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ATD 2012 - Draft Thread IV

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Old
02-12-2012, 11:35 AM
  #626
BenchBrawl
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Since people are now even questionning the award itself to justify their point , I see no reason to continue this discussion , as it's clearly impossible to convince the other side.

From what I remember of Brind'Amour , and yes I did see him play in both team , I never saw Brind'Amour being as great as he was in Carolina.He was all over the place.

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02-12-2012, 11:35 AM
  #627
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He was, according to selke votes, the best LW in 98 I believe. So I could safely assume that he plays selke worthy defense even on the wing but selke winning defense at center.
Jarek posted his voting line from 1998:

97-98: Rod Brind’Amour 19 (0-1-1-2-1)

So out of the 50+ of Selke voters, 5 of them considered Brind'amour, none of them 1st place, and he finished 13th overall in Selke voting. How is that Selke worthy?

Not to mention that he didn't spend the entire season at LW, it seems he switched between LW and C.

I think enough has been shown to prove Brind'amour is a very good defensive LW, but I don't think he's as good as he would be at center.

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02-12-2012, 11:41 AM
  #628
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Jarek posted his voting line from 1998:

97-98: Rod Brind’Amour 19 (0-1-1-2-1)

So out of the 50+ of Selke voters, 5 of them considered Brind'amour, none of them 1st place, and he finished 13th overall in Selke voting. How is that Selke worthy?

Not to mention that he didn't spend the entire season at LW, it seems he switched between LW and C.

I think enough has been shown to prove Brind'amour is a very good defensive LW, but I don't think he's as good as he would be at center.
If I was voting, that's probably the position I'd take. I don't think the transition really affected him offensively (in fact, it seems he was much better offensively as a LW than a center), but defensively, even when accounting for the fact that the Selke is heavily center biased, I'd still say that he's better defensively at center (and likely about as worse offensively as he's better defensively). I wouldn't say he's Selke worthy at LW, but he's certainly well above average.. sort of in the mold of a Dean Prentice.

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02-12-2012, 11:43 AM
  #629
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Originally Posted by jarek View Post
If I was voting, that's probably the position I'd take. I don't think the transition really affected him offensively (in fact, it seems he was much better offensively as a LW than a center), but defensively, even when accounting for the fact that the Selke is heavily center biased, I'd still say that he's better defensively at center (and likely about as worse offensively as he's better defensively). I wouldn't say he's Selke worthy at LW, but he's certainly well above average.. sort of in the mold of a Dean Prentice.
I don't see reason to believe that he's worse offensively at center - his scoring seems pretty constant, no matter what position he played, right?

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02-12-2012, 11:46 AM
  #630
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I don't see reason to believe that he's worse offensively at center - his scoring seems pretty constant, no matter what position he played, right?
It depends how much center he played in Philly. His offense really did dry up significantly in Carolina. He had two good years, and a number of alright years. Certainly nothing close to what he did in Philly, where he had seasons of 97, 87, 86, 77, 74, 74 points.

Obviously, these stats are not unexpected, as he was pretty old when he went to Carolina (yeah, 30 isn't that old, but he was certainly leaving his prime).

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02-12-2012, 11:51 AM
  #631
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Originally Posted by jarek View Post
I wouldn't say he's Selke worthy at LW, but he's certainly well above average.. sort of in the mold of a Dean Prentice.
That's more or less what I'm going for. I had him and Prentice at #2 and #3 after Northcott on my list. I went with Brind'Amour because of his positional versatility and faceoff ability.

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02-12-2012, 12:00 PM
  #632
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Originally Posted by jarek View Post
It depends how much center he played in Philly. His offense really did dry up significantly in Carolina. He had two good years, and a number of alright years. Certainly nothing close to what he did in Philly, where he had seasons of 97, 87, 86, 77, 74, 74 points.

Obviously, these stats are not unexpected, as he was pretty old when he went to Carolina (yeah, 30 isn't that old, but he was certainly leaving his prime).
Brind'amour played at least as much center in Philly as LW. IIRC, he was primarily a center in the 1997 SC Finals and was the only Flyers forward to make a showing in that series.

I think his offense dried up later on because he was old, not because of the position he played.

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02-12-2012, 12:08 PM
  #633
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Brind'amour played at least as much center in Philly as LW. IIRC, he was primarily a center in the 1997 SC Finals and was the only Flyers forward to make a showing in that series.

I think his offense dried up later on because he was old, not because of the position he played.
I think that's more or less accurate. I think a lot of us were shocked at his offensive resurgence after the lockout (I know I was). I had pretty much written him off as an impact offensive player by that point. 2006 was the year of the power play, which Brind'Amour (and Carolina) took full advantage of all year. But it was pretty impressive that he took his numbers up another level the following season, when things became little more normal and scoring seemed to drop a bit.

