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06-21-2009, 10:43 PM
  #1
Classic Devil
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Brent Sutter

There are two very different arguments that need to be elucidated:

(1) Brent Sutter: good head coach or bad head coach?
(2) Brent Sutter: are Devils fans pissed at him leaving?

They are entirely independent and that needs to be clear to all non-Devils fans who come to this thread to talk about him.

Brent Sutter: Good Head Coach?
For this argument, there are two arguments which I believe dominate the discourse:

First, that Brent Sutter is a good head coach - during the regular season, he put together an offensively oriented, forechecking system that was largely responsible for the Devils' division championship this last season, despite Brodeur's absence. This is the argument that I've made for most of the last year.

Second, that Brent Sutter is a good head coach during the regular season, but that he's demonstrated chronic indecisiveness that has cost him at key moments over the last two seasons. This is hard to deny - Sutter's sudden switch away from his regular season style is, in my opinion, why the Devils lost to Carolina - and those who advocate this point (JerryGigantic, I'm looking at you) are quick to note that his wavering this offseason lend further credibility to the argument that Sutter is indecisive when it matters.

Brent Sutter: Are Devils fans Pissed?

You need to understand: whether or not he was a good coach or bad coach has nothing to do with whether or not we're pissed at him. If he's a bad coach we could shrug our shoulders and say too bad, we'll find a replacement that is his equal - and I think we will if we hire Haviland, but that doesn't mean we don't have a right to be annoyed at him.

There are a number of reasons Devils fans have to be annoyed at Brent Sutter, but the one that is most important is this: The reasons he gave for leaving the Devils (the Red Deer Rebels, his family) are largely incompatible with him being a head coach in the NHL anywhere, not just him being a head coach outside of Alberta. Him giving those reasons as grounds for his departure from the Devils, then taking another head coach job a week later, is frustrating.

What does Classic Devil think?

I'm convinced the problem is in the Devils franchise itself. I think Brent is a fine head coach and I'm sad to see him go - he's not irreplaceable, and if the reasons he gave really are valid reasons and weren't just excuses to get the hell out of dodge, then we're better off with him gone anyway. But I think the Devils have a number of problems that sabotaged Brent, and while I have no evidence to back some of these up, there's enough circumstantial evidence to make a prima facia case:

First, Lou Lamoriello is having serious issues adapting to the new NHL. I hate to say it, and I love Lou like an uncle I've never actually met but have heard stories about since I was a wee child, but he really is. There are two sides to the problem, too: (1) he steadfastly believes that constructing a team in the way he was in the trap-era will succeed in the post-trap era; and (2) he's far too attached to the players who won us the cup in the early parts of this decade. Jay Pandolfo and John Madden aren't the players they used to be, and even if they were the players they used to be those kinds of players aren't the kinds of players we need to win in the postseason anymore.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.

Second, the players we have, with the leeway given them by Lou (because of ties to Marty, because of tenure, whatever) determine our style of play. Does anyone really think that Sutter would have gone all checking line on us in the postseason if he didn't have the leagues former premiere checking unit stashed in his back pocket being completely useless in every other role? So long as these players are on the Devils, we have to play to their abilities.

The problem is compounded by our total lack of quality blueliners after Martin. Martin is a top-15 defenseman in the game and is dramatically underrated offensively because his numbers are somewhat underwhelming, but behind him we've got next to nothing. As many of you know, I'm not the biggest Oduya fan - I think he's a good #3, an exceptional #4, but we're not going to win a cup with him in the #2 or even #3 roles. It ain't going to happen. Our defense isn't suited to playing the up-tempo forechecking game because it's not all that good at holding the puck in at the point or providing offense (from crisp passes or point-shots - I still think we should have jumped all over Bryan McCabe last offseason and that not taking advantage of his cheap price then was a huge mistake).

The combination of having elite PK forwards and not having capable offensive blueliners put Brent into a tough spot. Parise and Elias carried this team - CARRIED us - through Brodeur's injury. These are two ELITE forwards. It's no coincidence that when the Elias - Zubrus - Gionta unit stopped producing the team cooled off; it make ZZPops a lot easier to handle.

