2019 OPPF Divisional Final series: San Jose Rubber Puckies vs. Pittsburgh Professionals

Discussion in 'All Time Draft' started by VanIslander, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Divisional Final :


    San Jose Rubber Puckies

    coach Tommy Ivan

    Paul Kariya - Howie Morenz - Gordie Howe (A)
    John LeClair - Cyclone Taylor - Patrick Kane
    Craig Ramsey - Anze Kopitar - Glenn Anderson
    Clark Gillies - Peter Stastny - Dino Ciccarelli

    Eddie Gerard (C) - Eddie Shore
    Borje Salming - Valeri Vasiliev (A)
    Art Coulter - Cy Wentworth

    Martin Brodeur
    Curtis Joseph


    vs.


    Pittsburgh Professionals

    coach Toe Blake

    Syd Howe - Sidney Crosby (C) - Maurice Richard
    Doug Bentley - Peter Forsberg - Brett Hull
    Keith Tkachuk - Joe Malone - Daniel Alfredsson (A)
    Claude Giroux - John Madden - Bob Bourne

    Slava Fetisov - Tim Horton (A)
    Ching Johnson - Al MacInnis
    Jim Schoenfeld - Sergei Zubov

    Frank Brimsek
    Braden Holtby


     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
  2. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Rubber Puckies

    PP1: Taylor - Morenz - Howe - Shore - Kariya
    PP2: Ciccarelli - Stastny - Kane - Salming - Vasiliev

    PK1: Kopitar - Ramsey - Gerard - Coulter - Brodeur
    PK2: Morenz - Howe - Salming - Shore - Brodeur


    vs.


    Professionals

    PP1: Hull - Crosby - Richard - MacInnis - Zubov
    PP2: Tkachuk - Forsberg - Malone - Bentley - Fetisov

    PK1: Madden - Alfredsson - Fetisov - Horton - Brimsek
    PK2: Howe - Bourne - Schoenfeld - Johnson - Brimsek
     
  3. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Matching 10 minute misconducts to Maurice Richard and Eddie Shore. :laugh:
     
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  4. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    And two minutes for roughing when Gordie belts Bentley or Giroux on the head for checking too closely, or two for elbowing Horton. Ching, thankfully, has a long stick to pokecheck from a meter away. ;)
     
  5. ImporterExporter

    ImporterExporter I troll harder than Poppy

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    I think you mean Shore x2 if we're talking the garden variety 10 minute misconducts :naughty:
     
  6. ImporterExporter

    ImporterExporter I troll harder than Poppy

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    Pittsburgh will be making lineup changes:


    Malone to 2LW
    -Adds high end offense while being solid defensively. He'll give Forsberg some coverage to do his thing in the corners and also adds a lot of goal scoring prowess to keep the pressure off Hull.

    Bentley to 3C
    -Matches up very well with Morenz. As a complete player he possessed elite speed, and was noted as one of the most ferocious back checkers of his era. 2 things you'll need to stick with Morenz.

    Madden to 3LW
    -Going to shadow Howe. You need somebody who has the heart of a lion, balls of steel, and high end defensive ability to go up against Howe. Madden has that. TDMM pointed out in the 2014 ATD that Madden would play LW off and on throughout his career and there wasn't any noticeable drop off in his defensive ability. Shifted out to LW to play against Jagr for example. So it makes far too much sense for Mr. Blake to put the best pure defensive F on San Jose's best player. He'll still take most of the draws in the dot.

    Tkachuk to 4LW
    -He'll drop down to the 4th line as he did in the Montreal series.

    Giroux to 4C
    -Moving over to C. He's elite in the dot and face offs are one of those little things that Pittsburgh wants to be above the bar on. Should play nicely as a heavily slanted playmaker with a big bodied, strong, and high end goal scorer (relative to a bottom 6 role) in Tkachuk on his LW.

    New Lineup

    Syd Howe - Sidney Crosby (C) - Maurice Richard
    Joe Malone - Peter Forsberg - Brett Hull
    John Madden - Doug Bentley - Daniel Alfredsson (A)
    Keith Tkachuk - Claude Giroux - Bob Bourne

    Slava Fetisov - Tim Horton (A)
    Ching Johnson - Al MacInnis
    Jim Schoenfeld - Sergei Zubov

    Frank Brimsek
    Braden Holtby


    Special Teams

    PP1: Hull - Crosby - Richard - MacInnis - Zubov
    PP2: Tkachuk - Forsberg - Malone - Bentley - Fetisov

    PK1: Madden - Alfredsson - Fetisov - Horton - Brimsek
    PK2: Howe - Bourne - Schoenfeld - Johnson - Brimsek
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
  7. ImporterExporter

    ImporterExporter I troll harder than Poppy

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    @TheDevilMadeMe

    Looking forward to this one sir. Like BB, you are as good as it gets when it comes to these things so it's always an honor.
     
  8. The Macho Man

    The Macho Man Lusty Bodychecker

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    I still can't believe you pulled off a top-line of Howe-Morenze.
     
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  9. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Neither of whom likes to pass, both of whom LEGENDARILY love to hold onto the puck.

