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11-23-2012, 03:07 PM
Czech Your Math
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i never got that sense (in that i never saw how those were specifically "trap breaking" teams; seems like pittsburgh would have been the closest thing, though i don't think their strategy was to beat NJ so much as it was to keep jagr and sometimes mario happy).
The Pens weren't really in a position to build anything in the late 90s. They traded away Zubov for Kevin Hatcher to keep Mario happy. I don't see any good reason why they traded Straka, Naslund, Glen Murray, etc. Their organization was in disarray at the top: difficult to sign big FAs when you're teetering on bankruptcy and deferring salaries (including Mario's when he wasn't even playing), and difficult to build from within through bad drafts and bad trades. I don't think they were trying to build a team to beat the Devils, but rather stave off bankruptcy and just make the playoffs somehow (the latter helping the former). Then a rested Mario came back in 2001 and combined with Jagr, the KLS line and the latest in a revolving door of goalies (Hedberg w/ 9 NHL games entering the '01 playoffs) to make the ECF. They were completely out of their league there against one of the best in a series of well-oiled N.J. machines, and their chances were slim to none, even if Jagr hadn't been playing with one arm at that point.

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