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ATD2013 Final: Pittsburgh AC vs. Montreal Canadiens

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Old
05-15-2013, 09:58 PM
  #1
EagleBelfour
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ATD2013 Final: Pittsburgh AC vs. Montreal Canadiens

Pittsburgh Athletic Club

Coach: Cecil Hart

Bert Olmstead - Jean Beliveau (C) - Andy Bathgate
Sweeney Schriner - Bernie Morris - Steve Larmer
Red Berenson (A) - Neil Colville - Jimmy Ward
Ryan Walter - Thomas Steen (A) - Jim Pappin
Barney Stanley, Murph Chamberlain

Brian Leetch - Alexei Kasatonov
Barry Beck - Pat Stapleton
Willie Mitchell - Frank Patrick
Ryan Suter, Bryan McCabe

Chuck Rayner
John Ross Roach

PP1:
Olmstead - Beliveau - Morris
Leetch - Bathgate

PP2:
Schriner - Colville - Larmer
Patrick - Stapleton

PK1:
Berenson - Larmer
Beck - Kasatonov

PK2:
Steen - Walter
Leetch - Mitchell

vs.

MONTREAL CANADIENS





GMs: Jafar / Sturminator
Captain: Mikhailov
Assistant: Bourque
Assistant: Coulter


HEAD COACH

Tommy Gorman

ROSTER

#9 Busher Jackson - #7 Frank Boucher - #13 Boris Mikhailov
#8 Sergei Kapustin - #27 Jeremy Roenick - #19 Helmut Balderis
#91 Shane Doan - #14 Don Luce - #10 Tony Amonte
#17 Joe Klukay - #33 Troy Murray - #41 Mario Tremblay

#77 Raymond Bourque - #2 Art Coulter
#3 Gus Mortson - #5 Jimmy Thomson
#4 Bobby Rowe - #18 Mathieu Schneider

#1 Georges Vézina
#23 Al Rollins

#39 Jason Spezza, #26 Rick Ley, #12 Steve Thomas, #71 Patrik Sundstrom

PP1: Jackson - Boucher - Mikhailov
Schneider - Bourque

PP2: Kapustin - Roenick - Balderis
Thomson - Mortson

PK1: Klukay - Luce
Bourque - Coulter

PK2: Murray - Boucher
Mortson - Thomson

PK3: Roenick - Mikhailov
Rowe


Last edited by EagleBelfour: 05-16-2013 at 04:47 PM.
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Old
05-15-2013, 10:14 PM
  #2
Hawkey Town 18
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Is Montreal going with the lineup from last round or their original lineup from the regular season and first 3 rounds?

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05-15-2013, 10:19 PM
  #3
EagleBelfour
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Is Montreal going with the lineup from last round or their original lineup from the regular season and first 3 rounds?
I just took the lineup from the last round for both teams. I'll be back tomorrow night to make any lineup changes if they ask me to do so.

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05-16-2013, 12:12 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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When Jafar drafted Georges Vezina after already completing one of the best first units in the draft (back when Mikhailov was still playing with Jackson and Boucher), I thought Montreal became the favorite to win it all. But Pittsburgh's top trio of Beliveau-Bathgate-Leetch is scary good, and it seems like the rest of the ATD finally caught on that Schriner is always one of the biggest steals of the draft (ugh, I came so close to drafting Schriner when I drafted Bill White).

I guess it shouldn't be surprising that with steals in the early rounds so few and far between anymore that the two teams to draft arguably the biggest steals in the draft (Georges Vezina and Sweeney Schriner) made it to the finals.

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Old
05-16-2013, 12:57 PM
  #5
Hawkey Town 18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
When Jafar drafted Georges Vezina after already completing one of the best first units in the draft (back when Mikhailov was still playing with Jackson and Boucher), I thought Montreal became the favorite to win it all. But Pittsburgh's top trio of Beliveau-Bathgate-Leetch is scary good, and it seems like the rest of the ATD finally caught on that Schriner is always one of the biggest steals of the draft (ugh, I came so close to drafting Schriner when I drafted Bill White).

I guess it shouldn't be surprising that with steals in the early rounds so few and far between anymore that the two teams to draft arguably the biggest steals in the draft (Georges Vezina and Sweeney Schriner) made it to the finals.
I thought Frank Boucher and Jeremy Roenick were mini-steals for Montreal as well.


Same goes for Pittsburgh with Bathgate.

