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God Bless Canada 11-29-2009 04:56 PM

ATD 12 Bob Cole Division Semi-Final: 1 Medicine Hat Tigers vs. 4 Cairo Desert Dogs
 
MEDICINE HAT TIGERS

GMs: God Bless Canada & raleh
Coach: Clarence "Hap" Day

Gary Roberts (A) - Max Bentley - Rick Middleton (A)
Brian Sutter - Elmer Lach (A) - Martin St. Louis
Gilles Tremblay - Metro Prystai - Rene Robert
Steve Payne - Mike Richards - Allan "Scotty" Davidson
Brad Richards

Denis Potvin (C) - Alexander Ragulin
Eric DesJardins - Randy Carlyle
Charlie Huddy - Brad Maxwell
Oldrich Machac, Marty McSorley

Billy Smith
Hugh Lehman

Power Play Units
Roberts-Bentley-Middleton-Potvin-Carlyle
Sutter-Lach-St. Louis-Robert-Maxwell

Penalty Killing Units
Middleton-Lach-Potvin-Ragulin
St. Louis-Richards-DesJardins-Carlyle
Tremblay-Prystai-Huddy-Maxwell
Will also employ Robert, Roberts, Davidson and Sutter in penalty killing roles.

Callups:
F: John Ogrodnick, Dave Ganger, Paul MacLean
D: Sylvain Lefebvre,Dave Ellett
G: Bill Ranford


VS


CAIRO DESERT DOGS

Toe Blake(C) - Cyclone Taylor - Teemu Selanne
Smokey Harris - Cooney Weiland - Theo Fleury
Jack Walker - Edgar Laprade - Ken Wharram
Gaye Stewart - Pit Martin - Jimmy Peters
Herb Cain - Billy Taylor

Ebbie Goodfellow(A) - Doug Wilson
Harvey Pulford(A) - Gus Mortson
Ken Randall - Albert Leduc
Sandis Ozolinsh

Glenn Hall
Normie Smith

PP1: Toe Blake-Cyclone Taylor-Teemu Selanne-Ebbie Goodfellow-Doug Wilson
PP2: Smokey Harris-Cooney Weiland-Theo Fleury-Sandis Ozolinsh-Gus Mortson

PK1: Jack Walker-Edgar Laprade-Harvey Pulford-Gus Mortson
PK2: Cooney Weiland-Theo Fleury-Albert Leduc-Doug Wilson

Callups:
F: Don Grosso, Cal Gardner, Bill Fairbairn
D: Gord Fraser, Howard Mcnamara
G: Roland Melanson

God Bless Canada 11-29-2009 05:01 PM

I just want to say good luck to LF and the Cairo Desert Dogs. I'll have more to post later tonight, once the other series threads are done, and after Grey Cup. (Go Riders).

Leafs Forever 11-29-2009 05:24 PM

Good luck to you as well.

Busy tonight, but will star posting later.

God Bless Canada 11-29-2009 10:40 PM

There were three potential match-ups for us in Round 2. I thought New York would be the toughest. And then we could have Syracuse - a team we would match up with well physically, but would have the speed and smarts advantage - or Cairo, a team that might be a touch faster, but I think we have better depth, team concept and toughness.

The Cairo first line is lethal. It's probably one of the most dangerous lines in the draft. But we have the speed and hockey sense on the blue line to keep up with them. We'll win the battles in the trenches - along the boards and in front of the net. That goes a long ways in determining a series, especially in a best-of-seven. Who's going to win the battles? Fleury gives them that aggressiveness and that spunk on the second line, but can he play the puck-winner, crease-crasher role?

That's a big difference between us and Syracuse. Syracuse didn't have the speed we have. Our defence isn't as punishing as Syracuse's, but it's still tough, physical and aggressive, and it's more mobile and smarter. Our forward ranks are loaded with excellent, fast-skating backcheckers. In a match-up like this, we're thrilled to have Elmer Lach.

We think the world of Glenn Hall. He's terrific. His playoff record does have a few question marks. I'm not concerned with how Montreal lit him up in 1959. But there were three playoffs against Detroit - a good, but not an overwhelming Detroit team - when Hall did not play well at all. The gap between Hall and Smith shrinks considerably in the playoffs. Smith has one of the most incredible playoff records ever - 88-36, a record 19 straight series wins, a Conn Smythe, etc. He understands the reality of goaltending - it's not just how many saves you make, it's when you make them.

We think the world of Toe Blake. Had him in the last draft. But I have Day in the 5-7 class of coaches, with Irvin and Patrick. Is Blake a better coach? Yes. Is there much of a gap between Blake and Day? No. Can Day outcoach Blake? Yes. Will he? Completely different story.

And Cairo is coming off a really tough, punishing, grinding series against Syracuse. That's to our favour. How much will they have left in the tank?

We're going to use our speed, physical play and aggressiveness to come at Cairo in waves. Cairo isn't going to be able to win the battles teams need to win, and they aren't going to have marked advantages in speed and hockey sense to compensate.

jarek 11-29-2009 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by God Bless Canada (Post 22382352)
There were three potential match-ups for us in Round 2. I thought New York would be the toughest. And then we could have Syracuse - a team we would match up with well physically, but would have the speed and smarts advantage - or Cairo, a team that might be a touch faster, but I think we have better depth, team concept and toughness.

The Cairo first line is lethal. It's probably one of the most dangerous lines in the draft. But we have the speed and hockey sense on the blue line to keep up with them. We'll win the battles in the trenches - along the boards and in front of the net. That goes a long ways in determining a series, especially in a best-of-seven. Who's going to win the battles? Fleury gives them that aggressiveness and that spunk on the second line, but can he play the puck-winner, crease-crasher role?

That's a big difference between us and Syracuse. Syracuse didn't have the speed we have. Our defence isn't as punishing as Syracuse's, but it's still tough, physical and aggressive, and it's more mobile and smarter. Our forward ranks are loaded with excellent, fast-skating backcheckers. In a match-up like this, we're thrilled to have Elmer Lach.

We think the world of Glenn Hall. He's terrific. His playoff record does have a few question marks. I'm not concerned with how Montreal lit him up in 1959. But there were three playoffs against Detroit - a good, but not an overwhelming Detroit team - when Hall did not play well at all. The gap between Hall and Smith shrinks considerably in the playoffs. Smith has one of the most incredible playoff records ever - 88-36, a record 19 straight series wins, a Conn Smythe, etc. He understands the reality of goaltending - it's not just how many saves you make, it's when you make them.

We think the world of Toe Blake. Had him in the last draft. But I have Day in the 5-7 class of coaches, with Irvin and Patrick. Is Blake a better coach? Yes. Is there much of a gap between Blake and Day? No. Can Day outcoach Blake? Yes. Will he? Completely different story.

And Cairo is coming off a really tough, punishing, grinding series against Syracuse. That's to our favour. How much will they have left in the tank?

We're going to use our speed, physical play and aggressiveness to come at Cairo in waves. Cairo isn't going to be able to win the battles teams need to win, and they aren't going to have marked advantages in speed and hockey sense to compensate.

Where exactly are all these backcheckers on the forward ranks? Prystai simply playing on a checking line isn't good enough for me. Where are the quotes that say he was good defensively? I've never seen them. I'm not saying you don't have all these backcheckers, but I sure would like you to back up a bold statement like that.

Leafs Forever 11-29-2009 10:59 PM

Quote:

There were three potential match-ups for us in Round 2. I thought New York would be the toughest. And then we could have Syracuse - a team we would match up with well physically, but would have the speed and smarts advantage - or Cairo, a team that might be a touch faster, but I think we have better depth, team concept and toughness.
Depth? Toughness? We'll see.

