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05-27-2011, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
Well, I'd rather have Tony O between the pipes than Cujo. There's an advantage there, but not a big one come playoff time.

One difference between the teams is blueline depth.

Wade Redden - Joe Watson just seems less capable. Redden against the best is a shaky proposition at times and certainly his decision making is questionable. Watson is a low skill, high work ethic shot blocker who brings exactly what a team needs at the number 7 slot so starting him isn't much of a stretch as he could play the 2nd pk unit.

Alexei Gusarov - Kjell Samuelsson is a great combination of steady, smart, conservative positioning and puck movement by a disciplined veteran and a big body who can protect the crease exceptionally, though only in a clutch and grab era, as the new NHL's no touching the non-puck carrier would limit his effectiveness. It's an effective duo nonetheless.
I disagree. A lack of reverence for the importance of being your team's best defenseman is being shown here.

Redden led his team in ice time 6 times, and they were well over .500 every time that he did. Overpass can confirm that for some of that time he was going up against the opposition's best, too. This team had playoff struggles and couldn't get over the hump. But with Redden playing big, big minutes, they were a very good/great team. that is the mark of a good defenseman.

Watson was the Flyers' #1 ES D-man in 1973, 1974, and 1975, the latter two being of course Cup years. I think Shero had winning hockey games in mind, and that he turned to Watson the most often says something, wouldn't you? Of course, if you don't like numbers I can also point out that he was voted the team's best defenseman in 1975 when they repeated as champions. Best defenseman on a cup winner? That's something neither Samuelsson nor Gusarov ever came close to doing.

Samuelsson and Gusarov are good specialists at what they do. that's about it.

Samuelsson was a career #2/3/4 defenseman (9 seasons in total spent in those slots). He was a #1 defenseman once... in 1990. And Philly missed the playoffs that year. This is what happens when your #1 defenseman is Kjell Samuelsson.

When he's in a supporting role, though, you're fine. He was a #4 in Philly when they went to the 1987 finals. That's decent. He was also #3 on the 1992 Pens. that's very good. But those are the biggest feathers in his cap. He was also a #2 on the 1988 and 1989 Flyers, both playoff teams.

Gusarov? He was a career #2-4 defenseman as well. Twice he was a #2 - In 1992 and 1994. These are, in fact, the only two times his team ever missed the playoffs. This is what happens when your #2 is Alexei Gusarov. If he's in a supporting role, though, you're fine. He was a #3 when Colorado won the 1996 Stanley Cup. He was a #3 as well, in their excellent 1993, 1997 and 2000 seasons. He was a #4 in their promising but disappointing 1995 and 1998 seasons.

Do you see the difference between the two sets of players? One proved they could be the best defensemen on good teams. The others not only didn't prove that they could, they actually proved that they couldn't.

(I, personally, also quite like the balance that we have. Wade Redden was the best defenseman on a great regular season team that kept choking, and Joe Watson was the #1 ES defenseman on a great clutch team, to offset the Ottawa chokery that taints Redden's legacy)

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