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05-16-2013, 01:30 PM
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markrander87
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Well I certainly know what i'm doing in next years ATD....load up on a first line and a couple dmen and then take what's left for a 2nd line.


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05-16-2013, 01:36 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
When Jafar drafted Georges Vezina after already completing one of the best first units in the draft (back when Mikhailov was still playing with Jackson and Boucher), I thought Montreal became the favorite to win it all.
Mikhailov is back on the Boucher line. If some mod wouldn't mind copying the lines from the Montreal vs. Trail series, they are back to the old, standard, formation here:

Jackson - Boucher - Mikhailov
Kapustin - Roenick - Balderis
Doan - Luce - Amonte
Klukay - Murray - Tremblay

...with one small exception: when the Luce line can be matched against the Beliveau line, Joe Klukay will skate at LW. When the line takes the ice against any other unit, the LW will be Doan.

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05-16-2013, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrander87 View Post
While I certainly know what i'm doing in next years ATD....load up on a first line and a couple dmen and then take what's left for a 2nd line.
I don't think it's quite that simple, but yes, non-elite scoring forwards are often one of the biggest sources of value in the draft. If faced with a choice between paying retail price for a 2nd line forward or 2nd pairing defenseman, you should generally choose the defenseman because you're much more likely to hit on an underrated forward later on in the draft. There are still a few underrated defensemen floating around out there, I suppose - Bobby Rowe was one this year - but they are pretty rare.

This is a very interesting series. It has a very Islanders vs. Oilers feel to it; I'm just not sure if it's 1983 or 1984.

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05-16-2013, 02:45 PM
  #9
BenchBrawl
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Despite not being available to participate in those playoffs , I've been reading each series with interest.I want to congratulate both Sturminator and BBS.Since Sturminator did all the hard work , I will remain silent for the remaining of the championship and let the best man win.

I am proud of the line-up I assembled but I also understand the value of having Sturminator debating for it.

Good luck!

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05-17-2013, 06:03 PM
  #10
Rob Scuderi
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Best of luck here guys, looking forward to a tough series.

Beliveau
vsX: 123.94, 121.33, 116.67, 100, 100, 98.72, 98.65
6x 1st All-star team, 4x 2nd All-star team
2x Hart Trophy winner

Boucher
vsX: 102.33, 100, 100, 95.74, 90.7, 89.66, 87.5
3x NHL 1st all-star team, 1x NHL 2nd all-star team
2x PCHA 1st All-star
1x WCHA 1st All-star

Two centers leading our lines with an advantage to Beliveau. Boucher's the better checker, but I think Beliveau has him everywhere else.

Bathgate
vsX: 109.86, 106, 100, 100, 100, 98.72, 92.76
2x 1st All-star team, 2x 2nd All-star team
1x Hart Trophy

Jackson
vsX: 106, 100, 93.62, 88.89, 88.37, 77.27, 72.09
4x 1st All-star team, 1x 2nd All-star team

The two best offensive wingers on each line and I think Bathgate gets the nod here. His vsX scores and point finishes are better. Jackson has better All-star placements, but he was playing left wing and Bathgate was playing right wing in a very competitive era. Bathgate has four third place finishes in all-star team voting and finished behind Gordie Howe each of those years.

Mikhailov
Soviet League top 5 finishes: 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5
7x Soviet League All-Star
WC top 5 finishes: 1, 2, 2, 2, 4, 5, 5
2x WC All-star, 2x WC Best Forward

Olmstead
vsX: 98.59, 85.25, 78.38, 73.77, 71.01, 66.67, 62.12
2x 2nd All-star team

The two guys who round the lines out and Mikhailov's the better player here. He's a much better scorer, and even if he isn't Olmstead along the boards he's pretty good there himself. Both are leaders and seemed to have defensive value, though pulling quotes on Olmstead's checking is much easier than for a Soviet forward.

Overall I think these are two very good top lines. With the advantage between our best players at center and best scorers on the wing, I think Pittsburgh has the better line. Mikhailov is better than Olmstead, but not enough to overcome those two differences.

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05-17-2013, 07:24 PM
  #11
Dreakmur
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Bathgate vs. Jackson isn't even close - Bathgate by a landslide.

