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With Havlat back..what will our PP lines look like??

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10-12-2003, 07:51 AM
  #1
south-sentral
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With Havlat back..what will our PP lines look like??

I know last game our first unit was Spezza-Bonk-Hossa with Redden and Alfie anchoring the points, but now with Havlat getting ready to suit up who would get bumped down to the second unit?

I really wanna see a first unit of Havlat-Spezza-Hossa but chances are Spezza would be placed with Schastlivy and white in the second pp..

Thoughts?

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10-12-2003, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by south-sentral
I know last game our first unit was Spezza-Bonk-Hossa with Redden and Alfie anchoring the points, but now with Havlat getting ready to suit up who would get bumped down to the second unit?

I really wanna see a first unit of Havlat-Spezza-Hossa but chances are Spezza would be placed with Schastlivy and white in the second pp..

Thoughts?

Anyway you cut it they'll have a kick ass first unit and a strong second unit. So far, I like the way Schastlivy has played(granted it's only two games in), but I think this now gives Ottawa the opportunity to go with the hot hand rather than just a dedicated top unit.

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10-12-2003, 04:54 PM
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The Hamburglar
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Last night they did try Spezza on the 2nd unit with Schastlivy and Smolinski once....

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10-13-2003, 07:51 PM
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Last season, the PP was excellent with a first unit of Havlat, Bonk, Hoss, Alf and Redden.
I wouldn't be surprised if they ran out Spezza, Schast, Smoke, Chara and Rocky as the second unit.

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10-14-2003, 04:15 AM
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John Holmes*
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emo
Last season, the PP was excellent with a first unit of Havlat, Bonk, Hoss, Alf and Redden.
I wouldn't be surprised if they ran out Spezza, Schast, Smoke, Chara and Rocky as the second unit.
How do you take Spezza off the 1st unit?

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10-14-2003, 05:57 AM
  #6
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Originally Posted by John Holmes
How do you take Spezza off the 1st unit?
What do you mean? You just take him off and insert him into the second.

Last year's first PP unit was very effective. I'd leave it as is and move Spezza to the second. It's better for Spezza anyway - people might start thinking that he only plays well when Alfie's on the ice with him.

If it's the 1st or 2nd label people have an objection to, swap the labels for all I care. Sometimes I don't understand why people are so anxious to give Spezza everything - more time, more PP time, whatever line he wants to be on... The way the Sens used to run is that if you're good enough defensively, you have more ice time and free reign to do whatever you want to do offensively. Why should Spezza be an exception? And if he isn't, he hasn't played enough games up here to show he's at the defensive level to warrant Jacques Martin's trust. Spezza can score goals, but he's not going to become that complete player unless Martin puts the screws to him. I guess, I think that because he can score, the fans spoil him.

 
Old
10-14-2003, 06:04 AM
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Havlat will take the spot on the first PP unit I believe. His chemistry with Bonk and Hossa has been well established over the last few seasons, and it was 2nd in the league last year I believe. It may take a few games before Martin ultimately inserts him in there though.

Spezza will be a good fit on the 2nd unit with Smoke, Schastlivy and at times, White. Chara might also slip in there at forward at times.

It's a good problem to have. If the first unit does struggle at times, Spezza will probably get a look there as well. Or the whole 2nd unit might.

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10-14-2003, 06:41 AM
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So far Spezza has had the most icetime for a forward against Montreal, and he played 8 seconds less than Alfie, who led the forwards in icetime against the Wings.

Nobody is giving Spezza anything. He has earned his spot, and if he and Alfredsson compliment each other's play...even better. I've seen Alfie walk in from the point and score on a perfect pass from Spezza 3 times now.

Spezza is already our best playmaking centre, and to have him on the bench in favour of Bonk is ridiculous to say the least.

You want your best offensive players on your 1st PP.
Right now I'd say that is:

Spezza
Hossa
Havlat
Alfredsson
Redden

"Balancing" your PP units is nice if balance is your thing, but my thing is scoring.

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10-14-2003, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by John Holmes
So far Spezza has had the most icetime for a forward against Montreal, and he played 8 seconds less than Alfie, who led the forwards in icetime against the Wings.

