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

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Old
05-16-2010, 12:48 PM
  #76
TheDevilMadeMe
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Another Lemaire post - feel free to ignore

I'm not going to respond to all of your points, lest we be here all day. I'm just going to respond to the most aggregious of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hungryhungryhippy View Post
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?
You can try to pretend that my criticism of Lemaire is from these last playoffs, but anyone who actually read my posts before these playoffs saw that I was highly critical of him beforehand.

I also posted articles from 1998 that pretty much supported every criticism I made of Lemaire, and I see you conveniently ignore that.

Quote:

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.
Then why even draft a coach? A coach puts his players in a position to succeed or fail. Then it's up to the players to excecute. If a coach like Lemaire stifles the offense of his team by having his players think defense first, second, and third, then he is putting his players in a position to fail.

Quote:
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:
Coaching is always relevant. It was certainly relevant in 93-94 and 94-95 when the Devils did great. That's why Lemaire is in the ATD. But it was also relevant in all the subsequent years, when Lemaire's teams failed in the playoffs.

Actually, you're the one who has made coaching a big deal in this ATD. You started your last series with a discussion of Lemaire's Neutral Zone Trap. Convenient that you are trying to downplay the effect of coaching now that Lemaire is outmatched behind the bench.

Quote:
PART 2: Deceiving "facts" that are pointless anyways...
You can ROFL all you want. The fact is that Lemaire's playoff record is very pedestrian outside of those 2 years. There is a tendency by the media to portray Lemaire's entire career as an extension of those two years, and I showed that it isn't the case.

Quote:
PART 3: You need evidence to support an unconventional opinion

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.
It was an interplay between Lemaire and Robinson. Lemaire is a stubborn guy who gets all caught up in his systems and can really use an assistant coach who has the ear of the players. Someone like Larry Robinson. In the ATD, Herb Brooks would be a great choice for this role I feel, but there are others.

Either Larry Robinson was really important or Lemaire forgot how to coach after 1995. Which is it?

And stop pretending I'm the only one who thinks this. When Lemaire was hired last summer, there were quite a few posts on the Devil's board along the lines of "well... Mario Tremblay is no Larry Robinson."

If anyone really really wants to see that I'm not alone in crediting Robinson with being the "offensive conscience" of Lemaire, here are 2 posts from longtime Devils fans when Lemaire was hired:

http://hfboards.com/showpost.php?p=2...9&postcount=46
http://hfboards.com/showpost.php?p=2...&postcount=612

Quote:
But he hasn't presented a single shred of evidence to support his opinion. No newspaper articles, no professional opinions, no player opinions, etc...[/B][/COLOR]
I can go searching for articles about how Larry Robinson was regarded as the best assistant coach in the NHL in 1995 later if I have time. He did get hired as head coach of the LA Kings immediately after the 1995 season. I do find the fact that you are questioning my integrity irritating to say the least.

Quote:
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.
Robinson was regarded as the best assistant in the NHL in 1995. How could he not aid Lemaire? And actually, Lemaire being a playoff failure without Robinson is a fact. The reasons why might be speculation, but the failure is a fact.


Quote:
- 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.[/COLOR][/B]
So the two seasons of 93-94 and 94-95 now constitute "the majority of Lemaire's career?" Laughable. My argument is that his teams did virtually nothing in the playoffs outside of those two years.

Quote:
- 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.
Well, considering that every media outlet in the NY/NJ area put the blame on Lemaire in 1998, I'd say that had some weight. Especially since the scoring problems quickly disappeared after Lemaire left the team.

I did post an article from October 1998 on the difficulty NJ's players had in thinking offense.


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Old
05-16-2010, 01:05 PM
  #77
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Lemaire's time in Montreal

Since HHH brought up Lemaire's season+ coaching in Montreal, I figured I'd show how it was actually regarded around the league.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideHockey.com
In 1984, when Habs Coach Bob Berry was fired, Lemaire took over with mixed results: a third round playoff elimination in 1984 and a second round loss in 1985. Lemaire returned to the front office in 1985 and helped the Habs make three Stanley Cup appearances in 1986, 1989, and 1993.
Lemaire's time in Montreal was also noteworthy for driving past-his-prime Guy Lafleur out of town, as Lafleur wouldn't buy into the system.

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05-16-2010, 01:20 PM
  #78
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Tommy Ivan

All this talk of Lemaire. I figured I'd make a brief post about Tommy Ivan.

His full profile is here.

But I'll point out one thing about Ivan and why I drafted him so high as a coach: His teams can win playing any type of game. They were always Top 2 in both offense and defense in the regular season. While that says a lot about all the great players Ivan coached, it also says something about his style of play.

Ivan was known as the coach who brought skating and a more aggressive style of game back into vogue after the great 40s coaches (Irvin, Day, etc) preached a more defensive style of game.

However, Ivan's Wings could certainly play defensively when called upon.

In 1952, Ivan's Wings won with a dominating defensive performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideHockey.com
The Red Wings 1952 Stanley Cup win has to be considered one of the greatest defensive performances in Stanley Cup playoff history—holding their opponents to only five goals scored in eight games
In 1952, Gordie Howe had 7 points in 8 games, which sounds bad, except Gordie Howe was actually tied for the league lead in playoff points that year! (One of 6 times in his career that Howe would lead the playoffs in points).

This shows the commitment that Gordie Howe as a player and Tommy Ivan as a coach have to the defensive side of things, when that is what it takes to win games.

