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Rene Lecavalier Divisional Finals: Minnesota vs. Lada

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Old
04-25-2012, 02:18 PM
  #1
BillyShoe1721
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Rene Lecavalier Divisional Finals: Minnesota vs. Lada

Minnesota Fighting Saints


GM: Nalyd Psycho
Head Coach: Al Arbour
Captain: Dit Clapper
Assistant Captains: Maurice Richard & Guy Carbonneau

#40 Henrik Zetterberg-#26 Peter Šťastný-#9 Maurice Richard
#19 Markus Näslund-#25 Jacques Lemaire-#13 Bill Guerin
#21 Harry Westwick-#21 Guy Carbonneau-#16 Bengt-Åke Gustafsson
#22 Dennis Hextall-#15 Jaroslav Holík-#12 Ron Stewart

#4 Bill Gadsby-#5 Dit Clapper
#2 Derian Hatcher-#6 Art Duncan
#3 František Tikal-#8 Harry Mummery

#1 Hugh Lehman
#30 Tim Thomas

Spares: #14 Mattias Norström, D-#44 Barry Ashbee, D-#11 Art Gagne, RW-#7 Jason Arnott

First Power Play Unit:
Näslund-Šťastný-Richard
Gadsby-Duncan

Second Power Play Unit:
Zetterberg-Lemaire-Guerin
Mummery-Clapper

First Penalty Kill Unit:
Carbonneau-Westwick
Hatcher-Clapper

Second Penalty Kill Unit:
Lemaire-Gustafsson
Gadsby-Tikal


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:
Aurel Joliat - Bobby Clarke - Todd Bertuzzi
Dale Hawerchuk - Joe Simpson

Marian Hossa - 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


Last edited by DaveG: 04-27-2012 at 10:37 PM.
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04-25-2012, 10:05 PM
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DaveG
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On first look, these two teams look remarkably similar stylistically. Very strong defensive 3rd lines, solid 2nd lines, elite coaching. I think I have the edge in net with Brimsek but Lehman's a solid goalie for this. I will admit I have a hard time getting a read on exactly where Lehman would rank in an all time sense, though it's pretty evident that generation is pretty close together. Your bio is definitely well done to help get a better picture on that.

I'll do a bigger breakdown when I get the chance to tomorrow morning.

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04-26-2012, 05:28 AM
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Very interesting series here. A few initial thoughts:

- Lada gets another matchup against a strong offensive top line which rotates around the C - RW axis. This time, the strength is tilted towards the right wing and Shero doesn't enjoy a coaching advantage, so the matchup is tougher. Throwing Clarke - Kasper at Stastny will surely give him problems, but how will Balon - Pandolfo hold up against the Rocket? Maybe the question of the series.

- Minnesota has the obvious advantage on the top pairing. Lada has an advantage on the 2nd pairing where Neilson - Hatcher are similar, but I think Simpson trumps Duncan pretty easily. Both were offensive defensemen who competed out west; one was called the greatest player in the world and is in the HHOF, while the other is not.

- Lada has a clear advantage on the second line. My guess is that Arbour goes after that 2nd line with the Carbonneau unit. Carbonneau - Gustafsson is a strong checking C - RW combination, but is Westwick up to the task of shadowing Recchi?

- based on my research, it appears that Hugh Lehman had issues with long shots, in general, and not only screened shots. I haven't had time to finish the 1923 Cup thread, but I'll post the relevant game reports here in a minute. At any rate, goal looks like a substantial advantage for Lada.

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04-26-2012, 06:08 AM
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Here is the most relevant document vis-á-vis Lehman and long shots:

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

...you need to scroll to the sportspage. The quote is:

Quote:
Long shots are the bane of Lehman's life. Ottawa drove their shots nearly all from the blue line, two of them registered within the first period, and then the Senators settled back on their heels and took everything Vancouver had without waving the flag of defeat.
It appears that there was something of a "book" on Lehman (which was at least known in the west), and that Ottawa either already knew this (maybe from the experience vs. Vancouver in the 1921 finals) or figured it out over the course of the series. Some goalies don't handle long shots well (Tretiak comes to mind), and Lehman appears to have been one of them.

