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Jim Robson Divisional Finals: New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh

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Old
04-25-2012, 02:20 PM
  #1
BillyShoe1721
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Jim Robson Divisional Finals: New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh

New Jersey Swamp Devils

Head Coach: Lester Patrick
Assistant Coach: Roger Neilson

Ted Lindsay (C) - Duke Keats - Teemu Selanne
Bruce Stuart (A) - Russell Bowie - Martin St. Louis*
Don Marcotte - Edgar Laprade - Mush March
Gaye Stewart - Pete Mahovlich - Brian Rolston
*Bruce Stuart will take most of the faceoffs for the second line.

Jack Stewart - Brad Park
Hod Stuart - Jack Crawford (A)
Vasili Pervukhin - Bob Armstrong

Georges Vezina

John Ross Roach

PP1: Ted Lindsay - Duke Keats - Teemu Selanne - Hod Stuart - Brad Park
PP2: Gaye Stewart - Russell Bowie - Martin St Louis - Vasili Pervukhin - Brian Rolston
PK1: Edgar Laprade - Don Marcotte- Jack Stewart - Jack Crawford
PK2: Pete Mahovlich - Brian Rolston - Hod Stuart - Brad Park
PKX: Mush March, Martin St. Louis. (Rolston can take faceoffs if Laprade or Mahovlich is in the box)

Spares: Ray Getliffe(C/LW); Clem Loughlin (D); ; Al MacAdam (RW/LW)

vs.

Pittsburgh Keystones

Head Coach: Hap Day
Assistant Coach: Billy Reay

Gary Roberts - Henri Richard (C) - Boom Boom Geoffrion
John LeClair - Eric Lindros - Jim Pappin
Gilles Tremblay - Blair Russel - Bob Nevin (A)
Dave Trottier - Ken Linseman - Ken Randall

Gus Mortson - Bobby Orr
Lionel Hitchman - Rob Blake (A)
Allan "Eagle Eye" Cameron - Jerry Korab

Gump Worsley

Dave Kerr

Spares:
RW Anders Hedberg, C Dennis Maruk, D Dave Langevin

PP1: LeClair-Richard-Lindros-Geoffrion-Orr
PP2: Roberts-Linseman-Pappin-Korab-Blake

PK1: Russel-Nevin-Hitchman-Orr
PK2: Richard-Tremblay-Mortson-Blake
extras: Trottier, Linseman, Cameron


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 04-26-2012 at 06:37 PM.
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04-25-2012, 02:37 PM
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Here's to a well argued series, BBS.

Just a preliminary note, NJ will likely be changing our bottom 6 forwards to move Don Marcotte to the left side, so he can go out there against Bernard Geoffrion, the one wing on Pittsburgh really worth checking in open ice (LeClair is only really dangerous around the net, where he's covered by defensemen).

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04-25-2012, 03:39 PM
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How will New Jersey stop Bobby Orr?

The traditional blueprint was to send a heavy forecheck at him and force him to move it to his partner. Hitchman isn't a great puckmover so that could work if NJ can bring a strong forecheck.

A great skating two-way centre also helps against Orr. Unfortunately for the Devils Henri Richard is on the opposing team this draft. And I really don't think Keats and Bowie are ideal for limiting Orr's rushing.

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04-25-2012, 03:49 PM
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I actually think Laprade might be a decent match against Orr because he was a good skater himself, and was a really good puck ragger. I don't know how well this translates to taking the puck away from Orr, but yeah.. that might be NJ's best chance.

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04-25-2012, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
How will New Jersey stop Bobby Orr?

The traditional blueprint was to send a heavy forecheck at him and force him to move it to his partner. Hitchman isn't a great puckmover so that could work if NJ can bring a strong forecheck.

A great skating two-way centre also helps against Orr. Unfortunately for the Devils Henri Richard is on the opposing team this draft. And I really don't think Keats and Bowie are ideal for limiting Orr's rushing.
There were two teams in the 70s who had success against Orr in the playoffs. You are describing the Montreal model.

Philadelphia also had success against Orr and they did it by dumping the puck into his corner on purpose and then hitting him before he could turn around with speed, eventually wearing him down a little bit. NJ will use the Philadelphia model when either of the top lines is against Orr. Ted Lindsay and Bruce Stuart both have the combination of speed and nastiness to effectively execute the "dump the puck to Orr's corner and then knock the snot out of him" strategy. Meanwhile, Duke Keats or Martin St Louis will be back to help out the defensemen in transition.

I'll get to this in more detail.

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04-25-2012, 04:42 PM
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Looking forward to a good series as well.

Randall will stay in Hedberg's spot on the right wing and he and Lindsay should have some good battles when our fourth lines meet, assuming of course you're still giving those occasional shifts to Lindsay.

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04-25-2012, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
There were two teams in the 70s who had success against Orr in the playoffs. You are describing the Montreal model.

