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

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Old
05-09-2013, 10:55 PM
  #26
Nalyd Psycho
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People say Noble-Nighbor-Smith is lacking offensively. The thing to remember is that none of these players are cases like Scott Stevens or Steve Yzerman. They spent their entire careers playing tough defensive hockey. (Smith is the exception, but being an offense only guy didn't improve his offense over being a two-way threat.) So the highs that they reached were highs they reached staring down Howie Morenz, Newsy Lalonde, Bill Cook and Charlie Conacher on a nightly basis. So unlike a lot of other players, there should be little to no depreciation in offensive value because they are in a defensive role.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
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.
Which is why I would only pair him with an elite playmaker. Which I have. He's a specialist for sure, in the mold of Esposito or Nels Stewart (Although the best defensively of the three.) and it takes the right linemates to make them work. And I have 100% faith in Martin St. Louis.

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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.
After careful deliberation, Minnesota will be making a major tweek to counter Montreal's line rolling. We are removing the first line from special teams, and not having them match-up directly against any unit, instead having them on the ice for over 40% of all even strength ice time. That number may go up in the closing minutes of a tight game, and if there is a late PK, Nighbor and Smith may kill it.

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

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

Offense Minutes
PlayerES PP PK Total
Noble 20 0 0 20
Nighbor 20 0 0 20
Smith 20 0 0 20
Northcott 10 2.5 0 12.5
Starshinov 10 4.5 0 14.5
St. Louis 10 4.5 4.5 19
Holik 8.5 4.5 0 13
Mahovlich 8.5 2.5 4.5 17.5
McKenzie 8.5 0 2.5 11
Parise 7.5 2.5 0 10
Linseman 7.5 2.5 2.5 12.5
Foligno 7.5 0 0 7.5
TOTAL 138 23.5 15 176.5

Defense Minutes
PlayerES PP PK Total
Harvey 17 4.5 4.5 26
Flaman 16 0 4.5 20.5
Green 16 2.5 0 18.5
Burrows 16 0 2.5 18.5
Ruotsalainen 13 4.5 0 17
Magnuson 14 0 2.5 17
TOTAL 92 11.5 14 117.5

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Last edited by Nalyd Psycho: 05-09-2013 at 11:06 PM.
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05-10-2013, 05:41 AM
  #27
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After careful deliberation, Minnesota will be making a major tweek to counter Montreal's line rolling. We are removing the first line from special teams, and not having them match-up directly against any unit, instead having them on the ice for over 40% of all even strength ice time. That number may go up in the closing minutes of a tight game, and if there is a late PK, Nighbor and Smith may kill it.

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

PK1: Mahovlich-St Louis-Harvey-Flaman
PK2: Linseman-Mackenzie-Burrows-Magnuson
And Minnesota's special teams pay the price, with the forwards going from bad to terrible.

On the penalty kill, Pete Mahovlich and Martin St. Louis are being asked to play 4.5 minutes of PK icetime per game, or approximately 65% of Minnesota's penalties. This is an extremely high usage rate for any forward on the PK by modern standards, nevermind a couple of guys who are already in over their heads.

Pete Mahovlich: 1st unit penalty killer in Montreal for four seasons: 1972-75. Before that he only got meaningful PK icetime in 1971, where he was evidently a spare (27% PK icetime), and after that, the Habs phased little Pete out of the PK, giving him only 9% and 4% PK icetime in his last two seasons in Montreal. Pete killed lots of penalties in his first year in Pittsburgh, but for a team that was awful on the PK. Interestingly, the Penguins didn't use Pete as a PKer in the next season, and their penalty kill improved quite a bit. Mahovlich can kill penalties at this level, but he is far from elite. He's fine as a 2nd unit PKer in the ATD, but on a 1st unit getting 65% icetime shorthanded, he's pretty bad.

Martin St. Louis: He's a lot worse than Mahovlich. Over his whole career, St. Louis has never been more than a 2nd unit PKer, and even that only for two seasons, in which he played 36% and 33% of his teams' shorthanded icetime. St. Louis was a 2nd unit guy in Calgary for 56 games in 1999-00, and was part of a rotation in Tampa in 2003-04. Other than that, he hasn't eclipsed 25% usage rate on the PK in his entire career. I wouldn't put Martin St. Louis on a 2nd PK unit at this level, and playing on a 1st unit at 65% usage rate, he's awful.

John McKenzie: I don't know what John McKenzie was doing before he came to Boston or what he did in the WHA, but we've got icetime data (thanks to overpass) for 5 out of 6 of his seasons in Boston. Here are his PK usage stats as a Bruin, in chronological order: 8%, 14%, 18%, 2%, 0%. As far as I can tell, McKenzie doesn't belong anywhere near an ATD penalty kill.

