ATD2011 William Northey Semis: (1) New Jersey Swamp Devils vs. (4) Garnish Phantoms

Discussion in 'All Time Draft' started by Dreakmur, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Dreakmur

    Dreakmur Registered User

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    New Jersey Swamp Devils​



    Head coach: Jaroslav Pitner (change forwards, implement left wing lock)
    Assistant coach: Larry Robinson (change defense, coach dmen, run PP)

    Tommy Phillips - Henri Richard (C) - Maurice Richard
    Herbie Lewis - Vyacheslav Starshinov - Boris Mayorov (A)
    Shane Doan - Clint Smith - Zigmund Palffy
    Fleming MacKell - Michal Handzus - Todd Bertuzzi

    Bill Quackenbush - Art Coulter (A)
    Zinetula Bilyaletdinov - Babe Pratt
    Rick Ley - Dan Boyle

    Charlie Gardiner

    Sugar Jim Henry

    Spares: Gregg Sheppard (C/LW), Jiri Lala (RW), Alexei Zhitnik (D)

    Powerplay (Click Link):
    PP1: H Richard*- Starshinov - M Richard - Pratt - Boyle
    PP2: Smith* - Bertuzzi - Palffy - Quackenbush - Boyle/Coulter
    *faceoff

    Penalty Kill:
    F: MacKell - Lewis, Handzus - Doan, H Richard - Phillips
    D: Quackenbush - Coulter, Bilyaletdinov - Pratt, extra: Ley

    VS.

    Garnish Phantoms

    Head Coach: Pat Quinn

    Kevin Stevens - Joe Malone - Glenn Anderson (A)
    Ray Whitney - Doug Gilmour (C) - Rick Tocchet
    Rabbit McVeigh - Butch Goring - Kevin Dineen (A)
    Hec Kilrea - Cliff Ronning - Tomas Sandstrom
    Rick Kehoe, Keith Acton

    Rob Blake (A) - Harvey Pulford
    Lennart Svedberg - Dollard St Laurent
    Kevin Hatcher - Chris Phillips
    Dave Manson, Dick Redmond

    Terry Sawchuk
    Miikka Kiprusoff

    PP1: Joe Malone - Doug Gilmour - Glenn Anderson - Rob Blake - Cliff Ronning
    PP2: Kevin Stevens - Butch Goring - Ray Whitney - Kevin Hatcher - Lennart Svedberg

    PK1: Butch Goring - Rabbit McVeigh - Rob Blake - Harvey Pulford
    PK2: Doug Gilmour - Hec Kilrea - Dollard St. Laurent - Chris Phillips​
     
  2. Dreakmur

    Dreakmur Registered User

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    Have at it, boys!

    Good luck to both teams.
     
  3. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    I like your formatting, Dreak.

    Congrats for advancing Tony/Dave. Here's to a well-fought series. I'll be back to comment later.
     
  4. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Best of luck to you as well.
     
  5. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Maurice Richard's playoff goal scoring

    We all know that The Rocket's legend is based on his ability to score goals in the playoffs, so I thought I would examine just how much better than everyone else he was.

    I think it's fair to consider only players who peaked before expansion, since playoff scoring was generally low during this period and the playoffs were only 2 rounds long.

    I realize it might seem a bit hypocritical to consider only goal scoring, after my rants about how we need to consider a player's overall offense via points. To an extent, that might be true. But I'm also bit of a hockey traditionalist in how I view this. And there is a reason that the Hart Trophy basically tracks the Art Ross, while the Conn Smythe conversation is just as likely to follow the goals race as the points race - there is just something to be said for being able to finish things off in the playoffs, when the games are tighter and the pressure is higher.

    Total career goals among pre-expansion players

    1. Maurice Richard 82
    2. Jean Beliveau 79
    3. Gordie Howe 68
    4. Bobby Hull 62
    5. Stan Mikita 59

    All these players played a number of seasons after expansion, except for Richard.

