ATD2011 Jim Coleman Semi: Ottawa Senators vs. Halifax Mooseheads
Coach: Dick Irvin Sr
Captain: Eddie Gerard
Alternates: Jaromir Jagr and Bill Hay at home, Johnny Gottselig and Dan Bain on the road.
Doug Bentley - Henrik Zetterberg - Jaromir Jagr
Johnny Gottselig - Mike Modano - Claude Provost
Rick Nash - Dan Bain - Paul Henderson
Camille Henry - Bill "Red" Hay - Jim Peplinski
Martin Straka, Art Gagne
Eddie Gerard - Chris Pronger
Gary Bergman - Joe Simpson
Alexei Gusarov - Kjell Samuelsson
Pekka Rautakillio, Adrian Aucoin
Even strength roles:
2nd line gets tough matchups
Other 3 lines are balanced.
3rd line w/Nash goes against power RWs.
Jagr gets double shifted/long shifts where possible in offensive zone.
Pronger-Gerard get big minutes, all situations, tough matchups
Bergman-Simpson get a more offensive role
Gusarov-Samuelsson get a more defensive role
Power play options
Core forwards: Henry around the net, Jagr on the right half boards.
Other forwards: Modano, Bain, Zetterberg, Nash, Bentley
Point: Simpson, Pronger, Bentley, Gerard (mostly first 3, and Bentley may also play up front with Gerard replacing him)
Modano - Henry - Jagr
Bentley - Simpson
Nash - Bain - Zetterberg
Pronger - Gerard
Bentley - Henry - Jagr
Pronger - Simpson
Nash - Modano - Bain
Gerard - Simpson/Zetterberg
In any case the power play runs through Jagr, with Henry finding space around the net to score goals.
Penalty kill units
Provost - Zetterberg
Pronger - Gerard
Gottselig - Hay
Gusarov - Samuelsson
Nash - Modano
...with Jagr's line up next.
Coach: Ken Hitchcock
Captian: Toe Blake
Alternate Captains: Eddie Oatman, Kevin Lowe
Toe Blake (C)-Syd Howe-Ace Bailey
Gaye Stewart-Doug Weight-Eddie Oatman (A)
Jack Walker-Mike Ricci-Bobby Rousseau
Ed Sandford-Vincent Lecavalier-Pit Martin
Brad Park-Bill White
Kevin Lowe (A)-James Patrick
Gord Fraser-Bob Dailey
Syl Apps Jr., C
Marian Gaborik, W
Lee Fogolin Jr., D
Jimmy Roberts, RW/D
-Lecavalier will spend time on a two way line with Walker and Rousseau against weaker/favourable offensive matchups.
-Walker will slide to center to shaddow big time centers, Ricci will play the wing when walker draws such assignments.
-Fogolin Jr. will be in a regular rotation in and out of the lineup when more of a shut-down/defensive third pairing is required.
1st PP Unit
2nd PP Unit
-Doug on the draws
-Dailey will get some time to unload his cannon from the point alongside Weight or Patrick.
-Sandford to sub in as needed
Congrats to overpass, who I presume has home ice advantage based on the order of things. Looking forward to actually being able to participate this round (knock on wood).
Initial thought is that I'd love to get Walker on Jagr and Rousseau on Bentley as much as possible. My first or third line will be put on for all defensive zone draw situations at even stregnth. The same goes for either my first* or second d pairing. Limiting Jagr's damage, I'm sure, will be Hitchcock's primary concern. I hope to provide some info on Hitch and his style (which he refused to call a trap) this series.
*Park will be getting more minutes than in my projection for the regular season above, I'm sure.
Obviously without home ice and a coaching disadvantage, I'll have to rely heavily on changes on the fly and limiting which lines are on for d-zone draws. On first glance, the keys to this series for Halifax will be the large advantage between the pipes and continuing to play the hard working, grinding style the team was built for, in hopes of wearing down the Senators and coming out on top in some close contests.
Hopefully Marty continues his dominance from the last series.
As long as you've got him head to head with Jagr, you're in good shape though.
I think that shadowing Jagr is a bad idea. It's what he wants and enjoys. He'd have no problem doing whatever he wanted with Walker on his back IMHO.
Personally, I think Bentley - Zetterberg - Jagr is one of the best assembled lines in the entire draft. It's like this year's Czech first line Cervenka - Plekanec - Jagr, only much better at all positions obviously (and 39-yo Jagr was named the best forward of 2011 WHC to boot).
I think Park should be able to handle just a little more time in the playoffs than regular season. If not, then you played him too much in the regular season... Heh
I don't see why Jagr would be particularly immune from being shadowed, Reds.
I don't think there is any player ever who would rather be shadowed than not shadowed...especially by one of the greatest in the history of the game.