    Add Bobby Hull to the line and it would by wholly uncredible!
     
  10. Hawkey Town 18

    Hawkey Town 18 Registered User

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    I don't remember ever hearing this about Howe...I know assists aren't the only thing to look at, but he led the NHL in assists 3 times and has over 15 seasons in the top-5

    Morenz used to have that reputation, but I think that's been pretty clearly debunked by bios from myself and @Dreakmur
     
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  11. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    For most of his career, Gordie Howe played the game in the offensive zone much like a center, acting as the primary puck possession player and distributor for his line. You don't get assist finishes that look like this if you don't pass:

    1947-48 NHL 28 (9th)
    1948-49 NHL 25 (7th)
    1949-50 NHL 33 (5th)
    1950-51 NHL 43 (1st)
    1951-52 NHL 39 (3rd)
    1952-53 NHL 46 (1st)
    1953-54 NHL 48 (1st)
    1954-55 NHL 33 (9th)
    1955-56 NHL 41 (4th)
    1956-57 NHL 45 (4th)
    1957-58 NHL 44 (4th)
    1958-59 NHL 46 (3rd)
    1959-60 NHL 45 (3rd)
    1960-61 NHL 49 (3rd)
    1961-62 NHL 44 (4th)
    1962-63 NHL 48 (3rd)
    1963-64 NHL 47 (4th)
    1964-65 NHL 47 (2nd)
    1965-66 NHL 46 (4th)
    1966-67 NHL 40 (6th)
    1967-68 NHL 43 (8th)
    1968-69 NHL 59 (3rd)


    I think he's the perfect fit for Howie Morenz, as Joliat played a similar role for Morenz in real life. Morenz, driving the net recklessly, while Joliat brought the puck up ice.

    _______________________________

    The idea of Gordie Howe not being much of a passer is flat out crazy to me. Statistically, he was the best passer of the entire Original 6 era.

    And in the playoffs? As of the 1967 expansion, Gordie Howe was 1st All-time with 91 playoff assists. 2nd place was a tie between Beliveau and Delvecchio with 67: Player Season Finder | Hockey-Reference.com

    If anything, Howe became even more of a passer in the playoffs than in the regular season.
     
  12. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    I don't think Morenz's reputation was ever a guy who held on to the puck, was it? If he had a "stigma," it was that he was more of a shooter than a passer, something that was probably exaggerated. But even if it was totally true? He's playing next to the best playmaking winger of all-time in Gordie Howe.
     
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  13. ImporterExporter

    ImporterExporter I troll harder than Poppy

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    Yeah, I think Howe is a great fit for Morenz. He's like the Hulk version of Joliat but probably a little less impactful defensively while being miles better offensively of course.

    Kariya seems a bit strange at LW to me but that's probably more of the era gap between him and the other 2 guys.
     
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  14. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    I actually like this line better than when you had Bentley there, because Malone isn't as soft as Bentley. That said, you are still relying on the injury-prone Forsberg to carry the physical load against a very physical San Jose defense.

    Bentley was a complete player except for one thing - he was very small in size and could be pushed around. Ed Sandford famously pushed around the Bentley brother in the playoffs in his career season. Sure, Bentley has the speed to keep up with Morenz, but I don't see him having the physical strength to contain Howie. In areas where physical strength matters - the faceoff circle, in front of the net, in the corners, I can see Howie Morenz dominating the smaller Doug Bentley.

    Gordie Howe's endurance was legendary. He's going to play at least 25 minutes per game here. You really want John Madden to play that much at this level? I wouldn't even draft a player as weak offensively as Madden in a 12 team draft unless I was desperate for penalty killing, and you're going to give him massive minutes?

    You had also better hope you don't take many penalties, as Madden is really your only high-end penalty killer. (Alfredsson on a top ATD PK would be a mild weakness in a 30 team draft).

    That's putting aside the fact that as a coach, Toe Blake never had his big even strength players kill penalties.
     
  15. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    I actually wanted Doug Bentley as the LW of that line, but you stole him from me.

    Bentley's softness (like Kariya's) wouldn't be an issue next to Morenz and Howe :naughty:
     
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  16. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    A couple of advantages to San Jose:

    1. More star power / Better high end talent.


    Gordie Howe is the best player in this series - a superstar at any level. Crosby, Richard, Morenz, and Shore form the next level - stars even in a 12 team draft.

    2. Every player on San Jose knows what to do with the puck on his stick. Sure, guys like Kopitar and Vasiliev aren't anything special offensively, especially in a 12 team draft. But neither is inept, either. (Kopitar is something of a Corsi beast and Vasiliev was praised as the only Soviet defenseman of his generation who was adept at moving the puck against Canada). Pittsburgh has guys like Madden, Ching Johnson, and Schoenfeld who are going to kill his team's offense and possession when they get the puck. San Jose doesn't have any players like that (though I would have absolutely drafted Ching if he fell to me - his defense is that good). Backed up by the best puck handling goalie of all-time, and I expect San Jose to control possession more often than not.

