Jim Coleman Conference Final: Minnesota Fighting Saints vs. Ak Bars Kazan
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05-15-2012, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Originally Posted by
Gadsby spent his entire prime playing for two extremely weak O6 franchises. The talent disparity/imbalance during Gadsby's era was extreme. It is difficult to do a fair numerical analysis when you realize that Gadsby's teams were going up against superior opponents at least 80% of the time and vastly superior opponents at least 40% of the time. When Gadsby was traded from the Hawks to the Rangers, the league was basically broken down like so:
The Gadsby trade didn't fundamentally alter the balance of the league, especially when one considers the players who went back to Chicago (a 28 year old Allan Stanley being the main piece). I think criticizing Gadsby on the grounds that his presence didn't fundamentally alter the fortunes of those two clubs shows a misunderstanding of the reality of hockey at that time. First of all, it wasn't a particularly imbalanced trade, and second, the clubs remained exactly where they have previously been in the NHL pecking order in terms of talent on the ice. The gaps in competitive balance at that time were too vast for one trade of that kind to produce much of a shift.
i am aware of the general crapulence of chicago and NYR. i also pointed out some mitigating factors (chicago's addition of other players in '55, acquisition of harvey, bad coaching).
but that was not the only point i made. DRW lost only a minor leaguer in '62, but were slightly worse and fell out of the playoffs after acquiring gadsby. their record improved much in '63, but probably mostly b/c of their goaltending was better (sv% was a lot better and sawchuk was 2nd AS), and howe won the art ross.
this was also an era in which the top players had higher TOI. gadsby was probably on the ice for over 1/2 of each game, so it seems that his impact should be more visible.
Originally Posted by
God Made Me
Actually, it's just the opposite. The coaching and depth of the other teams proves the quality of the O6. Some AHLers in 66-67 went on to become HHoFers. You also need to look at the superior draft management where some teams like the Habs and the Wings ended up with many of the best players. (The 2012 Habs and Leafs missing the playoffs does not mean the current NHL has no quality.) Better management, a lack of parity, and one or two bad teams do not cast doubt on the quality of an entire league.
if there were only 3 or 4 good coaches, the quality of coaching is questionable.
i don't have many doubts about the quality of the strong teams, but if their competition was weak, their accomplishments can be questioned. rosters were smaller (generally 3 lines and 2 d-pairs) and even with only 6 teams, some teams were very bad. expansion teams were generally bad.
lack of parity in a league of 100 players is different than lack of parity in a league of 700 players.
we also have evidence that the distance between the best and worst athletes was very large.
Originally Posted by
So Aging Doug Harvey = prime Rod Langway. I'm not sure what this says about Gadsby other than he's no Doug Harvey. By the same token, Bill Cook, Pat Verbeek and Mariusz Czerkawski are all no Gordie Howe.
Bill Gadsby is victim of a Brad Park situation Park's career overlapped with 3 top 10 defencemen and he was clearly not as good as them. Gadsby's with the #2 and #7 defencemen of all time. He was clearly weaker defensively than the #2 and clearly weaker offensively than the #7. But, seeing as #2 is the best defensive d-man ever, and #7 is probably the #3 offensive defenceman ever, does that in ani way mean Gadsby isn't top 15? No.
i have said this before, but i am not sure where the idea that harvey is the best defensive d-man started. i don't think i have ever seen it in old papers, and his offensive ability is mentioned more than his D.
'83 capitals also added several other players besides langway.
'62 habs also did very well without harvey, which counters the idea that harvey was irreplaceable.
'62 habs also missed most of their elite players (beliveau, richard, moore, geoffrion) for significant parts of '62, but set a new scoring record and finished 1st well above 2nd place TML.
They are actually very mobile.
