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

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Old
05-15-2010, 01:52 PM
  #51
Velociraptor
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Out of curiosity, must've missed it. But when is the voting procedure expected?

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05-15-2010, 02:05 PM
  #52
TheDevilMadeMe
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I don't expect special teams to be as much of a factor in this series as most, because both coaches preach discipline. But if the refs look to be calling it very tight, I will insert Yuri Liapkin into the lineup, starting in Game 2 or 3:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1972SummitSeries
Yuri Liapkin was the Soviet's highest scoring blueliner, and arguably the best Soviet defender ever. He also was a major influence on the strong Soviet powerplay.
This has more on his stats:

http://hfboards.com/showpost.php?p=2...9&postcount=37

In all honesty, Liapkin is probably the best PP QB in the series if he plays. He isn't taking a regular shift because he reportedly was inconsistent defensively. And in an even strength matchup, I like the fact that Vancouver has Kevin Hatcher taking a regular shift, and I don't have anyone like that.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 05-15-2010 at 02:13 PM.
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Old
05-15-2010, 02:09 PM
  #53
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On the contrary, HHH, coaching, in my mind, plays a role that has been underrated for far too long.

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05-15-2010, 02:33 PM
  #54
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jareklajkosz View Post
On the contrary, HHH, coaching, in my mind, plays a role that has been underrated for far too long.
Coaching is definitely important. Just this year, one could say that the two remaining teams in the Eastern Conference are there in large part because they have the 2 best coaches in the East.

I'm a bit surprised HHH is downplaying the effect of coaching this time around, after opening his Conference Finals series with a discussion of The Trap (which is a product of coaching).


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 05-15-2010 at 03:07 PM.
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Old
05-15-2010, 03:43 PM
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
Top D-men in power play points, 1997-98 to 2006-07
Player GP PPG PPP PPP/G
Nicklas Lidstrom 725 66 300 0.41
Sergei Zubov 705 57 267 0.38
Sergei Gonchar 660 66 250 0.38
Chris Pronger 587 50 224 0.38
Rob Blake 668 82 212 0.32
Mathieu Schneider 655 51 210 0.32
Brian Leetch 556 43 200 0.36
Scott Niedermayer 680 46 185 0.27
Kimmo Timonen 573 46 182 0.32
Al MacInnis 427 47 178 0.42
Overpass, do you have data going back earlier than 1997? I think Blake's last elite year was 2002-03, so it doesn't make sense to include several seasons when he was past his prime.

Between 1993 and 2003 (Blake's prime, which includes two years that were essentially write-offs due to injury), Blake scored more powerplay goal than any defenseman except MacInnis. He scored more PP goals per game than any other defenseman. Obviously Blake was much more of a goal-scorer than a playmaker, but I think that if you looked at the numbers over that period, Blake would probably rank 3rd in PP points.

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Old
05-15-2010, 04:28 PM
  #56
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Keep the championship final discussion going until May 19th as there's no hurry.

Voting Day Wednesday
send all votes to VanIslander

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Old
05-15-2010, 04:35 PM
  #57
TheDevilMadeMe
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Another comment on Vancouver's supposed advantage on the PP:

Who is the net presence on the first unit? Bure definitely won't do it. Gilmour? I guess he could, but that really wastes his playmaking skills, and he's by far the best playmaker on Vancouver's first unit.

Is Ace Bailey really suited to being the guy in front of the net on a first PP unit?

Busher Jackson made his career driving to the net, and I have a feeling that physical beasts like Howe and Abel won't mind going to the front to change things up.

I'm pretty sure NJ has the better first PP, even without Liapkin.

NJ's first unit:

NJ's first PP obviously runs itself through Gordie Howe on the half boards as much as it does through Borje Salming distributing the puck on the point. Howe is both the best goal scorer and playmaker in this series. Abel and Jackson both have numerous Top 10 finishes in goals and points, as well. Howe and Abel will win most battles along the boards, especially since the PP has a numerical advantage.

My guess is that Vancouver's PKers will have their hands so full with NJ's forwards that they'll often neglect to cover Rob Blake's booming shot from the point.


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Old
05-15-2010, 04:49 PM
  #58
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I do think that Vancouver would get more mileage out of Holmstrom on the first PP unit than Bailey.

And then I wonder if Fleury wouldn't be better than Bailey on the 2nd unit. I don't know, I never really saw Bailey as anything more than an adequate first line glue guy. Nothing special in any single area, just solid all around.

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Old
05-15-2010, 04:52 PM
  #59
overpass
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post
Overpass, do you have data going back earlier than 1997? I think Blake's last elite year was 2002-03, so it doesn't make sense to include several seasons when he was past his prime.

Between 1993 and 2003 (Blake's prime, which includes two years that were essentially write-offs due to injury), Blake scored more powerplay goal than any defenseman except MacInnis. He scored more PP goals per game than any other defenseman. Obviously Blake was much more of a goal-scorer than a playmaker, but I think that if you looked at the numbers over that period, Blake would probably rank 3rd in PP points.
Sure, I'll do that.

First, here is Blake's complete power play scoring record. I looked at that before choosing the years 1998-2007 for Blake. He had some real down years prior 1998. Also, while his overall role was diminished post-2003, he still continued to play a big role on the power play.

