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ATD 2010 Milt Dunnell Cup Final: New Jersey Swamp Devils vs. Vancouver Maroons

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Old
05-11-2010, 10:52 AM
  #1
VanIslander
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ATD 2010 Milt Dunnell Cup Final: New Jersey Swamp Devils vs. Vancouver Maroons

The Championship Final Round:


New Jersey Swamp Devils
Jim Coleman Conference Champions

coach Tommy Ivan

Busher Jackson - Sid Abel (C) - Gordie Howe
Keith Tkachuk - Denis Savard - Vladimir Martinec
Don Marshall - Pit Lepine - Dirk Graham (A)
Jiri Holik - Murray Oliver - Wilf Paiement
Ray Getliffe

Börje Salming - Rob Blake
Babe Siebert (A) - Ted Green
Brian Engblom - Albert Leduc
Yuri Liapkin, Marty McSorley

Charlie Gardiner
Charlie Hodge


vs.

Vancouver Maroons
Red Fisher Conference Champions

coach Jacques Lemaire

Ace Bailey - Milt Schmidt (C) - Pavel Bure
Theo Fleury - Doug Gilmour (A) - Bobby Bauer
Joe Klukay - Don Luce - Gary Dornhoefer
Tomas Holmstrom - Dale Hunter - Duane Sutter
Craig Simpson, Corb Denneny

Guy Lapointe - Herb Gardiner
Harry Howell (A) - Paul Reinhart
Kevin Hatcher - Gary Bergman
Dion Phaneuf

Patrick Roy
Ron Hextall


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05-11-2010, 10:53 AM
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VanIslander
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New Jersey Swamp Devils

PP1: Jackson - Abel - Howe - Salming - Blake
PP2: Tkachuk - Savard - Martinec - Siebert - Leduc

PK1: Lepine - Marshall - Siebert - Green
PK2: Abel - Howe - Salming - Blake

vs.

Vancouver Maroons

PP1: Bailey - Gilmour - Bure - Lapointe - Reinhart
PP2: Holmstrom - Schmidt - Bauer - Hatcher - Bergman

PK1: Klukay - Luce - Howell - Gardiner
PK2: Bailey - Schmidt - Lapointe - Bergman

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05-11-2010, 11:10 AM
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VanIslander
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immediate observations:

- none of the first 22 defensemen drafted are in the series (Salming 57th overall; Lapointe mid-3rd round, 79th overall).

- Gardiner vs. Gardiner !

- Clear role guys in Bottom-6 roles for each club.

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05-11-2010, 02:58 PM
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Congratulations, HHH.

You're a great GM if you managed to construct a team that could get to the finals despite its coach

This should be fun.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 05-11-2010 at 03:22 PM.
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05-11-2010, 03:32 PM
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NJ needs to convince me how they plan on breaking the trap that has gotten Vancouver this far.

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05-11-2010, 03:36 PM
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Good luck to both teams!

The New Jersey Swamp Devils were definitely one of my favourite team in the draft, and I'm glad to see them in the final. That first line of Jackson-Abel-Howe is one of the most terrifying in the draft, and I don't see how the Vancouver Maroons will be able to contain them. Milt Schmidt would be a superb start, but it would be suicidal IMO to play Pavel Bure against that first line. I'm guessing Klukay-Luce-Dornhoefer would be the best guess, but now if you do so that line will have to play over 20 minutes a game.

I like both defense corp. While no superstars on defense, both first pairing are really efficient and compliment each other very well. Babe Siebert and Harry Howell are both tremendous 2nd pairing D.

Two very good goaltenders in this serie, but a definite edge to the three-time Conn Smythe Winner. Patrick Roy vs. Jackson-Abel-Howe is the key matchup in this series. If Roy can stand on his head against them all series (and he surely has the ability too), the Vancouver Maroons has a chance.

Good luck to both GM, looking forward to hear arguments.

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05-11-2010, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hungryhungryhippy View Post
Please Read, and do so with an open-mind! This post is basically my "summary of arguments", so it's the most important one to read.

I'll make several more posts to defend and establish my arguments after this, you don't have to read those unless you're interested in those particular arguments, but at least read this one!