    Top career GPG among pre-expansion players

    1. Maurice Richard 0.617
    2. Bobby Hull 0.521
    3. Gordie Drillon 0.520 (only 7 seasons)
    4. Jean Beliveau 0.488
    5. Bernard Geoffrion 0.439
    6. Gordie Howe 0.433 (includes a ton of post-prime seasons)

    Maurice scored 16.6% more goals per game in the playoffs than Bobby Hull

    Put it in context

    To properly consider their goals per game averages, let's knock off the Rocket's 1944 and 1945 playoffs when he obliterated competition hurt by World War 2 to the tune of 18 goals in 15 games across both seasons. But to be fair, we should also knock off his 1959 and 1960 seasons (1 goal in 12 games), when he was injured and past his prime, and openly said that he would have retired if he didn't enjoy playing with his younger brother so much (and was used in a more defensive role FYI).

    We are left with 63 goals in 103 career playoff games or 0.612 goals per game over a period of 13 seasons (including 11 playoff years).

    In other words, in the playoffs, the Rocket averaged 4.3 goals per 7 game series over a sample size of 103 games over 13 years that took him through the lowest scoring period in NHL history (early 1950s) after the advent of the Red Line. Truly extraordinary!

    Compare to Bobby Hull's 60 goals in 110 playoff games over 11 seasons after the age of 22 and before he left for the WHA - 0.545 goals per game.

    Maurice Richard's scored 11% more goals per playoff game over 13 seasons (11 playoffs) than Bobby Hull did over his 11 season prime NHL playoff career (10 playoffs). If anything, these numbers are favorable for Bobby Hull, since he didn't play in the super low-scoring early 1950s.

    Gordie Howe is a harder comparison because he played for so long, but his playoff peak appears to be the 16 season stretch between 1949 and 1965 (15 playoffs). In this time frame, Howe has 60 goals in 123 games - 0.488 goals per game. Note that I picked such a long stretch because the first and last year of the stretch actually bring the average up. Howe's average is dragged down by several seasons in the early 1960s.

    Maurice Richard scored 20% more goals over his best 13 year (non-WW2) stretch than Howe did over his best 16 year stretch. Howe obviously had more assists and overall points, so it isn't a complete comparison of their offensive value, however, especially since Howe was arguably a better playmaker than goal scorer.

    In conclusion

    We've all heard statements that the Rocket was "the best ever from the blueline in" or "a highly specialized weapon." There has been a lot of emphasis over the past few years on what Maurice isn't an all-time great at - he's "middling" defensively, an unimpressive playmaker, and while he took more abuse than perhaps any other star player ever and never backed down, he wasn't one to really initiate body checking. But I think we've been forgetting just what the upside is - just how special the specialized weapon was.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011
  6. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Swamp Devils style of play

    The Left Wing Lock

    Much of this is in Jaroslav Pitner's profile, but I want to talk about the system the Swamp Devils will be playing.

    First off, the Left Wing Lock has several variations, and the form used is ideally based on a team's personnel. When Scottie Bowman brought that system to Detroit, it wasn't always the left wing who was to act as a third defenseman. But the Swamp Devils roster is built to play the original version of the Left Wing Lock pioneered in Czechoslovakia, where it was always the left wing who would rush back to act like a third defenseman.

    Here is a really concise description of the system:

    More details in Pitner's profile.

    Here is a description of how Bowman's version of the LWL worked in the 1997 finals against Philadelphia:

    The Left Wings

    I think the Swamp Devils forwards are very well equipped to play the traditional LWL.

    Tommy Phillips:

    Herbie Lewis:

    See their profiles for more quotes.

    Tommy Phillips and Herbie Lewis are the perfect LWs for this system - they are excellent two-way players and two of the fastest players in the draft. Normally I would think some of Lewis's speed is wasted playing next to two slower players, but in this system - I think it's an asset as he can quickly make the transition from offense to defense and visa versa. Lewis can rush back into a defensive posture when the opponent takes possession of the puck, but also has the speed to catch up to his slower linemates when the Swamp Devils retake possession of the puck.

