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ATD 12 Jim Robson Division Semi-Final: 2 NJ Swamp Devils vs. 3 Portland Rosebuds

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Old
12-01-2009, 09:53 AM
  #26
seventieslord
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Originally Posted by Nalyd Psycho View Post
The big thing to remember is that he also a big physical presence. He's good offensively, defensively and physicaly. He's a total package. Yes, he is more of a playmaker, that's why he has two snipers on his wings.
You don't need to defend him. He's good where he is. It was just the "he could be a second line center" that I thought was a bit out there.

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12-01-2009, 12:29 PM
  #27
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MacKay and Abel as penalty killers

As I said earlier, I think the biggest strength of Portland is their excellent first line. Phil Esposito is the best forward in the series, and his wingers both complement his game and overcome his deficiencies (skating, defense) perfectly.

That said, I think that the use of MacKay and Abel on seperate PK pairs could be a minor issue. I don't have a problem with Portland's PK itself - I think it's very good. NJ's first unit is probably better because of the defensemen, and Portlands 2nd unit is probably better because of forwards - overall a wash.

The issue with MacKay and Abel on seperate PK pairs is that it reduces the overall ice time of the Esposito line - it can't come out for a shift or two after a successful penalty kill. Whereas, NJ can send out either scoring line to build on the momentum after a successful PK.

Normally, a coach can just move up a lower line winger to play with Esposito for the first shift after a PK. But this is Phil Esposito we're talking about, a guy that my opponents admit is difficult to build a line around. Playing winger for Esposito is such a specialized task, that I don't know if a player can play normally all game and then adjust to playing wing for Phil at even strength. There's a reason the Rangers traded for Ken Hodge to try to get Esposito going - he needs his wingers to play a certain way to be effective.

In a close series, even small things like this (perhaps a couple of minutes of less ice time per game for Esposito - but all of it at key moments) could be a difference.

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12-01-2009, 01:49 PM
  #28
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The issue with MacKay and Abel on seperate PK pairs is that it reduces the overall ice time of the Esposito line - it can't come out for a shift or two after a successful penalty kill. Whereas, NJ can send out either scoring line to build on the momentum after a successful PK.
Well, in truth, real teams almost always have three and not two penalty killing units, at least among the forwards. As a matter of ATD convention, we don't post three units, but if we did, Bobby Smith and Red Sullivan would constitute Portland's 3rd unit. You' re right that a certain amount of juggling needs to be done to time the PK correctly in anticipation of going back to even strength, but this is an extremely minor issue and Portland has an excellent coach behind the bench. Paul Thompson, although not in Sid Abel's class, is also perfectly capable of playing on the Esposito line for a shift or two when needed.

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12-01-2009, 02:01 PM
  #29
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Art Coulter - great stay-at-home defenseman. Very under-rated physical player; he was one of the most powerful players of his time.

Sid Abel and Mickey MacKay - have them kill penalties together! Not because of the 1st line issue, but because they will be magic together. MacKay is one of the elite defensive players in this draft, and Abel is a solid defensive player.... but their offensive abilities on the PK will be scary!

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12-01-2009, 02:45 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
Art Coulter - great stay-at-home defenseman. Very under-rated physical player; he was one of the most powerful players of his time.
Agreed. He's no Serge Savard though.

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Sid Abel and Mickey MacKay - have them kill penalties together! Not because of the 1st line issue, but because they will be magic together. MacKay is one of the elite defensive players in this draft, and Abel is a solid defensive player.... but their offensive abilities on the PK will be scary!
They would definitely be great, but then who takes the faceoff on the 2nd PP unit?

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12-01-2009, 03:05 PM
  #31
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They would definitely be great, but then who takes the faceoff on the 2nd PP unit?
Paul Thompson or Jim Pappin

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12-01-2009, 03:44 PM
  #32
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Agreed. He's no Serge Savard though.

They would definitely be great, but then who takes the faceoff on the 2nd PP unit?
Actually, I believe Thompson took face-offs on Chicago's 1st unit PK in real life. Don't take my word for that - I need to confirm it - but I'm fairly certain I read that somewhere. I'll see if I can dig up the source.

