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MLD Semifina: Bergen Flyers versus Humboldt Indians

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Old
09-09-2008, 05:53 AM
  #1
Transplanted Caper
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MLD Semifina: Bergen Flyers versus Humboldt Indians

Bergen takes on Humboldt in the Semis.


HUMBOLDT INDIANS
GM: God Bless Canada
Coach: Tom Johnson
Assistant Coach: Ernie "Punch" McLean
Captain: Don Sweeney
Alternate Captain: John Wensink
Alternate Captain: Rick Green
Alternate Captain: Syl Apps Jr.


FORWARDS
Dennis Hextall-Billy Taylor-Zigmund Palffy
Marc Tardif-Dave Gagner-Lorne Carr
Dave Reid-Syl Apps Jr.-Rejean Houle
John Wensink-Mike Richards-"Cowboy" Bill Flett
Herb Carnegie

DEFENCEMEN
Dave Manson-Jay Bouwmeester
Darryl Sydor-John Van Boxmeer
Rick Green-Don Sweeney
Harold Snepsts

GOALTENDERS
Kirk McLean
Marty Turco


Bergen Flyers

GMs: Wisent and pitseleh
Coach: Frank Boucher
Captain: Viktor Kuzkin
Alternate Captains:

Sergei Kapustin - Milan Novy - Yevgeny Babich
Martin Straka - Vladimir Zabrodsky - Ernie Russell
Yuri Lebedev - Bobby Holik - Jaroslav Jirik
Brian Rolston - Billy Reay - Claude Larose
Vladimir Vikulov - Jaroslav Holik

Viktor Kuzkin (c) - Oldrich Machac
Yuri Fedorov - Art Duncan
Bert Marshall - Udo Kiessling
Jim McKenny

Don Edwards
"Sugar" Jim Henry

PP1: Kapustin-Novy-Babich-Kuzkin-Fedorov
PP2: Russell-Zabrodsky-Jirik-Duncan-Rolston

PK1: Reay-Rolston-Marshall-Kiessling
PK2: Anisin-Larose-Kuzkin-Machac


Last edited by Transplanted Caper: 09-10-2008 at 07:55 PM.
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Old
09-09-2008, 12:22 PM
  #2
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Novy's the guy to watch for from our perspective. We'll try to get Apps out there against the Novy line as much as possible, to capitalize on Apps' considerable speed and smarts and two-way game.

And we'll try to get Richards' line out against the second line as much as possible, too. Straka's one of the few guys we have a really good scouting report on, and I think the Flett-Straka match-up is really favourable for us. Straka's soft, and outside of when he played with Jagr, he was never overly effective in the playoffs. And we have the Wensink advantage, too.

We're also confident in our first line when we need an offence vs. offence match-up. I think our top line matches up very well with Bergen's top line. Both lines are loaded with skill, although Hextall's toughness gives us an edge in that regard.

Our defence will be really important. This is why we drafted Jay Bouwmeester, a big, fleet-footed defenceman who thinks the game really well and is excellent in his own zone. He'll come up big against Bergen's forwards. And, once again, we'll really lean on our shut-down pairing defencemen. We said from the start that Sweeney and Green were the best shut-down tandem in the draft. A lot of these guys on Bergen have never faced a guy with Bouwmeester's speed, smarts and size. They've never faced a guy with Green's size, reach, anticipation and defensive smarts. And Green's complimented nicely by Sweeney's smarts and mobility.

Who's going to work the front of the net for Bergen on the PP? Who's going to do the dirty work along the boards? These are definite advantages for Humboldt.

We're coming off a tough series against arguably the team with the best defensive personel in the draft. Bergen doesn't have the same imposing defence. Our guys will have more room to work.

Coaching and goaltending are washes. Boucher and Johnson are both former players who thought the game really well and fared well as coaches. If we have an advantage behind the bench, it's in the form of our assistant, Punch McLean. Speaking of McLean's, we think we have an edge in net with Kirk McLean over Don Edwards, especially in the playoffs, but it's not as big as our edge in the last series.