PPG=power play goals, PPA=power play assists, PPP=power play points, Rk=rank among defencemen in power play points for that season


Year PPG PPA PPP Rk
1991 9 16 25 14
1992 5 6 11 50
1993 10 22 32 16
1994 7 26 33 9
1995 4 2 6 46
1996 0 2 2 117
1997 4 9 13 33
1998 11 11 22 19
1999 5 6 11 40
2000 12 14 26 7
2001 10 19 29 7
2002 10 17 27 3
2003 8 13 21 16
2004 8 18 26 7
2006 7 17 24 21
2007 11 15 26 19
2008 5 10 15 35
2009 6 16 22 20
2010 4 4 8 65

Here are the top defencemen in power play points from 1992-93 to 2002-03.

Player GP PPG PPP PPP/G
Brian Leetch 755 72 325 0.43
Al Macinnis 735 83 319 0.43
Ray Bourque 662 76 316 0.48
Nicklas Lidstrom 855 74 312 0.36
Sergei Zubov 779 57 285 0.37
Phil Housley 735 45 268 0.36
Sandis Ozolinsh 743 62 240 0.32
Mathieu Schneider 719 59 231 0.32
Rob Blake 693 81 222 0.32
Gary Suter 634 48 220 0.35

Edit: While Blake was 2nd in power play goals by a defenceman, he was 19th among power play assists by a defenceman in this time, directly behind Garry Galley and Eric Desjardins and directly ahead of Alexei Zhitnik and Fredrik Olausson.

And the top defencemen in power play points from 1990-91 to 2008-09 (Blake's career prior to this season).

Player GP PPG PPP PPP/G
Nicklas Lidstrom 1330 116 514 0.39
Brian Leetch 1048 97 469 0.45
Al Macinnis 888 111 432 0.49
Sergei Zubov 1068 81 408 0.38
Ray Bourque 818 90 396 0.48
Mathieu Schneider 1216 94 379 0.31
Rob Blake 1196 132 371 0.31
Phil Housley 887 68 362 0.41
Sergei Gonchar 929 86 333 0.36
Chris Pronger 1022 74 326 0.32


Last edited by overpass: 05-15-2010 at 05:08 PM.
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Old
05-15-2010, 08:17 PM
  #60
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ignore this for now, I posted my lemaire post early by accident, I'm not done yet.

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Old
05-15-2010, 08:58 PM
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jareklajkosz View Post
I do think that Vancouver would get more mileage out of Holmstrom on the first PP unit than Bailey.

And then I wonder if Fleury wouldn't be better than Bailey on the 2nd unit. I don't know, I never really saw Bailey as anything more than an adequate first line glue guy. Nothing special in any single area, just solid all around.
To me, Holmstrom doesn't even belong in the ATD.

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05-15-2010, 09:00 PM
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
To me, Holmstrom doesn't even belong in the ATD.
Most definitely, at least I never been sold of the contrary.

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05-15-2010, 09:18 PM
  #63
hungryhungryhippy
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Holmstrom doesn't play any even strength minutes for my team, he's purely a PP specialist, and in that capacity, I think he absolutely does belong in the ATD, and is actually one of the best at going to the front of the net.

btw, since TDMM said something about Gordie Howe lining up against Holmstrom on the 4th line when Howe doubleshifts, I should point out that Klukay and Fleury double-shift for Holmstrom on the fourth line.

Whenever Howe is on the ice at even strength, Klukay will also come out, without hesitation. Even on the road, Klukay will be shadowing Howe, and will change on the fly with him whenever possible.

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05-15-2010, 09:35 PM
  #64
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At even strength, Holmstrom won't do much for you, but in terms of being that physical presence in front of the net on the PP, he's a pretty decent option. As long as that's ALL he's doing. So, yes, I do think he's a waste of a pick, as you can get a guy who may not have that same net presence but is much more useful in other areas, but for the ONE thing that Holmstrom specializes in, he's pretty damn good for it.

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05-15-2010, 09:42 PM
  #65
hungryhungryhippy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jareklajkosz View Post
At even strength, Holmstrom won't do much for you, but in terms of being that physical presence in front of the net on the PP, he's a pretty decent option. As long as that's ALL he's doing. So, yes, I do think he's a waste of a pick, as you can get a guy who may not have that same net presence but is much more useful in other areas, but for the ONE thing that Holmstrom specializes in, he's pretty damn good for it.
Yeah, but depends on how you view 4th lines. I think they're pretty useless, and they barely ever play (like 5 minutes a night). I'd rather some of my better guys take turns double-shifting with the 4th line for that 5 or so minutes that it plays anyways.

Either way though, all that matters is that Holmstrom isn't playing even strength, just on the PP to go to the front of the net, and he's actually a pretty good asset in that capacity.

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05-15-2010, 09:46 PM
  #66
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Jacques Lemaire/Neutral Zone Trap in real life

Please read this post! I spent a lot of time digging up some of these quotes and I think there's a lot of stuff in this post that reflects really well on Lemaire, and the effectiveness of the trap it it's prime.

Originally, this was the final part of my rebuttal to TDMM's claims against Lemaire, but I decided that this post is actually a very important argument for my team, whereas the rest of my post was just some bickering and defense of Lemaire's legacy. I thought this final part was a lot more important then the first 5 parts.


PART 6: Lemaire's Accomplishments...

Lemaire has +.500 career winning record in the regular season as a coach, with 558 win and 441 losses. That total is heavily weighed down by his years spent in Minnesota where he decided to take on the job of coaching an expansion team that sucked for the first few years.

He has a +.500 career winning record in the playoffs as a head coach, with 61 wins and 56 losses.

