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The Case For & Against Each Eastern Conf. Playoff Team

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Old
03-31-2004, 12:06 AM
  #1
Trottier
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The Case For & Against Each Eastern Conf. Playoff Team

Obviously, no ne can predict the playoffs with any certainty, anyone who has followed the NHL for any amount of time knows as much. This year in particular is shaping up really intriguing, as there are numerous teams that seemingly have a fair chance to go deep into the playoffs. With that in mind, one person's thoughts of the Eastern Conference playoff teams and the top reason(s) why they will succeed (or fail) starting next week. Order is inconsequential here, just based on current point totals.

Tampa Bay Lightning
#1 reason for playoff optimism: Their star player has arrived. Vinny L. seems poised to take that next step in star status as the unquestionable on-ice leader. And winning (Cup) teams must get great consistent performances from their best player(s).
#1 reason for playoff pessimism: Yet to get consistently elite goaltending out of Khabibulin. Plus, overall, still lack playoff experience.

Boston Bruins
Optimism: As hot as any team heading into the playoffs, and deeper than prior years (Bergeron; Gonchar).
Pessimism: Rookie coach, rookie goalie. May overcome it, but experience in both areas would help.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Optimism: a veteran determined crew from top to bottom, and Leetch will be a significant factor, as he has since his arrival.
Pessimism: Age and style of play may wear them down over a potential two-month marathon.

Philadelphia Flyers
Optimism: superb coach (coaching matters come playoff time), a talent-rich, deep roster.
Pessimism: Deja vu. Is the goaltending Cup caliber? Very valid questions remain. Every year this seems like a team built for the regular season who looks less impressive as you get closer to the playoffs. We'll just have to see.

New Jersey Devils
Optimism: the best goatender in hockey and the hottest scoring forward in the league heading into Round One. Plus, experience.
Pessimism: Losing a hall of fame caliber captain, and his physical presence on the backline, seems insurmountable.

Ottawa Senators
Optimism: experience, talented, the core of the team has been together for years, and they have played the better part of the last month on the road - a small but important factor that could benefit them.
Pessimism: their goaltending is inferior to NJ, Montreal and Toronto, at least.

Montreal Canadiens
Optimism: superb goaltender, and a team that used the regular season to master their coach's system.
Pessimism: Is there enough bite on defense, especially if Souray is out? Is there enough firepower/size up front, even with the recent acquisition of Kovalev? On paper, this is a team that is a couple of years and a couple of players away. But that's paper.

New York Islanders
Optimism: When he is on, Dipietro can carry a team. Peca is playing inspired hockey again.
Pessimism: Dipietro is inconsistent at this early age. Despite good team offensive stats, this team lacks firepower, and their lone "superstar" is unreliable. There is little reason to believe that a team that has been inconsistent throughout the first six months of the season will suddenly find their way.

or

Buffalo Sabres
Optimism: If they get in, they will have momentum on their side.
Pessimism: Ultimately the collective talent level on the roster does not quite match up with top teams in the conference at this point. Biron is a good goalie, perhaps good enough to steal games or even a series, but not elite, which they would need in order to go deep.

Next, the West.


Last edited by Trottier: 03-31-2004 at 02:52 PM.
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Old
03-31-2004, 12:14 AM
  #2
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Martin St. Louis is unquestionably the best player and team leader in Tampa Bay. He is 5-8 with a giant's heart. Lecavalier is 6-4 with a midget's heart.

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Old
03-31-2004, 12:16 AM
  #3
Trottier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by db23
Lecavalier is 6-4 with a midget's heart.
Guess we've been watching a different TB team this year.

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Old
03-31-2004, 12:48 AM
  #4
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I think the experience factor is overrated. Toronto, Ottawa and Philly all have tons of experience but they rarely go anywhere in the playoffs. Detroit and Colorado with all of their success have had plenty of instances where they were, or almost upset by much less experienced and talented teams.

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Old
03-31-2004, 01:59 AM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier
Obviously, no ne can predict the playoffs with any certainty, anyone who has followed the NHL for any amount of time knows as much. This year in particular is shaping up really intriguing, as there are numerous teams that seemingly have a fair chance to go deep into the playoffs. With that in mind, one person's thoughts of the Eastern Conference playoff teams and the top reason(s) why they will succeed (or fail) starting next week. Order is inconsequential here, just based on current point totals.

Tampa Bay Lightning
#1 reason for playoff optimism: Their star player has arrived. Vinny L. seems poised to take that next step in star stauts as the unquestionable on-ice leader. And winning (Cup) teams must get great consistent performances from their best player(s).
#1 reason for playoff pessimism: Yet to get consistently elite goaltending out of Khabibulin. Plus, overall, still lack playoff experience.

Boston Bruins
Optimism: As hot as any team heading into the playoffs, and deeper than prior years (Bergeron; Gonchar).
Pessimism: Rookie coach, rookie goalie. May overcome it, but experience in both areas would help.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Optimism: a veteran determined crew from top to bottom, and Leetch will be a significant factor, as he has since his arrival.
Pessimism: Age and style of play may wear them down over a potential two-month marathon.

Philadelphia Flyers
Optimism: superb coach (coaching matters come playoff time), a talent-rich, deep roster.
Pessimism: Deja vu. Is the goaltending Cup caliber? Very valid questions remain. Every year this seems like a team built for the regular season who looks less impressive as you get closer to the playoffs. We'll just have to see.

New Jersey Devils
Optimism: the best goatender in hockey and the hottest scoring forward in the league heading into Round One. Plus, experience.
Pessimism: Losing a hall of fame caliber captain, and his physical presence on the backline, seems insurmountable.