Am I pissed at Brent leaving? Not really. I feel like Brent is getting the short end of the stick here. I can't blame him for our loss in the first round when I am convinced he didn't have the assets he needed to play his style of game.

Am I pissed at Brent for joining Calgary? A little bit, but mostly because he lied about the reasons he was leaving instead of telling it straight. He does want to be closer to his family, and he is, so that's something, but the Red Deer Rebels had nothing to do with it.

I think he's leaving because the combination of the lack of capability of our forwards makes his style of play impossible when the quality of competition rises and Lou's stubborn resistance to doing something about it put him in an impossible situation. He's got to recognize that barring a dramatic shift we're going to end up the same place next season as we did this season - cutting through the regular season and then flaming out early. He wanted out. If he'd told us that, I really wouldn't be annoyed at all, mostly because I think Lou needs to hear it.

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06-21-2009, 10:48 PM
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I skimmed through Classic's long winded post (you really could have made it shorter), but I agree with everything he said (I hope you didn't drop a "Das Uber is ghey" or something in there).

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06-21-2009, 11:01 PM
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Meh. This is the first time I've commented on this "controversy" so I had a lot to say, much of it stuff I've said before.

The whole second half of the post is really me elucidating my argument for why Brent is a good head coach and against the argument that he's chronically indecisive, now that I look at it again.

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06-21-2009, 11:06 PM
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Good Post

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06-21-2009, 11:06 PM
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Honestly, I felt the whole Red Deer thing was going to be a problem when he bailed out on the All-Star game in his first season so he could go back home. Yes, the All-Star game is lame, but still. It just gave me a weird feeling. I assumed that perhaps the possibility of taking over as GM one day was the only thing keeping him here. I was wrong.

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06-21-2009, 11:07 PM
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I agree with much of this.

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06-21-2009, 11:10 PM
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the "I don't think he had the horses" arguement would hold more water if they didn't beat everyone in the league without Brodeur, and they hadn't smacked the Hurricanes around in Game 1, in the same fashion in which the Penguins put them away, and they also have a D full of liabilities.

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06-21-2009, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Classic Devil View Post
Second, that Brent Sutter is a good head coach during the regular season, but that he's demonstrated chronic indecisiveness that has cost him at key moments over the last two seasons. This is hard to deny - Sutter's sudden switch away from his regular season style is, in my opinion, why the Devils lost to Carolina - and those who advocate this point (JerryGigantic, I'm looking at you) are quick to note that his wavering this offseason lend further credibility to the argument that Sutter is indecisive when it matters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Classic Devil View Post
Am I pissed at Brent leaving? Not really. I feel like Brent is getting the short end of the stick here. I can't blame him for our loss in the first round when I am convinced he didn't have the assets he needed to play his style of game.
I don't get this part.

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06-21-2009, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Classic Devil View Post
Meh. This is the first time I've commented on this "controversy" so I had a lot to say
I also haven't commented on it whatsoever, and after all that nor do I need to because I agree with it basically word-for-word. Gracias CD.

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06-21-2009, 11:16 PM
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and also, Madden was dead to rites on the 4th line and Pando was glued to the bench.

I don't know how you go from:

PZL
Elias-Zubrus-Gionta
Shanny-Rolston-Clarkson
Rupp-Madden-Holik

to

PZL
Shanny-Madden-Pando
Elias-Zubrus-Gionta
Clarkson-Holik/Rupp-Rolston

and, the second and fourth lines both scored three goals. (Mottau 1, Shanny 4 (PP but after), Pando 7) (Clarkson 4, Clarkson 5 (PP), Rolston 7 (PP))

given that the players on the fourth line showed more of a propensity to score during the regular season, why were they the fourth line? the defacto third line, the Zubrus line, is more than capable of man marking.

he **** the bed in that series, there's no two ways about it. ultimately, the players can't say "no, Brent, you're nuts" and not go over the boards, even if they know it's suicidial... re: Dano's comments in '98 that might have contributed to sealing Lemaire's fate.


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06-21-2009, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Classic Devil View Post
There are two very different arguments that need to be elucidated:

(1) Brent Sutter: good head coach or bad head coach?
(2) Brent Sutter: are Devils fans pissed at him leaving?

