Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

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Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Farhan Lalji » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:54 pm

Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

I guess what I'm asking is this. Should certain guys make team Canada based on the fact that they have had PROVEN success with certain Team Canada linemates?

For example - Dustin Penner, by his own merit, probably wouldn't make Team Canada. However - the guy had tremendous chemistry with Getzlaf and Perry back when the Ducks won the cup. They were one of the best lines in hockey I believe. With that in mind, should a guy like Penner make the team based on that alone? Sure - there are better left wingers out there, but would they necessarily have better chemistry? What about guys like Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards? (assuming that Lecavlier even makes the team).

Are there other examples of players that wouldn't make Team Canada based on their own merit.....but could possibly be TREMENDOUS alongside other Team Canada players due to past success on highly successful line combos or defensive pairings?

Does a guy like Francois Beauchamin make Team Canada due to his past tremendous chemistry with Niedermayer and/or Pronger?

Nash-Crosby-???
Marleau-Thornton-Heatley
Penner-Getzlaf-Perry
Richards-Lecavlier-St. Louis (or instead of a 'superstar' 4th line, you go with a more traditional checking line...like Draper, Doan, or whoever).

Phaneuf-Bouwmeister
Pronger-Niedermayer
???-???

Luongo
Brodeur

EDIT - Another Question that comes to mind. Should Team Canada actually try and assemble a TEAM or should they simply select the most talented players possible?

For example - in the past, a guy like Kris Draper made Team Canada due to the fact that he was an ideal 3rd/4th line player. However - there were probably far more talented guys that DIDN'T make Team Canada due not being able to crack the Top 6 (i.e. guys like Mark Recchi in 1998 for instance).
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Cornuck » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:09 pm

I've thought about this in the past, but I figure that great players should be able to work with any linemates.

As for adding some shutdown guys, that should be a part of the make up of the team.
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Farhan Lalji » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:19 pm

Cornuck wrote:I've thought about this in the past, but I figure that great players should be able to work with any linemates.



Oh for sure....and they definitely can and do. I'm just wondering if they would be as efficient as a past successful combo?

On paper, Nash-Getzlaf-Perry would be MUCH better than Penner-Getzlaf-Perry, but how does experience and familiarity factor in? (to the point where Penner would actually be a better fit than Nash on a hypothetical Getzlaf/Perry line combo).
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby BingoTough » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:50 am

Farhan Lalji wrote:On paper, Nash-Getzlaf-Perry would be MUCH better than Penner-Getzlaf-Perry, but how does experience and familiarity factor in? (to the point where Penner would actually be a better fit than Nash on a hypothetical Getzlaf/Perry line combo).


I guess the problem there is that Penner is so much less than Nash (this goes for other players with less skill but possible great chemistry). If he doesn't work out, he's not going to be very useful elsewhere by comparison, whereas with Nash, if he lacks chemistry then there's another 9 players he might gel with.

That doesn't mean you take the top 13 forwards & 7 defensemen (or whatever it is), you take the players who give you the best team. Should we bring along 6 puck moving defencemen in lieu of a couple stay-at-home ones? I wouldn't. I would first map out needs, then find players who can fill those needs. If a player who can fill one or more? So much the better. Then they play in whichever position they're relatively more skilled at by comparison to the other players.
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Island Nucklehead » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:01 pm

BingoTough wrote:That doesn't mean you take the top 13 forwards & 7 defensemen (or whatever it is), you take the players who give you the best team. Should we bring along 6 puck moving defencemen in lieu of a couple stay-at-home ones? I wouldn't. I would first map out needs, then find players who can fill those needs. If a player who can fill one or more? So much the better. Then they play in whichever position they're relatively more skilled at by comparison to the other players.


Bingo, Bingo.

This is why guys like Morrow and Doan will get serious consideration, possibly over players like Lecavalier.

A Doan-Richards-Morrow checking line has me giddy with excitement.

I also think that Marleau-Thornton-Heatley should probably go together as a line, the way they've been playing for San Jose has been out of this world.

Iginla-Crosby-Nash
Marleau-Thornton-Heatley
Doan-Richards-Morrow
Stamkos-Getzlaf- Perry

St Louis/Toews

....or something along those lines.
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Farhan Lalji » Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:39 pm

Island Nucklehead wrote:Iginla-Crosby-Nash
Marleau-Thornton-Heatley
Doan-Richards-Morrow
Stamkos-Getzlaf- Perry

St Louis/Toews

....or something along those lines.


