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GDT: Toronto vs Montreal, Feb. 24


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I don't mean to butt in here but I think the answer to that is that we don't have the luxury of tanking a season to get high picks therefore were always gonna have good Players that need to play over their heads for us to be great and that's probably not gonna happen over 82 games

By all means 'butt in' this is a discussion forum afterall. I was more talking about do players feel more motivated to make the playoffs and therefore play over there head in traditional markets vs. non-traditional markets, or is it just happenstance that it's been like this the past few years.

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By all means 'butt in' this is a discussion forum afterall. I was more talking about do players feel more motivated to make the playoffs and therefore play over there head in traditional markets vs. non-traditional markets, or is it just happenstance that it's been like this the past few years.

Yeah I see what u mean my guess would be pride and good captains, and hopefully when they see all the legends honored hopefully they think too themselves, I wanna be there one day, and be part of history and never have your name forgotten. At least that's that's how I would feel if I saw the rich history of Montreal and got to Play their. The thing I like about this particular grouP of guys is the seem to have a ton of pride and seem to "get it" it, by that I mean get the Montreal isn't just another team. I think all these little things must contribute to the never die attitude we saw last spring.

Edited by SOOPAVILLIN
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I think it's just that Montreal has been a slightly above average (to above average but oft injured) team for a few seasons now. It could be that the Montreal atmosphere gives the Habs a slight push that the other average teams don't have... but it's impossible to come to any concrete conclusions because the difference between 9th and 8th place over an 82 game schedule is so slight.

This.

I don't think there is any extra motivation because of the city. I just think that they act like the average team that they are.

They get hot, they got cold, they get hot, they get cold. At the end of the day it places them between 88-95 points.

I don't really know what differentiates them from say Florida, but this pattern of up and down takes place with every average team in the league.

Remove the emotion from the equation and it becomes a different animal. I understand the frustration of watching Auld let in a softie and losing to the Leafs, but it is 2 points out of a possible 164. Just over 1% of the schedule.

Next game will be worth 1.2% of the schedule. Over reacting and ranting about how we have lost 12 points to the Leafs/Isles/Oilers but not mentioning how we picked up 12 points against the Canucks/Sharks and Bruins is irrational.

This team was pegged to be a borderline playoff team. Here they are 9 points clear of 9th and people are complaining about the same stupid shit they do every season. This team has exceeded expectation yet people are still complaining. They need 18 out of 40 points to secure a playoff spot.

No Markov all season. No Gorges since December. Missing 4 of the starting 6 Defense + Cammalleri for February. I'll take it.

It is what it is, but what it is is dumb.

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Yeah I see what u mean my guess would be pride and good captains, and hopefully when they see all the legends honored hopefully they think too themselves, I wanna be there one day, and be part of history and never have your name forgotten. At least that's that's how I would feel if I saw the rich history of Montreal and got to Play their. The thing I like about this particular grouP of guys is the seem to have a ton of pride and seem to "get it" it, by that I mean get the Montreal isn't just another team. I think all these little things must contribute to the never die attitude we saw last spring.

Luck contributed to their prolonged spring run.

In a small 7 game sample size upsets can happen. Hot goalie, good bounces, poor goaltending on the other end, etc.

If they played 100 games against the Capitals they do not win 60 of them the way those games played out. They win 20-30 at most.

It has nothing to do with a never say die attitude. They were fortunate and when the luck ran out they were destroyed.

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Should we be content as fans though? Being content is what brings a team to average status, the better teams constantly are not happy with their play, I just have higher hopes for the habs. I mean I'd gladly take the fact the habs lose to the lower tiered teams and the sunbelt teams a lot, with the way they treat the higher up teams, but is this what we can expect from the future?

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The wins against Washington and Pittsburgh were not 'luck.' In the first place, both of those teams got absolutely garbage goaltending, while our goaltending was stellar. You can call that 'luck' if you want; but it's no different than (say) Gomez and Plekanec sucking ass while the other team's top C perform spectacularly. When your key player(s) outduels the opponent's key player(s), you deserve to win, period. You may as well say the 1971 Cup was luck because Dryden schooled his counterparts.

Second, the Habs beat those teams in exactly the way we beat Vancouver: playing a 'bend but don't break' defensive system predicated on surrendering lots of shots and puck possession, but protecting the goalie very well, while counter-punching effectively on offence. This makes the other team look good, but in fact gives us a solid chance of beating them, as the Vancouver game and the playoffs demonstrate.