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05-16-2010, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hungryhungryhippy View Post
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.
Excellent. I was counting on this. This is actually something Lemaire would do and is similar to how he overused Bobby Carpenter in the 97 and 98 chokejobs.

Howe will play about 24 minutes a game total. That's 24 minutes of a 60 minute game that Vancouver is pretty much guaranteed not to score. 24 minutes of a 60 minute game where the Swamp Devils will control the play. Can Klukay even handle playing 24 minutes per game?

Klukay is also on the same line as Gary Dornhoefer, who has zero defensive credentials as far as I am aware (in addition to having zero Top 10 finishes in goals, assists, or points). Busher Jackson is going to eat Dornhoefer for lunch.

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05-16-2010, 01:40 PM
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Klukay on Howe

HHH made a big deal of how Klukay held Howe to 2 goals in 1953.

He neglects to mention that Howe also had 5 assists, for 7 points in 6 games.

Considering Howe led the playoffs with 7 points in 8 games in 1952, I fail to see a huge drop in production.

1953 was the first year that Howe was centered by Delvecchio, as the aging Abel had been traded after the 1952 Cup. Ted Lindsay led the Wings with 8 points and Alex Delvecchio had 6 points.

Overall, the new Production Line had 8 goals in 6 games. (4 for Lindsay, 2 each for Howe and Delvecchio). Considering how low scoring the NHL was in the 1950s, it doesn't appear that the Wings lost because of lack of production of their top line.

Klukay himself had 3 points in 11 games that playoff year for the runner up Bruins.

As I said before, Klukay out there for 24 minutes per game means 24/60 minutes when Vancouver is pretty much guaranteed not to score. And Howe will get his points, just like he did against Klukay in 1953.

I also have a feeling that whatever checking line Klukay was on in 1953 had players on it with greater defensive credentials than Gary Dornhoefer.

I said before that Dornhoefer is going to be lost playing a trapping system where he isn't chasing the puck into corners. And now Dornhoefer is going to play 21+ minutes opposite Busher Jackson?

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05-16-2010, 02:12 PM
  #81
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TDMM, post #66 basically shat on every argument you've made about Lemaire and the trap so far, and I'm pretty confident that anyone who read it would have to agree.

You argued that Lemaire is a 2 season wonder aided greatly by his assistant coach, and I showed that he has 4/5 seasons of note. Basically, Lemaire has 10 seasons coached from before the lock out, and he can only really be criticized for 1 of them, no surprise, the one TDMM has zeroed in on, 1998.

I also presented a lot of evidence to show how important, respected, and valued Lemaire was to the Devils of 94/95, but you haven't presented a single shred of evidence to support any of your claims about Robinson.

You've argued that Lemaire's teams can't score in the playoffs, but I showed everyone both numbers and quotes that this wasn't true. In 6 of Lemaire's 7 playoff runs pre-lockout (so 17/18 playoff series'), his teams scored plenty.

In 1984, his Canadiens had 42 goals in 15 games.

In 1985, his Canadiens had 43 goals in 12 games.

In 1994, his Devils scored 52 goals in 20 games.

In 1995, his Devils scored 67 goals in 20 games.

In 1997, his Devils scored 27 goals in 10 games.

In 2003, Wild scored 43 goals in 18 games.

You completely ignored Lemaire's years in Montreal, where Lemaire came in as head coach with 17 games left in the season and turned around a struggling, 4th in their division, Montreal Canadiens team and took them to the Conference Championshps. Lemaire is largely credited with their success:

Quote:
Montreal Gazette:

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.
Lemaire insisted on defense, and had the Habs playing something similar to the trap, so they had kept their opposition to only 17 goals in 11 games at one point, BUT were still able to score 42 goals in 15 games!

Quote:
Montreal Gazette:

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

“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.
You also ignore Lemaire's years in Minnesota when he took on the job of a coaching a brutal young expansion team, and did an amazing job helping the young players on that team. In 2003, the only year that they managed to squeak into the playoffs (as a 7th seed) they staged not one, but two, 3-1 series deficit comebacks, and knocked out the heavily favored Avalanche and Canucks to get to the conference finals. That same year, Lemaire won the Jack Adams trophy for the 2nd time in his career.

Quote:
USA Today:

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:
Houstron Chronicle:

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.
Then we get to 1994/95, two incredibly successful years, and you try and credit Lemaire's accomplishments to his assistant coach Robinson. TDMM HAS MADE SEVERAL COMMENTS ABOUT ROBINSON'S ROLE IN THESE SEASONS BUT HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO SUPPORT A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE. Nothing TDMM has said about Robinson has been supported by credible sources. NOTHING!

I found a whole ton of quotes and article that speak highly of Lemaire's role in those seasons, without even a mention of Larry Robinson:

Quote:
Joe Pelletier:

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.
Quote:
NY Daily News:

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.
Quote:
Scott Stevens:

"It's amazing how everything he says always works. 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. He said something that made so much sense. It's amazing how he helps control our emotions."
Quote:
Bob Carpenter:

"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,"
Quote:
John MacLean:

"He never lets us be satisfied with ourselves, He always seems to push us to the next level."
Quote:
Herald-Journal:

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.
I wanted to keep this post shorter than my last (because it's basically the same thing), so I'm going to stop, but I should point out that there are a whole BUNCH of quotes I left out, including the quotes that repeatedly point out that LEMAIRE's neutral zone trap is the biggest reason for the Devil's success.