    3. Morenz-Howe will go for the kill against tired power play pointmen. San Jose's powerplay ends with a forward in Doug Bentley on the point. Now, Bentley was a very responsible defensive player and backchecker, but he didn't have much physical strength. And he was still a forward. And is there any combo in the draft better suited to steal the puck and press for SHGs than Morenz-Howe?
     
  17. ImporterExporter

    ImporterExporter I troll harder than Poppy

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    1. I'm not one to really get caught up in softness/injury proneness in these side project drafts. For starters we don't draft spares so there is really no point in talking about injuries because if Forsberg (my team) or Kariya (your team) gets hurt for example, who replaces them in the next game? Or are we going to just play a man, or more down?:laugh:

    Also, I think physicality is such an overrated and machismo type myth about hockey and winning. In more recent years the Penguins won back to back Cups as a team that was arguably the least physical team in the postseason. Boston just got beat by St Louis. That's not to say St Louis was small or weak, it's just that this notion that the bigger teams often triumph isn't really accurate if one looks back over history. Speed, skill, cohesiveness, discipline are the types of things that will carry the day more than anything IMO. You can't have a team of wet paper mind you but anyone looking at my roster sees that isn't the case. Not even close.

    Forsberg is the perfect C to play against the D you have. A team needs folks who will be willing to go in the corners and high traffic areas and force opposing teams into quick decisions. Ron Francis or someone similar would get eaten alive, to be sure here. Forsberg is going to make life difficult for anyone, precisely because he's a heavy player, but also strong defensively speaking. He's got an elite goal scorer on his right, a near elite goal scorer on his left who was rugged enough and sure enough going the other way to make the line work well in the offensive zone. Hull can lurk and find cracks. Malone and Hull together spread the defense out because they are both extremely dangerous with the puck on their sticks (with different styles that compliment each other) anywhere remotely close to the goal.


    2. Bentley is certainly small, and relatively soft but it's not like Morenz was a world beater of physicality. I have studied him very closely, read the bios and while he was certainly physical when he had to be, he wasn't a big player himself and was very clean for that era. I think you're overstating this aspect of Morenz vs Bentley.

    The biggest key that I want in the C covering somebody of Morenz's caliber is speed, defensive acumen and anticipation, which Bentley has in spades. Plus getting in tight on the net, Morenz is going to be running into folks like Fetisov, Horton, Ching Johnson. NASTY (but clean, especially the first two) physical players with very high end defensive abilities. Even MacInnis was a pretty damn rugged SOB. Certainly just solid defensively but from a physical standpoint, I'd pit my top 4 against anyone, anywhere, any time.

    Also, it's important to note that Madden will be taking plenty of draws on the 3rd line. That's one of the numerous luxuries Pittsburgh has with some many multi positional players. Crosby and Howe can take draws on the 1st line. Malone and Forsberg on the 2nd. Bentley or Madden on the 3rd. And Giroux and Bourne on the 4th. How many teams can legitimately pull that off? Like I said last round, I think Toe Blake would be like a kid in a candy store with this roster.

    The other aspect that one might get lost on is Bentley is also a potent offensive threat as well as a bottom 6 player here. Unlike a defensive only C (say Guy Carbonneau), Bentley isn't going to be hemmed in his own end all night playing D. I think the 3rd line has tremendous counter attack ability between Bentley and Alfredsson (both on the plus side of 80 in VsX) and they're certainly not going to have any issues defending the puck with their 2 way ability coupled with a pure defensive player in Madden. That was something I wanted to attack as a draft strategy. Having, for the most part 2 way players, who are either strong or at least responsible defensively speaking without sacrificing a ton of offense.


    3. Howe is going to create issues no matter who he faces. That's something any coach or player is going to have to accept. But Madden isn't going to play 25 minutes a night. He's not going to play 20. No 3rd line player is pulling that much weight so I'm not sure why you're suggesting that I'd (Blake) would have him on the ice that long. Hell, many 2nd line players aren't topping 20 minutes.

    Obviously it will be a team effort, not just among F's but the Dmen as well and given our top 4 on the back end in particular, I feel very good about our ability to defend against potent offensive players and lines (Pittsburgh just knocked of a team with a Lindsay-Gretzky-Conacher top line and C depth of Gretzky, Trottier and Schmidt). If we get by that, we have a solid shot at winning against anyone IMO.

    The key here is matching Howe's rugged demeanor. Madden is the best pure defensive player on the Prof's and he also happens to be an incredibly heavy player who could also skate (gets lost as some have stereotypes in their heads about big players) well. Is he going to be against Howe every single shift? No. No bottom 6 player is capable of doing that and simply put the minutes aren't there to do it. But who else matches up well against Howe? Bentley? Nope. Syd Howe? Better but he's not as good defensively and is on the smaller side. Madden provides high end defensive ability and the physical style to at least make Howe's life somewhat difficult. Howe wasn't immune to being shut down by defensive studs. It happened a few times in real life.

