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Red Fisher Conference Finals: Minnesota Fighting Saints vs. Montreal Canadiens

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Old
05-07-2013, 02:31 AM
  #1
TheDevilMadeMe
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Red Fisher Conference Finals: Minnesota Fighting Saints vs. Montreal Canadiens

Minnesota Fighting Saints


GMs: Nalyd Psycho & Mike Farkas
Coach: Pete Green
Captain: Hooley Smith
Alternate Captains: Doug Harvey, Keith Magnuson

#4 Reg Noble-#6 Frank Nighbor-#7 R. J. "Hooley" Smith
#5 Baldy Northcott-#8 Vyacheslav Starshinov-#26 Martin St Louis
#17 Jiri Holik-#20 Pete Mahovlich-#19 John McKenzie
#9 Zach Parise-#13 Ken Linseman-#71 Mike Foligno

#2 Doug Harvey-#14 Fern Flaman
#26 Dave Burrows-#16 Ted Green
#29 Reijo Ruotsalainen-#3 Keith Magnuson

#31 Billy Smith
#1 Roberto Luongo

#10 Albert "Dubbie" Kerr
-#11 Allen Cameron-#17 Billy Taylor-#44 Chris Phillips

PP1: Holik-Starshinov-St. Louis-Harvey-Ruotsalainen
PP2: Linseman-Mahovlich-Parise-Northcott-Green

PK1: Mahovlich-St Louis-Harvey-Flaman
PK2: Linseman-Mackenzie-Burrows-Magnuson

The Nighbor line will be out for over 40% of even strength time, as they won't have any special teams minutes.

VS

MONTREAL CANADIENS





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


HEAD COACH

Tommy Gorman

ROSTER


#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 TheDevilMadeMe: 05-13-2013 at 02:07 AM.
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Old
05-07-2013, 08:35 AM
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Defensive minutes remain unchanged:

Defense Minutes
PlayerES PP PK Total
Bourque 19 5 4 28
Coulter 19 0 4 23
Thomson 17 2 3 22
Mortson 17 2 2 21
Rowe 15 0 1 16
Schneider 5 5 0 10
TOTAL 92 14 14 120


Last edited by Sturminator: 05-08-2013 at 01:28 AM.
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05-07-2013, 09:22 AM
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Hawkey Town 18
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I would really like to see a minutes chart for Minnesota on this one

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05-07-2013, 09:29 AM
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Hawkey Town 18
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With Montreal's strategy of rolling lines, I would like to see multiple line comparisons, particularly to Minnesota's 2nd and 3rd lines. It seems pretty obvious that Minnesota will be at a clear advantage when their 1st line is on the ice and a clear disadvantage when their 4th line is out, so how Montreal's 4 lines match up with Minnesota's 2nd and 3rd lines is a key factor.

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05-07-2013, 09:44 AM
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I'd like to see the pairings compared including puck movement ability.

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Old
05-07-2013, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
With Montreal's strategy of rolling lines, I would like to see multiple line comparisons, particularly to Minnesota's 2nd and 3rd lines. It seems pretty obvious that Minnesota will be at a clear advantage when their 1st line is on the ice and a clear disadvantage when their 4th line is out, so how Montreal's 4 lines match up with Minnesota's 2nd and 3rd lines is a key factor.
I'll give you your breakdown, though maybe the most important question is: how much can Minnesota press their advantage when the 1st line is on the ice?

The Nighbor line is a weak scoring unit, offensively not even very good for a 2nd line in the ATD. Montreal has an excellent blueline and goalie, and will play disciplined defense among the forward lines. Minnesota's top line simply lacks high-end offensive talent, and is specifically quite lacking in goalscoring ability. Nighbor could score goals, but he was still more of a playmaker, and he's the best shooter on the line. The unit is built to gain an advantage by negating the other team's best offensive players. Sure, they'll be the best line on the ice when they take a shift, but what will they actually do with the puck when they win it? How will they perform when they are the ones being checked?

