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René Lecavalier Divisional Quarterfinals: Montréal vs. Guelph

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Old
04-07-2012, 02:03 PM
  #1
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René Lecavalier Divisional Quarterfinals: Montréal vs. Guelph

1893 Montreal AAA





Head Coach: Punch Imlach
Asst Head Coach: Joe Primeau
Captain: Phil Esposito
Assts: Pierre Pilote, Doug Bentley


Doug Bentley - Phil Esposito - Hooley Smith
Dany Heatley - Denis Savard - Larry Aurie
Rick Nash - Pierre Turgeon - John MacLean
Jan Erixon - Orland Kurtenbach - Mike Keane
F Peter McNab, LW Georges Mantha


Pierre Pilote - Bill White
Joe Hall - Babe Pratt
Rod Seiling - Shea Weber
Mark Tinordi

Billy Smith
Evgeni Nabokov

Vs.



Guelph Platers
1986 Memorial Cup Champions

Home Rink: Guelph Memorial Gardens (1948)
GM: BraveCanadian

Coaches: Pat Quinn, John Muckler
Captain: Joe Sakic
Alternates: Art Coulter, Si Griffis

Johnny Bucyk - Joe Sakic -Brett Hull
Jack Adams - Marty Barry - Bill Mosienko
Jere Lehtinen - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
John Madden - Mel Bridgman - Bobby Gould

Paul Coffey - Art Coulter
Gennady Tsygankov - Si Griffis
Bill Hajt - Hobey Baker

Grant Fuhr
Chris Osgood

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04-07-2012, 02:05 PM
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The names in the titles will get confusing with teams in the same city... maybe we should use the names instead of the cities when 2 teams are in the same place.

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04-07-2012, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenchBrawl View Post
The names in the titles will get confusing with teams in the same city... maybe we should use the names instead of the cities when 2 teams are in the same place.
If teams from the same city meet in the playoffs, I will put the full team names in the titles. For now, it's not an issue.

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04-07-2012, 02:22 PM
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This is definitely the best first round matchup. I love both of these teams.

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04-07-2012, 02:24 PM
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It's certainly the first round matchup I'd pay the most money to watch.

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04-07-2012, 02:40 PM
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This is definitely the best first round matchup. I love both of these teams.
Just what I was thinking when I entered the thread, this and Lada Togliatta/Garnish Cougars are my two favorite matchups in the Coleman Conference.

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04-07-2012, 04:35 PM
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Montreal has Pilote, Pratt, and Weber moving the puck to 3 centers (Esposito, Savard, and Turgeon) who are top 29 in assists, top 31 in points, and top 50 in goals all time. On the first line Bentley is the playmaker and Hooley is the puck winner. Esposito is a great passer in the crease whose 873 assists place him 13th all time among centers. 72 Summit Series defensive star Bill White and 83 Conn Smythe winner Battlin Billy Smith provide solid defense.

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04-07-2012, 07:11 PM
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Esposito is a bad matchup for Guelph to try to stop - who will keep him from just dominating the crease? Coulter was a beast, but paired with Coffey?

But Coffey is an equally bad matchup for Montreal to try stop - who on Montreal will defend him in open ice?

I can see this series being very high scoring.

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04-08-2012, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Esposito is a bad matchup for Guelph to try to stop - who will keep him from just dominating the crease? Coulter was a beast, but paired with Coffey?
Luckily, the way our team was made we have one very distinct advantage in our favour regarding Espo: we won't be in the penalty box very often at all.

Espo's PP scoring accounted for a good chunk of his offense, and he isn't going to have the usual amount of opportunities here. We'll almost definitely have more powerplay opportunities by a fair margin and that compounds the benefit -- he can't score from the bench.

Obviously you're never going to shut him down, but taking away a big chunk of his high percentage chances to get to the crease in the first place is a great step in the right direction. Not to mention his foot speed was nothing to write home about, and that is going to come into play against our team -- how often is the puck going to be retrieved by one of our speedy guys and be gone by the time he's arriving?

Adding to that, Montreal has a few "bad boys" (Pilote, Hall, Pratt for example) who are going to take their fair share of penalties - especially trying to contain a team with speed like ours.

I like our chances against the PK units.

Quote:
But Coffey is an equally bad matchup for Montreal to try stop - who on Montreal will defend him in open ice?

I can see this series being very high scoring.
Good question regarding Coffey. Montreal seems especially light on real good defensive forwards to pick up Coffey coming late etc.

Another thing that I like in this matchup is that Heatley's goalscoring vanishes in the playoffs which really brings down their second line unless he can find a way to shake that.

Heatley is a .46GPG guy in the regular season and a .23GPG guy in the playoffs. He does have decent offensive production in the playoffs overall, but heavily slanted towards assists, and you're not getting half as much out of Denis Savard as you could if he is being asked to do everything because he's a better playmaker than finisher himself (although still good).

Nash would be an option for them to move up but he doesn't even know what the playoffs are so that is a question mark.