They are entirely independent and that needs to be clear to all non-Devils fans who come to this thread to talk about him.

Brent Sutter: Good Head Coach?
For this argument, there are two arguments which I believe dominate the discourse:

First, that Brent Sutter is a good head coach - during the regular season, he put together an offensively oriented, forechecking system that was largely responsible for the Devils' division championship this last season, despite Brodeur's absence. This is the argument that I've made for most of the last year.

Not to mention he got the best out of Parise, Zajac, Langenbrunner, Elias and Gionta. Elias was wildly inconsistent, and Sutter somehow got him to play some of the best hockey he ever played for a stretch. He cooled towards the end, but I truly do believe that Sutter's coaching helped put Elias back into the top ten NHL scorers, even if it was only for a small stretch.

Second, that Brent Sutter is a good head coach during the regular season, but that he's demonstrated chronic indecisiveness that has cost him at key moments over the last two seasons. This is hard to deny - Sutter's sudden switch away from his regular season style is, in my opinion, why the Devils lost to Carolina - and those who advocate this point (JerryGigantic, I'm looking at you) are quick to note that his wavering this offseason lend further credibility to the argument that Sutter is indecisive when it matters.

I don't really believe that. He got us within 90 seconds of the 2nd round. The team should have won. Whether they had a lack of focus or what not, they choked, and everyone is respondsible for that. I will agree with you on your last comment though. Sutter is indecisive at critical times.

Brent Sutter: Are Devils fans Pissed?

You need to understand: whether or not he was a good coach or bad coach has nothing to do with whether or not we're pissed at him. If he's a bad coach we could shrug our shoulders and say too bad, we'll find a replacement that is his equal - and I think we will if we hire Haviland, but that doesn't mean we don't have a right to be annoyed at him.
I think you hit the nail on the head there. People are so enraged with Sutter that they are ignoring the foundation he layed here in New Jersey. Was he the best coach, no probably not, but that doesn't matter now.

There are a number of reasons Devils fans have to be annoyed at Brent Sutter, but the one that is most important is this: The reasons he gave for leaving the Devils (the Red Deer Rebels, his family) are largely incompatible with him being a head coach in the NHL anywhere, not just him being a head coach outside of Alberta. Him giving those reasons as grounds for his departure from the Devils, then taking another head coach job a week later, is frustrating.

What does Classic Devil think?

I'm convinced the problem is in the Devils franchise itself. I think Brent is a fine head coach and I'm sad to see him go - he's not irreplaceable, and if the reasons he gave really are valid reasons and weren't just excuses to get the hell out of dodge, then we're better off with him gone anyway. But I think the Devils have a number of problems that sabotaged Brent, and while I have no evidence to back some of these up, there's enough circumstantial evidence to make a prima facia case:

First, Lou Lamoriello is having serious issues adapting to the new NHL. I hate to say it, and I love Lou like an uncle I've never actually met but have heard stories about since I was a wee child, but he really is. There are two sides to the problem, too: (1) he steadfastly believes that constructing a team in the way he was in the trap-era will succeed in the post-trap era; and (2) he's far too attached to the players who won us the cup in the early parts of this decade. Jay Pandolfo and John Madden aren't the players they used to be, and even if they were the players they used to be those kinds of players aren't the kinds of players we need to win in the postseason anymore.

1. I hear people say this all the time, but I'm at the point where I think people are just saying it and not thinking it through. I'm not talking about you personally, but in general. I can see where you can say that coming out of the lockout. McGillis was certainly signed on the basis of prelockout thinking. Sign a big hulking defenseman, but when clutching and grabbing was phased out, McGillis fell by the waistside. After that, I'm not quite sure you can say he based all his decisions on how he would build a team pre-lockout.

The two major acquisitions he'd made are Dainius Zubrus and Brian Rolston. Both can skate very well (when healthy at least). Zubrus was obviously in hopes to transition the team to a tougher and meaner look. Rolston IMO was definately a signing that doesn't happen pre-lockout because the PP is more valuable post 2004. Rolston was signed to be hopefully fill the 2nd line center spot, but his main function was to man the point on the pp.


