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ATD#8 Jim Robson Round 1: #2 Halifax vs. #7 Regina

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Old
11-18-2007, 08:56 PM
  #1
VanIslander
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ATD#8 Jim Robson Round 1: #2 Halifax vs. #7 Regina

The Jim Robson division:

First Round Match-Up



Halifax RCAF


Coach: Tommy Ivan
Captain: George Armstrong
Alternates: Ray Bourque, Max Bentley

Doug Bentley - Max Bentley - Cam Neely
Dennis Hull - Buddy O'Connor - Dave Taylor
Esa Tikkanen - Keith Primeau - George Armstrong
Kirk Maltby - Doug Risebrough - Bobby Schmautz
Craig Simpson

Ray Bourque - Allan Stanley
Ted Green - Gus Mortson
Wally Stanowski - Jamie Macoun
Bob Dailey
Normand Rochefort

Johnny Bower
Hugh Lehman



vs.



Regina Wildhearts

Coach: Lindy Ruff
Captain: Buck Boucher
Alternates: Wendel Clark, Dick Duff

Wendel Clark - Marcel Dionne - Babe Dye
Cy Denneny - Nels Stewart - Steve Thomas
Dick Duff - Bernie Nicholls - Scott Mellanby
Ryan Smyth - Joe Thornton - Jamie Langenbrunner

Nicklas Lidstrom - Buck Boucher
Sergei Gonchar - Bobby Baun
Jimmy Watson - Robert Svehla

Bill Durnan
John Ross Roach

Mike Ricci, Peter McNab, Dave Ellett

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11-18-2007, 08:56 PM
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Halifax RCAF

PP1: D. Bentley - M. Bentley - Neely - D. Hull - Bourque
PP2: Tikkanen - O'Connor - Taylor - Stanowski - Stanley

PK1: Armstrong - D.Bentley - Bourque - Mortson
PK2: Taylor - Tikkanen - Stanley - Stanowski

vs.

Regina Wildhearts

PP1: Denneny - Dionne - Dye - Lidstrom - Gonchar
PP2: Clark - Nicholls - Stewart - Boucher - Svehla

PK1: Langenbrunner - Mellanby - Lidstrom - Watson
PK2: J.Thornton - Smyth - Baun - Boucher

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11-18-2007, 09:14 PM
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We'll be posting our thoughts on this series later. Adjustments could be coming to our defence pairings and our special teams.

One thing I will post is our full penalty kill units, since we don't pigeon-hole our team to two PK units (the advantage that depth makes):

Penalty Killing Units:
Forwards:
PK1: Armstrong-D.Bentley
PK2: Taylor-Tikkanen
PK3: Schmautz-Primeau
PK4: Maltby-Risebrough
Defence:
PK1: Bourque-Mortson
PK2: Stanley-Stanowski
PK3: Green-Macoun

And, since we're big believers in the need to focus on these situations:

Last minute when trailing:
D. Bentley-O'Connor-Neely-M. Bentley-Bourque-Stanowski

Last minutes when leading:
D. Bentley-Primeau-Tikkanen-Bourque-Stanley
Maltby-Risebrough-Armstrong-Mortson-Green

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11-18-2007, 11:00 PM
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A few thoughts on the matchup:

- Halifax has a big advantage in coaching. I rank Ivan as one of the top five coaches in NHL history; he was a great strategist, got the most out of his role players, and always had a good balance between offense and defense. I'm not too impressed with Ruff... he's versatile and has been around for a while, but hasn't really done much aside from ride Hasek's MVP year to the finals.

- Regina's forwards are quite slow. Nels Stewart and Cy Denneny are poor skaters ("Ultimate Hockey" and Legends of Hockey). Clark and Smyth aren't exactly speedy, either. This is mitigated (to some extent) by the fact that Halifax's #2 defenseman, Allan Stanley, is probably the slowest of the top 50 defensemen taken.

- I'd take Bower in the postseason over Durnan. Bower is one of the greatest playoff goalies in league history; this is true whether you look at wins, or at save percentage. Durnan wasn't bad in the POs, but his level of play slipped somewhat. Given how dominant he was in the regular season, and given how strong his teams were, it seems disappointing that he "only" won two Cups.

