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The case for & against each Western Conference playoff team..

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Old
04-02-2004, 12:10 PM
  #1
Ajacied
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The case for & against each Western Conference playoff team..

I'll try it again, please ignore the comments you may find homerish, ignorant or plain foolish, go make your own thread if you feel that you're not getting the proper credit or if you can do a better job..

Idea courtesy of Trottier: [Trottier]Obviously, no one 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.[/Trottier]

Detroit Red Wings

Optimism: Is there a more experieced team than the Wings? They are deep and loaded at every position and have chemestry you rarely see these days. They learned their lesson when the Ducks swept them last season, they won't underratimate anyone, anymore. Supurb special teams as well..

Pessimism: Is Legace able to backstop this team enough? There's an aweful lot of talent in front of him and he might fold due to inexperience and pressure, but as Osgood proved before, the Wings are one of few teams that do not rely on their goalie like most teams do in the playoffs, a huge plus.

San Jose Sharks

Optimism: Nothing to lose. They've played beyond homer expectations, giving them that "we can beat everyone" feeling, could be dangerous, or it could backfire. Their netminding is most certainly their strongest asset. Nabokov is a top notch goalie that took his Sharks all the way to the Conference Finals 2/3 years ago and may he flop (unlikely), they have another talented goalie waiting in the wings. Their tight defensive system, fast defensively comitted forwards and roleplayers make this team one to be reckoned with.

Pessimism: Inexperience. They are led by young players such as Marleau, Cheechoo, Stuart, Nabokov, etc. Also lost one of their best players in Sturm, and their surprise players like Cheechoo and Ekman will not be underrestimated in the playoffs.

Colorado Avalanche

Optimism: Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic. As long as they lead the Avs attack, they are a serious threat. They are a deep team that knows how to perform under pressure.

Pessimism: Rookie coach keeps making dumb decisions. Defense has been shaky since the deadline. Can Forsberg stay healthy for once? Seem to fold pretty quickly whenever an important top 6 forward goes down.

Vancouver Canucks

Optimism: No Bertuzzi, what do they have to lose? Their defense and loaded forward pack could definitely cause for some upsets and their team is known to spice things up come playoff time. Also have the most experienced coach (as in longest with the team) among all Western contenders. Trade dead line aquisitions have helped enormously..

Pessimism: Dan Cloutier, no Bertuzzi, Naslund slumping. Sedins need to step it up in the playoffs to carry the much needed 2ndary scoring ever more.

Dallas Stars

Optimism: Best goalie in the conference, stingy defense and a diversed forward pack that plays a style perfect for playoff war. They've come this far with their two franchise players enjoying career low seasons (Modano: from 85 to 41, Jere Lehtinen: 31 goals to 12), will be interested to see what they can cause when they too, start playing like they should.

Pessimism: Their road woes, their PP, and are their current injuries healthy on time? Also, Turco's played in over 70 games for the first time ever, can he handle the heavy additional playoff workload as well? Seem to lose home ice advantage, huge con.

St.Louis Blues

Optimism: Overall talent and feisty style. Coming of a sub-par season, which can lead to other teams underrestimate them. Their top end talent such as Chris Pronger, Keith Tkachuk, Pavol Demitra and Doug Weight can carry a team beyond expectations. New season, fresh start, Blues dangerous yet again?

Pessimism: Fired the coach about 2 months ago, rarely helps in one's quest for the Cup. Their goalie has yet to prove that he can be a playoff netminder on a different team than Detroit. MacInnis, Jackman out. Lack motivation.

Calgary Flames

Optimism: Good coach has the team playing a dangerous style. Defense/Goalie combo is a perfect playoff ingredient. Another plus is Jarome Iginla. He'll score, no doubt, question is, how do you prevent him from scoring two? First playoff trip in 7 seasons, they will be motivated.

Pessimism: As much as it's a positive point, their first trip to the playoffs in 7 seasons also has a negative side, namely playoff inexperience. This will be the first playoffs for Jarome ever since his rookie season. Their netminder is also a huge con, Turek is a playoff choker, whereas Kipprussof has yet to even prove he can win a playoff game.