    Also, penalties, by and large become rarer the further you go in the postseason. Madden isn't going to be anywhere near the PP for obvious reasons. And given the offensive ability of Bentley and Alfredsson at even strength, Madden's low end offensive output is really a non factor. He's not here to score. He's here to shadow Howe. Period. And for the reasons I described above, is about as perfect talent/style wise as you can get for a defensive shadow for someone like Gordie, IMO. And it's not like Howe is immune to taking some trips to the sin bin. It's quite possible someone like Madden will piss Howe off into taking a few stupid retaliatory hacks or checks and the biggest lunatic on either squad is by far Shore anyway :naughty:

    I don't have anyone in my top 6 on the kill (besides Howe on the 2nd unit), which mirrors how Blake operrated in real life. I also think people underrate Bobby Bourne on the kill, so he can certainly take some shifts from Alfredsson as Mr Blake sees fit. That and I think Pittsburgh has, without a doubt the strongest defensemen on the kill of any team.

    Consider the scouting reports for Bourne's prime:

     
  18. ImporterExporter

    ImporterExporter I troll harder than Poppy

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    1. I don't see star power in San Jose's favor. At best it's a wash, if not a slight tilt towards Pittsburgh, but then again I think star power isn't really meaningful in the grand scheme of actual on ice product. With that being said:

    Beyond Howe, you have Shore, who often fell short in crunch time in real life, often because he was taking dumb penalties and costing his team by not being on the ice. I'd put Cyclone Taylor in that realm, but certainly lower down the ladder in an all time sense.

    Crosby is on the cusp of being a top 10 player ever. He's a stud. By far the most iconic and recognizable hockey name in the world and has been for 1.5 decades. Richard is still one of the most iconic names in the sport. Certainly so in Quebec. Has a major trophy named after him. A top 10 player for most. Fetisov was overlooked in your post, IMO. He's just narrowly behind Ovechkin in my book as the greatest Soviet/Russian of all time. Wayne Gretzky called him the greatest defensemen he ever played against and Wayne faced a ton of elite blue liners.

    Not to mention, I've got Tim Horton. I mean come on, Pittsburgh has the quickie breakfast thing covered and then some. :laugh: Stan Mikita had a fake donut shop in Waynes World. Tim Horton has a multi national conglomerate to his name today......although the few times I've been in a Tim Horton's i've not been that impressed haha.


    2. I think you're being to generalized here. I can point to a few players on San Jose who aren't exactly models of offensive dominance or even average ability.

    Craig Ramsay and Clarke Gillies aren't going to be breaking any offensive records. Cy Wentworth wasn't anything special offensively. Much more slanted to the defensive side of the game by my recollection.

    If we're talking defensemen being able to move the puck, Fetisov is, IMO, as good as Shore. Zero doubt in my mind. Like Shore, he was the best defensemen in the world during his prime and his prime featured a lot more competition at D then Shore faced in the late 20's through the 30's.

    Consider:

    Points among Defensemen – 1st(1978), 1st(1979), 1st(1980), 1st(1981), 1st(1982), 1st(1984), 1st(1986), 1st(1987), 1st(1988), 2nd(1983), 2nd(1985), 5th(1989)

    Goals among Defensemen – 1st(1979), 1st(1984), 1st(1986), 1st(1987), 1st(1988), 2nd(1978), 2nd(1981), 2nd(1985), 3rd(1980), 3rd(1982), 3rd(1983), 4th(1989)

    MacInnis is a high end offensive player. He's going to be more pass oriented but that plays well with the C's I have who are going to have no problems or short comings in coming back to assist in breakouts. He's pretty clearly the best offensive player on either of our 2nd pairings.

    Zubov is overkill from a puck moving standpoint as a 3rd pairing guy. Schoenfeld, like Johnson, are here because they're very strong defensive stoppers for the roles they're in, especially Schoenfeld. As a #6 he's not going to be on the ice a ton, nor is he going to be asked to do anything offensively speaking, other than making a simple first pass to Zubov or a supporting F. There isn't a pairing or F line where Pittsburgh lacks players who can move the puck. Each team has a handful of guys who are low hanging fruit offensively but this isn't something I think either team is going to have an issue with IMO.

    Consider, in the bottom 6, Pittsburgh has players with VsX scores of 88 (Giroux), 86.6 (Bentley), 82.3 (Alfredsson) and 79 (Tkachuk). Scoring depth. All 4 lines can hurt you because all 4 lines have at least 2 players who are strong to elite offensively, relative to their roles.


    3. Morenz and Howe aren't going to out skate Bentley (or Fetisov for that matter). And as you said Bentley was a very responsible player, and very highly thought of as a point man in his day, specifically because he possessed the traits to do the job well. Plus his partner here is Fetisov. You have 2 of the best skaters of all time, fresh (2nd unit PP guys usually see 30 seconds of time give or take). To be honest, I'm surprised you're putting TWO of your 1st line players on kill duty. If I had weaker players along the line I'd be more inclined to make some tweaks but 30 odd seconds of Bentley-Fetisov? I personally don't see that as a liability at all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  19. ImporterExporter

    ImporterExporter I troll harder than Poppy

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    Coaching Advantage = Solid Advantage to Pittsburgh

    -Blake is the 1st or 2nd greatest coach of all time. He's certainly the most versatile coach ever IMO. Ivan is usually ranked in the 6-10 range all time which I think is quite fair. I don't see anything glaring on San Jose's roster as far as fit. He was known as a players coach so that might help with a character like Shore. Either way, like the last series, I think Pittsburgh enjoys a comfortable advantage here, one because Blake is simply better but also because the roster he has at his disposal is so versatile. He can roll all sorts of line combos, not just game to game but shift to shift. Plus he has Richard. I think Blake-Richard is the most dominant and important coach-player relationship of all time in hockey history.