Philadelphia also had success against Orr and they did it by dumping the puck into his corner on purpose and then hitting him before he could turn around with speed, eventually wearing him down a little bit. NJ will use the Philadelphia model when either of the top lines is against Orr. Ted Lindsay and Bruce Stuart both have the combination of speed and nastiness to effectively execute the "dump the puck to Orr's corner and then knock the snot out of him" strategy. Meanwhile, Duke Keats or Martin St Louis will be back to help out the defensemen in transition.

I'll get to this in more detail.
Philadelphia only beat Orr's Bruins once, in the 1974 Finals, and Bobby, himself went 3-2-5 in 6 games at even strength in the series, which is a tick below his regular-season scoring rate that year, but not much. The big story of that series was how Philly's penalty-kill shut down the Boston powerplay, who got a ton of chances, but only scored two goals in the six game series. Philly didn't shut down Bobby Orr at even strength by any means, and at any rate, they only faced Bobby's Bruins once.

Bobby Orr didn't do **** against New York in 1973. You know why? He had a bad series. I don't buy that the "Philly Model" is some especially good tactic to troll Orr.

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04-25-2012, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Philadelphia only beat Orr's Bruins once, in the 1974 Finals, and Bobby, himself went 3-2-5 in 6 games at even strength in the series, which is a tick below his regular-season scoring rate that year, but not much. The big story of that series was how Philly's penalty-kill shut down the Boston powerplay, who got a ton of chances, but only scored two goals in the six game series. Philly didn't shut down Bobby Orr at even strength by any means, and at any rate, they only faced Bobby's Bruins once.

Bobby Orr didn't do **** against New York in 1973. You know why? He had a bad series. I don't buy that the "Philly Model" is some especially good tactic to troll Orr.
Sports Illustrated wrote in 1973 that the Rangers used an aggressive two-man forecheck to force Orr to pass the puck.

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04-25-2012, 07:45 PM
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Lineup change: New Jersey will be moving Don Marcotte (who can play both wings) to the left side to line up against Bernard Geoffrion. Blackhawks legend Mush March will play on the right side of the line. Marsh was a small fiesty player who seemed to have a Theoren Fleury attitude and aggressiveness despite his size (before Fleury's life fell apart). Marsh was one of the fastest players in the league and has been noted for his two-way play. He also had a knack for scoring in the playoffs. Marsh's speed will be very useful against Bobby Orr in transition.

Gaye Stewart will be moved down to the fourth line at even strength (but will still be a big part of the second PP) and Ray Getliffe will be benched.

New bottom 6:

Don Marcotte - Edgar Laprade - Mush March
Gaye Stewart - Pete Mahovlich - Brian Rolston

The OP has been edited to reflect this.

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04-25-2012, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Philadelphia only beat Orr's Bruins once, in the 1974 Finals, and Bobby, himself went 3-2-5 in 6 games at even strength in the series, which is a tick below his regular-season scoring rate that year, but not much. The big story of that series was how Philly's penalty-kill shut down the Boston powerplay, who got a ton of chances, but only scored two goals in the six game series. Philly didn't shut down Bobby Orr at even strength by any means, and at any rate, they only faced Bobby's Bruins once.

Bobby Orr didn't do **** against New York in 1973. You know why? He had a bad series. I don't buy that the "Philly Model" is some especially good tactic to troll Orr.
Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
Sports Illustrated wrote in 1973 that the Rangers used an aggressive two-man forecheck to force Orr to pass the puck.
Well then gentlemen, we'll just have to get Roger "Captain Video" Neilson to study the video of those playoffs and come up with his own answer. I'm sure Lester Patrick will be willing and able to implement any such scheme. Coaching is often cited as a prime reason the Bruins didn't win more Cups, after all.

You guys wondered exactly what Captain Video was doing behind the bench, didn't you?

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04-25-2012, 10:10 PM
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I'm gonna swap Hitchman with Mortson. Gus is better in the transition game and better at giving it back than Hitch. He'll be a better fit next to Orr dealing with Jersey's heavy forechecking and Hitchman's game won't be lost next to Blake on the second pair.

I know his skillset has seemed questionable on a contrast pair so I'm going to try to address that later on.


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04-26-2012, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bring Back Scuderi View Post
I'm gonna swap Hitchman with Mortson. Gus is better in the transition game and better at giving it back than Hitch. He'll be a better fit next to Orr dealing with Jersey's heavy forechecking and Hitchman's game won't be lost next to Blake on the second pair.

I know his skillset has seemed questionable on a contrast pair so I'm going to try to address that later on.
Interesting move. I can see a few benefits for you and one (potentially major) drawback.

Benefits:

1) makes the strategy of forechecking Orr hard less successful, as Mortson is competent with the puck on his stick. (But competent doesn't mean great and Orr will continue to be the focus)

2) Mortson can be something of a bodyguard for Orr in a way Hitchman isn't

3) Balances the second pairing better. Both Blake and Mortson can get in trouble positionally going for a big hit, and both were very prone to penalties. I see Hitchman as a Derian Hatcher type in terms of style and quality (maybe not quite as dirty as Hatcher) and think he'd be a safer partner for Blake.