Pursuing the player when he has the puck isn't as important as taking space away and preventing him from getting the puck in the first place, in a shadowing case like this. Walker certainly has the elite stick skills to break up plays and stop pucks from making it to Jagr as often as Ottawa would like. He also has an elite hook check that will certainly catch Jagr off guard from time to time when he does get the puck. The fact that the Senators have one of the weakest offsensive first line centers in the draft is also a positive for Halifax's shut down group as it gives the opportunity in some defensive situations to cheat towards Jagr (both skaters and Marty), reducing his time and space.
That said, by no means am I naive enough to think Jagr can be completely shut down... it's all about minimizing his chances to do damage.
Just look at his style, he usually has someone on his back, sticks out his big ass, makes some moves and turns, drives to the net/shoots/makes a pass - which is why shadowing him is not really effective IMHO, unless the "shadow" is really big (e.g. Hal Gill, Jagr has said multiple times that players like that are the toughest challenges for him), smaller players can't really limit Jagr at all - so take away his teammates if you want to win.
He was almost impossible to remove from the puck once he had it.
I see BC already got the main point I'm about to make accross, but I'm so far in to this post and only have one properly functioning hand, so I'm not gonna change it.:laugh:
Anyway, as far as I'm concerned Zetterberg being the center of the line makes it very well constructed, but also much easier to defend against because he is nothing special offensively on an ATD top line despite his impressive recent playoff record.
Rousseau has the speed and defensive ability to cover Bentley better than most checking line RWs in this. Thankfully my two great checking wingers can worry about his two best offensive players and the weak link on my line, Ricci, shouldn't have much trouble defensively with the weak link (offensively) on his, Zetterberg.
As I said before, it will be impossible to keep the Sens top line completely off the board...but I really think my checking line is a great fit to line up against Ottawa's top line.
With all that said, Brodeur is probably going to be the most important factor in limiting the damage. The rest of the guys are just trying to make it easier on him.
I didn't make this point re: Tikkanen in the last round, because Tikkanen can be a pest anywhere on the ice. But if you are making a strict shutdown argument with Walker against Jagr, I don't think it's going to stop Jagr. Stopping Jagr is up to the defencemen primarily.
Congrats, Stoneberg, on advancing. I see you've made a good start to the arguments, I'll do my best to catch up.
I remember that Lemaire always used to say Jagr was too good all over the ice to shadow. But then Pandolfo actually had success shadowing him after the last lockout, so who knows?
Easier said than done.
In practice the most you can do is keep one line away from them, and limit one pairing. At least for as long as I've been watching hockey. If NHL coaches started using only two lines and two pairings for defensive zone situations, it would really dictate the changes - guys would be going out tired, you couldn't get matchups, etc.
Of course you can use some lines there more than others, and teams do that. But Stewart-Weight-Oatman is going to be out there for at least some draws in their own end.
Do those offensive / defensive zone draw stats exist for the playoffs?
I assume Hitchcock will use the Weight line like he used the Nieuwendyk line in real life.
In a more digestible form, the 2010 Hawks defensive zone draw usage.
Basically used 5 guys, 3 of whom took 75% of the usage.
Was Sharp playing C? I can't remember now. In any case, the Hawks obviously liked to put out 2 centres in the defensive zone. Meaning that some wingers - especially Kane and Byfuglien - saw less than their share of defensive zone draws.
Same numbers for the Flyers in 2010:
(Parent + Bartulis) 12%
You can definitely hide one pairing.
The Flyers obviously put two centres out there sometimes, but not as often. Leino was the winger they were sheltering.
Hardly an exhaustive look at playoff strategies, but you get an idea for the range that coaches work within for defensive zone draws. I doubt it's been significantly wider in the past.
You just skip a shift in favour of a more offensive line later if they are piling up the minutes.
Even in the worst case, late in a game for example, you send out just the center to take the draw and hopefully win it.
And if you decide to start dumping because they are "cheating", then you play to Brodeur's strength.
Basically the "system" that Brodeur gets torn down for playing within is in large part only available to his team because of him. (although I still don't put him in the absolute top shelf as a goaltender)
Hitch would probably be happy with your plans to carry the puck in to the zone though, especially on lower lines. Should create some decent transition chances the other way when the Mooseheads defensive system clogs things up.
Anyway, here are a couple comments from articles I found on Hitch fairly quickly:
Will discuss implications and preset more later but should get back to work now.
Game Plan for Ottawa
Gottselig-Modano-Provost vs Blake-Howe-Bailey
I like that I have Provost to match up against Halifax's best offensive forward. The Modano-Provost combination is a very good matchup for Blake-Howe, IMO.
No strong preference for the other matchups, except that my fourth line will go against the other fourth line. Henry probably won't play a lot at even strength - Jagr will pick up an occasional shift esp. starting in the offensive zone, and if they are out for a defensive zone draw another forward will replace him.
