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René Lecavalier Divisional Seminfinals: Hartford vs. Lada

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Old
04-16-2012, 07:37 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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René Lecavalier Divisional Seminfinals: Hartford vs. Lada

Hartford Whalers



Coach: Peter Laviolette
Assistant coach: Dave Tippett

Kevin Stevens - Mario Lemieux (C) - Sergei Makarov
Michel Goulet - Joe Thornton - Joe Mullen
Brenden Morrow - Doug Risebrough - Terry O'Reilly
Ryan Smyth (A) - Murray Oliver - Kevin Dineen
Ryan Walter, Kent Nilsson

Guy Lapointe (A) - Marcel Pronovost
Pat Stapleton - Ted Harris
Bert Corbeau - Rob Ramage
Ryan Suter

Roy Worters
Mike Richter


PP1: Lapointe - Stapleton - Stevens - Lemieux - Makarov
PP2: Pronovost - Ramage - Goulet - Thornton - Smyth

PK1: Pronovost - Harris - Oliver - Risebrough
PK2: Lapointe - Ramage - Lemieux - Morrow


Vs

Lada Togliatti



Head Coach: Fred Shero

Captain: Bobby Clarke
Alternates: Dale Hawerchuk, Frantisek Pospisil

Dave Balon - Bobby Clarke - Marian Hossa
Aurel Joliat - Dale Hawerchuk - Mark Recchi
Jay Pandolfo - Steve Kasper - Joe Klukay
Eric Staal - Ryan Getzlaf - Todd Bertuzzi
Tom Anderson, Jason Allison, Rick Meagher

Earl Seibert - Frantisek Pospisil
Jim Neilson - "Bullet" Joe Simpson
Don Awrey - Jack Laviolette
Tom Anderson, Gilles Marotte

Frank "Mr Zero" Brimsek
Vladimir Dzurilla

PP:
Marian Hossa - Bobby Clarke - Todd Bertuzzi
Dale Hawerchuk - Joe Simpson

Aurel Joliat - Ryan Getzlaf - Mark Recchi
Eric Staal - Jack Laviolette

PK:
Jay Pandolfo - Steve Kasper
Earl Seibert - Frantisek Pospisil

Bobby Clarke - Joe Klukay
Jim Neilson - Don Awrey

PK Extras: Marian Hossa, Eric Staal
Jack Laviolette

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04-17-2012, 12:06 PM
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DaveG
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This should be a good matchup. The pure offense of Hartford's first line against the strong defensive forwards of Lada counter attacking.

Quick thoughts:

Top 6: Stevens - Mario - Makarov is tough to contain, but if there's any line that can slow them down it has to be Balon - Clarke - Hossa. So the question is how well can Hartford's defense contain the counter attack from that line? Hartford's line will do their fair share of damage for sure, but I'd expect Lada's to do so as well without a truly strong defensive presence on Hartford's top line to stop the counter.

On the other hand the second lines I would say is a bit of an advantage to Lada. Hartford has a very strong 2nd line, but I honestly think at every position there Lada just flat out has the better personnel. Joliat vs Goulet, Hawerchuk vs Thornton, Recchi vs Mullen. This is where I think Lada would be able to do their most damage offensively.

Bottom 6:
Hartford definitely has the edge offensively for the 3rd line, but then again Lada's 3rd line was built to be purely defensive in nature. I don't anticipate either line being a huge factor in this series.

The 4th line impact will be mostly on special teams. Oliver is a solid PKer, while Smyth, Staal, and Getzlaf will all do most of their damage on their respective 2nd unit PPs. At even strength I'd give Lada an edge, but as 4th lines go in this draft I doubt either will be an impact on the series.

Defense:
Seibert's the best dman of this entire group by a fair margin, and will have to be counted on to physically wear down Lemieux over the course of the series. Thankfully for me he's one of the few top dmen in this draft capable of doing that. Overall I'd say the top pairing is a wash as Hartford definitely has the better #2 guy, though Pospisil is hardly lacking at the #2 slot.

On the second pairing Harris and Neilson have very similar resumes, as do Stapleton and Simpson. And on the third pairings Corbeau and Awrey are the stay at home help for their more free wheeling counterparts in Laviolette and Ramage. Ramage definitely has a physical edge over Lavi, but overall I'd say the bottom 4 is a slight edge to Hartford, but not a large one.