    Doan is pretty fast for the NHL, but his speed isn't anything special in an all-time sense, so he won't always be able to join the offensive rush of his linemates after sitting back as a third defenseman. But once the puck gets into the offensive zone, he'll be active, doing the dirty work for his line.

    MacKell is a speed demon, as well. And while he's not a shutdown guy at even strength per se, he's definitely a responsible player.

    Right Wing and Center

    I like the Left Wing Lock in the ATD much more than a more conservative system like The Trap, because it allows the center and right wing to just go out there and play hockey like normal. Of course, they are tasked with backchecking like normal - which they will to varying success - obviously Henri will be a much more tenacious backchecker than Maurice.

    Creating offense

    The blazing speed of Tommy Phillips, Henri Richard, Herbie Lewis, and Fleming MacKell gives the Swamp Devils some of the best speed in the draft. Maurice Richard and Palffy are especially deadly in transition and will be deadly in the counterattack, as well.

    The Starshinov line will give the defense a different look from the more speed-based game of the first and third lines. Lewis is the lightning fast two-way presence, but the line as a whole will generate most of its offense from a grinding, cycling game that will hopefully wear down the defense.

    Here are some more descriptions of how the Left Wing Lock helped Detroit clog up the neutral zone in the 1997 finals and led to multiple rushes the other way, with their faster skilled players:


     
  7. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Top defensive pairings.

    I think there should be no question that Quackenbush-Coulter is the best shutdown pair in this series.

    Bill Quackenbush:

    -3 Time First Team All Star
    -2 Time Second Team All Star
    -All Star Record: 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 6th

    So good defensively in a Lidstrom-style clean fashion that some writers suggested that a "best defensive defenseman" award be named in Quack's honor. Quack was also one of the very best puck rushers and offensive defensemen of his era - though it was a very weak era for offensive defensemen in general.

    Rob Blake:

    -1 Time First Team All Star
    -3 Time Second Team All Star
    -Norris Record: 1st, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th

    Blake was probably the second most feared open ice hitter of his era after Scott Stevens (Coach Larry Robinson taught them well). He had a huge slapshot, was physically dominant in front of his own net, and was a good (not great) puck rusher. On the other hand, he was prone to getting out of position going for the big hit or to create offense.

    Art Coulter:

    -4 Time Second Team All-Star
    -No comprehensive All-Star data.
    -Called the best player on the 1940 Cup winning Rangers.

    Coulter was a Scott Stevens/Tim Horton style guy who was a beast defensively and physically while still being able to chip in some points. Known for protecting his smaller teammates. Great leader too.

    *I don't think Coulter is quite as good overall as Blake, but I think he's a lot closer to Blake than Blake is to Quack.

    Harvey Pulford:

    -Captain and Defensive anchor of the dynasty Silver 7 in the 1910s.
    -Doesn't appear to be thought of in the same class as Hod Stuart, Art Ross, or Lester Patrick among the very early defensemen.

    Pulford is a pure shutdown defenseman at this level, and he's also very physical.

    *At this level, Pulford has to be considered a lesser version of Art Coulter. I would prefer a guy whose personal greatness is better substantiated playing next to Rob Blake, who would ideally be a #2 himself at this level.
     
  8. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Swamp Devils Defensemen usage

    Larry Robinson will be in charge of changing the defensemen, and he was always very good at getting the defensive matchups he wanted as Assistant Coach (as in the 1995 playoffs) or Head Coach (as in the 2000 playoffs).

    A note on Dan Boyle

    In my opinion, Dan Boyle is one of the best #5s in the draft as a two-time Second Team All-Star with a Norris Record of 4th, 5th, 6th heading into this current season. *As such, he'll be used more than most #5s.

    Swamp Devils second pair will be Pratt-Boyle (same as the top PP pair) at various times in game:

    -Offensive zone draws, especially at the end of periods

    -When trailing late in a game, Quackenbush-Coulter and Pratt-Boyle will be the two pairs in use.*

    Estimated minutes for this series

    In the playoffs, benches shorten, especially late in games and key players receive more ice time.