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12-01-2009, 03:53 PM
  #33
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Actually, I believe Thompson took face-offs on Chicago's 1st unit PK in real life. Don't take my word for that - I need to confirm it - but I'm fairly certain I read that somewhere. I'll see if I can dig up the source.
I could have sworn Thompson actually played a few yers at center.... but I don't know why I think that

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12-01-2009, 04:26 PM
  #34
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Obviously you have a fundamental disagreement with the way he applies stats to goalies, and that's fine. I wouldn't call it a bias, just a different way of looking at things. But the thing is, you don't have to agree with his opinions or worldview to accept a study about 3rd period playoff numbers in close games.
One more statement on this, because it has been bothering me. One of the biggest problems I have with the man's work and his approach in general is that there seems to be a massive contradiction at the heart of it. He states that he doesn't believe in clutch play:

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I'm not at all convinced that any goalies have consistently shown good timing or an unusual ability to raise their level of play in high-leverage spots. I think the ability of the rest of the team to play to the score is likely far more important than a goalie's clutch performance. Some (maybe even most) of these results might be entirely because of team factors, and some of these results might be entirely because of luck.
...and then goes on to spend what must amount to a huge amount of his personal time doing an in-depth analysis of it! If he doesn't believe that goalies change their level of play (for better or worse) in high leverage situations, then he doesn't believe in the relevance of his own analysis. What difference does it make that Dominik Hasek posted a 1.238 SV% in overtime playoff periods? He doesn't actually believe in clutch play. And if he doesn't believe in his analysis, why on earth should we?

His attempts to reconcile the results of his studies with his theories are also pretty often shameless. Here is a good example:

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The Solid Performers:
Ed Belfour (+3.8), Gerry Cheevers (+3.3), Mike Vernon (+2.8), Terry Sawchuk (+2.6), Tom Barrasso (+2.4), Rogie Vachon (+1.9), Cam Ward (+1.9), Dominik Hasek (+1.6), Andy Moog (+1.2), Bernie Parent (+1.0), Frank Brimsek (+0.9), Ron Hextall (+0.9), Martin Brodeur (+0.8), Evgeni Nabokov (+0.7)

Considering his teams I don't think Cheevers' playoff record is all that special. Barrasso's position is entirely from the 1991 and 1992 Cup runs (+5.8 wins in '91/'92, -3.3 wins for the rest of his career). Who was the real clutch player, Barrasso or Mario? I know what my guess would be. I don't think many observers would consider Andy Moog clutch, but he won more than expected, suggesting that his Edmonton or Boston teammates were good at playing to the score.
Why? Why is that what it suggests? For the love of god, the 80's Edmonton Oilers are the perfect example of a playoff team that did not play to the score. But TCG has already decided that teams playing to the score is his justification for unwanted results here, and nobly sticks to his guns well past the point of reason. And why is it that one player's clutch performance is meaningless (or nonexistent) in his world when that player is the goalie, but not when that player is a center? Barrasso was great on both of those Cup winners, but TCG just dismisses those numbers because he feels like it. Here's more:

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I was expecting Hasek, Brimsek and Parent to finish a bit higher than they did. In fact, Hasek's relatively ordinary ranking suggests to me that these results have a lot more to do with the team than the goalie.
Why? Because Dominik Hasek is jesus on ice skates?

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With Hasek in net the Sabres won pretty much exactly what they were projected to win, even though Hasek had an astonishing .949 combined save percentage in Buffalo in overtime and in third periods that began tied or with the teams within one goal of each other. Hasek was also almost unbeatable when Buffalo was ahead late in the game (the numbers are all in this post).
Which suggests that Hasek may have been generally bad in periods 1 and 2 over his playoff career to end up with such a pedestrial Pythagorean result. Maybe...just maybe, but we'll never know because TCG will never address the question.

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It's pretty hard to get much more clutch than that...
Strange statement from someone who doesn't believe in clutch performance from goalies. And I'm not picking and choosing or mangling context here; he says all of the above in the same post.

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12-01-2009, 09:24 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
He states that he doesn't believe in clutch play:

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I'm not at all convinced that any goalies have consistently shown good timing or an unusual ability to raise their level of play in high-leverage spots. I think the ability of the rest of the team to play to the score is likely far more important than a goalie's clutch performance. Some (maybe even most) of these results might be entirely because of team factors, and some of these results might be entirely because of luck.