Goaltending:
Definite edge to Lada. Worters I view as somewhat of a middle of the pack goalie in this, while Brimsek I have in my top 10. If there's one place where I see Lada really being able to take advantage of the series it's here... and with a top line of Stevens - Mario - Makaraov it will have to be.

Coaching:
Again definite edge to Lada here. I'm a huge Lavi fan, but in the battle of Flyers bench legends this one is fairly easily advantage Shero. Lavi definitely is making a fast route up the coaching ladder in the ATD though, and IMO he's the best coach out there right now after Babcock. Both coaches have teams well suited for their style of play so neither will be asked to really go out of their comfort zone in this series.

Should be a close series, I can see it going either way but I think Lada's perfectly built to counter what Hartford can roll out and the edge in goal and edge the second line matchup should be enough to get Lada through to the next round.

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04-17-2012, 12:27 PM
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I don't think you can do much better than Bobby Clark (and Earl Seibert) against Mario Lemieux. But is Dave Balon fast enough to skate with Makarov? In 1987, I believe that Canada used Goulet and Gartner against Krutov and Makarov because their defensive forwards weren't fast enough.

How do you plan on using the Kasper line at even strength? They sure aren't going to score very often.

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04-17-2012, 12:47 PM
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Mostly 3rd line vs 3rd line if I can. Use them to neutralize Hartford's 3rd line (which they're capable of doing) and have the advantage with the better second line in terms of both offense and defense going against the Thornton line.

Makarov's speed definitely is a concern. It was noted that it was believed Balon's legs were gone when he ran into the onset of MS during his career so that would imply that he was a good skater, but I'd definitely like to find more evidence prior to that to really tell for sure. Also any evidence that he can play on the right wing would be helpful as well since Hossa definitely has the pace to keep up, though he's not quite as strong defensively as Balon was.

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04-17-2012, 12:56 PM
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I'll try to get into it more tomorrow.

However, one thing I'd like to note - with home ice advantage, and with Lavi being a line-matcher par excellance, I plan to have the following matchups when possible: 3rd vs. Lada's 1st, 1st vs. 2nd, 2nd vs. 4th, 4th vs. 3rd. I realize it won't be easy to get these matchups all the time, and extra hard at road, but that's the plan.

The last three are fairly obvious - in each case my line would be the offensively superior and should be able to roll over the opposing line. My 3rd vs. Lada's 1st is a bit of deviation - the purpose is not to shut down Lada's offense, but rather to grind them down when able to, and to troll Clarke as hard as humanly possible, goading him into either a fight (obviously bad trade-off) or stupid retaliatory penalty (obvious win). Risebrough, O'Reilly and Morrow are all born for this. It's matchup that won't outscore your line, but should be able to take Clarke off his game and into the penalty box as much as any line.

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04-17-2012, 01:15 PM
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I don't think that would really take Clarke off his game as he was most definitely known as a **** disturber in his own right with the Flyers.

Do you think Lavi would keep his 2nd line on the bench that much? The 4th line for Lada's prettymuch just to keep energy and possession after a PP or keep momentum from a PK.

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04-17-2012, 01:22 PM
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I certainly wouldn't want to give Risebrough more ice time than Thornton

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04-17-2012, 01:28 PM
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No, he'd obviously also play 2nd vs. 3rd if that turned out to be the case, splitting the matchup with the 4th line, or even flip those two matchups.

Getting Clarke to ****-disturber contest vs. the 3rd line is exactly what I'm hoping for.

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04-17-2012, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MadArcand View Post
No, he'd obviously also play 2nd vs. 3rd if that turned out to be the case, splitting the matchup with the 4th line, or even flip those two matchups.

Getting Clarke to ****-disturber contest vs. the 3rd line is exactly what I'm hoping for.
That's a match that Clarke would win.. and I don't think it would be particularly close..

Clarke didn't do what he did by taking dumb penalties all the time. Obviously, he knew where to draw the line.

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04-17-2012, 01:48 PM
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Except there is a precedent when Risebrough got him to drop the gloves in the very game that is considered to be the end of Flyers' reign of terror.

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04-17-2012, 01:50 PM
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Except there is a precedent when Risebrough got him to drop the gloves in the very game that is considered to be the end of Flyers' reign of terror.
Alright, now you have to account for the other 1143 NHL + international games that Clarke played, and we'll be good.

