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Tortorella's philosophy, a white book on his Tampa fiasco et c et c et c

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Old
02-25-2009, 11:02 AM
  #51
ecemleafs
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Originally Posted by Kimota View Post
Interesting.

But the trap itself wasn't invented in the late 80s. Maybe a form of the trap was conceived around that time. But Scotty Bowman was using a trap in the 70s even with the great Montreal Canadiens' line-ups. He was coaching St. Louis as a new coach and with a fairly mediocre line-up he brought his team to two Stanley Cup finals. The guy was an outstanding hockey mind that was thinking about systems when nobody in Canada knew what that was. The Habs snatched him up and the rest is history. Then Jacques Lemaire after he retired as a player, traveled Europe and went to seminars to perfect himself as a coach. There he learned new ways to implant the trap and put it to use in 1983 when he became the Montreal Canadiens's coach. Sure Patrick Roy was a great goalie but the system(wich Guy Lafleur prefered to retire rather than playing it) was a huge reason why the team won the cup in 86 and 93.

By the way, I don't know how much the Devils looked at Tommy Albelin. But one thing is for sure, the Devils never drafted him: he was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques and he played years with them.


fairly sure st louis got into the finals because all the expansion teams were in one division and the original 6 were in the other.

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02-25-2009, 11:12 AM
  #52
Kimota
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Originally Posted by ecemleafs View Post
fairly sure st louis got into the finals because all the expansion teams were in one division and the original 6 were in the other.
It's one thing coming out of your division(wich had the time it meant beating two teams). It's another going to the Stanley Cup finals two years in a row.

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02-25-2009, 11:21 AM
  #53
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It's one thing coming out of your division(wich had the time it meant beating two teams). It's another going to the Stanley Cup finals two years in a row.

well it was a good achievement, but the expansion teams were guarenteed a representative in the stanley cup. so pointing out that they were mediocre is really a misrepresentation because they were going against the other mediocre teams and not the great original 6 teams.

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02-25-2009, 11:28 AM
  #54
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Excellent post.

p.s. "those" only has one O in it, kind of an eyesore when it's spelled thoose like 19 times

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02-25-2009, 11:56 AM
  #55
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Czechoslovakian Team won World in 1972 using trap, but lost to Tikhonov's CCCP in the Olympics. That was the start, then Swedes adopted it. I believe Lemaire is the father of that system in NA with significant improvement of trap execution by Bowman. I'd say Bowman's trap is "softer" than Lemaire's. Renney is Bowman follower, while Hitchcock is Lamair's. Sather(coach), Keenan, Hartley as well as Torts are the remote followers of Victor Tikhonov's "press-and pass" attack first style where the individual skills were used to avoid the turnovers in the neutral zone. The reason Oilers were so dominant was they had had that talent plus great goalie (Fur) the Tikhonov system demands (Vlad Tretiyak, Pat Roy, Mike Richter). No great goaltenting - no win(see Rangers circa 2000 and hello, Lundqvist) 1980 Olympics showed first that trap can win with no stars on the roster.
BTW, the Classic Canadian System still exist, but it is severely damaged by new NHL. That style besides well known and highly effective "dump and chase" and "charge the net" employed highly popular "coast-to-coast" rides where one player carries the puck all the way, while support players actively interfere with defenders preventing them from getting to the puck carrier very much like it is done in football. Apparently interference has never been allowed in hockey (that wasn't enforced up until recently).


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02-25-2009, 12:07 PM
  #56
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interesting take, 94...although is Renney's system really a derivation of Bowman's (wasn't his the left wing lock?). I don't recall the Rangers trying to force the play to one side or the other. It seemed as though there was one forechecker and then 1 guy between the blue line and red line and then basically the three sitting back - just trying not to let them through. Thought Bowman had two forecheckers, but to be honest, I didn't pay enough attention.

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02-25-2009, 01:04 PM
  #57
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No. The great Canadians teams won because they had outstanding personnel, top to bottom. The Flyers hit everything but they also had tremendous talent. So, the Rangers will have to acquire likewise great talent and size (neither is here presently) or talk Bobby Orr out of retirement.

The greatest coach will almost always lose to the more talented team.
Herb Brooks is rolling over in his grave.

A bunch of Devil teams beat better opponents because of an effective system. Coaching can be the great equalizer.