...and then goes on to spend what must amount to a huge amount of his personal time doing an in-depth analysis of it! If he doesn't believe that goalies change their level of play (for better or worse) in high leverage situations, then he doesn't believe in the relevance of his own analysis. What difference does it make that Dominik Hasek posted a 1.238 SV% in overtime playoff periods? He doesn't actually believe in clutch play. And if he doesn't believe in his analysis, why on earth should we?
The numbers in the post in question are all heavily team-influenced, and TCG makes that clear in the post. See the bolded part of the quote above. They're similar to goalie wins, so far from a perfect measure of the individual contribution.

That post appears to be more a starting point than a conclusion, in identifying possible clutch goalies based on their team clutch results. I don't see why he should believe in the numbers, simply consider them as another piece of evidence. This also applies to your point about him "reconciling the numbers with his theories." One set of numbers does not settle anything. It has to be added to the evidence, and if the rest of the evidence points the other way it's not going to change everything.

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For the love of god, the 80's Edmonton Oilers are the perfect example of a playoff team that did not play to the score. But TCG has already decided that teams playing to the score is his justification for unwanted results here, and nobly sticks to his guns well past the point of reason.
The information in this post strongly suggests otherwise. If they didn't play to the score in the regular season, they definitely did in the playoffs. Also, TCG has done a fair bit of research into playing to the score, so it's not surprising that he would reference it. In fact, I'd say that the evidence for skaters playing to the score is far higher for goalies playing to the score - not surprising, as skaters can change their style while goalies just stop the puck.

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12-01-2009, 09:28 PM
  #36
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OK, I'll come back on topic here. These two teams are both very talented, but I see a matchup problem. How will Portland deal with Bobby Orr? It's hard enough for most teams, but Portland doesn't have a great checking centre. While Ken Dryden has beaten Bobby Orr before, this time he doesn't have Henri Richard to match up against Orr. Bobby Smith is the checking centre, but it doesn't help that he shoots left, making it harder to check Orr.

Bobby Orr is a key to any series, and I think he may be a bad matchup for Portland.

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12-01-2009, 09:47 PM
  #37
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OK, I'll come back on topic here. These two teams are both very talented, but I see a matchup problem. How will Portland deal with Bobby Orr? It's hard enough for most teams, but Portland doesn't have a great checking centre. While Ken Dryden has beaten Bobby Orr before, this time he doesn't have Henri Richard to match up against Orr. Bobby Smith is the checking centre, but it doesn't help that he shoots left, making it harder to check Orr.

Bobby Orr is a key to any series, and I think he may be a bad matchup for Portland.
Other than Orr, New Jersey's superior shut down unit is the key to the series to me. I consider Bobby Smith to be close to Shane Doan - a big guy who is quite good at everything, elite at nothing. Worthy of being a complementary guy on a checking unit, but not the centerpiece. Jim Pappin is a clutch scorer and good enough defensively; I'm not sure if he's as good as Lewis or Mosdell on the defensive side, but he's solid. But then there is Stuart. Sure he's an early power forward, good enough where I'd at least listen to arguments that he's a legit second line scorer. But how's his defense? Unless I'm missing something (and it has been known to happen), nothing has been written about his D. Bobby Smith is certainly not good enough defensively to carry a checking unit (just like Doan would not be good enough to carry a unit himself).

I think you can get by without a checking line if the top 2 centers are good enough defensively (or at least one of them), but Esposito and Federko were not exactly defensive wizzes.


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12-01-2009, 09:49 PM
  #38
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Regardless of anything else, this series is giving me the biggest trouble. This series is a voter's nightmare. I might end up flipping a coin..

On one hand, this series may be Phil Esposito's worst possible matchup. Bobby Orr will kill him with his speed, and given that the Devils have home ice advantage, I would imagine they'll want Orr out on every single one of Esposito's shifts. Problem is, though, that even Brad Park said he could barely move Espo. Sooner or later, he WILL score. Will it be enough to overcome the Malone line, which in my opinion will have a lighter checking assignment against them than Espo? I don't know. I really don't know.