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Winnipeg selects D Phil Housley

Housley in Blue and White. Those were heady days indeed.

I'm surprised he was here long enough to have his picture taken. It's photos like these that make us realize how special Teemu Selanne's fishbowl helmet really is. The end of an era approaches, gentlemen. Are you prepared for a JOFA-less NHL?


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02-12-2012, 12:54 PM
  #634
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Originally Posted by arrbez View Post
I've never said that, I'm saying he's a very strong defensive player no matter where he lines up.
You're right; you never did claim that, but it is still a common misconception. I apologize if I used your player (and yours, Dreak) as a foil for my argument, but I needed a couple of examples to make the general point that we, as a group, are rather uncritical in the way we evaluate player performance by position. Especially centers switching to the wing are almost never as productive as they were at the pivot, whether it's a likely loss of offense (in Stewart's case) or defense (in Brind'Amour's case), we cannot take their achievements as a center at face value when translating to what they should be expected to do as wings.

That is the point, and nothing more.

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02-12-2012, 01:11 PM
  #635
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
While this is true, many players have difficulty in transition when forced to change positions on the ice. Skaters develop certain moves which they learn to execute from certain angles. The muscle memory does not always translate well to another lane on the ice in transition, especially when switching wings, but also when moving from wing to center or vice-versa.

I agree with you, though, that offensive roles in the offensive zone are quite fluid. In the case of Nels Stewart, if we assume that he is a zero in transition, anyway, then in theory it shouldn't matter which position he plays, so why not play him at wing? I think that theory is flawed, however, because I think Stewart played a very Phil Esposito type of game, meaning that he liked to follow his puckwinning wings into the zone and go straight to the net and look for the puck. This tactic doesn't work from the wing. There is a reason that Esposito played center, in spite of the fact that his game seems better suited for the wing, as well, on superficial analysis.
Funny you should bring up Esposito here. I've always said he was one of the centres who I believe is actually better suited to playing the wing.


I've already explained why Stewart, specifically, would make a better winger than centre. His 2 biggest weaknesses - skating and defense - are both less important for wingers than centres. Also, his 2 biggest strengths - scoring and toughness - are both more important for wingers than centres. What about his game makes anybody think he wouldn't be an effective winger?


As for Stewart playing more than center, I think you know as well as anybody that the S line was not locked into set positions. All three players played all 3 positions through the season, and even though a game. I believe that positional diversity is a major factor in their lack of all-star votes in the early 30s. The reason Stewart mosy often played centre, as we learned earlier in this draft, is most likely due to his face-off ability.

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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
You're right; you never did claim that, but it is still a common misconception. I apologize if I used your player (and yours, Dreak) as a foil for my argument, but I needed a couple of examples to make the general point that we, as a group, are rather uncritical in the way we evaluate player performance by position. Especially centers switching to the wing are almost never as productive as they were at the pivot, whether it's a likely loss of offense (in Stewart's case) or defense (in Brind'Amour's case), we cannot take their achievements as a center at face value when translating to what they should be expected to do as wings.

That is the point, and nothing more.
I think there needs to be a reason for the reduced effectiveness. Playmaking and defense are the two areas where a centre moving to the wing would be impacted. As TDMM said, centres get more "touches" in transition offense. Obviously, that means wingers would get fewer "touches", and that means their playmaking abilities, good or bad, are less meaningful on the rush. Wingers have less defensive responsibility, so defensive abilities, good or bad, have a reduced impact.

For Brind'Amour, for example, centers have a larger impact on defense than wingers, so even if we assume Brind'Amour is as good on the wing as he was at center, his defensive impact won't be the same.

If Stewart was a playmaker, his playmaking ability would be somewhat reduced by playing wing.


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02-12-2012, 01:21 PM
  #636
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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
Funny you should bring up Esposito here. I've always said he was one of the centres who I believe is actually better suited to playing the wing.
Esposito on the wing just makes so much sense. Or at least, it makes so much sense on a team that doesn't have Bobby Orr as the primary puck carrier/distributor. I know Esposito centered Hull as well in Chicago, which was another of those rare situations where your centre won't be relied on to carry the puck a lot.

Surely at some point in his career, someone must have tried Espo on the wing. Right? Big strong forward, elite goal scorer, excels in the crease area...

