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01-04-2012, 08:01 PM
Rob Scuderi
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Top 6
I think our first lines are fairly even. Wilson and Kovalenko will be asked to work hard forechecking and Cerny should serve as a potent finisher. Kovalenko will be valuable parking himself in front of the net on the PP as well. He's definitely the line's biggest question mark though with his inconsistencies. I think Garnish's line is pretty similar. Rucinsky will serve as the primary playmaker and Skriko has a good case for the best goal-scorer in this series. However, his consistency will be the biggest issue for this line, like Kovalenko, and Pelletier particularly mentions the questions that surrounded his game.

I think Pittsburgh has a slight advantage when it comes to second lines. Tucker and Meehan were both good scoring centers and pretty neck and neck. Huselius is probably the most dynamic player here and actually has a solid record for being the only active player in either top 6. I like him over Ashton who is more of a solid scorer and compiler than dynamic scoring forward. Gendron and Klatt are both complimentary hard-working types, but I like Gendron's offensive game better here and overall I prefer my second line.

Bottom Six
The third lines seem pretty even. Turcotte and Zuke are solid scoring centers who provide a defensive conscience. Zuke didn't produce the same amount even strength as Turcotte, but he does have two years of minor Sele votes which only he and Callahan can claim. I think my wingers are more hard-working and defensively reliable but Garnish's offensive output here is definitely greater. Corrigan and Bennett are decent scorers for their blue collar styles but Zubrus is probably the best scorer here. Momesso is big and when he's on he brings a pretty dynamic game with his size and skill. Pelletier claims Momesso always brought his physical game during the big games or playoffs so whether he can get his scoring going too should affect this line. I like my line's defensive capabilities here over Garnish but they definitely have an edge offensively.

Garnish takes a slight edge in fourth lines. Haworth with his scoring and two-way play he's the best player on line. Cullen's no slouch and valuable in a variety of ways. Mcllwain, Terrion, and Callahan are three pretty good PK guys. Ladd can fill in any role and will provide a solid forechecking presence.

Liles is definitely the best pure offensive defender here and most gifted on the PP. Muni is definitely a good player here too and while his TOI finishes aren't as high are Markov or Lanz, it's because he was on very good teams. He's probably the best defender in the series. Markov's worthy top pairing guy and a better two-way guy than Muni but that's all he has over the Bulldogs' rearguard. I think Lanz is better all around than Liles too. He logged a decent bit of PK time on his teams and Liles has never really been used in that role. I'd rather have Lanz out there for tough ES minutes than Liles and I think this difference provides a case for the Pirates pair to come out ahead here.

For the second pairs I agree, I think its almost similar to second lines. They both have solid pieces and are constructed well enough, but one lacks a clear dynamic element the other has. Staal has been a top pairing defender for the past two years and the only defender in the series with an all-star game appearance. Miller is a physical defender capable of playing in the top 4. Benning however just brings a presence that neither player on Pittsburgh's pair does. He logged good minutes himself while providing this offensive presence. Orpik and Muni are also the only defenders who have won the Cup in this series.

Our third pairs aren't similar at all, with Virta being the only offensive-minded player. Konroyd and Johanssen seem to be reliable defensively but neither are too physical. Konroyd has a very slight edge over Carker in TOI ranks but I think Terry may be more valuable due to his aggressive style. He's definitely the toughest defender in this series. Virta on the other hand wasn't too valuable defensively but he was a force offensively. His offensive game rivals Benning and Liles and with so many defensively reliable forwards filling the Pirates lines should allow Hannu to play effectively. He didn't jive much with Bowman as coach and I could see him irritating Cheevers as well but he did let some offensive guys carry the puck so Virta shouldn't be too out of place. Garnish's pair is definitely safer for a defensive zone draw but Virta and Carkner bring specific and valuable elements that round out the Pirates defensive group nicely.

Last edited by Rob Scuderi: 01-05-2012 at 08:22 PM.
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