- Regina doesn't seem to have a checking line now. I'd take out Nicholls and put Ricci in. This changes the third line from fairly random mix into a tough, fairly aggressive shutdown line (Duff/Ricci/Mellanby).

- Regina's 2nd line should outscore Halifax's. Aside from one huge year from O'Connor, I'd say that none of Halifax's second-liners were elite scorers. Regina's second line has two Art Ross winners, both of whom have led the playoffs in scoring once. Halifax's 2nd line obviously brings more in terms of defensive play and toughness, but it will be tough to make up for Regina's edge in scoring.

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11-18-2007, 11:22 PM
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Thanks for the feedback, HO. A few quick comments:

-Nobody ever accused Stanley of being fast, but he's a guy who "got there." He had excellent anticipation and positioning, and he was six-foot-two. Not physical like Ching Johnson, but he won't be a liability, even against a guy like Dionne. Bourque, Stanowski and Mortson are all excellent skaters. Bob Dailey is an excellent skater for a six-foot-five defenceman. I've toyed with the idea of using Bourque and Mortson on the first pairing and Stanowski and Stanley on the second pairing.

-Our second line isn't the best in the draft. But they do have some offensive ability, especially O'Connor. Taylor was our top-rated RW available, and Dennis Hull had a rifle of a shot. Our two-way line certainly lives up to that name. Not only are they exceptional defensively, but all three had a penchant for big goals, especially Tikkanen and Armstrong.

-Duff-Ricci-Mellanby would be a good two-way line, but they would still have their hands full, big-time, with the Bentleys and Neely. Regina does have a very reliable defence. Gonchar's the only liability in his own zone. The other five defencemen are all really good in their own zone, and Boucher and Baun can make life miserable for opposing forwards. The Regina defence has some smallish players, but they have lots of heart.

-We had Bower rated so high because of his play in the playoffs. Our team is perfect for Bower and Ivan: a balanced, well-rounded team that excels defensively, that has a very good transition game, and can score. Offence shouldn't be a problem. We won't go all-out offensively, but any team with Bourque, the Bentleys and Neely should have a very good offence, and the presence of clutch scorers like Tikkanen, Armstrong and Schmautz will ensure that the scoring won't dry up in the playoffs. All of our defencemen can move the puck, and Mortson, Stanowski and Stanley had very good offensive dimensions.

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11-19-2007, 03:31 AM
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I think the obvious thing that sticks out to me here is the defensive forward and PK advantage for Halifax. I don't think Regina's forwards are versitile enough to handle the balanced attack Halifax will bring. In a playoff series especially that's going to be a big key. I mean we have Thornton and Nicholls as the 4th and 3rd line centres. Good PP guys and good production, but who is going to stand up against Halifax's best forwards? I think Halifax is going to get much better results from their PP as a result of their distinct advantage on the PK.

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11-19-2007, 11:41 AM
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As has been mentioned, I think Halifax is going to have to lean heavily on the Bentleys, Neely and Bourque and timely scoring from the rest of their lineup. Regina has a significant edge in terms of scoring from their second line and from the defense as a whole.

If I'm Halifax, I want the Tikkanen-Primeau-Armstrong line on the ice with Mortson and Green every time Stewart's line is on the ice. That unit has the toughness to try and match up against Stewart and Denneny as well as the offensive upside to capitalize on their weak defensive play. Then you could try to go head to head with the big line against Dionne's line.

Regina will need their PP to be firing on all cylinders to pull this one out. They need Stewart or Denneny parked in front of Bower every chance they get to make his life miserable. Assuming that its one of Green or Mortson in the box, it'll be tough to contain that type of size from two different PP units.