Ken Linseman: Similarly out of place in this role. Here are Linseman's top-10 seasons of PK usage: 29%, 25%, 21%, 20%, 19%, 18%, 16%, 15%, 15%, 14%. The Rat was nothing more than a spare PKer during his actual NHL career. He probably shouldn't be on an ATD PK, at all.

These Fighting Saints have quite a few players who will draw a lot of penalties. On the blueline, Fern Flaman, Ted Green and Keith Magnuson were all heavily penalized players, as were Noble, Smith, Linseman, McKenzie and Foligno among the forwards. Minnesota is set up to play very physical hockey, which doesn't work very well if you can't kill penalties.

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

I don't think much needs to be said about the Minnesota powerplay with the personnel as they are currently arranged. It was a weak unit before, and now it is a very weak one. Minnesota's basic problem is that it lacks scoring, and lacks quality depth, in general, beyond the top unit. Overloading the Nighbor line at even strength amounts to little more than shuffling deck chairs.

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05-10-2013, 05:44 AM
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nalyd Psycho View Post
So unlike a lot of other players, there should be little to no depreciation in offensive value because they are in a defensive role.
The biggest problem is that they had little offensive value to begin with. The second problem is that the line lacks a goalscorer. Both Nighbor and Smith spent almost their entire careers feeding pucks to superior goalscorers - Nighbor to Denneny and Smith (at least during his time at RW) to Stewart. Now, Ottawa did win a Cup in 1927 with Nighbor and Smith on the same line, but that line also had Cy Denneny on it, who scored five of the team's twelve playoff goals that season. In those playoffs, Denneny led Ottawa in scoring with a 5-0-5 line, while Nighbor scored 1-1-2 and Smith 1-0-1. If this line had a Denneny on it, they would be very difficult to contain, but unfortunately this line has Reg Noble at left wing, who is no kind of first line offensive player, and is at any rate a better playmaker than goalscorer. Those old Sens built a dynasty by balancing offense and defense. This line, and really this whole team, have the defense down, but are missing the offense.

How will the Nighbor line work offensively? Will they try to dump and chase against an excellent Montreal blueline that is physical and moves the puck well? They can try that. Or will they try to carry the puck in with speed and risk turnovers and counterattack with their hook-checkers out of position? They can try that, too. Or will they play the old Ottawa "dump and don't chase" system and hope to generate offense off of turnovers? Minnesota couldn't run into a worse coaching matchup if they want to implement the old Sens system, as Tommy Gorman clearly knew it very well.

Quote:
Which is why I would only pair him with an elite playmaker. Which I have. He's a specialist for sure, in the mold of Esposito or Nels Stewart (Although the best defensively of the three.) and it takes the right linemates to make them work. And I have 100% faith in Martin St. Louis.
Starshinov cannot skate with St. Louis in transition, so I'm not really sure how this line is supposed to finish plays on the breakout. The old Esposito and Stewart lines were set up to grind and cycle the puck before feeding it in to their goalscoring center, not to score on quick transitions. Bobby Orr carried the Boston transition, and there is no Bobby Orr here. The problem is that this won't be a strong cycling line, with Martin St. Louis physically weak along the boards against a tough Habs defense, and Northcott limited offensively.


Last edited by Sturminator: 05-10-2013 at 07:26 AM.
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05-10-2013, 10:21 PM
  #29
Nalyd Psycho
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Starshinov was a much better skater than Espo or Stewart. Yes, he'd be the trailer, but usually in the good way.

You seem stuck on what system our lines would use. And that's fitting seeing as your coach is so rigid he'd actively punish players for employing tactics other than his own. That's not the way the Fighting Saints work. The Fighting Saints thrive on adaptability and creativity. They may be a stifling defensive team, but the don't achieve that through rigidity, they achieve through dynamic unpredictability. So to answer how the top line will attack. The answer is yes. Yes they will carry the puck, yes they will dump and chase (And you're fooling yourself if you think a Noble-Smith forecheck won't put serious and effective pressure on your defense.) Yes they will employ dump and not chase. And they'll also employ Soviet style passing plays and fusion plays. The defense will pinch, and the defense will hang back.

You've said in the past that you suspect Nighbor was equal parts the coach as Green. And that's the way it works. Nighbor, Harvey and Smith have the freedom to call plays. They are not bound in. Your team is, they are bound by Tommy Gorman. They are bound by the numbing defense of the Fighting Saints. They are bound by red they'll be seeing caused by the jaws of Smith, Linseman, Foglino and the physicality of Flaman, Green, Foglino etc...