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05-17-2013, 07:35 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
Bathgate vs. Jackson isn't even close - Bathgate by a landslide.
The stats don't make it look like a landslide, though Bathgate does win

The only landslides I see on first lines are for Beliveau as the best player and Olmstead for the worst

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05-17-2013, 07:43 PM
  #13
Dreakmur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
The stats don't make it look like a landslide, though Bathgate does win

The only landslides I see on first lines are for Beliveau as the best player and Olmstead for the worst
Competition and linemates both flatter Jackson in the comparison.

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05-17-2013, 08:27 PM
  #14
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
Competition and linemates both flatter Jackson in the comparison.
The whole point of the VsX system is to eliminate the variable of competition and the whole controversy over the numbers from the late 50s is that they assign multiple players scores over 100, which is justified as saying the late 50s had super awesome competition. So the VsX numbers should already take into account competition. So I don't see that being all that big a factor. The competition in the early-mid 30s was excellent and Jackson's prime was basically over by the time competition got worse in the late 30s.

Linemates... yeah, that could be something, though there is always the argument that being the lone superstar on a crappy team goes both ways, as everything that team does runs through you. Bathgate almost certainly received more ice time than the stars of Montreal, at least.

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05-17-2013, 08:55 PM
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Dreakmur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
The whole point of the VsX system is to eliminate the variable of competition and the whole controversy over the numbers from the late 50s is that they assign multiple players scores over 100, which is justified as saying the late 50s had super awesome competition. So the VsX numbers should already take into account competition. So I don't see that being all that big a factor. The competition in the early-mid 30s was excellent and Jackson's prime was basically over by the time competition got worse in the late 30s.
Bathgate's competition was the best of all-time.

The system was designed to deal with the fact that talent level generally expanded over time, not the fact that there were highs and lows in talent. Bathgate dealth with competition dat is not accounted for by that system.

Quote:
Linemates... yeah, that could be something, though there is always the argument that being the lone superstar on a crappy team goes both ways, as everything that team does runs through you. Bathgate almost certainly received more ice time than the stars of Montreal, at least.
Jackson was the 3rd most improtant player on his line.

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05-18-2013, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
Bathgate's competition was the best of all-time.

The system was designed to deal with the fact that talent level generally expanded over time, not the fact that there were highs and lows in talent. Bathgate dealth with competition dat is not accounted for by that system.
Actually, the Vs2 system was designed to account for an expanding pool of talent over time, but it quite clearly does not deal well with the ups and downs of outlier performance from season-to-season. VsX was designed to address precisely that issue. Whether or not you agree with how the system goes about it is another matter, but you seem to be misunderstanding the point here.

The system is already quite charitable to Andy Bathgate's scoring, and may have been overly so in the first version. I think with the tweaks made to the benchmarks in 1956-57 and 1957-58, we have arrived at a fair accounting of Andy's scoring accomplishments. You seem to be asking for more. I am probably Andy's biggest fan here, and even I don't think that's reasonable.

Quote:
Jackson was the 3rd most improtant player on his line.
Even when he outscored Charlie Conacher...which he did in 1931-32 and 1932-33? And when Busher was a 1st team all-star in 1936-37, with Conacher a shell of himself and Primeau out of the league? Busher Jackson was a great player who played with other great players. Hardly a novel situation.

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05-18-2013, 05:05 AM
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
The stats don't make it look like a landslide, though Bathgate does win

The only landslides I see on first lines are for Beliveau as the best player and Olmstead for the worst
I think that's a fair assessment. To be honest, though I understand why BBS chose this comparison from a stylistic perspective, I'm not comfortable with a comparison between Boris Mikhailov and Bert Olmstead because I think it clearly denigrates Mikhailov by association. These two players are far, far apart offensively. Here are the complete WEC-A championship scoring results for the Mikhailov generation's time on the Soviet national team, 1969-1979:

PlayerGoalsAssistsPointsGamesPoints-per-game
Boris Mikhailov9766163951.72
Valeri Kharlamov7482156971.61
Vladimir Petrov7072142851.67
Aleksandr Maltsev7066136921.48
Aleksandr Yakushev553186721.19
Vladimir Shadrin343973631.16

Was Boris Mikhailov the best skater on those old Soviet teams? The numbers certainly seem to suggest so, and IIHF results are relatively reliable, as competition and scoring system are both normalized. We also have a pretty clear picture of the relative intangibles of the players at this point. Weighed against the scoring data and the video evidence we have of what these players were doing off the puck...we have the legend of Valeri Kharlamov.