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11-19-2007, 11:56 PM
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Brief thoughts on both lineups and the series:

-my speed up front: Sure, it's an issue, but every slow forward I had was an elite goal scorer despite their less-than-breathtaking speed. You've gotta ask yourself: How did Nels Stewart, Cy Denneny, and Babe Dye become three of the five most prolific early NHL goal scorers when they were that slow? They obviously had great hockey sense, Brett-Hull like knacks for getting open, as well as powerful and deadly accurate shots. Besides, I have at least one very fast player on each line: Dionne, Thomas, Duff, and Langenbrunner. I think the speed issue is overblown as it's not like I have a lot of lunkheads plodding along on my 3rd and 4th line trying to shut down Gretzky and Lemieux.

-Lack of defensive awareness in my top-6 forwards is an issue. That's the price you pay for putting such an emphasis on pure, unbridled skill. The bottom 6, though superior to the top 6 defensively, (admittedly) does not feature a shutdown line or pairing; however, you must admit that all of these players are responsible defensively and quite gritty, with the possible exception of Nicholls (whom I still wouldn't call a shrinking violet).

-No question that defense is my strong suit. I have no fewer than three defenseman who were/are downright elite defensively. Lidstrom and Boucher need no introduction, and then there is Watson, who didn't receive Norris votes as a result of any offensive contribution. Depending on what you think of Baun, that could be four elite defensive defensemen. I'm on the fence as to whether I'd go that far. And my top two have a combined 13 top-two finishes in norris (and retro norris) voting. These two give me the rare luxury of having two defensemen who were elite offensively AND defensively. (most defensemen in this draft were one or the other, and the few who were both don't play together)

-Goaltending is also a strength. Durnan is a top-8 goalie all-time which makes him a top 1/3 starter in this draft. I think 90% would have him above Bower. In his 7 years, he had two cups, which was still more than his share. That said, Bower is a better playoff goalie. Does he have what it takes to stop the four-line offensive onslaught accented by four truly elite goal scorers?

-Hunger. This team is hungry. If you ask me, there is a perfect mix of proven winners who have not only been there, but led their team all the way (Denneny, Lidstrom, Boucher) major pieces of multiple cup winners (Langenbrunner, Duff, Watson, Baun), those who tasted victory but not as often as they should have (Dye, Stewart) and those who came agonizingly close (Thomas, Clark, Svehla, Smith, Gonchar, Mellanby). Only two could be categorized as players who were severe playoff disappointments - Thornton and Dionne. The other, Nicholls, never got to the finals but produced at a point per game in the playoffs nonetheless. The proven leaders and winners should push the "agonizingly close" crowd over the top with their invaluable experience.

-I've already posted a critique of Halifax's lineup and it's no secret that I like it a lot. Their third line is something to behold. Their defense is unspectacular but solid and their third pairing is very similar to mine, with mine having a little more offense and theirs more nastiness from Macoun.

-maybe the easiest way to do this would be to critque piece by piece.

coaching: I'll concede Ivan has the edge, but is it really by that much? He has three cups which is an obvious advantage. his adjusted wins come out to about 340. Ruff has 364 so I'll call that a wash. Longevity is an attribute both possess. Still, if there was ever a coach you'd want to orchestrate a first-round upset, could you do much better than Lindy Ruff?

goaltending: As addressed earlier. Durnan in the regular season, Bower (slightly) in the playoffs. To win I'd have to compensate with advantages throughout the rest of the lineup.

first lines: I have more talent in my first line, with Dionne being the most talented of the six, and Dye and the Bentleys being too close to call. Neely is obviously 5th and Clark 6th, Clark being essentially a poor-man's Neely in all respects except open-ice hitting and fighting. I give myself the slight edge. It's a good thing the top lines won't be playing eachother often, because a Clark/Neely collision would result in them sharing an ambulance.

second lines: Dennis Hull and Steve Thomas are a wash. I have a lot of respect for Taylor and O'Connor, but, aside from O'Connor's hart, what did the two of them do to really set themselves apart as elite players? Riddle me that. Stewart and Denneny are pure MVP-caliber skill. I give Regina the a huge edge in offense, but Halifax's second line will take care of its own end much better than mine will.