Nobody is giving Spezza anything. He has earned his spot, and if he and Alfredsson compliment each other's play...even better. I've seen Alfie walk in from the point and score on a perfect pass from Spezza 3 times now.

Spezza is already our best playmaking centre, and to have him on the bench in favour of Bonk is ridiculous to say the least.

You want your best offensive players on your 1st PP.
Right now I'd say that is:

Spezza
Hossa
Havlat
Alfredsson
Redden

"Balancing" your PP units is nice if balance is your thing, but my thing is scoring.
I agree with most of what you've said, but will beg to differ re. the "Nobody is giving Spezza anything" and the "...in favour of Bonk is ridiculous..." thing.

As earlier, nobody is saying anything negative about Spezza's offensive powers - they're substantial and quite impressive. It's his defensive play that often gets overlooked by the fans. It's easy to see a player score and jump on the bandwagon. He'll get a lot of points this year, no doubt. For me, the true test is going to be his plus/minus stat. He just doesn't put out the effort to be defensively responsible sometimes. And unless his first instinct is to be defensively responsible, he'll be ineffective, because he's not a great skater and he won't be able to get back on time.

Spezza has earned his spot on Ottawa's roster. Ice time, is a whole different matter.

I suppose though, if your "thing is scoring", none of that matters though. It's just a difference in the way we look at things. I'm not saying you're wrong. In fact, I bet most fans would look at Spezza's scoring and just agree with you. I tend to like the way the Sens play as a five-man unit that move up AND down the ice together. They are a complete offence unit and a complete defensive unit. Although it's only been two games, I've already seen a few times, Spezza move up the ice with his teammates and then sort of float up there instead of coming back with them. I've seen half-hearted poke checks (mostly in the season opener). If he works at it, he'll be fine. If he works at it... that's up to Martin to train. He did it with Hossa and Havlat. I hope he'll be able to instill the same work ethic in Spezza. If he can't, I won't be complaining if Spezza gets benched - goals or not. His scoring is not going to help if the opposite team scores one for every one Spezza pots.

 
Old
10-14-2003, 07:34 AM
  #10
John Holmes*
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I happen to believe that Spezza's defensive shortcomings and lack of foot speed are greatly exaggerated.

He finished -3 last year, and that is not too bad when you consider that he was -7 at one point, and still played most of his minutes on the PP.

Spezza is a +1 so far, by the way.

Marian Hossa finished at +8 last season.
Alfie was +9
Bertuzzi was a +2
Mario was -25

Are they greater detriments to their teams than their offense is worth?

Spezza's job is to make things happen and score points.
Jacques isn't one to give out first line minutes.

Maybe he is testing Spezza to see how he'll hold up.

So far he passes in my book.

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10-14-2003, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by John Holmes
I happen to believe that Spezza's defensive shortcomings and lack of foot speed are greatly exaggerated.

He finished -3 last year, and that is not too bad when you consider that he was -7 at one point, and still played most of his minutes on the PP.

Spezza is a +1 so far, by the way.

Marian Hossa finished at +8 last season.
Alfie was +9
Bertuzzi was a +2
Mario was -25

Are they greater detriments to their teams than their offense is worth?

Spezza's job is to make things happen and score points.
Jacques isn't one to give out first line minutes.

Maybe he is testing Spezza to see how he'll hold up.

So far he passes in my book.
Again, I'm not disagreeing with you (aside from the "thinking his defensive shortcoming and lack of foot speed are greatly exaggerated"). I'm just placing more emphasis on the complete player package. Marion Hossa is generally regarded as one of the top two-way forwards in the league. Alfie has always been defensively responsible. I'm not a big fan of Bertuzzi and think Naslund is the better Canucks example to use. And Mario is a special case in that his role on the Pens goes way beyond scoring. It's inspirational - and that's the ONLY reason why a -25 is 'acceptable' (although I have to admit, I don't think -25 is acceptable).

A +1 over 2 games is great. Give me half a year, and if he's in the +'s, I'll probably give him a 'pass'. I'm not looking for Havlat's +20 or Forsberg's +52. But, I've seen enough shoddy defensive play for me to have reservations about Spezza. He has almost everything needed to be THE complete player (provided he keeps works on his skating), he just needs to be it. He's proved he can score. He hasn't proved anything else. I hope he does.