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05-07-2013, 03:38 PM
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Defense:

Tommy Gorman will seek only one specific matchup in this series, that is: the Bourque - Coulter pairing will be matched against the St. Louis line and avoid the Nighbor line, as much as possible. Thomson - Mortson will be assigned to defend the Nighbor line. Montreal will do this for two reasons:

1) I want Ray Bourque to have the offensive freedom to attack as much as possible.

2) Martin St. Louis is probably Minnesota's most dangerous offensive player.

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

A quick comparison of top pairings:

Bourque vs. Harvey: both of these guys are in the conversation, along with Eddie Shore, for best defenseman of all-time after Bobby Orr. I don't personally think it's clear-cut which of the two is the better player, overall. At any rate, it's clear enough that Harvey is better defensively, and Bourque better offensively. Here's how they rate in terms of VsX:

Top-7 weighted VsX for Defensemen (1926-2012):

Rank Player Rank
1 Bobby Orr 109.3
2 Paul Coffey 87.7
3 Raymond Bourque 75.3
4 Denis Potvin 74.3
5 Brian Leetch 74.1
6 Red Kelly* 71
7 Al MacInnis 70.6
8 Nicklas Lidstrom 69.7
9 Phil Housley 64.8
10 Eddie Shore 63.7
11 Sergei Gonchar 62
12 Bill Gadsby 61.1
13 Brad Park 61
14 Doug Harvey 60.3
15 Sergei Zubov 59.4

*only counting time as a defenseman

Quite a wide gap, which would get wider if we go past seven seasons, but Harvey was a pre-expansion player, so we'll stop at seven. Now, defensemen got somewhat less involved in the attack during Harvey's era, though not radically so (three of the top-15 offensive defensemen of all-time come from this era), so Harvey deserves the benefit of the doubt somewhat. But, of course, Bourque and Harvey also received very different levels of help from their teammates in compiling those offensive numbers. Here is a breakdown of their ten best respective scoring finishes on their own teams:

Bourque: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3

Harvey: 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8

I don't know if it's well known or not that Ray Bourque actually led the Bruins in scoring five times, but there it is. Three of his 2nd place finishes are also behind Adam Oates, for what it's worth. Doug Harvey received a great deal more help in compiling his offensive record. No doubt Ray Bourque is not as good defensively as Doug Harvey, but in this series...who cares? He has no elite forwards to defend. Bourque is legitimately in the conversation for best offensive defenseman of all-time after Orr and Coffey, and in this series, he will be set loose to attack Minnesota's lower units.

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

Flaman vs. Coulter: Art Coulter is simply the better defenseman here. Their respective AST voting finishes:

Coulter: 3, 3, 3, 3, 7, 8, 8, 8

Flaman: 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10* [ASG 2nd team 1952]

Both are primarily defensive-defensemen. Coulter is the more accomplished of the two, and was quite possibly the best player (according to one of his teammates, at least) on the 1940 Cup champion Rangers, in addition to his regular season credentials.

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05-07-2013, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmm View Post
I'd like to see the pairings compared including puck movement ability.
Puck moving ability isn't really a historical stat we can guage and use to compare, that said give me Montreal's defence over the Saint's 10 times outta 10.

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05-07-2013, 08:16 PM
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I get the concept of distributing your scoring in order to try to neutralize the shutdown power of the Nighbor unit and Harvey unit, but giving Steve Thomas the same amount of ES time as Busher Jackson and Helmut Balderis? If I was you, I would distribute the talent across three lines.

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05-07-2013, 09:58 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyShoe1721 View Post
I get the concept of distributing your scoring in order to try to neutralize the shutdown power of the Nighbor unit and Harvey unit, but giving Steve Thomas the same amount of ES time as Busher Jackson and Helmut Balderis? If I was you, I would distribute the talent across three lines.
There's also the danger of futzing with the chemistry of his lines too much.