third lines: it hurts to talk about this third line so I'll just say that it's awesome. skill-wise, Duff and Armstrong are a wash. so are mellanby and tikkanen, for that matter. Nicholls badly outskills Primeau. all in all, I give Regina a minor edge in offense, but more importantly, I give Halifax a huge edge in the defensive end. Mellanby and Duff are no slouches, but they just aren't the legendary checkers that Armstrong and Tikkanen are. Maybe it all comes down to: What's more elite? Regina's talent in the top 6, or Halifax's shutdown ability on the 3rd line?

fourth lines: somewhat similar. Smith and Schmautz could be considered a wash. Langenbrunner badly outskills Maltby, but Malby significantly out-intangbles him. That said, neither is lacking and both are built for 4th-line duty. Thornton and Risebrough are both way too skilled for a fourth line, but Thornton would dominate Risebrough in any situation other than the playoffs. Both lines can skate. Much like the 3rd line, I give Regina the edge in skill and Halifax the edge defensively.

defense pairings:
first: Bourque is the best d-man on the ice, But Lidstrom isn't far behind, and Boucher isn't far behind Lidstrom. Stanley is more than capable, but all told, the slight edge in first pairings goes to Regina.

second: Green can hold his own offensively. For that matter, so can Mortson. Gonchar alone will put up more points than both of them, while Baun looks after his own end. Gonchar is a defensive liability, but he has a solid partner. Halifax's second pairing has no glaring weakness. Net result is a draw, with Halifax's having more balance and Regina's being more of a yin/yang pairing.

third: a wash. tough and mean, solid defensively. I doubt either pairing will see that much time. Regina's can lug the puck better than Halifax's, due to Svehla. however, this pairing won't be counted on for that.

powerplay: no contest. halifax's first unit can stand up to either of Regina's; the second simply can not. Edge to regina.

pk: no contest. Halifax is a team built around their checkers and shutdown players, whereas Regina's PK units are a ragtag bunch of extremely solid defensemen and responsible forwards.

As an unbiased observer, I ask you: How can Regina not win?

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11-20-2007, 02:07 AM
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Thanks for the feedback, 70s. A few quick rebuttals:

*Yes, the edge in coaching is that large. From a strategic perspective, Ivan is much better than Ruff. Unlike guys like Day, Imlach, Adams and Irvin, Ivan was more of a communicator and a strategist than a tactician and intimidator. Ivan's teams were always well-built and strong offensively and defensively. And you forgot one other thing: three Stanley Cups for Ivan.

*We had Bower rated ahead of Durnan. That's because of the playoff format. If there wasn't a playoff, we'd take Durnan. But because of the playoff, we wanted Bower.

*I think Max Bentley's the most talented forward from the first line forwards. And I think he's the best. He was a point-per-game player for the Leafs in those three Cup wins. Arguably the best stick-handler of all-time. And his brother isn't far behind. Doug Bentley's the best two-way forward in this series - a marvellous combination of speed, smarts and skill. Strong defensively, an excellent penalty killer, and he can kill penalties.

*I watched Tikkanen. I watched Mellanby. Tikkanen was much more talented offensively. Mellanby's a marginal ATD player. I think there are better RWs, for that role, who weren't drafted. Tikkanen had a bullet shot and a sensational playoff resume. He was one of the few who could shut down a team's best player in the playoffs, and still come away with over a point-per-game.

*I'll agree that Thornton is too good for a fourth line. He's in that bottom tier of second line centres. I think Risebrough is a perfect No. 4 C for this draft. He has the speed, two-way ability, grit, toughness and character to play the fourth line. He's not talented enough to play on a scoring line, no matter how many scoring lines you role. But he's better suited to fourth line duty than Thornton.

*I think you really underrate Wally Stanowski's offensive ability. He's an elite skater and a very creative player. If he didn't enlist during the war, I think he puts up some very impressive numbers. As it is, he did have a 30-point season - very impressive for a defenceman in the early 40s. Scored at nearly a point-per-game clip for a Leafs Cup-winning team. Very strong, too, and he used that speed and strength to be a very dangerous hitter. He's a better skater, a better puck-mover, and a better hitter than Svehla. He's a definite step above Svehla. We expect our third pairing to get 15-18 minutes per game.