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05-16-2010, 02:35 PM
  #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hungryhungryhippy View Post
TDMM, post #66 basically shat on every argument you've made about Lemaire and the trap so far, and I'm pretty confident that anyone who read it would have to agree.
Post 66 did not contain a single quote about how Lemaire-teams performed in the playoffs after 1995. I'm pretty confident that anyone who read it would notice that.

Quote:
You argued that Lemaire is a 2 season wonder aided greatly by his assistant coach, and I showed that he has 4/5 seasons of note. Basically, Lemaire has 10 seasons coached from before the lock out, and he can only really be criticized for 1 of them, no surprise, the one TDMM has zeroed in on, 1998.
Perhaps you should read the newpaper articles I posted, which pointed to a trend in 96, 97, and 98 of Lemaire teams not scoring enough goals to win when things mattered.

Quote:
You've argued that Lemaire's teams can't score in the playoffs, but I showed everyone both numbers and quotes that this wasn't true. In 6 of Lemaire's 7 playoff runs pre-lockout (so 17/18 playoff series'), his teams scored plenty.
5 goals in 5 games in 1997 as Lemaire couldn't adapt to the Ranger's trap. The Devils ran up the score against a sub-.500 Montreal team in the first round, then couldn't score when they faced a team that actually deserved to be in the playoffs. (Though the Rangers were a 7th seed).

12 goals in 6 games against Ottawa in 1998. Ottawa was a terrible team with Damien Rhodes in goal that lost in 5 games in the next round.

In 2003, the Wild scored 2 goals in 4 games against the Mighty Ducks.

In which 2 of these playoff runs would you say that Lemaire's teams scored "plenty?"

Edit: I see you think that Lemaire's teams scored enough in 1997 and 2003. Whatever you say.

Lemaire's teams scored enough in 94 and 95... when he had Larry Robinson as his assistant. There is a long-standing trend of Lemaire teams not scoring enough goals when they needed to in pretty much every year since 1995.


Quote:
You completely ignored Lemaire's years in Montreal, where Lemaire came in as head coach with 17 games left in the season and turned around a struggling, 4th in their division, Montreal Canadiens team to the Conference Championshps. Lemaire is largely credited with their success:
2 years with mixed success in Montreal, 2 years with great success in NJ. Then a long list of good regular seasons and playoff disappointments afterwards, save for one single miracle run in 2003, when his team didn't even reach the finals. That's Lemaire's legacy.

Quote:
Lemaire insisted on defense, and had the Habs playing something similar to the trap, so they had kept their opposition to only 17 goals in 11 games at one point, BUT were still able to score 42 goals in 15 games!
I already said that Lemaire had "mixed success" in his 2 seasons with the Canadiens. I really don't feel like dissecting those two series to see what the matchups were, etc. I assume the numbers wouldn't look nearly so good before the "one point" that you are talking about.

Besides, you're acting like scoring less than 3 goals per game in the high-flying 80s is something to be proud of.

Quote:
You also ignore Lemaire's years in Minnesota when he took on the job of a coaching a brutal young expansion team, and did an amazing job helping the young players on that team. In 2003, the only year that they managed to squeak into the playoffs (as a 7th seed) they staged not one, but two, 3-1 series deficit comebacks, and knocked out the heavily favored Avalanche and Canucks to get to the conference finals. That same year, Lemaire won the Jack Adams trophy for the 2nd time in his career.
Lemaire's run in 2003 was impressive. But the list of coaches with similar runs is very long, starting with Jacques Martin and Peter Laviolette this past season alone.

Quote:
Then we get to 1994/95, two incredibly successful years, and you try and credit Lemaire's accomplishments to his assistant coach Robinson. TDMM HAS MADE SEVERAL COMMENTS ABOUT ROBINSON'S ROLE IN THESE SEASONS BUT HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO SUPPORT A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE. Nothing TDMM has said about Robinson has been supported by credible sources. NOTHING!
I realize you are flailing here, but I really don't appreciate my credibility being questioned as someone who watched virtually every game that Lemaire ever coached in NJ.

Anyway, here's an blurb about Robinson from the LA Kings website. I found it with approximately 30 seconds of searching:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Kings Official Site
Robinson’s future as a coach took on meteoric proportions after New Jersey skated to its best record ever in 1993-94 (47-25-12, 106 points), the second-best mark in the league that year behind the New York Rangers. His influence on the Devils’ defense was apparent as New Jersey gave up 220 goals (79 fewer than the previous season), just two more than league-leading Buffalo. Following the 1994-95 Stanley Cup winning season, Robinson was immediately at the top of everyone’s list as a head coaching-candidate and the Kings strong pursuit of his services convinced him to return to Los Angeles.
http://kings.nhl.com/club/page.htm?bcid=23533


Quote:
I wanted to keep this post shorter than my last (because it's basically the same thing), so I'm going to stop, but I should point out that there are a whole BUNCH of quotes I left out, including the quotes that repeatedly point out that LEMAIRE's neutral zone trap is the biggest reason for the Devil's success.
It was wise to leave out idiotic quotes "that repeatedly point out that LEMAIRE's neutral zone trap is the biggest reason for the Devil's success." Such quotes would be the equivalent of pointing out that Scottie Bowman's left wing lock was the biggest reason for the Red Wings success. In other words, worthless garbage and a discredit to the key players.