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05-07-2013, 10:55 PM
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I get what you're attempting and I'm a big fan of Stumpy and his heart but you can't seriously be considering putting him on a 1st line of an ATD team.

I got raked over the coals for having Rick Nash on mine and with all due respect to Thomas.. they aren't even close.

I know you're going to say that the minutes mean there isn't a "first" line but argh.. what Billy said.

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05-08-2013, 02:15 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyShoe1721 View Post
I get the concept of distributing your scoring in order to try to neutralize the shutdown power of the Nighbor unit and Harvey unit, but giving Steve Thomas the same amount of ES time as Busher Jackson and Helmut Balderis? If I was you, I would distribute the talent across three lines.
You're right, Billy, Devil and B_C. That is a much better idea. This is the disadvantage of not having anyone to bounce ideas off of at the moment. Good thing I posted this plan early rather than late. Thanks for the good advice, guys. Allright, new lines:


The three scoringlines will split icetime evenly, with the Luce line used mostly for defensive zone draws, and in defensive situations when the team is protecting a lead.

Forward Minutes
PlayerES PP PK Total
Jackson 13 4 0 17
Boucher 13 4 2.5 19.5
Amonte 13 0 1 14
Kapustin 13 3 0 16
Roenick 13 3 1 17
Balderis 13 3 0 16
Doan 13 0 0 13
Spezza 13 0 0 13
Mikhailov 13 4 2.5 19.5
Klukay 7.5 0 3.5 11
Luce 7.5 0 3.5 11
Tremblay 7.5 0 0 7.5
TOTAL 138 21 14 173

Steve Thomas is an underrated even strength player, and I had wanted to put him into this series, but I think the logic of distributing the scoring across three lines and retaining cohesion as much as possible is the better idea. At any rate, Jason Spezza is the team's real "secret weapon" offensively. I'll post his adjusted even strength scoring numbers shortly. They are surprisingly good.

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05-08-2013, 02:41 AM
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Here is where Jason Spezza falls in terms of adjusted even strength points. I had not realized this before Reen drafted him, and I don't know if this was intended, but Spezza has been a much better even strength scorer than powerplay scorer over the course of his career. Here is where he falls:

Pavol Demitra7976646352515046464458.3
Vincent Damphousse6363636057575552524857.6
Michel Goulet7772595654535249464457.1
Denis Savard6666626259575644444356.9
Markus Naslund8077665552484645434156.6
Brendan Shanahan6957565656555453535156.3
Joe Mullen6764605856545049494756.1
Steve Shutt8667626258565138352856.1
Glenn Anderson6865636157564746444256
Jason Spezza7773666458514740352855.7
Rod Brind'Amour6764626054494948484855.7
Peter Bondra7062615856525248473855.4
Wayne Cashman7875585855554340393755.2
Pat Lafontaine8162615752514744434155
Bernie Federko6362615756555248473854.8
Brad Richards7062585652525148474554.8
Ziggy Palffy7372645855544441402854.5
Marian Gaborik7670675654534340393154.5
Dino Ciccarelli6458575454525251484654.1

As Spezza has really only played eight seasons in the NHL, it was necessary to assign him scores for his 9th and 10th best seasons, as zeroes would be quite distorting. I just assigned him the lowest score in both seasons among players who are basically his peers - which ended up being 35 and 28 points, respectively. Very bad scores, but not zeroes. I think this is a fair methodology, but others may disagree. At any rate, Spezza has been a surprisingly productive even strength scorer, quite similar to his contemporary, Brad Richards.

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05-08-2013, 02:57 AM
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Hawkey Town 18
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Count me as another one who likes Montreal's talent spread across 3 lines instead of 4. It was something I noticed right away, but didn't want to just come out and say it in the sake of fairness. My thought was that my when my requests for Minnesota's TOI and Montreal's multiple line comparisons were answered the issue would surface naturally.