Third, the Habs played with absolute team commitment, while Washington was not prepared. Therefore they deserved to lose. Not 'luck.' Pittsburgh was better prepared, but had no answer to the above combination.

IF Washington had been prepared they might have beat us. In this sense, you're right; and if they play that series over, the Caps would have been better positioned to win. But really, what does that prove? It's like saying that Team Russia might do better if we played the 2010 Olympics all over again. In hockey as in life, you only get so many chances and then you're dead. The team that takes advantage of its opening is the one that 'deserves' to win. Pittsburgh, meanwhile - no way they would ever beat us with that goaltending.

We beat the Penguins without Markov, too. How is that 'luck?' Our best player out?

That run was no more 'lucky' than 1993 or 1986. In fact, less luck was involved, because in 86 and 93 we enjoyed good draws, with the heavily favoured teams knocked off by others. In 2009 we were the team that upset the big boys. Twice.

It all crashed to an end against Philly because first, Philly is simply a terrible draw for us, and second, Philly was the inverse of Washington in that they WERE fully prepared. Don't forget the brutal back-to-back scheduling for Game One of that series either; and also, beating three powerhouses in a row is a tall order for any club.

Now as for this season: we need to plan for a playoff drive that does not include facing Philadelphia. If we play with the same commitment as last season and manage not to draw Philly, we do have a chance of going deep again. This is not 2002.

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I agree CC I think that IF we stick to our system we gave a gpod chance of beating pretty much anyone in a seven game series other then maybe Philly but I still wouldnt write them off I think it's what u said in preparation is the key to success along with mental toughness. I think luck comes into it when it comes to staying healthy, because u can never plan fir injury. And secondly luck is also in the hope that u get at least competent consistent officiating.

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What I see in this Habs team, is one that plays up or down to their competition, everyone is soooo scared of Philly, they can be beaten, they are beatable. Luck plays into all sports, one bounce here, one bounce there, could the Philly series been way different if Halak didn't come out of the net, collide with the habs D-man (hammer I think) and have Richards have that easy goal?

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What I see in this Habs team, is one that plays up or down to their competition, everyone is soooo scared of Philly, they can be beaten, they are beatable. Luck plays into all sports, one bounce here, one bounce there, could the Philly series been way different if Halak didn't come out of the net, collide with the habs D-man (hammer I think) and have Richards have that easy goal?

By no means do i find Philly unbeatable they are just built in a way that really neutralizes our strengths but with planning and alot of determination I believe we could beat them in a 7 game series. For me personally I don't mInd the Habs never being on top in the regular season because history certainly does not favor the teams that always finish high in the standings I think as long as your in the Playoffs anything can happen. I do agree that they play to their opposition. I think it's just a reality that your not gonna win 82 games and it's alot easier to rest price against weaker teams and the D doesn't block as many shots against these teams and so on......I'm not saying they throw the games I'm sure if u talk to any of them before the game they genuinely want to win every game but it's not a reality.

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The wins against Washington and Pittsburgh were not 'luck.' In the first place, both of those teams got absolutely garbage goaltending, while our goaltending was stellar. You can call that 'luck' if you want; but it's no different than (say) Gomez and Plekanec sucking ass while the other team's top C perform spectacularly. When your key player(s) outduels the opponent's key player(s), you deserve to win, period. You may as well say the 1971 Cup was luck because Dryden schooled his counterparts.

Second, the Habs beat those teams in exactly the way we beat Vancouver: playing a 'bend but don't break' defensive system predicated on surrendering lots of shots and puck possession, but protecting the goalie very well, while counter-punching effectively on offence. This makes the other team look good, but in fact gives us a solid chance of beating them, as the Vancouver game and the playoffs demonstrate.

Third, the Habs played with absolute team commitment, while Washington was not prepared. Therefore they deserved to lose. Not 'luck.' Pittsburgh was better prepared, but had no answer to the above combination.

IF Washington had been prepared they might have beat us. In this sense, you're right; and if they play that series over, the Caps would have been better positioned to win. But really, what does that prove? It's like saying that Team Russia might do better if we played the 2010 Olympics all over again. In hockey as in life, you only get so many chances and then you're dead. The team that takes advantage of its opening is the one that 'deserves' to win. Pittsburgh, meanwhile - no way they would ever beat us with that goaltending.

We beat the Penguins without Markov, too. How is that 'luck?' Our best player out?

That run was no more 'lucky' than 1993 or 1986. In fact, less luck was involved, because in 86 and 93 we enjoyed good draws, with the heavily favoured teams knocked off by others. In 2009 we were the team that upset the big boys. Twice.