-----------

First off, let me start by saying that I think the dynamic of this matchup is very similar to when my team fought against the St. Pats in the division finals. NJ is a tougher opponent for sure, and a few things are different, but overall, my arguments will echo a lot of the ones I made in that series.

I think that this series is in many ways similar to that one because the big challenge for Vancouver will be containing the New Jersey 1st line as much as we can. Any line with Gordie Howe won't be shutdown for an entire series, but a lot can be done to make a line less effective and less productive. Call it damage control, if you will, and I don't think there is a better team than the Vancouver Maroons at slowing the pace of the game, taking minutes off the clock, grinding a line down, and limiting scoring opportunities. Not to mention, Vancouver has a monster of a fail-safe between the pipes in Patrick Roy. Beating Vancouver's goalie is a whole other challenge in itself.

Once you look past the 1st line challenge though, Vancouver has all the assets and capabilities to come out on top through the course of the series. Vancouver plays a style of game that has proven to be incredibly effective, and Vancouver is a team that is very well suited to this style.

I think that Vancouver can come out on top because:

- Vancouver is completely committed to the defensive aspect of the game and a much better defensive team

- Vancouver's forward group is more versatile and multi-dimensional, and boasts 2 incredible two-way players on each line

- Vancouver has a stronger 2nd line, and a stronger checking line.

- NJ is going to be almost entirely dependent on their first line to win the series. Vancouver wins 2/3s of the line matchup (60% of the ES game) and has more balanced scoring, and better secondary scoring.

- Vancouver will most likely own the neutral-zone because of their style of play.

- Vancouver has a superior goalie, Patrick Roy vs Charlie Gardiner

- Vancouver has a clearly stronger penalty kill, whereas the PPs of both teams are very comparable in terms of effectiveness. The PP's conversion rate is largely dependent on the strength of the opposing penalty kill though, and because Vancouver has such a better penalty kill, Vancouver has a special teams advantage.


As for the bluelines, I don't think either team boasts a significant advantage on the blue line. Both Vancouver and NJ's bluelines are very solid and can get the job done in every aspect, and very close in terms of quality. I can't see either blue line making a difference in this series over the other. I know TDMM made a post comparing the bluelines, and I'm definitely going to address that post later.

Coach Lemaire has decided that Vancouver will be more likely to win this series if we cut our losses against the first line, and rather than try to battle against them, just throw up an air-tight defensive barricade against the NJ top line, and then control the rest of the game against two weaker opposing lines that will be out-matched in every sense.

So, ultimately, the game plan is to play an extremely tight, cautious, mistake-free defensive game as usual, and make sure that we make it as difficult as possible for the other team to get any quality scoring chances. Vancouver will do the best it can to contain the NJ 1st line, and then let the other 2 lines (Schmidt's and Gilmour's) win their matchups offensively and defensively. Vancouver will also look to get that extra scoring boost in close, tight games by capitalizing on turnovers (zoom zoom Bure) and PP opportunities that will arise as a result of the trap frustrating and aggravating New Jersey.

That's why I think Bure's speed and ability to beat defensemen 1-on-1, and Vancouver's special teams advantage in this series can be so crucial. That extra little bit can make a huge difference late in the game. All it takes is 1 bad turnover in the neutral zone with Bure out there to make THE difference in these kinds of games.

In the next set of posts, I'm going to do some in-depth discussions about the major points I've made...

1. Vancouver's defensive play / the neutral zone trap

2. The 3 main forward line matchups

3. Comparing the blues lines (Howell = underrated)

4. Vancouver's special team's advantage (PK/PP)

5. Vancouver's extremely clutch players, and a couple notable NJ chokers.

6. What a difference Patrick Roy can make!

TDMM attacks Lemaire in the post below this one, my rebuttals can be found in these two posts:

The Case for Lemaire (important read with lots of newspaper quotes)

Defending Lemaire against TDMM's direct attacks (very long, not as important)


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05-11-2010, 04:09 PM
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Jacques Lemaire = Great All-Time Coach or Two-Season Wonder aided greatly by his assistant?

