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2018 Western Conference Finals

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On 5/20/2018 at 8:38 AM, RobD360 said:

Thing is I don’t really think Vegas has any special stand out players that other teams don’t. In fact they are beating other teams with more talent. To me it’s clear that they are really well coached. The strategies that Gallant deploys and emphasizes embraces the “new NHL” today with the relentless attack and speed. They hardly waste periods away by sitting back. This combined with having players playing with a chip on their shoulders and a goalie that sits on his head; they are going to keep rolling as far as they can take it. But next year they should fall back to earth a bit still being a good team but not as good as this season. 

Teams like the Ducks, Kings, Hawk etc. have a Top line (Grade A talent)  a B line, C line and a D line on offense, and usually a really good #1 defensive pair and if they are lucky a serviceable second and third D pairing. In most games the A line and the 1st D pairing play most of the minutes.

Vegas on the other hand is built with four lines of B-C offensive talent, and three lines of 2nd pairing D men.  The workload is evenly spread. Most of the players were targeted in the draft for their youth and speed, and you combine that with "relentless attack and speed" strategy mentioned by RobD360 and you have a team that gets consistent performance from every shift during a game. There is no weak fourth line or 3rd D pairing that their opponents can matchup against to generate easier scoring chances. 

Finally you add Marc Andrea Fluery(who seems to be having one of the best seasons of his career) to the mix and the team becomes quite formidable. The only odd piece to this team is James Neal. I think he was brought in as a veteran presence and for name recognition.

If the Knights do win the cup I could see some small market teams adopt this strategy of building a team entirely of average to better than average players with no  "Superstars" or huge contracts. It will be interesting to watch.

Edited by Shadowduck
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7 hours ago, DucksProg said:

If you are looking for failed player management, don't blame this one on the Ducks.

You should look at the Wild, Blues, Penguins, to some extent the Jackets, and most of all the Panthers for handing Vegas insane value for their money.

Heck, to quote DuckFan4Life/Chris Johnston tweet from another thread, Vegas WERE PAID handsomely to take great value:
"Reminder: The #VGK were given a 2nd-round pick to take Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Marchessault to take Reilly Smith, Alex Tuch to take Erik Haula, Shea Theodore to take Clayton Stoner and a 1st and 2nd to take William Karlsson and David Clarkson’s contract."

Of one of the 2 biggest culprits, Chuck Fletcher of the Wild has already been fired. I'd also give the boot to Dale Tallon, so much so, he lands in the middle of the Atlantic for making that deal above as that was clear to be a huge mistake even before pulling the trigger (Marchesseault was their top goalscorer in 2017 FFS).

On the other hand. I can't force myself to root for Vegas. They were given a much better hand than any other team in history and that is simply flat out unfair, no matter how hard you look at it (even though I admit, their roster still does not look champinship caliber on paper, so kudos to them for getting there, Mr Gallant). 

A team should not win with loopholes, but years of drafting and building.

Go Tampa all the way!

I could not agree more.

 

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13 hours ago, dukitup said:

Every player on the Golden Knights plays like Cogs. They play at warp speed and give 100% effort every shift for the full 60 minutes. I doubt you ever hear "we need to play a full 60 minutes" or "we weren't into it" from this team. I don't get how one can't root for a team that busts their balls the entire game. I for one hope they do host the Cup. Good for them!!!

This “giving your all” thing might be accredited to the players playing with a chip in their shoulders after they were all left “unwanted” the cast aways. Gallant must have tapped into this energy and got them to use it on the ice in order to play the full 60 minutes each game. Make no mistake any humans ability to work harder after being spurned by life but how it could also be exhausting mentally and physically as well. Another analogy akin to this idea here is the player playing in a Cantract Year; Does that player play like that EVERY year? of course not the following year he comes back down to what his norm is. Hence I think next year their energy level will be dialed down a bit after settling in on a team and city they can call their own after taking the entire league by storm. 

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1 hour ago, RobD360 said:

This “giving your all” thing might be accredited to the players playing with a chip in their shoulders after they were all left “unwanted” the cast aways. Gallant must have tapped into this energy and got them to use it on the ice in order to play the full 60 minutes each game. Make no mistake any humans ability to work harder after being spurned by life but how it could also be exhausting mentally and physically as well. Another analogy akin to this idea here is the player playing in a Cantract Year; Does that player play like that EVERY year? of course not the following year he comes back down to what his norm is. Hence I think next year their energy level will be dialed down a bit after settling in on a team and city they can call their own after taking the entire league by storm. 