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04-26-2012, 06:32 AM
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mikita said tony esposito had trouble with long shots.

osgood is another.

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04-26-2012, 06:33 AM
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The big question then becomes why Lehman was always 1st Team All Star in the PCHA and why in the early 1930s, after his generation retired, people seemed to remember him as the best goalie from the West, if he had so much trouble with long shots?

Edit: the point of the question is just to point out that just because a goalie has a weakness doesn't make him teh suck. Maybe it wasn't needed


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04-26-2012, 02:24 PM
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First Lines:
Minnesota has a solid first line built around Stastny and Richard with Zetterberg being more then capable of putting up some points as a defensive conscience to that line. Lada has a more defense oriented top line focused on shutting down the opposition while still be more then competent in their own right offensively. Clarke is one of the best two-way players of all time, and should definitely be favored in the matchup with Stastny. Hossa's speed will be an asset here on the counter, and Balon provides some solid defense and good secondary scoring for the line. Offensively the advantage is Minnesota's, Defensively it's Lada's, and they should be able to put up some nice offense as well.

Second Lines:
On first look these are two remarkably similar line builds. Naslund-Lemaire-Guerin and Joliat-Hawerchuk-Recchi. Virtually identical really. That said, neither is overly strong or weak defensively so offense should decide this, and Lada's line definitely should have the edge there.

Third Lines:
Carbo is certainly one of the best defensive centers of all time, there should be no debate on that one. But likewise Kasper is very strong in that regard and I would argue (if you can for a Selke Trophy winner against that competition) seems to be rather underrated over the course of the years that followed his career. Westwick is certainly stronger then Pandolfo offensively, though I'm not sure he matches what Jay can in terms of pure defense. Gustafsson and Klukay likewise are strong defensive wingers that brought some underrated offense to their games as well. I'd argue that both lines going to be capable defensively, but Lada's may be just a hair stronger in that regard while Minnesota's may be capable of putting up a few more points. Will be interesting to see who Arbour wants this 3rd line out against.

Top Pairings:
Minnesota has the edge here on the whole, while Seibert is the best defenseman in the series and Pospisil is a capable #2. Minnesota, while lacking an elite defenseman, has one of the more balanced top pairings in this draft. Both of Minnesota's dmen here really could be used as #1s depending on who the #2 dman is, and they work well together.

Second Pairings:
Simpson and Neilson have he edge here. Hatcher is a known quantity as one of the best defensive defensemen from a defense heavy era, and Duncan's capable offensively. But I honestly think Simpson gives Lada's 2nd pairing the edge here.

Third Pairings:
Both are well constructed here, I honestly think Tikal is the best of the 4 here but the difference between the two pairings are minimal here, and I don't anticipate either pairing having a huge impact on the series with no real glaring weaknesses by either team there.

Goaltending:
Brimsek has the advantage here as I mentioned earlier, but Lumley is definitely a capable goalie here. Neither is going to cost their team the series so it will be more a matter of which goalie does the most to steal a game or two.

Coaching:
Probably the first matchup I haven't had the advantage in when it comes to the bench, but I think Fred could be closer to Arbour then most think. There's no question the success and of the coaching ability of Arbour, one would have to be an idiot to suggest otherwise. But I do think what Shero was able to do with the Flyers was just as impressive. Essentially I don't think there's much question that the dynasty Isles were the more talented of the two teams, but even with that said Shero nearly turned those Flyers teams into a dynasty of his own. I'd definitely be interested in seeing how the talent level of those Flyers would compare to some of the dynasty teams over the years.

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04-26-2012, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
The big question then becomes why Lehman was always 1st Team All Star in the PCHA and why in the early 1930s, after his generation retired, people seemed to remember him as the best goalie from the West, if he had so much trouble with long shots?