-First off, I just want to point off how big the coaching advantage for the Swamp Devils actually is. Tommy Ivan coached teams were very balanced teams – always finishing in the Top 2 in both offense and defense in the regular season and continuing to play a balanced game in the playoffs.

-Jacques Lemaire teams were always defense-first, but in 1994 and 1995 (the two defining playoff runs of Lemaire’s career), they scored enough goals to go far in the playoffs (losing game 7 of the Conference Finals in OT, followed by winning the Cup in dominating fashion in 1995). For these two runs, Lemaire had the man considered the best assistant coach in the league at the time – Larry Robinson. Robinson was a player’s coach, and would later prove to be a more offensive-minded coach as Robinson’s 99-00 Cup winning Devils a played a more balanced system, and his 00-01 squad actually scored the most goals of any team in the entire dead puck era.

-Larry Robinson left NJ after 1995 and returned as head coach just before the 2000 playoffs (when the Devils won the Cup). After Assistant Coach Larry Robinson left, Lemaire had a parade of yes-men as assistant coach, and his teams routinely lost to lower seeds in the playoffs, as they failed to score enough goals. For instance, his longtime assistant in Minnesota brought to NJ last year was Mario Tremblay. No Devils fan could figure out what Tremblay actually did.

(For the record, Robinson’s own failure as head coach was that he was too nice a guy who wasn’t up for disciplining players when they needed it. He was a consultant on the 2003 Cup Champion, though I’m not sure what he did).

Fact: With the exception of a first round victory over a sub-.500 Montreal team in 1997, Lemaire coached teams have gone behind 3 games to 1 in every single playoff series he has coached since the 1995 Cup winner.


-The Wild came back twice from the deficit (in the same season), but at least one of those series was more the result of Dan Cloutier's lack of goaltending and Todd Bertuzzi's all-round bad play than anything Lemaire did, in my opinion.

-The Devils, on the other hand, lost 3 times to much lower seeds with Lemaire as the coach, all three times because they didn’t score enough goals. They were the #1 seed in the East in both 97 and 98. And we all know what happened this past year.

So why have Lemaire teams failed in the playoffs so many times since 1995? They don’t score enough goals.


-The Devils missed the playoffs in 1996, the year after Robinson left. Only time they ever missed the playoffs in Brodeur's career (though they would have been a 4th seed in the West).

-When #1 NJD lost in 5 games to #7 NYR in the second round of 1997, they scored a paltry 5 goals in 5 games.

-When #1 NJD (2 points away from the President’s Trophy) lost to #8 Ottawa in 1998, they only scored 12 goals in the 6 game loss, despite Doug Gilmour’s best efforts. Damien Rhodes was the winning goalie. Ottawa lost to Washington in a 5 games the next round, so this wasn't a team that was better than their place in the standings indicated (like apparently Montreal is this season).

-Lemaire "resigned" after 1998, the team opened up the offense, lost in the first round in 1999 to the best playoff performance of Jaromir Jagr's career, and then went to 3 finals in 4 years from 2000-03 (the Pat Burns Devils of 2002-03 were definitely defense-first, but they still scored enough to win).

-When #2 NJD lost to #7 Philadelphia in 2010, they were 16th out of 16 playoff teams in scoring with 1.80 goals per game, despite having quite a few good forwards on the roster.
This isn’t all Lemaire’s fault (the roster has serious issues), but it really stands out given his past and the fact that the Devils teams that lost in the first round in 2008 and 2009 were about average in goal-for among the first round losers.

-I’m not sure whether the failure to score in the playoffs is because Lemaire’s trap (made more conservative after the departure of Larry Robinson) directly stifles his team’s own offense, because his constant line shuffling (including completely changing the lineup after the teams’ only playoff win over Philly) ruins chemistry, or because the players aren’t allowed to have fun in the regular season and are therefore spent by the playoffs. Maybe a little of all.

Lemaire in the ATD

Frankly, I think that Jacques Lemaire needs an offensive-minded assistant. Or at least a player’s coach who the players can go to when they need to complain about feeling stifled or the lines being mixed too often. Without such a coach as an assistant (basically someone playing the role Robinson actually did in 1994 and 1995), I think Lemaire is a bottom-third coach for the ATD.