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02-25-2009, 01:24 PM
  #58
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the qualifier is "almost always"...didn't a Bowman-coached team laden with talent lose in a best of 7 series to a Ron Low-coached gang of overachievers?

There is a difference between a team, like the Isles, beating the Red Wings in a best of seven and the Canucks beating the Red Wings. One may be more talented, but the talent doesn't totally drop off a cliff. Teams can overachieved and teams can be well-coached. Talented teams also can be under-coached and lose to less talented teams.

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02-25-2009, 01:30 PM
  #59
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the qualifier is "almost always"...didn't a Bowman-coached team laden with talent lose in a best of 7 series to a Ron Low-coached gang of overachievers?

There is a difference between a team, like the Isles, beating the Red Wings in a best of seven and the Canucks beating the Red Wings. One may be more talented, but the talent doesn't totally drop off a cliff. Teams can overachieved and teams can be well-coached. Talented teams also can be under-coached and lose to less talented teams.
It wasn't just the Russians though. Tied a great Swede team, beat the Czechs and Fins. These are teams that absolutely stomped us prior to Brooks. Not many dynamic players went on from that U.S. team, maybe Broten and Morrow. Look at those European teams and you have future All-star lineups. Kurri and Lindberg to name a few outside of CCCP.

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02-25-2009, 02:06 PM
  #60
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great read.

Quote:
I have always liked the pressure game. We're gonna try to pressure...
I can only hope that this pressure game he speaks of looks something like period 3 versus the Sharks.

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02-25-2009, 02:07 PM
  #61
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So when's the Garden going to start sounding like this?
E
P
I
C

That was awesome

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02-25-2009, 02:23 PM
  #62
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Awesome post. In Sweden the original system was called "The Torpedo"
I always felt that Sather tried to turn the Rangers into the Devils at the exact time when the old Devils style was ceasing to be effective and the Devils were moving away from it.

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02-25-2009, 03:04 PM
  #63
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Originally Posted by Mugerya View Post
Herb Brooks is rolling over in his grave.

A bunch of Devil teams beat better opponents because of an effective system. Coaching can be the great equalizer.
One advantage of the trap is no true stars required. All you need is players able to execute odd man rush with high scoring probability AKA concistentcy. They need no size (that is hard to get with skills), just speed and hands.

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02-25-2009, 03:10 PM
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94now View Post
Czechoslovakian Team won World in 1972 using trap, but lost to Tikhonov's CCCP in the Olympics. That was the start, then Swedes adopted it. I believe Lemaire is the father of that system in NA with significant improvement of trap execution by Bowman. I'd say Bowman's trap is "softer" than Lemaire's. Renney is Bowman follower, while Hitchcock is Lamair's. Sather(coach), Keenan, Hartley as well as Torts are the remote followers of Victor Tikhonov's "press-and pass" attack first style where the individual skills were used to avoid the turnovers in the neutral zone. The reason Oilers were so dominant was they had had that talent plus great goalie (Fur) the Tikhonov system demands (Vlad Tretiyak, Pat Roy, Mike Richter). No great goaltenting - no win(see Rangers circa 2000 and hello, Lundqvist) 1980 Olympics showed first that trap can win with no stars on the roster.
BTW, the Classic Canadian System still exist, but it is severely damaged by new NHL. That style besides well known and highly effective "dump and chase" and "charge the net" employed highly popular "coast-to-coast" rides where one player carries the puck all the way, while support players actively interfere with defenders preventing them from getting to the puck carrier very much like it is done in football. Apparently interference has never been allowed in hockey (that wasn't enforced up until recently).
Montreal supposedly played 1-3-1 during the 70's and many teams have played really defensive hockey before and had success with it.

But what the team in Sweden did, and they where the most talented team in the league, where that they had a coach who said "whenever we get across the redline with the puck, dump it in, don't go after it, set up in the redline, try to win back the puck in the neutral zone and then we counterattack". And thats basically what NJ did, especially under Lemiere.

The Czech's from the time I remeber them always where defensive against the Soviets, but that was because the Soviets dominated them. They never dumped the puck in and backed of so to speak. The Soviets had the puck and the Czech's backed down and went on attack when they could.

I don't have a clue how Montreal played, but just because they sat up 1-3-1 -- which the orignial trapping teams used, instead of like 1-1-3 that we only saw later in the 90's -- it doesn't meant that they trapped.