Actually, such quotes about Bowman would be better, since he was Detroit's head coach for all 3 Cups before the last lockout, while Lemaire was head coach for only 1 of NJ's 3 Cups.

Lemaire, as head coach, was a big factor in 1995. I think that the Devils did pretty well for themselves after he retired in 1998.


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05-16-2010, 03:33 PM
  #83
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I think this argument about Lemaire has gotten to the point where it's just going to go in circles. I've presented my case for Lemaire, and TDMM presented his case against.

There's no doubt in my mind that anyone who has been following this debate can clearly see who is making a more valid, better-researched argument, and who is making a set of weak attacks that are built on shaky foundations and speculation.

Originally, I just wanted to defend Lemaire against TDMM's attacks, but I think I ended up not only doing that, but coming out with some great quotes and arguments that speak highly of both my coach and the effectiveness of the system (both defensively and offensively) that he crafted to perfection, in New Jersey, in Minnesota, and even in Montreal where you could his system starting to take shape.

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05-17-2010, 01:59 AM
  #84
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Swamp Devils desired matchups

1) Salming-Blake will once again see almost 30 minutes per game, as their mobility and passing ability is of great use against the neutral zone trap.

They will be out there for every shift that Pavel Bure is. Pavel Bure will be one of the few Maroons thinking offense (since he's obviously not going to think defense, despite what his coach may want).

This is the only matchup that the Swamp Devils will stick to strictly. Jacque Lemaire obsesses with defensive matchups, but not offense matchups, so I’ll assume that I’ll have this matchup at will. See Zack Parise having to play every even strength shift in the playoffs with Chris Pronger all over him.

2) Above all else, the Swamp Devils will distribute ice time to the forward lines according to skill. The first line gets 21 minutes, etc. Let Jacques Lemaire confuse his players by over-linematching.

3) Obviously I relish the idea of getting either of NJ’s scoring lines out there against Vancouver’s 4th line or bottom defensive pair. I can just picture Gordie Howe / Vladimir Martinec skating through/around Tomas Holmstrom or Kevin “oops” Hatcher. Paul Reinhart is no defensive wiz, himself.

But the best way to beat a Lemaire-coached team is to use his obsession with defensive matchups against him, so…

4) NJ will: Double shift Howe to both 3rd and 4th lines, trying to be as unpredictable as possible. Tommy Ivan surely has the strategic acumen to pull this off and Howe can surely handle the extra ice time.

This does two things:

a) Mostly important, it gets the reactive Jacques Lemaire to pull his scoring lines off the ice, so that the zero-offense Klukay-Luce-Dornhoefer line is on the ice, basically stopping Vancouver’s offense for me. It also disrupts the flow of Vancouver’s offense when his scoring lines can’t take full shifts at a time.

This is something that Jacques Lemaire would actually do, as much of his criticism after the 1998 loss to #8 Ottawa stemmed from the fact that he gave defensive specialist Bobby Carpenter more ice time than any forward but Doug Gilmour, even when the team was trailing late in a game. Pulling his scoring lines off the ice to linematch the checkers, even when his team was down a goal.

Howe will play at least 23 minutes. He’ll play more if he can handle it, as this is the final round. Lemaire is really going to tire out his checkers if he expects them to play that kind of minutes.

b) Those times that Howe actually does get out there against Kevin “Oops” Hatcher, I like NJ’s chances.


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05-17-2010, 02:35 AM
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Swamp Devils Game Plan

In general

-NJ's group of mobile puck moving defensemen will get the puck quickly up ice before Lemaire's trap will take form. Borje Salming finished 4th in a Coach's Poll in 1979 for "best passer" and 2nd in 1979 for "best skater;" this includes all players, not just defensemen. Blake, Siebert, and Leduc are all also known for their ability to move the puck up ice.

-The two scoring lines will play a dump and chase game whenever possible.

If anyone is obsessing about the Trap still, this article talks about how to break it with an aggressive dump and chase game:
http://www.fromtherink.com/2010/4/15...tral-zone-trap

-The two checking lines will play a "dump and trap" game similar to Lemaire's own trap. Tommy Ivan was a strategist whose teams played at both ends of the ice, so I think he has the strategic acumen to pull this off.

First line

The first line will play an aggressive dump and chase game, similar to the one that the actual Production Line under Tommy Ivan used.

They will use their size and speed to blow by or blow through Vancouver's defensemen.

I assume Guy Lapointe is going to be opposite Gordie Howe most of the time in this series. NJ's top line will dump the puck into Guy Lapointe's corner at every possible opportunity, and Gordie Howe (or whoever is going into the corner with Lapointe) will be instructed to hit him as hard as possible at every possible opportunity. Considering Lapointe is also playing the full PP, by the end of the series, I really expect him to be worn down. If the 2nd pair is out there against NJ's top line, Reinhart (also playing the full PP and nothing special defensively) will get similar treatment.

This does two things:

1) Most immediately, it results in turnovers, which can then be passed to linemates for great scoring chances. This was the bread and butter of the original Production Line. All 3 players on NJ's Top line can shoot or pass, so the line will be effective, no matter who creates the turnovers. Howe and Abel, in particular, are beasts in the corners.

2) On a longer term scale, it really wears down Vancouver's defensemen, especially Guy Lapointe (the primary target of Howe's hitting). The neutral zone trap puts a lot of pressure on the defensemen and their ability to hold the blue line, so as they get worn down, it opens up space in the neutral zone for NJ's offense.