It all crashed to an end against Philly because first, Philly is simply a terrible draw for us, and second, Philly was the inverse of Washington in that they WERE fully prepared. Don't forget the brutal back-to-back scheduling for Game One of that series either; and also, beating three powerhouses in a row is a tall order for any club.

Now as for this season: we need to plan for a playoff drive that does not include facing Philadelphia. If we play with the same commitment as last season and manage not to draw Philly, we do have a chance of going deep again. This is not 2002.

Great rant, but wrong.

These media/fan created narratives drive me crazy. Dryden saved the Habs ass as they were outshot badly by the Big Bad Bruins and if it wasn't for him they would have been blown out right? The 1971 Habs were a great team, they weren't some team that squeaked into the playoffs and got outshot badly on a nightly basis. How this is a comparable is beyond me. If the 1971 Habs and Bruins played the series 100 times it would have resulted in something close to a split. As much as they have been painted as an underdog, their roster had Beliveau, Cournoyer, J.C. Tremblay, Pete and Frank Mahovlich, Lemaire, Tardiff, Richard, Lapointe, Savard, Laperriere, Redmond, Backstrom and Vachon and Dryden.

• Why does nobody mention that the Canadiens scored 28 goals in the 7 games?

• Why does nobody mention that Dryden gave up 5 goals on 36 shots and the Habs trailed 5-1 and scored 6 straight goals over 25 minutes to win Game 2? • Why does nobody mention that Dryden didn't win ANY of the games in which they were dominated on the shot clock. In habs wins the shot differential was 145-156? The equivalent of being outshot 39-36 per game.

• Why doesn't anybody mention the Habs had 8-9 Hall of Famers and finished 4th in a 14 team league that year?

•Why does nobody mention Frank Mahovlich's 27 points in 20 games or his 7 goals and 3 assists in the first round against the Bruins?

The Habs had the core of a back to back champion and beat the North Stars in the second round, a team that finished 27 points behind them. They played the Blackhawks in the Finals and although they trailed them in the standings, the Habs split the season series with the Hawks.

The 1971 Habs were not lucky, they were a perennial Stanley Cup contender who finished 4th overall.

2010 wasn't more lucky than 1993 or 1986? This is what I mean when I talk about fan and media based narratives. The fact that you witnessed 1993 and believe that last season resembled that in any way is insane and shows how much our memories can be influenced.

The 1986 and 1993 Habs were never outshot to the extent of the 2010 Habs.

The 1993 Habs rarely trailed in any of the games and were outshot by their opponents 659-653. The only team that outshot them over a whole series was the Buffalo Sabres a team that they trailed for a grand total of 9:52 seconds of 262+ minutes, most of the shot advantage was due to score effect. Over the whole playoffs they rarely trailed and the majority of their OT games took place when they blew late 3rd period leads.

That team lead the league in points with 20 games to go and slumped down the stretch. The Habs had been a 90-100 point team for over a decade at that point. They finished 6th overall in the NHL 4 points out of 3rd overall.

The 1986 Habs were even more dominant on the shot clock leading the shot total 557-507. They also only trailed one team in the shot clock over a series and it too was a series they swept and only trailed for 10 minutes of 180 against the Bruins. They dominated the Whalers in shots and the Rangers only had one game (the legendary Roy game) where they made the totals over the series seem manageable.

The flukey 1986 Habs finished 6th overall in the league.

The 2010 Habs finished 19th!!! out of 30 teams. They had a -6 goal differential and were outshot terribly every night. Their corsi score was one of the worst registered for a playoff team. It is great to wax poetic about that run, but they were outshot 290-193 over 7 games. What do you think your record would be if you played like that for 82 games? You certainly wouldn't win 57% of them like the Habs did against the Caps.

You can't sustain success when you play 80% of the game in your zone. It worked because of the small sample size required to win a playoff series, but all this nonsense about unity and wanting it more is based on the final result, not the action on the ice. A couple of posts here and a deflection there and the Habs lose the series and the whole story changes and we are talking about how gritty the Caps were in repelling the tenacious Canadiens.

They were fortunate to beat the Capitals and luck played a major factor. Did the Habs have the better goaltender? Yes they did, but who had the better goaltender when Philly beat the Devils, Bruins and Habs? Who had the better goaltender when the 2002 Habs lost to Irbe and Kevin Weekes?

How do you view the 2002 Canadiens? They pulled the same thing as the 2010 edition. The only difference that when the damn broke a round earlier they got destroyed by a mediocre Canes team.