-I will give you one thing: Jimmy Watson is a rock. I'd have loved to have both Watson boys on my back end. He's better than Macoun, but he'd better be: you picked him way before we got Macoun.

Your absence of a shutdown line will hurt a lot. You might have guys who were reliable defensively, but can anyone play shadow? The Bentley's and Neely will have a field day against any one of your lines. Our two shut-down lines will do their job and stymie your scorers. You won't be able to stop the Bentley's and Neely. And if you think you have a slight edge on the first line, well, quite a few guys said that the Bentley's and Neely was the best-built line of the draft.

The one thing that you looked at was a personnel perspective. I prefer to look at things from an overall team perspective - how guys mesh together, how they might mesh in different situations, and how they work with our coach. This is a perfect squad to be coached by Tommy Ivan - one of the top five to eight coaches of all-time.

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11-20-2007, 09:31 AM
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seventieslord
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Very limited time this morning. It sounds like what some people are getting at is that this lineup is less than the sum of its parts. But isn't Ruff one of the best at doing the opposite and making it more than the sum of its parts? Just a thought.

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11-20-2007, 01:56 PM
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I think a little too much is being made of our "lack of secondary scoring". Look at Arrbez's first line, Espo was great, but Hodge and Cash as first liners? It works though because the sum is greater than the parts of that line. The same can be said about our second line. O'connor was a wizzard with the puck. There were very few guys who could puck handle better than him (by the way, our top centre is one of them). He was an excellent passer too. I've heard that Dennis Hull's shot was almost as hard as Bobby's if not as accurate, and Taylor was great in the corners and in front of the net. All the ingridients are there for great secondary scoring, especially against a Regina team without one shutdown line, let alone two. Stanowski as GBC already mentioned was terrific offensively. Our third line should be used in future ATDs as the example of a two way line. All three of them will score timely goals and step up huge offensively in the playoffs (which happens to be now). And people seem to be forgetting about the offensive ability of Schmautzie. Believe it or not, we'll also get scoring from our fourth line because of him. I don't think scoring is going to be an issue for this team, especially since we'll only need 2 or 3 to win games.

Plus we have a huge advantage in coaching and leadership. Our captain is among the best in league history.

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11-20-2007, 02:19 PM
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seventieslord
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And what makes you so sure you're going to get 2 or 3 past Lidstrom, Boucher, Baun, and Watson with any degree of consistency?

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11-21-2007, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
And what makes you so sure you're going to get 2 or 3 past Lidstrom, Boucher, Baun, and Watson with any degree of consistency?
I think that because our coach will coach circles around yours, your forwards aren't very interested in playing defense, and your goalie's GAA goes up at playoff time . Lindstrom, Boucher, Baun, and Watson need more help than you have provided for them.

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11-23-2007, 08:42 PM
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Lindy Ruff, sensing a bit of a mismatch in this series, has decided to juggle his lineup.

The defensive pairings will remain the same.

If Durnan allows 3 or more, he won't be starting the next game. In the playoffs, we are just as comfortable with Roach.

Joe Thornton has been deemed "what the first line needs" - since this is a team that intended to roll four lines, I have no problem with putting a player best suited for the 2nd line, on the first. Thornton provides the first line's two elite scorers with an elite playmaker, not to mention the size, strength, and defensive ability that Dionne didn't possess, as well as fairly comparable speed.

I mentioned "two elite scorers" - don't fear. I wasn't referring to Wendel Clark. As such, to best utilize Thornton't playmaking ability, Clark is being moved to the 2nd line in favour of Cy Denneny. Dionne was better suited to center, but can be just as effective as a right winger. This bumps Steve Thomas to the more appropriate third line position. Not wanting to have Bernie Nicholls as a 4th line center, he has been scratched in favour of Mike Ricci, who is undoubtedly the best shutdown forward on the roster. Ricci will form a reasonably responsible and extremely tough, fearless, and ugly fourth line with Ryan Smyth and Scott Mellanby. The third line concentrates a lot of speed, clutch play, and forechecking ability in one place now, with Duff, Langenbrunner (in his 2nd natural position) and Thomas. The 4th line won't get more than about 8 minutes now, but the third line can play 12, whereas 1 and 2 (or is that 1A and 1B?) can split the other 40 nearly evenly. Being as we want the most opportunistic scorers as possible on the PP, our units won't be changing, aside from Thornton taking Nicholls' place on the 2nd unit.