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02-25-2009, 03:27 PM
  #65
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The Torpedo system is a really offensive system born after the redline was removed in Sweden. Invented and first tryed by the same team that first played the (modern version atleast) of the trap.

That system could certainly work really well today in the NHL. Without anydoubt it could be revolutionary and could give a team the same kind of upswing that NJD got.

However, its a ***** to implement since there is so many big changes beeing made. The players who you bring in will completely have to learn a system from scratch -- every time... Thats why no team to my knowledge is using it in Europe these days.

You also need to have a good team. And good teams are not as keen to experiment as poor teams.

This is a perfect unit in terms of style to use playing the torpedo system;
Brendan Morrow-Shane Doan //Torpedos
Zetterberg-Datsyuk //Halfbacks
Marc Staal //Libero

The halfbacks are the key, one problem is that thoose guys needs to be good. You need to have atleast 6 guys like them who are really good. They can as well be really offensive D's too.

The key when playing that system is that you really stretch out your team. Which opens up ice for the centers to use their skills. Then you also have two options all the time for long passes. Then you always have a option to send a long dump in and 2 guys chasing that down.

But I would be really suprised if we saw it in the NHL. Like I said, you need a really good team to start with. Like atleast a top 4 team in a conference.

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02-25-2009, 04:05 PM
  #66
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The Rangers scored 3 or more non shootout goals in 8 of their first 16 games playing a more up tempo style.
So 50% of the time they were scoring 3 or more in a more aggressive system.

Then they took a few bad losses and Renney reverted into a shell because he had no balls. Since then they've only scored 3 or more goals 17 times over the last 45 games.

Thats a percentage of 37%...

Quite a difference.

16 games is a pretty good sampling in my mind, so i think with the right attitude, decisiveness and positioning, the forwards do have enough talent to be at least half way in the league in GPGA, you cant tell me that with this lineup they should be dead last in that category... . And thats not even considering if Torts brings a better powerplay to the table. The Rangers have sucked all year at that.

Sure, it might be at the expense of some defensive play but at least Henrik is back there waiting.

Worth a shot, glad they took it.

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02-25-2009, 04:37 PM
  #67
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I have to say I really enjoy this thread. Very good write up Ola! I've never played hockey myself, but I really like watching it, and this thread will give me a greater appreciation of the strategy in the transition game. And of course, it will give me a better chance of understanding the Rangers system when I see it. Thanks to the others who contributed theory too.

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02-25-2009, 05:04 PM
  #68
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it is a good sample, HBNYC...

the question is, however, was the 50% a result of good coaching and the 37% just inevitable given the personnel? I can't tell you the answer, and perhaps it's a little bit of both, but how often do you see a "lesser" team come strong out of the gate and start to disappear by December? The Rangers hit their stride early. They won both games in Prague, for starters. They faced a Chicago team, who was rusty as all heck, with already two regular season games under their belt. They faced Philly, a rusty team as evidenced by their horrific first period and very good second and third periods, and after they had already played in 3 games. Some here warned that the Rangers need to improve as that won't last long, and it didn't. While I have been one to criticize Renney in the past, and have criticized him this season, I have to give him credit for getting a team, that wasn't very good, ready to begin the season and get off to a good start. Lundqvist was a huge part of it (which is less coaching, I believe), but he also became part of the problem later when he was having too many of his fair share of bad games.

And is Torts' PP really better? We haven't seen it nor have we heard anything about it. We'll see. I like the philosophy he brings, that he needs to coach it, although I'm not thrilled with the reasoning (basically says his stars are on the PP, which means doesn't say much about the PK guys - you know, the ones saving the season). I'm optimistic for certain reasons and pessimistic for other reasons. I haven't thought highly about this team's roster (but have mostly compared it to last season's roster, not to the rosters of the teams against which the Rangers are competing - that's too much work), so that's where both my pessimism and optimism lie.

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02-26-2009, 12:49 PM
  #69
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Someone needs to do a research study to see where all the goals have been scored from in the last 3 years.

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02-26-2009, 01:33 PM
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyBasedNYC View Post
The Rangers scored 3 or more non shootout goals in 8 of their first 16 games playing a more up tempo style.
They scored on sub par goalies back then. They played exact same
style all season. Once they ran into good G they scored 1 or 2 max, but was able to win due to Lundqvist excellence in regulation and/or shootouts. They still can score against crappy G (like NYI), but the NHL average goalie performance raised overall since the season start, while Lundqvist reliability went down the toilet to the point that we are loosing SO after SO. That is how we got what we got. It has nothing to do with style. Not yet.