    Forward Advantage = Slight Advantage to Pittsburgh


    I think the Professionals are just ahead of San Jose overall, as I outline below.


    1st Line:

    I'd call the top line a wash. It really is about dead even all things considered.

    Syd Howe is superior to Kariya, in general ranking but Howe brings a complete game to the rink that Kariya lacks. Howe is a 200 foot player, can kill PK's, play multiple positions. He's just someone who strikes me as a really strong glue guy. Kariya is much more of a slick offensive player but even still doesn't offer any overall offensive advantage to Howe. Kariya is quite fragile but that's less of a concern here IMO given we didn't draft spares.

    I truly think Crosby is slightly superior to Morenz even though Howie bested Sid by 1 spot in the top 100 rankings. I've done a side by side and Crosby, simply put at this point of his career, has more meat on his resume than Morenz. The biggest difference between the two, is postseason play, where Crosby is now elite, and Morenz is....inconsistent. I'll gladly post my findings after this for transparency. BUT, for the sake of being objective, this is a wash. I don't see either player giving their respective team a big leg up when looking at them head to head. I simply trust Crosby more in a 7 game format based on actual results.

    Howe vs Richard? Talk about a humdinger! Obviously Howe gains the upper hand here but luckily I'm not crushed like most would be vs Howe. Like Syd Howe vs Kariya, I see this as a similar gap. Gordie is going to provide a bit more offense, he's obviously a legend from a physical standpoint. There really isn't anything he can't do for San Jose. Richard is more offensively slanted but he certainly wasn't soft either and even Gordie is bested head to head when it comes to playoff heroics and all time standing.

    Honestly, I think that is where my top line has the "hidden" advantage. Richard is one of the 3-4 greatest playoff performers ever. Consider at 22 he led the postseason in goals on a Stanley Cup winner (1944) and did that again at age 36 on another Cup winner in 1958 (Montreal dominated Howe and Detroit head to head here. Richard had 10 points in 4 games vs just 2 points in 4 games for Howe).

    Crosby should be a comfortable top 20 playoff player in his own right at this point. 3 Cup titles on 4 trips. Back to back Smythes, which is rare to say the least. And even despite his first one being rather weak in an all time sense, he has numerous other runs that could have easily replaced it (2008 and 2009 come to mind immediately). Then there is the international stage. Golden goal in 2010 at the Olympics (I wish I could have seen even the harshest Crosby haters north of the border screaming like little girls when he put that puck 5 hole vs Miller). Gold at the 2014 Olympics. Dominant at the WC's in 2015 and WCOH in 2016.

    As far as big game duo's (same line) go it'd be real tough to best Crosby-Richard. Even Syd Howe is at least solid as a playoff guy, although nothing overly special to be fair.

    San Jose counters with Howe, who's a touch behind Richard in my book, but after that there is a big drop off to Morenz and then even bigger still yet to Kariya.

    I simply trust Pittsburgh top line to make a few more big plays in key moments.


    2nd line:

    The second line tilts to Pittsburgh.

    Taylor is about 5 spots better (among C's) than Forsberg in my book but Hull edges Kane (maybe a wash) and Malone is vastly superior to LeClair. That's easily the biggest gap along the lines. Both lines possess offensive firepower that I find very close in historical output. Pittsburgh enjoys an easy advantage in goal scoring whereas Taylor is the best play maker on either line, although Forsberg is not at all far behind. He was a stud playmaker. Pittsburgh is rugged in 2 positions. I think both lines work well although I'm not sure how well big boy LeClair will do trying to keep up with Taylor and Kane who are very fleet of foot. The overall fit favors Pittsburgh IMHO.

    The two biggest advantages of the line for Pittsburgh?

    1. Better defensively. Forsberg, IMO, is the best defensive player here if we're talkig about ability from the C position. Malone, thanks to overpass, was found to actually be a pretty darn solid defensive player as described my multiple newspaper clippings. Hull is obviously not going to make any defensive impact but San Jose has 2 players that you can say the same thing about in Kane and LeClair.

    2. Like the 1st line, Pittsburgh again wins in big game output. Forsberg is an elite playoff player. Likely a top 20 player in that regard all time. The best on either line. Kane would come in #2 here, but Hull and Malone simply put have more meat on their resumes as playoff players than the combo of Taylor and LeClair.

    Again, it's a line that I think, in the biggest moments will come out on top. Repeating theme.


    3rd Line:

    Again, tilt this to Pittsburgh.

    The only advantage I see for San Jose is Ramsay over Madden.