 
Old
10-14-2003, 08:17 AM
  #12
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What proof do we really have that Spezza is better than Bonk on the first powerplay unit thus far? He's played a couple of games - that's it, and his powerplay marker was hardly self orchestrated.

Bonk is VERY good on the powerplay, especially with Hossa down low in the right circle with their give'n go and the triangle with Havlat. To the point Ottawa had one of the best powerplays in the league last year.

To say definitively that Spezza will be more effective on that unit after a couple of games doesn't make sense to me. Especially considering he doesn't play full time with any of the other forwards on the powerplay (Alfie plays the point).

Let's not go jumping to conclusions too quickly based on two games.

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10-14-2003, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Observer
provided he keeps works on his skating), .
I will really disagree with you here. His skating has improved tremendously, and given it wasn't that bad to start, I believe Spezza is already one of the better skaters on the team (and Ottawa has arguably the best group of skaters in the league). The kid can fly, and better yet, he has tremendous lateral movement and puck control at high speeds. And that is a lot more important that raw straight away Magnus Arvedson type jets.

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10-14-2003, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sens(e)
I will really disagree with you here. His skating has improved tremendously, and given it wasn't that bad to start, I believe Spezza is already one of the better skaters on the team (and Ottawa has arguably the best group of skaters in the league). The kid can fly, and better yet, he has tremendous lateral movement and puck control at high speeds. And that is a lot more important that raw straight away Magnus Arvedson type jets.
Spezza would probably win a puck relay competition among sens players (or come a close second to havlat). Very few players can skate with the puck at full speed (I remember reading that Igor Mirnov can).

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10-14-2003, 10:29 AM
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I think its also important to realize that Spezza's playmaking abilities arent required on the first unit. Bonk is perfect because he is so big and is willing to stand in the front of the net. Check out his goals last year, almost all came on the powerplay, and almost all of them came within the two foot range. Having Hossa creating from the half boards, and havlat circling, I dont know how important it is to have a "playmaking" center on the ice with them. As long as shots are coming through, they are going to create no matter

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10-14-2003, 10:31 AM
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Did you see Spezza playing D near the end of the Wings game Saturday night? With about 2 minutes left in regulation, Volchenkov moved deep in the Wings zone, so Spezza nicely stayed back to cover his spot. However the Wings got puck control and Spezza was forced to act as a D - it wasn't perfect but it was not as horrible as I thought it might be.

As to the PP, it's funny that if we put Alfie, Hossa, and Havlat all on the first unit, we have no RWs left for the second unit. That said they should all be on the first unit, as it works great together, especially Havlat to the left front of the net, Hossa working the right side, and Alfie working the right point so that Hossa ends up with room.

I would be tempted on have Spezza on the second unit being the QB, like they used at Bingo, or have Spezza start up front, and Chara on D, but on some occasions then have Chara move towards the front of the net to be the screen, while Spezza slides back to play QB.

Assuming Bonk, Hossa, Havlat, Alfie and Redden are the first unit, for the second unit we have to pick from Spezza, Smoke, White, Schastlivy up front and Chara, Rachunek, Volchenkov, and Pothier on D. The last two deserve some consideration - Volchenkov has a very nice point shot (hard, just off the ice, hits the net), and Pothier has great distribution skills. Up front Smoke has size, while Schastlivy and White can take Spezza feeds and put the puck in the net in a blink.

I would probably go with White-Spezza-Smoke-Pothier-Volchenkov if it was my choice, so you can see why I'm not a NHL coach. Put another way, it will be quite interesting to see who the coaches put on the pp units.

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10-14-2003, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Volchenkov
Spezza would probably win a puck relay competition among sens players (or come a close second to havlat). Very few players can skate with the puck at full speed (I remember reading that Igor Mirnov can).
I'm fighting a losing battle here, it seems.

From what I've seen of Spezza (and maybe you guys follow him more closely), his skating and skating speed is nowhere near where the top Sens are and I'd say it's below the average on the Senators team. Has he improved? I think so. It might have been off-season training, but he seems to be able to jump-start faster than last year (from what I've seen in the pre-season and two regular season games). As for skating, he'll only get better with experience and time, but he's not a great skater - he's solid, not great.