Edit: the point of the question is just to point out that just because a goalie has a weakness doesn't make him teh suck. Maybe it wasn't needed
It wasn't needed. As I've said before, I consider Lehman essentially equal to Tony Esposito. Both were terrific goalies, but had certain weaknesses (including perhaps a lack of focus...which may in some ways explain the regular season/postseason disparity) which were exposed when the chips were down. But they're good enough goalies that you can win even if they weren't perfect in the playoffs.

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04-26-2012, 02:58 PM
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The tactic of Ottawa beating Lehman with long shots here is, by the way, I think compelling evidence that Ottawa was a very well-coached team. In fact, my general impression from the 1923 documents is that something was very right in the Ottawa organization beyond just the players. Tommy Gorman is actually the more visible personality in the press (he went so far as to write his own column in the Citizen), but I think Green likely deserves a lot of the credit here, as well.

The more I read about those great Sens teams, the more they remind me of the dynasty Islanders of Torrey and Arbour. Although I "criticized" Green as a system coach (which he surely was), his system appears to have been extremely good...to include:

- strategic sandbagging in exhibition matches.

- outstanding conditioning of the skaters. The press seemed amazed by the end of the 1923 playoffs that the Sens were still on their skates. The team was down to basically zero healthy subs by the time the finals came around. Darragh got sick, Hitchman got hurt, their other random sub whose name I've forgotten got hurt and Gerard separated his shoulder in the semifinals vs. Vancouver. Clancy played a big role at the end, although he was not normally a starter at that point. Against Edmonton in the finals, the Sens basically had five healthy starters and no reliable subs, and Denneny had gotten viciously whacked in the head already in the playoffs. Denneny, Nighbor, Broadbent, Clancy, Boucher and Benedict put up a pretty epic performance in those finals.

- consistent success at playing to the score (a sign of a great team that is pacing itself).

- detailed knowledge of opponents' weaknesses.

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04-26-2012, 05:25 PM
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I just had to google the meaning of "sandbagging"

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04-26-2012, 05:58 PM
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With the way these two teams are constructed, I think matchups are going to play a very key role.

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04-27-2012, 05:33 PM
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Some initial thoughts.

Not only do I not think Neilson-Simpson is better than Hatcher-Duncan, I think Hatcher-Duncan is better.

Here is why.

Neilson vs Hatcher:
Both are quite similar. Looking at it, I probably have underrated Neilson. But the fundamental difference is this, Neilson is a very solid well rounded defensive player. Derian Hatcher is a very solid well rounded defensive player who is among the greatest to ever play the game at clearing the crease and battling in the corners. Neilson is very good, but he offers nothing noteworthy, what he brings to the table is ultimately similar to what Mattias Norstrom brings to the table, just better. Where as Hatcher brings skills to the table where he is the undisputed best in the series. In an ATD format, an elite skill can really stand out as important. That is what separates Hatcher from Neilson.

Simpson vs Duncan:
Simpson being better than Duncan is based on one quote from 1923. A year after Joe Simpson's two best statistical seasons and a year before Art Duncan lead the PCHA in scoring. After that season the same paper in question called Art Duncan the perfect hockey player. But even if we accept that Simpson's 4 year peak is higher than Duncan's 5 year peak, we must then look at what happened outside that peak. Prior to Joe Simpson's peak he played in amateur leagues that are too weak to judge the level of competition. Art Duncan on the other hand was a solid and reliable defenceman in both the PCHA, where he replaced Si Griffis in Vancouver and the NHA where he spent one season before shipping off for WW1 (As did Joe Simpson), he was a back up in the NHA, but primarily because of the chemistry of the McNamara brothers and doubtful that it was due to not being good enough. After their peak, Joe Simpson was out of shape and largely ineffectual for most of his tenure in New York, having one decent year but it was 1930, a year when freak blips were the norm. Art Duncan had one year in Calgary where the trio of Duncan, Herb Gardiner and Red Dutton were all used equally and terrified the WHL. One year in Chicago where he banished himself to the bench to excel as a player coach. Three years in Toronto where Hap Day and Duncan were described as one of the NHL's best. Then he had was a player coach where he once again banished himself to the bench before retiring to make room for King Clancy.