I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.

Second, the players we have, with the leeway given them by Lou (because of ties to Marty, because of tenure, whatever) determine our style of play. Does anyone really think that Sutter would have gone all checking line on us in the postseason if he didn't have the leagues former premiere checking unit stashed in his back pocket being completely useless in every other role? So long as these players are on the Devils, we have to play to their abilities.

No arguement here, although in Pandolfo's defense, he was not nearly as atrocious the prior season as he was this year. Maybe he mailed it in and caught Gomez syndrome, but it wasn't that long ago that he was a Selke finalist.

The problem is compounded by our total lack of quality blueliners after Martin. Martin is a top-15 defenseman in the game and is dramatically underrated offensively because his numbers are somewhat underwhelming, but behind him we've got next to nothing. As many of you know, I'm not the biggest Oduya fan - I think he's a good #3, an exceptional #4, but we're not going to win a cup with him in the #2 or even #3 roles. It ain't going to happen. Our defense isn't suited to playing the up-tempo forechecking game because it's not all that good at holding the puck in at the point or providing offense (from crisp passes or point-shots - I still think we should have jumped all over Bryan McCabe last offseason and that not taking advantage of his cheap price then was a huge mistake).
I still say no to Bryan McCabe, but I agree, our defensive depth is awful. A lot of that has to do with the drafting and treatment of the team's prospects and young players. Post lockout, it has been god awful, period. I defended Sutter when he was giving Bergfors 4 minutes a night in a blowout, but looking back now, Bergfors finally seems ready to make the next step. For whatever reason, the coaching staff held him back. Same goes for Vrana.

The combination of having elite PK forwards and not having capable offensive blueliners put Brent into a tough spot. Parise and Elias carried this team - CARRIED us - through Brodeur's injury. These are two ELITE forwards. It's no coincidence that when the Elias - Zubrus - Gionta unit stopped producing the team cooled off; it make ZZPops a lot easier to handle.

Am I pissed at Brent leaving? Not really. I feel like Brent is getting the short end of the stick here. I can't blame him for our loss in the first round when I am convinced he didn't have the assets he needed to play his style of game.

Am I pissed at Brent for joining Calgary? A little bit, but mostly because he lied about the reasons he was leaving instead of telling it straight. He does want to be closer to his family, and he is, so that's something, but the Red Deer Rebels had nothing to do with it.

I think he's leaving because the combination of the lack of capability of our forwards makes his style of play impossible when the quality of competition rises and Lou's stubborn resistance to doing something about it put him in an impossible situation. He's got to recognize that barring a dramatic shift we're going to end up the same place next season as we did this season - cutting through the regular season and then flaming out early. He wanted out. If he'd told us that, I really wouldn't be annoyed at all, mostly because I think Lou needs to hear it.
I've heard rumblings that Lamoriello is notorious for being a control freak, thus all the coaching changes. It wouldn't surprise me if Lou's constant scrutiny drove Sutter away, but that just speculation.

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06-21-2009, 11:30 PM
  #12
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I used to be pissed at players and coaches for leaving or saying things about the Devils but then I turned 16 and realized these are actual people who lead their own lives and owe absolutely nothing to me personally.

So no, I'm not pissed at Sutter. He can do what he wants.

Quote:
The problem is compounded by our total lack of quality blueliners after Martin. Martin is a top-15 defenseman in the game and is dramatically underrated offensively because his numbers are somewhat underwhelming, but behind him we've got next to nothing. As many of you know, I'm not the biggest Oduya fan - I think he's a good #3, an exceptional #4, but we're not going to win a cup with him in the #2 or even #3 roles. It ain't going to happen. Our defense isn't suited to playing the up-tempo forechecking game because it's not all that good at holding the puck in at the point or providing offense (from crisp passes or point-shots - I still think we should have jumped all over Bryan McCabe last offseason and that not taking advantage of his cheap price then was a huge mistake).
I don't think there is any "recipe" for constructing a cup-winning defense. I don't have any problem with Oduya as the 2 or 3 so long as the Devils add another good, doesn't have to be great, puck-moving defenseman who can play the powerplay. The Hurricanes won the cup in 2006 with Bred Hedican and Frank Kaberle leading the way. Pittsburgh didn't have anyone too special on their backend besides Gonchar. What's most important is that the defense can skate and play a cohesive team defense, not that it's filled with 1s and 2s and what not.