In general:

I think our forward lines are more responsible two ways in an overall sense, I believe we have a decided speed advantage, we'll enjoy a heavy advantage in powerplay opportunities, and I'll love watching Mel Brigman play against Pierre Turgeon.

This would be a very entertaining series to say the least when you have the firepower these two teams have and the clutch goaltending they each have too.

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04-08-2012, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Another thing that I like in this matchup is that Heatley's goalscoring vanishes in the playoffs which really brings down their second line unless he can find a way to shake that.

Heatley is a .46GPG guy in the regular season and a .23GPG guy in the playoffs. He does have decent offensive production in the playoffs overall, but heavily slanted towards assists, and you're not getting half as much out of Denis Savard as you could if he is being asked to do everything because he's a better playmaker than finisher himself (although still good).
I think this is nitpicking. Heatley has found a way to produce in the playoffs. The sample sizes are too small here for us to get too caught up in exactly how he has done it.

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04-08-2012, 07:06 PM
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I think this is nitpicking. Heatley has found a way to produce in the playoffs. The sample sizes are too small here for us to get too caught up in exactly how he has done it.
How many games are needed for a fair sample of playoff games??

I already said that his playoff production has been ok overall, but not in fulfilling the role he has on the line as it was constructed.

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04-10-2012, 02:58 AM
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Heatley has 57 points in 66 playoff games for a solid .86 PPG in the playoffs.

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04-10-2012, 12:37 PM
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how will montreal's players mesh with imlach?

imlach has a reputation as a defensive minded, hard driving, disciplinarian. i don't know if imlach always coached that way, but imlach does not seem to the ideal coach for players like esposito, heatley, savard, turgeon, nash and pratt.

frank mahovlich famously struggled with imlach, and i think the same was true for bathgate.

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04-10-2012, 10:21 PM
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Does anyone have a stat that shows Espo scored a disproportionately high percentage of his points on the PP compared to other all-time greats?

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04-11-2012, 12:36 PM
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Does anyone have a stat that shows Espo scored a disproportionately high percentage of his points on the PP compared to other all-time greats?
As far as I know he has one of the higher percentages but it isn't higher than say Marcel Dionne as a comparable ~ 35%

That is a good chunk of his offense that he'll be working harder for in this series at ES instead.

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04-11-2012, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Does anyone have a stat that shows Espo scored a disproportionately high percentage of his points on the PP compared to other all-time greats?
overpass kindly posted this data in the thread for JFA's and my series.



Another way of looking at it - top scorers from 1967-68 to 1977-78
Player ESP PPP Points ES%
Esposito P 738 460 1233 60%
Ratelle 676 255 936 72%
Orr 515 303 863 60%
Mikita 550 251 817 67%
Clarke 524 231 797 66%
Bucyk 477 313 790 60%
Gilbert R 538 251 789 68%
Lemaire 583 193 782 75%
Cournoyer 520 243 764 68%
Hodge 542 182 730 74%

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04-11-2012, 01:44 PM
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4 of the 10 players listed in the chart are either Orr or played with him. So you're making the old "He scored many PP goals with Orr so he's weak at ES" argument. Playing well with a great player like Orr is a strength, not a weakness. Not all great players play well with other great players. All 3 of my centers are top 29 all time in assists so PP goals are not exactly going to hard to come by with those great passing centers feeding Espo and my wingers.

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04-11-2012, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by God Made Me View Post
4 of the 10 players listed in the chart are either Orr or played with him. So you're making the old "He scored many PP goals with Orr so he's weak at ES" argument. Playing well with a great player like Orr is a strength, not a weakness. Not all great players play well with other great players. All 3 of my centers are top 29 all time in assists so PP goals are not exactly going to hard to come by with those great passing centers feeding Espo and my wingers.
even though esposito scored a fairly large % of his points on PP, he also was clearly the top ES scorer of that period, and his overall lead in scoring is huge.

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04-11-2012, 02:42 PM
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even though esposito scored a fairly large % of his points on PP, he also was clearly the top ES scorer of that period, and his overall lead in scoring is huge.
You are right. I think BC also has a point that if he's not going to take many penalties, that will somewhat limit Esposito's effectiveness.

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04-11-2012, 03:21 PM
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You are right. I think BC also has a point that if he's not going to take many penalties, that will somewhat limit Esposito's effectiveness.
On the other hand, the wingers on that first line at even strength are a scary good combination for the purposes of winning the puck, lugging it up the ice and getting it to Espo in a scoring area. Even if Guelph doesn't take a penalty the whole series, that is still a frightening line at even strength.

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04-11-2012, 03:27 PM
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On the other hand, the wingers on that first line at even strength are a scary good combination for the purposes of winning the puck, lugging it up the ice and getting it to Espo in a scoring area. Even if Guelph doesn't take a penalty the whole series, that is still a frightening line at even strength.
Should be interesting because my bet is Quinn would play them power on power and let the chips fall where they may.

I know I don't mind a Sakic vs. Espo matchup at all..

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04-11-2012, 08:28 PM
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It's certainly the first round matchup I'd pay the most money to watch.
Agreed. Especialy Guelph would be an incredibly entertaining team.