Lemaire has a 12-6 playoff series record from before the lock out (0-3 after), meaning his teams won 67% of the series' they played in before the lockout.

TDMM has argued that Lemaire's teams typically do worse in the playoffs then they do in the regular season, but this happens to everyone. For example, Tommy Ivan's regular season points percentage was .599, but his playoff win percentage was .537, a drop of .062 percentage point, a total of 10%. By comparison, Lemaire's regular season to playoff points/win percentage dropped by .040 percentage points, a total of 7%, less than Ivan's drop. I don't think that reflects poorly on Ivan at all, btw, I'm just showing that it applies both ways.

In 1984, Lemaire took over as head coach of a struggling Montreal Canadiens team when Bob Berry was fired with 17 games left in the season, that team finished 4th in their division, but really started to turn things around and had an incredible playoff run to the conference finals. When you finish reading the article below, remember that while Lemaire insisted on playing defense and kept the opposing teams to 17 goals in 11 games at that time, his team scored 42 goals in 15 games that year.

Quote:
Montreal Gazette - April 28, 1984:

What in thunderation has happened to the Canadiens?

Consider this: In a matter of a little more than three weeks and 11 playoff games… the Canadiens have swept through the Bruins in three consecutive playoff games, beat the Quebec Nordiques in six and now lead the Islanders 2-0 in their conference final.

They have won nine of 11 playoff games, and have held the opposition to 17 goals. Two more victories over the Islanders, and they’re in the Stanley Cup final.

What, indeed, has happened to the Montreal Canadiens?

In the 11 playoff games thus far, the Canadiens have scored the first goal in 10 of them, almost always because Penney has made several big stops at a time when the teams were scoreless… [sounds like what Patrick Roy will be doing in this series]

What else has happened to the Canadiens?

Lemaire, who was the team’s assistant coach for 63 games and its head coach for 17, has happened.

As a player, Lemaire stressed defence. As an assistant coach, he advocated it. As a head coach, he has insisted on it.

Thus, an explosive team such as the Islanders outshoots the Canadiens 9-4 and holds them to a 1-1 score, as they did on Thursday night
, but in the second period, the Canadiens outshoot the Islanders 13-3 and the certainty is that the Stanley Cup champions were fortunate to leave the period trailing only 3-2.

“We’ve been winning this way,” says Ryan Walter, “because we believe in ourselves. We believe in the system.

Lemaire’s system isn’t complicated. It consists of taking away the middle from the opposition, giving them the least amount of room, neutralizing the opposition’s centremen. Coaches prepare the systems, but players make them work.
In 1985, Lemaire's success as a head coach continued for the most part. The Canadiens went from 4th in their division the year before to 1st in their division. In the playoffs, they won a series, and then lost the next one, but that's how it goes, you can't always go deep. Overall, the season was considered a success for Lemaire (who certainly would've kept his job), but he decided to step down as coach because he didn't want to coach anymore. He joined Savard as an assistant GM.

In 1993/94, Lemaire took his first job as an NHL head coach since 1985, and "quickly built the lowly Devils into a Cup contender" by "perfecting the stiffling neutral-zone trap" (according to Joe Pelletier). Lemaire stressed defense and his team played the trap, but they were still able to score with 52 goals in 20 games. For his accomplishments, he was awarded the Jack Adams trophy by the NHL as the coach of the year!


Then in 1995, Lemaire's Devils build of their success from last year and win the cup with a sweep of the Detroit Red Wings, a team that many considered to be superior to the Devils. Lemaire was given a lot of credit (for a coach) for the sweep because his neutral-zone trap had helped the Devils a lot.

Quote:
New York Daily News - June 25, 1995:

Bob Carpenter didn't even allow the reporter to finish the question, which began, "You've played for a lot of good coaches. . . . "

"Not even close," said Carpenter, the veteran of five NHL teams. "Not even close. Not even close."

The question Carpenter did not need to hear was whether Jacques Lemaire is the best coach he's played for. Apparently, the answer is an emphatic yes.

In his first year with the team last season, Lemaire took an underachieving, directionless Devils squad to within one double-overtime goal of the Stanley Cup Finals. Last night, Lemaire's Devils went two steps further. They won the Cup with a sweep of the Red Wings.

The Devils started every playoff series on the road this season, and they set a league record with 10 road playoff victories. They surprised many by rolling over the super-fast, super-talented, super-deep Red Wings, the Cup favorites coached by Lemaire's mentor, Scotty Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history.

...

Lemaire managed to instill a businesslike attitude in his players. Before and after every game, the attitude of the Devils was always the same: "If we play our game, we'll win," followed a few hours later by, "We knew if we played our game, we'd win."

...

He never lets us be satisfied with ourselves," said right wing John MacLean, who has played for seven coaches (including Tom McVie twice) in his 11-plus Devil seasons. "He always seems to push us to the next level."

"I looked at the tapes of the way they were playing, and I thought I could improve the team aspect, which is what I've concentrated on doing," Lemaire said.

If that meant playing the, ahem, neutral-zone trap, well, you do what you gotta do. They players accepted this, and here they are.

"We could have had any of the other 25 coaches in the league and we wouldn't be nearly as successful as we've been this year," Carpenter said.
Quote:
NY Times - June 24, 1995:

From the first day he walked into the Devils' dressing room to open training camp two years ago, Jacques Lemaire commanded the attention and respect of his players.
...