And let's not lose sight of the most important factor come playoff time: Luck. You can only do so much to improve your team each off-season. If you don't get hot at the right time its not going to happen.

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06-21-2009, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Clarkson Falls Down View Post
I don't get this part.
There was certainly a shift in Devils style of play from the regular season to the postseason, from the forecheck to the passive defensive zone (not neutral zone) trap. True.

My argument is that the forecheck worked for a number of reasons and then stopped working, leading Sutter to shift his style of play; the only option he had when he shifted was the Madden/Pando trap.

Why did the forecheck stop working?
(1) Parise and Elias slowed down their scoring paces, Zajac cooled off. These three players effectively anchored our offense and our offense effectively anchored our whole team for the vast majority of our successful season. When those players cooled off - which you had to anticipate, as there is no reason to expect both guys to sustain a P/G+ pace throughout an entire season, the offensive forecheck lost a lot of effectiveness.

(2) The opposition started keying in to our style. Against Carolina, a team that because of its forwards and defensemen (and especially depth) played the Sutter forecheck better than Sutter could with New Jersey, he needed an alternative. There is no question in my mind that Carolina was a superior forechecking team, not after watching them get to the ECF by beating both us and Boston, two teams that both played that game.

(3) A total lack of depth beyond the second line made it next to impossible for us to play the high forecheck. The only player in our bottom-6 who was an effective forechecker was Clarkson (who is an exceptional forechecker, don't get me wrong, but Shanahan and Rolston are both not suited for it, Shanahan because he's slow and Rolston because he just doesn't do it enough). More damaging, with Martin and Oduya as our top pairing we had no defensemen - not a SINGLE defenseman - who I would characterize as capable of being the blueliner on a deep forecheck because none of them can shoot and few of them can even pass.

Once Parise and Elias stopped playing like Crosby and Malkin, and more importantly once we encountered a team that played our game better than we did, we were through. And it had everything to do with our lack of assets capable of playing that game at the high level demanded in the playoffs.

Carolina took their game to another level in the postseason. It was a level to which we were incapable of rising because we simply don't have the depth of players with potential to rise that high.


Pause.


In the regular season, when ZZPop and Elias's B-line were clicking along, we had the ability to run Rolston, Clarkson, and Shanahan against the other team and Clarkson alone managed to create enough of a forecheck to create production. David Clarkson is an exceptional hockey player, people. More importantly, we were able to exile Pandolfo, Madden, and Holik together to be the useless line, the fourth line that was useless at everything but killing penalties (or taking penalties).

In the postseason, when those two lines stopped dominating, David Clarkson isn't enough to create enough offensive from the bottom-6 to win hockey games.

The shift in style wasn't Sutter indecisiveness, it was because the factors that allowed our style to succeed: Parise and Elias' dominance and the lack of a credible opponent, stopped accurately representing the scenario we faced.


Last edited by Classic Devil: 06-21-2009 at 11:39 PM.
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06-21-2009, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Classic Devil View Post
There was certainly a shift in Devils style of play from the regular season to the postseason, from the forecheck to the passive defensive zone (not neutral zone) trap. True.

My argument is that the forecheck worked for a number of reasons and then stopped working, leading Sutter to shift his style of play; the only option he had when he shifted was the Madden/Pando trap.

Why did the forecheck stop working?
(1) Parise and Elias slowed down their scoring paces, Zajac cooled off. These three players effectively anchored our offense and our offense effectively anchored our whole team for the vast majority of our successful season. When those players cooled off - which you had to anticipate, as there is no reason to expect both guys to sustain a P/G+ pace throughout an entire season, the offensive forecheck lost a lot of effectiveness.

(2) The opposition started keying in to our style. Against Carolina, a team that because of its forwards and defensemen (and especially depth) played the Sutter forecheck better than Sutter could with New Jersey, he needed an alternative. There is no question in my mind that Carolina was a superior forechecking team, not after watching them get to the ECF by beating both us and Boston, two teams that both played that game.