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12-01-2009, 10:12 PM
  #39
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Regardless of anything else, this series is giving me the biggest trouble. This series is a voter's nightmare. I might end up flipping a coin..

On one hand, this series may be Phil Esposito's worst possible matchup. Bobby Orr will kill him with his speed, and given that the Devils have home ice advantage, I would imagine they'll want Orr out on every single one of Esposito's shifts. Problem is, though, that even Brad Park said he could barely move Espo. Sooner or later, he WILL score. Will it be enough to overcome the Malone line, which in my opinion will have a lighter checking assignment against them than Espo? I don't know. I really don't know.
Yes, Savard-Orr will be out there every possible time against Esposito. They'll be paired with the Malone line in the offensive zone and the Mosdell line in the defensive zone. For neutral zone faceoffs, they'll be paired with either unit.

In away games, when it's hard to get the desired matchups, Savard-Orr will get more minutes, so that it will be difficult to get Esposito away from the matchup without reducing his ice time.

I don't think anyone can move Esposito from the front of the net. But it isn't necessary if Orr controls puck possession or Savard prevents the puck from getting to Espo.

I also think it isn't the end of the world if my other two pairs end up there against Espo. Ross can control puck possession like a cheap version of Orr and Goldham is the master of blocking shots (preventing the dreaded rebound to Espo). And McNamara is one of the few guys with the size to go up against Espo. That said, Savard-Orr is obviously the preferred matchup.

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12-01-2009, 10:16 PM
  #40
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Yes, Savard-Orr will be out there every possible time against Esposito. They'll be paired with the Malone line in the offensive zone and the Mosdell line in the defensive zone. For neutral zone faceoffs, they'll be paired with either unit.

In away games, when it's hard to get the desired matchups, Savard-Orr will get more minutes, so that it will be difficult to get Esposito away from the matchup without reducing his ice time.

I don't think anyone can move Esposito from the front of the net. But it isn't necessary if Orr controls puck possession or Savard prevents the puck from getting to Espo.

I also think it isn't the end of the world if my other two pairs end up there against Espo. Ross can control puck possession like a cheap version of Orr and Goldham is the master of blocking shots (preventing the dreaded rebound to Espo). And McNamara is one of the few guys with the size to go up against Espo. That said, Savard-Orr is obviously the preferred matchup.
For this series, I'm going to talk to seventies about it. I just don't know. It's a great, great matchup. Best series that this draft will likely see.

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12-01-2009, 10:25 PM
  #41
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For this series, I'm going to talk to seventies about it. I just don't know. It's a great, great matchup. Best series that this draft will likely see.
No offense to seventies, but he already gets his own vote. You should make up your own mind.

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12-01-2009, 10:29 PM
  #42
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No offense to seventies, but he already gets his own vote. You should make up your own mind.
There's nothing in the rules that says you can't talk to your co-GM about a series.

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12-01-2009, 10:39 PM
  #43
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There's nothing in the rules that says you can't talk to your co-GM about a series.
That's why I said you should make up your own mind.

There's nothing in the rules that says all the Leaf Chat GMs can't band together and make sure we all advance, right? Why didn't we do that?

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12-01-2009, 10:41 PM
  #44
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That's why I said you should make up your own mind.

There's nothing in the rules that says all the Leaf Chat GMs can't band together and make sure we all advance, right? Why didn't we do that?
I think you're taking this way too seriously. I want to make sure I make the RIGHT decision. I want to make a decision without any regrets. This is one of my favorite series EVER, and I want to do my part to make sure it gets the correct result.

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12-01-2009, 10:51 PM
  #45
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I think you're taking this way too seriously. I want to make sure I make the RIGHT decision. I want to make a decision without any regrets. This is one of my favorite series EVER, and I want to do my part to make sure it gets the correct result.
You should be asking your questions in this thread. Then you should make your own decision.

As much as I respect seventies' opinion on hockey history, he's not always right. What if he's wrong here? Then he convinces you to vote his way, and now the better team ends up losing?

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12-01-2009, 10:59 PM
  #46
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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
You should be asking your questions in this thread. Then you should make your own decision.

