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Defensive Forwards

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Old
08-19-2013, 12:07 AM
  #1
silkyjohnson50
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Defensive Forwards

The Clarke/Gilmour thread brought out some great conversation and many more defensive forwards into the fold. I'd love to keep this conversation going and delve into it even further, specifically talking about the defensive games of several players. I'm looking to hear about them during their prime years; the years that made them the players that they are best known as.

I'd love to hear some accounts and analysis on Clarke, Gainey, Trottier, Keon, Jarvis, Ramsay, Kurri, Carbonneau, Lehtinen, and anybody else who was considered great defensively, whether it be a player from the 06 era to today.

I'm in the process of writing my take on Datsyuk...

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08-19-2013, 12:22 AM
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Canadiens1958
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By Position

Suggest subdividing the topic by position since the defensive responsibilities of a center, left wing and right wing have little in common. Then you have situations like the LW Lock, Neutral Zone Trap, zone responsibilities and various other topics to consider.

Great thread initiative.

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08-19-2013, 12:49 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Bobby Holik was probably the best even strength shut down center in the league for a few years.

Was a good, but not great defensive player for years in a top 6 role in the late 1990s. Then the emergence of Scott Gomez pushed him down the depth chart to the third line and his coaches realized that under the rules of the time, Holik could use his size and strength to simply mug the opposing center. Did particularly fantastic jobs against Mats Sundin in 2000 and Mario Lemieux in 2001. Definitely not worth the contract he got with the Rangers though. Holik's one weakness was skating speed, which is probably why he was rarely used on the penalty kill, despite being quite defensively aware and a great faceoff man.

John Madden relied more on his speed than Holik did, though he was quite tough for his size. He and his long-time left wing Jay Pandolfo were very similar players - both very fast, relentless puck hawks. Used their anticipation and speed to not only break up lots of plays, but also get lots of offensive chances. Though neither was particularly skilled when it came to converting chances on the counterattack - Pandolfo in particular had "hands of stone." Madden had a great slapshot, which he would sometimes surprise a goalie with on the rush, often shorthanded.

Madden would occasionally be used at left wing - in 2001 before Pandolfo really emerged, the Devils used a Madden - Holik - McKay line to contain Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in the Conference finals. In 2003, John Madden actually led all NJ Devils forwards in ice time in the playoffs, and Jay Pandolfo wasn't that far behind.

Shadowing a star forward in the classic sense isn't done that often anymore, but Pandolfo did a fantastic job shadowing Jaromir Jagr during the 2005-06 regular season and 2006 playoffs. In 05-06, Jaromir Jagr scored 54 goals and 123 points, won the Pearson, and was runner up for the Hart. However, he only scored 3 goals and 4 assists in 8 games versus the Devils. In the final two regular season games between the teams, Pandolfo was being used as an old fashioned shadow on Jagr and held him to a single assist. In the 2006 playoffs, Pandolfo (as Jagr’s shadow), held him to a single assist in 3 games, before a clearly frustrated Jagr injured himself trying to punch one of Pandolfo's teammates. Here's a good old fashioned ATD-style profile on Jay Pandolfo: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...1&postcount=36


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08-19-2013, 01:23 AM
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silkyjohnson50
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Pavel Datsyuk:

Without question the most disruptive player of his era. His transition defense is simply on a different level than any of his peers. He's not a powerful skater like Fedorov who could effortlessly fly throughout an entire shift, nor does he really have the motor of Zetterberg that is just relentless. Datsyuk is more stealth like, just calmly surveying the playing field before deciding to pounce. And when he decides to pounce you pretty much know that he's going to make a positive impact. He's not a player who is over aggressive, he's very calculated and certain when he does attack defensively.

His ability to separate opponents from the puck comes from a few main strengths:

1) His burst and cutting ability on his skates. Like I said he's not burner like a Fedorov or Draper, but he's extremely explosive for short periods. In addition he's like a waterbug in his ability to quickly change directions laterally.