(3) A total lack of depth beyond the second line made it next to impossible for us to play the high forecheck. The only player in our bottom-6 who was an effective forechecker was Clarkson (who is an exceptional forechecker, don't get me wrong, but Shanahan and Rolston are both not suited for it, Shanahan because he's slow and Rolston because he just doesn't do it enough). More damaging, with Martin and Oduya as our top pairing we had no defensemen - not a SINGLE defenseman - who I would characterize as capable of being the blueliner on a deep forecheck because none of them can shoot and few of them can even pass.

Once Parise and Elias stopped playing like Crosby and Malkin, and more importantly once we encountered a team that played our game better than we did, we were through. And it had everything to do with our lack of assets capable of playing that game at the high level demanded in the playoffs.

Carolina took their game to another level in the postseason. It was a level to which we were uncapable of rising because we simply don't have the depth of players with potential to rise that high.
BS. And I mean that as the politest BS possible.

We kicked their ***** for the first four periods of that series, then stopped playing.

They were chronically not ready to start big games and they played a style that set them up to lose. I think you're being revisionist on this. We gave the series to the Hurricanes, full marks to them for taking it, but it is what it is. We gave it away.

If they kept the forecheck going, they win the series in 5 or 6 games. They got into passive **** and they lost. Did you see the fear in Carolina in Game 4 when it was tied? They couldn't make a 3 foot pass without looking like they were going to choke on it.

What did we do after about 5-6 minutes of awful Carolina hockey.... pulled back on the reins. It was like the theme of the series, not always ready to play and always pulling back on the reins.

Would we have won in the deep end of the pool, even against an injured Detriot? Probably not. But they played the wrong style of game in that series, and that's why they lost. That they almost won the series playing the wrong style, and it took a monumental collapse to do this, tells you they were the better team. But they didn't have the better coach or the better strategy.

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06-21-2009, 11:38 PM
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BS. And I mean that as the politest BS possible.

We kicked their ***** for the first four periods of that series, then stopped playing.

They were chronically not ready to start big games and they played a style that set them up to lose. I think you're being revisionist on this. We gave the series to the Hurricanes, full marks to them for taking it, but it is what it is. We gave it away.

If they kept the forecheck going, they win the series in 5 or 6 games. They got into passive **** and they lost. Did you see the fear in Carolina in Game 4 when it was tied? They couldn't make a 3 foot pass without looking like they were going to choke on it.

What did we do after about 5-6 minutes of awful Carolina hockey.... pulled back on the reins. It was like the theme of the series, not always ready to play and always pulling back on the reins.

Would we have won in the deep end of the pool, even against an injured Detriot? Probably not. But they played the wrong style of game in that series, and that's why they lost. That they almost won the series playing the wrong style, and it took a monumental collapse to do this, tells you they were the better team. But they didn't have the better coach or the better strategy.
I disagree. We kicked their ass for a game, and it was a game within which the Hurricanes never showed up. When they did show up, we didn't have what it took to beat them. We were no longer the same team that dominated during the regular season, our stars were no longer superstars and that's just going to happen. Our stars playing like superstars is what made it work, when they stopped, we stopped.

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06-21-2009, 11:42 PM
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The biggest problems are the lack of depth at center, not having a top two (or three - Oduya might be a fit as a #3) defenceman to go along with Martin and Lou's inability to let go of the past as you mentioned, Classic. I swear, I will be so disappointed if Madden is re-signed this offseason.

Brent was a good coach, no doubt, but he can be replaced. I'm more annoyed with him that he used the Red Deer excuse and because he was generally thought of as the successor as GM to Lou.

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06-21-2009, 11:45 PM
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There was certainly a shift in Devils style of play from the regular season to the postseason, from the forecheck to the passive defensive zone (not neutral zone) trap. True.

My argument is that the forecheck worked for a number of reasons and then stopped working, leading Sutter to shift his style of play; the only option he had when he shifted was the Madden/Pando trap.