     
  9. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Swamp Devils Forwards usage

    -Lines 1 and 4 will take most of the defensive zone draws.

    -The following shutdown lines will be put together for defensive zone draws at the ends of periods or to hold onto a lead at the end of the game:

    Herbie Lewis - Henri Richard - Tommy Phillips
    Fleming MacKell - Michal Handzus - Shane Doan

    -Maurice Richard will sometimes swap spots with Palffy or be double shifted on lower lines to get favorable matchups and to get him more ice time.

    Estimated Forward Minutes
     
  10. Sturminator

    Sturminator I voted for Kodos

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    A quick note on the left wing lock vis-a-vis this series:

    - traditionally, there are two ways to attack a locking system. The first is with speedy players and high-end stickhandlers and can create breakdowns in one-on-one situations, especially driving in on the forward (forwards are always relatively weak when skating backwards), and the second is with a dump and chase system.

    - New Jersey's top unit will be a tough nut to crack, and running at them with speed will likely result in a lot of turnovers and play the other way. It's a top unit Pete Green would be proud of. Generally, if you can't simply overwhelm them with talent, the best way to beat a locking team is to play conservatively and force them to open up and come at you. Garnish's best bet here is probably to dump the puck down the right wing and let Kevin Stevens go get it down low. Art Coulter's relative lack of speed (I believe he was no better than an average skater) and Stevens' strength along the wall are probably the key to entering the zone for Garnish's top line. It's a fairly narrow gap to shoot, but then there aren't a lot of weaknesses on New Jersey's top unit. I'm not entirely sure how well Malone and Anderson will be able to execute this strategy, though.

    - New Jersey's second unit has some holes in it, and I'm not entirely convinced that the personnel is well suited for a locking system. Lewis was a good defensive winger, but his lack of size will make him vulnerable to dumps into his corner, and Babe Pratt's habit of wandering on the ice makes him something of a question mark in this system. I also don't see a lot of useful backchecking coming from the Russians on this unit. The Gilmour / Tocchet constellation on Garnish's second line is well suited to playing a dump and chase game against Lewis in the left corner, and Gilmour definitely has the skill to exploit Pratt when he gets himself out of position.
     
  11. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Thanks for the breakdown. Since Garnish's two best offensive threats (Malone and Gilmour) are on differnent lines, it might be necessary to separate the Richard line from the top defensive pair. I love the matchup of my top line against his top line - Henri Richard and his speed seems the perfect foil to Joe Malone, who has a history of being shut down by Nighbor. Henri is no NIghbor, but I'd argue he's in the next tier of defensive centers, along with Milt Scmidt and Bowman-era Yzerman. And the Malone line has no defensive answer to the counterattack of the Richards.

    This would allow Quack-Coulter to be used against Gilmour. I'm not sure if they'll start split up, but it is an option, as Robinson is changing the defense independently of the forwards.

    I think the system helps out Pratt - as he'll have two men backing him up when he steps up to make a hit.

    Agree that Tocchet's size would be useful against Lewis in getting intonthe zone in a dump and chase game, but then once the puck is retrieved, they still have to create offensive in the zone (I know you know, just reminding everyone that the lock, like the trap, is just a defense of the neutral zone).
     
  12. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    coaching and matchups

    Pat Quinn was a fantastic motivator but not much of a tactician. He didn't really believe in line matching as far as I know.

    Pitner was a fantastic tactician and his ability to motivate is unknown (he didn't really have to motivate his countrymen to play against the hated Soviets, that's for sure).

    Does anyone know if Czechoslovakia linematched or did they just rely on their system? I honestly have no idea.

    Larry Robinson was a "player's coach" and a big part in getting Scott Stevens out there against opponents top line in his time in NJ, so I have to think that the Swamp Devils will get the defensemen we want out there against the desired forwards most of the time.