So what we see is that Art Duncan had clearly had a significant edge in non-peak career over Joe Simpson, while Joe Simpson had a slight, if that, edge in peak value. This should make Art Duncan the clearly superior defenceman.

But the one question lingers. If Art Duncan is greater than Joe Simpson, why is Joe Simpson a Hall of Famer and Art Duncan is not? Politics.

Art Duncan is not in the Hall of Fame because he angered Lester Patrick and Conn Smythe. And in those days if those two were against you, you were not making the Hall. By the time their influence was gone, so was the influence of anyone who witnessed PCHA hockey. Lester Patrick was burned by Duncan once when Duncan held out on Vancouver, and then a second time when Duncan left the team high and dry for more money and a better chance at the Cup in Calgary. Conn Smythe was burned by Duncan the first time when Duncan held out on Toronto becoming the first player to be sued by the NHL to get him to come back to work. And a second time after Conn Smythe fired Duncan as coach of the Leafs, Duncan took Conn Smythe and the Maple Leafs to court for back pay.

So Hatcher & Duncan > Neilson & Simpson because Hatcher > Neilson & Duncan > Simpson.
__________________________________________________ ___

And as for Lehman, I don't know why you keep mentioning him over and over again Sturminator. Every player has flaws. Yes Lehman has flaws, but I have compensated for them. He struggles on long shots. Well. I have one of the best shot blocking defencemen of all-time in Bill Gadsby and the best shotblocking forward of all-time in Guy Carbonneau. What's more, many reports I read said that it was specifically screened long shots and that he earned the nickname Eagle Eye because if he could see it, he could stop it. And for that I have the biggest and best crease clearing defence in the ATD. This is where Hatcher's elite level crease clearing becomes a major boon for the Fighting Saints.

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04-27-2012, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post

- Lada has a clear advantage on the second line. My guess is that Arbour goes after that 2nd line with the Carbonneau unit. Carbonneau - Gustafsson is a strong checking C - RW combination, but is Westwick up to the task of shadowing Recchi?
Westwick's greatest strengths are speed, endurance/conditioning and tenacity. I definitely think he can shadow Recchi. (Who is hardly a game breaking talent.) Westwick was the best defensive forward on the Silver Seven and was noted as being the quickest and most well-conditioned player of the 1900s. Able to play a 60 minute game with noticeably less wear and tear than his opponents. He should be an elite forechecker and shadow who's speed will allow for counter attacks. In a modern game those would be his three most practical strengths. He wasn't a greater shooter or stick handler, size will hurt him on the cycle and once in his own zone he'd be more effective at pressuring the points. But in transition he'd be a very difficult shadow to shake.

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04-27-2012, 08:31 PM
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My comparison of the teams.

Advantage Lada:
Goaltending: Brimsek is clearly the best goalie in the series. Lehman is nothing to be sneezed at, but Eagle Eye is not Mr. Zero. Both Dzurilla and Thomas are good back-ups. Both play well with other elite goalies, Dzurilla has the career value edge, Thomas peak value and neither will be a factor in the series.
Second line: I really like my second line. I really think the chemistry is there to get the most out of the pieces. But Joliat-Hawerchuk is a dynamite combo.