Second line

NJ's second line will also play a form of the dump-and-chase. Tkachuk will of course try to go through the defensemen, but Martinec and Savard will use their speed to try to go around the Vancouver's defensemen. I assume that NJ's second line will spend a lot of time out there against Paul Reinhart, which means plenty of opportunities to skate right around him to retrieve the puck.

As Vancouver's defense gets worn down by NJ's top line as the series goes along, I expect NJ's second line to become more and more effective.

Denis Savard’s ability to draw the defense to him before circling back (the Savardian spin-o-rama named after Serge but popularized further by Denis) is a great method of trap breaking if used properly. Savard has the creativity and passing ability to draw the trap to him, then make a quick back pass to a puck-moving defensemen, who can then feed the puck up quickly to a streaking Martinec on the opposite side of the ice. This is the "puck possession" way of beating the trap.


Third and fourth lines (two checking lines)

These lines will play conservative, traplike hockey, preferably against the Schmidt and Gilmour lines (though they will not be strictly matched in a way that takes away from the ice time of NJ's scoring lines). Every member of NJ’s 3rd line is excellent defensively, and every member of the 4th line is very good at the two-way game.

Vancouver will be trapping themselves, of course. Anyone who watched hockey in the late 90s knows what happens when two teams trap at the same time: zzzzz. Two teams sitting back, neither initiating, both waiting for the other one to make a mistake that rarely comes.

This is basically how the 7th seeded Rangers beat the 2nd seeded Lemaire-coached Devils in only 5 games in 1997, holding the Devils to only 5 goals:

"Last spring, when the Rangers upset the Devils in the second round, Lemaire seemed unable to adapt when the Rangers surprised him with a neutral-zone trap similar to his own." (from the longer NY Times excerpt in Post 38).

The goal is to turn the shifts of the Schmidt and Gilmour line into back and forth trapfests with very few scoring chances either way.


If Vancouver relies on neutral zone turnovers to score, the goal then is obviously not to make any.


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05-17-2010, 05:37 PM
  #86
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I have a set of strong arguments on the way. I'm done about half of them, but want to add a little bit more support for my arguments before I post them.

I promise to have my case done by 8 o'clock.

I realize that TDMM has already posted a lot, so most of you are viewing this series through New Jersey's eyes, and letting that shape your opinions.

Please try and keep you mind fresh and open before taking sides, though. Hear what I have to say and view the dynamic of the series through Vancouver's eyes before forming any sort of an opinion. You might see things differently.

I just hope this isn't a case of too little, too late.

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05-17-2010, 07:17 PM
  #87
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The Vancouver Maroon Gameplan

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's forward group is more versatile and multi-dimensional, Vancouver wins 2/3 of the line match-ups (secondary scoring), Vancouver will most likely dominate the neutral-zone because of their style of play, Vancouver is a better team defensively, Vancouver has a superior goalie, and Vancouver has a special teams advantage as well.

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-Reinhart = 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!


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05-17-2010, 07:20 PM
  #88
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I didn't get as much done as I wanted to... but I posted my game plan, and now I'll make a post about the trap and Vancouver's biggest asset, team defense.

It's a start, better than nothing. I will definitely make all the posts I said I would at the end of my last post before voting day. If anything seems questionable to you, or you're interested in seeing me support that argument, just be patient, I plan on doing all that.

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05-17-2010, 07:21 PM
  #89
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Team Defense + The Neutral Zone Trap

I want to start this discussion with a quote about the effectiveness of the trap when the New Jersey Devils of 1995 won the Stanley Cup. This quote epitomizes the Vancouver Maroons and their style of play:

Quote:
New York Times, 1995:

Detroit, which had the best regular season in the N.H.L., has never got its high-powered offense in gear...

the Devils' neutral-zone trap, ferocious checking, timely scoring and Brodeur's sparkling goaltending have left the Red Wings scratching their heads...

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.
Doesn't that just sound to you like how the Vancouver Maroons play?

The neutral zone trap? Jacques Lemaire. Check.

Ferocious checking and suffocating defense? Gilmour, Schmidt, Klukay, Luce, Fleury, Bailey. Check.

Disciplined offense? A core team virtue. Check.

Timely scoring? Clutch players like Gilmour, Fleury, and Schmidt. Check.

Sparkling goaltending?
Patrick freaking Roy! Check.

Vancouver's biggest asset as a team is their strong defensive play. They are a tremendous defensive team and one of the best at preventing scoring opportunities. They think defense first and always make it a priority to be as good in their own end of the ice as they are in the other end. Not only does Vancouver play a smart, responsible, cautious, meticulous, defensive brand of hockey, and not only do they have a coach that was the best defensive tactician of his era, but they have incredible two-way forwards throughout the lineup. At least 2 of the 3 players on all the top lines are guys that were committed to the defensive aspect of the game.

Milt Schmidt who was the "Trottier or Yzerman of his era", Doug Gilmour who was the poster boy two-way forward of the 90s and has five top-6s in Selke voting, Fleury who is another pesky, gritty defensive forward with two top-5s in Selke voting, Ace Bailey who was one of the game's "fiercest defensive players" and a "great shadow", and Klukay and Luce who are two top-notch checking line players.

These players can be depended on to always be in great defensive position, always make the effort to back-check, have smart positioning in the defensive zone, make smart defensive plays, keep up with and check their forwards in the defensive zone, and block shots or do whatever it takes to make Patrick Roy's job easier.

