Bob Cole Divisional Semifinals: Chicago vs. Philadelphia
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04-21-2012, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted by
Hawkey Town 18
Another thing that should be mentioned is that I don't think Philly's 1st line puts Howe in the best situation to really get the most out of him. Howe is the only physical presence on the line and will need to stick up for Paul Kariya when my defense starts pounding him. Also, Nieuwendyk is only a small plus defensively...don't think he was ever going up against the other team's best (for sure not in Calgary where it would've been Gilmour or Dallas where it would've been Modano/Carbs). When up against a line that is a threat offensively Howe will have to help out with defensive responsibilites. These extra duties for Howe will diminish Howe's offensive effectiveness some (he will still be a huge threat). He certainly was not relied on to help out in these areas in real life as much as he will be here.
Howe is not the only physical presence on the line. Nieuwendyk supplies some grit and tenacity in his game as well. It seems a lot of people really do not like Joe Nieuwendyk, at all. Here are some quotes from his bio:
Known as an aggressive player in front of the net as well as an exceptional passer,
Joe Nieuwendyk, who played the game with size and speed and strength.
We all go out and do the same thing: We frustrate people. I don't know how many times this year players on other teams have skated up to me and said, "Will you give us some room here?"
The goal was set up because of good forechecking by Langenbrunner and Nieuwendyk.
Nieuwendyk, 35, still has game-breaking talent. Nieuwendyk, who has yet to play with either Petr Sykora or Patrik Elias, gives the Devils a center who can play with finesse and ferocity.
He's no Howe, but he's not afraid to play physical in front of the net, and if need be, help Howe in the corners. He was also known as a guy that would do whatever his coach told him to, which allowed him to fit into a high-flying, high scoring team in Calgary, and then in two very defensive systems like Dallas and New Jersey. He can adapt to what he needs to do. So if we tell him to help Howe cycle in the corners, he'll do it.
Forward Line Matchups
Again, I would like to say how the LW-LW, C-C, RW-RW comparisons that Billy does really leave out a lot when discussing lines, like who play what role, how players will work together, etc.
I think my 1st line actually wins the matchup against Philly's when you look at how they will play each other. Chicago's first line is a much better two-way line with 2 players that are good defensively in Morenz and Noble. I know Gordie Howe is better offensively than Morenz, but I think Neiuwendyk will have a harder time checking Morenz than Noble does on Howe. Morenz is A LOT faster than Nieuwendyk, and Morenz's linemates will be able to keep up with him. Backed up by a solid shutdown pairing that can get them the puck, I think Philly is in trouble when my team gets possession and transitions with all that speed. There isn't a ton of difference between Martinec and Kariya...similar players in similar roles...Martinec handles a physical opponent better than Kariya, but any differences here aren't really going to make or break anything.
It should be mentioned that Joe Nieuwendyk's even strength goal scoring is not as good as his Top 10 finishes indicate...In the years he finishes 5, 5, 7, 7, 9 in total goal scoring he was only 9, 10, 16, 36, 62 in even strength goal scoring.
Since you don't like my system, I'll use a system you cannot argue with. We'll look at the best player on each line and compare him to the best player on the other line. So first best player on each line compared to the best player on the other line.
Howe vs. Morenz: I don't need to go into detail, Howe has more than double the top 10 finishes in points than Morenz in a harder era. Both are good two-way players. Howe brings more physicality.
Kariya vs. Martinec: You can see my thoughts on Martinec a few posts above. I think Kariya is a better player, personally. Martinec won best RW at the WC 4 times, Kariya was named the top LW in the NHL 3 times, and twice two more times in a deeper era.
Nieuwendyk vs. Noble: Here are Noble's Vs1 numbers: 83, 67, 62, 61, 62, and 71. Here are Nieuwendyk's Vs2(with Gretzky and Lemieux removed): 70, 53, 74, 74*, 51, 63, 76, 51, 54*, 64, 57, 53*
*Vs3 2nd place was an outlier
Nieuwendyk's total is 740. Noble's total is 406. Offensively, Nieuwendyk is better than Noble. Add in the fact that Noble's finishes are all pre-consolidation and are missing guys from the PCHA and WCHL, they look even less impressive. Noble brings two-way play and physicality. I'll give Noble an edge in physicality, but two-way play I'm not sure. Some quotes on Nieuwendyk:
he was a complete player. Aside from chronic back injuries, he had no real weakness in his game.
a key defensive cog as part of Canada's Olympic entries in 1998 and 2002
Nieuwendyk, a fine two-way player, would be a perfect fit in Detroit
"He was an all-around elite player," said Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey, Nieuwendyk's boss in Dallas. "He was the kind of player whose accomplishments merit consideration for the Hall of Fame."
''The transition has been good,'' Nieuwendyk said. ''I like this team's style. It's a style I'm accustomed to. We play defense first and create offense from there. I couldn't ask for a better situation.''
I'm not seeing where Reg Noble has some advantage over Nieuwendyk here. I'm still convinced I have the better first line.
Philly basically went with more of a 3rd scoring line instead of a checking line. I want my 2nd line out there as much as possible against that 3rd line. They are simply not good enough defensively to handle such a high powered offensive line like mine. Graves appears to be a fine defensive player, but Bill Cook is an elite power forward. Graves will more than have his hands full with him, and really isn't getting much help from his linemates.