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05-08-2013, 03:08 AM
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Hawkey Town 18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post

Bourque: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3

Harvey: 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8
Given team situation I don't know if this really tells us all that much. How high would Ray Bourque have finished had he played with Richard, Beliveau, Geoffrion, and Moore? I would rather see a vsX for defensemen only (i.e. where the benchmark is based on defensemen scoring). That would have its flaws too, but I think it would be a little more useful.

I would like to add that I don't think any of your overall points on the Harvey/Bourque comparison are out of line at all. I agree that they are both in the conversation for #2. There's been plenty of discussion on these two, so most people here probably have their minds made up already...and given how close they are I don't think trying to change anyone's mind will make that much of a difference in the series anyway.

EDIT: In other words, I'm just nit-picking here and you can probably ignore most of what I said


Last edited by Hawkey Town 18: 05-08-2013 at 03:20 AM.
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Old
05-08-2013, 04:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Given team situation I don't know if this really tells us all that much. How high would Ray Bourque have finished had he played with Richard, Beliveau, Geoffrion, and Moore? I would rather see a vsX for defensemen only (i.e. where the benchmark is based on defensemen scoring). That would have its flaws too, but I think it would be a little more useful.
I doubt Bourque would have outscored those guys, too, but I do think he would have scored more raw points (which would affect his VsX score) playing on a stacked offensive team rather than on the Bruins, where for most of his high peak the best scoring forwards were guys like Middleton, Linseman, Janney, etc. It's quite rare, in any era, for a defenseman to carry his team in scoring to way Bourque regularly did for those Bruins.

The point to be made here is probably clearer if we just compare Bourque to his contemporaries who are also high on the VsX table for defensemen. Top-10 team scoring finishes:

Bourque: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3

Potvin: 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4

Leetch: 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4

Ray's already excellent VsX numbers relative to his contemporaries are probably somewhat underrated because he had to carry his team's offense more, overall, than Potvin or Leetch did. Having Bourque out there pushing the attack when the Nighbor line is not on the ice is going to make Montreal's offense very difficult to contain.

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05-08-2013, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
I doubt Bourque would have outscored those guys, too, but I do think he would have scored more raw points (which would affect his VsX score) playing on a stacked offensive team rather than on the Bruins, where for most of his high peak the best scoring forwards were guys like Middleton, Linseman, Janney, etc. It's quite rare, in any era, for a defenseman to carry his team in scoring to way Bourque regularly did for those Bruins.

The point to be made here is probably clearer if we just compare Bourque to his contemporaries who are also high on the VsX table for defensemen. Top-10 team scoring finishes:

Bourque: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3

Potvin: 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4

Leetch: 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4

Ray's already excellent VsX numbers relative to his contemporaries are probably somewhat underrated because he had to carry his team's offense more, overall, than Potvin or Leetch did. Having Bourque out there pushing the attack when the Nighbor line is not on the ice is going to make Montreal's offense very difficult to contain.
I think this is a better comparison, really. In the 6 team NHL, how often did a defenseman ever lead his team in points?

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05-08-2013, 03:41 PM
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2nd Pairings:

Jimmy Thomson is by far the best defenseman on either 2nd pairing in this series, far enough ahead of Ted Green that it's probably not useful to compare them straight across. Anyway, Thomson's AST and scoring credentials:

All-star placements: 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6* [1952 ASG]
Scoring [defensemen]: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Assists [leaguewide]: 6, 8, 16, 16, 18

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

The closest comparison between second units it probably between Ted Green and Gus Mortson. Here are their relative credentials:

Green:

All-star placements*: 3, 6, 6
Scoring [defensemen]: 2, 2, 3, 8

*Green officially placed 10th in overall AST voting in the 1965-66 season with 11 votes in the first half (during the half/half voting era). The problem is that he only played 27 games that season - so not even all of the first half and none of the second. I don't think any reasonable accounting can really consider Green a top-10 defenseman that year, but each GM can judge for himself.