The drawback:

*) I'm really not sure if Mortson is positionally sound enough to hold down the fort for Bobby Orr when Orr is doing his thing. Bobby Orr is the best ever at recovering defensively when caught up ice, but even he isn't as fast as the puck. And the Swamp Devils possess a counterattack ability quite a bit better than any team Orr faced in real life - with the puck movement of Brad Park and Hod Stuart (and to a lesser extent Pervukhin), and the speed and quick strike ability of Ted Lindsay, Teemu Selanne, and Martin St Louis. Mush Marsh doesn't have the hands of a top scorer, but he's lightning fast and had the habit of scoring big goals. I see a Pittsburgh turnover being sent back the other way in a hurry, with Mortson being the guy trying to play the role of a stay at homer.

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04-26-2012, 02:12 AM
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Rob Scuderi
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I think Mortson's up for the challenge. His Leafs met Lindsay's Wings five times in the playoffs going 3-2 overall. The Wings won in '50 and '52 when Gordie really got going. Mortson and Thomson seemed to be the best pair on those teams and Thomson was pretty aggressive in his own end himself. Mortson definitely isn't as steady as Hitchman, but I think he has the speed to hold his own when your quick wings come the other way. New Jersey does have a pretty serious counterattack so Henri Richard will have to be relied upon to help out. I think he and Mortson can do a solid job of holding the fort until Orr gets back into the play.

Mortson's PIM also dropped during the playoffs a fair bit compared to the regular season. It doesn't directly address any concern but I think it's worth mentioning.

Regular Season PIM Leaders 1947-1952 (Mortson's time in Toronto)
  PIM GP
Gus Mortson 709 371
Bill Ezinicki 645 320
Ted Lindsay 623 375
Maurice Richard 523 355
Fern Flaman 503 322
Tony Leswick 487 388
Jimmy Thomson 473 388
Bill Barilko 456 252
Bep Guidolin 443 380
Bill Gadsby 439 312

Playoff PIM Leaders 1947-1952
  PIM GP
Jimmy Thomson 107 51
Bill Barilko 104 47
Bill Ezinicki 87 40
Maurice Richard 83 44
Ted Lindsay 79 53
Jack Stewart 70 39
Leo Reise 68 52
Gus Mortson 62 47
Gordie Howe 61 41
Fern Flaman 54 28

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04-26-2012, 03:03 AM
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I just don't see Mortson as a stay at home type. Jimmy Thomson seems to be the safer one of the Thomson-Mortson pair; Mortson the more aggressive:

From legends of hockey (quoted by your profile of Mortson):

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOH
He graduated from the St. Mike's Majors of the OHA in 1945. He turned pro the following year and joined the Tulsa Oilers of the USHL to serve the customary apprenticeship of the day. But the following year, Leafs' GM Conn Smythe launched a rebuilding campaign on behalf of his club. He brought names like Howie Meeker, Gaye Stewart, Gus Bodnar, and Joe Klukay into the fold. He also elected to take a chance with a couple of young defenders, Jim Thompson and Mortson. The two caught on, Thompson the stay-at-home defender and Mortson the flashier, whirling rusher who had a nose for trouble and abrasive play. The two became known as "The Gold Dust Twins."
If Orr has to worry about Mortson getting out of position to try to make plays, it hurts Orr's offensive game.

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04-26-2012, 03:42 AM
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My view of them is a shutdown pair that relied on the physical game to get it done. I think Thomson was the better player and a better positional player, but I don't think Mortson's deficient. Thomson is described as clean but he was just as tough as Mortson and also preferred laying the body. During the '51 cup win Thompson had 34 PIM in 11 games to Mortson's 4, not what you'd expect from the LoH description.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette Dec 6, 1951
It is well known around the league that if you aren't firm with the Leafs they'll walk all over you; they simply play it that way. If you cuff them back, you put them in their place.
I just feel comfortable with Mortson's defensive game with his all-star record and the fact that he and Thompson led the way for the Leaf's defensemen for three victories over Lindsay's Wings and four cup wins. He was still getting into all-star games in Chicago and served as their captain so it's not like he was just reliant on a strong partner in Thomson. He might have a hard time lining up Selanne, but he faced Lindsay constantly and had some success so I don't think the matchup should be so bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelletier
"When you played hockey in our time, it wasn't so much how many goals you scored, it was how few you let be scored against you while you were on the ice," explained the New Liskeard, Ontario born Mortson. "Thomson and I, we kept track of all the goals against because that was your only arguing point when you had to go see (GM Conn) Smythe for a contract. All the years we played in Toronto, we had less than a goal against average."
I'm not particularly interested in his estimated GAA, but when I read Mortson isn't a shutdown guy this immediately comes to mind. I just don't know how he'd have been making all-star games with that competition as a bone-cruncher with no offense to complement his lack of defensive prowess.