"It's amazing how everything he says always works," Scott Stevens, the Devils' captain, said today of Lemaire at the team's South Mountain Arena training facility. "The man is unbelievable. We won the game last night that put us in a position to win the Stanley Cup tomorrow night, and I couldn't sleep last night. Now I know I can sleep tonight from what he said today."

Stevens refused to disclose specifically what his coach had told him, saying only: "He said something that made so much sense. It's amazing how he helps control our emotions."
....

Stevens, John MacLean and Ken Daneyko are some of the veterans who have made plain to other players in this 13-season-old New Jersey franchise that they were fortunate to have a coach with Lemaire's accomplishments and knowledge.

"I'll tell you what is his biggest asset as a coach," MacLean said. "He has the right things to say at the right time."

Lemaire earned credibility with his players by making the right comment or providing the correct perspective when the team, or an individual player, experienced a high or a low, sorrow or exaltation -- even a bad shift or two.

As a result, the players have been hanging on Lemaire's every word, following his instructions and suggestions faithfully and without doubt. They buy into his system, one that stresses teamwork and organization and plays down the flashy, individual exhibitions that some teams and players favor.
Quote:
Herald-Journal - June 5, 1995:

Give the Devils their due. The New Jersey Devils played the game they wanted to play in beating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 in Saturday's first game of the Eastern Conference final....

Jacques Lemaire had reason to smile. The Devils' near-perfect execution of his game plan, combined with the Flyers' dispirited effort, led to a relatively easy victory over a Philadelphia team that had won 6 straight. New Jersey's stiffling neutral zone trap was the key component in the win.

It starts with pressure on the player, usually a defenseman, who is attempting to start the offensive thrust by carrying the puck out of his own end. The Devil’s forechecker try to force the puck carrier away from the middle of the ice and towardt he boards. Another checker confront his between the blue line and the red line, while the rest of the Devils pester would-be pass recipients.

The idea is to force bad passing decisions at center ice, decisions that usually result in the puck changing possession.
….
Despite the fact that they knew what the Devils were going to do, the Flyers were unable to counter.
Quote:
NY Daily News - March 23, 1995:

The Devils played the type of game that Jacques Lemaire diagrams in his mind when he sleeps, the style that carried them all last year. They grabbed the lead and unleashed their neutral-zone trap...
Quote:
NY Times - June 22, 1995:

"You can't take away their emotions from being home," Lemaire said. "But I told them they have to be prepared as much as they can. At this stage, they have to know the importance of being ready."

He sequestered his players in a local hotel after they arrived home from Detroit at 2:15 this morning. He allowed the players to go home to their families after brunch today and told them to return to the hotel early this evening.

The Devils have utilized the same formula against the once-favored Red Wings that they have used to leave the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins and Flyers in ashes. Detroit, which had the best regular season in the N.H.L., has never got its high-powered offense in gear.

Yes, there have been injuries to key players, but the Devils' neutral-zone trap, ferocious checking, timely scoring and Brodeur's sparkling goaltending [DOES THAT SOUND LIKE THE VANCOUVER MAROONS, OR WHAT?!?!] have left the Red Wings scratching their heads. They have yet to devise a strategy to counter the Devils' stranglehold on their offensive attack, which has been limited to 17 shots in Game 1 and 18 in Game 2.
Quote:
NY Times - June 16, 1995:

The Devils will employ the same strategy against the Detroit Red Wings that they used to earn their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals.
....

The Devils' style is maddening to opponents. They take away the neutral zone with a trap, which prevents breakouts and lightning rushes up ice. They play a disciplined offense, a suffocating defense and have a terrific goaltender in Martin Brodeur. [sounds like the Vancouver Maroons] Those ingredients eliminated the Bruins, Penguins and Flyers. The Devils will need all those facets of the game to succeed, and more, against a Red Wings team that is arguably the best in the National Hockey League. Game 1 of the four-of-seven-game series is Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Jacques Lemaire will match wits with Detroit Coach Scotty Bowman... This series should be the first time in the playoffs that Lemaire's coaching will be strongly challenged. Lemaire clearly outcoached Brian Sutter of the Bruins and Eddie Johnston of the Penguins, but he was only slightly better than Terry Murray of the Flyers
... and was Lemaire not able to match wits with Bowman? Did he not end up out-coaching Bowman? Was Bowman's superior coaching ability (from an ATD perspective) able make a difference for Detroit in that series?

Anyways, moving on....

Lemaire's Devils had a couple early playoff exits in the years after, in 1997 and 1998, the Devils lost in the 2nd round one year, and then in the 1st round next year. Lemaire took a lot of heat from the fans for the 1st round exit (what a surprise), so he resigned.

Then he took on a job with the expansion team Minnesota Wild in 2000, as the organization's first head coach ever. Obviously, being an expansion team, the Minnesota Wild were terrible. The teams just were never good, their lack of success had nothing to do with Lemaire. He was actually a great coach and added to his legacy in those years. Of the 4 season Lemaire coached the Wild before the lockout, the team finished last in their division 3 times.

However, the 1 year that they managed to squeak into the playoffs as the 7th seed in their conference, they went to the conference finals after upsetting two opponent by coming back from 3-1 series deficits. Lemaire won another Jack Adams trophy that year (2003) as the coach of the year!

Some article clippings from that time...

Quote:
USA Today - December 12, 2002:

Although Lemaire has primarily been respected for his ability to make any team competitive with his disciplined, defensive-minded approach, there were some who turned up their noses at his style. To his critics, Lemaire's coaching style was too drab, too boring. He was viewed like someone wanting to build two-story brick duplexes in a neighborhood of ornamental mansions.