Why did the forecheck stop working?
(1) Parise and Elias slowed down their scoring paces, Zajac cooled off. These three players effectively anchored our offense and our offense effectively anchored our whole team for the vast majority of our successful season. When those players cooled off - which you had to anticipate, as there is no reason to expect both guys to sustain a P/G+ pace throughout an entire season, the offensive forecheck lost a lot of effectiveness.

(2) The opposition started keying in to our style. Against Carolina, a team that because of its forwards and defensemen (and especially depth) played the Sutter forecheck better than Sutter could with New Jersey, he needed an alternative. There is no question in my mind that Carolina was a superior forechecking team, not after watching them get to the ECF by beating both us and Boston, two teams that both played that game.

(3) A total lack of depth beyond the second line made it next to impossible for us to play the high forecheck. The only player in our bottom-6 who was an effective forechecker was Clarkson (who is an exceptional forechecker, don't get me wrong, but Shanahan and Rolston are both not suited for it, Shanahan because he's slow and Rolston because he just doesn't do it enough). More damaging, with Martin and Oduya as our top pairing we had no defensemen - not a SINGLE defenseman - who I would characterize as capable of being the blueliner on a deep forecheck because none of them can shoot and few of them can even pass.

Once Parise and Elias stopped playing like Crosby and Malkin, and more importantly once we encountered a team that played our game better than we did, we were through. And it had everything to do with our lack of assets capable of playing that game at the high level demanded in the playoffs.

Carolina took their game to another level in the postseason. It was a level to which we were uncapable of rising because we simply don't have the depth of players with potential to rise that high.


Pause.


In the regular season, when ZZPop and Elias's B-line were clicking along, we had the ability to run Rolston, Clarkson, and Shanahan against the other team and Clarkson alone managed to create enough of a forecheck to create production. David Clarkson is an exceptional hockey player, people. More importantly, we were able to exile Pandolfo, Madden, and Holik together to be the useless line, the fourth line that was useless at everything but killing penalties (or taking penalties).

In the postseason, when those two lines stopped dominating, David Clarkson isn't enough to create enough offensive from the bottom-6 to win hockey games.

The shift in style wasn't Sutter indecisiveness, it was because the factors that allowed our style to succeed: Parise and Elias' dominance and the lack of a credible opponent, stopped accurately representing the scenario we faced.
But in Game 1, the forecheck was extremely strong - we played the exact same way in Game 1 that we did in the regular season.

Just look at the ice times in Game 1 and Game 2.

Then look at the ice times the rest of the series. I see a change. I see in Game 5 Brendan Shanahan getting over 19 minutes in ice time. Now I loved Shanny in his time here - an extremely smart player. But he has no business playing that type of minutes. He only got 15:44 in Game 1. Only 15:59 in Game 2.

Parise got over 24 minutes in Game 2. Suddenly, he only gets over 17 in Game 3 while Madden gets 2 more minutes - overall and even strength!

Sutter obviously waffled after Game 2. It's obvious in their ice times. Did Parise and Elias's effectiveness decline? Sure. But I think a lot of it had to do with a change in philosophy in Game 3 on.

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06-21-2009, 11:53 PM
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I disagree. We kicked their ass for a game, and it was a game within which the Hurricanes never showed up. When they did show up, we didn't have what it took to beat them. We were no longer the same team that dominated during the regular season, our stars were no longer superstars and that's just going to happen. Our stars playing like superstars is what made it work, when they stopped, we stopped.
I think it's BS. We handed them the keys and they took a joyride. They were dominated by us to the same degree they were by Pittsburgh. I think people were looking for a reason why they beat us and Boston and then got throttled by the Pens.

It's simple. Sutter and Julien coached to lose and Bylsma coached to win. If the Devils had played their January game, which they did for 4 periods, they win. If Boston played their January game, they probably DESTROY Carolina. At 3-1 down, they had to open up and play, and what happens, they handle Carolina. Problem is, at 3-1 down, you need to be perfect. Mistake made in Game 7 OT, a bad pokecheck, and they go home. That's why it's absolutely hilarious that Julien got the Jack Adams after that performance. A total joke. Why not give it to Barry Melrose if you're gonna give it to Julien.