Nashville Predators

Optimism: Young and hungry team that loves to fight the big boys. Good coach, good system and perfect role players form an interesting mix. One of the most underrated teams in terms of scoring and hard work.

Pessimism: Same old inexperience factor. Vokoun needs to pick up his game may the Preds want to go further than the first round. David Legwand might want to help out more too.

or

Edmonton Oilers

Optimism: If they get in, they will have momentum on their side. Dangerous team, especially because of their fighting spirit and their fast and physical game. Whoever they gonna play, they will leave their marks, whether they advance or not.

Pessimism: Their goalie tandem is the worst in the conference, shaky defense need to re-group. Lack elite players. Oates need to provide more leadership and lead this team..

Sorry Trots, boring internship couldn't have me wait any longer..

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Old
04-02-2004, 12:16 PM
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HellsBells
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You'd think you'd get it right the second time. It says the list goes by points. Why is Colorado ahead of Vancouver and why is St. Louis ahead of Calgary ?? No big deal but it says that the order is based on point totals, which is incorrect.

Anyway, I'd say the Flames have more experience then you let on and also I would say that you are not quite giving the Sharks or the Flames the credit they deserve. It's almost as though you don't think they are in the same league as the Stars.

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04-02-2004, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garfield
Anyway, I'd say the Flames have more experience then you let on.
I'd be interested to know how many playoff games worth of experience/cup rings the flames actually have. For the matter, I'd be interested to see it for all the teams. Does anyone have those numbers? Usually the media starts publishing them in their articles around this time.

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04-02-2004, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by incawg
I'd be interested to know how many playoff games worth of experience/cup rings the flames actually have. For the matter, I'd be interested to see it for all the teams. Does anyone have those numbers? Usually the media starts publishing them in their articles around this time.
I can't tell you for each team but the Cup rings on the Flames that I can think of:

Yelle (2)
Turek
Reinprecht
Nieminen
Simon
Gelinas
Oliwa

Playoff experience:

Warrener (2 cup finals)
Ference (good run with the Pens)
Donovan
Conroy
Nilson
Not sure about McAmmond

Iginla, Gauthier, Saprykin, Clark & Regehr are the only players that lack any experience, other than rookies of course.

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04-02-2004, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garfield
I can't tell you for each team but the Cup rings on the Flames that I can think of:

Yelle (2)
Turek
Reinprecht
Nieminen
Simon
Gelinas
Oliwa

Playoff experience:

Warrener (2 cup finals)
Ference (good run with the Pens)
Donovan
Conroy
Nilson
Not sure about McAmmond

Iginla, Gauthier, Saprykin, Clark & Regehr are the only players that lack any experience, other than rookies of course.
Didn't Iginla make it to the playoffs in his rookie year?

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04-02-2004, 12:51 PM
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Leopold, Kiprusoff, McAmmond...the thing with Calgary is a lot of their most important players are the most inexperienced ones of all.

As for Vancouver, I think it's fair to say that Markus Naslund has broken out of his slump. I'd also add the anemic power play to the "pessimism" list.

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04-02-2004, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burke's Evil Spirit
Leopold, Kiprusoff, McAmmond...the thing with Calgary is a lot of their most important players are the most inexperienced ones of all.

As for Vancouver, I think it's fair to say that Markus Naslund has broken out of his slump. I'd also add the anemic power play to the "pessimism" list.
Kiprusoff may have no experience, but then again, Giguere didn't have any this time last year. Who really knows how he's going to do.

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04-02-2004, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehc73
Didn't Iginla make it to the playoffs in his rookie year?
Yes, he did play two games but that was 8 years ago.

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04-02-2004, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burke's Evil Spirit
Leopold, Kiprusoff, McAmmond...the thing with Calgary is a lot of their most important players are the most inexperienced ones of all.