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04-26-2012, 04:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
Sports Illustrated wrote in 1973 that the Rangers used an aggressive two-man forecheck to force Orr to pass the puck.
Yes, I know, but this was not a consistently successful tactic against Orr. The Rangers tried the same thing in '70 and '72 (mainly with the Bulldog line), and Bobby facerolled them. Bobby Orr wasn't invincible, but there was no one tactic that could be relied on to shut him down. If there had been, believe me, everyone would have used it constantly. The Montreal tactic was heavily personnel-dependent. The Habs simply had the bodies to shadow Orr in transition. Heavy forechecking on Orr, especially with a two-man forecheck, was always playing with fire.

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04-26-2012, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bring Back Scuderi View Post
My view of them is a shutdown pair that relied on the physical game to get it done. I think Thomson was the better player and a better positional player, but I don't think Mortson's deficient. Thomson is described as clean but he was just as tough as Mortson and also preferred laying the body. During the '51 cup win Thompson had 34 PIM in 11 games to Mortson's 4, not what you'd expect from the LoH description.



I just feel comfortable with Mortson's defensive game with his all-star record and the fact that he and Thompson led the way for the Leaf's defensemen for three victories over Lindsay's Wings and four cup wins. He was still getting into all-star games in Chicago and served as their captain so it's not like he was just reliant on a strong partner in Thomson. He might have a hard time lining up Selanne, but he faced Lindsay constantly and had some success so I don't think the matchup should be so bad.



I'm not particularly interested in his estimated GAA, but when I read Mortson isn't a shutdown guy this immediately comes to mind. I just don't know how he'd have been making all-star games with that competition as a bone-cruncher with no offense to complement his lack of defensive prowess.
Thomson was physical like Mortson, but this past bio of Thomson is loaded with talk about his positional play as a primarily stay at home defenseman: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...&postcount=729

I don't see anything in your Mortson bio about him playing a stay at home role. It's seems clear to me that Thomson was the guy who played conservatively at even stength while Mortson aggressively pursued the puck carrier, and together they had great chemistry. I just don't see an aggressive puck persuer as a good partner for Bobby Orr.

I see nothing in your bio to suggest that Mortson did anything special against Ted Lindsay, except engage in mutual nastiness. Ted Lindsay was 24 years old in 1950 and at the beginning of his statistical prime when Detroit "broke the Toronto curse" in the playoffs and won the Cup. I really don't see how it's relevant that a young Detroit team had trouble with the late 40s Toronto dynasty built around HHOFers Ted Kennedy, Harry Watson, and Turk Broda with healthy doses of Syl Apps and Max Bentley thrown in, not to mention non-HHOFers like Joe Klukay and Nick Metz, and yes, Thomson and Mortson. *

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04-26-2012, 06:39 AM
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Coaching is often cited as a prime reason the Bruins didn't win more Cups, after all.
In the sense that the Bruins didn't have the slightest shred of discipline, yes, coaching, team management, etc. was a problem. But Pittsburgh is coached by Hap Day, not Harry Sinden. The crappiness of Bobby's coaches in real life actually suggests that a better scheme might have made him harder to check.

At least on the top line, Henri Richard's presence takes a lot of puck-carrying pressure off of Bobby. In the presence of an aggressive forecheck, all Orr has to do is hit Richard with a quick pass and they're off. Bobby's skating will allow him to beat the forecheckers down the ice, creating a lot of 3-on-4 situations with Orr as the trailer. Bobby didn't really have this option in Boston because the entire scheme was built around him carrying the puck up ice.

When Orr is skating behind the Lindros line, however, an aggressive forecheck may become more problematic because Lindros isn't a world-class puck carrier and wasn't in Richard's class in terms of supporting his defensemen.

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04-26-2012, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Thomson was physical like Mortson, but this past bio of Thomson is loaded with talk about his positional play as a primarily stay at home defenseman: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...&postcount=729

I don't see anything in your Mortson bio about him playing a stay at home role. It's seems clear to me that Thomson was the guy who played conservatively at even stength while Mortson aggressively pursued the puck carrier, and together they had great chemistry. I just don't see an aggressive puck persuer as a good partner for Bobby Orr.

I see nothing in your bio to suggest that Mortson did anything special against Ted Lindsay, except engage in mutual nastiness. Ted Lindsay was 24 years old in 1950 and at the beginning of his statistical prime when Detroit "broke the Toronto curse" in the playoffs and won the Cup. I really don't see how it's relevant that a young Detroit team had trouble with the late 40s Toronto dynasty built around HHOFers Ted Kennedy, Harry Watson, and Turk Broda with healthy doses of Syl Apps and Max Bentley thrown in, not to mention non-HHOFers like Joe Klukay and Nick Metz, and yes, Thomson and Mortson. *
I just don't think him playing a certain role within the context of that team meant he was deficient defensively. Thomson was the positional master certainly and an expert in the clutch and grab, which freed Mortson up to play his puck pursuit game, but he was partly responsible for the aggression that gave the Gold Dust Twins their name. He was just slightly bigger than Mortson and he led the playoffs in PIM during that window he and Mortson broke into the league until Mortson left Toronto. Mortson explicitly states his defensive focus and I think his bruising style was just a means to those ends, more than a sign of positional deficiencies. Mortson still received recognition in Chicago without Thomson to cover for him as well. I just think that if he were so tunnel visioned into blindly pursuing the puck carrier then he must have been pretty good at coming up with it for the record he has.

