In Praise of the Red Wings
by crazychester (2013-03-08 11:28:58)
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Yes it is an article about the black Hawks but don't let the title throw you. It is actually an article about hockey strategy and building a team. In this case the Hawks who are built to emulate the Red Wings teams of the 90's/00's.

I think we can all agree its good to see hockey in the WSJ.

In the aftermath of its 2004-05 lockout, the league implemented a host of rules changes intended to open up the flow of play and cultivate more offense. But after a season-long spike in goal-scoring, teams figured out that if they dropped their skaters back on defense quickly, making the middle of the ice as crowded as a Times Square subway platform, they could keep opposing players on the perimeter of the rink. To penetrate that defensive shell, most teams sacrifice the puck, firing it into the zone in order to win it back amid the thicket of bodies near the net.

The Blackhawks have rejected that philosophy. Stan Bowman, their general manager, had enjoyed watching the Detroit Red Wings teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s that his father, Scotty, coached to three Stanley Cups. During that period, Scotty Bowman created "the Russian Five," a unit comprised entirely of Russian players who controlled the puck with such grace and synchronicity that the Blackhawks sought to emulate it themselves.

"It was an unusual style," said Stan Bowman, who at 39 is the youngest GM in the NHL. "It equates to the Harlem Globetrotters."





Much as I love the Red Wings
by captaineclectic  (2013-03-08 12:29:02)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I sincerely believe that the original of this template was the Mario/Jagr Penguins.

The mid-90s Red Wings tweaked the formula in response to the trap, for sure, but Bowman's pilot program won two Cups in Pittsburgh first. There's a reason he went out and got Larry Murphy in Detroit, after all.


Too bad Mario
by sweeney's73  (2013-03-08 15:27:50)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

didn't allow Scotty to attend practice (Coffey wildly supported him).

The Pens might have won a few more.


There is also a reason he dumped Paul Coffey twice...
by KevinG  (2013-03-08 12:51:48)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...only to immediately win Stanley Cups after divesting him.

Paul Coffey was and is a big pussy who sucks.


Asterisk next to the 1st time they dumped Coffey
by strangebrew  (2013-03-08 16:32:15)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

As the Penguins had won the Stanley Cup the year before as well.

Granted, Coffey was out with injury for a good chunk of the Finals against Minnesota, and was restricted to being a PP specialist after his return. But what a glorious PP it was: Coffey, Murphy, Lemieux, Francis, and Stevens.


Same as when Edmonton divested Coffey
by KevinG  (2013-03-08 19:18:12)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

It impacted their ability to win as much as divesting a 4th line winger.


I think he had a bit more value than that
by strangebrew  (2013-03-09 09:55:15)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

For about a decade or so, Coffey was the top offensive defenseman in the league. Although he wasn't the only notable addition in that time frame, he did play a huge role in helping Lemieux lead the Penguins from Patrick Division also-ran to Stanley Cup Champions.

I suspect a huge portion of your impression of Coffey is colored by context--in particular, the NHL's style of play by the time Coffey made it to Detroit, vs. the style of play when he was in Edmonton, and even Pittsburgh just a few years previous. In the 80s and early 90s, the more wide-open play of the NHL suited to his strengths; but the more close-checking style of the mid-90s made him a dinosaur. Similar to how Derian Hatcher was a top defender before the lockout, but was exposed as a pylon when the game was widened back up.


I do not agree that he was the top offensive defenseman...
by KevinG  (2013-03-09 11:42:50)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...for a decade, since he was not a defenseman. He was a Coffey. Furthermore, his points were inflated playing for the Oilers and Penguins. Look at the points players like Bourque and MacInnis were putting up at the same time for good, not great teams. And they exerted effort in their own end too.

I do agree that my impression of him is colored by his time in Detroit, since I observed him closely at that time.

Did the Penguins miss a beat once they sent him to LA?


Murphy made Coffey redundant
by strangebrew  (2013-03-09 12:05:00)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But if Murphy had been the guy traded, I could just as easily state that Coffey made Murphy redundant.

Having two future Hall-of-Famers available as point men for the power play was a luxury that few teams have ever had; throw in the fact that Francis was able to fill in as the 2nd point man post-trade, and it was clear that one of them was expendable.