Quote:

The Cairo first line is lethal. It's probably one of the most dangerous lines in the draft. But we have the speed and hockey sense on the blue line to keep up with them. We'll win the battles in the trenches - along the boards and in front of the net. That goes a long ways in determining a series, especially in a best-of-seven. Who's going to win the battles? Fleury gives them that aggressiveness and that spunk on the second line, but can he play the puck-winner, crease-crasher role?
Blake and Fleury definetly, I feel, have the grit and toughness to play that type of puck-winning role on their respective lines.

Quote:

That's a big difference between us and Syracuse. Syracuse didn't have the speed we have. Our defence isn't as punishing as Syracuse's, but it's still tough, physical and aggressive, and it's more mobile and smarter. Our forward ranks are loaded with excellent, fast-skating backcheckers. In a match-up like this, we're thrilled to have Elmer Lach.
Our blueline is also loaded with tons of physicality, aggresive play, and mobility. That's not a question. We also have tons of fast players, and great defensive players. (as well as the best defensive forward of the series- but we'll get to that.)


Quote:

We think the world of Glenn Hall. He's terrific. His playoff record does have a few question marks. I'm not concerned with how Montreal lit him up in 1959. But there were three playoffs against Detroit - a good, but not an overwhelming Detroit team - when Hall did not play well at all. The gap between Hall and Smith shrinks considerably in the playoffs. Smith has one of the most incredible playoff records ever - 88-36, a record 19 straight series wins, a Conn Smythe, etc. He understands the reality of goaltending - it's not just how many saves you make, it's when you make them.
Of course Smith played behind one of the greatest dyansties ever, while Hall played behind some good Hawks teams, but he was as often the underdog as the favorite. This is a comparison between a one-time all-star vs an 11-time all-star here. Hall has the conn smythe to match; and was seemingly superb in the cup run.

You question those three series? If I find time considering the shorten lengthed of the series, I will find game accounts of them; but as I felt I showed in the last series, there is definetly potentital that the team in front of him was at least somewaht responsible. Hall did however, showed he could be great in the playoffs on more than one occasion, could make those big saves, and could be your guy.


Quote:

We think the world of Toe Blake. Had him in the last draft. But I have Day in the 5-7 class of coaches, with Irvin and Patrick. Is Blake a better coach? Yes. Is there much of a gap between Blake and Day? No. Can Day outcoach Blake? Yes. Will he? Completely different story.
Quote:

And Cairo is coming off a really tough, punishing, grinding series against Syracuse. That's to our favour. How much will they have left in the tank?
None of my guys have energy concerns, I feel; and I have guys that know what it's like to go deep in the playoffs in tough series. Not much, if it is actually, of an issue; it's speculation. I could turn it around and say that the extra time off your guys had may have dulled things a bit and cooled off momentum, causing my guys to come out with more jump to start things.

Quote:

We're going to use our speed, physical play and aggressiveness to come at Cairo in waves. Cairo isn't going to be able to win the battles teams need to win, and they aren't going to have marked advantages in speed and hockey sense to compensate.
As I said, we have that plenty of speed, physical play, and aggresiveness, as well as great defensive ability on almost every line.

My opening comparisons coming soon.

Leafs Forever 11-29-2009 11:13 PM

The ATD this time is filled with upsets; I think that could definetly occur in this series. It may even be likely (as I will illustrate). Just in my intial glance, other than a few places, My position to position comparisons seem to be very favorable to me. But this is just my prelim thoughts; I hope people certainly approach this with a very open mind despite seedings, but it seems they have based on some of the upsets.

Anywho!

Toe Blake- Cyclone Taylor-Teemu Selanne vs Gary Roberts-Max Bentley-Rick Middleton

I like how my first stacks up to your first line- better at every position. As I don't have a Gordie Howe to worry about this time, my first line isn't going to be one of the lines I focus to play against your first, although they will likely see eachother simply due to icetime. But my first line is just plain a lot more powerful than yours- as I will show, going position to position.

Toe Blake vs Gary Roberts.

Everyone loves how Roberts plays; but fact is, he is a guy out of place on a first line. Big time. I get the role he's playing, but Blake is essentially playing the same role- he's just not a questionable guy for the first line offensively. As far as looking at goals, assists, points, his lone top-10 in those regards is a 3rd in goals. Blake has 5 top 10's in goals (3 top-5's), 7 top-10's in assists, and 6 top-10's in points. Blake was a 3 time first team all-star, 2 time 2nd team all-star. Roberts was a good playoff producer, but Blake was one of the greatest playoff producers of the 1940s and a retro conn smythe. Roberts may have a bit of an intangible edge, but Blake is no slouch in that regard, and it would not touch the gap between the two offensively. The gap between these two may be the largest of any singular position in the series.

Cyclone Taylor vs Max Bentley

This is a comparison that might see the old split-league star debate come out. But I can fight that fight, and we are talking about arguably the greatest of that era.

Just to look at these guys from the great equaliser- the seventies consistency threads. These, as I will stress in every series, account for the split league era Taylor was in. If he was first in the PCHA in assists, it likely shows up as a top-2 in his leaderboards. If he finishes say 3rd in PCHA goals, it shows up as either a top-5 or top-10 (depending on what the numbers were like in that 3rd and the other guys competing for the top-5.) And so on.

Top 2 finishes- Top 5 finishes - Top 10 finishes - Top 15 finishes - Top 20 finishes

Goalscoring:
Taylor- 1-5-5-5-5
M.Bentley- 1-3-7-8-8

Playmaking:
Taylor- 6-7-7-8-8
M.Bentley- 3-4-4-6-6

Total:

Taylor: 7-12-12-13-13
M.Bentley: 4-7-11-14-14

Max Bentley is good, but he's not Taylor. Bentley was a great playoff producer certainly, but so was Taylor, with 20 points in 11 stanley cup challenge games.

Teemu Selanne vs Rick Middleton

Again, I'll adress Selanne's playoff concerns with A. His pretty good run with the Ducks and B. His two time leading the olympics in a pressure environment, I feel, similar to that of the playoffs. Certainly a lot on the line for a guy like Selanne there. In these best on best competitions, I don't feel it a stretch to equate those two leading the olympics to top-5's in playoff scoring. And Selanne is playing with two great playoff guys as well, as well a being coached by a great playoff guy, so I don't think it's a concern.

As far as offensive potentital goes, no comparison. Middleton has a 7th, 8th, 10th in goals, and two 10th's in points. Selanne, by comparison, has the same number of 1st in goals as Middleton has top-10's (as well as another 2nd, 3rd, and 10th in goals), a 4th, 7th, 9th, and 9th in assists, and two 2nd's, two 5th's, a 7th, and a 8th in points.

Middleton was a decent playoff producer, but outside that '83 year, it isn't anything special it appears. I've justified Selanne in the playoffs, and will defend that. Although Middleton has a defensive edge, it is nowhere near that of the offensive edge Selanne has, I feel.

All in all, my powerful top line just plain blows your top line out of the water offensively. Those supposed better backcheckers are going to have their hands full a lot more than my guys will have with yours. They can score more if going head to head, and as for when these lines see our respectice 2nd an 3rd lines? More on that later. Similar with D-Core matchups. But in the last series I showed the defensive strength of my 2nd and 3rd lines and the majority of my defence core as well; they can do well against this top line, but I will show it more as I move down the lineup. In head to head comparisons, we'll see; because frankly on a number of my opponents guys I need to learn more about.

jarek 11-29-2009 11:20 PM

Excellent start to this series. A Leafs Forever series is always a treat.