A lot of Bergen's guys played their careers overseas, on big ice. Let's see how they do on a North American sized ice surface. Let's see how they do in a tough, best-of-seven situation on small ice, when we have a chance to make adjustments after each game. This isn't some best-of-one or best-of-three like what many of Bergen's guys get at the World Championships. The Indians have a big intangibles advantage.

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09-10-2008, 06:25 PM
  #3
pitseleh
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Good luck GBC, looking forward to a tough series.

One small lineup change, we're going to insert Holik into the lineup in place of Anisin to add some toughness and defensive awareness into the lineup, which I think is more important in this series than Anisin's playmaking. Just to quote what I had said about Holik before:

Quote:
"Holik played a hard, highly focuses game of hockey. He had very high expectations of himself and of others...Holik was a tireless worker who inspired the other players because he never considered a match to be lost. 'Every time I went on the ice I was convinced that we had to win. I knew no other option. From the first face-off I was in a different world. I didn't differentiate between whether we were winning or losing. I always fought with equal passion. Once you let up, it is over.'...Holik really lived the games he played, never dodging blows or avoiding skirmishes."

"In the national team, played mostly together on a line with xxx xxxxxx and his brother Jiri Holik. Was famous for his emotional and agressive style in both ends of the ice, often reached top results in both scoring and penalty minutes."
Lebedev-Holik-Jirik are going to be a tough grinding line that will make things tough for Humboldt's big defensemen when we're on the offensive and on their forwards when we're playing defense.

As GBC mentioned, goaltending and coaching are a virtual wash.

I'll address a couple of GBC's points first:

Quote:
And we'll try to get Richards' line out against the second line as much as possible, too. Straka's one of the few guys we have a really good scouting report on, and I think the Flett-Straka match-up is really favourable for us. Straka's soft, and outside of when he played with Jagr, he was never overly effective in the playoffs. And we have the Wensink advantage, too.
I don't know if I'd call Straka soft. He's not a guy who goes out and hits people, but he takes contact to make plays, lays his body out blocking shots, and hustles defensively. Yes his playoff numbers without Jagr aren't great, but they comprise two seasons from the ages of 23-25, and in this case he's playing with two very talented players to carry the offensive load as he did playing with Jagr. During his prime (when he was around a PPG player) from 1999-2008, he scored 60 points in 66 playoff games.

Quote:
We're also confident in our first line when we need an offence vs. offence match-up. I think our top line matches up very well with Bergen's top line. Both lines are loaded with skill, although Hextall's toughness gives us an edge in that regard.
Babich was tough in his own right as well, and they'll be lining up across from each other if the lines do go head to head. Babich at the very least won't be intimidated by Hextall.

Quote:
A lot of these guys on Bergen have never faced a guy with Bouwmeester's speed, smarts and size. They've never faced a guy with Green's size, reach, anticipation and defensive smarts. And Green's complimented nicely by Sweeney's smarts and mobility.
I don't know if you can say that about our players. No there weren't any players with Bouwmeester's size when our players played, but there weren't many players in the NHL with that size during that period. The Czechs on our roster played against intimidating Soviet defensemen like Ragulin, Vasiliev, and Lutchenko (and some against Sologubov and Ivanov), and the Soviets played those players along with Czech greats like Pospisil, Tikal, Bubla, etc.

Quote:
Who's going to work the front of the net for Bergen on the PP? Who's going to do the dirty work along the boards? These are definite advantages for Humboldt.
Babich should be quite comfortable in that role on the first unit, while Jirik is on the second unit for that exact reason. Just to bring up quotes about their styles again:

Quote:
"Jirik was famous for the way he parked himself in front of the net and assumed a pose like a tripod, with his stick out in front of him. It was nearly impossible to get him away from the net, to push him off balance or lift his stick. He provoked almost everybody he encountered - pushing and jabbing at the defensemen and scorers and sometimes flying into a rage. They were afraid of him. He was the terror of all defensemen.