I think team needs vs. ATD needs is something to account for as well. In real life, you probably want your best forward playing C if he's able to. This starts from a young age, and surely explains why so many of the greatest forwards are C compared to the wing positions. But in a situation like the ATD where there are a ton of quality centres available to each team, I think you'd see a lot of centres playing wing in real life (same situation as Team Canada). If those 70's Bruins had two other HHOF-calibre centres on the roster, I imagine Espo would have seen quite a bit of time on the wing. Pure speculation, but still.

There are guys like Esposito and Stewart who look like they were built for the wing. And then there are guys whose game would probably be severely limited as a winger. I think common sense comes into play a lot in these situations. I'm sure Eric Lindros would have been a dominant winger, while I can't imagine Adam Oates on the wing, for instance.


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02-12-2012, 01:22 PM
  #637
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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
As for Stewart playing more than center, I think you know as well as anybody that the S line was not locked into set positions.
I also know better than anybody that the S line kind of sucked, which is one of the reasons why it was not actually together for that long, and why the Maroons won a Cup shortly after it was disbanded, Smith moved to center and Stewart traded.

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There are guys like Esposito and Stewart who look like they were built for the wing. And then there are guys whose game would probably be severely limited as a winger. I think common sense comes into play a lot in these situations. I'm sure Eric Lindros would have been a dominant winger, while I can't imagine Adam Oates on the wing, for instance.
Except here you step into the trap, because Phil Esposito clearly would not have been as good offensively as a winger. Anyone who actually saw him play (which I did, and plenty of it) knows that he played exactly as I described - he would enter the zone behind his wingers (or Orr) and drive to the front of the net looking for a pass. This specific tactic is a lot easier in transition from the center position, which is why Esposito played center. He was a rather poor defensive center, but I don't think after Chicago he was ever tried on the wing again, because he simply didn't fit there offensively.

In Boston, they put Espo with a good defensive winger (Cashman) and puckwinner, and told him to just go to the net. If he'd had to cut in off the wing in transition, it wouldn't have been the same. A wing really only has one station from which he can receive passes in transition. A center has two, and is the closest to the front of the net if there is a need to fish for rebounds. This is how and why great goalscoring centers are often left at center rather than moved to the wing.

We are overthinking the problem when we get to the point of moving guys like Stewart and Esposito to the wing because they should be good there "in theory".


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02-12-2012, 01:34 PM
  #638
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I also know better than anybody that the S line kind of sucked, which is one of the reasons why it was not actually together for that long, and why the Maroons won a Cup shortly after it was disbanded, Smith moved to center and Stewart traded.
So, if you know that Stewart played every forward position throughout his time with the S Line, why are you questioning his ability to play the wing?

The S Line was one of the most dominant lines in the league, wasn't it? That's what every book I've read tells. The rest of the team was pretty weak for most of their time together.

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Except here you step into the trap, because Phil Esposito clearly would not have been as good offensively as a winger. Anyone who actually saw him play (which I did, and plenty of it) knows that he played exactly as I described - he would enter the zone behind his wingers (or Orr) and drive to the front of the net looking for a pass. This specific tactic is a lot easier in transition from the center position, which is why Esposito played center. He was a rather poor defensive center, but I don't think after Chicago he was ever tried on the wing again, because he simply didn't fit there offensively.
On the other hand, the only reason Esposito was able to do what he did in Boston was because Bobby Orr was the primary puck-carrier and playmaker on the rush, which is traditionally the center's job. That allowed Esposito to do things that most centres couldn't do, since they were doing what Orr did for Esposito.

What if your team doesn't have Bobby Orr or Paul Coffey? Who's carrying the puck for Esposito?


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02-12-2012, 01:49 PM
  #639
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Except here you step into the trap, because Phil Esposito clearly would not have been as good offensively as a winger. Anyone who actually saw him play (which I did, and plenty of it) knows that he played exactly as I described - he would enter the zone behind his wingers (or Orr) and drive to the front of the net looking for a pass. This specific tactic is a lot easier in transition from the center position, which is why Esposito played center. He was a rather poor defensive center, but I don't think after Chicago he was ever tried on the wing again, because he simply didn't fit there offensively.
Yeah, they'd have to have tried him on Mikita's wing and if he couldn't excel there, he wasn't excelling on the wing.

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I have Peter "Mr. St. Louis" Stastny, "Detroit Rock" Hatcher, "Broadway" Marcus Naslund and the "Windy City Stopper" Hugh Lehman.

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02-12-2012, 01:57 PM
  #640
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So, if you know that Stewart played every forward position throughout his time with the S Line, why are you questioning his ability to play the wing?
Because I know that he was at center most of the time. That a player sometimes moves around does not mean that he doesn't have a primary position.