Leafs Forever 11-29-2009 11:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jareklajkosz (Post 22383162)
Excellent start to this series. A Leafs Forever series is always a treat.

Thanks. That'll be the last I likely say tonight, as I've got to do a physics lab report I have seriously procrastinated on due to various ATD and real-life duties. I will try respond to new strikes in the morning, and will have to seriously blitz on Monday.

God Bless Canada 11-29-2009 11:32 PM

Two-way forwards? Well, Middleton: Ninth in Selke voting in 83, fourth in 84. St. Louis was fourth in 2004. A quick check on Lach will reveal how good he was defensively. Roberts and Sutter both take excellent care of their own zone. Richards has a fifth and a second in Selke voting. (Had the most first place votes last year). Davidson was described as being a fine two-way player. Robert was strong defensively. Tremblay was strong defensively.

Metro Prystai obviously had to be strong defensively if he's going to play centre on a checking line. You need the centre on your checking line to be strong defensively. If he isn't, he won't last five games in that role. He'll be dispatched in favour of someone who's better.

I don't think Blake and Fleury are the puck-winners you need. Roberts is a puck-winner. Sutter's a puck-winner. When we had Fleury last draft, we used Kevin Stevens to be the guy to win the battles. And Fleury isn't the guy you're going to want for front-of-the-net battles.

Hall's Blackhawks had the potential to win multiple Cups. They won it in 61. They lost to great Toronto and Montreal teams in 62 and 65, respectively, in the Stanley Cup final. In 63, he had a 4.17 GAA. In 64, it was 3.24. In 66, he had a 3.80. Chicago had a team that could have won multiple Stanley Cups. Hall isn't the only reason the Hawks failed year after year following the Cup triumph in 71, but he was a factor several times.

And while he was great in 68, keep in mind the only reason he had a shot at the Conn Smythe was the league's screwball division set-up that saw the expansion teams in one division, and the established teams in the other. If not for that, Hall doesn't get a sniff of the final, or the Conn Smythe.

Smith played behind a great team. But he was a big reason that the Islanders were a dynasty. He won a Smythe in 83. He was fantastic the other three years. In the playoffs, the gap between Hall and Smith shrinks considerably.

Your defence has good toughness and mobility. Your team speed is probably the best in the draft. Renfrew might be the only one in your class. But your team toughness isn't there. Your forwards are probably the least physical forwards remaining in the draft. We aren't quite as fast, but we're close. We're every bit as smart. Our team toughness is much more significant.

And fatigue is a factor for Cairo. Cairo just came off a grueling seven-game series against a punishing team that's going to lean on you from the first shift of the game to the last. Syracuse was one of the toughest teams in the draft. Especially on the blue line. It means Cairo's guys were going to be hit hard every game. It's very taxing. And now Cairo has to play against a team that isn't as vicious as Syracuse, but has lots of guys who hit, hit hard, and finish their checks.

jarek 11-29-2009 11:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by God Bless Canada (Post 22383413)
Two-way forwards? Well, Middleton: Ninth in Selke voting in 83, fourth in 84. St. Louis was fourth in 2004. A quick check on Lach will reveal how good he was defensively. Roberts and Sutter both take excellent care of their own zone. Richards has a fifth and a second in Selke voting. (Had the most first place votes last year). Davidson was described as being a fine two-way player. Robert was strong defensively. Tremblay was strong defensively.

Metro Prystai obviously had to be strong defensively if he's going to play centre on a checking line. You need the centre on your checking line to be strong defensively. If he isn't, he won't last five games in that role. He'll be dispatched in favour of someone who's better.

I don't think Blake and Fleury are the puck-winners you need. Roberts is a puck-winner. Sutter's a puck-winner. When we had Fleury last draft, we used Kevin Stevens to be the guy to win the battles. And Fleury isn't the guy you're going to want for front-of-the-net battles.

Hall's Blackhawks had the potential to win multiple Cups. They won it in 61. They lost to great Toronto and Montreal teams in 62 and 65, respectively, in the Stanley Cup final. In 63, he had a 4.17 GAA. In 64, it was 3.24. In 66, he had a 3.80. Chicago had a team that could have won multiple Stanley Cups. Hall isn't the only reason the Hawks failed year after year following the Cup triumph in 71, but he was a factor several times.

And while he was great in 68, keep in mind the only reason he had a shot at the Conn Smythe was the league's screwball division set-up that saw the expansion teams in one division, and the established teams in the other. If not for that, Hall doesn't get a sniff of the final, or the Conn Smythe.

Smith played behind a great team. But he was a big reason that the Islanders were a dynasty. He won a Smythe in 83. He was fantastic the other three years. In the playoffs, the gap between Hall and Smith shrinks considerably.

Your defence has good toughness and mobility. Your team speed is probably the best in the draft. Renfrew might be the only one in your class. But your team toughness isn't there. Your forwards are probably the least physical forwards remaining in the draft. We aren't quite as fast, but we're close. We're every bit as smart. Our team toughness is much more significant.

And fatigue is a factor for Cairo. Cairo just came off a grueling seven-game series against a punishing team that's going to lean on you from the first shift of the game to the last. Syracuse was one of the toughest teams in the draft. Especially on the blue line. It means Cairo's guys were going to be hit hard every game. It's very taxing. And now Cairo has to play against a team that isn't as vicious as Syracuse, but has lots of guys who hit, hit hard, and finish their checks.

If that's all you have on Prystai, I'm not sold.

For what it's worth, I also never factor previous series into my votes. I vote on the better team, regardless of circumstance. Always have, always will.

God Bless Canada 11-29-2009 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leafs Forever (Post 22382980)
The ATD this time is filled with upsets; I think that could definetly occur in this series. It may even be likely (as I will illustrate). Just in my intial glance, other than a few places, My position to position comparisons seem to be very favorable to me. But this is just my prelim thoughts; I hope people certainly approach this with a very open mind despite seedings, but it seems they have based on some of the upsets.

Anywho!

Toe Blake- Cyclone Taylor-Teemu Selanne vs Gary Roberts-Max Bentley-Rick Middleton

I like how my first stacks up to your first line- better at every position. As I don't have a Gordie Howe to worry about this time, my first line isn't going to be one of the lines I focus to play against your first, although they will likely see eachother simply due to icetime. But my first line is just plain a lot more powerful than yours- as I will show, going position to position.

Toe Blake vs Gary Roberts.

Everyone loves how Roberts plays; but fact is, he is a guy out of place on a first line. Big time. I get the role he's playing, but Blake is essentially playing the same role- he's just not a questionable guy for the first line offensively. As far as looking at goals, assists, points, his lone top-10 in those regards is a 3rd in goals. Blake has 5 top 10's in goals (3 top-5's), 7 top-10's in assists, and 6 top-10's in points. Blake was a 3 time first team all-star, 2 time 2nd team all-star. Roberts was a good playoff producer, but Blake was one of the greatest playoff producers of the 1940s and a retro conn smythe. Roberts may have a bit of an intangible edge, but Blake is no slouch in that regard, and it would not touch the gap between the two offensively. The gap between these two may be the largest of any singular position in the series.

Cyclone Taylor vs Max Bentley

This is a comparison that might see the old split-league star debate come out. But I can fight that fight, and we are talking about arguably the greatest of that era.

