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Devils Midseason Report Card: Team in midst of misery


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#81 CarpathianForest

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 11:52 AM

By the token of the same logic that Manta et. al. are using I could also say that the Atlanta Thrashers are doing better because they've lost:
Artykhin, Afinogenov, Armstrong, Chelios, Hedberg, Kozlov, MacArthur, Popovic, Reasoner, Salmela, Schubert, Valabik, White.
All these guys played for Atlanta last year and don't this year. You can't say Atlanta is doing better because Kovy is gone, same way I can't say Atlanta is doing better because these other guys are gone.
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#82 Jerrydevil

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 11:53 AM

For a stat guy, Triumph, you talk an awful lot about luck.

The Thrashers, so far, are better without Kovalchuk and with their new additions.
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#83 coldply123

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 11:57 AM

this guy was taormina, but unfortunately he got injured. the devils have seen the need for a player like this - each year they've brought in a guy from outside the organization who has this skillset (rachunek, salmela, murphy). lou is right not to spend a lot of money on these kinds of players.

i don't think andy greene is a back-pairing defenseman, but he is playing like one this season.

the center for kovalchuk is on this team right now - patrik elias. whoever coaches the team next year should say from day one of training camp - patrik elias is going to be a center on this team. lemaire can't use kovalchuk and elias together right now because then he's leaving travis zajac to fend for himself among the sh!tboxes. elias is a good defensive player. josefson and kovalchuk together would likely be a disaster in year 1. i think that's where we'll go eventually, but for now, elias is the man for the job.

sure it was. that's why they're doing so great this year. oh, they're getting outshot horribly and the only way they've succeeded is because of good fortune on both offense and defense? could have fooled me.



I'm kind of on the wait and see on Taormina. I think there is some potential there, and we might need to be a little patient, as he needs to improve his decision-making a bit and his defensive. I think he can replace Green if/when he leaves, which is looking pretty possible.

We disagree on this point which is fair. He isn't a top-pairing defenseman though and he's getting a ton of ice time. He is what he is. I think he's going to probably want too much money, more than the Devils could afford or should pay. He's been exposed defensively which makes his offensive game look probably a bit more limited than it actually is. I think he's better than what he has shown thus far this year, but his 40-45 game stretch or so last yr where he was tremendous looks like a bit fluky, especially since he did start to struggle as well the end of last season somewhat. As I've said, if some team offers up a 2nd rounder or prospect for Greene, we should take it.

Agree with this, but I question if Lou and the coaching staff will do it and see this as well. I think Elias fits at center as well.

Edited by coldply123, 12 January 2011 - 11:59 AM.

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#84 Triumph

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 11:58 AM

For a stat guy, Triumph, you talk an awful lot about luck.


i have never understood this distinction and i see it a lot. statistical theories don't preclude luck, rather they explain what luck might be. baseball is way ahead of hockey in terms of stats and tons of the discussions there are about chance elements. much of statistics as it is applied to sports is understanding the role of chance and sustainable performance. why is player A doing so well? can he sustain this performance? what is causing him to do well? chance plays a large role in team sports.

when we look at the thrashers, we see a lot of guys shooting over their heads, and a team that's getting absolutely crushed shots-wise. teams that get crushed shots-wise tend not to be good teams.

The Thrashers, so far, are better without Kovalchuk and with their new additions.


they are barely better. and much of their better-ness can be attributed to chance. (losing pavel kubina didn't help either).

Edited by Triumph, 12 January 2011 - 12:04 PM.

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#85 Jerrydevil

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 11:59 AM

By the token of the same logic that Manta et. al. are using I could also say that the Atlanta Thrashers are doing better because they've lost:
Artykhin, Afinogenov, Armstrong, Chelios, Hedberg, Kozlov, MacArthur, Popovic, Reasoner, Salmela, Schubert, Valabik, White.
All these guys played for Atlanta last year and don't this year. You can't say Atlanta is doing better because Kovy is gone, same way I can't say Atlanta is doing better because these other guys are gone.


This argument is so weak that I'll bet you don't even really believe it.

What's so hard about admitting that losing Kovalchuk enabled the Thrashers to spend their money on other players who have made an impact?
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#86 NJDevs4978

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:01 PM

sure it was. that's why they're doing so great this year. oh, they're getting outshot horribly and the only way they've succeeded is because of good fortune on both offense and defense? could have fooled me.


lol Atlanta has good fortune when they're winning and we have the worst luck in the history of mankind offensively when we're losing.

If Kovy was so great there wouldn't even be the consideration that a team's better without him, I'm sorry.
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#87 NewarkDevil5

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:01 PM

sure it was. that's why they're doing so great this year. oh, they're getting outshot horribly and the only way they've succeeded is because of good fortune on both offense and defense? could have fooled me.


Y'know its funny. Thats exactly the way I feel about our team in the first half of last season before they hit the wall. We were succeeding because other teams were shooting wide on open nets and we were getting an awful lot of favorable bounces. Then the bounces started to disappear for us as teams started to tighten up in late December and the second half was a steady descent into disaster. Then this season we've seen that disaster simply continue.