Graves was the guy assigned to go up against the Legion of Doom line in the 1997 playoffs, so he knows what it's like to play against big, physical guys. I disagree that he won't be getting help from his linemates. Stanfield was known as a good two-way center, and a guy who was good on the forecheck and fairly physical as well. And that's the kind of player that should be able to play against Bill Cook with some effectiveness when working with Graves.
Fredrickson-Cook should be a lethal combo, with Fredrickson's playmaking setting up Cook who is an elite goal scorer. Hay is a balanced player that plays creatively, so he should fit in nicely on offense. I think a team like mine with 2 lines that are very strong offensive threats is the worst-case scenario for how Philly is set up, and this matchup will be the payoff.
If you're going to use the argument that Howe is the only puck winner on his line and that it's going to limit his effectiveness, then that argument applies even more to Bill Cook. Howe has Nieuwendyk to work with, AND Howe is necessarily the guy that we're going to look to have shooting. Kariya has four top 10s in goals, and Nieuwendyk has five. You, yourself, said that you're going to be looking for Cook the "elite goal scorer" to score the goals. How is he going to do that behind the net, digging for pucks? He's your only puck winner on that line. Hay and Fredrickson have no semblance of physicality that I know of, meaning Cook will be digging for pucks instead of setting himself up for goals in the slot. Fredrickson is your playmaker, so that would leave George Hay as your shooter, which is a less than ideal scenario.
Since Billy is breaking up his top defensemen the pairings are a little tougher to compare. I think the pairings on both teams are put together well in terms of partner chemistry. As far as personnel goes, I think I have the better squad, and here's a crude look at where each guy might fall... Salming is slightly above Quackenbush as a below average #1, as a high-end #2 Johnson is slightly above Goodfellow (probably more than Salming's edge, but the #1 is more important, so we're about even at this point). Ross is an average to above average #3, while Goldham, Boivin, Reise, and Green are slightly above average to high end #4's. I would call Dallas Smith an above average #6, and I think Larson and Enngblom are average #6's.[/quote]
I agree, you've got the better first and third pairings, which gives you the better defense overall. I have the better 2nd pairing, but your advantages in the other more important area of 1st pairing gives you the advantage here.
I disagree with Billy's assessment of the PP units going by position, which is especially irrelevant on the PP. If you just go by strongest to weakest player it goes Howe over Morenz, Cook over Kariya, and Martinec over Nieuwendyk. I agree that Salming is the best Dman on either unit, and Philly holds the advantage on the blueline. I think these two units are close (Nieuwendyk is a good PP player).
The first PP units are close, and calling them a wash wouldn't be unreasonable.
It all becomes a lot less relevant when you look at who each unit will be facing...My 1st PK unit is much better than Philly's. I think I hold the edge at both the forward and defense positions. Pavelich and Mosdell are solid 1st unit PKers while Stanfield-Primeau seem more like 2nd unit guys. Salming is a good PKer, but Smith is below average for 1st unit. Johnson-Goldham are big tough guys that will make life miserable for whoever is in front of the net...Goldham is known as one of the best shot blockers ever.
Pavelich and Mosdell are both good first unit PKers, but I disagree with your assessment of Primeau and Fleming(not Stanfield). Quotes on Fleming:
an extraordinary penalty killer. Another reason for his great penalty killing
was he was a superb defensive forward, as many players are once they are converted from the blueline to the forward position. Fleming already had a great understanding of defensive positioning by the time he moved up.
He was also a good penalty killer.
Regarded as a tough-as-nails defenseman who accrued 1,468 penalty minutes in 749 career games for the Hawks and four other teams,
Fleming was particularly valuable as a penalty killer.
He was as good a defensive center and penalty killer as there was in his day.
In New York one night, with the Leafs two men short and a goal up on the Rangers, he ragged the puck for two solid minutes with Ranger players chasing him all over the ice. It was such a dauntless display that everybody in the arena cheered him as he staggered wearily to the bench, almost in a state of collapse, when his penalty-killing chore ended.
Dallas Smith killed 49% of the penalties on the Bruins dynasty team. He's tied for 40th all time post-expansion in PK usage. He killed basically half the penalties for two cup winning teams. It was Orr and Dallas Smith(not Green, Awrey, or Rick Smith) who did the heavy lifting for the Big Bad Bruins. I think he's fine on a first unit for this fact.
Once again, I think Chicago has an advantage on the 2nd PK units, though not nearly as large as on the 1st. On the backend, Quackenbush is the best defensive player on either unit and gets the edge over Goodfellow. I'd call Reise and Engblom about even. I don't know why you think we will have trouble in front. Both of my guys aren't real physical, but they aren't small either where they can get pushed around. They aren't great crease clearers, but certainly not a liability. Up front I think the advantage is mine again...MacGregor was a PK mainstay and it's proven by his 4 Top 10's in SH goals. If you don't think Noble's play as a defenseman translate to him playing forward they certainly work here where he is actively focusing on defense only. I think Chicago's PK unit is clearly better than Philly's, but not enough to overcome the advantage Philly has on the PP units.
I definitely think Reise is a better PK defenseman than Engblom. Reise was one of the largest defensemen of his time, and was known as a physical player who could clear the crease in front of the net. You basically just ignored all the percentages I used for Linden and MacGregor. I'll maintain that Linden is the better penalty killer. Two of those top 10s in SHG came with just one goal. MacGregor has 13 career SHG, and Linden has 18.
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