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04-27-2009, 04:43 PM
  #71
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Around 1993 New Jersey Devils started to play a system that was named "the trap" in the NHL. Later any organized defensive system have been called the trap to, so don't get hanged up on that word.

Their system was created to put players in the best positions to counterattack after you won the puck. Thats important to remeber, its a system created to create offense. And it definitly did! New Jersey Devils scoured the 2nd most amount of goals in the NHL in 1994, more then NYR and less only then the Red Wings. For example. It only became a low scoring system when everyone in the league played it at the same time.

For thoose who don't know what the real NJD trap was about; there was a man in Sweden who studid hockey at University level and wrote a paper about goals scored in hockey. He found out that like 90% of the goals at that time, the late 80's, were scored seconds after giveaways in the neutral zone. He then sat down and thought about it, every team spent all their energy on getting into the attackingzone and try to score from there -- when in reality the goals where scored not after pretty plays and passes, but after the attacking team made misstakes. A team in Sweden started playing that way, and had a ton of success with it. NJD went to Sweden to scout Tommy Albelin and the rest is histrory...

The results of the trap became that the most talented teams didn't win. You basically didn't need the skilled centers for example to win. A Bobby Holik was just as valuble.

But the teams with the Forsberg and Sakics, with the Lecavaliers and co they needed to do something.

Colorado is really the first team in the NHL who I saw play the STLYE JOHN TORTORELLA USED AS A HEAD COACH IN TAMPA in the NHL.

Its a system where you pressure all over the ice, with wingers designed and designated to be able to take away the boards, while you drop back further then the redline, you drop back further then NJD, your D's drop back all the way to their own defensive blueline. With the forwards pressureing all over the ice, you have them come back with speed and therefor you also get allot of support for your D's since your forwards are all skating at the same speed as the attacking team. Your D's then end up in perfect position to make high defensive plays at their own blue. Stand up forwards with good ol'e body checks.

The purpose with the system is that after hits like that from your D's, which results in won pucks at your defensive blueline -- the other team is then stretched out all over the neutralzone basically. That opens up room for skilled centers in the neutral zone. That won Tampa Bay the Cup. That won Colorado 2 Cups.

You don't backdown and trap at the redline like NJD as of mid 90's did. You don't play it safe with 3 guys back all the time like the leftwing lock that Detroit and Dallas used. You stress hard all over the ice, make sure that your D's have a ton of support with people comming back with speed, you have big wingers who you can pass the pcuk to up the boards who then can direct it to a skilled center right away after a won puck at your own blueline.

It sounds great, right? 3 teams have won cups with it.

But what happend after the lockout? What happend to Tortorella's Tampa Bay? What happend to ex Colorado coach Bob Hartleys Atlanta? Detroit lost Hasek but became better after the lockout. Tampa lost Bullinwall and went from the best team in the league to the worst. Why is that?

You stopped winning thoose defensive battles high up ice. Guys like Michael Nylander suddenly could skate 8's around the Sutton's, Exelby's, Vishnevsky's of the league. The Lukowich's, Sarich's and Jassen Cullimores in Tampa wasn't able to hit guys at Tampa's defensive blueline anymore. Even the Nylanders of the league suddenly could skate 8's around them.

John Tortorella never figured that out in Tampa. Bob Hartley never figured that out in Atlanta. Not even after 3 years. They kept building more and more extreme in the same direction. To get better D's, and to provide thoose D's with better support -- so that they could win thoose darn defensive battles at their own defensive bluelien...

This is how Tortorella described it in todays interviews:


The fact that he descibes it as "our D couldn't handle it" really scares me. Because I haven't seen any D in this league who can stand up a Zach Parise, Michael Nylander or any of the talented players in this league at their own blueline on a regular basis. Its just not happening anywhere, by anyone. Phaneuf isn't able to do it, Lidström isn't able to do it, Pronger isn't able to do it. Not on a regular basis. The game have changed.