As far as I can tell, from my modern perspective, Boris Mikhailov was the best player on that line. The old arguments used to explain the discrepancy between Kharlamov's results and his reputation are quickly debunked when one actually watches the game video. Was Kharlamov the line's "primary puck carrier" and playmaker, and shorted a bunch of 2nd assists as a result? No. He may have had more puck-carrying duties before 1972 (his assists numbers are higher in that period), but none of the tape from 1972 forward bears out the claim that Kharlamov was carrying the line offensively, either in transition or in the attacking zone. Was Kharlamov a superior two-way player? Definitely not. He was a pretty good checker in the neutral zone, but rarely came down in support in the defensive zone (which cost the team on a number of occasions), and was almost always the last of the three forwards in position on the backcheck.

To what extent has Boris Mikhailov's reputation been hurt by the ghost of Kharlamov? If there are no rational explanations left for K's deification, at what point do we conclude, as the data would suggest, that Mikhailov was the better player? How would such a conclusion affect M's value in an all-time sense?

At any rate, comparing Mikhailov to Olmstead is insulting to the Russian. Olmstead is in his own category here, far behind the other five players on the teams' respective top lines.

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05-18-2013, 07:31 AM
  #18
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One of the interesting things about this series is that the teams seem to be relatively well balanced against one another, with neither team having much in the way of discernible weaknesses. Montreal is built around an excellent defense and strong forwards, while Pittsburgh is built around excellent forwards and a strong defense. But Pittsburgh does have one rather glaring weakness which can be exploited here - that is, a lack of strong checking forwards. This weakness is particularly telling on the AC's 1st unit penalty kill, which is likely one of the worst in the draft.

BBS' defense of Steve Larmer's penalty-killing abilities in the assassination thread basically consisted of posting chart:

Quote:
Originally Posted by BBS
Here's a pnep chart: Top 3 Team That Had The Best PK % Each Season...Top 2 Forwards Who Had The Most PK Ice Time With That Teams
Player#
Craig "Rammer" Ramsay 9
Don Luce 6
Ed "The Shadow" Westfall 5
Guy "Carbo" Carbonneau 5
Bob "Le Capitaine" Gainey 5
Doug "Ironman" Jarvis 5
Bobby "Clarkie" Clarke 4
Dirk "Duke" Graham 3
Mark "Mess" Messier 3
Stephane "Sandbox" Yelle 3
Mike "Keaner" Keane 3
Ron Lee "Dog" Wilson 3
Kris "Nails" Draper 3
Steve "Gramps" Larmer 3
Bill Collins 3
Brian "Rollie" Rolston 3
Steve "Stevie Wonderful" Yzerman 3
...which is, with all due respect to BBS and pnep, nothing but a junk stat. Here's what was actually going on:

Quote:
Chicago forward penalty killing during Larmer's career (cutoff 20% PK and 40 GP):

1984-85 - 13th in league PK
PlayerPK%GP
Patrick Paterson5672
Bill Gardner5379
Rich Preston3275
Peter Marsh2843

1985-86 - 11th in league PK
PlayerPK%GP
Bill Gardner5374
Rick Paterson5079
Troy Murray3880
Steve Ludzik3279

1986-87 - 16th in league PK
PlayerPK%GP
Troy Murray5377
Steve Ludzik4752
Rich Preston3173
Dave Donnelly3171

1987-88 - 10th in league PK
PlayerPK%GP
Steve Larmer3880
Denis Savard3680
Troy Murray3379
Drik Graham3242
Mike Stapleton2853
Steve Ludzik2373

1988-89 - 19th in league PK
PlayerPK%GP
Dirk Graham4380
Steve Larmer3480
Troy Murray3379
Denis Savard3258
Bob Bassen2349
Mike Eagles2047

1989-90 - 12th in league PK
PlayerPK%GP
Dirk Graham4773
Troy Murray4168
Steve Larmer3680
Denis Savard2560
Adam Creighton2180

1990-91 - 2nd in league PK
PlayerPK%GP
Dirk Graham4680
Steve Larmer4180
Troy Murray3075

1991-92 - 2nd in league PK
PlayerPK%GP
Dirk Graham5180
Steve Larmer4580
Mike Hudson2176
Brent Sutter2161
Jeremy Roenick2080

1992-93 - 3rd in league PK
PlayerPK%GP
Dirk Graham4684
Steve Larmer3884
Brent Sutter3765
Christian Ruutuu2584
Greg Gilbert2277

-----------Larmer is traded to New York

1993-94 - 5th in league PK
PlayerPK%GP
Brent Sutter4973
Dirk Graham4667
Jeremy Roenick4184
Christian Ruutuu3154
Stephane Matteau2565
What does all this tell us about Steve Larmer? Well...Larmer was a very important penalty-killer for those Chicago teams over a six year span.