2) His stick skills: The same strength that allows him to protect the puck so well and stickhandle offensively. If he can get his stick on the puck he's more than likely coming away with it. His stick skills allow him to make a lot of defensive plays that others simply cannot.

3) His hockey IQ. He's able to read plays before they develop. When he's roaming the neutral zone it's a thing of beauty. Which brings me to...

Even when he's not directly coming up with takeaways, he's very disruptive and forces secondary plays. Both when opposing players hurry or panic when Datsyuk is in the same vicinity as them and when he's sitting back and playing lanes.

He's not the type of player that likes to shadow an individual or wear them out physically. Despite being obviously difficult to play against, not too often do you see players losing their cool when they play against him. With that being said he will use the body to separate players from the puck. In fact, he led all Detroit forwards in hits during their 2008 Cup run.

On the PK, Datsyuk's use has been limited. He's been in the 1-2 min/game range. Recently he's mainly been used for his faceoff ability. In large part this is a coaching technique to limit his minutes. In 5-on-3 situations, however, he is one of two forwards (the other being Zetterberg) who has regularly seen the ice the past 6-7 years. Likewise, he is always a player that is on the ice during the last moments of a game while holding onto a lead (with and without the opposing goalie pulled.)

In the dot, he's typically been a 54-56% guy. Not a dominant guy, but clearly above average. Since Draper's departure he's been Detroit's go to guy on draws. He was impressively 63% on defensive shorthanded draws last year.

One of the more amazing things about Datsyuk's play without the puck is his lack of penalties taken. He's been the disruptive player who consistently leads the NHL in takeaways while rarely costing his team with a 2 minute minor. This is especially impressive when you consider how often and easily stick infractions were called post- lockout.

In terms of other strengths:

- Puck battles: rarely does he lose them. Along the boards, in open ice, anywhere. The puck is glued to his stick. He's also very effective when he decides to forecheck.

- Escapability: he's able to use his creativity and skill to exit the defensive zone and situations that leave you scratching your head.

- 3rd defenceman: as much as I love the defensive game of forwards, at times I think Datsyuk plays too conservatively considering his offensive ability. He often plays very deep in the defensive zone to support his defencemen and wingers which is good, but I think he sits back offensively sometimes in the offensive zone. In addition he's the only player that I regularly see decide to change while his team has full possession in the offensive zone if he's tired. He got an assist last year while he was on the bench.

- Tilting the ice: similar to another favorite player of mine, Peter Forsberg, Datsyuk controls the play and tilts the ice. His puck possession combined with his transition defense really limit the amount of time he spends in the defensive zone.

I'm sure I'm forgetting more, but I feel like this novel is about ready for publishing.

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08-19-2013, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I always thought Madden and Pandolfo were somewhat similar to Draper and Maltby in their glory years.
Who would you consider more valuable defensively between the two of them? I'm assuming Madden considering the value at center and ice time, but was Pandolfo typically the 2nd best defensive forward on those NJ teams?

I really would love to watch that Pandolfo on Jagr shadow job.


Last edited by MiamiScreamingEagles: 08-19-2013 at 09:27 AM. Reason: quote
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08-19-2013, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Shadowing a star forward in the classic sense isn't done that often anymore, but Pandolfo did a fantastic job shadowing Jaromir Jagr during the 2005-06 regular season and 2006 playoffs.
Yes, Pandolfo did do an excellent job as actually did his linemates & defensive pairings in seriously shadowing Jagr, casting a much wider ring of darkness around Jaromir than I think he was ever fully aware of. They played off one another zone-zone, Pandolfo the lead, a sort of hybrid shadowing technique, more sophisticated to the more classic examples of the best at that one on one like Rejean Houle of Montreal on Bobby Hull back in 71.

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08-19-2013, 02:08 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silkyjohnson50 View Post
I always thought Madden and Pandolfo were somewhat similar to Draper and Maltby in their glory years.

Who would you consider more valuable defensively between the two of them? I'm assuming Madden considering the value at center and ice time, but was Pandolfo typically the 2nd best defensive forward on those NJ teams?