    Bentley>Kopitar
    Alfredsson>>Anderson

    Madden and Alfredsson provide a ton of physicality on either side of Bentley. The entire line is good to great defensively and 2 of the 3 players (Bentley/Alfy) provide stellar offense for a 3rd line. Pittsburgh is stronger offensively by a good bit whereas I think San Jose is slightly better defensively because Ramsay/Kopitar>Madden/Bentley and Alfredsson>Anderson.

    I will say that San Jose finally wins head to head when looking at playoff performers. Anderson is a bit overrated IMO (never led the postseason in any meaningful stat and played on the Oilers dynasty) but he's still well above the bar here. Kopitar twice led the playoffs in scoring on Cup winners which makes up for his lack of anything else otherwise.

    Alfredsson had a really strong 2007 run where he led the playoffs in goals, points, had the most even strength and PP goals as well as the most GW's but beyon that there isn't much. Still, 100 points in 124 games isn't shabby. He just isn't on Kopitar or Anderson's level. Bentley didn't get many opportunists, playing in just 23 games and scoring 17 points. Madden was a part of 3 Cup winners and very strong in 2003 but again, he's still short of the counterparts on San Jose.


    4th line:

    Wash.

    I think Tkachuk is pretty solidly above Gillies. He does everything that Gillies does but better IMHO.

    Obviously I think Stastny is superior to Giroux but Claude is sneaky here. 3 times he was top 4 in Hart voting. Not shabby in the Crosby/Ovechkin era. The biggest advantage for Stastny is he was a better even strength scorer.

    I really don't see much of a gap between Cicarelli and Bourne (they're not exactly the same type of player). I actually like Bourne more as a 4th line, swiss army knife player who excels defensively and as a fore/back checker. He brings elite speed and peak playoff performance to the table.

    What's interesting is Bourne is pretty easily the best playoff performer of anyone on either 4th line (and overall defensive player). Despite being a lesser known name than Gillies, Bourne was clearly a more impactful piece for NY during that dynasty. A point per game player who killed penalties at a high rate and generated points there as well, and played all across the F line, he's a nice glue guy to have here.


    Overall:

    I don't think Pittsburgh is bested anywhere, line to line, but enjoys a bit of an advantage on the 2nd and 3rd lines.

    In a 7 game series, I absolutely think Pittsburgh enjoys a robust playoff performer advantage when looking at the scoring lines in particular. There isn't a weak link anywhere for Pitt and multiple elite performers (Richard, Crosby, Forsberg). Our goal scoring is ridiculous with Richard, Hull and Malone and those wingers are centered by robust and elite play makers who are only going to maximize their wingers goal scoring abilities both through fit and overall talent.


    Tomorrow I'll delve into the defense and goalies.
     
  20. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    NJ has a slightly better top line because the gap between Howe and Richard is bigger than the gap between Syd Howe and Paul Kariya. I realize Richard is the 2nd or 3rd best RW ever, but he's still well behind Gordie Howe. This would be like comparing Sidney Crosby or Jean Beliveau to Wayne Gretzky.

    Pittsburgh has a more talented second line, but NJ's fits together better. I could have had a better LW than John LeClair, but I drafted him to fill a roll - to be the guy doing the dirty work for the lightning fast duo of Taylor-Kane. Your line relies on Forsberg for basically everything except scoring goals - the puck possession, the playmaking, the physical play, the defense (Malone helps a little with D). That's a lot to ask for a guy like Forsberg, who will be physically engaged by San Jose's defense whenever he's on the ice. Really, of all of San Jose's defenders, the only one who isn't very physical is Wentworth.

    Well of course if you drop Doug Bentley to 3rd line C, he's a better overall player than Anze Kopitar - at least for now. (Is Kopitar on his way to a Dave Keonesque career? Anyway, he isn't there yet). Again, Kopitar was drafted for a specific role. NJ's 3rd line is our primary defensive line (the two-way Morenz line will also see a mix of offensive and defensive deployment). Bentley was a fine backchecker, but as a really small man, he's not going to be all that effective defending against Morenz, who was a fairly physical player himself.

    Not that 4th lines matter that much, but I had to laugh when you said Tkachuk does everything Gillies does but better. Tkachuk does one thing better than Gillies - score goals. But yes, Tkachuk's advantage at scoring goals is big enough that I'd draft him over Gillies, at least for a scoring line. Other than that? Tkachuk was a very good fighter and cornerman, but Gillies was even better. Defensively, Gillies was very good, while Tkachuk was quite bad.
     
  21. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Oh and if we are going to push freaking Bob Bourne as some kind of star now that it is the playoffs, can we then say that Glenn Anderson becomes the best player in either team's bottom 6 (and it isn't close) because it's the playoffs?

    Glenn Anderson 1983 to 1990 (5 Cups, 6 finals in 8 years) = 151 points in 136 playoff games

    Bob Bourne 1980 - 1983 (4 straight Cups, cherrypicked to make Bourne look as good as possible, since he never broke 5 points in a single playoff season outside the dynasty) = 74 points in 74 playoff games

    Bob Bourne career = 92 points in 129 career playoff games

    Glenn Anderson career = 183 points in 164 career playoff games

    What about Doug Bentley vs Anze Kopitar?