Don't necessarily agree. Would argue Shea Theodore was hardly "unwanted." As was mentioned earlier, due to the draft rules, a # of valuable players were traded to Vegas with a promise of drafting certain players (and leaving others alone).  Ducks a perfect example. Theodore traded to Vegas with the deal Vegas draft Clayton Stoner and leave Manson/Silf. alone.

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Does Canada seriously still consider Hockey "Their Sport?"

This is Year #25 in a row without a Cup.

To put it another way, the MIGHTY DUCKS had not even played a preseason game yet, the last time there was a Canadian champion.

Edited by HockeyIzCool

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10 hours ago, DucksProg said:

If you are looking for failed player management, don't blame this one on the Ducks.

You should look at the Wild, Blues, Penguins, to some extent the Jackets, and most of all the Panthers for handing Vegas insane value for their money.

Heck, to quote DuckFan4Life/Chris Johnston tweet from another thread, Vegas WERE PAID handsomely to take great value:
"Reminder: The #VGK were given a 2nd-round pick to take Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Marchessault to take Reilly Smith, Alex Tuch to take Erik Haula, Shea Theodore to take Clayton Stoner and a 1st and 2nd to take William Karlsson and David Clarkson’s contract."

Of one of the 2 biggest culprits, Chuck Fletcher of the Wild has already been fired. I'd also give the boot to Dale Tallon, so much so, he lands in the middle of the Atlantic for making that deal above as that was clear to be a huge mistake even before pulling the trigger (Marchesseault was their top goalscorer in 2017 FFS).

On the other hand. I can't force myself to root for Vegas. They were given a much better hand than any other team in history and that is simply flat out unfair, no matter how hard you look at it (even though I admit, their roster still does not look champinship caliber on paper, so kudos to them for getting there, Mr Gallant). 

A team should not win with loopholes, but years of drafting and building.

Go Tampa all the way!

I'm coming from a strictly Ducks fan perspective here but yeah, a number of teams screwed up last summer. The Panthers get bonus points for firing the best coach they've ever had (coming off a 1st place Atlantic finish no less) a month into an injury riddled season because of their overzealous owner and management. 

Looking back, losing Theodore and getting them to take Stoner with him was probably the best case scenario. Compared to other teams, the Ducks came out looking pretty good. Most of my bitterness about it stems from the fact that a team with realistic Cup aspirations gave Stoner and Bieksa those ridiculous contracts to begin with. I guess it's still better than losing Manson/Silfverberg/what eventually became Henrique for nothing. Imagine how good this Golden Knights team would look with Vatanen :unsure:

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20 hours ago, Shadowduck said:

Teams like the Ducks, Kings, Hawk etc. have a Top line (Grade A talent)  a B line, C line and a D line on offense, and usually a really good #1 defensive pair and if they are lucky a serviceable second and third D pairing. In most games the A line and the 1st D pairing play most of the minutes.

Vegas on the other hand is built with four lines of B-C offensive talent, and three lines of 2nd pairing D men.  The workload is evenly spread. Most of the players were targeted in the draft for their youth and speed, and you combine that with "relentless attack and speed" strategy mentioned by RobD360 and you have a team that gets consistent performance from every shift during a game. There is no weak fourth line or 3rd D pairing that their opponents can matchup against to generate easier scoring chances. 

Finally you add Marc Andrea Fluery(who seems to be having one of the best seasons of his career) to the mix and the team becomes quite formidable. The only odd piece to this team is James Neal. I think he was brought in as a veteran presence and for name recognition.

If the Knights do win the cup I could see some small market teams adopt this strategy of building a team entirely of average to better than average players with no  "Superstars" or huge contracts. It will be interesting to watch.

“Money-Hockey” ??

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17 hours ago, PetrSykora said:

I'm coming from a strictly Ducks fan perspective here but yeah, a number of teams screwed up last summer. The Panthers get bonus points for firing the best coach they've ever had (coming off a 1st place Atlantic finish no less) a month into an injury riddled season because of their overzealous owner and management. 

Looking back, losing Theodore and getting them to take Stoner with him was probably the best case scenario. Compared to other teams, the Ducks came out looking pretty good. Most of my bitterness about it stems from the fact that a team with realistic Cup aspirations gave Stoner and Bieksa those ridiculous contracts to begin with. I guess it's still better than losing Manson/Silfverberg/what eventually became Henrique for nothing. Imagine how good this Golden Knights team would look with Vatanen :unsure:

On that same point, imagine how good that team would look with Murray instead of Fluery. Well, actually I think Fluery's presence is probably having a stronger impact on this team than Murray would have, but Fluery doesn't have nearly as many seasons left in him as Murray does. But for this current run, Fluery is by far the main reason for it. Without him, they may have still made it to the WCF, but they wouldn't have survived Winnipeg.