Also, "Jirik had a tendency to get deeply absorbed in the game and very passionate about its outcome. He hated losing and could stand for pessimism, no matter who the opponent was. To him, losing was a disgrace. Even during training, when there was nothing at stake, he would often say or do whatever it took to win."
and Babich:

Quote:
"Tarasov admired Bobrov's skill level, but he felt Babich was the better player. Babich was a complete player who sacrificed the spotlight for the good of the team. Babich, who could probably be compared to a Sergei Fedorov, and Shuvalov did the "hard labour" while Bobrov finished plays off with a scoring chance. The trio worked as a team, with the purpose being to get the puck to Bobrov.

"He had great courage. Head-on clashes meant nothing to him, and he spared neither himself nor his rivals in order to slam the puck into the net. At times, when he was pasted to the boards, it seemed as if Babich couldn't possibly get up and continue the game. But he'd do just that."
Quote:
We're coming off a tough series against arguably the team with the best defensive personel in the draft. Bergen doesn't have the same imposing defence. Our guys will have more room to work.
I don't think we have the toughness that vcl's defense had in your last series, but Marshall, Kiessling, and Machac were definitely tough customers and it isn't going to be easy playing against them. Kuzkin and Fedorov bring a smart, positional defensive style.

Quote:
A lot of Bergen's guys played their careers overseas, on big ice. Let's see how they do on a North American sized ice surface. Let's see how they do in a tough, best-of-seven situation on small ice, when we have a chance to make adjustments after each game. This isn't some best-of-one or best-of-three like what many of Bergen's guys get at the World Championships. The Indians have a big intangibles advantage.
At the same time, many of our players played most of the games that were available to them, while Humboldt will be relying on some players that haven't or didn't have particularly long careers or careers that were shortened by injury. Palffy was injured for the second half of his career and retired due to injury, Taylor only played in 6 full seasons and parts of a couple other, and Richards and Bouwmeester have played 3 and 5 seasons respectively. I know peak value holds a lot of weight in many people's opinions (and my own) but relying on those players in key roles should give us a bit of an advantage whether you want to look at it in terms of longevity or experience.

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Old
09-12-2008, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by pitseleh View Post
Good luck GBC, looking forward to a tough series.

One small lineup change, we're going to insert Holik into the lineup in place of Anisin to add some toughness and defensive awareness into the lineup, which I think is more important in this series than Anisin's playmaking. Just to quote what I had said about Holik before:



Lebedev-Holik-Jirik are going to be a tough grinding line that will make things tough for Humboldt's big defensemen when we're on the offensive and on their forwards when we're playing defense.

As GBC mentioned, goaltending and coaching are a virtual wash.

I'll address a couple of GBC's points first:



I don't know if I'd call Straka soft. He's not a guy who goes out and hits people, but he takes contact to make plays, lays his body out blocking shots, and hustles defensively. Yes his playoff numbers without Jagr aren't great, but they comprise two seasons from the ages of 23-25, and in this case he's playing with two very talented players to carry the offensive load as he did playing with Jagr. During his prime (when he was around a PPG player) from 1999-2008, he scored 60 points in 66 playoff games.



Babich was tough in his own right as well, and they'll be lining up across from each other if the lines do go head to head. Babich at the very least won't be intimidated by Hextall.



I don't know if you can say that about our players. No there weren't any players with Bouwmeester's size when our players played, but there weren't many players in the NHL with that size during that period. The Czechs on our roster played against intimidating Soviet defensemen like Ragulin, Vasiliev, and Lutchenko (and some against Sologubov and Ivanov), and the Soviets played those players along with Czech greats like Pospisil, Tikal, Bubla, etc.



Babich should be quite comfortable in that role on the first unit, while Jirik is on the second unit for that exact reason. Just to bring up quotes about their styles again:



and Babich:





I don't think we have the toughness that vcl's defense had in your last series, but Marshall, Kiessling, and Machac were definitely tough customers and it isn't going to be easy playing against them. Kuzkin and Fedorov bring a smart, positional defensive style.



