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04-08-2012, 08:24 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
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I'll begin my forward analysis with the first lines.

FORWARDS - First Lines:

John Tonelli - Jean Beliveau - Rod Gilbert vs. Steve Shutt - Ron Francis - Charlie Conacher

Kenora's first line features a good offensive trio, although John Tonelli serves as the primary physical presence it looks like, which isn't the greatest option. Beliveau was always able to hold his own, but he was never relied on to be a policeman or be a reputable physical guy. Gilbert was fairly one-dimensional. I'm not the biggest fan of John Tonelli on a first line, but it's passable, he's a decent corner guy and is not out of place offensively. I think this line will struggle defensively, Tonelli is an adequate first line two-way player. Up against a third line like Australia's (which I will add that it is our desired matchup), I think it will succumb to the cycle style the line offers, Bobby Holik vs. Jean Beliveau will be a HUGE point of discussion in this series. There are very few questions offensively with the Thistles' first line, but it's a situation defensively, that could prove to be very costly.

Australia's first line is based off the needs of both wingers, Charlie Conacher is a shoot-first, think later hockey player. Ron Francis draws similarities to Conacher's former centre, Joe Primeau, in which he had his most success with. Steve Shutt was never the primary goal scorer on his line, and was known for being a net presence and getting his stick on rebounds and getting the garbage goal. I think this line works very well, it could work as a cycle line as Ron Francis is the play maker, and a good puck possession guy. Francis is a very sufficient defensive player, although he wasn't a renown puck-winner, he'd sometimes be able to get in there and retrieve the puck. It lacks a real puck-winner, but the line is a big offensive threat, and sufficient defensively.

Australia holds the advantage for the first lines.

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