Few things:

1) Great post Bingo

2) Island Knucklehead - I pretty much agree with you here, except Nash will be the LW'er and Iginla will be the RW'er (you probably know that and were just throwing names to create the lines, but I am nit-picky when it comes to these things ;)).

I love those lines. However - even if a guy like Stamkos is clearly better than Penner (and can be used on other lines just in case a line combo like that doesn't work), I still wonder what Team Canada would look like if they had three PROVEN lines that all had a great chance of absolutely clicking due to familiarity....and also, the most TALENTED line-up possible (i.e. a blend of the most talented players possible and proven line combos).

Nash-Crosby-Iginla
Marleau-Thornton-Heatley
Richards-Lecavlier-St.Louis
Penner-Getzlaf-Perry

"Who's going to be a shut down line?" You may ask. Mix and match.

For example - if Canada is facing a tough opponent and/or a team that has a hot scoring line going for them, throw whoever are the 3 best shut down forwards on said team (so in this case?.....maybe Nash-Crosby-Perry?...I don't know).

Now - would a line like this be a effective as Morrow-Richards-Doan in terms of shutting down a team? Probably not. However - would a hypothetical line of Nash-Crosby-Perry be incompetent at shutting down a line? Absolutely not. Would a line of Nash-Crosby-Perry be FAR more effective in scoring goals off turnover (in a shut down role) than a line of
Morrow-Richards-Doan? For sure.

And think about this: In Team Canada's case, given our immense talent pool, why WOULD we need pure shut down guys? Why not put the pedal to the medal at all times? If another team has a strong scoring line on there? Great - we'll just throw out Crosby-Getzlaf-Heatley and make em STFU. :P

Just playing Devil's Advocate here (I stress that!).
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Island Nucklehead » Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:48 pm

Obviously Farhan, chemistry is going to be a HUUUUGE part of how this team does. So on this front I agree with you. That being said, I don't think you can build your entire team around this.

1. Mike Richards is on this team. That's a certainty so long as he's healthy. He's the best all around player Canada has.

2. Dustin Penner has no international experience. While he's having a great start to the season in Edmonton, I'm not sure how he would do in a fourth line role (with fourth line ice-time). We know how he did when put in that role in Edmonton. If you're looking at guys like Morrow and Doan, they are more suited to a checking (ie limited ice time) role and have proven they can succeed at it.

One critical element we need to look at with Forwards (not just defense) is the ability to play a shut-down role. Special teams are going to be critical to getting wins. We'll need powerplay goals, but also a solid penalty kill. I know Penner is getting all sorts of ice-time in Edmonton, but are you really going to throw him on the PK ahead of guys like Doan, Richards, Morrow, Nash, or Marleau? Similarily, is he going to replace Crosby, Iginla, Nash, Richards, Getzlaf, Perry, Heatley, Thornton, Marleau or even a guy like Stamkos on the PP? At 5on5 Penner ranks 43rd in Canadian Forward ice time. Given that he's not very likely to see special-teams duty on this club I'd rather go with a guy who can fit in almost anywhere.

3. The problem with going Talent-v-Talent is pretty obvious. Much like a guy like Phaneuf on the back end, forwards are for the most part very offensive creatures. Backcheckind doesn't come naturally to a guy like Dany Heatley. So if you throw him out there against Ovechkin, chances are that if Russia gets us trapped in our end, we could be fishing the puck out of our net.

I hear what you're getting at re: overwhelming offensive talent, but we might have to face the facts that our Defense/Goaltending could be the reason (and IMO WILL be the reason) we win or lose. To that end, while I'm all for having the best snipers and offensive players Canada has to offer on the team, we NEED a certain amount of players (at least 2-3) that are better or at least equally suited to a defensive role.
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Puck » Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:39 pm

Has anyone questioned whether Thornton and Marleau will be able to elevate their play to match the intensity of this tournament? They've shown they are not great post-season guys. The pressure of the Olympic stage may be even worse. Just wondering...
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Island Nucklehead » Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:34 pm

Puck wrote:Has anyone questioned whether Thornton and Marleau will be able to elevate their play to match the intensity of this tournament? They've shown they are not great post-season guys. The pressure of the Olympic stage may be even worse. Just wondering...