On a side note, it's a shame that we also couldn't add in our trade of Stoner that they had to PLAY him, too :P 

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1 hour ago, Shadowduck said:

I don't understand the point you are making. 

 

It's a play off of "Moneyball," the Michael Lewis book about how Billy Beane, the Oakland A's GM, found a severely undervalued skill in MLB (getting on base via walk) and tried to exploit it to the benefit of the team while maintaining a relatively low payroll.  The book is basically about one GM bucking all of the old school, well-ingrained methods of scouting and evaluating baseball players and using data to determine who will succeed. 

Without knowing the inner workings of the Vegas front office, this is a pretty analogous situation.  It takes a lot of standard tropes about how to build a hockey team and how to play and turns those on their heads by using a limited amount of resources to succeed by doing things differently.

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6 hours ago, gorbachav5 said:

It's a play off of "Moneyball," the Michael Lewis book about how Billy Beane, the Oakland A's GM, found a severely undervalued skill in MLB (getting on base via walk) and tried to exploit it to the benefit of the team while maintaining a relatively low payroll.  The book is basically about one GM bucking all of the old school, well-ingrained methods of scouting and evaluating baseball players and using data to determine who will succeed. 

Without knowing the inner workings of the Vegas front office, this is a pretty analogous situation.  It takes a lot of standard tropes about how to build a hockey team and how to play and turns those on their heads by using a limited amount of resources to succeed by doing things differently.

Thank you for the explanation. I have never heard of nor read that book. 

Edited by Shadowduck

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37 minutes ago, Shadowduck said:

Thank you for the explanation. I have never heard of nor read that book. 

Watched the movie?  Brad Pitt?

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3 hours ago, Shadowduck said:

Thank you for the explanation. I have never heard of nor read that book. 

Unless you're baseball stat nerd, skip the book, spend the two hours on the decent movie of the same name. 

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1 hour ago, poum said:

Unless you're baseball stat nerd, skip the book, spend the two hours on the decent movie of the same name. 

Didn’t Jonah aka “all time Pancake” win an Oscar or something for that role? 

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16 hours ago, Jasoaks said:

On that same point, imagine how good that team would look with Murray instead of Fluery. Well, actually I think Fluery's presence is probably having a stronger impact on this team than Murray would have, but Fluery doesn't have nearly as many seasons left in him as Murray does. But for this current run, Fluery is by far the main reason for it. Without him, they may have still made it to the WCF, but they wouldn't have survived Winnipeg.

On a side note, it's a shame that we also couldn't add in our trade of Stoner that they had to PLAY him, too :P 

I disagree with that 100%.. Fluery has always been a top-tier goalie in this league. He has probably 2 to 3 years left coasting in the elite category. Get rid of all the “who will battle for the number 1A spot” (which we ourselves have been through with Gibby/Freddy) and the guy has no damn pressure riding on him..

Malcom Subban will easily tak his place when the time comes , but Flower was the obvious smart choice . The guy is about to (and will) 3 peat this season. I know you’ve given him credit via the post I’m replying to, but Murray has a great team in-front of him that took years to build.. Fluery just came in and in any other words said this is my team (even though everyone counted them out) and I’ll show ya. 

 

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2 hours ago, yeaitsme said:

Didn’t Jonah aka “all time Pancake” win an Oscar or something for that role? 

Nominated for supporting role. Weird to think Jonas "Super Bad" Hill is an Oscar nominated actor. Eww.

Since I had to look up that Jonas thing, movie ended up with six nominations. 

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5 hours ago, yeaitsme said:

I disagree with that 100%.. Fluery has always been a top-tier goalie in this league. He has probably 2 to 3 years left coasting in the elite category. Get rid of all the “who will battle for the number 1A spot” (which we ourselves have been through with Gibby/Freddy) and the guy has no damn pressure riding on him..

Malcom Subban will easily tak his place when the time comes , but Flower was the obvious smart choice . The guy is about to (and will) 3 peat this season. I know you’ve given him credit via the post I’m replying to, but Murray has a great team in-front of him that took years to build.. Fluery just came in and in any other words said this is my team (even though everyone counted them out) and I’ll show ya. 