I really would love to watch that Pandolfo on Jagr shadow job.
In terms of role, Madden and Pandolfo were more important to their team than at least Maltby was. Maltby typically received 4th line ice time in Detroit, right? I know Draper was sometimes on the 4th line, sometimes on the 3rd line. Madden and Pandolfo got as much ice time as any other Devils forward from the time Pat Burns started coaching the team (in 2002-03), really until they declined as older players. Even before Burns, the two of them were out there every second shift on the PK (if you look at ice time charts, Madden and Pandolfo killed a greater percentage of their team's penalties than almost any other forwards in history, though they were helped by the Devils' discipline). Madden didn't really take a big even strength role until Holik left, and Pandolfo followed about a year later. But they were the top PK duo on the team as early as the 2000 Cup run. Maltby was rarely first unit PK in Detroit, right? I know when Detroit's PK was best, Yzerman and Draper led them in PK ice time.

As for your question as to who was more valuable defensively between Madden and Pandolfo, it's basically what you said - Madden was more valuable because he was very good at faceoffs, while Pandolfo, as a winger, didn't have that use. Madden wasn't as good as Holik at faceoffs (few were), but he was very good. Other than faceoffs, not much at all separated Madden and Pandolfo defensively. IMO, the biggest reason Madden usually got many more Selke votes than Pandolfo is because he had good enough shot to hit 20 goals per season, while Pandolfo didn't, and we all know that offensive stats influence Selke voting.


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08-19-2013, 04:12 AM
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silkyjohnson50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
In terms of role, Madden and Pandolfo were more important to their team than at least Maltby was. Maltby typically received 4th line ice time in Detroit, right? I know Draper was sometimes on the 4th line, sometimes on the 3rd line. Madden and Pandolfo got as much ice time as any other Devils forward from the time Pat Burns started coaching the team (in 2002-03), really until they declined as older players. Even before Burns, the two of them were out there every second shift on the PK (if you look at ice time charts, Madden and Pandolfo killed a greater percentage of their team's penalties than almost any other forwards in history, though they were helped by the Devils' discipline). Madden didn't really take a big even strength role until Holik left, and Pandolfo followed about a year later. But they were the top PK duo on the team as early as the 2000 Cup run. Maltby was rarely first unit PK in Detroit, right? I know when Detroit's PK was best, Yzerman and Draper led them in PK ice time.
From the late 90s to early 00s, Yzerman and Fedorov were typically the #1 PK unit with Draper and Maltby the 2nd unit. According to the numbers it looks like Scotty may have switched the pairings to Yzerman and Draper during 01-02, but Draper and Maltby were paired together far more often than not. In fact, during that same season (which was the 02 Cup win), Maltby and Draper took over as Detroit's top unit in the postseason and held onto it for a few years. They also finished the postseason 3rd and 5th in even strength ice time only behind the top line of Yzerman-Fedorov-Shanahan.

BTW it's remarkable how disciplined those NJ teams were looking at the numbers.

Draper never led the team in ice time, but he was 2nd to only Datsyuk in even strength ice time during the two season around the lockout, while also leading Detroit in shorthanded time. Maltby's highest finish was 5th among Detroit forwards. There's no question that the NJ duo played a bigger role for their team, but there's definitely some similarities, especially in their style and partnerships. Can you really think of one without the other in either case?

That brings me to my next topic:

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08-19-2013, 04:18 AM
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Speaking of Madden/Pandolfo and Draper/Maltby, what other defensive duos existed, especially at an elite level?

Datsyuk and Zetterberg are two of the better defensive forwards post 04 lockout, but they've spent more time apart than together. Same with Fedorov and Yzerman during their eclipsing defensive years.

How much did Carbonneau and Lehtinen spend together in their years in Dallas?

Did Gainey, Clarke, etc. have regular linemates that were also and possibly underrated defensively?