You're right it's not fair to blindly cite Mortson's team success against Linsay's. My thinking was that Mortson and Thomson were the top pairing for that team and had to do most of the heavy lifting defensively, but I should substantiate his specific work in those series.

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04-26-2012, 05:02 PM
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At this point, unless new information is presented, I'm going to drop talking about Mortson because we risk going in circles.

Factors that favor NJ

1. Better goal scoring throughout the lineup.

NJ has more high end goal scoring than Pittsburgh with Lindsay and Selanne vs only Geoffrion. We also have more good goal scorers sprinkled throughout the lineup. A comparison of each team's second PP units shows just how much more scoring depth NJ has up front - after Richard/Geoffrion and Lindros/LeClair, Pittsburgh's scoring depth quickly dries up.

Bobby Orr was a great goal scorer from the backend, but his true game breaking ability lies in his skating and playmaking. NJ will take advantage of Pittsburgh's lack of natural goal scorers by trying to take away the ones they do have. Geoffrion will be covered tightly by Marcotte whenever possible. LeClair, Pittsburgh's second best goal scorer is deadly from the goal mouth, not very dangerous outside of it. LeClair was very difficult to move from the front of the net, but I trust the size and strength of all of NJ's top 4 defensemen to really limit his ability to set up in front of the net. Bobby Orr will elevate the goal scoring of every forward he plays with, but if NJ can limit Geoffrion and neutralize LeClair, we are taking away a big chunk of Pittsburg's finishing ability. And in the end, great passes aren't worth anything if they aren't put in the net.

NJ's bottom lines also have a better ability to chip in, I think. NJ's third line is definitely there for defense more than offense, but does have the playmaker (Laprade), goal scorer ( Marsh), and physical guy (Marcotte) to occasionally chip in. Pittsburgh's third line has very little ability to pass the puck - Blair Russel was Russell Bowie's teammate and whatever you think of Bowie's playmaking, Russell's was a lot worse.

Other than Bobby Orr (who deserves his own section), Pittsburgh's offense lives and dies by the Richard-Geoffrion and Lindros-LeClair duos

2. Quality of play at the back end - defense and goaltending.

Bobby Orr is obviously the greatest ever, but Brad Park is no slouch as a #1. Past Orr, NJ has the better defensive corps 2-6, especially at even strength since Rob Blake is much more of a difference-maker on special teams. I also think Vezina is quite a bit better than Worsley in goal. I'll provide more details on why I think all this later.*

Whatever scheme NJ uses to attempt to slow Bobby Orr down in the neutral zone, remember that Pittsburgh still needs to get past the NJ defensemen to get a clear shot on Vezina. Brad Park and Hod Stuart will be coached to play very conservatively when Orr is on the ice and much more aggressively when he is on the bench.*

3. Durability and Physical play

Pittsburgh relies heavily on some very injury-prone players - most notably Bobby Orr, Eric Lindros, Gary Roberts, and Gilles Tremblay. Pittsburgh is coming off a 7 game series, while NJ dispatched our last opponent in 5, so NJ should be the fresher team.

As discussed last series, NJ has 5 starting defensemen (everyone but Pervukhin) who are big, strong, and physical to varying degrees, and this group of defensemen will put Pittsburgh to the test. Ted Lindsay and Bruce Stuart will hit Bobby Orr in the corners every chance they get. And NJ's preferred matchup is to get the very aggressive Duke Keats out there against Eric Lindros.

Pittsburgh's lack of scoring depth is particularly problematic when you consider the potential injury problems they have.

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04-26-2012, 05:05 PM
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Desired matchups

First off, I expect Bobby Orr to play almost half the game, minutes no forward could play, so I don't see the point in matching up specifically against him. All NJ lines will have a specific game plan to play when Orr is on the ice. That said, by playing NJ3 against PIT1, NJ should have out best checkers against Orr quote often, as BBS seems to want to play him primarily with Richard and Geoffrion.

NJ has slightly better coaching and home ice advantage in game 7, so I expect to get the matchups I want a bit more often than he will.

NJ3 vs PIT1

Marcotte will closely check Geoffrion. Edgar Laprade is one of the few third liners who is almost as good a puck possession player as Henri Richard. Ideally, Laprade rags the puck, chewing up time while Henri and Bobby Orr are on the ice, but obviously those two will have the puck a fair amount themselves. Mush March uses his speed and tenacity to help out in transition especially when Orr backs up Pittsburgh's first line, and he can get chances on the counterattack.