Cy Denneny - Joe Thornton - Babe Dye
Wendel Clark - Nels Stewart - Marcel Dionne
Dick Duff - Jamie Langenbrunner - Steve Thomas
Ryan Smyth - Mike Ricci - Scott Mellanby

It may not work, but hey, what we had wasn't going to work.


Last edited by seventieslord: 11-24-2007 at 02:00 AM.
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11-23-2007, 11:42 PM
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Other than Langenbrunner as a 3rd line center, that largely works in my books.

Good enough, dunno, but, makes things more interesting.

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11-24-2007, 02:28 AM
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I think your lineup juggling was pretty wise, seventieslord. I'm also not a huge, throbbing fan of Jamie Langenbrunner, but he's the best you've got for the role to which he's been assigned.

Thornton between Denneny and Dye and Stewart with Clark seems a better consolidation of talent. Better to have lines that are either completely "normal" (ie. one playmaker, one goalscorer and one defensive player/board guy) or that do one thing very well than to have unusual lines that aren't focused on a specific skill.

I'll have to reevaluate my take on this series given the new line combinations and coaching decisions.

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11-24-2007, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Lindy Ruff, sensing a bit of a mismatch in this series, has decided to juggle his lineup.

The defensive pairings will remain the same.

If Durnan allows 3 or more, he won't be starting the next game. In the playoffs, we are just as comfortable with Roach.

Joe Thornton has been deemed "what the first line needs" - since this is a team that intended to roll four lines, I have no problem with putting a player best suited for the 2nd line, on the first. Thornton provides the first line's two elite scorers with an elite playmaker, not to mention the size, strength, and defensive ability that Dionne didn't possess, as well as fairly comparable speed.

I mentioned "two elite scorers" - don't fear. I wasn't referring to Wendel Clark. As such, to best utilize Thornton't playmaking ability, Clark is being moved to the 2nd line in favour of Cy Denneny. Dionne was better suited to center, but can be just as effective as a right winger. This bumps Steve Thomas to the more appropriate third line position. Not wanting to have Bernie Nicholls as a 4th line center, he has been scratched in favour of Mike Ricci, who is undoubtedly the best shutdown forward on the roster. Ricci will form a reasonably responsible and extremely tough, fearless, and ugly fourth line with Ryan Smyth and Scott Mellanby. The third line concentrates a lot of speed, clutch play, and forechecking ability in one place now, with Duff, Langenbrunner (in his 2nd natural position) and Thomas. The 4th line won't get more than about 8 minutes now, but the third line can play 12, whereas 1 and 2 (or is that 1A and 1B?) can split the other 40 nearly evenly. Being as we want the most opportunistic scorers as possible on the PP, our units won't be changing, aside from Thornton taking Nicholls' place on the 2nd unit.

Cy Denneny - Joe Thornton - Babe Dye
Wendel Clark - Nels Stewart - Marcel Dionne
Dick Duff - Jamie Langenbrunner - Steve Thomas
Ryan Smyth - Mike Ricci - Scott Mellanby

It may not work, but hey, what we had wasn't going to work.
As an aside, 70s, I'd say that Dick Duff is the best shutdown forward on your roster. Definitely better than Ricci. Duff was in the top 10 for our two-way line rankings. Ricci only gets picked in this draft because he's a modern guy. Really good defensive centre, but there are two undrafted centres from the Original 6 era who were considerably better than Ricci for that role.

Dionne at RW? When did he play a regular shift at RW at five-on-five? And Langenbrunner hasn't played centre in years. Are you expecting him to contain Max Bentley?