You can’t win in the playoffs by spending the entire game reacting to the other team. Defense-first works, but you need to create your own offense too.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 05-11-2010 at 11:07 PM.
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Old
05-11-2010, 04:27 PM
  #9
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Vancouver and the Trap

I’m not a hockey coach, but I have a basic idea of what the trap is. Basically, it prevents the other team from going through the neutral zone with speed. The one forechecking forward forces the puck carrier to one half of the ice, where the other forwards “trap” him, forcing the puck carrier to either turn the puck over or dump it in. On the Real Devils, the defensemen (led by Scott Stevens) held the blueline if the puck carrier got past the forwards, and Martin Brodeur’s puckhandling was there to take care of the puck if it was dumped it.

Vancouver’s forwards and the trap:


Bailey, Schmidt, Gilmour, Klukay, and Luce are all excellent defensive forwards who should be able to handle playing passively. Fleury might be okay at it, but despite being a responsible backchecker, he was definitely known as an aggressive player in his time. Bure and Bauer… well, their linemates will be playing even more defensively than they otherwise would to cover for them.

And Gary Dornhoefer of the Broad Street Bullies will be totally lost and virtually useless in a system that doesn't use the dump and chase

Vancouver’s defensemen and the trap:


The Real Devils under Lemaire had something that Vancouver here sorely lacks: a heat-seeking missile to hold the blueline named Scott Stevens. Stevens had great hockey sense – he knew when to arrive in space exactly when the puck carrier did. All but the bravest forwards (basically everyone but Eric Lindros) soon learned to dump the puck in well before Scott Stevens arrived. Vancouver has no defenseman of this calibre to hold the blue line, so their trap will be less effective.


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05-11-2010, 04:35 PM
  #10
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How the Swamp Devils beat the Trap


The trap is no defense against the dump and chase game.


The purpose of the trap is to stop the puck carrier from skating through the neutral zone with speed. It is completely irrelevant to the dump and chase game. The Lemaire-era Real Devils had players who specialized in killing the dump –and-chase, players that Vancouver here lacks.

This is where Martin Brodeur’s puckhandling was so key. The trap forced teams to dump the puck in. Brodeur would stop it behind the net and dump it right back out. There is a reason that Bobby Clarke, GM of the Flyers, a division rival and one of the teams in the league most reliant on the dump-and-chase, was the man who spearheaded the trapezoid rule.

I have a lot of respect for Patrick Roy – he’s definitely a better overall goalie than Brodeur. But his puckhandling was a disaster the few times he attempted it – good for 1 or 2 funny clips of goals going into an empty net per season.

Scott Stevens was so intimidating that the majority of forwards would simply not chase the puck into his corner of the ice, because they would get crushed. Edit: This could more accurately be described as teams gameplanning to dump the puck to the opposite corner, because Stevens would win virtually all battles along the boards. Stevens’ intimidation and Brodeur’s puckhandling were the Devil’s defense against the dump and chase.

The Neutral Zone Trap is irrelevant once the puck gets dumped in, and I really like the matchup of the Swamp Devils' top line battling in the corners with Vancouver’s mediocre (for the ATD) group of defensemen.

I think Jackson-Abel-Howe might be the best line suited in the entire draft at playing the dump and chase game. Dump and chase was the bread and butter of the original Production Line. Busher Jackson is no Ted Lindsay, but I think he’s a reasonable (but obviously lesser) substitute.

Jackson and Howe both have the speed to blow by slower defensemen and the size to go through smaller defensemen after dumping the puck into corners. And Abel and Howe are two of the best cornermen in the ATD.

Mark Messier gave the Real Devils of the era fits - as he led the Rangers to victories over them in the 1994 and 1997 playoffs. I think a large part of that is that he was so good at the dump and chase game. He would mutilate anyone who even thought of going into a corner with him - much like Gordie Howe.

The Swamp Devils have a lot of puck support from the defensemen, who can break the trap in transition.