Quote:
The S Line was one of the most dominant lines in the league, wasn't it? That's what every book I've read tells. The rest of the team was pretty weak for most of their time together.
The S line was ok. It was a very bad use of Hooley Smith's talents to put him at RW, and that's what held the line back from being as good as the talent would suggest, I think. Smith was never much of a scorer as a RW. The S line was apparently pretty bad defensively, and wasn't good enough offensively to make up for it.

The Maroons were, over the period when the S line sometimes played together, just an above average team, and not because the defense or goaltending was so bad. Stewart scored a lot, but Smith did not and Siebert never did on the wing. They were certainly physically dominant and intimidating, but they weren't particularly great. Their GF/GA over the four years when the line was more-or-less together were: +19, +2, +27, -1. Two strong years, and two very average ones. Nels Stewart, himself, was very productive on the S Line (though his best offensive season came two years before Smith was traded to Montreal), but the line, itself, was somewhat less than the sum of its parts.

Stewart was dealt in 1932, Smith moved to center, and there were two coaching changes, each bringing in a more defensive style than the last. The Maroons won the Cup in 1935. No, the S Line was not a great line.

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02-12-2012, 01:58 PM
  #641
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On the other hand, the only reason Esposito was able to do what he did in Boston was because Bobby Orr was the primary puck-carrier and playmaker on the rush, which is traditionally the center's job. That allowed Esposito to do things that most centres couldn't do, since they were doing what Orr did for Esposito.

What if your team doesn't have Bobby Orr or Paul Coffey? Who's carrying the puck for Esposito?
I guess you give up. At some point, you have to give the benefit of the doubt to the talent of the player. I don't think Espo NEEDS Orr to score goals. A guy like Clancy, Cleghorn, etc. is good too.. I would be worried if you had Espo and didn't have an elite puck carrier, that's for sure.

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02-12-2012, 02:01 PM
  #642
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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
On the other hand, the only reason Esposito was able to do what he did in Boston was because Bobby Orr was the primary puck-carrier and playmaker on the rush, which is traditionally the center's job. That allowed Esposito to do things that most centres couldn't do, since they were doing what Orr did for Esposito.
Well, that's another good question, but I don't think moving him to the wing would help in that scenario, either, or at least certainly not help enough to get him anywhere near what he did achieve with Orr, as a center. But I don't think he needs an Orr to be effective, either. Mark Howe would do.

Also, just so we're clear, in spite of Bobby Orr, the Bruins didn't succeed in gaining the zone with ease every time they wen't up the ice. They played a very successful dump and chase game with Cashman and Espo, which would not have worked if Espo was playing wing. Even outside of the context of Bobby Orr, Espo's game was not well-suited to the wing.


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02-12-2012, 02:45 PM
  #643
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"Walker played a wonderful game, and is certainly the best hockey player seen around here in a long time. He is superior to Nighbor, who was considered the best left wing player in the National Hockey Association last season. He scored three goals and assisted in several others." - Montreal Gazette - Jan. 8, 1914

Appears as Nighbor was playing LW before heading out west, and it wasn't just out on the coast.

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02-12-2012, 03:32 PM
  #644
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Also, just so we're clear, in spite of Bobby Orr, the Bruins didn't succeed in gaining the zone with ease every time they wen't up the ice. They played a very successful dump and chase game with Cashman and Espo, which would not have worked if Espo was playing wing. Even outside of the context of Bobby Orr, Espo's game was not well-suited to the wing.
Why wouldn't dump and chase work if Esposito was a winger?

All you need is one guy to pressure the puck, one guy needs to support, and one more guy needs to stay high, and read what he needs to do (support on the wall, get open for a pass, backcheck, etc), and it doesn't matter what position does what job.

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02-12-2012, 03:34 PM
  #645
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Alot of discussion this weekend, but very few selection made!
A lot of it was really good discussion though. The Brind'amour topic ended up beaten into the ground, but it brought up a pretty decent side discussion on positional versatility which I've always been pretty interested in everyone's thoughts on that (for instance the "moving Espo to wing" topic). I like a lot of what Sturm had to say on that.

Also, I'm interested on what else Sturm has on Hooley Smith being a less viable RW than I imagined. I always just assume that people draft him to play glue-guy RW, but if he is only a decent RW and it brings down the rest of his game, that could be interesting, just because he probably doesn't provide enough offense to be viable as a first line (or even top 6?) center, and therefore probably drop out of the top 125 or so picks.

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02-12-2012, 03:35 PM
  #646
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Why wouldn't dump and chase work if Esposito was a winger?
Because you would always have to dump it to the same side of the ice to set up the play for Espo. Remember that Cashman wasn't the only winger on that line capable of fishing out puck off the boards and doing something with it. If you run that play to a winger, opponents know exactly where it is coming.