Mortson:

All-star placements*: 1, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9
Scoring [defensemen]: 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10

*this is pieced together including his record in all-star games from this era where we only have top-4 AST data for many seasons. A more thorough accounting of how this was done can be found here.

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

I think Gus is the better player, overall, but they're not all that far apart. Mortson's 1st place AST finish was in a pretty weak year, and in terms of value it's not really that much better than Green's 3rd place finish in the 60's. The main difference between them is that Mortson was an impact player for a good while, while Green had a very short peak at the top. Mortson's offense was never great, but was consistently good, while Green, again, had a short peak where he was quite good offensively, but almost nothing outside of those few years.

At any rate, whatever offense Ted Green can bring is basically all the pairing is going to produce, because Dave Burrows, although a strong defensive player, was about as weak a puckmover as you're likely to find in the ATD. For reference, Burrows' all-star voting record is: 7, 8, 15. Now, this probably underrates Burrows, who was a defensive-defenseman trapped on a terrible Pittsburgh team - a situation which basically guaranteed he would not be given the credit he deserved. Burrows is good defensively for a #4, and he was an excellent skater who could cover a lot of the ice. His offense is very weak, though, and Green - Burrows looks like a pairing that will struggle to move the puck up ice when pressured by an aggressive forecheck, which Montreal will bring whenever this pairing is out there.

Overall, Montreal's advantage on the 2nd pairing is quite possibly the biggest mismatch of the series.


Last edited by Sturminator: 05-12-2013 at 07:01 AM.
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05-08-2013, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
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I think this is a better comparison, really. In the 6 team NHL, how often did a defenseman ever lead his team in points?
It never happened in the O6 era. Even Red Kelly only had a single season higher than 4th in scoring on the Red Wings. It would have happened if the era had lasted a bit longer because of Bobby Orr, but that is neither here nor there. There was simply too much concentration of talent during the O6 era for a defenseman not named Orr to lead any of those teams in scoring. That is part of the point, though. The great O6 offensive defensemen had a ton of forward talent to work with, an advantage Ray Bourque didn't enjoy in a much more diluted era (and on a generally crappy team offensively).

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05-08-2013, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
It never happened in the O6 era. Even Red Kelly only had a single season higher than 4th in scoring on the Red Wings. It would have happened if the era had lasted a bit longer because of Bobby Orr, but that is neither here nor there. There was simply too much concentration of talent during the O6 era for a defenseman not named Orr to lead any of those teams in scoring. That is part of the point, though. The great O6 offensive defensemen had a ton of forward talent to work with, an advantage Ray Bourque didn't enjoy in a much more diluted era (and on a generally crappy team offensively).
We don't know that Orr would do it either, just sayin'

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05-09-2013, 04:57 AM
  #21
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Soviet scoring leaders - world championships (1961-68):

PlayerGoalsAssistsPointsGPPPG
Alexandrov403575471.6
Starshinov492170501.4
Firsov362561341.79
Almetov253257431.33
Mayorov272956431.3
Loktev232346291.59

1968 is chosen as a cutoff because 1969 was a watershed year for the Soviet national team, with the old guard (minus Firsov and Starshinov, both of whom existed "between the generations") going out and the new generation (KPM line, Yakushev, Maltsev, et al.) coming in. Starshinov's performances over his final three seasons with the Soviet national team (1969, 1970 and 1971) were not up to his previous standard, so this cutoff is both sensible in terms of looking at only a single era, and charitable to Starshinov from a points-per-game perspective.