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04-17-2012, 02:04 PM
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So are you insinuating that Clarke is cannot be goaded into a trollfest? Is he Lidstrom now?

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04-17-2012, 02:07 PM
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So are you insinuating that Clarke is cannot be goaded into a trollfest? Is he Lidstrom now?
No, I'm not. I do, however, think that Clarke knew where to draw the line, for the most part. Do you think he would be regarded as highly as he is if it was so easy to get him to take a penalty? For the most part, I feel like guys probably stayed away from Clarke because they were afraid of getting their faces removed.. not necessarily by Clarke, however, although he was more than capable of holding his own in a bar fight on ice.

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04-17-2012, 02:09 PM
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Yes, but he's without a bodyguard on his line. I made a point of getting him Broadbent to back his antics up last draft. A Clarke with no one to hide behind, faced with three gritty agitators, just might do something stupid.

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04-17-2012, 02:14 PM
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Directly on his line, yes. But Seibert's one of the toughest SOBs in the entire draft that still has a high end skill level to back it up.

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04-17-2012, 02:16 PM
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It's possible. Again, this is part of the reason why I really like to maintain real life chemistry in the ATD.. not necessarily with the same players, but at least with the same type of players. I'd be more comfortable having Clarke playing with someone who can go to the box for him when he does think of doing something silly.

Actually, looking at Clarke's PIMs, he didn't get penalized anywhere near as much as I thought he did. 1453 PIMs in 1144 games.. that's not even a minor a game.

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04-17-2012, 02:21 PM
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My 2 former co-GM's best of luck to both guys here, looking forward to seeing the final outcome of this series.

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04-17-2012, 04:06 PM
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Re: Clarke being a **** disturber. I didn't necessarily mean that in the sense that he'd take a lot of penalties either. As Jarek pointed out, he didn't take nearly as many penalties as one would expect for a player with his reputation. From what I remember discussing with a former Boston area journalist that I was lucky enough to be acquainted with through family friends, just in discussing some of the all time greats he said Clarke was great in getting someone to take a penalty for retaliating without getting caught himself.

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04-17-2012, 04:37 PM
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Makarov's speed definitely is a concern. It was noted that it was believed Balon's legs were gone when he ran into the onset of MS during his career so that would imply that he was a good skater, but I'd definitely like to find more evidence prior to that to really tell for sure. Also any evidence that he can play on the right wing would be helpful as well since Hossa definitely has the pace to keep up, though he's not quite as strong defensively as Balon was.
Balon is basically a poor man's Claude Provost. Very similar players physically, right down to the funny wide skating style. Like Claude, Dave wasn't the world's prettiest skater, but he was pretty fast - fast enough to do his thing against the top offensive wings of his time. If he was slower than Goulet, it was only by a touch. I think he'll be ok against Makarov, but then again, Sergei was a good enough skater to get behind any checker sometimes...including Goulet in the Canada Cup.

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04-17-2012, 04:49 PM
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Aside to this series:

I haven't had a lot of time to finish the 1923 Cup thread yet (I'm trying hard to do it right, and that means researching the PCHA championship series, as well), but what I've found from the finals of that year seems to indicate that Joe Simpson was, in fact very good at his peak.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+eskimos&hl=en

http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...rontpage&hl=en

It takes a bit of work to find the whole articles, but they're there. This was in the year when Lalonde called him the best player in the world. I had never taken that claim very seriously, but when you see the praise of him in this series (also from the Ottawa paper), it starts to look like a more serious claim. It's hard to say just how long Simpson's peak really was - maybe just 3-4 seasons - but he absolutely seems to have been an elite player at his peak, and seems to have been a well-rounded player, as well. He wasn't big, but he seems to have been good defensively, and it looks like he could pass as well as shoot, skate and stickhandle. I almost certainly underrated him earlier when I put him in the category of the fringe #3/4 defensemen. Indeed, he may be more on the level of a guy like Lester Patrick.

