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02-24-2012, 10:46 PM
Zuccarello Awesome*
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by smoneil View Post
Did you even read my post? Not only did I specifically argue that this team is not like the 1994 team, I used many of the same arguments you are making in here. The ONLY reason I brought that team up was to contrast the difference in post-season experience (they had it--this team doesn't).

Fine by me. Use the Bruins or any post-lockout-era Cup winner as a point of comparison. Can you find me ONE team among that group that won the Cup with as many playoff neophytes as we have on this roster? Boston had a ton of players with deep-playoff runs on their resume, including almost all of their key players.

Look at the Pens. The year before they won their Cup, they made a deep run. They ended up losing, largely because they weren't prepared (they said as much themselves--they all said that you can be told about the grind, but until you've lived it, you have no idea). The season after? They knew what to expect and they won the cup. Again, I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see the team winning the Cup this year when 80 % of their defense has almost no playoff experience, and 60% of the projected top 6 (with Nash) hasn't been past the first round.
I read your post. I should've added that I totally agree that this team will probably have to make a deep run and LOSE before they can learn how to really play as a team in the playoffs and win it all. I agree that most of the players don't have a lot of playoff experience, but to be fair, a lot of the Tampa Bay 04 team (yes I realize that was pre-lockout, but it relates because we happen to have their leading scorer and Conn Smythe winner) didn't have a lot of playoff experience in the core of the team when they won. Richards himself had only been past the first round once, scoring 5 points (all assists) in 11 games the year before he scored 26 points in 23 games and won the cup.

However, the fact that you're still comparing them to the 94 team is what I have a problem with. When I say compare, I mean compare. I don't mean only compare in the positive sense and pointing out similarities. Citing major differences between the 94 and 12 teams is still comparing and it's still bogus as far as I'm concerned. You can make your extremely valid point about the teams little playoff experience overall without mentioning 94. There are examples every year of teams with tons of skill, or tons of the right parts who fall short, and often players learn valuable lessons in the playoffs. Sometimes, though, a young player shocks the world, and elevates his game to new heights in the playoffs, despite not having much experience. I see Stepan doing this honestly. And I think the lines going into the playoffs are going to be

Stepan Richards Gaborik
Dubinsky Anisimov Callahan
Hagelin Mitchell Fedotenko
Rupp Boyle Prust

These are the spots guys are most comfortable in. Stepan is definitely a center in the future, but for this team, without any major trades I think he's best served and the team is best served to have Stepan play on a line with Richards and Gaborik. Guys with first line skill....on the first line. Guys with second line skill...on the second line. Third and fourth liners in their comfortable spots.

It gives us a real first line. Let the other teams try to shut them down. They'll find a way to create a scoring chance. Meanwhile, Dubinsky Anisimov and Callahan are hitting you, on top of you, and have the ability to score.

Hagelin Mitchell Fedotenko has the right combination of youthful speed, veteran experience, and size. And all three players could score a few goals here and there in the playoffs.

It's usually someone unexpected who scores the big goals in long OT games.

I like this team as is, I think we could use a depth center who could play 3rd or 2nd line if needed. Jeff Halpern available? Or a younger Jeff Halpern? Wouldn't be opposed to Kostistyin either.

I think the time go all in will depend on how far we go this playoffs. If we don't get past the first or second round, we should be all in for Parise. Give him a similar long term deal to Richards but at a little bit higher cap hit, 7-8 would be fine with me.

If we win the Stanley Cup, then I'd still be in on Parise.

If we don't get Parise, then we start looking at trade options and watching Kreider's progress as he's likely going to make the Rangers out of camp. As there are every single season, some high paid player will become available for one reason or another. It happens every year, but every year when it happens posters here exclaim "players like Player rarely if ever become available." Hossa was available, not only as a rental from Atlanta but twice on the open market as an unrestricted free agent. He signed with the teams he thought had a best shot at the cup that year. Kovalchuk was available both as a rental and again as a free agent despite the fact that he re-signed with the devils after testing the waters. Mike Richards was traded. Jeff Carter has been traded twice now in the same season. Nash is available. Ryan was available but when Murray didn't get the level of offer he was looking for, he pulled him off the market. If Anaheim hadn't got their crap together, he'd likely be available again right now.

Fortunately for us, we're now in a position where when player X does hit free agency, or has a small list of teams he'd waive his NTC for, the Rangers are likely to be in the mix, at least from the players standpoint if winning is really more important than money, and to some guys(like Hossa and Brad Richards) it still is.

I just think we need to either get Nash completely on our terms, which Howson probably won't , but could accept, or we need to stand pat, maybe add a few depth role players, but keep Dubinsky and keep the core. Maybe even bring up Kreider in the playoffs if we're having trouble scoring.

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