- years before Larmer killed penalties in Chicago: 13th, 11th, 16th
- Larmer's first three seasons on Chicago PK: 10th, 19th, 12th
- Larmer's last three seasons on Chicago PK: 2nd, 2nd, 3rd
- Chicago PK after Larmer left: 5th

So what is going on here? Specifically, what changed in Chicago between 1989-90 and 1990-91, the dividing line between Larmer's first and last three seasons on the Hawks PK? Why did Chicago, with basically the same personnel at forward, go from 12th to 2nd in the league? Ed Belfour and Chris Chelios is your answer. Belfour was promoted to full-time starter that season, and Chelios came over from Montreal for Denis Savard.

Larmer's actual impact on the Chicago PK seems to have been fairly minimal. The unit didn't perform noticeably better when he assumed a greater role, nor did it perform noticeably worse after he left. This is the problem with junk stats like the one above: they conflate correlation with causation all too easily. The cause of Chicago's great performance on the PK starting in 1990-91 had little to do with Steve Larmer, who was at best the 4th best player on the top unit, behind Chelios, Graham and Belfour.

Was Steve Larmer a good penalty killer? Yes, he was. Was he a great one? Nah. Every GM will have to judge for himself, but as far as I can tell, Larmer is a questionable top unit penalty killer at this level, and is probably more of a good 2nd unit guy in the ATD.

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05-18-2013, 08:56 AM
  #19
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And now on to Red Berenson's penalty-killing resume, which is similarly not that of a top unit player at this level. Here it is, same 20% PK/40 GP cutoffs (for Berenson's partial seasons, I show the stats of the team for whom he played the most games):

Quote:
St. Louis:

1967-68: 3rd in West / 4th in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Jim Roberts5974
Red Berenson5255
Gerry Melnyk3973
Bill McCreary2770
Terry Crisp2673

1968-69: 5th in West / 10th in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Jim Roberts6372
Bill McCreary3671
Red Berenson2776
Terry Crisp2457

1969-70: 1st in West / 3rd in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Bill McCreary5873
Jim Roberts5676
Red Berenson2567

1970-71: 3rd in West / 7th in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Jim Roberts6670
Bill McCreary4768
Red Berenson3945
Terry Crisp2954
Tim Ecclestone2747
Chris Bordeleau2278

Detroit:

1971-72: 3rd in East / 5th in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Red Berenson5178
Nick Libett4177
Bill Collins3271
Al Karlander3271
Leon Rochefort2464

1972-73: 2nd in East / 3rd in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Bill Collins5878
Henry Boucha4873
Garnet Bailey3170
Nick Libett2878
Red Berenson1378

1973-74: 5th in East / 11th in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Henry Boucha5970
Red Berenson4676
Bill Collins3254
Nick Libett2167

St. Louis:

1974-75: 14th in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Bill Collins5570
Red Berenson3344
Chuck Lefley2657
Doug Palazzari2373
Garry Unger2180

1975-76: 16th in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Derek Sanderson5065
Red Berenson4272
Chuck Lefley4175
Bob MacMillan2980

1976-77: 6th in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Larry Patey4780
Floyd Thomson4458
Red Berenson4380
Jerry Butler4080

1977-78: 15th in NHL
PlayerPK%GP
Red Berenson6280
Larry Patey2980
Bill Fairbairn2360
So what does the above tell us about Berenson? Well, the first thing that pops out is that PK% for top penalty-killing forwards in this era is, in general, a good deal higher than in the league today. No forward in the modern game kills 60+% of his team's penalties over the course of a game, nevermind a season. He'd drop dead from exhaustion. So we need to be careful with claims made about players from this era using raw PK% numbers. BBS has claimed that Berenson killed 40% of his teams' penalties in the post-expansion era, and that this qualifies him to play on an ATD 1st unit. In the context of today's NHL, a 40% PK rate for a forward would indeed be an impressive number. But in Berenson's time, it wasn't an unusual usage rate.

- the best teams that Berenson played for, Scotty Bowman's Blues, didn't use Red on the PK all that much. Red got a lot of PK time in his first year in St. Louis, but then had his usage cut to 27% and 25% in Bowman's last two seasons there. Jim Roberts and Bill McCreary were St. Louis' 1st unit forward penalty-killers.