Gadsby and Duncan were noted as very strong to excellent skaters. Clapper was a strong skater early in his career, but had declined as he became a defenceman. I found no tangible quotes about his skating other than it was less than it used to be. Hatcher had excellent mobility for his hulking size. Too often people remember post-knee injury Hatcher at the expense of the ten years where he was the ideal combination of size and skating. Mummery had excellent top speed, his acceleration and agility are unknown. And Tikal's mobility was never an issue in European play, where it would have faced styles that would exploit it if he couldn't compensate.
clapper an duncan were very mobile.
i have never seen gadsby described as very strong or an excellent skater. he looked average in the games i have seen (in '60s).
i agree that hatcher has too often been remembered from the end of his career, but he was never a good skater.
mummery seems to have been overweight. i have seen a wide range of weights for him in old papers.
page 10 of this paper
says 247, and quotes hamilton's angry and biased GM as saying that "very little more that entitled him to play in paid hockey."
mummery's short obituary on page 2
says 300, but i assume that is wrong.
Originally Posted by
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. Denis Potvin, Wayne Gretzky and Yvon Cournoyer tie. (Cecil Blanchford and Harvey Pulford have more from the challenge cup era.
Guy Carbonneau: Captain 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.
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 Perreault 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.
as i have said before, coaches are by far the most important leaders of a team, and i think captaincy is nearly meaningless, b/c leadership is speculative and generally unrelated to captaincy.
other captains you missed:
jagr with pittsburgh and NYR
foligno with buffalo
tkaczuk with NYR
davidson with TML
barney stanley with regina (was nicknamed "the general")
i don't think that is important, though.
your post is a very one-sided view of the facts.
i don't think it is particularly important, but if i wanted to give a one-sided view of things, i would point out that dit clapper's bruins were one of the bigger underachievers in NHL history.
during clapper's 1st term as captain, boston finished 1st or 2nd in 5 of 6 seasons (missed playoffs in the other), but lost in the 1st round each time. when weiland became captain in '39, boston won the cup. when clapper was made captain again in '40, boston was again upset in the 1st round. boston won again in '41 with clapper as captain, but with a extremely talented roster. 5 of the 12 AS spots were bruins, and they also had schmidt, the art ross winner from the previous season, and the top offensive d-man of the period, flash hollett.
but i don't think clapper's leadership skills caused his team to lose early in the playoffs in almost every season.
i could go on about richard's reckless actions harming his team, even losing '55 cup, but that is well known.
i could quote a column in the montreal gazette in which richard demanded that a goal by elmer lach be credited to him. i could also quote richard himself and several contemporaries who said that richard only cared about scoring goals. frank selke said richard shot frequently, from everywhere. i have seen video of him shooting from the neutral zone.
i could tie those things into a larger (and true) narrative about richard's selfish play (is richard basically just a more physical and more durable pavel bure? what kind of captain is so selfish?), but i think that kind of selfishness probably made him more competitive, which is one of his best qualities.
cleghorn was captain for more than 6 seasons. he was also captain of wanderers in NHA, but i don't know for how long.
'10 boston lost a 3-0 lead b/c rask was not very good, and boston lost their top offensive player (krejci), and philadelphia added an important F (gagne, who scored 4g in last 4 games of that series).
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.
i think unhappiness was less important than money, but jagr was just 1 of a large number of players who wanted to be traded.
your point about ratelle is very hyperbolic.
i have not seen any of ratelle with NYR, but i have seen a few games with boston. ratelle was a normal player who had to work on the boards for the puck and go into traffic and take hits to score.
even though he got a late start b/c of his back injuries, ratelle retired as the 6th leading scorer in NHL history, and was 4th in playoff scoring in '70s, despite never really reaching the finals (injured in '72, played 6 games while still recovering from a broken ankle). lafleur, lemaire and esposito each reached the finals at least 3 times, and played for dynasty or near dynasty teams.
from what i have read, the general view is that ratelle suffered from philly flu. he apparently folded under goonery, not physical pressure, but boston protected him better. i also think that better fits the numbers in boston.
in '74 series vs philadelphia, ratelle scored 0+2 in 7 games, both PP assists. in '77 series vs philadelphia, ratelle scored 3+4 in 4 games, with only 1a on PP.
philadelphia was still the most penalized team in '77, and had 2nd best record. they had 2nd best offense and 3rd best D. shero was still their coach.