As for Vancouver, I think it's fair to say that Markus Naslund has broken out of his slump. I'd also add the anemic power play to the "pessimism" list.
You're right, Iginla, Gauthier, Regehr, Kiprusoff, Leopold are all main pieces of the Flames core. They don't have an abundance of experience but I am not worried about any of those inexperienced guys listed. They are all very good players that I feel will step it up. I am just glad that Sutter loaded this team up with experienced 2nd tier players.

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04-02-2004, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douggy
Kiprusoff may have no experience, but then again, Giguere didn't have any this time last year. Who really knows how he's going to do.
Giguere at least had played 3 years as the starting goaltender of an NHL team (and a pretty good one, at that).

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04-02-2004, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Modano = God
Edmonton Oilers

Optimism: If they get in, they will have momentum on their side. Dangerous team, especially because of their fighting spirit and their fast and physical game. Whoever they gonna play, they will leave their marks, whether they advance or not.

Pessimism: Their goalie tandem is the worst in the conference, shaky defense need to re-group. Lack elite players. Oates need to provide more leadership and lead this team..
Oates stepping up and playing like Adam Oates would be a real boost to the Oilers, but he's more or less slotted into a 4th line/faceoff specialist/ special teams role player, and he's not likely to change that at this point.

Disagree on the Oilers having the worst goaltending in the conference. The Kings and Coyotes are obvious contenders there. Conklin and Markkanen have had a better statistical season than people recognize. Conklin's S% is at .915, a full .020 better than his predecessor Tommy Salo. Markkanen's S% is .918 and that includes his time behind the Rangers' craptastic D (since returning to Edmonton, Markkanen's S% is .936 and GAA is 1.77)

Both guys have put up numbers that stack pretty well against Vokoun, Cloutier, or Joseph if he's back. Conklin and Markkanen are both unproven in the playoffs, but so are Aebischer, Kiprusoff, Vokoun, and Legace. And, being playoff-proven isn't always a plus (*cough*Cloutier*cough).

I think the Oilers' goaltending is under-rated around the league. It's been very solid since Salo left, but a lot of people who haven't followed very closely seemed to think Salo leaving town was a negative. It was a big positive, actually.

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04-02-2004, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burke's Evil Spirit
Giguere at least had played 3 years as the starting goaltender of an NHL team (and a pretty good one, at that).
That settles it then. Flames are done, right?

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04-02-2004, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by incawg
I'd be interested to know how many playoff games worth of experience/cup rings the flames actually have. For the matter, I'd be interested to see it for all the teams. Does anyone have those numbers? Usually the media starts publishing them in their articles around this time.
Detroit - Stanley Cup Winners

Yzerman (3)
Shanahan (3)
Holmstrom (3)
Draper (3)
Maltby (3)
Lidstrom (3)
Legace (1) backup
Chelios (2)
Hatcher (1)
Dandenault (3)
Hull (2)
Datsyuk (1)
Fischer (1)
Schneider (1)
Devereaux (1)
Williams (1)
McCarty (3)

There you have it. Pretty long list. The most experienced guys without a Stanley Cup are Thomas and Joseph.

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04-02-2004, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coffey77
Detroit - Stanley Cup Winners

Yzerman (3)
Shanahan (3)
Holmstrom (3)
Draper (3)
Maltby (3)
Lidstrom (3)
Legace (1) backup
Chelios (2)
Hatcher (1)
Dandenault (3)
Hull (2)
Datsyuk (1)
Fischer (1)
Schneider (1)
Devereaux (1)
Williams (1)
McCarty (3)

There you have it. Pretty long list. The most experienced guys without a Stanley Cup are Thomas and Joseph.
That's it? Gee, how will they manage?

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04-02-2004, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by CupBound
That settles it then. Flames are done, right?
Hardly. It's just off-base to compare him to Giguere. If anyone merits a Giguere comparison, it's Vokoun.

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04-02-2004, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Burke's Evil Spirit
Hardly. It's just off-base to compare him to Giguere. If anyone merits a Giguere comparison, it's Vokoun.
I think with Kiprussoff you aren't just looking at a guy that took over as a starter. He has been much more than that. He's been simply amazing and Giguere never had that going for him till he last years playoffs. I think Theodore 2 years ago would be a better example.