If you are going to hand the keys and not play strength versus strength, you increase the chances of your strength being stopped. Game 4 was a microcosm of the series, and it was so similiar to the bad Julien games in 2007. Strategy fails miserably, change strategy, dominate, and then regress to old strategy when the game is close again.

What was he playing for in Game 4? Why extend them game, what did he have to lose? You coach timid, the players play timid, and everything is timid. If you have it by the balls, you don't give it back. We gave it back bigtime, except when we were in trouble, then we did enough to get by.

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06-21-2009, 11:59 PM
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and just to add, 3 months ago, I would have been fighting DF for the front seat on the Sutter bandwagon, it's not like Julien where I was looking for a reason to say something bad about him. but post 3 months ago, he **** the bed so bad there's no way you can defend him

I was basically praying he wasn't going to be fired when they tanked. And then I got rewarded with THAT in the playoffs. I swear to god, the first Shanny-Madden-Pando line match shift in the series, I said to my friend next to me... "He's not really going to do that for the whole series, is he? They couldn't keep up with me, and they're going to get first line minutes."

Well, he really did it.

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06-22-2009, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
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and just to add, 3 months ago, I would have been fighting DF for the front seat on the Sutter bandwagon, it's not like Julien where I was looking for a reason to say something bad about him. but post 3 months ago, he **** the bed so bad there's no way you can defend him

I was basically praying he wasn't going to be fired when they tanked. And then I got rewarded with THAT in the playoffs. I swear to god, the first Shanny-Madden-Pando line match shift in the series, I said to my friend next to me... "He's not really going to do that for the whole series, is he? They couldn't keep up with me, and they're going to get first line minutes."

Well, he really did it.
I don't have a good defense for him on this. As much as I think our team just didn't have what it would take to beat Carolina with no forecheckers outside the top-6 and no capable defensemen outside the top-2, there is no conceivable reason for Sutter to believe going back to old faithful of Pandolfo and Madden would work any better this year than it has any of the last four.

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06-22-2009, 12:23 AM
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I don't have a good defense for him on this. As much as I think our team just didn't have what it would take to beat Carolina with no forecheckers outside the top-6 and no capable defensemen outside the top-2, there is no conceivable reason for Sutter to believe going back to old faithful of Pandolfo and Madden would work any better this year than it has any of the last four.
and then I get treated to Bylsma cramming it down Staal's throat. you really don't need overwhelming skill to do this, even on the blue line.

Carolina rolls in a ball defensively in their own zone, you can control the game with three players on the cycle. Parise's strength as a player is as garbageman and taking advantage of chaos in these situations to get a chance. It would have worked. It did work. But they stopped, rolled in a ball, allowed Maurice to adjust without adjusting back, and that was that.

To be 100% fair, Langs injury hurts. But when you have an extra top 6 forward who can skate (if only in a straight line because of an injury) it shouldn't stop you. and when you have the Parise-Zajac-Elias wild card and don't use it... it was just bad. Without Langs, throw those three guys at Staal and let's see what happens. two of them are very good defensive payers, Parise can survive on work alone. They never did it. They were content to put Jurassic Inc on Staal, and Maurice just kept swapping wingers until he found something that worked. Wasn't like they were going to score on Staal (whose unit would always be the weakest defensively), so he had plenty of time.

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06-22-2009, 01:51 AM
  #22
Darius Dangleaitis
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Sutter is a good coach. I am disappointed to see him leave.

He said his junior team needed him, he missed his family, whatever. I empathized and understood his reasons; albeit he is supposed to be a professional and should have considered those things when agreeing to coach the Devils. Whatever, nobody's perfect, no big deal.

BUT...when he says he needs to be back in Red Deers front office and then TWO WEEKS after leaving the Devils he goes back on his reasoning and takes another NHL job, that's what pisses me off. He certainly won't be able to work with Red Deer, at least nearly as much, now that he is the coach of the Flames.

Yech.

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06-22-2009, 05:34 AM
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06-22-2009, 06:14 AM
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Woulds you like me to crap on you, Mister Boooosh?

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06-22-2009, 06:46 AM
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