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Also, I'm interested on what else Sturm has on Hooley Smith being a less viable RW than I imagined. I always just assume that people draft him to play glue-guy RW, but if he is only a decent RW and it brings down the rest of his game, that could be interesting, just because he probably doesn't provide enough offense to be viable as a first line (or even top 6?) center, and therefore probably drop out of the top 125 or so picks.
Actually, he was an extremely good center. The parts of his career that are kind of meh were spent at right wing. Two of three years in Ottawa, and everything up until 1931 in Montreal. It is after he made the transition to full-time center with the Maroons that Smith's career really blossomed. This is easy to see in the all-star and Hart voting, if you care for hard evidence. Smith was a really outstanding two-way center, and I wonder how much better his career might have been if he hadn't lost 5-6 years of his prime playing a position he wasn't well suited for.

I think he is absolutely worthy of being picked where he is currently selected, but not as a winger. That being said, if you are going to use him as a winger, I can think of no better center for him than Esposito, in large part because of how similar Espo and Stewart actually are. I really wonder why Stewart's owners don't just accept the fact that he is Esposito lite, and build around that model. I mean...Espo was a ****** defensive center, too, but that doesn't stop anyone from taking him in the top-30. Why do people have such reservations about Stewart?

I will add that, as a center, when his complete game is taken into account, I think Smith is as good as that group of 80's centers that normally ends in Savard. He would be a really good center for Bobby Hull for example...maybe the best possible center for the value. Think Dave Keon with a little less defense and a little more offense. Basically, he would do for Bobby similar to what he did for Nels Stewart, but from his natural position. Smith's scoring resume is nothing special for a 2nd line center, but it is also not bad, and he was an outstanding defensive player with that hook check, as well as being strong, fast and extremely grumpy.

Just to give you some perspective on how good Smith was defensively, when the Maroons won the Cup in 1935, Smith had a broken thumb throughout the playoffs, and could hardly control the puck. But he skated in every game in the playoffs, and led a stifling defensive system that ultimately brought the team the Cup.

You have to be a really good checker to center a Cup winner without being able to actually...score points. Indeed, the Maroons actually swept Toronto and the Kid Line in those finals.


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02-12-2012, 03:52 PM
  #647
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Because you would always have to dump it to the same side of the ice to set up the play for Espo. Remember that Cashman wasn't the only winger on that line capable of fishing out puck off the boards and doing something with it. If you run that play to a winger, opponents know exactly where it is coming.
First of all, not every single play has to end up with Esposito getting a pass in the slot.

Second, there are manay different ways to dump and chase. There's a reason my description was vague, and that's because, while they are all the same in concept, they are all different in terms of execution. Ideally, you'd want you best puck-winners in the fray, but it doesn't have to work like that. Any position can do any of the jobs.

Third, once you do gain posession, there is almost always some amount of cycling that goes on before a scoring chance is created. Once you start the cycle, you can shift Esposito our high, and move your puck-winners/playmakers down low. Any position can do any of those jobs as well.


Here's a good quote from you that kind of sums up my point that where a player lines up on a face-off has little to do with their primary job in the offensive zone.

Quote:
offensive roles in the offensive zone are quite fluid.

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02-12-2012, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
First of all, not every single play has to end up with Esposito getting a pass in the slot.
Lol. You haven't seen much tape of those old Bruins teams, eh?

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02-12-2012, 04:06 PM
  #649
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Lol. You haven't seen much tape of those old Bruins teams, eh?
Lol. You didn't understand my post, eh?



I didn't say the Bruins didn't do it a certain way. I said an ATD team doesn't have to do it a certain way.

Just because the Bruins did it doesn't mean the ATD team with Esposito needs to do it.... and the ATD team COULDN'T do it if they wanted to.

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02-12-2012, 04:17 PM
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Esposito was a player with such unusual skills who was so set into a certain system in real life that I think it would be dangerous to deviate much from that model in the ATD. We are not always a bastion of free-thinking here. Sure, it might be possible to build other efficient setups with Esposito, maybe even at wing, but there is a very large unknown there, and that will bite you because you'll never get everybody on board with it.

The problem with gambling in unknowns like that is the risk/reward aspect. The potential of Esposito actually being better on the wing is close to zero, while the chance of him being worse is much greater than that. Sure, he could be just as good, but he could also be a lot worse. On balance, a sensible person has to downgrade Esposito on the wing, just as he has to downgrade Stewart. There is no scoring upside in it, and plenty of downside.

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