- Berenson's big years as a penalty-killer were spent on a bunch of crappy Detroit (Dead Things era) and St. Louis teams that were generally poor on the penalty kill.

- Red's two lowest usage rate seasons correspond to the teams that had the best PKs during his career (the 1969-70 Blues and 1972-73 Red Wings), while his highest usage rate corresponds to the second worst (the 1977-78 Blues). If Berenson had a positive impact on his teams' PK results, it is very hard to discern from the data.

- it should also be noted that Berenson was, in spite of his offensive skill, not much of a shorthanded threat, scoring only 20 short handed points in his eleven season post-expansion career.

-------------------------------------------------------

Red Berenson was not able to win a permanent place for himself on a team in the O6 era, not even the Rangers. He appears to have been used as a checkingliner by the O6 teams that owned him, and, well...he didn't stick. But expansion opened doors for players like Berenson, and after being moved by the Rangers, Red ended up killing a good number of penalties on a lot of bad PKs. Each GM can judge for himself, but there's nothing about Berenson's career which suggests to me that he belongs on a 1st unit ATD penalty kill, especially taking the draws.

The combination of poor forwards, mediocre defensemen and a low-end goalie makes the Pittsburgh 1st unit penalty kill stand out as the team's Achilles heel. Every single player on the unit is weak in his role, with Berenson and Rayner among the worst in the draft. Montreal's top unit powerplay, while not elite by ATD standards, is a strong unit at every position. This is, I think pretty clearly, the biggest mismatch of the series.

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05-18-2013, 01:21 PM
  #20
Dreakmur
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Actually, the Vs2 system was designed to account for an expanding pool of talent over time, but it quite clearly does not deal well with the ups and downs of outlier performance from season-to-season. VsX was designed to address precisely that issue. Whether or not you agree with how the system goes about it is another matter, but you seem to be misunderstanding the point here.

The system is already quite charitable to Andy Bathgate's scoring, and may have been overly so in the first version. I think with the tweaks made to the benchmarks in 1956-57 and 1957-58, we have arrived at a fair accounting of Andy's scoring accomplishments. You seem to be asking for more. I am probably Andy's biggest fan here, and even I don't think that's reasonable.
I know what the VsX system tries to do, and it does do a better job than Vs2, but doesn't do enough.

At his peak, Andy Bathgate was the best offensive player in the world. Better than Gordie Howe. Better than Jean Beliveau. Better than Bobby Hull.

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Even when he outscored Charlie Conacher...which he did in 1931-32 and 1932-33? And when Busher was a 1st team all-star in 1936-37, with Conacher a shell of himself and Primeau out of the league? Busher Jackson was a great player who played with other great players. Hardly a novel situation.
Busher Jackson led his team in scoring twice over his career, and was only second another two times. Even after Conacher and Primeau were gone, they were replaced by Syl Apps and Gordie Drillon, who both outscored Jackson most of the time.


Bathgate's percentages are vs the best offensive player in the history of hockey - Beliveau, Geoffrion, Moore, Harvey in Montreal. Howe, Lindsey, Kelly in Detroit. Hull, Mikita, Pilote in Chicago. Mahovlich in Toronto. Bucyk in Boston.

Jacksons percentages are vs. Nels Stewart, Marty Barry, Charlie Conacher, and Dit Clapper.

Considering Bathagte's finishes are significantly better than Jacksons, no system should show them being close as offensive producers.

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05-18-2013, 02:36 PM
  #21
Rob Scuderi
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One of the interesting things about this series is that the teams seem to be relatively well balanced against one another, with neither team having much in the way of discernible weaknesses. Montreal is built around an excellent defense and strong forwards, while Pittsburgh is built around excellent forwards and a strong defense. But Pittsburgh does have one rather glaring weakness which can be exploited here - that is, a lack of strong checking forwards. This weakness is particularly telling on the AC's 1st unit penalty kill, which is likely one of the worst in the draft.

BBS' defense of Steve Larmer's penalty-killing abilities in the assassination thread basically consisted of posting chart:



...which is, with all due respect to BBS and pnep, nothing but a junk stat. Here's what was actually going on:



What does all this tell us about Steve Larmer? Well...Larmer was a very important penalty-killer for those Chicago teams over a six year span.