NJ1 vs PIT2

If Lester Patrick can get the Keats line out against the Lindros line, I think it's going to be a big mismatch in NJ's favor. The Lindros line mainly relies on the ability to overpower the opposing defense to score, and they should have limited success at that against the NJ defense. Keats isn't as big as Lindros, but he's still big, strong, and very aggressive and won't get overpowered off the faceoff.

And I think Ted Lindsay and Teemu Selanne are going to outright torch the line in transition.

NJ2 vs PIT3

Pittsburgh has some good checkers on the third line, but I don't see much of an ability to counterattack against NJ's defense due to a complete lack of playmaking ability. Pittsburgh's third line will slow down whichever line they play against, but they won't stop anyone completely, and they will score very little in return.

Dealing with Bobby Orr

With the possible exception of Don Marcotte who will be closely checking Geoffrion, NJ's defensive scheme will revolve around containing Orr.

NJ has a few advantages here:
• At least one forward on each line capable of at least competently defending neutral ice
• A very strong and mobile group of defensemen, all of whom are noted for their defensive games
• Fast scorers who can turn play the other way in a hurry.

Brad Park and Hod Stuart will be told to play conservatively when Orr is on the ice to ensure at least 2 and probably 3 (with a forward) men back at all times. When Orr is not on the ice, they will be told to play much more aggressively.

Line 1 will play something of a locking scheme with the slow, but defensively responsible Duke Keats hanging back and acting as a third defenseman in the neutral zone.

When Orr is on the ice, the puck will be dropped into his corner of the ice so Ted Lindsay can line him up for some nastiness along the boards.

From seventieslord's bio of Fred Shero:

Quote:
In 1974, when the Flyers won their first Cup by defeating Boston, Shero told his players to allow Bobby Orr to have the puck in his own end. It was risky. “No one had ever used that approach before,” Clarke recalled. “It wasn’t so much let Orr have the puck, as every time you had it, throw it into his corner and make Orr skate back hard for it. Freddy knew it was going to be a long series and Orr would play 30-35 minutes a game. Every time we got it, we throw it into his corner, make him skate back hard, and if you got there in time, hit him. I don’t know if it took a toll on him. The fifth game, they beat us and he was by far the best player on the ice. But the sixth game here, he wasn’t quite the factor he was in some other games. And we had Bernie [Parent], too.”
Roger Neilson and Lester Patrick will study the tape to determine just how aggressive Selanne should be on the forecheck against Orr. I think Sturm and overpass have both made good points about the effectiveness of an aggressive two-man forecheck against Orr; at this point it's up to the coaching staff to decide how aggressive the secondary forechecker should be. I would imagine Selanne would play fairly aggressively so that he's there to support Lindsay in going the other way in the event of a turnover to NJ.

If Line 2 is against Orr, Bruce Stuart will be the one hitting Orr along the boards whenever possible. Martin St Louis will be the primary defensive conscience in the neutral zone, and he won't have to sit back so far as Keats, as he's an excellent skater.

Line 3 will probably see a lot of Orr, as they will hopefully be matched against Richard/Geoffrion. Laprade is a Henri Richard style puck hawk and puck ragger (with some but not nearly as much offense), and Mush Marsh's speed and tenaciousness should make him a very effective forechecker. Marcotte will hit when he can, but will mostly be focusing on taking away the pass to Geoffrion.

Line 4 won't get much ice time but if Orr is out against them, Mahovlich and Rolston are effective two-way players.

When Orr gets NJ's zone with speed:. The goal is to prevent this from happening as much as possible, but it will happen. However, when it does, Pittsburgh still needs to get by NJ's defensemen to get good scoring chances. NJ's ability to take away Pittsburgh's best goal scorers could be key - Marcotte will be focused on preventing clean passes to Geoffrion and NJ's burly defensemen will make it difficult for LeClair to set up in the crease.

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04-26-2012, 06:32 PM
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Rob Scuderi
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To deal with NJ's heavyforecheck on Orr I'm gonna be asking Mortson to being picking up as many of those loose pucks as possible. With NJ playing it conservative with one forward clogging the neutral zone and their defense hanging back, I think this would be a fine way of trying to limit the hits he takes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Friedman Dec 13, 2010
27) Brian Rafalski got hit twice going back for pucks against Nashville last Wednesday. If Jonathan Ericsson doesn't get it no matter what side it goes to, Mike Babcock is displeased. Same goes for Brad Stuart and Lidstrom
Examples of this via http://www.japersrink.com/2011/9/27/...ing-mike-green:

Quote:
Rather than adhering to traditional "left/right" distinctions to determine defensive assignments, Babcock has instructed his defensemen to perform specific roles, irrespective of position on the ice. Here is another example, which makes the point even more clearly:

Quote:
When the puck is dumped in Lidstrom is actually in better position to retrieve the puck. The puck is clearly going to wrap around the boards behind the net, and Lidstrom is already in the slot with no man to cover. On the contrary, Stuart has pressure on him, and he needs to pivot and chase a further distance to retrieve the puck. But because of Babcock's demands, Stuart chases down the puck and eats a bodycheck. Now let's take a look at the breakdown that inspired Friedman's note in 30 Thoughts.

