Jim Coleman Conference Final: Minnesota Fighting Saints vs. Ak Bars Kazan
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05-13-2012, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: No Bandwagon
As Sturminator pointed out earlier. These are two very similar teams. But there is one strikingly irrefutable difference between the teams. Leadership. In the past two rounds I ran into players like Bobby Clarke, Joe Sakic, Johnny Bucyk, Frantisek Pospisil and Si Griffis. So it never seemed relevant to bring up Minnesota's heart and character, because it was matched in kind by teams that bleed team. But Ak Bars Kazan isn't such a team. If we swapped Captains, Cleghorn wouldn't even get an 'A' on Minnesota.
Lets look at the facts:
Dit Clapper: Captain for 15 seasons, a record that held for about 50 years. Two Stanley Cup champions.
Maurice Richard: Captain for four seasons. Four Stanley Cup champions. In the post-challenge cup era, only Jean Beliveau has more. Dennis Potvin, Wayne Gretzky and Yvon Cournoyer tie. (Cecil Blanchford and Harvey Pulford have more from the challenge cup era.
Guy Carbonneau: Captaon for 5 seasons. One championship.
Derian Hatcher: Captain for 8 seasons, One championship.
Peter Stastny: Captain for 6 seasons
Marcus Naslund, Bill Gadsby, Art Duncan, Dennis Hextall, Jason Arnott and Mattias Norström all served as team captains as well.
Sprague Cleghorn: Captain for 6 seasons, 1 championship. 5 burned bridges.
Zdeno Chara: Captain for 6 seasons, 1 championship. Captained a team to a loss when up 3-0 in a series.
Eric Desjardins: Captain for one season, stepped down.
Mike Modano: Captain for three seasons, stripped of title.
Mike Ramsey: Captain for one season.
Dave Andreychuk: Captain for four seasons, 1 championship.
Then, lets add to this the potential problems.
Jaromir Jagr: Quit on his team when unhappy.
Jean Ratelle: Folds like a towel under physical pressure.
Add to that Dave Andreychuk has never been able to create his own scoring chances. The first line becomes complete neutralizable.
And I know you are thinking that Naslund falls into the same category. But, remember that Jacques Lemaire steps his game up something fierce in the post season. Out performing both Gilbert Perrault and Bobby Clarke in the 1970's. Or your thinking that Maurice Richard can be goaded into something stupid. Two problems: 1) With so much leadership in the dressing room, that becomes exponentially less likely. 2) Cleghorn would be much much easier to goad into a suspension.
At the end of the day, with teams so similar, it is strength of will that will be the difference. And in that regard, Minnesota wins hands down.
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