Such tremendous defensive ability and commitment to defense should not be overlooked or underrated, because as they say, defense wins championships!


Now, regarding the trap...

How is the trap going to help Vancouver?

- It forces my team to be more conservative and defensively conscious (what I want). It makes my team stronger defensively.

- It reduces the chances of making costly defensive errors or trading chances and 3-on-2s with the other team.

- It helps my team eat away at valuable minutes by either trapping the flow of the game in the neutral zone or forcing both teams to spend a lot of time dumping and chasing pucks. This is going to be very important for Vancouver when it comes preventing damage against the NJ top line.

- The Neutral-Zone trap is notorious for being able to aggravate and frustrate other teams, it can help throw teams of their game and sometimes take unnecessary penalties.

- It'll force plenty of turnovers, and Vancouver's speedy 1st line wingers, especially Pavel Bure, will get glorious chances to utilize their speed and capitalize on 1-on-1 opportunities, or even a couple partial breakaways.

How will the trap effect New Jersey's forward lines?

- New Jersey's 2nd line is really going to suffer in this kind of a dull, defensive game where Vancouver's players are going to pack into the neutral zone and trap the puck carrier. NJ's 2nd line is NOT adept at dumping and chasing! This is NOT the kind of game a Denis Savard centered line should ever have to play. This line needs time, space, and opportunities to freely carry the puck through the neutral zone to be effective. They will have neither of those 3. Also, NJ's 2nd line relies on Savard to bring the puck up ice, but Lemaire's systems have traditionally made it a priority to attack the center:

Quote:
Montreal Gazette, 1984:

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.
Overall, I think the effectiveness of his 2nd line will be greatly reduced.

NJ's 1st line will definitely fare better against the trap than the 2nd line. However, I still think that there are a few things the trap can really help with when Vancouver tries to limit that line's damage.

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05-17-2010, 08:33 PM
  #90
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Originally Posted by hungryhungryhippy View Post
Doesn't that just sound to you like how the Vancouver Maroons play?

The neutral zone trap? Jacques Lemaire. Check.

Ferocious checking and suffocating defense? Gilmour, Schmidt, Klukay, Luce, Fleury, Bailey. Check.

Disciplined offense? A core team virtue. Check.

Timely scoring? Clutch players like Gilmour, Fleury, and Schmidt. Check.

Sparkling goaltending?
Patrick freaking Roy! Check.
Notice who Vancouver is failing to mention? Pavel Bure, one of the worst defensive players of all time, and probably the second worst defensive player in the entire ATD after Gordie Drillion.

Frankly, I find the idea of Pavel Bure playing for Jacques Lemaire to be hilarious. Will Lemaire sit Bure on the bench after he spends entire shifts cherrypicking? Given the lack of strength that Vancouver has on the wings, it might be a bad idea. But I could see Lemaire doing it. Assuming that GM hungryhungryhippy is forcing Lemaire to play Bure, what happens?

If Lemaire can't sit Bure, he has to let him just do whatever the hell he wants. Does anyone think that the other players on Vancouver will be happy if Bure receives such preferential treatment? If players like Schmdit and Gilmour have to hold back their offense to play cautiously, how do you think the team will feel if the likes of Bure is treated differently? Sounds like a locker room rift waiting to happen.

Quote:
- The Neutral-Zone trap is notorious for being able to aggravate and frustrate other teams, it can help throw teams of their game and sometimes take unnecessary penalties.
Do you have any proof of this? The Lemaire-era Devils were at the bottom of the league in both PPs for and against! I think the reason is pretty obvious - when they aren't forechecking, there is less opportunity for contact.

Quote:
[B][COLOR="Red"]NJ's 2nd line is NOT adept at dumping and chasing!
The dump and chase isn't exactly a complicated system. You can chase after the puck with speed, just as easily as you can with size.

Frankly, I think NJ's 2nd line is more adept at dumping and chasing than Bure is at a defensive system.

Quote:
] Also, NJ's 2nd line relies on Savard to bring the puck up ice, but Lemaire's systems have traditionally made it a priority to attack the center:
If anyone carries the puck up ice on NJ's second line, it will be the defensemen. And the idea that Martinec can't bring the puck up ice (if NJ was playing a puck possession game) is just bizarre. I explained the puck possession version of breaking the trap, something fantastic passers like Savard, Salming, and Martinec would be very proficient in.

But I think this line will be okay on the dump-and-chase. While Keith Tkachuk's goal scoring dried up in the playoffs for the final 2/3 of his career, his physical play didn't. And Vancouver's 2nd line doesn't exactly have a dominating physical presence on it.

Also, these players are going against Reinhart. Reinhart was pretty average defensively in the NHL by all accounts, but he's going against players who were offensive superstars of their eras on NJ's second line. Denis Savard played at the same time as Reinhart and no coach in his right might would match Reinhart against a guy who routinely challenged for the league lead in points for non-Gretzkys.

And I think Martinec is in the same class as Savard offensively.


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05-17-2010, 08:46 PM
  #91
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not only do they have a coach that was the best defensive tactician of his era,
I missed this post the first time around and want to point out once again that you are overrating Jacques Lemaire if you think he "was the best defensive tactician of the era. Period." It's far from settled.