P.S. I take exception to you referring to the Flames as a good but not great team; if they didn't have to face the Oilers in the 1st 2 rounds every year, I think they would be looked back upon as a dynasty in their own right. Vernon, Suter, MacInnis, Otto, McDonald, Nieuwendyk, Gilmour, Fleury, Mullen, Roberts--that team was stacked.


agree with you 100% regarding the Flames. That was an
by gowings1  (2013-03-09 21:12:45)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

excellent team that happened to run into the buzzsaw era that was the oilers.


Can you provide some more insight for your last sentence?
by Porpoiseboy  (2013-03-08 13:03:56)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm interested to know why you feel that way.


I have posted my Coffey manifesto before...
by KevinG  (2013-03-08 13:11:48)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...I'll see if I can find it later today and re-post.


How the hell did I miss that?!? Definitely interested. *
by Porpoiseboy  (2013-03-08 13:17:47)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Here you go
by KevinG  (2013-03-08 19:12:21)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

First of all, I will state that Paul Coffey was a nice hockey player that probably should have been a winger instead of a defenseman. As Scotty Bowman noted, Coffey was a defenseman who chose not to play defense, but got away with it because he was a decent scorer for a forward.

His large point totals throughout his career are also a bit inflated since he was in the perfect place at the perfect time, coming of age playing for a team that played to outscore others, had loads of talent up front, in a era when freewheeling was standard in the NHL. He basically rode the coattails of Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Lemieux, Jagr, Francis, Yzerman, Fedorov, Lindros to help amass his large point totals. I suspect Bourque or Chelios or MacInnis on the same teams might have racked up near similar point totals, though they would have also taken their defensive responsibilities seriously.

Yes his point totals are similar to those of Bobby Orr in his prime. However, Orr actually exerted effort in his own end, probably as much effort as he exerted in the offensive zone. Coffey saved all of his energy for offense.

Here are some excerpts of Coffey's best work. I realize these are Detroit heavy, since I did not watch him nearly as closely when he played with other teams, since I was both too young to follow hockey closely, and because I am not an Oilers or Penguins fan. Perhaps Oilers or Penguins fans on the board can provide their own examples of Coffey's brilliance.

1. Coffey skates a duet with Scott Niedermayer, Game 2 1995 Finals:



2. Coffey attempts the first shot block of his career, does a terrible job, takes puck off back of leg where he has no padding, lays on ice while game winning goal is scored, Game 2 1995 Finals:



3. Coffey thinks he is in offensive zone, shows brilliant scoring touch. Game 1, 1996 Western Conference Finals:



4. Coffey chooses not to play defense, allows two Red Wings to skate in on his goaltender untouched (watch at about the 22-26 second mark, where Coffey just stands there when it is obvious the play is going the other way):



It is humorous that Coffey is mentioned in the same breath as players like Bourque and Chelios. I would put Coffey, as a defenseman, behind many of his contemporaries, including Ray Bourque, Chris Chelios, Al MacInnis, Phil Housley, Larry Murphy, perhaps Doug Wilson.

Also note that many teams traded Coffey, and found that losing his services had no impact on their ability to win. See the following:

- Edmonton Oilers win Stanley Cup in 1988, right after trading Coffey
- Pittsburgh Penguins win Stanley Cup in 1992, right after trading Coffey
- LA Kings make Stanley Cup Finals in 1993, right after trading Coffey
- Detroit Red Wings win Stanley Cup in 1997, right after trading Coffey


Trading Wayne Gretzky had no impact on
by dentonfreeman  (2013-03-08 23:07:37)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Edmonton's ability to win, either.

It generally takes more than trading one guy, no matter how good or bad, for a team to stop winning.


Remind me
by KevinG  (2013-03-09 11:48:39)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Who won the 1989 Smythe Division Semifinals between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings?

Which team did Wayne Gretzky play for in that series?

How many playoff series had the Los Angeles Kings won in the 6 seasons before that?

Seems like the loss of Wayne Gretzky had a very direct impact on Edmonton's ability to win.


Yeah, I mean, Edmonton never won a Cup
by dentonfreeman  (2013-03-09 13:41:06)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Without Gretzky, right?

I forget, how many Cups did Gretzky win after that trade?

One man does not make or break a team.


Here is a preview. I'll provide more later. (link)
by KevinG  (2013-03-08 13:50:38)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I still have visions of the own goal vs. the 'lanche in 96..
by CMillar  (2013-03-08 15:32:28)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...forever seared into my brain.

Nice one timer, Paul.


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