Speed-wise, he's nowhere close to Hossa, Schastlivy, Schaefer or Alfie. And he's slower to start-up than Bonk. Havlat goes without saying, since he's probably the quickest on a team full of quick guys.

Where are you guys seeing this improvement? Practices? I've watched just about every home pre-season game and the last two regular season games, and although I do think he's improved in the speed department, I'm not seeing what you guys are saying. Can you remember any incidents in the last two games? I also taped them and have rewatched the games, so can go back to look it up. From what I've seen, he's OK - just not the quickest guy in the pack. And I think he can be better.

Again, I'm not trying to run him down. I agree that he's got super talent and is a gifted goal scorer. I think he still needs to work on his skating and speed. And I'm just not ready to hold him to a lower defensive standard than I hold the rest of the Sens to. Defensively, I'm not seeing any consistent effort.

 
Old
10-14-2003, 11:07 AM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Observer
Where are you guys seeing this improvement? Practices? .
While Spezza is not in Hossa or Havlat's class, nor does he have Alfredsson's acceleration, he most certainly has an equal top gear to Schaefer, and I really do think he is quicker off the mark than Bonk, although that acceleration quotient is probably still the area that needs some work.

To be honest, I don't have a great example from the first two regular season games - btw, he actually hasn't player THAT great in the first two games despite the stats IMO. I do know in the Saturday night preseason game against the Habs you could see when he drove the puck at full gear the opposition was backing off in consideration of his speed (which lead to the Sens easily gaining the zone a few times). It would have been either the 1st or 3rd period (only remember the direction he was travelling).

Where I really became aware of his speed was last regular season after his call-up later in the year. He had several occasions where he rushed the puck up at a speed which was much better than average that sent d-man scrambling back. I just really think he fools people with the way he slows things down at times, which makes people think he is slow. That, and the fact it was his rep coming out of junior. It's tough to get rid of a rep once it sticks.

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10-14-2003, 11:46 AM
  #19
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sens(e)
It's tough to get rid of a rep once it sticks.
Like how the sens are primarily a defensive team and are boring to watch.... Who made up that fabrication anyway??

Pertaining to the topic, I think Spezza's defensive aspect of his game is not Selke worthy but he is getting there. Remember how Havlat was just so god damn awful when it came to checking back after dipsy-doodling around a couple of d-men, that he was scorned by JM almost every game. He learned the hard way but who woulda thunk that his plus minus would more than double. Keep in mind, Spezza is still very young and playing for a defensively strong team like Ottawa doesn't hurt either.

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10-14-2003, 12:00 PM
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Frankly I think unless the 1rst unit is playing poorly Spezza will be on the second unit.

Havlat - Bonk - Hossa
Redden - Alfredsson

This group had the sens ranked 2nd all season last year.. no reason to change this year.

Spezza played the point on Bingo's PP last season I seem to remeber... any thought to using him there here? Maybe the same sort of role Alfie plays on the first unit?

Schastlivy - White - Smolinski
Phillips - Spezza

perhaps?

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10-14-2003, 01:07 PM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skrymir
Spezza played the point on Bingo's PP last season I seem to remeber... any thought to using him there here? Maybe the same sort of role Alfie plays on the first unit?
This is what I meant by pp QB above.

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10-14-2003, 06:21 PM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Holmes
How do you take Spezza off the 1st unit?
I think Spezza, if he isn't already, will be the biggest threat on the PP. Last year, the PP was at the top of the league. If that first unit can lead the way like that, then I wouldn't be surprised to see Spezza make that second unit as big of a threat. bonk-hoss and havlat have that little triangle play that has been very successful. You've probably noticed that the PP goals with Spezza on the ice have a much different look. By putting him on the 2nd unit, you're essentially giving two very different looks on the PP from one unit to the other. That can't be easy for teh other team.

My suggestion that he'll be off teh first unit was an immediate thing. As soon as Martin feels the need to tinker, Spezza will be on the first. In martin's words, "there's no doubt."

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