The only comparison is that neither goalie has/had any pressure on him. The Flames are an underdog just like the Ducks were last year.

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04-02-2004, 02:13 PM
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Solid work!

Hope that internship is at some hockey publication.

The one thing that stands out (to me at least): As always, there are favorites heading into the playoffs. But in both Conferences there is a legitimate depth of quality teams (not to be confused with "parity"), moreso than other years.

Simply put, there are more teams that have a legitimate chance at playing deep into the spring.

As such, its hard to buy the common lament of some that the NHL is a league of the haves and have nots. Financially, yes. Competitively, no.

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04-02-2004, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilers_guy_eddie
Oates stepping up and playing like Adam Oates would be a real boost to the Oilers, but he's more or less slotted into a 4th line/faceoff specialist/ special teams role player, and he's not likely to change that at this point.

Disagree on the Oilers having the worst goaltending in the conference. The Kings and Coyotes are obvious contenders there. Conklin and Markkanen have had a better statistical season than people recognize. Conklin's S% is at .915, a full .020 better than his predecessor Tommy Salo. Markkanen's S% is .918 and that includes his time behind the Rangers' craptastic D (since returning to Edmonton, Markkanen's S% is .936 and GAA is 1.77)

Both guys have put up numbers that stack pretty well against Vokoun, Cloutier, or Joseph if he's back. Conklin and Markkanen are both unproven in the playoffs, but so are Aebischer, Kiprusoff, Vokoun, and Legace. And, being playoff-proven isn't always a plus (*cough*Cloutier*cough).

I think the Oilers' goaltending is under-rated around the league. It's been very solid since Salo left, but a lot of people who haven't followed very closely seemed to think Salo leaving town was a negative. It was a big positive, actually.
Sorry, I meant worst duo among the Western contenders, not Western conference. Not by a whole lot, mind you, just that neither Conklin nor Markkanen have played the required games in order to be called a starter, let alone a legit one. Add their age and playoff inexperience, and it isn't exactly the duo that scares anyone. This does not mean they suck and can't go anywhere without them, not in the least bit, but it remains a weakness untill they prove otherwise. I do agree that both netminders are underrated, but underrated or not, they still rank last among the Western contenders in my book.

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04-02-2004, 03:09 PM
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Wings

For: experience at defense and forward

Against: winning the president's cup, it's a curse and the goalie situation.

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04-02-2004, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness
Wings

For: experience at defense and forward

Against: winning the president's cup, it's a curse and the goalie situation.
They've won the Cup before after winning the President's. Of course, they also lost in the WCF that year they got 131 pts too.

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04-02-2004, 05:12 PM
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Winning the President's Trophy is not a "curse" at all. The only reason it seems that way is because the team that usually wins it has played too hard during the regular season and doesn't have anything left in the tank to turn it up come April, e.g. Wings 1995-96. Anyone who has watched the Wings this year knows that they have mailed it in repeatedly. When they have turned it up, you've seen what they are capable of.

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04-02-2004, 07:33 PM
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How you left Aebischer's inexperience and Salo as their backup plan is beyond me.

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Old
04-03-2004, 01:46 AM
  #23
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Let me update the pessimism list of the Stars, I'd like to add the fact that the Stars chances depend on one certain player. Probably much more than any other Western contender. Major con if you ask me.

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04-03-2004, 02:02 AM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CupBound
I think with Kiprussoff you aren't just looking at a guy that took over as a starter. He has been much more than that. He's been simply amazing and Giguere never had that going for him till he last years playoffs. I think Theodore 2 years ago would be a better example.

The only comparison is that neither goalie has/had any pressure on him. The Flames are an underdog just like the Ducks were last year.
Giguere was one of the best goalies from December on in the NHL last season,he should have been an All Star but wasn't. Kiprusoff does have playoff experiance, I honestly believe thats overrated in the sense you can win in the playoffs but not necessarily the cup.

In a year of uncertainty this could be the year the "cinderella" finally wins the big one.

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