In the last series, the Maroons had to worry about Bobby Orr. ]The Swamp Devils obviously have nobody of Orr’s calibre, but the Swamp Devils do have 4 defensemen very good at moving the puck and providing support – Salming, Blake, Siebert, and Leduc. Every pair has at least 1 excellent puck mover, and the top pairing has 2 of them – so Vancouver’s trap will have a lot of players to worry about. And Ted Green and Brian Engblom aren’t exactly useless with the puck, either. The ability of the Swamp Devils’ defensemen to carry the puck themselves severely reduces the ability of Vancouver to trap the forwards.

For the record, Bobby Orr was a star of the series that went 6, so it's not exactly like he was contained.

This is how I see the trap affecting this series:

1) Vancouver’s passive trap reduces the offense off all of Vancouver’s forwards as explained above (this is a given when you have Lemaire as your coach, especially without a strong assistant).

2) The Swamp Devils’ top line is largely unaffected, as they are excellent at the dump and chase game.

3) Martinec and Savard aren’t able to do the things in the neutral zone that they would like, so their offense will be reduced, but not eliminated as they will have major puck support from the defensemen.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 05-11-2010 at 11:09 PM.
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05-11-2010, 04:41 PM
  #11
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Now that the obligatory Lemaire/Trap posts are out of the way, I can actually start talking about the players.

I really hope people aren't thinking of "The Trap!" as some unbeatable system. If it were, Lemaire would have more than a single Stanley Cup ring as a head coach. Hell, if the trap were unbeatable, Coach Lemaire should be one of the top picks in the draft.

The Trap was a perfect system for a team with a puckhandling goalie (to nullify the dump and chase) and defensemen (led by Scott Stevens) who could stand up opposing forwards at the blueline. The Maroons are not this type of team.

Edit: If you only read one of my long posts about the Trap, read post 10.


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05-11-2010, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiLLY_ShOE1721 View Post
NJ needs to convince me how they plan on breaking the trap that has gotten Vancouver this far.
The trap is definitely a part of the series.

But I'm going to turn it around: Tommy Ivan is a better coach than Jacques Lemaire.

Vancouver needs to show that their team can overcome Tommy Ivan's superior coaching. The New Jersey Swamp Devils have the advantage in the matchup game.

-How do the Maroons plan on countering the fact that the swift-skating Borje Salming will be on the ice against Bure at almost all times? (like Chris Pronger was plastered to Zach Parise all series in 2010 to great effect)?

-How do they plan on countering the dump and chase of NJ's top line? I don't think Vancouver has the horses on defense.

-How do they plan on countering the unpredictable set plays of NJ's scoring lines:

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideHockey.com
His greatest strength as a coach was his positivism, his willingness to allow his players to be creative on the ice without hamstringing their talents. Red Wing immortal Ted Lindsay told me in a 2006 interview that Ivan allowed him, Howe, and Abel to design their own line rushes and work out new tricks and combinations on the ice. Their teammates were allowed the same leeway. In return his players gave Ivan and the Detroit fans some of the greatest on-ice artistry in the history of hockey.
One final note on coaching: Both Ivan and Lemaire were noteworthy for coaching very disciplined teams, so special teams are probably a little less of a factor in this series than they otherwise would be.

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05-12-2010, 02:30 PM
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seventieslord
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiLLY_ShOE1721 View Post
NJ needs to convince me how they plan on breaking the trap that has gotten Vancouver this far.
No disrespect to Vancouver, but I think favourable matchups in an easier division/conference got them this far, as well as a couple earlier exits by potential powerhouses. I would rather face them in a playoff series, than my first round opponent Detroit Vipers, who were 6th in our division.


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05-12-2010, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
No disrespect to Vancouver, but I think favourable matchups got them this far. I would rather face them in a playoff series, than my first round opponent Detroit Vipers, who were 6th in our division.
Yeah, I'd say Vancouver's biggest advantage is that New Jersey went through hell to get here.

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05-13-2010, 01:14 PM
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I guess I'll get this one started. I'll try to be as concise as possible.

Forwards:

First line = Advantage NJ

Howe (NJ) > Schmidt (V) > Abel/Jackson (NJ/NJ) > Bure/Bailey (V/V)

Second line = Edge Vancouver if Fleury can play at a high level on the left side.