We still have the big edge in coaching. We still have the big edge in team concept, character and depth. We can use team defence to shut down our opponents, instead of relying on our blue-liners to get the job done. (Outside of Duff, your blue-liners, as good as they are, don't have anyone exceptional to help them out).

I like John Ross Roach, he was my No. 3 in the last draft. But he's a big step down from Johnny Bower.

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11-25-2007, 01:54 AM
  #18
ck26
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Langenbrunner and Ricci are a better 3/4 center combo than Nicholls/Thornton, but Langenbrunner still isn't a center, which is going to hurt. At least Max Bentley isn't Jean Beliveau. Four of those bottom 6 forwards are really plodding skaters, so I don't know how well they'll match up against the slick-skating Bentleys. Steve Thomas is a nice player but it's a reach to call him a 3W.

Regina's biggest edge is their 2nd line -- I really like Dionne and Clark's complimentary skill sets, and Nels Stewart is a monster. Gonchar and Svehla (especially Gonchar) are nice offensive helpers but are potentially mistake-prone.

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11-25-2007, 03:05 PM
  #19
seventieslord
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cottonking View Post
Langenbrunner and Ricci are a better 3/4 center combo than Nicholls/Thornton, but Langenbrunner still isn't a center, which is going to hurt. At least Max Bentley isn't Jean Beliveau. Four of those bottom 6 forwards are really plodding skaters, so I don't know how well they'll match up against the slick-skating Bentleys. Steve Thomas is a nice player but it's a reach to call him a 3W.

Regina's biggest edge is their 2nd line -- I really like Dionne and Clark's complimentary skill sets, and Nels Stewart is a monster. Gonchar and Svehla (especially Gonchar) are nice offensive helpers but are potentially mistake-prone.
I'm sure you're referring to the bottom 3 when you call them plodding, but which player on my third line is slow?

Svehla - mistake prone? The guy was a defensive specialist! Not only that but he led the league in hits and never missed a game despite all the shots he was blocking. (well,a ctually six in eight years) You make it sound like he was McCabe!

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11-25-2007, 09:01 PM
  #20
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ATD: First Round Results: #2 Halifax RCAF versus #7 Regina Wildhearts


Game One:
The hometown salt air lifted the RCAF early on as they came out flying with home crowd behind them. Cam Neely sent the crown into an even larger frenzy after hitting Marcel Dionne with a bonecrushing hit midway through the first. Wendel Clark would come to his teammatesí defense but would wind up taking a roughing penalty which led to a Max Bentley PP goal. EsaTikkanen would make it 2-0 only a minute later after an errant pass by Sergei Gonchar. After a scoreless second, Ray Bourque would the 2nd RCAF poweplay goal of the night from the point. While Nik Lidstrom would pot one halfway through the final frame, it was too little too late and Cam Neely would put in an empty-netter late to secure the win for Halifax

Final: 4-1 Halifax

Game 2: After falling to the home team in Game One, the Wildhearts came out flying in this one. Despite throwing 17 shots Johnny Bowerís way in the first, the Wildhearts got nowhere and more than once, a visibly frustrated Wildheart slammed their stick on the ice after being robbed by Bower. Late in the 2nd Steve Thomas would mishandle a pass allowing Ray Bourque to send Dennis Hull in alone, Hull made no mistake and put Halifax up one. The Wildhearts regained their composure and continued to pepper Bower with shots all night, but to no avail. Max Bentley would score late to make it 2-0 and the put the game away. Thanks to a timely goal and a 44 save performance by Bower, the RCAF went up 2-0 in the series.

Final: 2-0 Halifax

Game Three:

The Wildhearts dealt some Prairie hospitality and came out flying once again. This time they got an early bounce and would beat Bower early on a Nels Stewart goal. After Doug Bentley tied the game after tipping a Bourque point shot, the Wildhearts would go back in front on a goal by Nik Lidstrom. After turning away 17 shots in the third period in what seemed like period long pressure, Bill Durnan finally surrendered the tying goal when Cam Neely chipped the puck in amongst a flurry sticks and skates in the Regina crease. After withstanding an early flurry, Durnanís play was rewarded as Dick Duff would take a pass from Bernie Nicholls and give the Wildhearts the win.