Quote:
This looks a lot like the first example posted. Rafalski ends up chasing to retrieve the puck in the far side corner, and takes a hit for his troubles. I'm sympathetic to Ericsson in this example, but clearly Babcock was not. Nashville had pressure coming down the near boards, and Ericsson had to step up to prevent an easy entry into the zone. But based on Friedman's comment, that's not an excuse; Babcock expected Ericsson to turn tail and retrieve that puck to save Rafalski from taking that hit.
I'm not sure I'd take it as far as Babcock did in the third clip blaming Ericsson, but I think this shows how we can try to limit Orr's hits. With New Jersey keeping that third forechecker up high I feel very comfortable letting Mortson reasonably pursue pucks for Orr and then either hitting Richard or Orr depending on where New Jersey's second forechecker winds up. Orr will still have to win some pucks and I like his chances making a play if he can be a bit more fresh as the series progresses. This won't save Orr from getting hit by New Jersey's physical squad but I think this should help is the plan is to wear him down.


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04-27-2012, 02:21 AM
  #23
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
At this point, unless new information is presented, I'm going to drop talking about Mortson because we risk going in circles.

Factors that favor NJ

1. Better goal scoring throughout the lineup.

NJ has more high end goal scoring than Pittsburgh with Lindsay and Selanne vs only Geoffrion. We also have more good goal scorers sprinkled throughout the lineup. A comparison of each team's second PP units shows just how much more scoring depth NJ has up front - after Richard/Geoffrion and Lindros/LeClair, Pittsburgh's scoring depth quickly dries up.

Bobby Orr was a great goal scorer from the backend, but his true game breaking ability lies in his skating and playmaking. NJ will take advantage of Pittsburgh's lack of natural goal scorers by trying to take away the ones they do have. Geoffrion will be covered tightly by Marcotte whenever possible. LeClair, Pittsburgh's second best goal scorer is deadly from the goal mouth, not very dangerous outside of it. LeClair was very difficult to move from the front of the net, but I trust the size and strength of all of NJ's top 4 defensemen to really limit his ability to set up in front of the net. Bobby Orr will elevate the goal scoring of every forward he plays with, but if NJ can limit Geoffrion and neutralize LeClair, we are taking away a big chunk of Pittsburg's finishing ability. And in the end, great passes aren't worth anything if they aren't put in the net.

NJ's bottom lines also have a better ability to chip in, I think. NJ's third line is definitely there for defense more than offense, but does have the playmaker (Laprade), goal scorer ( Marsh), and physical guy (Marcotte) to occasionally chip in. Pittsburgh's third line has very little ability to pass the puck - Blair Russel was Russell Bowie's teammate and whatever you think of Bowie's playmaking, Russell's was a lot worse.

Other than Bobby Orr (who deserves his own section), Pittsburgh's offense lives and dies by the Richard-Geoffrion and Lindros-LeClair duos

2. Quality of play at the back end - defense and goaltending.

Bobby Orr is obviously the greatest ever, but Brad Park is no slouch as a #1. Past Orr, NJ has the better defensive corps 2-6, especially at even strength since Rob Blake is much more of a difference-maker on special teams. I also think Vezina is quite a bit better than Worsley in goal. I'll provide more details on why I think all this later.*

Whatever scheme NJ uses to attempt to slow Bobby Orr down in the neutral zone, remember that Pittsburgh still needs to get past the NJ defensemen to get a clear shot on Vezina. Brad Park and Hod Stuart will be coached to play very conservatively when Orr is on the ice and much more aggressively when he is on the bench.*

3. Durability and Physical play

Pittsburgh relies heavily on some very injury-prone players - most notably Bobby Orr, Eric Lindros, Gary Roberts, and Gilles Tremblay. Pittsburgh is coming off a 7 game series, while NJ dispatched our last opponent in 5, so NJ should be the fresher team.

As discussed last series, NJ has 5 starting defensemen (everyone but Pervukhin) who are big, strong, and physical to varying degrees, and this group of defensemen will put Pittsburgh to the test. Ted Lindsay and Bruce Stuart will hit Bobby Orr in the corners every chance they get. And NJ's preferred matchup is to get the very aggressive Duke Keats out there against Eric Lindros.

Pittsburgh's lack of scoring depth is particularly problematic when you consider the potential injury problems they have.
I think this is all pretty fair and the only thing I want to comment on is the third lines. I think my third line is better than yours offensively. The dropoff from Stewart to March offensively seems considerable. I see Nevin and Tremblay as the best offensive players here with Laprade and March trailing. I think your line brings a better forechecking and defensive presence than mine, but I see my players as just a bit more talented offensively. It's true there's no go to playmaker but Nevin is decent in that regard. I don't think my third line will create too much offensively, but I think they have the speed and skillsets to be a solid 200 foot line.