Just to look at these guys from the great equaliser- the seventies consistency threads. These, as I will stress in every series, account for the split league era Taylor was in. If he was first in the PCHA in assists, it likely shows up as a top-2 in his leaderboards. If he finishes say 3rd in PCHA goals, it shows up as either a top-5 or top-10 (depending on what the numbers were like in that 3rd and the other guys competing for the top-5.) And so on.

Top 2 finishes- Top 5 finishes - Top 10 finishes - Top 15 finishes - Top 20 finishes

Goalscoring:
Taylor- 1-5-5-5-5
M.Bentley- 1-3-7-8-8

Playmaking:
Taylor- 6-7-7-8-8
M.Bentley- 3-4-4-6-6

Total:

Taylor: 7-12-12-13-13
M.Bentley: 4-7-11-14-14

Max Bentley is good, but he's not Taylor. Bentley was a great playoff producer certainly, but so was Taylor, with 20 points in 11 stanley cup challenge games.

Teemu Selanne vs Rick Middleton

Again, I'll adress Selanne's playoff concerns with A. His pretty good run with the Ducks and B. His two time leading the olympics in a pressure environment, I feel, similar to that of the playoffs. Certainly a lot on the line for a guy like Selanne there. In these best on best competitions, I don't feel it a stretch to equate those two leading the olympics to top-5's in playoff scoring. And Selanne is playing with two great playoff guys as well, as well a being coached by a great playoff guy, so I don't think it's a concern.

As far as offensive potentital goes, no comparison. Middleton has a 7th, 8th, 10th in goals, and two 10th's in points. Selanne, by comparison, has the same number of 1st in goals as Middleton has top-10's (as well as another 2nd, 3rd, and 10th in goals), a 4th, 7th, 9th, and 9th in assists, and two 2nd's, two 5th's, a 7th, and a 8th in points.

Middleton was a decent playoff producer, but outside that '83 year, it isn't anything special it appears. I've justified Selanne in the playoffs, and will defend that. Although Middleton has a defensive edge, it is nowhere near that of the offensive edge Selanne has, I feel.

All in all, my powerful top line just plain blows your top line out of the water offensively. Those supposed better backcheckers are going to have their hands full a lot more than my guys will have with yours. They can score more if going head to head, and as for when these lines see our respectice 2nd an 3rd lines? More on that later. Similar with D-Core matchups. But in the last series I showed the defensive strength of my 2nd and 3rd lines and the majority of my defence core as well; they can do well against this top line, but I will show it more as I move down the lineup. In head to head comparisons, we'll see; because frankly on a number of my opponents guys I need to learn more about.

Just as an aside, these kind of posts have never meant anything for me. Hockey's a team sport. Personel is nowhere near as important as getting the five guys on the ice to play as one, and, as odd as it sounds, it's about getting the 18 skaters and the goalie for that night to play as one. It's about getting the guys to play with each other, and play for each other. I've never seen a team with the best personel win because they had the best personel. They win because that personel plays together, plays as a cohesive and collective unit. Your post showed nothing of that.

And all I see is stats. Nothing on how each guy played the game. That's what ultimately makes the difference in how guys are going to mesh. You never win based on how many top 10s a guy has. You win based on how guys play together, how each guy handles their role, and how they deal with different match-ups. Your post showed nothing of that.

I like top 10s. But there are a lot of things that go into top 10s, and they are far from a be-all and end-all in evaluations. A player's ability is big. But so is the talent around him. And the system he's in. In the case of post-expansion players, the teams in his division are a factor. Sports are cyclical. Hockey people are looking for different things at different times. A top 10 in 1983 is more impressive to me than a top 10 in 2003 because of the reality of what hockey people are looking for.

For the record, I think Selanne's better than Middleton in the regular season; playoffs are another matter, and the Olympics/World Championships doesn't do it for me, there is a world of difference between the tournaments that have a best-of-one on big ice, and the best-of-seven on regulation ice. And for the role we wanted from our first line RW, I love Middleton's speed, puck skills and two-way game. (The latter is something that Selanne doesn't bring). I think Blake is a better player than Roberts, no doubt of that although you're asking too much of Blake to be a puck-winner. And I like Roberts for the puck-winning, crash the net, goal-scoring role more than Blake.

If we had Blake as a first line LW to play with Bentley, we'd be thrilled. But we'd have set a gritty, tough, goal-scoring RW as a top priority, someone like an Iginla.

I believe Bentley is better than Taylor. And I'm a big Taylor fan. But Bentley has two Art Ross Trophies, three rings and an amazing playoff record for the late 40s/early 50s.

Leafs Forever 11-30-2009 12:10 AM

For easy reference; click on a guy to find out more about him.

Cairo Desert Dogs

GM: Leafs Forever
Head Coach: Hector "Toe" Blake
Captain: Hector "Toe" Blake
Assistant Captain: Ebbie Goodfellow
Assistant Captain: Harvey Pulford


Toe Blake(C)-Cyclone Taylor-Teemu Selanne
Smokey Harris-Cooney Weiland-Theo Fleury
Jack Walker-Edgar Laprade-Ken Wharram
Gaye Stewart-Pit Martin-Jimmy Peters

Ebbie Goodfellow(A)-Doug Wilson
Harvey Pulford(A)-Gus Mortson
Ken Randall-Albert Leduc

Glenn Hall
Normie Smith

Spares: D Sandis Ozolinsh LW Herb Cain, C Billy Taylor

PP1: Toe Blake-Cyclone Taylor-Teemu Selanne-Ebbie Goodfellow-Doug Wilson
PP2: Smokey Harris-Cooney Weiland-Theo Fleury-Albert Leduc-Gus Mortson

PK1: Jack Walker-Edgar Laprade-Harvey Pulford-Gus Mortson
PK2: Cooney Weiland-Theo Fleury-Albert Leduc-Doug Wilson

Cairo Desert Devils (Minor League Team):

Don Grosso-Cal Gardner-Bill Fairbairn
Gord Fraser-Howard Mcnamara

Roland Melanson

jarek 11-30-2009 12:31 AM

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Originally Posted by God Bless Canada (Post 22383742)
Just as an aside, these kind of posts have never meant anything for me. Hockey's a team sport. Personel is nowhere near as important as getting the five guys on the ice to play as one, and, as odd as it sounds, it's about getting the 18 skaters and the goalie for that night to play as one. It's about getting the guys to play with each other, and play for each other. I've never seen a team with the best personel win because they had the best personel. They win because that personel plays together, plays as a cohesive and collective unit. Your post showed nothing of that.

And all I see is stats. Nothing on how each guy played the game. That's what ultimately makes the difference in how guys are going to mesh. You never win based on how many top 10s a guy has. You win based on how guys play together, how each guy handles their role, and how they deal with different match-ups. Your post showed nothing of that.

I like top 10s. But there are a lot of things that go into top 10s, and they are far from a be-all and end-all in evaluations. A player's ability is big. But so is the talent around him. And the system he's in. In the case of post-expansion players, the teams in his division are a factor. Sports are cyclical. Hockey people are looking for different things at different times. A top 10 in 1983 is more impressive to me than a top 10 in 2003 because of the reality of what hockey people are looking for.

For the record, I think Selanne's better than Middleton in the regular season; playoffs are another matter, and the Olympics/World Championships doesn't do it for me, there is a world of difference between the tournaments that have a best-of-one on big ice, and the best-of-seven on regulation ice. And for the role we wanted from our first line RW, I love Middleton's speed, puck skills and two-way game. (The latter is something that Selanne doesn't bring). I think Blake is a better player than Roberts, no doubt of that although you're asking too much of Blake to be a puck-winner. And I like Roberts for the puck-winning, crash the net, goal-scoring role more than Blake.