Walker can chase Jagr around. I'm not too worried, like I said I think D-men are more important than forwards to stopping Jagr. And Jagr will get some extra shifts on the 4th line, so Hitchcock and Walker will have a hard time always getting that matchup.
Zetterberg's single best attribute may be his ability to win the matchup with an opposing centre in the playoffs. He's outplayed much better centres than Mike Ricci.
Gerard-Pronger will be used against scoring lines primarily - either the first line or the second line.
Bergman-Simpson and Gusarov-Samuelsson take what's left. Their usage will be distinguished not by matchups but by starting locations. Bergman-Simpson gets more offensive zone draws, Gusarov-Samuelsson more defensive zone draws.
As in previous playoff series, it will be
Bentley - Henry - Jagr
Pronger - Simpson
Nash - Bain - Modano
Gerard - Simpson/Bergman
Zetterberg - Provost
Gerard - Pronger
Gottselig - Hay
Gusarov - Samuelsson
Nash - Modano (shorthanded threat to attack the end of the PP, if it fits)
Bentley-Zetterberg-Jagr take the shift after.
It's undeniable that Walker can reduce Jagr's touches when he's shadowing him, by how much is very important for Halifax. Whether it be lifting his stick, deflecting a pass elsewhere, or just preventing the pass from even being made by being right beside him and influencing a teammate to pass elsewhere in a quick decision. Even reducing Jagr's touches by 10% would be great, but I expect a bit more from Walker.
FWIW, Ricci was a guy who stepped his game up in the playoffs as well, not to the same extent of course.
Edit: OK, I see you've identified Park as the main counter to Jagr in your post above mine.
I'll take a minute to plug my unit here for other GMs. Both Modano and Provost were part of very strong two-way forward units that went against the other teams best lines and were keys to Cup-winning teams. Modano teamed with Jere Lehtinen on Dallas, and Provost with Henri Richard in Montreal.
It all starts with their skating. Modano was among the best skaters in the league. Combined with his size and skill he was a one-man transition to the attack, very difficult to stop in the neutral zone. Under Ken Hitchcock* he added defensive commitment, and started to control the game both ways, with the help of the super-smart and reliable Lehtinen. Provost had a unique skating style, wide legged and awkward. But he had a very tight turning radius and was able to stay with opposing forwards very effectively. He gained a reputation as a great defensive winger who shut down Bobby Hull in the playoffs, in part because he played with Henri Richard who was a tremendous two-way centre.
I think Modano-Provost puts them each in a position where they succeeded before and can succeed again.
Again, nothing against Blake and Howe, I just like my guys. I'll leave it to you to plug your guys. :D
*Interesting that Hitchcock is coaching against Modano and Nash, two guys he transformed from scorers to two-way players.
My contention is that Zetterberg is the same player in the regular season. He gets noticed in the playoffs because it's a big stage and everyone focuses on the matchups. That's why I've focused on his excellent playoff performance - most GMs here have seen a lot of those games. But he's still a very good player in the regular season, and wins the vast majority of his matchups against the other teams best.
Behindthenet.ca has a stat called qualcomp that measures the quality of competition that each player faces by looking at the average plus-minus of the players that they face.
Henrik Zetterberg's rank in Qualcomp among forwards on his team:
And his rank in ratio of D-zone draws to O-zone draws on his team:
2009-10: 5 (Draper, Miller, Helm, Datsyuk)
2008-09: 5 (Draper, Franzen, Hossa, Filppula)
And even with all that heavy, lifting, he's 5th among all forwards since the lockout (6 years now) in regular season plus-minus. Keep in mind he's been playing in the strongest division in the strongest conference in hockey as well.
A matchup against Mike Ricci is certainly a different matchup than going against, say, Joe Thornton or Sidney Crosby. I'm fine with that.:D
Quick comparison of the defence
Park-White and Gerard-Pronger are both among the stronger pairings in the draft. All four were great defensively. Offensively, Park is the man for Halifax, and Ottawa's pairing is more balanced. Not much advantage either way, although I like having Pronger's edge on my team.
Bottom two pairings on each team have a mix of offensive and defensive contributions.
Joe Simpson is a possible X-factor for the series. He was a tremendous puck-rusher in his prime - his "corkscrew" rushes down the ice were the best show on ice. From 1920 to 1924 he has a case as the best offensive defenceman in the world. He was considered to be the best defencema in the West, and back East the Ottawa Senators wanted him badly enough to trade Hart winner Frank Nighbor for him straight up in 1924.
Brad Park may be the better offensive defenceman in the series, but he's drawing Jagr duty this round and has a lot on his plate. Simpson will play primarily against the lower lines of Halifax. His ability to join the rush will be a key to moving the puck against Hitchcock's trap.
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