What makes Lemaire better than Pat Burns? Burns has a longer, more consistent track record of success. Players who used to play for Lemaire have given him mixed reviews, while almost anyone who ever played for Burns raved about him. (Tie Domi said without hesitation that Burns was the best coach he ever played for when asked. And yes, I know Domi never played for Lemaire). The list of goaltenders and defensemen who improved greatly under Burns is long. In my opinion, Lemaire is a clear step down from Pat Burns.

What makes Lemaire better than Ken Hitchcock? I think they have had pretty similar careers so far. Both in the 20-25 range of coaches in the ATD, in all likelihood.

Tommy Ivan, on the other hand, is rated between 4 and 9 by pretty much every student of the game who has rated coaches.

Jacques Lemaire is outmatched behind the bench, possibly by a lot.


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05-17-2010, 10:16 PM
  #92
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I find the idea of Pavel Bure playing for Jacques Lemaire to be hilarious. Will Lemaire sit Bure on the bench after he spends entire shifts cherrypicking?
I thought I'd never see Lemaire coach Ilya Kovalchuk, a similar offensive-minded only player. And Lemaire gave Ilya LOADS of ice time. And Ilya got 27 points in 27 games and led all Devils in playoff scoring with 6 points in 5 games when no one else really stepped up and the team was bounced first round in '10.

EVERY team can accommodate a Pavel Bure type extreme talent. Like every team can take a Coffey. The skating and one on one deking and scoring ability simply are too good to pass up. THREE players on a line are NOT needed to backcheck!!! One guy backchecking, or two, happens at times. When the puck is deep in the defensive zone a forward can play up high by the point to cut off an opposing dman pass and anticipate a turnover to surge up ice in transition. Bue did this alot and if his linemates are defensively well coached they can easily cover for his style of play.

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05-17-2010, 10:18 PM
  #93
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If you're going to force the ther team to dump the puck in, you better be sure you can get to it first.

While I wouldn't say your defense group is slow, they aren't fast either. New Jersey's forechecking forwards are faster than Vancouver's defensemen, so dumping and chasing would be quite effective.

Alternatively, a strong puck-handling goalie could bust the dump and chase tactic. Martin Brodeur was vital in Lemaire's trapping style. Patrick Roy, from what I remember, wasn't great with the puck, so he won't be much help there.

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05-18-2010, 12:02 AM
  #94
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have you guys voted yet


when is the vote due?

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05-18-2010, 01:27 AM
  #95
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
I thought I'd never see Lemaire coach Ilya Kovalchuk, a similar offensive-minded only player. And Lemaire gave Ilya LOADS of ice time. And Ilya got 27 points in 27 games and led all Devils in playoff scoring with 6 points in 5 games when no one else really stepped up and the team was bounced first round in '10.

EVERY team can accommodate a Pavel Bure type extreme talent. Like every team can take a Coffey. The skating and one on one deking and scoring ability simply are too good to pass up. THREE players on a line are NOT needed to backcheck!!! One guy backchecking, or two, happens at times. When the puck is deep in the defensive zone a forward can play up high by the point to cut off an opposing dman pass and anticipate a turnover to surge up ice in transition. Bue did this alot and if his linemates are defensively well coached they can easily cover for his style of play.
Kovalchuk basically got the "Guy Lafleur exception" like how Bowman basically let Lafleur do whatever he wanted while the rest of the team played the system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ.com
Lemaire’s need to constantly juggle line combinations was questioned by some players and Ilya Kovalchuk’s freewheeling individual freedom and quarterbacking on the power play did not sit well with others.
The above quote is from this article, which highlights some of the issues that the dysfunctional Devils had going into these past playoffs. Reading between the lines, I think it was pretty obvious that some players on the team didn't appreciate the fact that they had to play a strict system all year, then Kovalchuk was brought in from outside and allowed freedom that they weren't.

It goes against everything Lemaire did pre-lockout, too. I found a quote while searching for something else where a player (I think Bobby Holik) was raving that one of Lemaire's strengths is that you knew what he expected of you - the same thing he expected of everyone. And if you didn't buy into the system, you didn't play, no matter who you were. I can't find the quote right now though. But that is how I remember Jacques coaching, that is until he had to find a way to integrate Kovalchuk into the lineup.

Anyway, this isn't really that important to this series at this point. I just wanted to show where I was coming from.

I'm pretty sure we'll be reminded soon about how much Tkachuk sucked in the playoffs, so I figured it was fair to remind everyone about just how godawful Pavel Bure was without the puck on his stick.


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05-18-2010, 12:17 PM
  #96
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PIMs under Jacques Lemaire (and Ivan)

Just to back up what I said earlier, here are the team powerplay for and against a selection of Lemaire's seasons in the league.

It seems like the truth is between what HHH and I were saying earlier:

NHL.com stats only go back to 97/98. That's the source I'm using for the following: In 97/98 (Lemaire's last year in NJ the first time around; Devils were 1st in the East):

The Devils were last in the league in PP Opportunities by a large margin with 158. 2nd last had 174 and 3rd last had 175. The Devils were 3rd last in times shorthanded at 142. 1st and 2nd had 138 and 141. 4th was well behind the 3 most disciplined teams, at 165 times shorthanded. That supports what I remember of Lemaire-coached teams in NJ: always at the bottom of the league in both.