I think you still have to take the players that are playing the best at the time, and match that with the needs of your team, and see where you stand. I think keeping Marleau-Thornton-Heatley as a unit is probably an even better idea for the known chemistry they have together.

The pressure is going to be on the team, but that's going to lessen the individual pressure on guys like Thornton and Marleau to have to carry an entire team. I'm pretty sure guys like Crosby, Iginla, Nash and probably Heatley are going to be the ones counted on the most offensively.

I'd go with them over guys like Toews, St Louis and Sharp.
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Farhan Lalji » Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:39 pm

Island Nucklehead wrote:Obviously Farhan, chemistry is going to be a HUUUUGE part of how this team does. So on this front I agree with you. That being said, I don't think you can build your entire team around this.

1. Mike Richards is on this team. That's a certainty so long as he's healthy. He's the best all around player Canada has.


Agreed, but do you think being "the best all rounded player in the game" outweighs someone having won a Stanley Cup AND being a part of the best line in hockey on the best team in recent memory? (For the record, I am not saying 'no' here....I'm just trying to play devil's advocate). For that statement alone, do you think a guy like Dustin Penner could conceivably be a better fit than a guy like Mike Richards assuming that the final two spots come down to them?

2. Dustin Penner has no international experience. While he's having a great start to the season in Edmonton, I'm not sure how he would do in a fourth line role (with fourth line ice-time). We know how he did when put in that role in Edmonton. If you're looking at guys like Morrow and Doan, they are more suited to a checking (ie limited ice time) role and have proven they can succeed at it.


True, but Penner also played a critical role in 2007 when he played for the Stanley Cup WINNING team on the BEST line (i.e. Penner-Getzlaf-Perry).

Here is my other response: While it's true that guys like Morrow and Doan are more suited to checking, is that to say that other guys on Team Canada (i.e. Iginla and Nash) couldn't do the same? If Morrow and Doan are only *slightly* better than guys like Iginla and Nash in terms of shutting down the opponent and checking, but guys like Iginla and Nash (or whoever) are FAR FAR better at scoring and capitalizing on turnovers, etc., then is the presence of guys like Morrow and Doan really necessary?......ESPECIALLY in an Olympic setting where there is far less clogging and checking anyways (i.e. far greater emphasis on skill and speed).

One critical element we need to look at with Forwards (not just defense) is the ability to play a shut-down role. Special teams are going to be critical to getting wins. We'll need powerplay goals, but also a solid penalty kill. I know Penner is getting all sorts of ice-time in Edmonton, but are you really going to throw him on the PK ahead of guys like Doan, Richards, Morrow, Nash, or Marleau?


Why not throw guys like Crosby, Nash, and Marleau? (Just for the record, I'm not advocating the idea of Penner killing penalties if he made Team Canada).

Similarily, is he going to replace Crosby, Iginla, Nash, Richards, Getzlaf, Perry, Heatley, Thornton, Marleau or even a guy like Stamkos on the PP? At 5on5 Penner ranks 43rd in Canadian Forward ice time. Given that he's not very likely to see special-teams duty on this club I'd rather go with a guy who can fit in almost anywhere.


Why not put out the ENTIRE Anaheim Ducks line-up for one of your Powerplays? (i.e. a line-up with proven chemistry).

Power Play #2: Upfront --> Penner-Getzlaf-Perry
Power Play #2: On Defense --> Niedermayer-Pronger.

So basically - you would have your entire 2007 Ducks #1 line and defensive combo on your PP. Again - it's going with the notion that FAMILIARITY would outweight overall talent (i.e. so in this case, an argument can be made that Penner would be a better fit than Nash on this line).

3. The problem with going Talent-v-Talent is pretty obvious. Much like a guy like Phaneuf on the back end, forwards are for the most part very offensive creatures. Backcheckind doesn't come naturally to a guy like Dany Heatley. So if you throw him out there against Ovechkin, chances are that if Russia gets us trapped in our end, we could be fishing the puck out of our net.


If you want a line that can shut someone down, why not throw out the likes of Nash-Crosby-Iginla, and then Blake-Pronger?

I hear what you're getting at re: overwhelming offensive talent, but we might have to face the facts that our Defense/Goaltending could be the reason (and IMO WILL be the reason) we win or lose. To that end, while I'm all for having the best snipers and offensive players Canada has to offer on the team, we NEED a certain amount of players (at least 2-3) that are better or at least equally suited to a defensive role.