At this point I think Lemaire is simply trying to lay the basic fundamental framework for a defensive system for this team down, because I think that framework had all but disappeared by the time he returned. As the defense gets better at what they do (and they have gotten better defensively, no matter what anyone wants to say, since Johnny Mac was canned) the team's confidence to go on the offensive will return. Guys like Tallinder and Greene will start to do a lot better when their forwards know where they're supposed to be. Its a matter of controlling the flow of the puck in the defensive zone. When we (with our generally piss-poor forecheck) go into the offensive zone, the defending team channels the puck to certain locations so that their forwards can get it the heck out of there. With us, its been keystone kops in the defensive zone for most of the year. We're just finally since Lemaire's been back, started to be able to control the flow of the puck in our defensive zone to where we're properly channeling it to where we want it rather than where the opposing team wants it to be.

And before anyone brings this up, I'm aware that it was Lemaire coaching the team last year when I'm saying all these problems began to surface, but if you've read my earlier posts you'll understand that I'm of the opinion that the team hasn't really been listening properly to the coaching staff for some years and I think they're only starting to now because of a combination of the losing record and the departure of someone I consider to have been a locker room cancer.

Edited by NewarkDevil5, 12 January 2011 - 12:05 PM.

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#88 CarpathianForest

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:10 PM

This argument is so weak that I'll bet you don't even really believe it.

What's so hard about admitting that losing Kovalchuk enabled the Thrashers to spend their money on other players who have made an impact?


There's nothing weak about my argument. Are you saying that shedding these players didn't free up cap space to go and get other talent?

I'm not saying the Kovy signing had nothing to do with our lot. It definitely tied our hands and took too long. It was evident last year that Kovy couldn't create by himself and he would need at least a talented playmaking center to work with. However, if Kovy doesn't sign then what would you have suggested we do to make this season better? Even without Kovy here we weren't exactly tearing it up offensively. Do you honestly think Lou could have brought in a highly regarded defenseman? Have you seen the D men Lou signed in the offseason, this past offseason not included? And I know you might say well we could have signed Parise to an extension. All fine and dandy, but that doesn't solve our defensive woes. It actually ties up more cap space.
Accept it, Kovy or no Kovy, a season like this was bound to happen sooner or later. Hopefully Lou will make the right moves so we can have only one bad season like the Flyers instead of languishing like the Oilers.
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#89 mouse

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:13 PM

Didn't the Thrashers make a mini-run and almost make the playoffs last year AFTER dealing Kovy? There are a lot of factors involved in their success, but there is no question they got better without him. Not to blame him entirely for the Devils debacle, because there's blame to go around, and we were hitting this tailspin before the trade, but still.

IMO Kovy is a freakishly talented player who, at this point, will never be the best player on an elite team. The closet parallel I can come up with is Allen Iverson in basketball. Both guys put butts in seats because they can do things that no one else can, but their respective games make them difficult to build around. They fail to make teammates better. Kovy also has poor hockey sense. The right coach might be able to fix this, but Mac was overmatched, and JL's a defensive guy, and Kovy's game is offense, so I don't seem him being the answer either. They need to find that guy soon, though, or Kovy's going to continue to be a 6.66 million dollar albatross.
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#90 MantaRay

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:17 PM

By the token of the same logic that Manta et. al. are using I could also say that the Atlanta Thrashers are doing better because they've lost:
Artykhin, Afinogenov, Armstrong, Chelios, Hedberg, Kozlov, MacArthur, Popovic, Reasoner, Salmela, Schubert, Valabik, White.
All these guys played for Atlanta last year and don't this year. You can't say Atlanta is doing better because Kovy is gone, same way I can't say Atlanta is doing better because these other guys are gone.


Atlanta is a better TEAM, because the players and style's mesh better than having to defer to just one player.

This is a Rick Dudley TEAM, he is building the Thrashers the same way he did Tampa, Ottawa and Chicago.

Didn't the Thrashers make a mini-run and almost make the playoffs last year AFTER dealing Kovy? There are a lot of factors involved in their success, but there is no question they got better without him. Not to blame him entirely for the Devils debacle, because there's blame to go around, and we were hitting this tailspin before the trade, but still.

IMO Kovy is a freakishly talented player who, at this point, will never be the best player on an elite team. The closet parallel I can come up with is Allen Iverson in basketball. Both guys put butts in seats because they can do things that no one else can, but their respective games make them difficult to build around. They fail to make teammates better. Kovy also has poor hockey sense. The right coach might be able to fix this, but Mac was overmatched, and JL's a defensive guy, and Kovy's game is offense, so I don't seem him being the answer either. They need to find that guy soon, though, or Kovy's going to continue to be a 6.66 million dollar albatross.