But in Minnesota, it was much more mixed. In 01-02, the Wild were 2nd in PP for and 16th in PP against (lower is better). In Lemaire's Jack Adams winning season (02-03), they were 14th in PP for, but 27th best in PP against (best were the Burns-coached Devils). But then in 03-04, the Wild are back to the trend of Lemaire teams in NJ: 25th in PP for and 28th in PP again. In 05-06, the Wild were 22nd in PP for and 25th in PP against.

I'm leaving out Lemaire's 1st year with the Wild, because I think that's not enough time for a coach to install discipline; indeed the Wild were near the top on the league in times shorthanded.

What's the trend? Lemaire-coached teams were usually incredibly disciplined. But the number of PPs they actually drew usually ranged from average to below average, and was often near the bottom.

Tommy Ivan-coached teams were also noteworthy for their discipline:

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideHockey.com
One aspect of that hockey intelligence was the ability of Ivan’s Red Wings to avoid the penalty box. Unlike Montreal and Toronto who finished at the top in team penalty minutes, Ivan’s Red Wings usually finished near the bottom.
That's why I said earlier that I think special teams will be less of a factor than in most series. Anyway, carry on.


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05-18-2010, 04:10 PM
  #97
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1) I didn't mention Bure because he had no relevance in that section. I don't if you noticed this or not, but I was only checking off the virtues that were named in the article.

2) VanI already basically said everything I would've said about Bure's teammates covering for him defensively. However, I also want to point out that "probably the 2nd worst defensive player of all-time" is extreme hyperbole. Bure is just the typical winger that doesn't make a concerted effort to back-check because he's more interested in trying to score as many goals as possible. There are more than a handful of players that fall into this category and are ultimately just as useless defensively. He's really no different than, say Ovechkin.

3)
Quote:
TDMM:

I'm pretty sure we'll be reminded soon about how much Tkachuk sucked in the playoffs, so I figured it was fair to remind everyone about just how godawful Pavel Bure was without the puck on his stick.
... and I'd like to remind everyone that THIS^, and his short career are the only reasons Bure goes about at least a 100 spots lower than he would otherwise. In terms of pure goal-scoring ability, Bure ranks next to guys like Mike Bossy. Bure was only able to play 70+ games in 5 seasons, and in those 5 seasons he finished top-5 in goals every single year and won 3 Rocket Richard trophies. That's one helluva peak...

Not to mention, Bure is arguably THE fastest skater ever. I hate when people use this as hyperbole... but Bure literally blew by defensemen and skated circles around other players. In a series where the puck will spend a lot of time going back and forth through the neutral zone, Bure is probably the single most dangerous player in the series. No one, not even Howe, will have the ability to strike so suddenly and so quickly.


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05-18-2010, 04:12 PM
  #98
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I'm going out now, but I'll be around tonight from 8-12 to debate with you TDMM.

I'll also write up the rest of my arguments then and make closing comments, so don't vote yet guys.

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05-18-2010, 04:35 PM
  #99
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he's more interested in trying to score as many goals as possible. There are more than a handful of players that fall into this category and are ultimately just as useless defensively. He's really no different than, say Ovechkin.
This is just flat out wrong. Ovechkin doesn't put much effort into the defensive side of things, but he's usually at least in the same general vicinity as the puck. Bure was definitely the least interested player defensively that I have ever watched.

"2nd worst in the ATD" is probably wrong though. I forgot about Bobrov, definitely worse than Bure from what I've read. Maybe a few others. There are probably some pre-forward pass guys like Babe Dye who are in Bure's class. Pavel Bure is in a class by himself among modern players in terms of cherry picking, I think.

Quote:
Not to mention, Bure is arguably THE fastest skater ever. I hate when people use this as hyperbole... but Bure literally blew by defensemen and skated circles around other players. In a series where the puck will spend a lot of time going back and forth through the neutral zone, Bure is probably the single most dangerous player in the series. No one, not even Howe, will have the ability to strike so suddenly and so quickly.

Good thing that I have Salming on my team.

In that 1979 coach's poll that I love to reference, he finished 2nd for "best skater" in hockey behind Guy Lafleur.

Salming-Blake will be on the ice for every shift that Pavel Bure is on the ice. Salming is the guy playing opposite Bure. His speed, aggression, and defensive ability is key to controlling Bure. And his passing ability will be key to getting the puck quickly up to NJ's forwards to try to catch Bure cherrypicking.

Again, I'm not sure how Bure on a Lemaire team will work. There's no way in hell he'll be allowed to play like he did in Florida, where he led the league in goals twice by a wide margin while cherrypicking like crazy. I'll assume that Bure will have to play more cautiously on Lemaire's team, which does make him less of a liability defensively, but also reduces his goal totals to some extent.

And I realize it's Vancouver's gameplan to spend a lot of time mucking up the neutral zone. But it's NJ's gameplan for the top line(s) to play an aggressive dump and chase game. And in an aggressive dump and chase game, I think Howe is clearly the most dangerous player in the series (followed by Jackson and Abel).


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05-18-2010, 05:55 PM
  #100
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Quote:
but Bure literally blew by defensemen and skated circles around other players
the logo at center ice doesn't count as a player



sorry...

Quote:
"2nd worst in the ATD" is probably wrong though. I forgot about Bobrov, definitely worse than Bure from what I've read. Maybe a few others. There are probably some pre-forward pass guys like Babe Dye who are in Bure's class. Pavel Bure is in a class by himself among modern players in terms of cherry picking, I think.
Even Dye I can give some credit thanks to LF's work in this draft. But Bobrov would be my #1 for sure. Bure is close.

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