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08-19-2013, 04:21 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silkyjohnson50 View Post
From the late 90s to early 00s, Yzerman and Fedorov were typically the #1 PK unit with Draper and Maltby the 2nd unit. According to the numbers it looks like Scotty may have switched the pairings to Yzerman and Draper during 01-02, but Draper and Maltby were paired together far more often than not. In fact, during that same season (which was the 02 Cup win), Maltby and Draper took over as Detroit's top unit in the postseason and held onto it for a few years. They also finished the postseason 3rd and 5th in even strength ice time only behind the top line of Yzerman-Fedorov-Shanahan.

BTW it's remarkable how disciplined those NJ teams were looking at the numbers.

Draper never led the team in ice time, but he was 2nd to only Datsyuk in even strength ice time during the two season around the lockout, while also leading Detroit in shorthanded time. Maltby's highest finish was 5th among Detroit forwards. There's no question that the NJ duo played a bigger role for their team, but there's definitely some similarities, especially in their style and partnerships. Can you really think of one without the other in either case?

That brings me to my next topic:
From looking at ice time, it looks like Yzerman/Fedorov and Draper/Maltby received fairly similar time overall. Yzerman and Draper tended to see a little more than their partners, perhaps because of their faceoff ability?

NJ tended to put out Madden/Pandolfo for 70%+ of their shorthanded time when they were in their primes, but again, being disciplined definitely helped them shorten the bench when killing penalties.


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08-19-2013, 04:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silkyjohnson50 View Post
Speaking of Madden/Pandolfo and Draper/Maltby, what other defensive duos existed, especially at an elite level?

Datsyuk and Zetterberg are two of the better defensive forwards post 04 lockout, but they've spent more time apart than together. Same with Fedorov and Yzerman during their eclipsing defensive years.

How much did Carbonneau and Lehtinen spend together in their years in Dallas?

Did Gainey, Clarke, etc. have regular linemates that were also and possibly underrated defensively?
From what I remember, Lehtinen usually played with Modano, on both the PK and at even strength. Carbonneau, who was getting up there in years, centered the 2nd PK unit; I think with Mike Keane. Lehtinen/Modano was actually quite the dominant defensive duo under Ken Hitchcock for a few years.

It was before my time, but my understanding is that Bobby Clarke usually played with Bill Barber at even strength, and I think on the PK, but Clarke traditionally gets the lion's share of the defensive credit there.

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08-19-2013, 07:30 AM
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Where does Howe rank? I've read that big post about how good defensively he was. Was it in contrast to other offensive super stars or was his defensive game really good?

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08-19-2013, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
From what I remember, Lehtinen usually played with Modano, on both the PK and at even strength. Carbonneau, who was getting up there in years, centered the 2nd PK unit; I think with Mike Keane. Lehtinen/Modano was actually quite the dominant defensive duo under Ken Hitchcock for a few years.

It was before my time, but my understanding is that Bobby Clarke usually played with Bill Barber at even strength, and I think on the PK, but Clarke traditionally gets the lion's share of the defensive credit there.
Clarke played with Billy Barber on the LCB line with Reggie Leach. Some of the Flyers PK players back during the 70's were:
Terry Crisp
Bill Clement
Orest Kindrachuk
Mel Bridgeman
Rick MacLeish
Don Saleski
Ross Lonsberry
Tom Gorence
Bill Flett

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08-19-2013, 09:19 AM
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Canadiens1958
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Shadowing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Yes, Pandolfo did do an excellent job as actually did his linemates & defensive pairings in seriously shadowing Jagr, casting a much wider ring of darkness around Jaromir than I think he was ever fully aware of. They played off one another zone-zone, Pandolfo the lead, a sort of hybrid shadowing technique, more sophisticated to the more classic examples of the best at that one on one like Rejean Houle of Montreal on Bobby Hull back in 71.
Excellent description of what was actually happening on the ice. Shadowing is a misused and misunderstood term. Length of a shadow is determined by the position of the sun in the sky. A shadow can be extremely sort or extremely long. As you state so eloquently, identifying the size of the ring of darkness is the key. How it is used and displaced among teammates is another matter.