The data is fairly interesting. Starshinov is often called clearly the 2nd best Soviet forward of the 1960's behind Firsov, but looking at the numbers here, I'm not sure if that is really the case. Loktev didn't completely belong to Starshinov's generation, so we can take his presence here with a grain of salt, but Alexandrov did, and he easily outscored Starshinov at the international level over a long period of time. In terms of international awards, the above players break down as follows:

IIHF all-star:

Firsov: 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971
Alexandrov: 1966, 1967
Almetov: 1965, 1967
Loktev: 1965, 1966
Mayorov: 1961

IIHF Best Forward:

Firsov: 1967, 1968, 1971
Starshinov: 1965
Loktev: 1966

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

Looking at all of the international data, Starshinov appears to be part of "the pack" behind Anatoli Firsov, rather than the clear second best Soviet forward of the era. I have always been suspicious of Starshinov's domestic Soviet league record because he was a very biased goalscorer who competed in an era when only goals were tabulated. He leads the Soviet national team in goals as well, and is behind only Firsov in goals-per-game, but doesn't look special offensively when playmaking is part of the equation.

For ATD purposes, I think Starshinov is obviously a good net guy on a powerplay and a viable (though not high-end) 1st unit player in that role. But at even strength, he appears to be a mediocre scoringline player at this level, and somewhat overrated by his recent draft position.

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05-09-2013, 09:19 AM
  #22
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Starshinov is one of those few players who I actually lost some amount of esteem for after drafting him a few drafts ago; specifically after taking a look at just how weak his playmaking was in international competition, where they actually kept track of assists; or more specifically, after EB beat me over the head with it after I said something like Starshinov wasn't that far behind Firsov, which is what the goal scoring stats would have you believe.

That said, his All-Star record in the domestic league is quite strong, and you'd think that would take into account his overall game.

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05-09-2013, 10:09 AM
  #23
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I've tried to suggest (outside the ATD Forum) that Firsov and Kharlamov may have been almost as good as Dickie Moore and Fetisov may have been almost as good as Coffey, but it hasn't been well received. Am I exaggerating the Russian players' abilities?

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05-09-2013, 11:05 AM
  #24
BillyShoe1721
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmm View Post
I've tried to suggest (outside the ATD Forum) that Firsov and Kharlamov may have been almost as good as Dickie Moore and Fetisov may have been almost as good as Coffey, but it hasn't been well received. Am I exaggerating the Russian players' abilities?
I think so, at least with Fetisov/Coffey. Coffey started at age 19, Fetisov started at age 18, and Coffey played in a more physically demanding league, and played more games. In Fetisov's time in the NHL, he was merely an effective defenseman at age 31, receiving just one 6th place AS vote in his NHL career. Coffey put up 87 points at 31, and won another Norris trophy later as well.

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05-09-2013, 11:20 AM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmm View Post
I've tried to suggest (outside the ATD Forum) that Firsov and Kharlamov may have been almost as good as Dickie Moore and Fetisov may have been almost as good as Coffey, but it hasn't been well received. Am I exaggerating the Russian players' abilities?
In what way did you mean the comparison? I wouldn't say that Fetisov had Coffey's skill, but he was much more physical and effective in his own end, and thus probably the better all-around player.

Kharlamov and Moore aren't similar stylistically, so I can see why someone might balk at the comparison. Kharlamov's skill level was very high; he pulled off some one-on-one moves against North American defensemen that NHL forwards of the time (other than maybe Guy Lafleur) wouldn't even attempt. Kharlamov was certainly a better skater, and I think there's a very good argument that he was a better technical player than Digging Dickie, but he didn't play physically or support much, at all, in the defensive zone (though he was fairly aggressive in the neutral zone, fwiw). Moore was considerably more well-rounded. Both had their peaks cut short somewhat due to injuries. In absolute terms, I think they're pretty close.

Firsov...I wish I could comment more intelligently on his all-around game, but I doubt I know any more about him than a lot of people around here. I understand that he was a quite gritty, determined player, and may have been similar to Moore stylistically, but it is all very unclear. I'd really like to get my hands on some game tape of Firsov, but it's not easy to find.

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