If we had Blake as a first line LW to play with Bentley, we'd be thrilled. But we'd have set a gritty, tough, goal-scoring RW as a top priority, someone like an Iginla.

I believe Bentley is better than Taylor. And I'm a big Taylor fan. But Bentley has two Art Ross Trophies, three rings and an amazing playoff record for the late 40s/early 50s.

Bentley is not better than Taylor. Taylor dominated the PCHA scoring charts, while playing every position. He was constantly referred to as the fastest player during that era, and many thought he could skate backwards faster than most could forwards. He was, for all intents and purposes, the generational talent of his era. Can we say the same for Bentley? The guy who nearly retired because he couldn't take the pain of a back injury?

As far as top-10s, they are absolutely important! I don't care if you have the best combination of player types imagineable, if they have no offensive skills, then why should I like them better than a line that is less cohesive, but far more skilled? For my money, a line with Cyclone Taylor on it doesn't need an elite puck winner. The man was so fast and skilled that the play with him on the ice should rarely hit the boards. Gary Roberts is quite possibly the most out of place guy in this series. He is not skilled enough to be a first line LW at all. Toe Blake is. Fred Taylor was an elite playmaker and Toe Blake will ensure that the puck gets to the net. Selanne also has that goal scorer's mentality as well. The first line for Cairo is better than Medicine Hat's, and that is going to be an issue for a team that admittedly has a lot of guys that are good defensively, but none that for my money, are elite. How are you going to match Taylor's speed and playmaking skills? Denis Potvin won't be able to contain him by himself, not with the kind of wingers Taylor is working with.

Admittedly, I like Medicine Hat's second line quite a bit more than Cairo's, but I don't think we can call the difference anything more than a wash considering the advantage Cairo has on the first line.

The goalies are a wash, with a slight nod to Hall if anything. This series, to me, is going to come down to just how much better Medicine Hat's defense is, if at all, and how the third lines match up. Jack Walker is probably the best defensive forward in this series, but that doesn't help Cairo out much because there are no elite right wingers on Medicine Hat. How are Laprade and Prystai going to handle their assignments is the biggest question for me. Cyclone Taylor vs. Max Bentley. This one is going to be a doozy.

Leafs Forever 11-30-2009 12:40 AM

I guess I lied. But I will regret this when I am tired tomorrow.

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Metro Prystai obviously had to be strong defensively if he's going to play centre on a checking line. You need the centre on your checking line to be strong defensively. If he isn't, he won't last five games in that role. He'll be dispatched in favour of someone who's better.
Let me get this straight: You are saying he is good defensively because he is playing on your checking line? Wow. Just because you throw a guy into a third line role doesn't make him good defensively. Or just because a guy played on a third line in his career doesn't make him good defensively at an ATD level. I'm with jarek; show some quotes. This just suggests to me there is none.

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I don't think Blake and Fleury are the puck-winners you need. Roberts is a puck-winner. Sutter's a puck-winner. When we had Fleury last draft, we used Kevin Stevens to be the guy to win the battles. And Fleury isn't the guy you're going to want for front-of-the-net battles.
Fleury I'll touch on tomorrow. Here's Blake:

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..his competitive spirit and sheer tenacity making him one of the NHL’s most feared forwards. He was quick and skilled but also willing to play the game as gritty as he had to in order to emerge victorious.- ourhistory.canadiens.com
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Hall's Blackhawks had the potential to win multiple Cups. They won it in 61. They lost to great Toronto and Montreal teams in 62 and 65, respectively, in the Stanley Cup final. In 63, he had a 4.17 GAA. In 64, it was 3.24. In 66, he had a 3.80. Chicago had a team that could have won multiple Stanley Cups. Hall isn't the only reason the Hawks failed year after year following the Cup triumph in 71, but he was a factor several times.
And I showed in the previous thread (which I will bring in here, if necessary) team play can have a profound effect on GAA; whether facing a high-powered Canadiens dynasty or a team 8 points below you.

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And while he was great in 68, keep in mind the only reason he had a shot at the Conn Smythe was the league's screwball division set-up that saw the expansion teams in one division, and the established teams in the other. If not for that, Hall doesn't get a sniff of the final, or the Conn Smythe.
Perhaps not, but are you really going to discredit it because of how the league did things? Wasn't Hall's fault. He got the opportunity, and he shined in it.

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Smith played behind a great team. But he was a big reason that the Islanders were a dynasty. He won a Smythe in 83. He was fantastic the other three years. In the playoffs, the gap between Hall and Smith shrinks considerably.
Of course the gap between them in the regular season is so huge that the gap between the two is still quite a fair margin. Frankly I think the goaltending was likely closer in my last round matchup.

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Your defence has good toughness and mobility. Your team speed is probably the best in the draft. Renfrew might be the only one in your class. But your team toughness isn't there. Your forwards are probably the least physical forwards remaining in the draft. We aren't quite as fast, but we're close. We're every bit as smart. Our team toughness is much more significant.
Of course you can win through skill, as I believe the Red Wings of modern times show. I think I've sprinkled some decent toughness throughout the lineup.

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And fatigue is a factor for Cairo. Cairo just came off a grueling seven-game series against a punishing team that's going to lean on you from the first shift of the game to the last. Syracuse was one of the toughest teams in the draft. Especially on the blue line. It means Cairo's guys were going to be hit hard every game. It's very taxing. And now Cairo has to play against a team that isn't as vicious as Syracuse, but has lots of guys who hit, hit hard, and finish their checks.
And as I said, the fact your guys had more rest could make them a bit more sluggish coming out of the gate. I don't have low-energy guys, and I have numerous guys who know how to get through a gruelling concern. It's a small concern, if a concern, that is not going to play much of a factor, I think.

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Just as an aside, these kind of posts have never meant anything for me. Hockey's a team sport. Personel is nowhere near as important as getting the five guys on the ice to play as one, and, as odd as it sounds, it's about getting the 18 skaters and the goalie for that night to play as one. It's about getting the guys to play with each other, and play for each other. I've never seen a team with the best personel win because they had the best personel. They win because that personel plays together, plays as a cohesive and collective unit. Your post showed nothing of that.
Which is why I try to evaluate every part of the team in detail. Of course, I can't do detailed analysis for a whole team all at once without spending hours on end on the computer, more time than I have. I've got other things to do. These debates are much about education I feel, and detailedb reakdowns do well in that regard. They also get to the route of things, instead of just playing blanket statements that really aren't likely to show the whole picture.