Advantage Minnesota:
First line: Lada's line is clearly a two-way line, but it is probably the weakest offensive first line in the ATD. And Balon-Hossa are not elite defensive wingers. The Stastny-Richard combo is leaps and bounds more potent than anything Lada can ice.
Thrid Line: Bth lines are elite defensive units, Lada's might even have a slight edge in that regard, but just slight. But Lada's is offensively decrepit. At an ATD level that unit will have Kent Manderville levels of offensive impotence. Where as Westwick-Carboneau-Gustafsson would be the ATD equivilent of a 30-40 point a piece line. Not offensively strong, but not weak. The big difference is that the Minnesota line can punish you for high risk taking, where as Lada's third line invites high risk offence because they just have no muscle on the counter attack at all.
Defence: Top to bottom Minnesota is better. IMO Clapper and Gadsby are both a bit better than Seibert and Pospisil is easily the weakest of the top pairing guys, by a noteworthy margin. I've already explained why Hatcher-Duncan is superior. And Tikal-Mummery is more physical, more explossive and better defensively than Awrey-Laviolette.
Coaching: Shero is an all-time great coach. But this is Al freaking Arbor.
Powerplay: Bertuzzi on a first unit. Do I need to go into more detail?

Saw-offs:
Forth line: Both are big and physical. Lada's has more offence, Minnesota's is stronger defensively.
Penalty kill: Both are elite.
Leadership: Both teams have multiple ATD worthy captains and limited potential problems.

Match-Ups:
Stastny line vs Clarke Line: Clarke will put a real damper on Stastny, but Richard is one of the elite talents of hockey history, and his offensive flair can single handedly win series. Dave Balon just has absolutely nothing on Richard.
Carbonneau line vs Hawerchuk line: Having their best offensive line be the one with second most ice time makes it easy to match my shutdown line against it.
Lemaire line vs Kasper line: Having such a weak offensive line allows the TwinCity Express to be on all-out attack mode. Hem the Kasper line in. Take chances and as such neutralize their defensive skill by playing against their lack of offensive skill.
Holik line vs Getzlaf line: Penalties will be accumulated. Good thing Minnesota has the special team advantage.

I'll have Zetterberg-Stastny-Richard-Hatcher-Duncan be a five man unit as the key to attack will be on the rightside of the ice, and Duncan-Richard will fully exploit that. Then the Gadsby-Clapper pair will be with both the Lemaire and the Carbonneau line. Because they are equally adept at being an elite offensive pairing and elite defensively. They will play safe lock down defence against Hawerchuk and aide the TwinCity Express with high-risk offence, further overwhelming Lada. The Tikal-Mummery pairing will play with Holik and fill in with both the Lemaire line and Carbonneau line when order of line changes requires Gadsby and Clapper to get some rest.

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04-27-2012, 09:00 PM
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Westwick's greatest strengths are speed, endurance/conditioning and tenacity. I definitely think he can shadow Recchi. (Who is hardly a game breaking talent.) Westwick was the best defensive forward on the Silver Seven and was noted as being the quickest and most well-conditioned player of the 1900s. Able to play a 60 minute game with noticeably less wear and tear than his opponents. He should be an elite forechecker and shadow who's speed will allow for counter attacks. In a modern game those would be his three most practical strengths. He wasn't a greater shooter or stick handler, size will hurt him on the cycle and once in his own zone he'd be more effective at pressuring the points. But in transition he'd be a very difficult shadow to shake.
I was expecting you to answer this with "why would Recchi need shadowing?" Recchi is a good second liner, but not a great one.

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04-27-2012, 09:04 PM
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I was expecting you to answer this with "why would Recchi need shadowing?" Recchi is a good second liner, but not a great one.
This is very true, which makes it all the more likely that Westwick would be effective. But Sturminator keeps questioning Westwick, so I feel/fear people aren't giving him the respect he deserves. Westwick's main job will be as a forechecker, Westwick as the deep forechecker, Gustafsson shallow forecheck and Carbonneau hanging back. Aggressive forecheck without much risk to it.

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04-27-2012, 09:05 PM
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This bugged me last round too, but why is Hossa on Lada's first PP over Joliat, when Joliat is arguably Lada's best offensive player? I get why Bertuzzi is there at least - PP net guy - though his resume as an elite PP producer in the NHL is only a few years long.