    Bentley scored 12 points in the war-depleted 1944 playoffs, good enough to tie him with Clint Smith for the team lead, behind 3 Montreal players. 5 points in 14 games the rest of his playoff career. I realize that this wasn't all Bentley's fault (the Blackhawks were a poor team; even when Bentley - Bentley - Monsienko was a line, they tended to get physically dominated in the playoffs; the Bentley's really could have used a power forward to help them out). But still, we are comparing him to Anze Kopitar, who led the playoffs in scoring twice.
     
  22. ImporterExporter

    ImporterExporter I troll harder than Poppy

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    1:

    -As I said, I personally think Sid is slightly better than Morenz but I understand if people call it a straight wash. I'll be posting an incredibly in depth side by side that makes it rather clear, especially when looking at the postseason. Morenz is a guy I think gets too much pomp because of the hyperbolic writing style that took place nearly 100 years ago. You, and others reading this know exactly what I mean.

    His numbers do not, in any way, match the descriptions of him at the time. He was lauded as the Babe Ruth of hockey, relative to the sport and competition yet he only led the league a handful of times in major categories. Montreal didn't run roughshod over the league. Babe Ruth is insulted by professional writers making that comparison. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh but Babe Ruth is pretty easily the greatest baseball player that ever lived, 150 years later. Morenz is nowhere near that level. He didn't even win the most Hart trophies of his era yet the Montreal media machine pushed the narrative he was miles better than everyone. I just don't see it.

    To be clear, I'm not saying that he's vastly overrated. I would still put him around 20th all time, give or take a spot. It's just that when looking at the numbers, raw or adjusted, the awards voting, both pre and post AS recognition, he seems like somebody who gets a bit more mileage based on the writings of the time rather than the actual on ice results.

    As for Howe and Richard, I was pretty clear that Howe enjoys a solid advantage here. But, unlike most teams, Pittsburgh is the one squad who has a 1RW that isn't blown out of the water head to head. And Richard bests even Gordie as a postseason player with Sid and Syd being vastly better playoff performers vs Morenz and Kariya.

    Pittsburgh just knocked off a team with Gretzky AND Harvey. If we can accomplish that, we can beat any star player or combo out there IMHO.


    2:

    -Why is your 2nd line a better fit?

    You talk about Forsberg being called on to do heavy lifting in a few areas and I certainly don't disagree. BUT, the things he's being asked to do, were some of his biggest pluses as a player (being physical, being strong defensively, high end playmaking, etc).

    It's also important to note that while you call out Forsberg one can look at San Jose's second line and and see bigger warts.

    For example, who is going to be the defensive conscious on your 2nd line? Kane? Not at all. He's at least a slight liability defensively. I'd put LeClair in that ballpark as well, which leaves easily your best player, Taylor, having to shoulder the vast majority of defensive responsibility. Taylor is obviously a plus defensively but do you really want to have him doing that?

    Forsberg was strong defensively, Malone was found to be at least solid and responsible in that area, which allows Forsberg to do more of what he's good at without having to second guess dashes into the corner or low in the zone.

    As for overall fit?

    I certainly don't see anything glaring about your line here, but LeClair is a sloth compared to Taylor and Kane and I think that hurts them drastically in the transition game.

    Pittsburgh has a pair of high end goal scorers, especially relative to a 2nd line role. But what's important to note, Malone and Hull have contrasting styles as goal scorers which only adds to the potency of the line.

    Hull was more of a lurker, on the edge, perimeter guy who could find cracks and seams to snap/slap the puck at/into the net. He used his large frame to create space which he didn't need much of given his elite release and accuracy. Malone was more of a rugged, gritty goal scorer. He got a lot of goals with strong positioning, understanding where to go in the offensive zone. He's at his best scoring from in close. I think that makes the line harder to defend. And Forsberg, with his play making ability, vision and heavy style is the perfect C to maximize Hull/Malone's goal scoring prowess.

    And again, it bears repeating, Blake can do all sorts of things with this lineup. I can slide Howe down, Tkachuk can grab a few shifts as the heavy cornerman for Forsberg. Bentley can slide up. There are numerous legit options the Prof's can use to keep San Jose or any team off balance.


    3:

    -Bentley moving down to the 3rd line for starters is a tactical decision that makes sense for numerous reasons. One, he's the stronger 2 way player to Malone, who is a much stronger offensive player which profiles well in a top 6 role and I think he fits better with Forsberg/Hull anyway in this series.

    Again, you're overstating the physicality part when it comes to Morenz/Bentley IMO. Being small is not a death knell as some people want to believe. You know what they said about Marty St Louis when he was 17/18? Far to small to make it in the NHL. And yet he's an easy HOF'er all these years later. Hockey history is littered with tiny players who went on to have HOF careers, Bentley being one of them.

    I'd be more concerned if Morenz was some sort of lunatic hulk but he isn't, point blank. He's not that big either and while he could play a physical game it wasn't his calling card. For a 3rd line, I prefer some one who is strong defensively but also possess the ability to make things happen going back the other way, because, traditionally scoring lines are weaker defensively and prone to giving up some chances.