Ottawa Senators
Optimism: experience, talented, the core of the team has been together for years, and they have played the better part of the last month on the road - a small but important factor that could benefit them.
Pessimism: their goaltending is inferior to NJ and Toronto, at least.

Montreal Canadiens
Optimism: superb goaltender, and a team that used the regular season to master their coach's system.
Pessimism: Is there enough bite on defense, especially if Souray is out? Is there enough firepower/size up front, even with the recent acquisition of Kovalev? On paper, this is a team that is a couple of years and a couple of players away. But that's paper.

New York Islanders
Optimism: When he is on, Dipietro can carry a team. Peca is playing inspired hockey again.
Pessimism: Dipietro is inconsistent at this early age. Despite good team offensive stats, this team lacks firepower, and their lone "superstar" is unreliable. there is little reason to believe that a team that has been inconsistent throughout the first six months of the season will suddenly find their way.

or

Buffalo Sabres
Optimism: If they get in, they will have momentum on their side.
Pessimism: Ultimately the collective talent level on the roster does not quite match up with top teams in the conference at this point. Biron is a good goalie, perhaps good enough to steal games or even a series,, but not elite, which they would need in order to go deep.

Next, the West.

I appreciate the Sportsmanship Trottier. As an Islander fan, you listed the Sabres there aswell


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03-31-2004, 02:04 AM
  #6
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Nice analysis. One thing that I'll be interested to see is how the bolts cope with injuries if (when?) they occur.

There's certainly lots of intriguing first-round matchups in the east.

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Old
03-31-2004, 03:01 AM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by explosivethinman
I think the experience factor is overrated. Toronto, Ottawa and Philly all have tons of experience but they rarely go anywhere in the playoffs. Detroit and Colorado with all of their success have had plenty of instances where they were, or almost upset by much less experienced and talented teams.
Obviously, we disagree, which is cool. The point is, the teams that keep winning the Cup are the ones who have been there (the playoffs) before, repeatedly.

Just check the average playoff experience of the players/teams of Cup champs.

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03-31-2004, 04:44 AM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier
Obviously, we disagree, which is cool. The point is, the teams that keep winning the Cup are the ones who have been there (the playoffs) before, repeatedly.

Just check the average playoff experience of the players/teams of Cup champs.

I'll quote this post cause it's shorter. Excellent work!

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Old
03-31-2004, 11:31 AM
  #9
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Wow, I really enjoyed your analysis. Can't wait to see what you have to say about the west. Which of the possible no.1 teams do you hope your islanders face?

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Old
03-31-2004, 12:08 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by incawg
Nice analysis. One thing that I'll be interested to see is how the bolts cope with injuries if (when?) they occur.

There's certainly lots of intriguing first-round matchups in the east.
Excellent point. This team has been blessed to be nearly injury-free all season, and an injury to a key player could shake up the team's first-rate chemistry. It would be a real test of these relatively inexperienced (playoff-wise) players' ability to cope with adversity.

That being said, most Cup champions (or champions in any sport for that matter), avoid major injuries during their playoff runs. It helps to have servicable players to fill in for a star getting hurt, but the team that wins it all rarely has to deal with losing one of its top players during the playoff run. So this point could apply to every team.

Great work on the breakdown, Trottier. I don't know that we could find a better analysis from any of the major media outlets.

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Old
03-31-2004, 04:09 PM
  #11
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Excellent post Trottier. I agree with pretty much everything you say. This is shaping up to be quite the playoffs.

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Old
03-31-2004, 05:26 PM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edmontonoilers89
Excellent post Trottier. I agree with pretty much everything you say. This is shaping up to be quite the playoffs.
I concur, an excellent post from an excellent poster

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Old
03-31-2004, 05:37 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by explosivethinman
I think the experience factor is overrated. Toronto, Ottawa and Philly all have tons of experience but they rarely go anywhere in the playoffs. Detroit and Colorado with all of their success have had plenty of instances where they were, or almost upset by much less experienced and talented teams.
I disagree, experience is vastly underrated. People do ont understand that young, and inexperienced teams do not have the same bounce back ability as veteran laden teams. Veterans are the guys that bring out the best in players, case in point being the Leafs Ponikarovsky-Nieuwendyk-Antropov line. Great line, but if Stajan (who's having a strong year) was on that line with the two wingers, it'd be a very poor line, as Nieuwendyk is the calming factor, Stajan would not have the same effect.

Experience does not win a series, but it is by far not a non-factor. Close games, close series (game sevens), and tight spots are all won through veteran leadership, in my oppinion. That being said, you need youngsters to teach, otherwise it is pointless to have leaders.

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03-31-2004, 05:38 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier
Obviously, we disagree, which is cool. The point is, the teams that keep winning the Cup are the ones who have been there (the playoffs) before, repeatedly.

Just check the average playoff experience of the players/teams of Cup champs.
And I want to all the trouble of my own post, and coulda just agreed with you...dang...lol

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Old
03-31-2004, 06:30 PM
  #15
ExplosiveLEAFman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregStack
I disagree, experience is vastly underrated. People do ont understand that young, and inexperienced teams do not have the same bounce back ability as veteran laden teams. Veterans are the guys that bring out the best in players, case in point being the Leafs Ponikarovsky-Nieuwendyk-Antropov line. Great line, but if Stajan (who's having a strong year) was on that line with the two wingers, it'd be a very poor line, as Nieuwendyk is the calming factor, Stajan would not have the same effect.

Experience does not win a series, but it is by far not a non-factor. Close games, close series (game sevens), and tight spots are all won through veteran leadership, in my oppinion. That being said, you need youngsters to teach, otherwise it is pointless to have leaders.
I agree with what both you and Trottier wrote, I should have been more specific with my point.

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