 

That's all very good points. Do you think, without as much hindsight as you can put into it :P , the Pens were better off/should have just let Murray get picked up instead of Fluery? A lot of people give Columbus crap for letting them take Karlsson, but when you look at Wild Bill's seasons up to that point it actually makes A LOT of sense to leave him unprotected...there's now way the Columbus GM would have known he'd have the season...and quite possibly he wouldn't have had that same season in Columbus.

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On ‎5‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 2:00 PM, Shadowduck said:

.

If the Knights do win the cup I could see some small market teams adopt this strategy of building a team entirely of average to better than average players with no  "Superstars" or huge contracts. It will be interesting to watch.

I'll take that a step further.  I am already on record saying that Vegas' immediate success is ultimately not good for the NHL long term as it calls into question the integrity of a league when the expansion rules are dramatically different than faced by previous franchises simply because the entrance fee was higher.  But the success of Vegas will impact player salaries as well.    Teams will be more inclined to let players walk, assuming they can always be replaced with someone capable of putting up numbers in their system.  You saw some of that with baseball this year.  Veteran players who were used to getting multi-year offers were left on the sideline, replaced by newer models.

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9 hours ago, poum said:

Unless you're baseball stat nerd, skip the book, spend the two hours on the decent movie of the same name. 

The book is very good, and I would think if you're a sports fan and you like good writing, you can get into it.  I'd recommend every Michael Lewis book I've read ("The Big Short", "Moneyball", "The Blind Side", "Liar's Poker").  However, I will say that I've also seen the movies made out of three of those books, and the movies do a fair job of representing the books.  I still think it's worth it to read, but that's just my two cents.

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1 hour ago, gorbachav5 said:

The book is very good, and I would think if you're a sports fan and you like good writing, you can get into it.  I'd recommend every Michael Lewis book I've read ("The Big Short", "Moneyball", "The Blind Side", "Liar's Poker").  However, I will say that I've also seen the movies made out of three of those books, and the movies do a fair job of representing the books.  I still think it's worth it to read, but that's just my two cents.

Not to get too off-topic, but I think "The Big Short" is one of the best films in recent years.

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29 minutes ago, Jasoaks said:

Not to get too off-topic, but I think "The Big Short" is one of the best films in recent years.

I really enjoyed the movie, but the book is even better, especially if you're at all familiar with the financial industry.

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On 5/22/2018 at 0:42 PM, Shadowduck said:

I don't understand the point you are making. 

 

Did you see the movie “Money-Ball” with Brad Pitt?  The point was and is that when you won’t or cannot buy the giant talents to populate your roster, you can spend smart as the Oakland A’s did.

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1 hour ago, SteveinTamarindo said:

Did you see the movie “Money-Ball” with Brad Pitt?  The point was and is that when you won’t or cannot buy the giant talents to populate your roster, you can spend smart as the Oakland A’s did.

Thanks. I have not seen that movie nor have I read the book it was based on. Hence my ignorance with regards to the reference.

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On 5/23/2018 at 4:45 AM, yeaitsme said:

I disagree with that 100%.. Fluery has always been a top-tier goalie in this league. He has probably 2 to 3 years left coasting in the elite category. Get rid of all the “who will battle for the number 1A spot” (which we ourselves have been through with Gibby/Freddy) and the guy has no damn pressure riding on him..

Malcom Subban will easily tak his place when the time comes , but Flower was the obvious smart choice . The guy is about to (and will) 3 peat this season. I know you’ve given him credit via the post I’m replying to, but Murray has a great team in-front of him that took years to build.. Fluery just came in and in any other words said this is my team (even though everyone counted them out) and I’ll show ya. 

 

I wouldn't go that far. Top tier regular season goalie maybe. Before 2016 it looked like the prime years of the Penguins' core was wasted and you could argue that it was almost entirely his fault. Between their 2009 and 2016 championships it was an annual spectacle to see him completely unravel in the playoffs regardless of how strong he was during the season. He finished 6 of his 11 playoff runs in Pittsburgh with a SV% in the 800s. When you're giving the 200 year old shell of Tomas Vokoun starts in the conference finals cause you can't trust your high paid starter to make the most basic saves, you've got a problem. Even last year when he helped carry them through the first two rounds they didn't waste any time giving the crease back to Murray once the opportunity presented itself. Those 2008-09 runs to the finals were really the only time he's looked like a goalie capable of maintaining his team's confidence and succeeding in the playoffs prior this season. All his sentimental value to Pittsburgh aside, they happily gave him to Vegas. Gotta give him some credit though, he's put up 2003 Giguere numbers for them. I'm still fully expecting these finals to be a total gongshow.

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