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04-17-2012, 05:41 PM
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Aside to this series:

I haven't had a lot of time to finish the 1923 Cup thread yet (I'm trying hard to do it right, and that means researching the PCHA championship series, as well), but what I've found from the finals of that year seems to indicate that Joe Simpson was, in fact very good at his peak.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+eskimos&hl=en

http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...rontpage&hl=en

It takes a bit of work to find the whole articles, but they're there. This was in the year when Lalonde called him the best player in the world. I had never taken that claim very seriously, but when you see the praise of him in this series (also from the Ottawa paper), it starts to look like a more serious claim. It's hard to say just how long Simpson's peak really was - maybe just 3-4 seasons - but he absolutely seems to have been an elite player at his peak, and seems to have been a well-rounded player, as well. He wasn't big, but he seems to have been good defensively, and it looks like he could pass as well as shoot, skate and stickhandle. I almost certainly underrated him earlier when I put him in the category of the fringe #3/4 defensemen. Indeed, he may be more on the level of a guy like Lester Patrick.
I posted several quotes from the 1923 Cup finals in my Simpson bio last ATD.

I think Simpson definitely had a case for being the best in the world, although it was harder to decide that claim when the east/west divide meant that few people got to see all the players.

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04-17-2012, 05:49 PM
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I posted several quotes from the 1923 Cup finals in my Simpson bio last ATD.

I think Simpson definitely had a case for being the best in the world, although it was harder to decide that claim when the east/west divide meant that few people got to see all the players.
This is why I never paid much attention to Lalonde's claim that he was the best. But seeing Simpson's performance against those Sens in the full context of that playoff season (in which Ottawa had dominated their opponents defensively in basically all but one game) put his skill level in better perspective for me. He was literally the only player on the Esks able to make any headway against that Ottawa machine, and the Ottawa Citizen being impressed by him tells me more than any praise Newsy Lalonde (who was out west at that point) could send his way. The extreme partisanship of western papers at that time (which is already on full display in the game summaries I have posted) has made me wary of putting too much into isolated quotes from those sources. It is precisely because of the fact that the leagues were so split that I place added weight on the Cup Finals during this period, as it is the only stage on which we get to see east meet west, and read the perspectives of both sides.

Of course, it's also worth noting how remarkably those Sens played in spite of being horribly depleted by injury. I really hope I have time to actually pursue the whole project. Seeing an entire playoff from start to finish puts things is much better perspective for me, and storylines start to emerge that aren't nearly so clear when the information is fragmented.


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04-19-2012, 11:16 AM
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Sorry I'm not able to post as much as I'd want to for this matchup guys. My only real internet access this week has been at work since I'm getting more then a bit ****ed over by my ISP. It should not be taking them 3 ****ing days to fix a service outage issue.

Anyway, getting down to specific line vs line matchups:

At Lada:
1st vs 1st:
I really don't think there's a better line out there this year to try to neutralize that powerhouse Mario line. Balon vs Makarov: Makarov will still do his damage this series, but Balon was a good enough skater to do his job against him defensively. Clarke vs Mario: This is prettymuch the perfect matchup for Clarke to be effective. Mario isn't known as being nearly as physical as Moose was, and he should be able to do his job effectively in shutting down Mario as much as is possible. With Seibert backing him up as well it'll be hard for Mario to do his thing. Hossa vs Stevens: Stevens is a physical force, but Hossa has enough size to hold his own and is more then capable of shutting Stevens down. On the flip side I really don't see anyone on that line that will be able to handle Lada's counterattack when they get possession. Hossa in particular could have a big series when the game's at Lada. Both lines are going to score, but I'd say this is a wash if not a very slight edge to Lada.

2nd vs 2nd:
Again like my first round matchup, a second line I like a lot, but it's going against one that's just flat out better. Joliat vs Mullen: Mullen's a guy I like a lot, but Joliat's just in another class both offensively and defensively, this is one spot where the series could really turn in Lada's favor. Hawerchuk vs Thornton: Thornton's got the better All Star resume and the Hart, but that's a bit deceptive as Hawerchuk has a 2nd place finish to Gretzky in the Hart and AS, a 3rd place Center finish to Gretzky and Mario in AS voting, and a couple Hart finishes that were just outside top 5 where both Mario and Wayne were in the top 5. Safe to say against lesser competition Hawerchuk would have stood out more and likely have a similar resume to Thornton. Hawerchuk's better as a two-way guy as well. Recchi vs Goulet: Two very different players, and not really built to counter eachother either. Goulet the better offensive guy, Recchi the better physical guy. I think both will do their damage on this matchup. Joliat gives a pretty decent sized edge to Lada for this matchup.

