few months time. Good luck to the remaining GM's.
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