Foster Hewitt Division Playoff: #4 Blues vs. #5 Stingers

Discussion in 'All Time Draft' started by VanIslander, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    As part of the All-Time Draft #6 post-draft analysis we are having fantasy playoff head to head matches, beginning with the 4th and 5th ranked teams in each division, as judged based on initial general perceptions and analyses of the 20 draft g.m.s. Now is the time to look closely at how these all-time greats would do against a real, well hypothetically real, opponent.

    Feel free to submit observations and analyses. Especially by the team g.m.s and anyone familiar and/or willing to examine the teams in the context of a playoff series. Please refrain from making sweeping final judgements. Analyses and commentary are encouraged. Voting will be via PM to Nalyd Psycho on Sunday and Monday before midnight eastern time. Until then, take time to reflect...

    Foster Hewitt Division:
    #4 vs. #5

    Saskatoon Blues

    Head Coach: Ted Nolan

    Cecil Dye-Jean Beliveau-Newsy Lalonde
    Butch Goring-Nels Stewart-Reggie Leach
    Rod Brind'Amour-Doug Jarvis-John Madden
    Bun Cook-Bob Bourne-Anton Stastny
    Marian Stastny

    Viacheslav Fetisov-Guy Lapointe
    Harry Howell-Al Iafrate
    Rob Ramage-Barclay Plager
    Kevin Hatcher

    Bernie Parent
    Mike Richter
    Chris Osgood


    Blackburn Stingers

    Head Coach: John Muckler

    Michel Goulet-Peter Stastny-Alexander Mogilny
    Joe Malone-Dale Hawerchuck-Rick Vaive
    Alexander Ovechkin-Bernie Nicholls-HÃ¥kan Loob
    Dirk Graham-Craig MacTavish-Scott Mellanby
    Duane Sutter

    Raymond Bourque-Randy Carlyle
    Hap Day-Larry Murphy
    Craig Hartsburg-James Patrick
    Wade Redden

    Vladislav Tretiak
    Harry Lumley
    Bill Ranford​
     
  2. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Am I the only one who thinks this is gonna be the most interesting first round series? This one will be a pleasure to analyze.
     
  3. kruezer

    kruezer Registered User

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    Definitely, really evenly matched, I think The Blues just have overall a better crew of forwards though that is the first impression I get in this matchup, but its tough to say, I will have to think about this one all week. I will be back to analyze this matchup more for sure.
     
  4. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    I think it kind of depends on the era we'd be playing in to be perfectly honest. I mean clearly his team is a little more physical, whereas I've concentrated on offense and the transition game.

    We both have outright terrific goaltenders. Up to you to decide who you like more I guess.

    I absolutely believe I have the horses to outscore him, and I can send Mac T's line out to go head to head with Beliveau's. I think my defense is going to transition better and faster while his will hit harder. We'll see.
     
  5. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    Guys, here are my thoughts on this very intriguing match-up.

    HOW SASKATOON CAN WIN:
    - If the top line clicks, watch out! This trio has an incredible amount of talent: speed, stickhandling and two Art Rosses from Lalonde, toughness and three goal-scoring titles from Dye and a great mix of goal-scoring, toughness and defensive play from Beliveau.
    - Significantly better centers. Beliveau is the (consensus?) #3 centre of all-time and Nels Stewart (a goal-scoring, two-way power forward with two Hart trophies) should be in the top fifteen. Jarvis is one of the top ten defensive forwards of all time, and Bourne has everything you want in a fourth-line centre: grit, determination, big playoff performances, and some decent offensive talent. Blackburn has good centers, but they are far behind Saskatoon in terms of offensive talent and depth.
    - Saskatoon has a somewhat better shutdown line (the Jarvis line), but the impact of this is diminished since they have to spread their time against Blackburn’s three scoring lines.
    - Saskatoon is a much more physical team overall, especially in regards to the forwards.
    - Saskatoon’s top forwards have a dramatic edge in playoff experience.