Yes, they made a run and finished 10th overall in the conference. Missing the playoffs by a few points.
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#91 CarpathianForest

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:18 PM

Kovy is like Heatley in San Jose. The thing is can we find our Marleau and Thornton? :noclue:
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#92 Triumph

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:19 PM

lol Atlanta has good fortune when they're winning and we have the worst luck in the history of mankind offensively when we're losing.


it happens to be true.

If Kovy was so great there wouldn't even be the consideration that a team's better without him, I'm sorry.


this isn't true either. teams do better after losing great players all the time. i don't even think kovalchuk is a great player, all i'm saying is that kovalchuk leaving isn't really the cause of the thrashers' success.
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#93 CarpathianForest

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:20 PM

it happens to be true.



this isn't true either. teams do better after losing great players all the time. i don't even think kovalchuk is a great player, all i'm saying is that kovalchuk leaving isn't really the cause of the thrashers' success.


Nuh-uh! Look what happened in Edmonton after Gretzky left!!!! :whistling:

Edited by CarpathianForest, 12 January 2011 - 12:20 PM.

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#94 Triumph

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:34 PM

I'm kind of on the wait and see on Taormina. I think there is some potential there, and we might need to be a little patient, as he needs to improve his decision-making a bit and his defensive. I think he can replace Green if/when he leaves, which is looking pretty possible.


i think this is way too ambitious. taormina can work on a third pairing for sure. expecting him to replace greene is extreme.

We disagree on this point which is fair. He isn't a top-pairing defenseman though and he's getting a ton of ice time. He is what he is. I think he's going to probably want too much money, more than the Devils could afford or should pay. He's been exposed defensively which makes his offensive game look probably a bit more limited than it actually is. I think he's better than what he has shown thus far this year, but his 40-45 game stretch or so last yr where he was tremendous looks like a bit fluky, especially since he did start to struggle as well the end of last season somewhat. As I've said, if some team offers up a 2nd rounder or prospect for Greene, we should take it.


i vacillate on this depending on greene's play. i don't think there will be a ton of interest for andy greene in the offseason. if he's willing to commit for less than 2M per season and a maximum of 3 seasons, i'm sold. we're not likely to find anything better in free agency, and if it goes wrong, well whatever we're not out very much money.

Agree with this, but I question if Lou and the coaching staff will do it and see this as well. I think Elias fits at center as well.


the alternative is kovalchuk at RW or elias on the 3rd line, neither of which are acceptable solutions.
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#95 CarpathianForest

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:39 PM

You know it's not like the Thrashers are lighting it up right now. They got shallacked by Toronto on Saturday 9-3. Their still having their ups and downs and face the real possibility that they will finish 10th place again. The only difference is that that Thrashers are playing a team game whereas they used to defer more to Kovalchuk. New Jersey has to avoid playing a game centered around Kovalchuk. At first they were guilty of this but I think they're beginning to transition back to playing a team game.
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#96 iamtheprodigy

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:49 PM

Yes, they made a run and finished 10th overall in the conference. Missing the playoffs by a few points.


Thrashers record before trading Kovalchuk: 24-23-8, 56 points, point percentage of .509

Thrashers record after trading Kovalchuk: 11-11-5, 27 points, point percentage of .500

Quite a "run" they went on.

Edited by iamtheprodigy, 12 January 2011 - 12:51 PM.

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#97 DaneykoIsGod

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:04 PM

Thrashers record before trading Kovalchuk: 24-23-8, 56 points, point percentage of .509

Thrashers record after trading Kovalchuk: 11-11-5, 27 points, point percentage of .500

Quite a "run" they went on.


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#98 CarpathianForest

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:26 PM

Does anyone recall if Manta moaned this much when we signed Rolston to his contract?
I admit I felt a lot like Manta too for a couple of months but you gotta dance with who brung you. There's no changing what was done so let's move forward.
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#99 Daniel

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:35 PM

What's so hard about admitting that losing Kovalchuk enabled the Thrashers to spend their money on other players who have made an impact?


What other players? They're $17 million under the cap right now. Comfortable enough to fit Kovy even at $10 million a year.

Anyway, the question you have to ask is whether the Thrashers would be better/same/worse if they still had him. The players they got back from the Devils thus far don't seem to have made much of a difference. (I thought Oduya had, but apparently he's been playing poorly). You could argue though that without having gotten the Devils first-rounder they couldn't have gotten Byfulin.

This is hockey, not a controlled experiment, so no one can really know.
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#100 sundstrom

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:52 PM

i vacillate on this depending on greene's play. i don't think there will be a ton of interest for andy greene in the offseason. if he's willing to commit for less than 2M per season and a maximum of 3 seasons, i'm sold. we're not likely to find anything better in free agency, and if it goes wrong, well whatever we're not out very much money.


my problem with this is two fold.

one, you're giving a commitment to greene that blocks someone else (like urbom or taormina)

two - it's still money. sure we could send him to the minors at any time to get him off the cap, but i don't think the devils can keep making multi-year commitments for guys that just aren't that good.
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