The phrase "Clutch and Grab" is a much better expression to describe the extremely short ring of darkness, inside the opponents reach. Problem with the "Clutch and Grab" is that certain players - Gordie Howe, Henri Richard, Mark Messier amongst many actually preferred it. They would know exactly where their checker was and could leverage him out of the play easily and legally. Also it was very easy to manipulate a "Clutch and Grab" checker off your stickside eliminating the good defensive work done by his teammates with a simple nudge, leveraging, spin turn or lateral shift.

Longer rings of darkness required better skating and on ice awareness, recognizing the key points on the ice plus communicating with teammates about the transfer of checking responsibility.

The 2005-06 NHL season featured the removal of the center Red Line as a factor in determining two line offsides. This changed the key points on the ice since previously the checking team could rely on the Red Line to slow down the the transition - offensive players breaking from the defensive zone had to avoid the offside at the Red Line so they would slow down.

Pandolfo checking Jagr in the 2006 playoffs is very interesting. Jaromir Jagr is a throwback to the O6 era in his ability to establish a security perimeter. Keeps checking players away from the puck within the radius of his reach. Almost as good as Gordie Howe or Jean Beliveau. Unlike Howe and Beliveau who would only face the boards or the crowd with the puck if it was unavoidable, Jagr does it too often. So he may control the puck but sees very little of the offensive zone when turned to the boards or the crowd. This greatly limits his passing options while making the opponents defensive game easier. More time to transfer checking responsibility from player to player and re-setting. Pandolfo was the Devil checker covering Jagr on the ice but the positioning of the other Devils - getting to the correct points, was instrumental when transferring Jagr from one to another, taking away his forehand passing options, getting him to turn to the boards/crowd. Killion is very accurate when calling this complete team checking package more sophisticated.

By comparison the Houle coverage on Bobby Hull was very basic. 1971 and 1973 the Red Line was in play for offsides. Houle played on RW with Henri Richard at center. Richard was a very aggressive forechecker with the ability to vary the checking arcs, angles and depth he presented to the defensemen trying to move the puck out of the defensive zone. Instead of one direct short quick pass to Hull breaking-out at the defensive blue line the Hawks would have to relay the puck or try to connect a long high risk pass. The red line slowed down and contained Bobby Hull. Rejean Houle just had to get to the correct points on the ice.

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08-19-2013, 09:43 AM
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The pair of Dave Poulin and Brian Propp was a strong tandem. I'll add Joel Otto to the mix.

Bill Barber was a great PK player. One if the best efforts I saw in a given playoffs series came in 1980 against Minnesota. The powerplays in that series were lopsided, 40-to-18 in favor of Minnesota. Barber had 12 points in the next four games (after a Game One loss) all wins and had three key short-handed goals (the number tied an NHL record for one player in a series) and three game-winning goals -- each in the last three games. He scored nine goals which at the time also tied an NHL record for one series but his PK/defense performance was exceptional. And Minnesota, a good team which ended the Flyers' 35-game regular season streak, was a tough building for a road team at the time. In the critical Game 3, Barber had a hat trick which helped give the Flyers a 4-0 lead, then Minnesota scored three quick goals and had a power play late with a chance to tie but Barber scored a fourth goal.

Here is an article on Steve Kasper by Jim Matheson ( http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/201...wayne-gretzky/ )

Quote:
But Steve Kasper, Wayne Gretzky’s not-so-friendly ghost, through many assignments in the 80s, was reminiscing about his job description recently before his duties as a Toronto Maple Leafs’ pro scout. The Boston Bruins’ centre was arguably the best at his craft, with apologies to Jimmy Roberts and Bryan (Bugsy) Watson.

Kasper was so dogged, Gretzky half-expected to see Kasper sitting at his breakfast table, the cornflakes and the jug of orange juice at the ready.

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08-19-2013, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by silkyjohnson50 View Post
Pavel Datsyuk:

Without question the most disruptive player of his era. His transition defense is simply on a different level than any of his peers. He's not a powerful skater like Fedorov who could effortlessly fly throughout an entire shift, nor does he really have the motor of Zetterberg that is just relentless. Datsyuk is more stealth like, just calmly surveying the playing field before deciding to pounce. And when he decides to pounce you pretty much know that he's going to make a positive impact. He's not a player who is over aggressive, he's very calculated and certain when he does attack defensively.