    HOW BLACKBURN CAN WIN:
    - More scoring talent. Blackburn has a lot more offensive talent on their second and third lines and should have an excellent transition game. The second line is very dangerous and has a good combination of speed and grit. I think this team is the only one to boast three 100-point players on its third line.
    - The defensemen are fast, mobile and should be excellent at starting/joining rushes or quarterbacking the powerplay. This is ideal for the team’s style of play: no matter what line is on the ice, Blackburn will pose a real scoring threat.
    - I like Saskatoon’s top defense pair more (I don’t think Carlyle is a #2 blueliner in this draft), but Blackburn has somewhat better depth.
    - The fourth line is key. I think that if this trio can shut down the Beliveau line, Blackburn will win due to better offensive depth. MacTavish, Graham and Mellanby are strong defensively and play a gritty, relatively physical game. Do they have both the speed and strength to keep up with Beliveau’s line? I don’t know, and that’s probably going to be the determining factor in this matchup.

    The goaltending is about even. Parent is a better starting goalie, by a small margin, but I like Blackburn’s backups quite a bit more.
     
  6. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Facing a scoring line with just Beliveau would be tough enough for the MacTavish line. It doesn't get much better than Jean Beliveau: the size, the skill, the skating, the strength, the smarts, the 10 Cup rings and the tradition of playoff excellence. This is his time of year. And he isn't afraid to be a physical force, either. But he also gets to feed passes to Lalonde and Dye? Lalonde might be out of position at RW, but he's arguably one of the top 50 players ever. Dye's a terrible skater, but his shot and instincts are top notch.

    I also agree that this is an intriguing matchup, although, to be honest, it's the first round match-up that has me the least excited. Maybe it's because Hamilton-Buffalo might be the best series in the first two rounds. Maybe it's because you have such a noteworthy contrast between Edmonton and Victoria. Or maybe it's because I'm facing the winner of the BWO bowl.

    HO had a good summary on the defences. I think Saskatoon definitely has the better top three - it's one of the best top threes in the draft. The bottom pairing is rock solid, and they have some familiarity. But if Iafrate and Hatcher go into one of their stretches where they can't do anything right, the No. 4 spot become an underrated and significant liability. mullin doesn't have that ace No. 2 - a guy like Lapointe or Claguehorn or even Pronger or Leetch - but he does have three guys capable of giving 20-22 solid minutes per game behind Bourque, and a really reliable third pairing.

    If it comes down to scoring, then mullin will win this series. Zetterberg needs his bottom two lines to shut down mullin's top two lines, and for Goring-Stewart-Leach to contain a capable third line. A little legendary Stewart tobacco to the eyes of Tretiak won't hurt, either.
     
  7. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    The toughest part about trying to evaluate the Saskatoon team is dealing with all the centres who are playing on the wings. You feel obligated to deduct a little bit because of it, but how much of a factor should it be?
     
  8. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Well, the 1998 Canadian men's Olympic team had nine centers on the roster only two of whom also were experienced on the wing. That still left 7 centers. A disaster in the making some said at the time of the announced roster. And sure enough it was.

    As for the Blues, Brind'amour was a VERY effective winger back in Philly especially around the net on tip ins and garbage goals. Madden is so talented defensively that I suspect he could make the adjustment, yet it seems more natural to play the 13th forward, a natural right winger and bench Bourne, who is fast and reckless on his skates, good as a sub, especially with confidence issues he's had.

    So the Blues back lines could look like:

    Rod Brind'Amour-Doug Jarvis-Marian Stastny
    Bun Cook-John Madden-Anton Stastny
    Bob Bourne

    Anton should be left wing but otherwise it works, giving some offensive punch to the third line, with Doug and Rod more than capable of excelling defensively, cutting Marian some slack.

    And Goring as a second line left winger ought to work but yeah it does make one pause. So many good centers but to build a team guarranteed to GEL it's risky to play guys out of position.
     
  9. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    If you cut the slack for Brind'Amour playing LW - which he did as recently as 1998 - then Saskatoon has six natural centres. Lalonde and Madden are the ones out of position.

    I think a guy like Stastny or especially Cook would look a lot better on the second line than Goring. Cook's a really good scorer, good enough to play on the famed Bread Line with brother Bill and Frank Boucher. I picked Bun in the first round of the last minor league draft.