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And all I see is stats. Nothing on how each guy played the game. That's what ultimately makes the difference in how guys are going to mesh. You never win based on how many top 10s a guy has. You win based on how guys play together, how each guy handles their role, and how they deal with different match-ups. Your post showed nothing of that.
Most guys know how Selanne and Taylor played; tremendous speed and skill. Taylor, as evident by stats, is an awesome playmaker and good goalscorer. Selanne, as evident by stats, is an awesome goalscorer and good playmaker. But hey, ask and you shall recieve:

Taylor-
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His dynamic rushes and memorable scoring feats made him one of hockey's first superstars. He was one of the few players in the history of the game capable of skating backwards as fast as many could forwards.
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"I understand that this boy, was nicknamed 'Tornado' when he played in Manitoba. And I further understand that when he moved into the International League they called him 'Whirlwind.' But starting today, based on his performance last night, I am re-christening him 'Cyclone'." - Malcolm Bryce
Selanne-
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When he broke into the league, he was the machine gun goal scorer and skater so fast he was nicknamed the Finnish Flash.- Joe Pelletier


Blake, as evident by stats, is a pretty balanced offensive player. But here's the key quote on how Blake played if you want it:
.
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.his competitive spirit and sheer tenacity making him one of the NHL’s most feared forwards. He was quick and skilled but also willing to play the game as gritty as he had to in order to emerge victorious.- ourhistory.canadiens.com
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Hard-nosed and dedicated, he was an important cog in the Canadiens’ teams of the late 1930s and early 1940s-ourhistory.canadiens.com
Of how awesome he was in the playoffs:

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That year he led all post-season scorers with seven goals and 18 points. His record for that playoffs of two points per game went untouched until Wayne Gretzky took over the NHL record book in the 1980s.
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Blake, a competive, viscious and often profane player who grew up idolizing Howie Morenz, exploded with the Habs. -Joe Pelletier
And his famed ""If the day ever comes when I can swallow defeat, I'll quit"



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I like top 10s. But there are a lot of things that go into top 10s, and they are far from a be-all and end-all in evaluations. A player's ability is big. But so is the talent around him. And the system he's in. In the case of post-expansion players, the teams in his division are a factor. Sports are cyclical. Hockey people are looking for different things at different times. A top 10 in 1983 is more impressive to me than a top 10 in 2003 because of the reality of what hockey people are looking for.
Of course they are far from the end of it all; I try to note intangibles if particularly present as well.

I don't understand what you are saying there- "What hockey people are looking for"? I understand different competition, but I am unsure fo what you mean there, unless people looked at different things for assists.

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For the record, I think Selanne's better than Middleton in the regular season; playoffs are another matter, and the Olympics/World Championships doesn't do it for me, there is a world of difference between the tournaments that have a best-of-one on big ice, and the best-of-seven on regulation ice. And for the role we wanted from our first line RW, I love Middleton's speed, puck skills and two-way game. (The latter is something that Selanne doesn't bring). I think Blake is a better player than Roberts, no doubt of that although you're asking too much of Blake to be a puck-winner. And I like Roberts for the puck-winning, crash the net, goal-scoring role more than Blake.
Is there really? Fact is, he showed that he could thrive, and could produce in a high-pressure environment with tough competition. Is that not what the playoffs are about?

I don't think too much of Blake to do that. But we're both bias in that regard, aren't we? You sacrificed on offense, HUGE to put Roberts on your first line. I don't think Roberts belongs on a first line, while Blake is one of the best LW's you can get.

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If we had Blake as a first line LW to play with Bentley, we'd be thrilled. But we'd have set a gritty, tough, goal-scoring RW as a top priority, someone like an Iginla.
Of course Middleton isn't Iginla; because Iginla could score at an elite level with more consistently.

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I believe Bentley is better than Taylor. And I'm a big Taylor fan. But Bentley has two Art Ross Trophies, three rings and an amazing playoff record for the late 40s/early 50s.
Never got the impression from your apprent dislike of split-league guys.

Taylor was arguably the best player of his era, and is certainly top-2 in that regard, He led the PCHA in points 5 times (which I'll take over Bentley's two art ross), led it in goals three times, and is the all-time PCHA points leader with almost half the games played as the #2 guy. At 20 points in 11 games (and a quote:
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Taylor led all PCHA goal scorers in 1918 and 1919 with 32 and 23 goals respectively. Even though the Toronto Arenas defeated Vancouver in the 1918 Stanley Cup championship, Taylor proved to be the most revered performer in the match-up. He finished ahead of all playoff scorers with nine goals in seven games.
)

, he also has an exccelnt playoff record. Bentley just wasn't as dominant as Taylor. Taylor also, if I am not mistaken, has two cups to his credit as well as another final, as shown in the quote, where he dominated.

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The goalies are a wash, with a slight nod to Hall if anything.
I liked most of your post, but this stuck out.

I am sorry, but are we seriously going to call a guy most don't doubt as top-6 all-time versus a guy who no one in their right mind would place top-10 as a wash? An 11 team all-star vs a 1 team all-star? Again, Hall obviously has two great runs, and I did a huge research just to show how teams could have a pronounced effect on Hall's less than adequate GAA playoffs.. There are only a few series where Hall supposedly remains quetionable. I don't know if I have the time to go through the articles and champion Hall in those series, but I will try. But even so, on what we know, I think Hall has a fair edge.

As for Walker thing, although it is true he doesn't have much in the way of good RW's, the good thing about that is anytime Walker is on the ice he likely renders the opposing RW useless. Taking out 1/3 of a scoring like could be a big difference, especially when the other winger on his top line is just dreadful offensively on a scoring line.

Second units I am going to take a look at closely tomorrow; we'll see how much better it really is.

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How are Laprade and Prystai going to handle their assignments is the biggest question for me. Cyclone Taylor vs. Max Bentley. This one is going to be a doozy.
Of course Taylor won't have to be a one man show like Bentley will likely have to be when the third lines are matchup. But Laprade, based on what I know, is the better defensive player than Prystai (unless GBC has some excellent quotes on Prystai's defensive ability), and Taylor the better offensive player.

jarek 11-30-2009 12:53 AM

You have a good point about Walker. Roberts wasn't very good offensively to begin with, and Walker, as you said, will make the RW, in this case Middleton, a near non-factor. Bentley is going to have to do it all himself, it seems. I'm not liking this situation for Medicine Hat. Cairo's first line can dominate despite strong checking. The line is just that good. Can Bentley do it himself? I think this is going to be a series of second lines for Medicine Hat, and that's assuming that Cairo doesn't want to focus their checking efforts on the second line instead of the first.

As for Hall, the thing that closes the gap for me is Billy Smith's great playoff record. Yeah, it was a dynasty, but so were Plante's Habs, and we consider him among the greatest of all time. Hall is probably better, but not by enough to make it a real difference maker in this series. The real focus lies elsewhere. I'm looking forward to seeing the breakdowns of the second lines.

Leafs Forever 11-30-2009 01:08 AM

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Originally Posted by jareklajkosz (Post 22384629)
You have a good point about Walker. Roberts wasn't very good offensively to begin with, and Walker, as you said, will make the RW, in this case Middleton, a near non-factor. Bentley is going to have to do it all himself, it seems. I'm not liking this situation for Medicine Hat. Cairo's first line can dominate despite strong checking. The line is just that good. Can Bentley do it himself? I think this is going to be a series of second lines for Medicine Hat, and that's assuming that Cairo doesn't want to focus their checking efforts on the second line instead of the first.

As for Hall, the thing that closes the gap for me is Billy Smith's great playoff record. Yeah, it was a dynasty, but so were Plante's Habs, and we consider him among the greatest of all time. Hall is probably better, but not by enough to make it a real difference maker in this series. The real focus lies elsewhere. I'm looking forward to seeing the breakdowns of the second lines.

Well, it's why it's a good thing I've got a second line with two great two-way guys in Fleury and Weiland. But that brings in another interesting point about his second line two; although Brian Sutter is a lot less of a stranger to the 2nd line than Roberts to the 1st, the guy still only finished top-10 in one of the major offensive categories once; if Walker does play against the first line and neutralize St.Louis, Lach has to be a virtual one-man show on the 2nd offensively. At the moment Walker likely goes mainly on the 1st line, but we'll see; I am not afraid to place my 3rd on either line, especially considering that factor.

I think Hall is the better enough to be a difference in the series. Again, Hall outside of a few instances which may not have been his fault, has a pretty darn good playoff record as well; his W-L just doesn't look so amazing because he didn't get to play for a dynasty. I am not questioning Smith's playoff ability nor his stepping up of game in the playoffs; just whether he really steps it up to be close enough to Hall so Hall doesn't make a difference.

overpass 11-30-2009 01:31 AM

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Originally Posted by Leafs Forever (Post 22382980)
Everyone loves how Roberts plays; but fact is, he is a guy out of place on a first line. Big time.

