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12-30-2008, 06:10 PM
  #104
Dr Quincy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinkfloyd View Post
I've watched the Bruins a good deal with Center Ice and obviously watch every Sharks game. The Sharks team playing right now is not better than the Bruins team playing right now. The Sharks right now have been stagnant, a tad complacent, and turning the puck over way too much.

The Bruins are not doing any of those things. They don't have the depth in talent that the Sharks have. Tim Thomas is playing better than Nabokov but the track record of both goaltenders would lead one to believe that Nabby will end up with the better season.

As for whether or not points means you have the better season than another is debateable. Boston with the current group of players can all end up with more points than all the Sharks players for all I care, it doesn't mean they're the better offensive team. The teams are tougher in the West. Not because they are better but because they play tighter defensively, rougher on the body, and you have to battle a lot more in the West for a goal than in the East. Western teams definitely have their share of soft teams but the defense and goaltending from top to bottom is better in the West than the East and thus scoring is tougher to accomplish.

If the Sharks and Bruins are equal on the point sheet, it will be equally impressive in my eyes because on paper, I believe the Bruins to be less talented up and down their lineup than the Sharks. The Sharks number would be impressive because by the end of the year they will travel more than any other team in the NHL. Even players tell you that it has an effect so to deny that it does is just plain ignorance. Is it a tangible effect that you can put a precise number on? No. But it is there and to not acknowledge it is to be flat out wrong.

Bruins are better right now. Over the course of the season so far, the Sharks have had to deal with a couple injuries, Nabby being the most key of them, and they still pulled through. Going off the teams each have played so far, I'd say the Sharks have had a slightly tougher schedule with a tougher travel schedule. Outside of October, the Bruins travel schedule has been pretty light. The Sharks schedule is a little more spread out but a lot more miles even with more home games.
You bring up some interesting points, some I agree with and some I don't. I'll take them 1 at a time.

1) Actually, I think the B's have come back from the break a little stagnant too. They played a poor game on Saturday with little energy and were pretty dead for most of the game on Sunday. The Savard-Kessel-Lucic line was almost invisible on Sat, but looked a bit better on Sunday. Kessel looked really out of sorts for a bit, but hopefully that goal on Sunday woke him up.

2) I completely disagree about depth of talent. I know SJ recently changed their lines a bit, but let's look at it like this:

Marleau-Thornton-Setoguch v. Lucic-Savard-Kessel that's pretty darn close imo, but I'll give the edge to SJ there

Clowe-Pavelski-Michalek v. Wheeler-Krejci-Ryder I call that one in Boston's favor, but I really do like Pavelski

Grier-Plihal-Cheechoo v. Sturm-Bergeron-Kobasew again I think Boston has the edge

Shelley-Goc-Roenick v. Axelsson-Yelle-Thornton call that one a draw imo

Really I'd say it's Boston who has the more depth as SJ really doesn't get as much scoring from their 3rd and 4th lines as Boston.

I'll give the edge to SJ in defensemen as I said earlier.

3) It's interesting that you say the western conference plays more physical hockey. According to NHL.com both conferences have 5 teams in the top 10 in hits, but the eastern has 9 of the top 15 teams in hits. The western conf. does have 4 of the top 5 in fighting majors, but I'm not sure if that's what you meant or not. I think the west does have better teams in general, and this is especially true when you get to the last place teams. The west. last place teams are pretty good, the east.'s just stink.

4) I'm sorry, but I'm just not buying this "SJ has it tough because of travel" theory. Again, I've never seen any evidence that western teams are at a disadvantage with this. It didn't stop Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, LA, and Anaheim from making it to the finals in different years. Yes it SEEMS like it should be a handicap, but there's no real evidence of it, and the effect, if there is one, is pretty minor imo. Some players might complain about it, but I highly doubt if you asked the Sharks players if they feel at a disadvantage because of travel, they'd deny it. Also, there are other things players say are factors... such as locker facilities and practice facilities. Do we start to look at those too when comparing teams? How about media scrutiny? Media expectations? You can go on forever and ever looking at these pretty ambiguous and minor issues.

In my opinion the best team usually ends up with the best record. I expect that will be SJ at the end of the year
.

5) Finally, the injury issue. Again, I don't think this should be used by either team. If SJ is as deep as you claim, the injuries shouldn't be a factor. They've really not had any significant injury, other than Mitchell, and I don't really think that's too crippling, especially compared to losing 2 of your top 4 dmen, your top scoring LW, and your top returning scoring RW, and possibly your best all around C. Again, I'm not using injuries as an excuse. The B's don't have it any harder than most teams. That's hockey. The fact that they plugged in Hunwick (compare his numbers to Erhoff) and the fact that they had Vlad Sobotka in Providence only speaks to their depth of talent.

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