    Also, it should be noted that Babe Dye is an RW.
     
  10. BM67

    BM67 Registered User

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    He has a number of centers that have played the wing, but almost all of them played LW. Leach, Lalonde and Dye are also his only righty shots up front.

    Cecil Dye - RW
    Jean Beliveau - C
    Newsy Lalonde - C/Rover
    Butch Goring - C
    Nels Stewart - C
    Reggie Leach - RW
    Rod Brind'Amour - C/LW
    Doug Jarvis - C
    John Madden - C/LW
    Bun Cook - LW
    Bob Bourne - C/LW
    Anton Stastny - LW
    Marian Stastny - RW
     
  11. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    One matchup not yet mentioned is coaching. If you didn't notice it, John Muckler vs. Ted Nolan. The action on the ice will be heated, but on the bench, it might be even more intense. These two do not like each other. Rumour has it that the staff at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon installed extra-tall plexi glass to prevent these two from getting at each other.
     
  12. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Overall pretty even, but in the end I'll take the Beliveau - Parent combination to be the deciding factor.

    Beliveau is without question the best skater on either of the two teams, and Parent and his back-to-back Conn Smythe's easily trumps Tretiak.
     
  13. Transplanted Caper

    Transplanted Caper Registered User

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    Agreed. Jean is the player that really stood out to me. Literally a difference maker all on his own, even though on the whole the teams are pretty evenly matched.
     
  14. Evil Sather

    Evil Sather YOU KILL THE JOE

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    In what I would term an upset, I think Blackburn runs Saksatoon out of the building in 6.

    Both MacTavish and Graham are severely underrated, and in a shocking move that some believe is the onset of senility, Muckler sics his 4th line on the line of Goring-Stewart-Leach. However there is method to his madness, as they do an ace job and turn Saskatoon into a one-line team. By game 5, Dye cannot keep up not only the torrid pace, but the 23 minutes a night Nolan rolls his top line out for and is replaced by Brind'Amour -- however it turns out to be a case of "too little too late" and Blackburn moves on.
     
  15. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    Easily? No. Tretiak is a five time soviet MVP, four time WC best goalie and his 3 golds and one silver at the Olympics is better than any hockey player ever.
     
  16. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    The top blueline pairing on each team is great but a look below that...

    Al Iafrate vs. Larry Murphy at the #4 spot on defense. :)

    Al is helped by Howell who is a tall stay at home type but sniper Leach or centre-on-left-wing Goring may have to drop back to cover for Al's lapses. The Blues second line 5-man unit doesn't look solid defensively but line changes could be made to bring up a defensive forward or limit Iafrate's time. He's a head case and unpredictable, except in his bad attitude and spotty play. Which Al will show up for the Blues? We are not sure. Perhaps the #7 man Kevin Hatcher could see some action on this unit.

    The third pairing of Ramage-Plager is excellent, actually superior to the Blues second defensive unit imo. Ramage is the total package in terms of size, speed, hitting, passing and decent powerplay production. Plager was "Barc the Spark" a fierce competitor, shot blocker, hitter and a longtime leader. The Blues will need his energy and leadership on the blueline.

    Looking at the other team: Murphy is a stalwart, a trooper, in comparison and WILL produce offensively and handle his own defensively for the Stingers. He is good at decision making regarding when to surge and when to stay back. Coaches have always liked him. As Bowman said of Murphy, and I quote: "Murphy was a smart, studious player. It was his understanding of what he could do that made him special." http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/LegendsMember.jsp?mem=p200403&page=bio#photo

    His linemate is also an opportunistic rusher, a guy who began his career as a left winger before converting to the blueline, Hap Day, every bit as much a leader as Plager, but situated to get more ice time in these playoffs according to the rosters. Is Day-Murphy a good pairing? They are both smart players so perhaps. Certainly Day knows how to win as the greatest winner in his team's history, as he was billed.