    As I said in my response to sturm, I love the matchup of the Richards against the Malone line. Quack-Coulter will start against the Malone line, but will be moved against the Gilmour line if he heats up. Quack-Coulter will also take the majority of defensive zone draws, regardless of the forwards (usually behind Richard or Handzus).
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  13. Sturminator

    Sturminator I voted for Kodos

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    Eh? Is Larry Robinson some sort of genius at calling defensive line changes on the fly, or something? It doesn't take any kind of special coach to put out his best defenseman for defensive zone draws, so I'm really wondering what it is about Robinson as a coach that you think makes him so special in this regard.

    In general, I find the "my coach is better, therefore I will get the matchups I want" argument very problematic. Exact line matching when changing on the fly is simply very difficult to execute, and I don't consider it a coincidence that many of the best modern coaches (including specifically Bowman and Arbour) have spurned such strategies, entirely. On the other hand, line matching as the home team with the last change after puck stoppages isn't rocket science; hell, even Pat Quinn can do it.

    What is it that you think gives you an unusual advantage in this area?
     
  14. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Having the better coach helps at getting the matchups you want - coaches anticipate the other coach's moves, as wellnad manage ice time for their non-star players to rest the stats for when matchups are most favorable.

    In 1995 when Robinson was in charge of changing the defense, Stevens was almost always out there against top opposition even on the road - and yes, there is something to be said for having your team recognize the need to change in the fly at the very first opportunity and executing it without bad changes or two many men, etc.

    In this case, Robinson (when he was head coach) and Quinn actually met in the playoffs twice - in 2000 and 2001 and Robinson/NJ usually had the desired matchups with both Stevens and Holik against Sundin at most times - largely because Quinn didn't seem to believe in playing the matchup game.

    I agree that no team can actually always get the matchups wanted even at home, which is why I think it's quite dangerous when teams have 2 scoring lines with no defensive presence (something not really applicable to this series). Even Toe Blake won't be able to totally dictate matchups against John Tortorella - he'll just get them more often.
     
  15. Sturminator

    Sturminator I voted for Kodos

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    Having an extra defensive player at the blueline helps out everyone on that end of the ice, so of course it helps out Pratt. Nevertheless, when Pratt gets himself out of position, the Devils will have one defenseman and one forward back. Forwards in the left wing lock are functional at the blueline because their lanes are narrow - only one third of the ice. Forwards skating backwards trying to cover half of the ice are generally toast; it's simply not a skill that forwards have, outside of the old hook-checkers. Backchecking and playing with your back to your own goal are totally different skills.

    The left wing lock system requires a lot of discipline to execute because the defensive effectiveness of the forward depends on the defensemen remaining in their lanes. This is precisely the problem that Scotty Bowman had with Paul Coffey in Detroit; the entire system disintegrated when Coffey left his lane. The lock does not allow your defensemen to do much of any attacking at even strength besides head-manning the puck. It fit the post-Coffey Red Wings system quite well because their best offensive defenseman, Lidstrom, was a great transition passer, but not really a puck carrier.

    In the case of New Jersey, though the top pairing is well-tailored for such a strategy, I have my doubts about how well Boyle and Pratt fit into a locking system.
     
  16. Sturminator

    Sturminator I voted for Kodos

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    And you think Robinson is special in this regard in an all-time sense? I have to say I'm pretty skeptical of the idea that Robinson's presence will consitute any kind of material advantage against the better coaches in the ATD. I mean, Pat Quinn is one thing, but Fred Shero is another. Robinson may be an improvement on Pitner's ability to manage a defense, but I think the effect he can be expected to have is pretty limited.
     
  17. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Boyle is definitely an offense-first guy (duh), but he's not as much of a free wheeler as Coffey was. Part of the "problem" with Coffey IMO is that Sather encouraged him to free wheel in Edmonton (perhaps more than any defenseman ever), as it fit their style and personnel, and this is how Coffey developed as a player.

    Pratt is tough to get a read on. He seems to have been fairly responsible in New York - with the one quote about how he and Ott Heller formed the best shutdown pair in the league that one year - though the Rangers did put Coulter with Heller to really shut things down at the end of games.