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04-11-2012, 09:49 PM
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All 3 of my centers are top 29 all time in assists
I wanted to mention something about these references you keep making.

1) It is basically an empty statement because of how biased the all time rankings are towards modern players (because of number of games they play and length of their careers now).

2) If we want to talk about centers here are their top 10s summarized:

NameGAPtsNameGAPts
Sakic5910Esposito9910
Barry736Savard155
Richards043Turgeon132
Guelph121619Montreal111719

Obviously this is just a very high level glance because Esposito has many more first and second place finishes than Sakic for example, and there are other things to keep in mind like the relative difficulty of placing top 10 in different eras too. So take it for what it is worth.

I'm just attempting to very quickly illustrate that if you think the offense of your centers will be the determining factor in a win for you for some reason.. I think it will take more than that.

I'm pretty confident we have the guns to match any team in this..

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04-13-2012, 06:50 PM
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From the lineup thread in case people missed my edit adding this:


The game plan for my team this year:

I built this team attempting to suit and take advantage of Paul Coffey to a large degree. He is not going to be hidden on this team, we are going to try to force our opponents to hide from him.

To do so I've drafted a coach that didn't buy into the trap during the dead puck era and who liked to roll lines for the most part and occasionally match against an important opponent player or line. (Pat Quinn). I feel we have given him the horses to do this with three defensively responsible scoring lines that will be able to take advantage of Coffey and support our own zone, and one gritty more defensively oriented line that can be used to somewhat blunt an opponents best attackers when need be.

I feel Quinn is a little bit light in the X's and O's game so I have given him a master strategist in John Muckler. Muckler was the game planner who got the most out of Coffey in Edmonton.

We will be an attacking team, high speed, up tempo, all out, all the time.

To be successful with this strategy I did a couple of things very carefully:

1) We won't be in the box often. We have several Lady Byng winners on our team, including one of our biggest physical presences in Johnny Bucyk. We want to minimize the time we're in the box. That having been said, to make sure we don't get run out of the rink we do have Bucyk, Adams, Bridgman, Coulter etc. to keep the peace. I also drafted Probert so that he can be inserted into the lineup if a team is getting out of hand in the playoffs and he and Bridgman can introduce the other team to the virtues of a clean game.

2) We are specialized so that all our best offensive players will play only PP and ES and our best defensive-focused players will play only ES and PK. This will keep the minutes down on our big guns and let us maintain our tempo. Only Si Griffis is playing both special teams and he is a second pairing at ES and second team PK.

3) Speed. With players like Sakic, Barry, Mosienko, Richards, Gaborik, Coffey, Griffis, Baker and on and on.. I tried to pick speed whenever it was feasible to take full advantage of being able to streak from transition with Coffey's long passes.. or just keep up with him on the rush.

4) I tried to make sure we had a rushing speedy defenseman on each pairing. Coffey is paired with an anchor in Coulter. Baker is paired with a defensive anchor in Hajt. Our second pairing features two two-way defenseman so they will take turns. The point being that our team has the capability of playing the same all the time.

5) We have goaltenders who were known for having a good attitude and shrugging off their personal numbers for team success. Which will be important when we're trading chances a lot of the time.
----------------------------

Regarding this series:

In this series I think we have the offensive depth to match or even exceed Montreal's impressive firepower with our speed and the distribution of minutes to maintain it. I believe our forwards as a whole are better two-ways, and I think the goaltenders are pretty much a wash -- both being excellent playoff goaltenders -- but I do think we have two distinct advantages:

1) I think we have a solid advantage on special teams.

Our PP units will almost certainly get more opportunities than Montreal's due to how cleanly competitive our top 6 is in particular (5/6 of our top 6 forwards are Lady Byng winners including one of our big physical presences in Bucyk and our whole third line might as well be Lady Byng winners [Richards is] -- even though they have a strong board/corner guy in Lehtinen as well).

I believe our PK is stronger overall. In addition to taking few penalties in the first place, our first PK unit has to be one of the strongest in the draft, period.

Our second unit is fairly average but decent with a two time Selke finalist in Gould and a noted PKer in Tsygankov.

Both our PK units benefit from having fresh players as none of them except Si Griffis play both special teams.

2) I believe we have a coaching/chemistry advantage in this series because we have a coach and assistant who have a proven track record playing the style that our entire team was constructed to play. I do think that Imlach is obviously a great coach, but I don't think some of the Montreal players are going to mesh well with such a taskmaster.

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04-13-2012, 10:44 PM
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5) We have goaltenders who were known for having a good attitude and shrugging off their personal numbers for team success. Which will be important when we're trading chances a lot of the time.
Good case, seriously, but I have to ask about this part. How is a goalie shrugging off his personal numbers (i.e. sometimes being OK with allowing a goal) ever a good thing for his team?

On the other hand, how is taking your personal numbers very seriously a bad thing for the team? I mean, it's 100% apparent how a forward or a defenseman can play for themselves and hurt the team, but how can a goalie do it? By stopping the puck more often? that helps the team, I thought.

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