At the same time, many of our players played most of the games that were available to them, while Humboldt will be relying on some players that haven't or didn't have particularly long careers or careers that were shortened by injury. Palffy was injured for the second half of his career and retired due to injury, Taylor only played in 6 full seasons and parts of a couple other, and Richards and Bouwmeester have played 3 and 5 seasons respectively. I know peak value holds a lot of weight in many people's opinions (and my own) but relying on those players in key roles should give us a bit of an advantage whether you want to look at it in terms of longevity or experience.
Your last comment doesn't address my concern at all. I'm not looking at longevity. I'm looking at experience in a best-of-seven situation. Richards, Taylor and Palffy all have best-of-seven experience. Bouwmeester doesn't, but that's more a reflection of the players surrounding him than Bouwmeester's performance. Most of your guys never played a best-of-seven series on small ice. That is a very significant factor, and it should definitely be considered when evaluating the teams.

It's not just a size thing with Jay-Bo. It's a speed thing. And a hockey sense thing. And a defensive awareness thing. He's so big, so quick and so smart, and he can beat you in several different ways. That's what makes him such a valuable asset.

I watched Straka throughout his career, and while he definitely has excellent skill, I was never overly impressed with his play away from the puck. Straka vs. Flett (another guy who can beat you in several different fashions) is a favourable match-up for us. Straka will be intimidated.

I think our team is every bit as dangerous offensively as Bergen's. We can go goal for goal. Our hockey sense is on par. I don't think there's one area where Bergen has a legitimate edge. I think Humboldt has an edge in net as far as playoffs go. (Edwards never had a post-season as good as McLean's in 1992 or 1994, or excluding one game, 1995). And I think the presence of Punch McLean gives us a slight edge behind the bench. (Boucher and Johnson are equals coaching-wise).

The biggest edge in this series comes in the intangibles. The lack of experience for the Bergen players in a best-of-seven on small ice. They don't have it. We do.

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09-14-2008, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by God Bless Canada View Post
Your last comment doesn't address my concern at all. I'm not looking at longevity. I'm looking at experience in a best-of-seven situation. Richards, Taylor and Palffy all have best-of-seven experience. Bouwmeester doesn't, but that's more a reflection of the players surrounding him than Bouwmeester's performance. Most of your guys never played a best-of-seven series on small ice. That is a very significant factor, and it should definitely be considered when evaluating the teams.
I agree, I wasn't trying to counter your point, and our lack of experience in 7 game series could be seen as a weakness. At the same time though, a lack of longevity (both on a games played per season and total length of career) is an issue for your players in a seven game series. Given the number of short career and/or injury prone players over the course of a playoff coming off a tough series, that could have an impact on your team coming into the second round.

Quote:
It's not just a size thing with Jay-Bo. It's a speed thing. And a hockey sense thing. And a defensive awareness thing. He's so big, so quick and so smart, and he can beat you in several different ways. That's what makes him such a valuable asset.
You could say the same about some of the defensemen that our players played against, and they did so at a higher level for a longer period of time too.

Quote:
I watched Straka throughout his career, and while he definitely has excellent skill, I was never overly impressed with his play away from the puck. Straka vs. Flett (another guy who can beat you in several different fashions) is a favourable match-up for us. Straka will be intimidated.
He's definitely improved with age. If you look at the Rangers' forum thread about his leaving the team, most people were sad that they were losing a guy who worked hard and left it all on the ice.

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t...ghlight=straka
http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t...ghlight=straka

Earlier in his career he may not have brought that aspect of the game, but he's definitely worked on it and has really been strong in that are for the last few years.

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09-17-2008, 11:04 PM
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Humboldt defeats Bergen in seven games.

Three stars:

1) Viktor Kuzkin
2/3) Kirk McLean and Milan Novy (tied).

Congrats GBC.

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09-17-2008, 11:47 PM
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Thanks for a good series, pit and Wiser. Always a good challenge to play pit.

Looking forward to playing TC and the Petes. I thought they would be the one team I would have to beat to win this thing. Looks like I was right. And I'm looking forward to playing in my first final.

I'll be out of town until Monday, so Internet access will be sporadic.

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