- years before Larmer killed penalties in Chicago: 13th, 11th, 16th
- Larmer's first three seasons on Chicago PK: 10th, 19th, 12th
- Larmer's last three seasons on Chicago PK: 2nd, 2nd, 3rd
- Chicago PK after Larmer left: 5th

So what is going on here? Specifically, what changed in Chicago between 1989-90 and 1990-91, the dividing line between Larmer's first and last three seasons on the Hawks PK? Why did Chicago, with basically the same personnel at forward, go from 12th to 2nd in the league? Ed Belfour and Chris Chelios is your answer. Belfour was promoted to full-time starter that season, and Chelios came over from Montreal for Denis Savard.

Larmer's actual impact on the Chicago PK seems to have been fairly minimal. The unit didn't perform noticeably better when he assumed a greater role, nor did it perform noticeably worse after he left. This is the problem with junk stats like the one above: they conflate correlation with causation all too easily. The cause of Chicago's great performance on the PK starting in 1990-91 had little to do with Steve Larmer, who was at best the 4th best player on the top unit, behind Chelios, Graham and Belfour.

Was Steve Larmer a good penalty killer? Yes, he was. Was he a great one? Nah. Every GM will have to judge for himself, but as far as I can tell, Larmer is a questionable top unit penalty killer at this level, and is probably more of a good 2nd unit guy in the ATD.
There's no doubt the penalty kill is the biggest weakness of my team. I can get behind the idea that Larmer didn't make those units among the best in the league, but I don't get the impression he was a passenger either.

Hockey Scouting Report - 1991-92
A solid defensive player and a top penalty killer with great anticipation, Larmer reads the play, anticipates well and makes an extremely quick transition from defense to offense. This is especially true when he is killing penalties; Larmer intercepts a lot of passes and does smart things with them. He is always in an opponent's way, in position - between the Chicago goal and his man. Either his body or stick is always in the passing lane that forces the opposition to make a flip pass, which is much more difficult to one-time.

Hockey Scouting Report 1992-1993
The Finesse Game
Larmer is intelligent away from the puck, which makes him an asset as a penalty killer. He reads, anticipates, uses smart positioning of body and stick to close the passing lane, then steals the pass and slices seconds off the clock.

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05-18-2013, 03:14 PM
  #22
Rob Scuderi
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And now on to Red Berenson's penalty-killing resume, which is similarly not that of a top unit player at this level. Here it is, same 20% PK/40 GP cutoffs (for Berenson's partial seasons, I show the stats of the team for whom he played the most games):



So what does the above tell us about Berenson? Well, the first thing that pops out is that PK% for top penalty-killing forwards in this era is, in general, a good deal higher than in the league today. No forward in the modern game kills 60+% of his team's penalties over the course of a game, nevermind a season. He'd drop dead from exhaustion. So we need to be careful with claims made about players from this era using raw PK% numbers. BBS has claimed that Berenson killed 40% of his teams' penalties in the post-expansion era, and that this qualifies him to play on an ATD 1st unit. In the context of today's NHL, a 40% PK rate for a forward would indeed be an impressive number. But in Berenson's time, it wasn't an unusual usage rate.

- the best teams that Berenson played for, Scotty Bowman's Blues, didn't use Red on the PK all that much. Red got a lot of PK time in his first year in St. Louis, but then had his usage cut to 27% and 25% in Bowman's last two seasons there. Jim Roberts and Bill McCreary were St. Louis' 1st unit forward penalty-killers.

- Berenson's big years as a penalty-killer were spent on a bunch of crappy Detroit (Dead Things era) and St. Louis teams that were generally poor on the penalty kill.

- Red's two lowest usage rate seasons correspond to the teams that had the best PKs during his career (the 1969-70 Blues and 1972-73 Red Wings), while his highest usage rate corresponds to the second worst (the 1977-78 Blues). If Berenson had a positive impact on his teams' PK results, it is very hard to discern from the data.

- it should also be noted that Berenson was, in spite of his offensive skill, not much of a shorthanded threat, scoring only 20 short handed points in his eleven season post-expansion career.

-------------------------------------------------------

Red Berenson was not able to win a permanent place for himself on a team in the O6 era, not even the Rangers. He appears to have been used as a checkingliner by the O6 teams that owned him, and, well...he didn't stick. But expansion opened doors for players like Berenson, and after being moved by the Rangers, Red ended up killing a good number of penalties on a lot of bad PKs. Each GM can judge for himself, but there's nothing about Berenson's career which suggests to me that he belongs on a 1st unit ATD penalty kill, especially taking the draws.