it is also possible boston's 2 way system brought out more in him.
clapper vs chara
i think it is fair to say clapper was a better offensive player than chara. i don't have a good idea of clapper's defensive play.
i have never read or seen anything that clapper was the best defensive d-man of his era, and it may be that seibert, stewart and quackenbush were better, but clapper seems to have been considered very good.
clapper was a major factor in AS voting for d-men 4 times '39, '40, '41, '44. he was the top d-man in '41.
zdeno chara has been a major factor in AS voting 6 times ('04, '06, '08, '09, '11, '12), and lost '05 due to the lockout. he may be a 1st AS in '12. he should have been in '08, but voters strangely voted for phaneuf hype.
i don't think clapper's level of competition was better. clapper's main competition was old earl seibert, art coulter, goodfellow, heller, etc.
i think minnesota's PP is stronger than mine, and its PK weaker, so it is not easy to say who will score more on special teams.
i think the PK ability of my players is more well established (all my PKers were regular PKers, and often for very strong PK's), whereas the PK ability of westwick and lemaire is relatively unknown. i think the defensive ability of my d-men is also more well established.
but i think the biggest difference is in net. lehman is known to be vulnerable to screens, which are routine practice on PP's. my PP's have 2 very large players at the net, andreychuk, and bobby smith, who were both 6'4. all of my pointmen were dangerous shooters.
reasons to vote for kazan
-- better shut down unit
cleghorn and chara (and ramsey) and davidson, tkaczuk and nesterenko were considered elite defensive players of their eras. i think the only players of minnesota who could have a similar claim are carbonneau, zetterberg, hatcher and possibly clapper, but i don't have a good idea of how good clapper was defensively.
hatcher was noticeably less effective both before and after the dead-puck era, and i think he was lucky to play when he did. i also think dallas' success gave hatcher a boost in award voting, as hatcher was the symbol of dallas' excellent team D.
OTOH, if hatcher had played in '20s, he could be picked before ching johnson.
i don't know which of minnesota's players will be used against jagr and ratelle.
although carbonneau is certainly the best defensive F in this series, D is a 5 man game, and i don't think his unit will be the best. his supporting d-men are not as good defensively as cleghorn and chara, and my best F is a RW, not a C.
zetterberg is a very good defensive F (should have won '08 selke, imo) and is probably minnesota's 2nd best defensive F, but is playing LW instead of his primary position of C, is also not being used on PK, and is probably not being deployed as a checker, since his linemates were not very good defensively. so quite a bit of his defensive value will be lost.
-- home ice
cleghorn, chara, davidson, tkaczuk and nesterenko were all elite defensive players and will be on the ice against zetterberg, stastny and richard.
similarly, jagr and ratelle can exploit the relatively slow-footed and non-agile bottom 4 d-men of minnesota.
-- special teams
as outlined above, i think my better PKers and better goaltending will be decisive in the contest of special teams.
-- secondary scoring
minnesota's top line is better, but my top defensive unit is better and i think my secondary offense is probably better, due to my 4th line. i think the 2nd and 3rd lines are basically equal offensively. if the scoring of minnesota's top line is limited, my better 4th line can be very important.
i have only focused previously on their regular season scoring, but smith and naslund had great playoff careers.
mats naslund led habs in playoff scoring 4 times including for their '86 cup and their trips to CF's in '84 and '87. in his prime from '83-'89, he trailed only oilers in playoff scoring, despite playing on a defensive minded team and getting injured in '88.
bobby smith retired at 8th all time in playoff scoring and was the only of the top 10 who never played for a dynasty. top 10 were oilers, NYI's, beliveau, howe and bobby smith.
-- better goaltending
bower's status is not just based on his rings and likeability, it has both statistical data and video evidence in support of it. bower also had more playoff success than lehman, and not b/c he played with a super-talented team.
lehman was apparently vulnerable on long shots and screened shots, and, for whatever reason, lehman had a habit of allowing bad goals in important games. lehman's weakness to screens is an important part of my gameplan, and especially on PP.
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