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05-01-2011, 12:01 AM
Talks to Goalposts
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Edmonton
Country: Canada
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Originally Posted by MathMan View Post
One key about defense, I think, is that you need what I like to call "That #1 Guy"... that all-situations #1 man who handles your toughest minutes and can do so while carrying a less gifted partner. This is the kind of guy a team will rip their roster up and/or sign big long-term contracts to get. And if you don't have him then you need two quality D-men to form your first pair, and that can be tricky to do. I think #1 D-men are the most impactful players in the game.

Montreal potential has two That Guys in Markov and Subban, who demonstrated their ability to carry less gifted partners and form effective top pairings. If the Habs can manage to have those two pivoting their top two pairings (with the occasionnal "shock treatment" of using both together at the end of close games), the scaffolding around them doesn't need to be first rate. And yet they have the underrated-here Spacek and the underrated-everywhere-else Gorges to create the foundations of that defensive scaffolding.

Montreal is going to be hard-pressed NOT to ice one of the deepest and best defenses in the conference.
Anyone that doubts the "That Guy" theory of defense man impact can just look at Nashville, were the combination of two number one quality all situations impact defensemen and a good goalie pipeline allow them to be a perinneal playoff team while icing an unispiring forward group. If there is a model for how the current Canadiens can be a successful franchise it is as the Eastern Nashville that can spend to the cap. Meaning that they'll also be able to have players like Plekanec, Cammalleri and Gionta to lead the forward group.

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