3rd vs 3rd:
I see this as being a zero sum matchup. Morrow - Risebrough - O'Reilly is the more offensively talented line, but Pandolfo - Kasper - Klukay should have no problem neutralizing them.



now when I'm on the road things get interesting:
Hartford 3 vs Lada 1:
I see this as being a big edge for Lada in this series, Arcand understandably doesn't. It all depends on just how disciplined Clarke can play while still doing his thing and goading the other team into stupid penalties. If that happens (and I think history favors that as well) I think the Clarke line will be able to simply put up some huge point totals. The Hartford 3rd just seems to be built more for physically wearing down the opponent to me rather then outright shutting them down. And a line of Balon-Clarke-Hossa will be very tough to wear down.

Hartford 1 vs Lada 2:
Hartford should be able to do most of their offensive damage here. But with that said, as favorable as it is to get Mario away from Clarke, I think Lada's 2nd line will be able to do their share of damage here as well as the Hartford top line just doesn't have the two-way guys to try and contain Lada's 2nd line. Edge will be Hartford here, but it won't be as big of one as one might innitially think. Lada's 2nd line will be able to do their thing and put up some solid numbers here.

Hartford 2 vs Lada 3:
I know the original intent was Hartford 2 vs Lada 4, but that would just be a huge advantage for Lada as the 4th line wouldn't see much ice time. So I'm going with the idea that Hartford will want to send out their 2nd unit vs Lada's 3rd. So this will prettymuch come down to how much Lada's 3rd can keep Hartford's 2nd off the board, with a bit of help from Frank Brimsek. Pandolfo is capable of shutting down Mullen, that matchup isn't a big concern for me. Goulet will fare better vs Klukay, but Klukay was regarded as one of the best checkers of his time and will keep Goulet off the board far better then Recchi will. Kasper vs Thornton IMO is where this matchup will be decided. Thornton will have to use his edge in size to keep possession against the pesky Kasper. So if Thornton can do that, they may be able to wear out the Lada 3rd line, if not then I think Lada will do a good job of neutralizing Hartford's 2nd line, leaving this to come down to which first line can score more and keep their opposing matchup off the board more.


Last edited by DaveG: 04-19-2012 at 12:03 PM.
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04-20-2012, 12:26 AM
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I think Clarke may be a tough matchup for Mario. While they just missed facing each other in the NHL, we know Mario fared poorly head to head against Gretzky. And in some ways Clarke is the most similar player to Gretzky - extremely smart, outstanding skating agility, great playmaker.

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04-20-2012, 04:23 AM
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That's why he won't face Clarke most of the time...

Let's look at the lines in a vacuum.

1st lines:
Lada's line is much better defensively, but my line crushes it offensively. Overall player for player, my line is actually much better - everyone has a clear edge over their counterpart, and Makarov just crushes Hossa.

2nd lines:
I don't think Hawerchuk is really better than Thornton, but then I find him extremely overrated. And I never got the school of thought that calls him good defensively - he's been atrocious in the 90's, so he'd have to be great in Winnipeg to average out as above average. Same with any semblance of physicality. He's better goalscorer than Thornton, but Thornton's the better playmaker, more physical, and got both better production finishes and more recognition. Hawerchuk has a better playoff resume, but I don't think the edge is so big. I actually think Thornton is the better center here by a small bit. However, Joliat has a solid edge on Goulet, not huge but clearly larger than what Thornton has on Hawerchuk. Recchi also has an edge on Mullen, but again I don't think it's much. Overall Lada's line is better, even though the edge is rather smallish. Both are exceptionally strong 2nd lines.

3rd lines:
Mine is more of grind type, while Lada's of all-out defense type. Offensively, my players are much better. Defensively, Lada's line is better. Physicality-wise, no contest whatsoever. There's however two things I think give my line very clear edge here. First, Klukay's playing off-position. Second, Kasper is tiny, and will have hell of a time doing any sort of effective checking on Lemieux or Thornton.

4th lines:
Basically a wash, a bunch of specialists and solid guys all around.

Overall I think I have a pretty clear edge on the forward corps.

I'll try to look at the rest on Sunday.


Last edited by MadArcand: 04-20-2012 at 04:34 AM.
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