Gilmour > Savard, by a little. Savard actually has a significantly better regular season scoring resume (3, 3, 6, 7, 7, vs. 4, 5, 7 in points). Both are clutch in the playoffs, but Gilmour is superclutch. Gilmour has a slight overall edge due to his defense, grit, and his superclutch play.

Martinec > Bauer. Martinec was one of the top offensive players in the world for almost a decade. Baeur was one of the best complimentary offensive players in the world for almost a decade.

Fleury >? Tkachuk. Fleury was a better all-round player than Tkachuk, especially in the playoffs. But is he a better LW than Tkachuk?

Third line = Edge NJ.

The difference: Broad Street Bully Gary Dornhoefer provides a lot of grit, but Dirk Graham is tough as nails and a Selke winner.

Overall, I’d say that Klukay, Marshall, Lepine, and Luce are all fairly close in value. Klukay might be the best defensive player on either line, but it’s not by much, and he won't provide much offense. Lepine has a few Top 10s in goals and Marshall a few Top 15s to give NJ’s 3rd line a bit of offensive pop.

Fourth line = Advantage NJ

All 3 players on NJ’s 4th line can play at both ends of the ice.

Jiri Holik is the most talented player on either 4th line. Tomas Holmstrom doesn't give you much at even strength in an All-Time context.

Wilf Paiement can beat up people just like Duane Sutter, but he can also play very good defense and has a couple of Top 10s in goals. .

When Gordie Howe double shifts to the 4th line to go opposite Tomas Holmstrom, Vancouver is in big trouble.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 05-13-2010 at 08:41 PM.
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05-13-2010, 04:40 PM
  #16
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rofl at the post about Lemaire, I'll address that for sure because I can't allow such a large pile of crap to be admissible in any ATD debate. This series aside, it's painful to watch Lemaire's legacy be tainted in the eyes of others (like seventies, who has said that TDMM is single-handedly responsible for bringing Lemaire down on his list of coaches) with not much else except 1 Devil's fans hate sentiment after his team had a bad playoff run.

As for the rest of this series, I honestly don't know if it's worth spending hours of my time writing arguments when it seems pretty obvious that almost half the voters made up their minds before the series even started.

You win your division, then your conference (the one with the two strongest teams in the entire league imo, Halifax and Smith's Falls), and people come into this thread and say "No offense (pfftt, lol), but I think the 6th place team in my division is better than Vancouver".

I genuinely don't believe Vancouver has any chance of winning this series. Oh, I believe in my team, I just don't believe that the voters think so, or will change their minds.


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05-13-2010, 04:50 PM
  #17
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I have certainly not made up my mind, I love to hear an argument and would hope that others would be willing to listen as well.

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05-13-2010, 04:53 PM
  #18
seventieslord
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Sorry HHH, you know I call it like I see it, and don't really pay much attention to how someone is going to take it. Just ask markrander87.

I agree about Smiths Fall, I think they were a superb team, that probably should have won that conference, but Halifax knocked them off (I'm not sure how). I disagree on Halifax being anywhere close to one of the top-2 teams in the draft as well.

New Jersey is one of the four strongest teams in the draft, but let's say strongest for the sake of argument, because they ultimately made it here. I think it's entirely arguable that, in the last 3 rounds, they beat the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-best teams in this entire draft. Matching those rosters head to head with Vancouver or Halifax, they don't even seem close to me. The conferences were just ridiculously imbalanced.

When it was time to vote on my first round series, I was sweating. I knew I did well, but so did BRG. And his team was awesome. I can't imagine sweating in a playoff matchup with Vancouver.

Maybe I should have saved all that for after the draft. I'm not trying to sway anyone else, and I doubt I will. I'm also perfectly capable of being swayed by a compelling series argument. You should not give up. Plenty of GMs voted for you in four rounds now; you have no idea what most of them think. You do, however, have an idea how about, say, three of them are leaning. And though that is a part of it, that's far from all of it.