But we have all been reminded this season that Lemaire isn't a defensive coach as much as he just is a winning coach. Given a modest amount of talent, Lemaire can get teams to score more than enough to win.

Former Detroit coach Scotty Bowman, who once coached Lemaire, used to insist that Lemaire's system could really called an offensive system. Even his trapping defense was designed to create turnovers in the defensive zone, and those turnovers often became instant goals. That's the way it worked when Lemaire was in New Jersey. That's the way it's now working in Minnesota.

When you review all the moves made by expansion teams, probably the best one was general manager Doug Risebrough's decision to bring in Lemaire, who has nine Stanley Cup championship rings — eight as a player and one as a coach.

Do you think anyone on the Wild questions Lemaire? As Burke says, "These guys work like dogs for (Lemaire)."

Given poor players, Lemaire can make a team competitive. Given decent players, he can put a team in the playoffs.
Quote:
Houston Chronicle - January 19, 2003:

The Minnesota Wild's third year in the league has yielded far better results than anyone anticipated, including their head coach.

This success, though, should not be that much of a surprise given who's behind the bench.

With the NHL's lowest payroll and several players still finding their way, Jacques Lemaire - who's won a Stanley Cup and taken six of nine teams to the playoffs - might be doing his best coaching job yet.


"The hockey's still the same," said Lemaire, 57, who was hired at this expansion team's inception in 2000.

The expectations are different, however. When Lemaire coached in Montreal and New Jersey, the playoffs were the goal - every year.

Here, it's "to build up for one day to be in the playoffs. You need more patience," Lemaire said.

Construction is well ahead of schedule.
....

Stability ensued, though, and Minnesota took small steps forward in its first two seasons under Lemaire's neutral-zone trap system that demands defense, fundamentals and discipline.

"We love it in the first seven, eight, nine or 10 minutes of a game when we're all over teams," center Jim Dowd said. "They get frustrated. That's what we want."
...

Before he even went looking for one, Risebrough would often think about the qualities that made a good coach. Lemaire's name kept popping in his head.

"I think one of the poorest things done at our level is the teaching aspect," Risebrough said. "You've got to improve people. Try to maximize a player's strength to give him an identity. What you get back from players is a great effort.

"A lot of players have had their best years here."
Lemaire is a great coach, there are very, very few coaches, only 3-5, that I would pick to coach my Vancouver Maroons instead of him. His style is a perfect fit for this Vancouver team, and exactly what I'm looking for.

He is absolutely obsessed with defense, and I love it! Defense wins you championships. He's one of the best defensive tacticians in the history of the game (you could see his style starting to develop in the 80s when he coached the Habs), and his teams rarely give up goals that you don't have to 100% work your ass off for. And if you read all the article quotes I've posted so far, you'd know where he stands offensively as well.


Last edited by hungryhungryhippy: 05-15-2010 at 10:03 PM.
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Old
05-15-2010, 09:54 PM
  #67
Dreakmur
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Originally Posted by hungryhungryhippy View Post
Yeah, but depends on how you view 4th lines. I think they're pretty useless, and they barely ever play (like 5 minutes a night). I'd rather some of my better guys take turns double-shifting with the 4th line for that 5 or so minutes that it plays anyways.

Either way though, all that matters is that Holmstrom isn't playing even strength, just on the PP to go to the front of the net, and he's actually a pretty good asset in that capacity.
But Holmstrom isn't really that good on the PP. This season he was 6th in PP goals, but other than that he has only been in the top 20 one other time.... and it was a multi-way tie for 20th. That is very unimpressive - especially considering the team he played for.

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05-15-2010, 10:03 PM
  #68
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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
But Holmstrom isn't really that good on the PP. This season he was 6th in PP goals, but other than that he has only been in the top 20 one other time.... and it was a multi-way tie for 20th. That is very unimpressive - especially considering the team he played for.
No, Holmstrom's PP scoring numbers aren't terribly impressive. But screening the goalie doesn't show up on the scoresheet. He's played a lot of power play time for the best power play in the league over the past decade, there's a reason for that.

From a chemistry standpoint, it helps that he excels without the puck. If you just pick the five guys with the most power play points for your power play, you could end up with five guys who all do best with the puck on their stick.

That was the reason I put Keith Primeau on my top PP unit over Rod Gilbert in the playoffs of the last ATD. Although I'm not sure if that was well received, so YMMV.

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05-15-2010, 10:04 PM
  #69
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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
But Holmstrom isn't really that good on the PP. This season he was 6th in PP goals, but other than that he has only been in the top 20 one other time.... and it was a multi-way tie for 20th. That is very unimpressive - especially considering the team he played for.
I don't think his value comes in actually scoring goals, but his ability to frustrate and distract opposition goalies and defensemen. One of the big things about him is his ability to stay calm at all times. It is often spoken than he is so disciplined that it is practically impossible to frustrate him into taking penalties. This drives other teams crazy. This is especially important when you're in such a high traffic area as the front of the net, with other guys beating on you. When they see Holmstrom's name on the back of that jersey, they likely put a little extra effort into beating up on him, and perhaps even completely lose focus of everything else because of it, leading to missed assignments and goals for off screens and just general sloppiness. At least, that's the impression I got.

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05-15-2010, 10:29 PM
  #70
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Originally Posted by overpass View Post
No, Holmstrom's PP scoring numbers aren't terribly impressive. But screening the goalie doesn't show up on the scoresheet. He's played a lot of power play time for the best power play in the league over the past decade, there's a reason for that.

