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12-04-2009, 08:59 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Brooklyn
Country: United States
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I guess I'll get this one started.

First of all, I'd like to congratulate arrbez for getting this far. The Inglewood Jacks are a great team.

Now, time to try to tear apart that great team.

One thing that sticks out to me is a potential speed advantage for New Jersey. The Jacks have some really fast players - Mahovlich and Bentley in particular. But they also have some really slow skaters - Dye in particular, but also Holik. New Jersey, on the other hand, has numerous skaters who were either the fastest or among the fastest in their eras - Malone, Kariya, Maltsev, Lewis, Orr, Ross.

Now to Bobby Holik - he's a big center whose skating is rightfully described as "plodding." I'm not sure that he has the speed to stand up to guys like Orr. After failing as an offensive center for the Devils, Holik became one of the best checking centers in the league from 99-01, but he did this with size, and a skill and desire to mug the opposition centers (and in the dead puck era, the rules allowed such clutching and grabbing). But he was always slow - so slow that he was never used on the penalty kill, even as a 5th or 6th choice.

Holik excelled at checking big, skilled centers who did not rely on their speed to score. The highlight of his career is probably the first 3 rounds of the 2001 playoffs, when he looked like a legit Smythe candidate. During this time, he totally shut down Mats Sundin and more or less shut down an older, slower (but still insanely skilled) Mario Lemieux. But then in the finals, he had to go head to head against the speed of Joe Sakic, and we all know what happened. Holik just couldn't match the skating of Joe, nor could he really get a hold (literally and figeratively) of the shifty center.

New Jersey's scoring centers (Malone and Maltsev) are both speed guys. So I'll be happy get them out there as often as possible against Holik. Orr is tough enough to stand up to Holik and fast enough to burn his lack of foot speed. Curry is a very good defensive forward. I was under the impression that Alf Smith was more of a bruiser than a good defensive player, but I could be wrong. If he's a slowish bruiser of the Holik variety, it could further hamper the line's ability to keep up. I'm also pretty sure that he played right wing on the Silver 7; how often did he play left wing?

I think Mosdell vs. Holik is a big mismatch at third line center. Holik's lack of speed is part of it, but not as big as the lack of offense. Holik played on a scoring line (sometimes the #1 scoring line) of the Devils from 96-99, and this was a big reason they continually disappointed in the playoffs. As a sometimes-first, sometimes-second line center, Holik averaged only 63 points in the regular season, and had 2 goals and 10 assists in 22 playoff games. Mosdell, on the other hand, proved that when given the chance, he could excel offensively (see his profile).

Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 12-05-2009 at 05:49 AM.
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