The combination of poor forwards, mediocre defensemen and a low-end goalie makes the Pittsburgh 1st unit penalty kill stand out as the team's Achilles heel. Every single player on the unit is weak in his role, with Berenson and Rayner among the worst in the draft. Montreal's top unit powerplay, while not elite by ATD standards, is a strong unit at every position. This is, I think pretty clearly, the biggest mismatch of the series.
His stats say he killed 40% of his team's penalties for a 1.03 rating, or 3 percent above league average. He was a top 2 (ok 3 in 76-77 when he killed 1% less than #2 in 30 more games) three times on teams that were above league average.

It really doesn't look like any of his teams were that bad on the penalty kill until his return to St. Louis. He played on five penalty kill units that were below average, and three came there.

1978 1.37 rating (62% usage, 80 GP)
1975 1.23 rating (33% usage, 44 GP)
1976 1.13 rating (42% usage, 72 GP)
1969 1.12 rating (27% usage, 76 GP)
1974 1.07 rating (46% usage, 76 GP
1977 .98 rating (43% usage, 80 GP)
1972 .90 rating (51% usage, 78 GP)
1971 .87 rating (39% usage, 45 GP)
1973 .84 rating (13% usage, 78 GP)
1968 .82 rating (52% usage, 55 GP)
1970 .80 rating (25% usage, 67 GP)

His results look more like an average penalty-killer than someone who just killed high rates on bad teams.

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05-18-2013, 03:32 PM
  #23
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FWIW, Berenson did a terrific job killing penalties in Game 6 of the 1972 Summit Series, when Canada had 31 PIM and still won 3-2.

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05-18-2013, 03:47 PM
  #24
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There's no doubt the penalty kill is the biggest weakness of my team. I can get behind the idea that Larmer didn't make those units among the best in the league, but I don't get the impression he was a passenger either.
"Passenger" would be a strong word, and I don't wish to be unfair to Steve Larmer, which is why I have avoided such epithets. You don't end up with a top-3 PK three years in a row with any weak parts, and I have no doubt that Larmer was a very good penalty-killer; the question is whether or not he was a great one.

I don't see much reason to believe that he was. Larmer would probably be ok on a top unit next to a real #1 PK forward. Asking him to carry the load as the team's best PK forward at this level is a pretty tall order, though, when he was never in that role in real life, and only spent six meaningful seasons killing penalties in his entire career.

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05-18-2013, 03:56 PM
  #25
TheDevilMadeMe
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I know what the VsX system tries to do, and it does do a better job than Vs2, but doesn't do enough.

At his peak, Andy Bathgate was the best offensive player in the world. Better than Gordie Howe. Better than Jean Beliveau. Better than Bobby Hull.
Er... I guess if you consider "Bathgate's peak" to be the two years from 1961-62 to 1962-63, then Bathgate was probably the best offensive player in the world. Those are the only two years where he finished top 2 in scoring.

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Busher Jackson led his team in scoring twice over his career, and was only second another two times. Even after Conacher and Primeau were gone, they were replaced by Syl Apps and Gordie Drillon, who both outscored Jackson most of the time.
Jackson spent 1 year of his prime with Apps and Drillon and was 2nd to Apps in scoring on his team. Jackson having a relatively short prime is a fair criticism though.


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Bathgate's percentages are vs the best offensive player in the history of hockey - Beliveau, Geoffrion, Moore, Harvey in Montreal. Howe, Lindsey, Kelly in Detroit. Hull, Mikita, Pilote in Chicago. Mahovlich in Toronto. Bucyk in Boston.

Jacksons percentages are vs. Nels Stewart, Marty Barry, Charlie Conacher, and Dit Clapper.
What's the deal with this misleading nonsense? A lot of those players you listed for Bathgate didn't even play hockey at the same time - for example, Ted Lindsay was on the verge of retirement when Hull and Mikita were rookies. But worse than that - why on earth didn't you mention Howie Morenz, Aurel Joilat, Bill Cook, and Frank Boucher as competition Jackson faced? Yeah, if you blatantly ignore the best competition one player faced, you can make his competition look worse, but why would you do that?

Heck, if you're going to include Johnny Bucyk and Stan Mikita as competition Bathgate faced despite the fact that their primes didn't overlap, you might as well include Milt Schmidt and Bill Cowley as competition Jackson faced.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 05-18-2013 at 06:21 PM.
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