From a chemistry standpoint, it helps that he excels without the puck. If you just pick the five guys with the most power play points for your power play, you could end up with five guys who all do best with the puck on their stick.

That was the reason I put Keith Primeau on my top PP unit over Rod Gilbert in the playoffs of the last ATD. Although I'm not sure if that was well received, so YMMV.
There are lots of guys who can do the screening job who have much more skill than Holmstrom.

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05-15-2010, 10:35 PM
  #71
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Defending Lemaire

This is just a rebuttal to TDMM's attacks on Lemaire, which I though were ridiculous. I'm gonna be honest, and tell you that I don't think this post is really very important unless you're personally engaged or interested in Lemaire's legacy/ the coaching debate.

If you're not much of a reader, I'd rather you saved it for my actual arguments about the teams that will come a bit later.

And for the love of God, make sure you read my other post before you read this one. That other one about Lemaire with all the newspaper quotes is A LOT more important.


----------------

Since when did the opinion and speculation of an average fan become legitimate, factual, concrete evidence?

TDMM's post about Lemaire is coming from an obviously upset Devils fan, 2 weeks after his favorite team was upset in 5 games. I think everyone has noticed an increase in his anti-Lemaire sentiment since the Devils got outed. But hey, coaches are always the go-to scape-goats when a team of grown men put together an abysmal effort, right?

This is an emotional time for all fans, and every fan tends to overreact to bad and good playoff runs. You could go over to the Canucks board right now and typically-reasonable people would tell you that they genuinely believe Roberto Luongo is the 2nd coming of Dan Cloutier and a bottom-10 starter in the NHL. So we should drop him down from ATD backup to MLD back-up (not even)... right? But no, we realize that his career value, especially at peak level, warrants him a spot in the ATD, and we don't value his worst years over his bad years, just because they are fresh on our minds. We also don't put too much value into that fan's opinion.

--------------

PART 1: You can't judge a coach by how well his teams played. Players are ultimately the biggest factors in success or failure, not the coaches.

The first thing you'll notice about TDMM's post about Lemaire is that he tries to co-relate Lemaire's success entirely to his team's success. Devils did this... so it's Lemaire's fault, Devils did that.... so it's Lemaire fault, Devils didn't make it past the first round in XXXX year, so it's Lemaire's fault. Devils only scored this many goals in XXXX year, so it's Lemaire's fault.

From the way he talks, you'd think coaches would be the be-all and end-all of every team, and the 1st round picks would all be coaches. They aren't though, they're actually 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 20th, etc.. round picks. Why? Because the guys skating around on the ice for most of the game matter a hell of a lot more than the coaching; the centers, your first and second line wingers, you top 4 defensemen, your goaltending, and in some cases, even your best checkers.

But don't think TDMM doesn't know or realize this, he certainly does. It's just more convenient for him to make coaching sound important when Lemaire's teams did bad, but making coaching sound irrelevant when Lemaire's teams were doing great. There is selective hypocrisy sprinkled throughout his entire post.

When Lemaire's team wins the cup? It's because of the players on the team:

Quote:
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.
When Lemaire's 7th place team comes back from a 3-1 deficit to move on to the conference finals? It's because of the players on the OTHER team:

Quote:
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.
When Lemaire leaves, and the Devils (coached by someone else) still lose in the first round? Well, it's not the coach's (or even the team's) fault this time, it was because someone on the other team out played them:

Quote:
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
There are so many factors that go into deciding a series: the scorers, defensemen, and goalies on both teams. Big playoff performances from marquee players, on both teams. A clutch save or costly goal from center ice that changes the series. Chemistry. Intangibles. Luck. Injuries. Favorable and unfavorable matchups.

-------------

PART 2: Deceiving "facts" that are pointless anyways...

Quote:
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.
.... rofl

I'm guessing this little tidbit is supposed to shock everyone: "omg, every single playoff series?... oh, but wait, SINCE the 1995 cup winner.."

So he simply pushes MORE THAN HALF of Lemaire's team's playoff runs under the rug with "since the 1995 cup winner".

His entire breakthrough analysis and stunning FACT () is based on only 9 of Lemaire's 21 playoff series'.

Furthermore, of the remaining 9 series', 3 were after the lockout, and I don't put any weight on Lemaire's post-lockout career (more on this later though...)

Now get this, of the 6 remaining series' (out of the 21 we started with), 1 of them is an exception to his "every single playoff series", Lemaire's team never went down 3-1 in that series, and actually won! But of course, TDMM yet again, has an excuse for why Lemaire's team won. Notice the theme here? When Lemaire's team wins, he doesn't get any of the credit, but when Lemaire's team loses, the blame rests mostly on his shoulders.

So now we're left with 5 series' where Lemaire's team has gone down 3-1 in a series, but get this, THEY CAME BACK AND WON 2 OF THOSE 5 ANYWAY! So why is it even relevant that the team was down 3-1 in the first place, if they ended up moving on? Speaks pretty highly of those teams actually... the heart, determination, and motivation to come back from a 3-1 defect twice in the same post season.

--------------

PART 3: You need evidence to support an unconventional opinion

Quote:
Jacques Lemaire = Great All-Time Coach or Two-Season Wonder aided greatly by his assistant?
What's the theme here, guys? Yup, you got it...