Don't underestimate Roberts as an offensive player. He was dominant in the early 90s for Calgary in a short prime before injuries limited him.

Leaders in even-strength points per game, 1991-92 to 1995-96
Player GP ESP ESP/G
Mario Lemieux 216 265 1.23
Eric Lindros 245 244 1.00
Jaromir Jagr 361 341 0.94
Gary Roberts 250 204 0.82
Adam Oates 359 288 0.80

And that doesn't touch on his playoffs either - he was good in Calgary and had a couple of terrific playoffs in Toronto later in his career. Health was an issue, but he always played in the playoffs.

God Bless Canada 11-30-2009 02:05 AM

A few final takes:

*Prystai played on the Reproduction Line in Detroit with Pavelich and Leswick. (He also apparently played with Wilson and Delvecchio, a line that would be very good defensively). If he wasn't good defensively, he wouldn't have been given that kind of responsibility. Especially on the Reproduction Line. If he isn't good defensively, he's not going to last. Especially at centre, where there is so much responsibility with the extra skating room. He also played four full seasons after the offence dried up. He had to be contributing something, because it sure wasn't offence and he wasn't known for being physical, and in the O6, if you weren't contributing, you didn't last long, at all, because there was a long line-up of players ready to take your spot.

*Middleton absolutely will be a factor. A player with his speed, his puck skills, his creativity and his willingness to do what it takes to put up points. Keep in mind that for most of his career in Boston, Middleton didn't have a lot of help up front. He had Bourque on the blue line, but up front, there wasn't a guy who could match Middleton's skill for most of his tenure.

*And you guys underrate Roberts. For three years in the early 90s, before the neck injury, he was a force as a goal-scoring power forward. He was dominant in 1991-92. He was dominant in 1992-93 before a leg injury. He was dominant in 1993-94, although not as good as the previous two years. I think people forget just how much of a force he was before the neck injury. He wasn't the same player after it. He went from being one of the best hockey players in the world (and one of the top three or four in the world at his position) to being a good, gritty goal scorer, but not a top-notch hockey player.

*If LF wants to match lines, we'll welcome that. If he wants to have the Laprade line out against the Bentley line, we're fine with that. That line will have more ice time. Which means less ice time for the first two lines. And while the Laprade lines can put up points, they're going to be a minus for the series. Walker's a good defensive forward, but you can score against him. Middleton - one of the best forwards outside of the HHOF - can certainly score against him. So can St. Louis and Robert.

*I'm not big on line-matching. I'm confident enough in Middleton and Roberts' defensive ability to have them out there against the top line. Would I prefer to have the Lach line out there against Taylor? Yes. Am I confident in the first line to be a plus if they're out there against the Taylor line? Absolutely. Our first line works better as a line than the Cairo first line. Cairo has better personel, we have the better line.

*I really think LF underestimates the difference between international play and Stanley Cup playoff play. They're completely different things. On the international stage, it's mostly best-of-ones on big ice. In the Stanley Cup, it's best-of-seven's. You have to deal with adjustments, and playing the same team night after night, and a much more physical game. Great player in World Championships and Olympics does not equal great player in best-of-sevens.

*I'm not really concerned with what a guy did in the regular season. at this time of year. (That's another reason that top 10s don't do much for me). The playoffs are a completely different game. The intensity, the best-of-seven nature - everything changes. Of course, top 10s in the playoffs aren't really a level playing field.

*And Blake's impressive 18 point playoff that LF cited: came in a war year. 1944. Great for Toe. I'm a big fan of the guy. But it needs to be taken with a legit grain of salt. (It also came in the first season in which players could pass the puck over the blue-line, so there was an adjustment factor).

*I'm actually surprised Taylor didn't have more than 20 points in 11 games. Playing at a time when guys played the entire game, and with his excellent skill level, I would have expected more.

*I love guys who hate to lose. That's one of the reasons why I'm a big Toe Blake fan. However, is he going to be able to win the corner battles and the battles in front of the net? I've had Blake before. And I put him in a role that enabled him to use his two-way excellence, but I had a winger who could do the dirty work. And I've had Fleury before. Used him as an aggressive, abrasive scorer, but I wanted a power winger to provide him support, because I didn't want a five-foot-six guy as a dirty work player.

*When I say "What hockey people are looking for," I mean they have different priorities at different times. The attributes that a GM is looking for now are different than what they were looking for 10 to 15 years ago, 25 years ago and 30 years ago. And that does have an impact on top 10 finishes.

*And as for this line: "For my money, a line with Cyclone Taylor on it doesn't need an elite puck winner. The man was so fast and skilled that the play with him on the ice should rarely hit the boards." Thanks. I needed a laugh after the end of the Grey Cup. Every line needs someone who can do the dirty work. Even lines with generational talents. (If Taylor actually is a generational talent).

MadArcand 11-30-2009 03:47 AM

I wonder just how far can the defense carry the Tigers... With that offense, the fact that they won the division let alone advanced easily past first round baffles me.

TheDevilMadeMe 11-30-2009 06:52 AM

Quick question: Toe Blake - Elmer Lach - Maurice Richard was one of the best lines in all of hockey history. If Toe Blake isn't an adequate puck winner, who was the puck winner on that line?

Leafs Forever 11-30-2009 08:24 AM

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe (Post 22386038)
Quick question: Toe Blake - Elmer Lach - Maurice Richard was one of the best lines in all of hockey history. If Toe Blake isn't an adequate puck winner, who was the puck winner on that line?

Good question; something that crossed my mind as well.

Leafs Forever 11-30-2009 08:41 AM

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*Prystai played on the Reproduction Line in Detroit with Pavelich and Leswick. (He also apparently played with Wilson and Delvecchio, a line that would be very good defensively). If he wasn't good defensively, he wouldn't have been given that kind of responsibility. Especially on the Reproduction Line. If he isn't good defensively, he's not going to last. Especially at centre, where there is so much responsibility with the extra skating room. He also played four full seasons after the offence dried up. He had to be contributing something, because it sure wasn't offence and he wasn't known for being physical, and in the O6, if you weren't contributing, you didn't last long, at all, because there was a long line-up of players ready to take your spot.
But the fact that you have to reach to "he played on a checking line" speaks a lot. Perhaps there just wasn't a guy in the Detroit system to fill that role as well as Prystai; perhaps PRystai was the worst checking line centre in the league at the time. Perhaps his wingers just really liked him for some strange reason. Who knows; but fact is when a guys defence isn't talked about in writings about him, he likely wasn't anything that special defensively, and it doesn't make him worthy of a third line role in an ATD setting.

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*Middleton absolutely will be a factor. A player with his speed, his puck skills, his creativity and his willingness to do what it takes to put up points. Keep in mind that for most of his career in Boston, Middleton didn't have a lot of help up front. He had Bourque on the blue line, but up front, there wasn't a guy who could match Middleton's skill for most of his tenure.
Of course the point is he won't be much of a factor when Walker, the best defensive LW of his time, is on him.

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*And you guys underrate Roberts. For three years in the early 90s, before the neck injury, he was a force as a goal-scoring power forward. He was dominant in 1991-92. He was dominant in 1992-93 before a leg injury. He was dominant in 1993-94, although not as good as the previous two years. I think people forget just how much of a force he was before the neck injury. He wasn't the same player after it. He went from being one of the best hockey players in the world (and one of the top three or four in the world at his position) to being a good, gritty goal scorer, but not a top-notch hockey player.
Even so, he spent most of his rather long career as a decent, but not top-notch, offensive guy. Although he had a good stretch, he is just so well below any of my top line players.


