ATD2013 Final: Pittsburgh AC vs. Montreal Canadiens
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05-18-2013, 06:06 PM
I voted for Kodos
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: West Egg, New York
Originally Posted by
Bring Back Scuderi
My main concern with Montreal's line here is how will this line stack up when faced with Pittsburgh's possession game? Roenick is the only notable defensive presence on the line and I don't think he's better than Larmer defensively.
This is an argument that we see a lot in the ATD, and I always find it strange. Forward vs. forward, defensively speaking, is mainly relevant in transition. Possessing the puck for any meaningful period of time requires cycling it, and forwards on the cycle go up against the other team's defensemen + one forward down low.
Every forward line needs at least one guy (often the center, but not always) who can support down low, and anything more than that is a luxury, not a necessity. In fact, the old Kapustin - Balderis line on the Red Army team was built with a physical, defensively-conscious center (Zhluktov) who went down into the defensive zone in support when the opponent forwards were cycling. That was a very successful line, and Roenick is sort of like a much better, angrier version of Zhluktov.
At any rate, Montreal's blueline is both very skilled and very tough, and every line will be able to support well in the defensive zone. Pittsburgh won't get any easy rides on the cycle against this Habs team, and the AC's 2nd line, in particular, looks awfully soft for a unit that is supposed to possess the puck for long periods of time. Neither Schriner nor Morris played any kind of a physical game, and with all due respect to Steve Larmer, he's not all that tough, either, when compared to guys like Thomson and Mortson. Puck possession is, indeed, likely the biggest weakness of the Pittsburgh 2nd line in this series against a group of defensemen who are simply much more physical.
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