"When Lemaire's team wins, he doesn't get any of the credit, but when Lemaire's team loses, the blame rests mostly on his shoulders."

TDMM is trying to discredit Lemaire's role and genius in the two most successful and defining years of his coaching career. What's his excuse against Lemaire this time? That the Devil's ASSISTANT coach, was the brains of the coaching staff that year... that Robinson was the key cog when it came to coaching... that Lemaire's success in those years was because of Robinson.

I recently read an article written by an English Professor, about the Shakespeare conspiracy theories (some say he didn't actually write the plays). The thesis of this article was that if you're going to present a theory that goes against common opinion, a stronger burden of proof will always be required. In that scenario, the writer wrote that if other scholars were going to present an argument that toppled Shakespeare from his literary pedestal, their case would have to be incredibly convincing (beyond a reasonable doubt) and they would need lots and lots of strong evidence (the kind that is NOT circumstantial or speculative).

Of course, the consensus opinion has never been that Lemaire needed Robinson when he was coaching the Devils, to the best of my knowledge. In fact, history has always raved about Lemaire's genius during those years.

Example...

Quote:
Joe Pelletier:

Lemaire left the Habs to become head coach of the New Jersey Devils in 1993. Lemaire quickly built the lowly Devils into a Cup contender. In 1994 he was named Coach of the Year. The following year he guided the Devils to the Stanley Cup. For Lemaire, it was his ninth Stanley Cup championship, his first as a coach.

By this time Lemaire was heralded as a top defensive coach in all of hockey, perfecting the stifling neutral zone trap that defined New Jersey and later the Minnesota Wild where he coached for many years, too.
So if TDMM is going to try and take away from Lemaire's success by presenting a theory that Robinson is greatly responsible for the coaching success during those years, he'll need to present a very compelling argument that is supported by strong evidence, not just his own words, opinions, and speculation.

But he hasn't presented a single shred of evidence to support his opinion. No newspaper articles, no professional opinions, no player opinions, etc...


In my last post about Lemaire, I posted a whole slew of quotes that tell you how important Lemaire was to the Devil's success, and a whole bunch of quotes from players like Stevens, LeClair, and Daneyko that tell you what they thought of him during those two big runs.

Also, I should point out that Robinson's career as a head coach is far from impressive, or anything to rave about. Overall, it was actually probably a sub-par coaching career. As TDMM pointed out in his own post, he was soft on his players and failed because of it.

I understand that Robinson was a top-notch assistant coach, but at the end of the day, that's all he was, an assistant coach. I'm sure he helped Lemaire along the way, but that's what all "assistant" coaches do, they assist.

Saying that Robinson "greatly aided" Lemaire's success in those years is complete hyperbole, and suggesting that without Robinson, Lemaire wouldn't have been successful is pure speculation and just ridiculous.

---------------------

PART 4: Not scoring enough?

Quote:
So why have Lemaire teams failed in the playoffs so many times since 1995? They don’t score enough goals.
Well no **** his teams didn't score enough when they lost, that's why they lost! When a team loses in the playoffs, it's always because they either didn't score enough goals, or allowed to many goals against. This isn't a breakthrough revelation or anything.

Also, Lemaire's teams have clearly been able to be successful playing a defense-first style and neutral zone trap....

The crux of TDMM's entire argument here depends on these points:

- Ignoring the the majority of Lemaire's career, and his best years. Only looking at the years where his teams did bad and his argument about low-scoring applies.


- Only looking at the 3 series' he has presented as examples, out of 21, and one of those 3 came after the lock out (NJ vs PHILLY 2010), in the twilight of Lemaire's career, and with a team that TDMM himself admitted had serious problems.

- Then taking those 2 or 3 series where Lemaire's teams "only scored this many goals in this many games", and accepting these numbers out of context and out of relation to other teams, and not considering any other mitigating factors. Don't consider that the team might've just choke or been out played. Don't consider that his team might not have been very good in the first place, or scored that many goals in the first place anyways, don't consider where the team ranked compared to other teams, and don't consider that scoring goes down in the playoffs anyways.

- Finally, take Lemaire's TEAM's abnormally low scoring (for Lemaire) totals in those 2 or 3 years, and SPECULATE that the abnormal lack of scoring (for Lemaire) was a fault of his, and not a fault of his teams.


I should stress that he's once again ignoring the majority of Lemaire's career, and the most successful years of his career. 18 of Lemaire's 21 playoff series' are ignored in his analysis. He ignores the 7 playoff series' in 94 and 95, he ignores the 5 playoff series' in 1984 and 85, and he ignores the 3 playoff series' in 2003.

In 1984, Lemaire's Canadiens scored 42 goals in 15 games (Lemaire insisted on strong defensive play, and had his team doing something similar to the trap)

In 1985, Lemaire's Canadiens scored 43 goals in 12 games (Lemaire insisted on strong defensive play, and had his team doing something similar to the trap)

In 1994, Lemaire's Devils scored 52 goals in 20 games. (playing with the neutral zone trap)

In 1995, Lemaire's Devils scored 67 goals in 20 games. (playing with neutral zone trap)

In 2003, Lemaire's Wild scored 43 goals in 18 games. (playing with the neutral zone trap)

---------------------

PART 5: Before and After the Lock-out, two different eras of hockey....


Like I said before, I don't put any weight in Lemaire's post-lockout career for what it's worth, and not just because these have been the very last years of his career, and he's been past his prime as a coach.