As much as I respect seventies' opinion on hockey history, he's not always right. What if he's wrong here? Then he convinces you to vote his way, and now the better team ends up losing?
I'm not going to be necessarily voting the way he does. All I want is his perspective on this series.

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12-01-2009, 11:46 PM
  #47
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Before everyone votes. I wanted to add, part of the reason I went over the Art Coulter info was to highlight one of the most important diffferences between Portland and New Jersey. Portland is money. They have character, heart, leadership and clutch play.

The difference up front is night and day. Pretty much every forward in Portland was great in the playoffs. Cleghorn was hit or miss and Sullivan and Henry are incomplete, but the other 9 are proven in their excellence. New Jersey is has many holes in the line-up. Kariya's play is merely okay, Naslund is terrible. Hodge is unreliable, Iginla is a one playoff wonder. Malone is nothing special. And no one in the bottom 6 matches Stuart and Pappin's clutch play.

In goal, Belfour is inconsistant where as Dryden is in league with Roy and Plante.

Defence is close, which is why I wanted to highlight Coulter as a money player who makes his teammates better. NJ has the better 1st pairing, but, when it comes to stepping up in the playoffs, they gain no extra edge as Tremblay and Coulter may just kick it up higher than Orr and Savard. The bottom 4 of both teams have no great playoff players, but, Portland's bottom 4 is generally better.

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12-02-2009, 01:05 AM
  #48
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Originally Posted by Nalyd Psycho View Post
Before everyone votes. I wanted to add, part of the reason I went over the Art Coulter info was to highlight one of the most important diffferences between Portland and New Jersey. Portland is money. They have character, heart, leadership and clutch play.

The difference up front is night and day. Pretty much every forward in Portland was great in the playoffs. Cleghorn was hit or miss and Sullivan and Henry are incomplete, but the other 9 are proven in their excellence. New Jersey is has many holes in the line-up. Kariya's play is merely okay, Naslund is terrible. Hodge is unreliable, Iginla is a one playoff wonder. Malone is nothing special. And no one in the bottom 6 matches Stuart and Pappin's clutch play.
Kariya - yes, okay. Not great, not awful in the playoffs (though take into account how... not deep his team was at the time). I already showed how Naslund was by far the best player on his team in 2/3 playoffs in his prime. Hodge might have been up and down in the regular season, but he was a point per game player in the playoffs (and his few off playoffs corresponded nicely with the off playoffs of Portland's franchise player, Esposito). Malone, nothing special? It's hard to compare early playoffs to modern playoffs, but he won three Cups, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on his team in scoring the three times. And more importantly (considering the small sample size of the early playoffs), he carried over his (dominant) regular season goalscoring into the playoffs. \

And I would definitely put Lewis, Mosdell, and McKenzie right up there with Stuart and Pappin in terms of clutch play. Lewis and Mosdell in the two-way game. If we are talking McKenzie, check out his profile. He is Claude Lemieux and Esa Tikkanen before the concept of an "aggitater who was clutch in the playoffs" became popularized. His playoff numbers are spectacular.

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In goal, Belfour is inconsistant where as Dryden is in league with Roy and Plante.
Really? Again, this looks like you are just saying anything to win. Belfour had a couple of down playoffs early in his career with Chicago, but was fantastic for the vast majority of it. Hell, even Roy had some down playoffs between 86 and 93. And Dryden the league with Roy and Plante? Really? He's great, but...

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Defence is close, which is why I wanted to highlight Coulter as a money player who makes his teammates better. NJ has the better 1st pairing, but, when it comes to stepping up in the playoffs, they gain no extra edge as Tremblay and Coulter may just kick it up higher than Orr and Savard.
Orr and Savard have 3 Conn Smythes between them. How many do Tremblay and Coulter have?

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The bottom 4 of both teams have no great playoff players, but, Portland's bottom 4 is generally better.
Why? Why are they better? You can't just make a conclusory "my team is better" statement without backing it up, and expect anyone to take it seriously.

On the Swamp Devils, Goldham was a key player in the Detroit 50s dynasty, Art Ross was pretty key to a Cup ring, Kuzkin has 3 Olympic golds and was captain of the Soviets in 72, etc. How does Portland's bottom 4 beat NJ's top 4 in the playoffs? Maybe Portland doesn't have any great playoff players in the bottom 4, but I woudld say that NJ has Goldham at minimum and probably Kuzkin (if you consider his international success to be close to playoffs success).