Nevin
- Top-20 in Goals 4 Times (7th, 12th, 14th, 14th)
- Top-20 in Assists Twice (10th, 13th)
- Top-20 in Points 3 Times (8th, 12th, 19th)
- Top-20 in ESP 4 Times (9th, 11th, 11th, 16th)

Tremblay
Goals: 5th (1962), 11th (1963), T11th (1966), 17th (1964)
Pts: 17th (1962)
ESG: 4th (1962), T5 (1966), T111th (1963), T18 (1964)

March
Points 11th(1936)
Goals 8th(1936)
Assists 7th(1936), 9th(1942), 13th(1943)

Laprade
Points 12th(1948), 17th(1950), 19th(1946), 20th(1947)
Goals 12th(1950), 19th(1949)
Assists 3rd(1948), 12th(1947), 13th(1952), 14th(1946)

Marcotte
ES PTS: T10th(1975)
ES Goals: 6th(1975)

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04-27-2012, 01:03 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bring Back Scuderi View Post
To deal with NJ's heavyforecheck on Orr I'm gonna be asking Mortson to being picking up as many of those loose pucks as possible. With NJ playing it conservative with one forward clogging the neutral zone and their defense hanging back, I think this would be a fine way of trying to limit the hits he takes.



Examples of this via http://www.japersrink.com/2011/9/27/...ing-mike-green:









I'm not sure I'd take it as far as Babcock did in the third clip blaming Ericsson, but I think this shows how we can try to limit Orr's hits. With New Jersey keeping that third forechecker up high I feel very comfortable letting Mortson reasonably pursue pucks for Orr and then either hitting Richard or Orr depending on where New Jersey's second forechecker winds up. Orr will still have to win some pucks and I like his chances making a play if he can be a bit more fresh as the series progresses. This won't save Orr from getting hit by New Jersey's physical squad but I think this should help is the plan is to wear him down.
If you want to limit the amount of punishment Orr gets, by limiting the time he spends possessing the puck, I'm not sure it's a bad thing for NJ.

It's not like Gus Mortson was known for his amazing out pass or anything, he's just not a "blocker" type like Hitchman. Henri and Orr are going to have to stay back to give him easier outlets.


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04-27-2012, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Bring Back Scuderi View Post
I think this is all pretty fair and the only thing I want to comment on is the third lines. I think my third line is better than yours offensively. The dropoff from Stewart to March offensively seems considerable. I see Nevin and Tremblay as the best offensive players here with Laprade and March trailing. I think your line brings a better forechecking and defensive presence than mine, but I see my players as just a bit more talented offensively. It's true there's no go to playmaker but Nevin is decent in that regard. I don't think my third line will create too much offensively, but I think they have the speed and skillsets to be a solid 200 foot line.

Nevin
- Top-20 in Goals 4 Times (7th, 12th, 14th, 14th)
- Top-20 in Assists Twice (10th, 13th)
- Top-20 in Points 3 Times (8th, 12th, 19th)
- Top-20 in ESP 4 Times (9th, 11th, 11th, 16th)

Tremblay
Goals: 5th (1962), 11th (1963), T11th (1966), 17th (1964)
Pts: 17th (1962)
ESG: 4th (1962), T5 (1966), T111th (1963), T18 (1964)

March
Points 11th(1936)
Goals 8th(1936)
Assists 7th(1936), 9th(1942), 13th(1943)

Laprade
Points 12th(1948), 17th(1950), 19th(1946), 20th(1947)
Goals 12th(1950), 19th(1949)
Assists 3rd(1948), 12th(1947), 13th(1952), 14th(1946)

Marcotte
ES PTS: T10th(1975)
ES Goals: 6th(1975)
I don't know how you can look at those numbers and claim that Tremblay, whose only top 20 finish in points was 17th, while often being centered by Jean Beliveau, is even in the same league offensively as Laprade, who has 4 top 20 finishes in points playing with relative nobodies.

Also keep in mind that Mush March played on an incredibly defensive-minded Blackhawks team that was usually awful, but had its best years coached by the trapping coach Tommy Gorman. Marsh was generally always among the leaders of his team in scoring (often 2nd or 3rd).

Offensively, Laprade and Nevin seem like the best players and I don't think a lot separates their production. The reason NJ's third line will produce more is chemistry - Neither Gilles Tremblay nor Blair Russell has any playmaking to speak of. If Nevin has to act as a playmaker, it certainly decreases his production, as he was more of a goal scorer than playmaker himself.

Laprade is a good playmaker for a third liner. I get that neither Marcotte nor Marsh is an amazing goal scorer, but they are much better at it than Tremblay or Russell is at passing

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