The reason things turned into a disaster in both Tampa and Atlanta for example for teams with that philopsophy is that they didn't have a ALTERNATIVE "transition mechanism". Pittsburgh have also played somewhat like that, but it haven't hurt them as much because they just give the puck to Malkin or Crosby and asks them to skate with it. But it defeinitly have hurt even Pittsburgh for stretches.

The Bottomline
John Tortorella is obviously aware what got him into trouble in Tampa, but I am not really sure he got the answears to fix it. He obviously still think that philosophy can work with a "D" that can "handle it". Pretty soon he is gooing to figure out that if Tampa's blueline couldn't handle it, neither will ours in NY...

In Tampa Torts didn't have a alternative "transition mechanism". Hopefully he got some kind of plan for that here in NY. In reality, we need to hope for that Tortorella got a backup plan that turns out to be state of the art and can allow us to compete with the best in the league.


I think its pretty likely that we just speed things up and starts playing more like Montreal and Buffalo and less like Detroit basically. I know that sounds a bit nutty, because we haven't even remotely "looked" like Detroit this season. But the philospohys are the same; the standard play is to slow the tempo down and have a controlled transition play. Or to play a controlled transition game, to have it slow is no purpose in itself. There is a major diffrence in X and Os between Detroit and teams like Montreal and Buffalo. Montreal and Buffalos philosphy is not to keep the puck within the team, its about playing really safe hockey but still getting offense from it by dooing it extremely fast. The reason the controlled puckpossesion approch didn't work for us in NY is because we tryed to play a skilled puckpoession game with very little puckskills especially... It worked pretty darn well the first two seasons after the lockout, but then we where far to soft and had too poor D's to go all the way.
I am sorry to quote myself, but instead of making a new rant about it I thought it was best.

Its seems very clear now that Tortorella do not have that "alternative transition mechanism" that I was talking about earlier. He doesn't have any answears to fix what went wrong for him Tampa.

We have played 18 periods against the Caps, for 18 periods we have basically been dominated. Torts haven't changed a thing.

We still only seek thoose fast long passes up the boards -- passes that only are effective if they come from a high defensive play, like from our own defensive blueline, but the caps gets us all the way down into our defensive zone all the time. And from their we still try to make thoose passes. They are 50/50 at best, and when they connect our team is still to stretched out and the player who gets the pass is standing still et c.

Nah this does not look good for the future.

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04-27-2009, 04:54 PM
  #72
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Seems a little disingenuous to cherry pick some these games. Where were you when the Rangers transition game and offense were actually looking a lot better after Tortorella came in?

What you describe is also something that the Rangers struggled with for years under Renney as well. Of course it's easier to transition when you get to make the play up high at the blueline in your zone. But the Rangers have always been iffy at making that transition play when they're deep in their zone, and a lot of the time it's because they're always collapsing in front of their net to block shots and clear rebounds, instead of setting up to make an easy transition.

It was that way under Renney and they haven't changed that aspect of their game, so it's that way under Tortorella.

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04-27-2009, 05:06 PM
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Levitate View Post
Seems a little disingenuous to cherry pick some these games. Where were you when the Rangers transition game and offense were actually looking a lot better after Tortorella came in?

What you describe is also something that the Rangers struggled with for years under Renney as well. Of course it's easier to transition when you get to make the play up high at the blueline in your zone. But the Rangers have always been iffy at making that transition play when they're deep in their zone, and a lot of the time it's because they're always collapsing in front of their net to block shots and clear rebounds, instead of setting up to make an easy transition.

It was that way under Renney and they haven't changed that aspect of their game, so it's that way under Tortorella.
And I like how Tortorella can be judged for this season when he hasn't even realistically had a chance to fully install his system and make an impact on the roster. Please. The players know Renney's system far better than JT's at this point.

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04-27-2009, 07:14 PM
  #74
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great stuff ola

i think its tough to judge what torts has done here so far...its not easy to jump onto a team 80% into the season. hopefully, he does have fresh new ideas that are different from tampa, and will be ready to implement them to a full effect starting day 1 next season.

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04-27-2009, 07:21 PM
  #75
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You do realize we're playing a team that's 3892704820742x more talented than ours right?

None of our forwards is as good as their 3rd best forward, and none of our defensemen can even dream of the kind of two way play of their best d-man at this point in time.

We have them beat by a wide margin in goal, but with Henrik out to dry for so long, he's been exposed, and we have completely failed to take advantage of being up against a rookie goalie.

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