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05-13-2010, 05:22 PM
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rofl at the post about Lemaire, I'll address that for sure because I can't allow such a large pile of crap to be admissible in any ATD debate. This series aside, it's painful to watch Lemaire's legacy be tainted in the eyes of others (like seventies, who has said that TDMM is single-handedly responsible for bringing Lemaire down on his list of coaches) with not much else except 1 Devil's fans hate sentiment after his team had a bad playoff run.
A pile of crap? Let me guess, you think the Devils' success from 95-03 was due to some magical system that Jacques Lemaire (only around for 1 of the 4 trips to the finals) put into place? Frankly, I have always found it incredibly distasteful for people who barely watched the Devils to credit their success to a "system," rather than to great playoff performers like Scott Stevens, Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer, etc, and that includes half the talking heads on ESPN and TSN. Sure, they had good coaches along the way. So did almost every Stanley Cup winner.

And the whole "you are only blaming Lemaire after one series" is laughable, considering the crux of my argument was what he did in the late 90s. After the 98 choke job, the fans were ready to go into full-out revolt until Lemaire resigned. Most fans who actually remembered the mid-90s absolutely hated the signing before this season. In fact, this is my reaction at the time:

http://hfboards.com/showpost.php?p=2...&postcount=264

I actually like Lemaire as a person. He's a really funny guy and I'll always appreciate what he and Larry Robinson did in bringing Montreal's winning culture to New Jersey. But the man had his weaknesses - he was obsessed with the defensive side of things to the point where it really hurt the offense, especially in the playoffs.

I see Lemaire as the defensive equivalent of Pat Quinn, really. He's definitely a legit Top 30 coach, but closer to 20-30 all time than 5-10 (like Tommy Ivan). He really could use a good offensive minded assistant or player's coach. New Jersey definitely has the advantage in coaching in this series.

I do wish other GMs would be a little less vocal about having made up their minds already. I was looking forward to a fun series with lots of argument.

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05-13-2010, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by hungryhungryhippy View Post
rofl at the post about Lemaire, I'll address that for sure because I can't allow such a large pile of crap to be admissible in any ATD debate. This series aside, it's painful to watch Lemaire's legacy be tainted in the eyes of others (like seventies, who has said that TDMM is single-handedly responsible for bringing Lemaire down on his list of coaches) with not much else except 1 Devil's fans hate sentiment after his team had a bad playoff run.

As for the rest of this series, I honestly don't know if it's worth spending hours of my time writing arguments when it seems pretty obvious that almost half the voters made up their minds before the series even started.

You win your division, then your conference (the one with the two strongest teams in the entire league imo, Halifax and Smith's Falls), and people come into this thread and say "No offense (pfftt, lol), but I think the 6th place team in my division is better than Vancouver".

I genuinely don't believe Vancouver has any chance of winning this series. Oh, I believe in my team, I just don't believe that the voters think so, or will change their minds.
A few comments by some GMs shouldn't warrant you not giving the best fight you can. This is the ATD finals- you made it here, and despite what people say, that's a tremendous achievement coming from any division, conference, or 4 opponents beaten. Throwing in the towel now is not in good spirit. Even if you are destined to lose, how would you rather do it- knowing you gave it your all and that the result was thus likely unalterable, or knowing that you didn't put up a fight and not knowing how things would have gone if you did your best here?

This is a cliche, but sometimes they just fit- it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.

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05-13-2010, 08:01 PM
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Defense:

I think both defenses are well built given the personnel. All 6 pairings contain players who compliment each other very well. So a comparison of defense comes down strictly to personnel, and the Swamp Devils have the edge on all three pairings.

First pair = Edge NJ

Salming > Lapointe. Most (all?) should agree, so I won’t go into it in detail. Salming was #85 on the HOH Top 100 players list and #74 on the THN list. Lapointe wasn’t in the Top 100 for either list.

Blake > Gardiner.

Gardiner has a Hart Trophy because the Montreal Canadiens became a lot better as soon as he joined the team (same thing with Babe Siebert actually). The Hart at the time followed the “most valuable” description much more than the “best player” award that it has become in modern times.

He only has 3 seasons in the NHL, and the other 2 were unspectacular, as he was aging. He had quite a few very good seasons in the WCHL before moving to the NHL, but how did he compare to the rest of the best in the world?

We know Blake was one of the top two-way defensemen in the the world for the majority of dead puck era. Here’s his Norris record: 1, 3, 3, 4, 5, 8

Gardiner is rock solid defensively but won’t bring you all that much offense - basically Howell but with more questions about his track record.