His ability to separate opponents from the puck comes from a few main strengths:

1) His burst and cutting ability on his skates. Like I said he's not burner like a Fedorov or Draper, but he's extremely explosive for short periods. In addition he's like a waterbug in his ability to quickly change directions laterally.

2) His stick skills: The same strength that allows him to protect the puck so well and stickhandle offensively. If he can get his stick on the puck he's more than likely coming away with it. His stick skills allow him to make a lot of defensive plays that others simply cannot.

3) His hockey IQ. He's able to read plays before they develop. When he's roaming the neutral zone it's a thing of beauty. Which brings me to...

Even when he's not directly coming up with takeaways, he's very disruptive and forces secondary plays. Both when opposing players hurry or panic when Datsyuk is in the same vicinity as them and when he's sitting back and playing lanes.

He's not the type of player that likes to shadow an individual or wear them out physically. Despite being obviously difficult to play against, not too often do you see players losing their cool when they play against him. With that being said he will use the body to separate players from the puck. In fact, he led all Detroit forwards in hits during their 2008 Cup run.

On the PK, Datsyuk's use has been limited. He's been in the 1-2 min/game range. Recently he's mainly been used for his faceoff ability. In large part this is a coaching technique to limit his minutes. In 5-on-3 situations, however, he is one of two forwards (the other being Zetterberg) who has regularly seen the ice the past 6-7 years. Likewise, he is always a player that is on the ice during the last moments of a game while holding onto a lead (with and without the opposing goalie pulled.)

In the dot, he's typically been a 54-56% guy. Not a dominant guy, but clearly above average. Since Draper's departure he's been Detroit's go to guy on draws. He was impressively 63% on defensive shorthanded draws last year.

One of the more amazing things about Datsyuk's play without the puck is his lack of penalties taken. He's been the disruptive player who consistently leads the NHL in takeaways while rarely costing his team with a 2 minute minor. This is especially impressive when you consider how often and easily stick infractions were called post- lockout.

In terms of other strengths:

- Puck battles: rarely does he lose them. Along the boards, in open ice, anywhere. The puck is glued to his stick. He's also very effective when he decides to forecheck.

- Escapability: he's able to use his creativity and skill to exit the defensive zone and situations that leave you scratching your head.

- 3rd defenceman: as much as I love the defensive game of forwards, at times I think Datsyuk plays too conservatively considering his offensive ability. He often plays very deep in the defensive zone to support his defencemen and wingers which is good, but I think he sits back offensively sometimes in the offensive zone. In addition he's the only player that I regularly see decide to change while his team has full possession in the offensive zone if he's tired. He got an assist last year while he was on the bench.

- Tilting the ice: similar to another favorite player of mine, Peter Forsberg, Datsyuk controls the play and tilts the ice. His puck possession combined with his transition defense really limit the amount of time he spends in the defensive zone.

I'm sure I'm forgetting more, but I feel like this novel is about ready for publishing.
good breakdown.

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08-19-2013, 11:32 AM
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Dave Keon was amazing positionally. For a modern comparison think prime Lidstrom as a center. Always knew where he needed to be and was there. Amazing in the faceoff circle(Almost as good at faceoffs, if not as good as Bobby Clarke. Just won almost all of them), tremendous skating skills(Cannot emphasize his skating ability enough), and took almost zero penalties.

Tenacious, amazing forechecker. Gave 110% every shift. People who claim forechecking is more an offensive skill than a defensive one need to watch Keon and Clarke games.

Henri Richard is a good comparison, although i value Richard a bit more.

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08-19-2013, 11:40 AM
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Faceoffs

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Dave Keon was amazing positionally. For a modern comparison think prime Lidstrom as a center. Always knew where he needed to be and was there. Amazing in the faceoff circle(Almost as good at faceoffs, if not as good as Bobby Clarke. Just won almost all of them), tremendous skating skills(Cannot emphasize his skating ability enough), and took almost zero penalties.