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05-11-2013, 05:36 AM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nalyd Psycho View Post
You seem stuck on what system our lines would use. And that's fitting seeing as your coach is so rigid he'd actively punish players for employing tactics other than his own.
I'm not sure where you get the idea that Gorman's system would be a problem, or that he'd ever need to "actively punish players". Gorman was an excellent players' coach who was obviously very good at getting his personnel to buy into the team concepts he wanted them to execute. If anything, the "Leroy Goldsworthy affair" shows that Gorman listened to his players and incorporated their ideas into how the team was run. He was a (highly innovative) system coach, but he was also a great motivator.

Quote:
That's not the way the Fighting Saints work. The Fighting Saints thrive on adaptability and creativity. They may be a stifling defensive team, but the don't achieve that through rigidity, they achieve through dynamic unpredictability.
So no plan of attack, then? The "unpredictability" argument might be persuasive if the Fighting Saints had dynamic personnel in the attack, and/or a coach with a strong offensive record. They have neither.

Quote:
You've said in the past that you suspect Nighbor was equal parts the coach as Green.
I've said that I suspect Nighbor, Gerard, Gorman and Green all played a role in the coaching of those old Sens teams. You've got half of that constellation.

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05-12-2013, 07:00 AM
  #31
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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.
A bit of commentary on Gus Mortson. Last series, Velociraptor said he thought Mortson was overrated because he played with Thomson for so long. This is misguided, but I didn't bother to address the claim in that round, at least in part because the pairing is reunited, so it doesn't much matter. But Mortson will be drafted again next year, and I'd rather not see his career needlessly denigrated.

Interestigly, Gus Mortson's career is basically split down the middle between Toronto and Chicago. He only played six seasons as a Leaf, and then played six more as a Hawk before wrapping his career up with a meaningless half season in Detroit. Here is Mortson's all-star record pieced together with ASG appearances in years where the voting records are incomplete:

Gus Mortson: 1, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9

The bolded are seasons Gus played in Chicago. Here's how it breaks down:

Toronto:

1947-48: 9th
1949-50: 1st
1950-51: 8th [2nd Team ASG]
1951-52: 6th [1st Team ASG]

Chicago:

1952-53: 6th [ASG - 1st team vs. Cup winner]
1953-54: 7th
1956-57: 9th

Gus was also a 1st teamer for Chicago in the 1956 All-Star Game, but didn't get a lot of end of season votes that year, so that season isn't counted in the above. Obviously Thomson didn't carry Mortson the season in which Gus led the league in all-star voting. Basically, Mortson had one season where he was the best defenseman in the league, and beyond that split his career, both in terms of seasons and accolades, about evenly between Toronto and Chicago.

Note: Bill Gadsby played in Chicago in 1952-53 and 1953-54, and got more AST votes than Mortson both years. I don't what their relationship was, and if they played on the same pairing or not. If they did, Mortson was most likely playing Suter to Gadsby's Weber, and if not, well, then its probably irrelevant. At any rate, Gus Mortson was, no matter how you slice it, not a product of Jimmy Thomson, but was an excellent defenseman in his own right.

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05-12-2013, 11:43 AM
  #32
TheDevilMadeMe
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Just want to make sure you guys want me to update the OP with the changes you made (post 12 for Sturm, post 26 for Nalyd)

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05-12-2013, 12:30 PM
  #33
Nalyd Psycho
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Yes please

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05-12-2013, 01:39 PM
  #34
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Yes please.

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05-13-2013, 01:33 AM
  #35
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done

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05-14-2013, 09:43 PM
  #36
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Game 7 has just entered overtime!

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05-14-2013, 10:55 PM
  #37
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Game 7 has just entered overtime!
Wow, I really didn't think this one was all that close

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05-14-2013, 11:32 PM
  #38
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Wow, I really didn't think this one was all that close
Either did I.

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05-15-2013, 02:42 AM
  #39
TheDevilMadeMe
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This one was also tied 9-9, but Montreal won in number of games.

Montreal wins in Double OT of Game 7

Stars:

1. Georges Vezina
2/3. Ray Bourque/Doug Harvey

Billy Smith and Boris Mikahilov also had good series. Martin St. Louis and Frank Nighbor did their parts

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05-15-2013, 03:29 AM
  #40
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Good series, Nalyd. As always, you stretched the paradigms of team-buiding in the draft, and built a frightening lineup around a concept that no one had before attempted in quite the same way before. To the extent that Montreal is my team, at all, it almost feels like a banality to have won this series with a franchise that is constructed on what could be called the classical model. Thanks for the short and civil debate.

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05-15-2013, 09:08 AM
  #41
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Thank you. You built a heck of a team. Good luck in the finals.

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05-15-2013, 12:10 PM
  #42
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Thank you. You built a heck of a team. Good luck in the finals.
Don't you mean that Jafar built a heck of a team?

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05-15-2013, 12:39 PM
  #43
Nalyd Psycho
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Don't you mean that Jafar built a heck of a team?
Err, yes, Jafar built a great team and Sturminator did a great job arguing for it.

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