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12-01-2009, 09:52 PM
Student Of The Game
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
Country: Canada
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Closing Arguments.

Forget the #2 and #3 rankings. Regina should and will win this series, for a number of reasons:

- Kimberly's first line lacks a big, physical presence. Aurie won't cut it. Sakic and Smith are both small and lack physicality. Mkhailov and Roberts, on the other hand, flank big Ratelle well, with more size and physicality.

- If Dick Duff was going to be out of place on a second line, Larry Aurie is way out of place on a first line. Duff is a better player than Aurie.

- Bellows/Dionne/Leach, although containing the best 2nd line center in the draft, is a very weak line defensively and doesn't match up well to our Duff/Ullman/Morris line. Duff and Ullman in particular are very good skaters who are excellent defensively and along the boards. Will Kimberly's second line ever win a battle?

- First and Second line centers, an area in which Kimberly would expect to have a massive edge in almost any series, is not a massive edge here. Sakic and Dionne are better than Ratelle and Ullman, but not so much that it is a mismatch. Dionne's 30% drop in points-per-game in the playoffs also helps to equalize the matchups.

- Kimberly has one of the better 4th lines in the draft, but Regina's is even better. Eric Staal is big, fast, physical, and has led the playoffs in points. Oatman is tough, gritty, and an amazing leader, not to mention a very good playmaker. Ernie Russell has led the playoffs in scoring on two occasions and was the top scorer of a dynasty. Only Gottselig for Kimberly was ever a semi-elite player. Poulin and Tremblay were role players. Our guys can play roles too; they are just better players.

- Kimberly put together a third scoring line, but so did Regina, and theirs can play defense better than almost any other third line.

- I think Kimberly's third scoring line is going to get eaten alive in a playoff matchup. I don't think it is even as good as our 4th line. Staal hasn't accomplished as much offensively as Nilsson has yet, but does everything else better, especially in the playoffs, where Nilsson does little to nothing. Loob was a good offensive player, but not really a "top-20" kind of guy, aside from one season. Oatman was a PCHA assist leader who was very frequently top-5 in goals and assists in both the NHA and PCHA, was renowned as a star, and has grit and leadership from 32 years of pro hockey experience that will be a major benefit in the playoffs. Ernie Russell is a very deserving HHOFer and one of the best players of his generation. He has a wealth of postseason experience and likely a ton of grit, based on his PIMs. Steen was good, but not Ernie Russell good. These players also tend to see their scoring drop considerably in the playoffs. (29% for Nilsson, 22% for Loob, Steen's 9% is ok, but he's -29 in 49 games where +/- was recorded)

- Regina has an elite offensive presence on every defensive pairing. Kimberly has two, and they are both on the first pairing. Blake is more of a "big PP shot" guy, leaving Bourque to be the only good puck-lugger on the team. He can play a ton of minutes, but not all 60.

- Grant Fuhr is a very good playoff goaltender, but Jacques Plante is an outstanding playoff goaltender. the two achieved similar levels of team success, but I have shown that Plante's individual numbers in the playoffs had a lot more to do with his team's success than Fuhr's did.

- Mr. Bugg, to his credit, did a great job of showing us something about Pete Green we never knew before using team-based statistics. Which is good, because all we ever knew was that he won some cups with the Sens. But, he is no Anatoly Tarasov. Tarasov is a friggin' genius, responsible for the success of an entire hockey nation.

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