Final: 3-2 Regina

Game Four
Halifax got on track early in this one and pounced on a Wildheart turnover and made it 1-0 on a goal by George Armstrong. The RCAF continued their strong play and went up 2 on a goal by Allan Stanley. The final shot total in the first was 11-3 for Halifax sending Lindy Ruff into a seething frenzy in the first intermission. The motivated Regina team came out flying and put Halifax back on their heels. Their play would be rewarded late in the 2nd after Clark put in a rebound on a Dionne shot to cut the lead in half. Despite continued pressure on the RCAF the rest of the way, no more shots got by a the China Wall and Max Bentley would put an empty-netter in late to give Halifax a win, and a commanding lead in the series.

Final: 3-1 Halifax

Game Five
The RCAF came back to Halifax ready to put the series away, but the Wildhearts werenít going down without a fight. Despite going down 1-0 on a goal by Bourque, Regina continued to press and didnít shift away from their gameplan. Their perseverance paid off with less than a minute remaining in the 1st when Nik Lidstrom potted the equalizer. Regina went into the intermission with momentum and came out with it as well and quickly went up 2-1 on a goal by Cy Denneny. Things got even better for Regina when an attentive Jamie Lagenbrunner intercepted a lazy pass on a Halifax PP and came back down the ice to score shorthanded. Halifax would put up a strong fight in the 3rd, but couldnít put one past Durnan and would surrender a late empty-netter to lose the game 4-1.

Final: 4-1 Regina


Game 6
Everyone in Saskatchewan was either in Regina watching the game live or at home watching this huge Game 6 match-up. Both teams came out tentative, not wanting to give an inch in this crucial game, but Halifax would get the first goal early in the 2nd period when Ray Bourque continued his fantastic series with another huge goal to tie the game up at one. With the home crowd behind them, the Wildhearts rebounded and pressed hard the rest of the way but couldnít get anything past Bower, allowing the game to be deadlocked at the end of regulation. Despite several odd-man rushes on both sides, the first overtime period solved nothing, and things looked to be going the same way in the 2nd OT until Max Bentley took a one-timer off a pass from Allan Stanley and put it behind Durnan, breaking the hearts of everyone in attendance and sending the RCAF off to the next round.

Final: 2-1 Halifax

Halifax wins series in six games.

1st Star: Ray Bourque
2nd Star: Max Bentley
3rd Star: Johnny Bower

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11-25-2007, 09:06 PM
  #21
pitseleh
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Congrats to Halifax on the win. Regina's last minute lineup changes helped them out quite a bit but I think it may have been a little too late.

Thanks for the writeup TC. It's nice to have it in such a timely fashion.

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11-25-2007, 09:59 PM
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Congrats on the big win Halifax, and great write-up's TC. Sounded like a great series.

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11-25-2007, 10:00 PM
  #23
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Congrats to Halifax on the win. Regina was certainly not a weak 7th seed.

Congrats to the Wildhearts. You did reasonably well 70's, but you were also in what I think was the toughest division of this draft in every sense possible sense of the word. I think you would have fared better in every other div.

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11-25-2007, 10:27 PM
  #24
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Thanks to Regina for a good series. I thought about making some cocky comment, like "A team from Regina will be winning a playoff game this weekend, but it won't be the Wildhearts." But attitude like that doesn't go over well in this thing. Coming into this draft cold, like you did, is a daunting task. You did well considering that this was your first draft, and you didn't spend a lot of time lurking around the draft.

Also thanks to TC for getting this done in a prompt manner. I like to know right away whether my team is moving on, or if we're going home.

Riders win the Grey Cup. raleh and I win in Round 1. Good day all around.

MXD, I hope to see you in Round 2.

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11-26-2007, 02:37 PM
  #25
seventieslord
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Thanks for the comments, gentlemen, and thanks for the writeup, Caper. I took my lumps, and I look forward to coming back and beating you all next time. I'll start with the minor league draft!

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