    The third line pairing for the Stingers has two level headed multitalented tall guys who I greatly respected but whose style of play, even in their offensive talents, was understated, Hartsburg-Patrick. This unit isn't gonna make things happen by rocking the boat and grabbing the game by the throat but they'll get it done. And Redden is a great #7 as a responsible fill in on any pairing.

    Overall, the Stingers have an edge on the blueline.
     
  17. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Lets talk about real competitions, where the team in front of him didn't have a ridiculous edge over the other team.

    When the Soviets won, they won with dominance, offensive dominance. The Soviets didn't win game 2-1, 3-2.

    Lets talk about the two brutal goals he gave up in period 1 to the US in 1980.

    Lets talk about the sub .860 sv% during games 6,7 and 8 in Moscow in 1972.


    A mid 70's Parent, easily over Treitiak.
     
  18. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    That's where the five time league MVP comes in, no one else comes close. 5 mvps over 10 years, during that time span, no one else has more than 2. That's pretty dominant.

    And, don't underrate the Czechslovakian teams of that era, those games were hard fought and tough. Those four WC best goalie awards came with real tough competition from Holocek and Dzurilla.
     
  19. BM67

    BM67 Registered User

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    I'm pretty split. The goalies are pretty even. Same with the defense, although in the end I'd have to give a slight edge to the Stingers. At forward, I'd pick two lines of of each team to have the advantage, but since the Blues have the top two punch of Beliveau and Lalonde, I'd have to give them the edge. Niether of the coaches thrill me, but I'd think Muckler might fit his team a little better.

    All in all, I'd have to say home ice, Beliveau and Lalonde would win the series for the Blues in 6.
     
  20. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    When I did my evaluation of this series, I rated the teams in six categories: offence, defence, goaltending, coaching, intangibles and grit. As far as Beliveau goes, not only is he the best player in this series (by a fairly wide margin) he's a one-man intangibles machine. The best leader to ever play the game. A 10-time Cup champion. One of the best clutch scorers ever. And while everyone always talks about his off-ice class, he was a very physical player. He'll make the great passes to Lalonde and Dye, but he'll also open up room for them by playing physical hockey.

    As for the goaltending, I went with Parent. This is the playoffs, and I'm going to back the goalies who get it done in the playoffs. If this was a regular season match-up, I'd probably side with Tretiak. But the playoffs are a completely different beast, and few goalies in history of the game were better than Parent in the playoffs.

    BTW, nice to see that veteran former GMs Evil Sather and JFF are chiming in with their thoughts. Would be very interested in your takes on the Buffalo/Hamilton series, which is the best of the first round.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2006
  21. kruezer

    kruezer Registered User

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    I'm with you JFF, Tretiak is not the goaltending god that many make him out to be IMO, 5 MVPs means nothing to me with the way the league was setup, and didn't Holecek win more best goalie awards or am I nuts?
     
  22. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    He did, and that's why I rank him as one of the top 10 goalies ever.

    Why doesn't 5 MVP's mean anything? I know the league was stacked in the Red Army's favour, but he was still competing against Mikhailov, Kharlamov, Fetisov, Makarov and other team mates for MVP honours.
     
  23. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    It's interesting how the statistics you pick our are ridiculously small samples.

    Tretiak is faulted for one game against the Americans - not even one game, 2 goals.

    And then 3 games against Canada, after nearly completely shutting down the best players in the world for the 5 games before that.

    You can't pick out 4 games in a man's career and define him by those alone. Plus I've seen the games in the Canada/Russia series, Tretiak was outstanding.

    EDIT: incidently, I'm not saying this to deny Parent. I think Beliveau and Parent are a terrific 1-2 punch and a great challenge.
     
  24. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    Incidently, is Beliveau the best player in the series by a _wide_ margin? Really?

    I would be thrilled to watch him and Ray Bourque go head to head. Lets not forget about #77 sitting back there on the blue line ready to play 30 minutes a game and completely own this series.
     
  25. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    Not sure why people aren't fond of Muckler the coach. He was the nuts and bolts guy of the Oilers teams in the 80s. A co-coach for several cups, and the coach of a championship team without Gretzky. The man knows how to make an offensive team work, and make them work in the playoffs too. Way more playoff success than Nolan.
     

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