Lemaire's bread and butter was always defense, he was a defense-first coach, who prided his teams on defensive play and goal prevention. Lemaire's biggest legacy as a coach was also his love of the neutral-zone trap. He mastered it in 1994, and continued to utilize for years on every team he coached.

Then the lockout happens... and BAM!

The NHL makes it a priority to increase scoring and kill the neutral-zone trap that Lemaire is largely responsible for making popular.

Scoring becomes the mantra of the NHL, goals, goals, and more goals! The NHL does everything it can to make every game as high scoring as possible. They get rid of obstruction and try and make speed and skill bigger factors, they call as many penalties as they can to get as many PP goals as possible, they make the goalie equipment smaller, they even talk about making the nets bigger!

And what about the neutral zone trap? They completely killed any chance of it's survival in the NHL. I think Lemaire and his role in developing that style of play was one of the biggest on-ice issues during the lockout. It was working for a lot of teams and they wanted it gone because it brought down the entertainment level of the game. They made the neutral zone smaller, and the offensive zones larger. They got rid of the red line and started allowing two line passes through the neutral zone. They started calling any obstruction, so whenever the puck got through the trap and the forwards outnumbered the defensemen waiting at the blueline, they couldn't obstruct them anymore to kill time while the trapping wingers made their way back.

It's my understanding that in the ATD, we assume that a player or coach is playing or coaching in the era that he was most successful in, no? Because otherwise, a lot of the older guys would be lost in today's rules and style of play. Heck, Gordie Howe would probably take a half dozen elbowing penalties every game.


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05-15-2010, 11:08 PM
  #72
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Originally Posted by hungryhungryhippy View Post
PART 5: Before and After the Lock-out, two different eras of hockey....
I think any issues that Lemaire has had post-lockout have more to do with the fact that he's in his sixties and it's harder to adjust. Coaching, for the most part, is a younger man's game. If Lemaire was 40 years old now, maybe he would come up with a different system for the post-lockout era, but at this point he's been coaching for 25 years. Lemaire was the bright new mind with great ideas back in the 80s and 90s, and what he did then is his historical legacy.

Mike Keenan and many other coaches were similar. They were terrific coaches when they first came into the league, with great results and reputations, but two decades later they just weren't as effective. The Scotty Bowmans, who can remain effective for over three decades, are the exception, not the rule.

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05-15-2010, 11:22 PM
  #73
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Originally Posted by overpass View Post
I think any issues that Lemaire has had post-lockout have more to do with the fact that he's in his sixties and it's harder to adjust. Coaching, for the most part, is a younger man's game. If Lemaire was 40 years old now, maybe he would come up with a different system for the post-lockout era, but at this point he's been coaching for 25 years. Lemaire was the bright new mind with great ideas back in the 80s and 90s, and what he did then is his historical legacy.

Mike Keenan and many other coaches were similar. They were terrific coaches when they first came into the league, with great results and reputations, but two decades later they just weren't as effective. The Scotty Bowmans, who can remain effective for over three decades, are the exception, not the rule.
Correct you are...

His age is something I was referring to when I said "twilight of his career" and "past his prime"

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05-15-2010, 11:35 PM
  #74
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Alright, well, I spent a lot more time on Lemaire/the trap than I was planning on spending, but whatever, I think it was worth it in the end because I found some really great quotes about Lemaire and the trap. I hope everyone takes the time to read those article clipping and quotes about Lemaire in post 66, some really good stuff there.

Unfortunately, though, because of how much time I spend on those post, I didn't have enough time to get my other arguments and stuff done. I'm glad that VanI has allowed for so much discussion time though. If Wednesday is voting day, I'll be able to do my arguments by Monday night.

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05-16-2010, 01:09 PM
  #75
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Originally Posted by hungryhungryhippy View Post
Please read this post! I spent a lot of time digging up some of these quotes and I think there's a lot of stuff in this post that reflects really well on Lemaire, and the effectiveness of the trap it it's prime.
None of these newspaper articles show that anything I said was wrong.

I said Lemaire did nothing of note in the playoffs outside of 93-94 and 94-95. So you posted a bunch of articles from the playoffs in 94-95 and then a few about his regular season performances in Minnesota.

If I looked hard enough, I could find lots of newspaper articles praising John Tortorella's "Safe is Death" system in 2004. It doesn't make him an ATD-calibre coach.

Lemaire is an ATD calibre coach because he was an "innovator," but let's not get carried away. He won a single Stanley Cup on his only trip to the finals. He did reach the Conference finals on 3 seperate occasions, but the list of coaches who reached the Conference finals 3 times is undoubtedly quite long.

Quote:
Former Detroit coach Scotty Bowman, who once coached Lemaire, used to insist that Lemaire's system could really called an offensive system. Even his trapping defense was designed to create turnovers in the defensive zone, and those turnovers often became instant goals. That's the way it worked when Lemaire was in New Jersey. That's the way it's now working in Minnesota.
Yes, the NZT can be an offensive system if you run it that way. Larry Robinson in 2000 ran a 1-2-2 NZT, and also allowed the defensemen to join the rush. As a result, the Devils were better offensively than defensively.

Jacques Lemaire, on the other hand, is/was obsessed with defense. He an a passive 1-4 NZT and prohibited the defensemen from joining the rush. Do I really need to post stats of NJ and Minnesota's goals-for and goals-against when Lemaire coached the team?

Lemaire teams traditionally depended on turnovers in the neutral zone to score. If you don't turn the puck over in the neutral zone, his teams aren't going to score very often.


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