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Old
12-02-2009, 03:34 AM
  #49
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See the bolded part of the quote above.
It's not the bolded part that's problematic, but rather the unbolded part where he says simply, and without qualification:

Quote:
I'm not at all convinced that any goalies have consistently shown good timing or an unusual ability to raise their level of play in high-leverage spots.
He leaves nothing to misunderstand in this statement. He...does...not...believe...in...clutch...play...f rom...goalies. From Mario Lemieux yes, but not from goalies. Of course, if you look around his site, it's clear that he actually does believe in it, and very deeply, and is talking out of both sides of his mouth because the Pythagorean numbers are an embarrassment to many of his long-held positions.

As for the post on Grant Fuhr that you reference...I really wish I had the time to properly take a flamethrower to that guy's arguments. I just love quotes like this:

Quote:
Overpass: Interesting theory, and I think there is some evidence to support it. I was fully expecting to see a "play-to-the-score" effect in the numbers, based on how much the Oilers of that era outperformed their Pythagorean expectations in the playoffs (their actual win percentage was something like 5% higher expected in the playoffs in the 1980s). When the game was tied after 2 periods in my study sample, Edmonton went 12-4 and heavily outshot and outscored their opposition. If they ever went to OT, it definitely seems like they were able to score almost at will.
Yeah great...he was fully expecting to find something and behold!...he found it. Quelle surprise! My mother in law always finds the answers she wants in her horoscope, too. I cannot believe he's referencing the "play-to-the-score" effect in relation to tie games - especially in the case of the Oilers. Here is the data he's referencing:

Quote:
Periods 1 & 2 of Tie Game: SF 30.5 SA 28.1 SH% 9.8% SV% .893

Period 3 of Tie Game: SF 35.1 SA 26.1 SH% 14.6% SV% .926
Exaclty what does this data show us...that the Oilers shot more and at a much higher percentage in tied 3rd periods? That their shots against hardly dipped, but their save percentage shot up hugely? So...uhm...what does this mean? That they were really good as a team in critical situations - that they were attacking more and more successfully and that Fuhr became much harder to beat? That would seem to be the conclusion (and that is what our eyes told us), because it's not at all clear from the numbers that they were playing more defensively when the game was tied late.

The guy just does whatever the **** he wants to with the data based on the particular agenda he's trying to push that day. He's a priest in a lab coat.

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12-02-2009, 11:26 AM
  #50
overpass
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Exaclty what does this data show us...that the Oilers shot more and at a much higher percentage in tied 3rd periods? That their shots against hardly dipped, but their save percentage shot up hugely? So...uhm...what does this mean? That they were really good as a team in critical situations - that they were attacking more and more successfully and that Fuhr became much harder to beat? That would seem to be the conclusion (and that is what our eyes told us), because it's not at all clear from the numbers that they were playing more defensively when the game was tied late.
The data show some definite effects of playing to the score. Look at the 3rd period numbers when they trail by 1 - they have the highest shot rate, their shooting percentage drops, and the save percentage drops. That's a classic profile of playing to the score, pressing to score a goal, taking lower-quality shots, and allowing higher-quality chances against. In contrast, in games that they are leading they outshoot their opponent by less, but shoot a higher percentage and allow lower-quality shots against. Every team does it, so it's not surprising that the Oilers did it. I'm just surprised you don't think they did.

Regarding your disagreement in interpretation with TCG, You're focusing on the tied third periods, when the Oilers were at their best. Yes, that appears to be clutch performance by the Oilers, and very likely Fuhr. TCG does give Fuhr credit for his performance here and playoff performance in general, if not as much as you might like. But he's starting from an assumption that clutch ability doesn't exist, so clutch performance needs to be significant enough to clear the bar of random variation. You're starting from a different assumption, so you're finding more clutch ability in the numbers. But the phenomenon of teams playing to the score is far more established, statistically speaking, than clutch ability for goalies is. The conservative thing to do is to attribute results to the playing to the score effect where the data fits that pattern, as it's a known effect.

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