With Luongo and Brodeur back there, goaltending alone should be a massive challenge for the opposition.

I also think that you might be under-estimating the defensive prowess of guys outside of Morrow/Doan/Richards, etc.

Last night when the Canucks played the Sharks for instance, the Canucks put their top line against Marleau-Thornton-Heatley. To my understanding, this line was almost completely shut down (except for Thornton who registered one assist I believe). Could this be evidence that sometimes, the best defense is a good offense? (or atleast players that are attempting to be proactive/offensive even if they aren't scoring)

Farhan's "devil's advocate" line suggestions for Team Canada:

Nash-Crosby-Iginla (a line that is easily capable of shutting down the opposition AND scoring lots of goals on turnovers)
Marleau-Thornton-Heatley (best line in 2009)
Penner-Getzlaf-Perry (cup winning line in 2007)
B.Richards-Lecavlier-St. Louis (cup winning line in 2004)

Phaneuf-Bowmeister (current tremendous pairing in Calgary)
Boyle-Blake (current best defensive pairing in NHL)
Niedermayer-Pronger (best defensive pairing in 2007)

Brodeur
Luongo

Power Play #1:
Marleau-Thornton-Heatley
Boyle-Blake

Power Play #2:
Penner-Getzlaf-Perry
Niedermayer-Pronger

(Obviously, the Lecavlier line or Crosby line can also player here. Having these two other lines gives Team Canada OPTIONS).

Penalty Kill #1
Nash-Crosby-Iginla-Niedermayer

Penalty Kill#2
Marleau-Perry-Pronger-Blake

With the exception of Nash, Phaneuf, and Bouwmeister, ALL of these players will have played in the Stanley Cup Finals.
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Island Nucklehead » Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:12 pm

Farhan Lalji wrote:
Agreed, but do you think being "the best all rounded player in the game" outweighs someone having won a Stanley Cup AND being a part of the best line in hockey on the best team in recent memory? (For the record, I am not saying 'no' here....I'm just trying to play devil's advocate). For that statement alone, do you think a guy like Dustin Penner could conceivably be a better fit than a guy like Mike Richards assuming that the final two spots come down to them?


You're going overboard here. Dustin Penner is not good enough. Period. He's playing very well on a crappy team in Edmonton, and that's great for him. Maxime Talbot scored two goals in game 7... should he be on the team? Proven success, plays well with the likes of Crosby, and has a cup ring? No. Only one NHL team wins the cup, and Team Canada has a plethora of Cup champs without worrying about adding more. Mike Richards is better at everything than Penner. This shouldn't be a thought.

Here is my other response: While it's true that guys like Morrow and Doan are more suited to checking, is that to say that other guys on Team Canada (i.e. Iginla and Nash) couldn't do the same? If Morrow and Doan are only *slightly* better than guys like Iginla and Nash in terms of shutting down the opponent and checking, but guys like Iginla and Nash (or whoever) are FAR FAR better at scoring and capitalizing on turnovers, etc., then is the presence of guys like Morrow and Doan really necessary?......ESPECIALLY in an Olympic setting where there is far less clogging and checking anyways (i.e. far greater emphasis on skill and speed).


Because that "slight" difference is still huge when you're facing a line that includes Kovalchuk and Ovechkin. You want Iginla and Nash to get their icetime in the offensive zone so as to create scoring chances.

Also, this Olympics will have MORE emphasis on "clogging and checking" because it's played on an NHL ice rink. This favours Canada's tight checking style VERY well. Playing a wide-open game against Russia is a recipe for defeat.

Basically, Farhan, you're building your entire roster out of "proven chemistry". I think Chemistry is important, but these are professional hockey players, and very good ones at that. You don't take a guy like Mike Richards off this team to throw Dustin Penner on it for the sole reason that you think it MIGHT ignite some three-year-old chemistry... no way.
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Farhan Lalji » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:30 pm

Island Nucklehead wrote:
You're going overboard here. Dustin Penner is not good enough. Period. He's playing very well on a crappy team in Edmonton, and that's great for him.


The fact that he's playing well on a crappy team. Does that say MORE or LESS about Dustin Penner?

Mike Richards is better at everything than Penner. This shouldn't be a thought.


Agreed, but consider this: (purely in terms of comparing with Penner)

Aside from...