    I think many people tend to get caught up in having cookie cutter styles when it comes to shaping lines (not you to be clear). Madden-Bentley-Alfredsson is a line that can absolutely play a strong brand of defensive hockey but also create counter attacks, even sustain some offensive pressure.

    4.

    -I agree, I got carried away with that assertion in regards to Tkachuk/Gillies. But make no mistake, Gillies is overrated. He benefited from playing on a dynasty (on a stacked line btw) whereas Tkachuk played his best years on a pretty average to awful team in Winnipeg/Arizona.

    He was the teams best player (outperformed Selanne the few years he spent in Winnipeg). Yet despite that he led the league in goal scoring once and I don't think for one second the 6'2'' 235 lbs meathead Tkachuk would lose any sleep going toe to toe with Gillies. That's a heavyweight bout no doubt and I'm not going suggest that Tkachuk is winning the bulk of the scraps but he's not going to get floored over and over either.

    Where did Gillies fall in the pecking order on those dynasty Islander teams? Potvin, Trottier, Bossy, Smith are easily over Clark.

    Consider in 1981 Bob Bourne (76 points in 78 games) scored TWO fewer points vs Gillies (80 in 78).

    Bourne scored more at even strength had 7 short handed goals and 9 SH points overall to Gillies 0 because he didn't play on the kill.

    In 83 Bourne again outscored Gillies both in the regular season and postseason where Bourne led the entire Islanders team with 28 points on a Cup winner. In fact, Bourne outscored Gillies in 3 of the 4 Cup runs while playing multiple positions, killing a ton of penalties at a high rate and he didn't have the luxury of running with Trottier and Bossy.

    How good defensively was Gillies? He never killed penalties as far as i know. He once had a 6th place Selke finish which probably had more to do with him finishing a +57 than anything because nowhere else does he fetch even token Selke votes.
     
  23. ImporterExporter

    ImporterExporter I troll harder than Poppy

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    Going between the lines:

    -San Jose's stellar RW's (Howe and Kane) are going to be running into the LD of Fetisov, Ching Johnson, and Jim Schoenfeld. Those are 2 elite players in their own end and another who is certainly strong as a #6.

    That's a NASTY threesome from a pure defensive aspect but also from a physical standpoint. So even if Howe gets going against Madden he gets to say hello to Fetisov and Johnson. Have fun with that. Especially Kane given his weaker style.

    Whereas Pittsburgh's RW's (Richard, Hull, Alfredsson) get to go against Gerard, Salming, and Coulter. Gerard is certainly an elite defensive player but I'm not giving Salming or Coulter that designation given Salming is the puck mover on the 2nd pair and while he was a solid defensive player from everything I've read, he's nowhere close to a Ching Johnson. And while Coulter is obviously a better player vs Schoenfeld, again he's the puck mover on the 3rd pair and somebody who was know for his long rushes up the ice.

    Pittsburgh's trio of LD is absolutely more physical as well.

    Food for thought.
     
  24. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    HHOFer Art Coulter is known for his "exceptional strength and endurance", "solid defensive play and competitive zeal", "a punishing hitter", "fearless, bruising"... he also was considered an ultimate team player, a guy who dropped the gloves and played hard every shift.

    The 5-year captain (hoisting the cup as the 'C') of the Rangers is A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE (and 3-star candidate) against every depth 3rd pairing team in this draft! (He's a two-way force solid 2nd pairing #3 and elite #4 in a 28-team ATD, so EXCEPTIONAL (wise late OPPF pick from an O6 franchise) as a #5 in a 12-team franchise-pick-stunted draft.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  25. ImporterExporter

    ImporterExporter I troll harder than Poppy

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    Oh I agree, Coulter is a very nice #5 here. I didn't say anything to suggest otherwise.

    But we're not in a 28 team draft, first off, so that has no bearing on this league which is 12. And even in a 12 team draft a #5 would need to be a top 50-60 dman of all time to be simply good. Is Coulter still in that range? He was 54th in the Dman project a decade ago. Multiple active players have ascended past him since then (Doughty, Karlsson come to mind immediately).

    EXCEPTIONAL, as you put it, is reserved for guys who are playing way above their spot in the lineup. If you label Coulter exceptional as a #5 then certainly the same can be said about MacInnis, a top 20 defensemen all time anchoring my 2nd pairing, which is more impactful because 2nd pairing guys are going to be on the ice A LOT more than 3rd pairs.

    Secondly, my point was to illustrate that my RW's are running into LD who are certainly not in the same ballpark defensively as the D his RW's will be seeing a lot of. That matters IMO.

    Lastly, Coulter is a rushing defensemen, known for his many offensive adventures. He's the offensive catalyst for the 3rd pairing which means he's going to be up ice and prone to being caught out of position which is not good against the Rocket, Hull and Alfredsson. The same is true of Salming who is the offensive player on the 2nd pairing. I'm not saying either are weak defensively but they aren't Ching Johnson and Schoenfeld, just as Gerard isn't Fetisov in any aspect.

    It's those type of things that most overlook and don't bring attention to when analyzing match ups.
     
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