Second pair = Edge NJ

Siebert vs. Howell is close, but I give a small edge to Siebert
because he was very good at both ends of the rink.

Siebert has more All-Star recognition – 3 Times a 1st Team All-Star for Siebert vs. 1 Time 1st Team All-Star for Howell.

Howell’s Norris record: 1, 5. No Norris Trophy when Siebert played, but he likely would have won it the year he won the Hart (and got a Retro Norris for the year from Ultimate Hockey).

Howell played the vast majority of his career when there were only six teams, so writers had plenty of chances to watch him play - this isn't the case of a modern defensive defenseman not being noticed because he didn't put up the numbers.

Green > Reinhart

Tough comparison because they are totally different. I think the Norris record tells the tale – Green was 3rd (behind Bobby Orr and Tim Horton) and 10th in Norris voting. Reinhart was 12th once. Considering the points Reinhart put up, the fact that he got such little Norris consideration really makes me question his defensive ability.

Third pair = Edge NJ


Leduc > Hatcher/Bergman

Leduc was one of the most prolific defensemen in his day. He was very good offensively, very good at hitting, and likely competent defensively. Basically a much better version of Kevin Hatcher.

Bergman = Engblom. Both are primarily defensive defensemen who are okay with the puck. Engblom has the better peak (2nd Team AS, 6th and 8th in Norris voting), but he was injury prone, so they probably have close to equal career value.

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05-13-2010, 08:07 PM
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Goaltending = Advantage Vancouver

Patrick Roy is one of the top 3 goaltenders of all time and arguably the best playoff goaltender of all time.

Charlie Gardiner is ranked somewhere between 13-18 in all likelihood. The HOH Top 100 from 2008 ranked him 16th among goalies (but behind Hainsworth, so he'll likely be 15th in the new ranking, as opinions on Hainsworth dropped since then).

But is the difference really that great? Roy can steal games, but so can Gardiner.

Most rank Gardiner at the same level as Belfour (or higher, though they really shouldn't underrate Eddie like that), and while Roy was definitely better than Belfour, how big was the difference?

Coaching = Advantage New Jersey

Tommy Ivan is a Top 5-10 All Time coach. Jacques Lemaire is probably a Top 20-30 All Time coach, a legit ATD head coach, but one who could really use the right kind of assistant, in my opinion.

To put it another way, Tommy Ivan teams tend to be very good at both ends of the ice. Jacques Lemaire teams tend to be elite defensively and average to below average offensively.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 05-13-2010 at 08:56 PM.
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05-13-2010, 10:30 PM
  #23
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The gap in goaltending is HUGE. No argument you can make, TDMM, will make me believe otherwise. 3 Conn Smythes in 3 different eras for Roy (in terms of size of the league). He's a massive, massive step above Gardiner, especially in the playoffs.

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05-13-2010, 10:44 PM
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The gap in goaltending is HUGE. No argument you can make, TDMM, will make me believe otherwise. 3 Conn Smythes in 3 different eras for Roy (in terms of size of the league). He's a massive, massive step above Gardiner, especially in the playoffs.
1) These are both Top 100 players of all time we are talking about. It's not like Gardiner was some average NHL goaltender at any time in his career.

2) Where do you rate Ed Belfour? I watched both Roy and Belfour, and I certainly wouldn't call the gap "huge."

3) Was the gap between Jacques Plante and Johnny Bower that big in real life? Was the gap between Roy/Hasek and Belfour that big in real life? Gardiner is usually ranked somewhere between Bower and Belfour.

4) I guess it's how you look at goaltending in the ATD. I had an average starter in Gardiner in my last series and arrbez had a bottom tier starter in Lumley. I said the difference was "moderate." I would say the difference between Gardiner and Roy isn't much bigger, if at all, than the difference between Gardiner and Lumley. These are all Hall of Fame goaltenders.


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05-13-2010, 10:47 PM
  #25
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Where do you rate Ed Belfour?
It doesn't even matter. In my mind, the teams being equal and with Roy and Belfour in net, Roy would sweep the series. Every single time. I think the gap is that huge.

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