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If LF wants to match lines, we'll welcome that. If he wants to have the Laprade line out against the Bentley line, we're fine with that. That line will have more ice time. Which means less ice time for the first two lines. And while the Laprade lines can put up points, they're going to be a minus for the series. Walker's a good defensive forward, but you can score against him. Middleton - one of the best forwards outside of the HHOF - can certainly score against him. So can St. Louis and Robert.
I don't intend to throw the line out against yours constantly where my top-2 lines get sacrificed; but my third line will get thrown out against your top line when it does get it's opportunity, and it will be effective.

Just like you can score on Gainey, or Ramsay, I suppose. Walker's in that kind of class. You can score against him, but it is very difficult. The guy completely shutdown Howie Morenz a series; so I don't see why he'd have much trouble shuttding down those three RW's, who really aren't very special in their positions in my eyes.

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*I'm not big on line-matching. I'm confident enough in Middleton and Roberts' defensive ability to have them out there against the top line. Would I prefer to have the Lach line out there against Taylor? Yes. Am I confident in the first line to be a plus if they're out there against the Taylor line? Absolutely. Our first line works better as a line than the Cairo first line. Cairo has better personel, we have the better line.
Works better as a line? All three of my guys have immense speed and skill, particularly Taylor and Selanne. Taylor is the great playmaker to feed pucks to Selanne, the great goalscorer; but both can reverse roles so that Taylor's goalscoring isn't wasted either. Blake contributes very well for a LW as well, and does the gritty work; likely a similar role he played on that punch line. I don't see any chemistry issues with my deadly first line- I see superb chemistry. And with how much more skill it has, it's going to keep your 1st in the defensive zone a lot if you want to play it like that.

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*I really think LF underestimates the difference between international play and Stanley Cup playoff play. They're completely different things. On the international stage, it's mostly best-of-ones on big ice. In the Stanley Cup, it's best-of-seven's. You have to deal with adjustments, and playing the same team night after night, and a much more physical game. Great player in World Championships and Olympics does not equal great player in best-of-sevens.
Again, my point is Selanne can prefeform in pressure situations. And perform well.

Quote:

*I'm not really concerned with what a guy did in the regular season. at this time of year. (That's another reason that top 10s don't do much for me). The playoffs are a completely different game. The intensity, the best-of-seven nature - everything changes. Of course, top 10s in the playoffs aren't really a level playing field.
Well I have two guys someone might question in Selanne and Hall, who I have defended and made their cases for; they can and will succeed. And I used to try and go all playoffs as well; but seventies taught me otherwise when I tried to ONLY evaluate what a guy did in the playoffs when comparing players.

I got to go right at this moment, so I'll address the last half when I get back.

God Bless Canada 11-30-2009 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leafs Forever (Post 22386333)
But the fact that you have to reach to "he played on a checking line" speaks a lot. Perhaps there just wasn't a guy in the Detroit system to fill that role as well as Prystai; perhaps PRystai was the worst checking line centre in the league at the time. Perhaps his wingers just really liked him for some strange reason. Who knows; but fact is when a guys defence isn't talked about in writings about him, he likely wasn't anything that special defensively, and it doesn't make him worthy of a third line role in an ATD setting.



Of course the point is he won't be much of a factor when Walker, the best defensive LW of his time, is on him.



Even so, he spent most of his rather long career as a decent, but not top-notch, offensive guy. Although he had a good stretch, he is just so well below any of my top line players.




I don't intend to throw the line out against yours constantly where my top-2 lines get sacrificed; but my third line will get thrown out against your top line when it does get it's opportunity, and it will be effective.

Just like you can score on Gainey, or Ramsay, I suppose. Walker's in that kind of class. You can score against him, but it is very difficult. The guy completely shutdown Howie Morenz a series; so I don't see why he'd have much trouble shuttding down those three RW's, who really aren't very special in their positions in my eyes.



Works better as a line? All three of my guys have immense speed and skill, particularly Taylor and Selanne. Taylor is the great playmaker to feed pucks to Selanne, the great goalscorer; but both can reverse roles so that Taylor's goalscoring isn't wasted either. Blake contributes very well for a LW as well, and does the gritty work; likely a similar role he played on that punch line. I don't see any chemistry issues with my deadly first line- I see superb chemistry. And with how much more skill it has, it's going to keep your 1st in the defensive zone a lot if you want to play it like that.



Again, my point is Selanne can prefeform in pressure situations. And perform well.



Well I have two guys someone might question in Selanne and Hall, who I have defended and made their cases for; they can and will succeed. And I used to try and go all playoffs as well; but seventies taught me otherwise when I tried to ONLY evaluate what a guy did in the playoffs when comparing players.

I got to go right at this moment, so I'll address the last half when I get back.

On Walker: respect the guy. However, I would like to point out that the Morenz series you alluded to was in 1925, before the forward pass was allowed in the offensive zone. That makes a very big difference. It's the single biggest rule change in the last 81 years. So while I applaud him for his performance in 1925, I'd be a lot more impressed if he shut down Morenz in 1930 or 1931.

I don't think Walker's in Gainey's class defensively. No LW in the draft is. That's why Bob Gainey was a first-ballot HHOFer.

Selanne's playoff record on standard ice, in best-of-seven situations - the situation that we have here - is underwhelming. You haven't shown anything. You've shown he can produce in a situation in which he isn't playing here. The game that is played in the World Championships and in the Olympics is a stark contrast to the game that is played in the show.

As for this:

"Perhaps there just wasn't a guy in the Detroit system to fill that role as well as Prystai; perhaps PRystai was the worst checking line centre in the league at the time. Perhaps his wingers just really liked him for some strange reason. Who knows; but fact is when a guys defence isn't talked about in writings about him, he likely wasn't anything that special defensively, and it doesn't make him worthy of a third line role in an ATD setting."

*On Prystai: If Prystai was the "worst checking line centre in the league at the time," then Detroit, a perennial Stanley Cup contender, would have gone out and traded for a better checking line centre, or they would have gone out and found a better checking line centre in another league. You don't put a guy in a role like that just because "his wingers liked him for some strange reason." (That one made me laugh). There were a lot of really good checking centres in the game at the time who couldn't get a job in the show because there were only six teams. If you're a perennial Cup contender, then you're going to want guys in each position who give you a chance to win. If that player can't deliver in that role, you're going to drop him and find someone who can do the job. And when there's no shortage of players in the minors and the senior leagues who can do the job, Prystai wouldn't have lasted a month if he couldn't get the job done. It's the reality of winning.

You want quotes? "He then settled in for much of his time on the checking line with Marty Pavelich and Tony Leswick." That's from legendsofhockey.net. He settled in playing centre on the checking line for a perennial Stanley Cup champion.

raleh 11-30-2009 10:46 AM

Hey guys,

just a quickie here. I'm really sorry about disappearing right before voting starts. This is actually my favourite part of the draft. On Thursday I had to take a group I'm coaching to Guelph for the national cross country championships. After the race my dad called and said I need to get to Montreal because my grandfather passed away that morning. So now I'm here, this is the soonest I could get to a computer, and I won't be able to vote or participate for until I'm home on Saturday. Just wanted to post because I think that me not voting actually affects my teams' results (not actually sure about that). I will be back voting for all the series on the weekend. And good luck to Cairo!


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