AAA11 Playoff Challenge: Regina Pat Canadians vs. Michigan Wolverines
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09-13-2009, 04:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
Simply put, Regina's scoring depth will see them through this series quite easily.
Herb Jordan, the team's offensive star, was a scoring runner-up four times - twice to the great Russell Bowie. He had a real life teammate in his later years named Jack McDonald - the man currently on his LW. McDonald also played with Jack Marks, the line's RW. The two combined for two Stanley Cups. McDonald is a very good playmaker, Jordan a goalscorer with little known about his playmaking (but what we do know looks promising) and Marks a big body with defensive presence and physicality to glue it all together. This line will be impossible to contain. Ronning and Murray will make an OK scorer/playmaker combo but they weren't even close to as significant in modern times as Jordan and McDonald were in theirs.
Similarly, on line 2, the big and tough to contain Nick Mickoski will help Don Smith and Art Gagne work their offensive Magic. Gagne is an outstanding playmaker at the AAA level, and Smith an outstanding goalscorer. Boudrias is a pretty good AAA playmaker, and Bullard similarly can score; they're just not quite up to Smith and Gagne's level.
Laval's checking line has two great checkers in Burridge and Sands, but the skilled and responsible Shuvalov and the shutdown winger Saleski are at least their equals, if not better. Not sure what Dave Creighton brings to a 3rd line besides skill (he's a great AAA scorer) but Regina's LW, Pete Horeck, was a mean, fearless, little kamikaze ball of hate. he's going to be absolutely nasty to play against.
Donald Brashear on one 4th line, vs. Dan Maloney on the other, just emphasizes the gap between these two teams. Maloney was not only an excellent fighter (twice voted the game's best by the NHL's coaches) he was also voted the league's 2nd best bodychecker. He was a pretty good scorer, too, and outperformed his teammates in GF/GA ratio. Brashear is better than your average goon as far as hockey skills go, but by no means is he a AAA player. Marchant is a nice little player with some speed, but he certainly wasn't the (briefly) dominant force that Jimmy Herberts was. Herberts absolutely carried Boston for two full seasons, placing 7th in Hart voting both times. He was gritty too; an excellent 4th-liner. Sands is a better player than Drake considering he was a good checker and also placed on the leaderboards a couple of times. But Drake, along with Maloney, is exactly the type of guy a team needs to win. Someone who will go through a brick wall to get the puck.
On D, Marty Burke can handle top pairing minutes and I can give Zhitnik the benefit of the doubt for being the #1 on a weak (aside from Hasek) Buffalo team for so long. The others aren't exactly very significant players that will be remembered years down the road. Aucoin is definitely his superior, though, especially thanks to a higher peak that saw him place very high in ice time and Norris Voting. Fontinato, who received some Norris consideration too, has to be considered better than Burke.
Driver and Brisebois are on separate pairings but they make an interesting comparison. Very similar career totals once all is said and done. Brisebois is almost Driver's equal offensively, but Driver played a simple, mistake-free game while Brisebois has been an absolute mess sometimes. The same could be said for McEwen, who actually is more comparable to Guevremont. Both McEwen and Guevremont had the potential to be defensive time bombs, but Guevremont has the better offensive peak, finishing 4th, 8th, 8th, 9th among defensemen in his best years, compared to just 7th and 8th for McEwen.
Juzda and Brown are both in "steady 2nd pairing guy" roles. Juzda is better. His offensive achievements were nothing special, but were slightly better than Brown's. Both played a good, tough game. But Brown was a run of the mill stay at home guy. Juzda was THE pre-eminent open ice hitter of his time. His hits were feared.
That leaves Finn and Brydge, both set up as the "steady 3rd pairing guy". Finn was a solid, dependable nordique for years, a lot like Keith Brown, but he never did anything really special other than be a run of the mill stay at home guy. Brydge also played on some terrible teams and was one of its lone bright lights. He was decent offensively and the newspaper accounts frequently mentioned him being an important part of the game. He was also quite physical.
Michigan's first AAA offering is decent in some areas, but ultimately would benefit from further research of pre-expansion players. Limiting yourself to (mostly) post-1980 players puts you at an instant disadvantage. Regina's roster features some of the best players from all over history.
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