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04-27-2012, 09:43 PM
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This bugged me last round too, but why is Hossa on Lada's first PP over Joliat, when Joliat is arguably Lada's best offensive player? I get why Bertuzzi is there at least - PP net guy - though his resume as an elite PP producer in the NHL is only a few years long.
Agreed. I was really impressed with the longevity of Joliat's offensive contributions. He is their best offensive player.

On that note. Is Hawerchuk better than Clarke offensively?

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04-27-2012, 10:22 PM
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Agreed. I was really impressed with the longevity of Joliat's offensive contributions. He is their best offensive player.

On that note. Is Hawerchuk better than Clarke offensively?
I don't think so. I realize the 80s was a stronger league at the top, but Hawerchuk's finishes are pretty far behind Joliat's and Clarke's.

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04-27-2012, 10:30 PM
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Honestly thought I had made that Joliat-Hossa swap earlier, but yeah i don't see it. Consider that one done and chalk that one up to 1: make sure to write down your changes during the busy weeks at work, and 2: verify that you actually did make said changes. In that case I did neither, merely thought I did.

Will address more of the rest in the morning. Needless to say though I do have at least a couple disagreements, of course.

Very glad that the discussion in this series is staying level headed so far.

and yes, Clarke is stronger offensively then Hawerchuk. Hawerchuk was one of the top 10 scorers of the 80s, #5 from 82-90 behind Gretzky, Stastny, Kurri, and Savard. Clarke was #4 for the 70s behind Espo, LaFleur, and Dionne.


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04-28-2012, 10:33 AM
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And as for Lehman, I don't know why you keep mentioning him over and over again Sturminator. Every player has flaws.
I post about Lehman because I have a lot of information on him, and because he is not a well-known player when we get down to the little details. You claimed that Lehman only had issues with screened shots. Based on the evidence, that appears to be false, so I posted what I had. I post good things about players, too. In fact, I seem to remember mentioning specifically that Lehman's postseason GAA almost always dropped from his regular season numbers, which suggests that he was generally playing well in the playoffs, in spite of the hiccups.

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04-28-2012, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
I post about Lehman because I have a lot of information on him, and because he is not a well-known player when we get down to the little details. You claimed that Lehman only had issues with screened shots. Based on the evidence, that appears to be false, so I posted what I had. I post good things about players, too. In fact, I seem to remember mentioning specifically that Lehman's postseason GAA almost always dropped from his regular season numbers, which suggests that he was generally playing well in the playoffs, in spite of the hiccups.
It just seems like you keep mentioning the same point. I know I read that it was specifically screen shots, but I can't find the article. My main concern is that you are researching the Ottawa Senators and that Lehman is mentioned by proxy through that. And it is no secret Ottawa had both Lehman and Vancouver's number. I can't help but wonder if it skews things the same way as say, finding out about Patrick Roy when reading up on Ed Belfour.

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04-28-2012, 06:52 PM
  #23
seventieslord
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I was expecting you to answer this with "why would Recchi need shadowing?" Recchi is a good second liner, but not a great one.
How many more top-5 finishes in points post-1990 should Recchi have to be a "great" 2nd liner? Apparently three isn't enough. Look around the league..

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04-28-2012, 09:00 PM
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Nalyd Psycho
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
How many more top-5 finishes in points post-1990 should Recchi have to be a "great" 2nd liner? Apparently three isn't enough. Look around the league..
Part of the problem is that outside those finishes his only other top 10 is a 10th place. He is very good, simply because RW is not nearly as deep as it seems like it should be.

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04-28-2012, 10:28 PM
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seventieslord
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Originally Posted by Nalyd Psycho View Post
Part of the problem is that outside those finishes his only other top 10 is a 10th place. He is very good, simply because RW is not nearly as deep as it seems like it should be.
Don't forget all the top-20s. With modern players it's usually 7-8 points separating 10th and 20th. Recchi does look better in the big picture but you honestly don't have to go that far to make that point, and I wasn't trying to . His peak is more than good enough.

I can't think of 32 RWs I would rather have.

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