Friday, April 21, 2006

Babcock On Home Ice vs The Big 3

Three teams in the west are pretty clearly reliant on one line/player. These are San Jose, Colorado and Anaheim. Unless you are a diehard fan of one of those teams, I think that's pretty obvious.

Detroit played these three teams once each on home ice in the last third of the season, between February 12th and March 23rd. They won all three games.

This is who Babcock chose to play against Sakic, Selanne and Thornton in these games:

A few of my thoughts:

* THIS is the year that Draper should get Selke consideration. He's back to tough minutes this season, from the get go by the looks of it.

* The "Yzerman vs the other team's best players" experiment that we saw early in the season was well and truly over by February. In fact by these splits he must have been getting the shifts immediately after Thornton et al, in a conscious effort to avoid them.

* Babcock doesn't trust Lang against good players. We won't see scenes like Iginla dominating Lang at the JLA this playoff season, because it looks damn unlikely that he'll be out against that quality of player. (I miss Lewis :-( (

* Lidstrom really does do it all, doesn't he? I mean in order to see this much of guys like Thornton, he must be getting most of the shifts after a DET PP as well as playing the first half of the PP itself. Plus huge PP and 5on5 points totals ... just give the man the Norris.

* Zetterburg only played one game with tough minutes. He was plus 1 and Thornton was -1 iirc, though I don't know how the flow of play or scoring chances went head to head there. He can do it all, this one, victimize the checkers or go toe to toe with the best. A lot like Alfredsson.

* The starboard side seems pretty fluid. Drifting away from Maltby by the looks of this. A weakness I think.

* Carlyle is a bit of a slippery bugger with spotting in the Selanne line on the road. We saw that at Rexall recently as well. The guy probably deserves more props than he gets.

So, any thoughts?


Blogger speeds said...

hard to know what to think. How do you see DET trying to match lines vs. EDM?

Zetterburg vs. Smyth/Horc? I guess it's hard to know without knowing what lines EDM will ice.

Think Babcock would be fine with Yzerman vs. Hemsky?

Zetterberg vs. SMyth's line?

Peca on Datsyuk?

Draper against the all offense line? Or will they stick him with Z?

4/21/2006 11:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog has been great the past weeks, guys. Really, really good.

I think the Moreau injury really puts a wrench in MacT's lineup.

I think probably Harvey will play the wing with Peca and Pisani, leaving Murray, Laraque and Torres on the 4th.


4/21/2006 11:54 am  
Anonymous namflashback said...

Based on your analysis, Babcock is sure to go with checkers versus Oil's #1 line.

I'm guessing that's why MacT was running practices with Sammy-Stoll-Hemsky to spread the strength to that line. I think it will be primetime for this Oilers line -- and they will likely go against Yzerman's line.

He will attempt every opportunity to get his top line out against the fourth line, but MacT will switch to his checkers.

4/21/2006 12:03 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

I dunno, as you say it is hard to say because we aren't sure what lines both teams will have. That won't stop me from guessing though :-)

I think it's safe to say that Babcock will shelter Lang/Yzerman. And if MacTavish is sane, and gets Hemsky the hell away from Horcoff and Smyth, then that's the line Babcock will choose to avoid. He'll run Draper (and Z?) against Horcoff and run Yzerman out after Horcoff leaves the ice, which leaves MacTavish with his choice against the Yzerman line, and I'd have to think he'd go with Peca's line there, and try to have Pronger/Smyth out there for the the Shanahan/Datsyuk line (Pavel's still not a go for tonight though, no?) ... because they'll get Samsonov/Stoll/Hemsky, probably a lot with Lidstrom ... and that's NOT a good thing if you're an Oiler fan. :-(

All just guesswork, and I'm sure we'll see things shuffled about depending on who is playing well and the score on the board. Babcock has more good cards here imo, but it's doable if the 12-16-83 line plays well and doesn't cough up the puck at the blue lines too much. Beyond Lidstrom the Wings D isn't really any hell, but when you have that many good forwards it doesn't need to be.

4/21/2006 12:06 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

D'Oh! That should read "Pronger/SmIth" in the comment above.

4/21/2006 12:11 pm  
Anonymous namflashback said...

--> source is oiler's website:

LINE COMBINATIONS: Detroit is going with Tomas Holmstrom, Zetterberg and Mikael Samuelsson on their top line, Mark Mowers, Kris Draper and Brendan Shanahan on line two and Yzerman, Robert Lang and Jason Williams on their checking unit. Johan Franzen and former Oilers Kirk Maltby and Dan Cleary will likely make up the energy line for the Red Wings.

--Source is sportsnet
Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff, Radek Dvorak
Sergei Samsonov, Jarret Stoll, Ales Hemsky
Raffi Torres, Michael Peca, Fernando Pisani
Todd Harvey, Rem Murray, Georges Laraque

Babcock has spread it around based on those lines. No free rides for any Oiler line if he keeps those combos. Yzerman, Lang, Williams would be the weakest defensively.

4/21/2006 12:46 pm  
Blogger speeds said...

yeah, was just gonna post the DET lines, here goes even though they are above:


4/21/2006 1:50 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Thanks flashback.

So Moreau and Datsyuk are almost surely out then. Torres is going to have to play a smart game and not let the play die with him too much, I feel strangely confident with him on Peca's line though ... no sound reasoning, just a feeling. :-)

I would think that Babcock will try to get Lidstrom out against the Oilers second line. Too much speed and skill there for some of the old legs they have at the back end.

That looks like a beatable lineup though. If the Stoll line can hold their own I think the Oilers can stay with the Wings, even at JLA.

Man, I'm jonesing for playoff hockey to start. :D

4/21/2006 2:05 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

So speeds, what do you think?

Zetterberg vs Horcoff or Draper/Shanahan vs Horcoff? Either way it's a good matchup for both parties I think. Some damn good 5on5 hockey players are going to be on the ice at the same time there.

4/21/2006 2:08 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

Draper is offensive garbage. Mark Mowers is well...Mark Mowers. I know we're not the ES team we used to be but looking at those lines...I'm still scared but not terrified.

I'm thinking Babcock will quickly revert to using three lines and that Shanny won't be playing with those guys all night. Maltby's had a terrible year as his bottom three forwards status can attest. I'd say it's a race between Cleary-Mowers-Franzen-Maltby for the 9th spot.

But if things stayed the same and we're talking line matchups...I'd say Z's line vs Horc's and Draper/Shanahan vs Stoll's line which will not be good for the Oil. I think Babcock will be cool with any matchup vs 14-37-34 because he'll bet they can't score shagall and who'd bet against him? Of course the WC, wildcard, is RT scored in his last game so he might be about to get hot again.

4/21/2006 2:53 pm  
Blogger speeds said...

I would guess the Oilers will try for Z vs. H, peca vs. draper, samsonov/hemsky against either of the other 2, and babcock will allow the first matchup, but try for draper against hemsky and yzerman vs. peca's line, and hope to win on special teams.

I could also see Babcock trying to Draper vs. Smyth, yzer/peca, Z/hemsky.

4/21/2006 3:36 pm  

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