ATD 12 Bob Cole Division Semi-Final: 2 Kimberley Dynamiters vs 3 Regina Pats
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11-29-2009, 10:47 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Absolutely! Congratulations to Regina; this will be a fun series.
I've got some time on my hands, so to kick things off:
-This is really the match-up I wanted. I'm not saying this to denigrate you and seventies' team; I just like a free-flowing game and we're sure to see that what with great skaters like Ratelle and Coffey. However, Ratelle, Ullman, Ramsay and a number of others are also known for good defensive hockey.
-Having said that, I do feel a wide-open series plays to my team's strength. The key to Kimberley's win over Hartford was the duo of Sakic/Dionne and Ray Bourque. Those strengths still hold true in this series, with the added advantages of my overall defense and play from the wings.
Regina's lineup is built on value picks. I'm tickled to see guys like Roberts, Duff and Staal take on more important roles, but can a team be built entirely out of them?
The most obvious example of this is the first line. I can buy Jean Ratelle as a first-line center in certain scenarios, the most obvious being him as the defensive conscious to two wingers that are top-20 offensively all-time, but fall for other reasons.
However, to put him with a bona fide but lower-tier first line RW in Mikhailov and a complimentary power winger in Roberts is not that situation. Going back to ATD 6, Ratelle has never been a first-line center- this includes drafts of varying sizes, of course, but I think it's telling. This isn't even a case of a WWI era player gradually gaining respect with research. Ratelle's name is mentioned every time one talks about the 60s/70s or a big, graceful center. But the results show us that beyond surface compliments about his style or longevity, he's not an elite player capable of driving results by himself in an ATD best-on-best context.
The same critique applies to the second line. Dick Duff's a guy I rate higher than most, but in an ATD, he's a complimentary winger to... well, a player like my second line center, Marcel Dionne. Duff isn't going to elevate Ullman's all that much because Ullman already does all of the little things right. Rather, he would benefit the most from a set of wingers that bring an elite, divergent skillset. Morris was a steal where you got him and was an elite player in his era, but he's not that player.
Ramsay-McKenney-Leswick is definitely among the top checking units in the Draft, but they're going to have to see substantial ice-time. Do you really trust Eric Staal to check Dionne or even the Steen-Nilsson-Loob line? If you can't, can they out-score either one of the deadliest international trios Tre Konor ever had or my second line?
A strong team defense is only one-part the way towards shutting down a run-and-gun offense. Your team needs to be able to score to win, and even if this unit can find time away from checking Sakic, Leach and Dionne to get the puck going in the other direction, I think my defense and goalie can handle them. That doesn't even mention the defensive contributions of my forwards. Sakic's every bit as good as Ratelle defensively, Aurie and Smith were no slouches in digging or playing sound positional hockey, and I've got a terrific checking line.
As in last series, there really isn't much of a comparison to be made. Regina's defense is definitely better than Hartford's, but some things remain the same: Bourque's the best defender on either side and it's not even a horserace, our #2s are about equal individually but suffer when the whole pairing is considered (I'm not worried about Bourque's defense) and your top four contains a player I never thought I'd see in that role.
The advantage here is obvious, but Fuhr is absolutely not a liability. As such, while I'm not worried about having to turn back the tide of Regina's 'offense', Plante's going to see a lot of work. He's going to need to be the MVP again to win.
How Regina Can Win
They have to score goals. That's simple- they just can't keep them out and expect a victory. If seventies and jarel can prove their team is capable of opening up the offense enough to a) not become liabilities b) out-score my forwards c) penetrate my defense and goaltender, it becomes an easier road. But can they? I believe Kimberley is simply a better version of what they aimed to build, and they'll simply be out-classed if they try to go for a wide-open style of hockey.
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