    The quotes about Pratt "roving with the forwards" are from his Toronto days and his offensive explosion seems to support that he became much more offensive-minded in Toronto. Perhaps it was out of necessity because Toronto's forwards were decimated by WW2; I'm not sure.

    Either way, Robinson will be working closely with the defensemen to hopefully help them integrate properly.
     
  18. overpass

    overpass Registered User

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    When rewatching the 2000 finals there was a graphic saying that Stevens had been out for IIRC 144 of 156 Modano shifts.

    Quinn's strategy was to spread out his talent so all lines could play in all situation. Eg Bure playing with defensive forwards, saddling Sundin with wingers like Hoglund, playing JF Jacques on the first line in EDM, etc. Line matching was not part of his game plan.
     
  19. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    I think it's a major improvement on Pitner alone in terms of getting matchups.

    Robinson is quite historically significant in his ability to work with defensemen; right up there with Jacques Lapperiere. He also had as much to do with the sustained success of the real NJ Devils as Jacques Lemaire IMO (though he had failings as a head coach Lemaire never had).

    As for his ability to actually get matchups here, I think his big role in running the defensemen for two Cup winners that relied on strict matchups from the defense more than most teams is noteworthy.
     
  20. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    The Stevens vs Modano figure sounds about right, but how on Earth did you remember it?
     
  21. overpass

    overpass Registered User

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    i was rewatchng it a few monrhs ago. I have a good memory for numbers and that stat was worth remembering. I might be wrong but it was 90% or more.
     
  22. Sturminator

    Sturminator I voted for Kodos

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    That's not really saying much, as Coffey was maybe the biggest gambler in history. Boyle's game does involve taking a lot of chances up ice, however, somewhat less so now than when he played in Tampa, but still he's not exactly a model of positional discipline.
     
  23. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    You are correct, of course. Even in Tampa, Boyle became fairly responsible defnsively by the time he started getting serious all-star consideration, but he was never a model of defensive discipline.

    Good coaching can make defensemen play more disciplined - look what it did for Scott Niedermayer who came into the NHL a Coffey-type. Nieds probably had his best years in Anaheim, where he played like a rover himself, but he (and Rafalski) managed to fit in quite well to NJ's conservative system.

    You'd then probably point out that coaching can only do so much, and you'd be correct about that.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  24. DaveG

    DaveG Global Moderator

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    I think that Garnish is well built to attack a left wing lock team. Not only with Stevens and Tocchet on the top two lines, but Dineen, Kilrea, McVeigh, and even Sandstrom at times have reputations as physical and tenacious players. With so much of the Garnish offense being built around the center spot it's going to have to play a big role in the series. It's certainly shaping up to be an interesting matchup on paper already.

    The first lines are certainly going to be an interesting matchup. Pulford is going to have to be key for our defense against that line. While not the fastest player out there he can definitely handle himself against faster teams as he proved against Rat Portage in an Ottawa cup win. His partner here, Blake, is going to have to hold his own defensively as well. While he's certainly not on the top tier of modern defensemen from a defensive standpoint, he's more then capable in that regard. IIRC he was even the defensive conscience of a pairing with your Boyle when he played for San Jose, being an even player in the 09-10 playoffs while most of their other key players were in the minus.
     
  25. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    I don't know if I would say that Pulford could handle Rat Portege's speed (really jist the speed of Tommy Phillips, correct? I don't know anything about the speed of other players on the team though perhaps someone else does). In fact, while Ottawa won that series, there is a very real chance that Ottawa flooded their rink (in other words, cheated) to slow down Tommy Phillips. This account is towards the bottom of the extensive bio I made of him (and is courtesy of 70s' research.

    Kevin Stevens and Rick Tocchet are physical beasts, but they still have to contend with the physicality of Coulter, Pratt, Bilya, and Ley once they get in the zone, as well as the near-perfect positional play and stickwork of Quackenbush. You have a very powerful power forward on each of your two top lines, but I have a lot of physical strength coming from my defensemen, as well.
     

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