A) Never winning a cup
B) Not having proven chemistry with Perry and Getzlaf
C) NOT being a natural left winger

Do you THEN consider a guy like Penner? In terms of evaluating players PURELY based on position, Richards would easily fall behind Crosby, Thornton, and Getzlaf. As far as depth on left wing goes, both Nash and Marleau have plenty of experience on left wing. Does Mike Richards?

Would an "inexperienced LW'er" in Mike Richards be BETTER than an EXPERIENCED left winger in Dustin Penner? (especially if the final spot involved playing left wing alongside Getzlaf and Perry).

Because that "slight" difference is still huge when you're facing a line that includes Kovalchuk and Ovechkin. You want Iginla and Nash to get their icetime in the offensive zone so as to create scoring chances.


True, but consider this: During the regular season, guys like Kovalchuk and Ovechkin are used to play guys that are FAR less skilled and talented as they are. Hence - they are USED to playing the top defensemen and top shut down forwards of other teams. As a result - guys like Ovechkin and Malkin usually have a very 'offensive' mindset.....knowing that their opponents will purely be thinking 'defense' and don't really have the talent to convert on turnovers anyways.

VERY SELDOMLY do guys like Ovechkin and Kovalchuk get to play against players that are as talented as they are offensively.

With that in mind, it could be ILL-ADVISED for guys like Ovechkin and Kovalchuk to be purely thinking offense against the likes of Crosby, Iginla, and Nash. With that in mind, guys like Ovechkin and Kovalchuk might have to make a 'mental shift' and be concerned about BOTH offense and defense. That mental shift alone could throw them off their game.

Also, this Olympics will have MORE emphasis on "clogging and checking" because it's played on an NHL ice rink. This favours Canada's tight checking style VERY well. Playing a wide-open game against Russia is a recipe for defeat.


Is it really? While Russia boasts an extremely talent crop of forwards, what is their 'D' like?

Basically, Farhan, you're building your entire roster out of "proven chemistry". I think Chemistry is important, but these are professional hockey players, and very good ones at that. You don't take a guy like Mike Richards off this team to throw Dustin Penner on it for the sole reason that you think it MIGHT ignite some three-year-old chemistry... no way.


Richards doesn't have to necessarily replace Penner.

As far as igniting some 3 year chemistry goes, I would only be concerned about that IF

A) Any of these men were aged 33 and over.
B) Any of these men were not playing at the level they did in 2007

Aside from proven chemistry (on-ice), I think a line-up like this would actually create great 'vibes' and overall comraderie as a whole....since many of these guys would have been on the same teams for so long.
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Re: Should Team Canada go with PROVEN lines that had success?

Postby Island Nucklehead » Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:36 pm

There's only so many points to go around. Penner is getting all the icetime necessary for him to produce. I agree that he's playing well and up to his contract level, but lets not get conned into thinking he's a true NHL star to the level of a Mike Richards. I hope you're not forgetting that Richards is a point/game player, a Selke nominee and the Captain of his team. He's everything you want in a player and a leader.

Also, what makes you think Richards won't be the third-line center for this team? He's got more goals than Getzlaf and is better in the circle. Maybe it's Getzlaf that should move to the wing ;)

Richards might not be a Stanley Cup Champion, but he's a Memorial Cup Champion (harder trophy to win) as well as the Captain of the first world junior team to win the gold in nearly a decade. Some of the members of that team: Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Shea Webber and Dion Phaneuf. You want chemistry? Dustin Penner is a prick, and the fact he's a worse hockey player than Richards only seals the deal. I hate to bring up the comparison, but you could look at what Bertuzzi did in 2006, and probably expect the same from Penner.

As far as the offense/defense things go. There's a reason a guy like Mike Green probably won't be on this team. All the guys that are considered the "defensive" specialists up front are capable 30-goal scorers in the NHL. We're not talking Willie Mitchell. The difference is they are also extremely responsible in their own zone, and don't NEED points to be effective. If Iginla isn't scoring goals, something is wrong. Dustin Penner has never scored 30 goals, he's never had 50 points. And while he could do both this year, I'm hesitant to put him on this team over a guy like Steven Stamkos, who I think is looking more like a scoring threat than Penner.

I know you have a hard-on for Penner, Farhan. Wanting the Canucks to pick him up in the offseason and what not. And while he looks good right now for the Oilers, he's not one of the top 15 forwards available for Team Canada.
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