Tenacious, amazing forechecker. Gave 110% every shift. People who claim forechecking is more an offensive skill than a defensive one need to watch Keon and Clarke games.

Henri Richard is a good comparison, although i value Richard a bit more.
Fact that has to be stated about Dave Keon and other O6 centers. They took and won faceoffs with Clarke like efficiency before Faceoff Interference and other faceoff regulations were introduced.

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08-19-2013, 11:42 AM
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Wrigley
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Dave Keon was amazing positionally. For a modern comparison think prime Lidstrom as a center. Always knew where he needed to be and was there. Amazing in the faceoff circle(Almost as good at faceoffs, if not as good as Bobby Clarke. Just won almost all of them), tremendous skating skills(Cannot emphasize his skating ability enough), and took almost zero penalties. Tenacious, amazing forechecker. Gave 110% every shift. People who claim forechecking is more an offensive skill than a defensive one need to watch Keon and Clarke games. ...
Agreed. Keon proved that you can be the best defensive center and a Lady Byng winner. Slightly off topic, but I wish they would give the Selke to the best defensive forward (guys like Lehtinen) and not the best two-way forward. Hopefully my fellow Hawk fans won't see this, because Toews is the reigning Selke winner.

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08-19-2013, 11:45 AM
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gifted88
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Where do people like Lemaire, Brindamour, and Peca rank?

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08-19-2013, 11:55 AM
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Dave Keon was amazing positionally. For a modern comparison think prime Lidstrom as a center. Always knew where he needed to be and was there. Amazing in the faceoff circle(Almost as good at faceoffs, if not as good as Bobby Clarke. Just won almost all of them), tremendous skating skills(Cannot emphasize his skating ability enough), and took almost zero penalties.

Tenacious, amazing forechecker. Gave 110% every shift. People who claim forechecking is more an offensive skill than a defensive one need to watch Keon and Clarke games.

Henri Richard is a good comparison, although i value Richard a bit more.
Well, Richard was a lot better offensively than Keon. How did they compare defensively?

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08-19-2013, 11:59 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Where do people like Lemaire, Brindamour, and Peca rank?
Peca IMO is the best combination of leadership and defensive play since prime Guy Carbonneau. Not as good a skater as John Madden, but more physical and a better leader. Those 3 (Carbonneau, Peca, Madden) are the best overall defensive centers I've seen among non-superstar players. It gets kind of murky trying to compare two-way guys like Fedorov to them.

I honestly thought Brind'amour's defensive play was a little overrated. When he won his second Selke, he said himself that he thought of himself as a two-way player, not really a defensive player. Elite faceoff man who killed a ton of penalties in his career, though.

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08-19-2013, 12:08 PM
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Dark Shadows
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Well, Richard was a lot better offensively than Keon. How did they compare defensively?
I was thinking only of the defensive side of the game. Very comparable and 2 of the best ever to lace them up

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08-19-2013, 01:09 PM
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Keon vs H. Richard

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Well, Richard was a lot better offensively than Keon. How did they compare defensively?
Offensively Keon vs H. Richard was a wash. Richard a slightly better peak, Keon slightly better longevity mainly in the post 1967 expansion NHL plus WHA.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/k/keonda01.html

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...richahe01.html

Defensively, H. Richard had ideal partners at center with Beliveau and Backstrom, two LHS that were perfect matches with his being a RHS. Also H.Richard had an ability to vary the defensive looks that he presented to the opposition. Superior to Keon in this regard. The other major advantage that Henri Richard had was that in practice for the first six seasons he would scrimmage against Doug Harvey and throughout most of his career against Beliveau and Backstrom. Ideal preparation for all in game defensive situations.

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08-19-2013, 01:11 PM
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Surprised its taken this long to mention the duo of Don Luce and Craig Ramsay. I'd comment more on them but I'm on my phone.

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