Washington wasn't prepared? Tell me what they should have done differently? Outshooting a team by over 100 shots in 7 games and outscoring them in a series while outchancing them by over 2-1 isn't prepared? What else do you have to do? Sometimes the 2nd best team wins and the Habs were the second best team.

If you can't accept that last seasons run was lucky, I don't know what to tell you, but there is a reason that the 1981/1991 Northstars, the 1983 Canucks, the 2003 Ducks were non-factors the next season. They couldn't recapture the breaks, if it was a skill to pull off what the Habs did, then they should have been able to replicate it all season in 2011. If it is a skill, there would be a long list of playoff runs where a team gets terribly outshot and continues to win. It isn't a skill. It was a style created out of necessity and it worked, but it can't and didn't work long term. Instead the fans of those teams talk about intangibles, grit, desire and determination like they are measurable. Those are cliches that we have been raised on, but have had holes punched through them and been contradicted by research.

Edited by Wamsley01
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Hmmm. I'm not sure what we're arguing about. I would never deny that the 1993 team was better than the 2009 team, for instance.

The real issue seems to be what 'luck' means. The 1993 Habs were a damned strong club that was full value for the Cup win - I share your aggravation at the media narrative that they were mediocrities carried on Roy's back. However, the fact remains that they were lucky to draw Buffalo and the Islanders instead of Boston and Pittsburgh. Lucky. They were also lucky - let's face it - that a guy like Paul DiPietro came out of nowhere and made a significant contribution. Lucky, in the sense that these were unpredictable X-factors that turned the Habs' way.

So 'luck' to me refers to exceptual circumstances that break in your favour. A team can have all the breaks go its way - horrible, series-destroying calls against the opposition, for instance, or a great playoff draw, or the opponents suffering massive and crippling injuries. I don't particularly recall seeing that happen against the Caps or the Pens. (Losing Markov sure wasn't a break, except of the literal kind, against Pittsburgh). What I do recall is goalies that couldn't stop a beachball and one team (Washington) that was manifestly overconfident, relying on sheer talent to win, which is always a playoff kiss of death.

A goal post here or there...sure, but you can say that about any team that wins anything. Team Canada was 'lucky' to beat Team USA for the Gold on that analysis. All that proves is that the series were close. If your criterion is that you're always lucky to win a close series, then I just don't buy it.

But this isn't your actual view, of course. Your idea seems to be that a team has to reach some threshold of objectively-measurable excellence before its playoff victories can be deemed something other than 'luck.' So a team that finishes 19th overall and proceeds to upset two heavy hitters is by definition 'lucky,' while a team that finishes 6th overall and does the same is not.

I'm still not sure I accept this, necessarily. First of all, the current team has bobbed at around 10th overall for most of the season, so where does this leave us? But more to the point, I accept that the 2009-10 Habs were not an elite team in the regular season - who would argue that? But equating them to 2002 is also unfair. The reality lies somewhere in the middle. Last year's team was artifically bad during the regular season due to massive chemistry and adjustment issues. This year's team is arguably more representative. And what this year's team is, it seems to me, is a better-than-bubble team that is a significant notch below the handful of really strong NHL clubs, but is also capable of playing a game that beats most of those teams on any given night, especially if they are unprepared or get bad netminding.

Now we come to the shots against. This was a source of controversy last playoff and I suppose it will never go away. I don't think the game plan was to give the Caps 70 shots a night. But I DO think, first of all, that goaltending counts (do the 93 Habs win with Niemi?) and secondly, that the game plan all along was to collapse down the middle, keep the other guys to the perimeter, and wait patiently for chances and bury the ones you get. It's a game plan that concedes the superior talent to the opposition and is predicated on neutralizing that talent as much as possible. Rope-a-Dope. Over an 80 game schedule, it's a recipe for injury, exhaustion and defeat. But it can work very nicely over 7 games when you have Gill and Gorges, Markov and Halak/Price on the back end and hornets like Cammy and Gio up front. As it happens, it did work. You need good coaching, excellent goaltending, the right of kind of talent - Florida could never have done it - and total team buy-in. I just don't see what's so 'lucky' about all that.

The difference with 2002 is that these guys are not pieces of crap relying 100% on superb goaltending and an extraordinary emotional boost supplied by the near-death of your best player to cancer. On those grounds, while the Habs cannot be considered 'favourites' in any playoff matchup, neither can they be viewed as insane unpstarts if they do win. Their 'A' game is unorthodox but meanginfully capable of beating all but the very strongest teams in a playoff series.

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber
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Hmmm. I'm not sure what we're arguing about. I would never deny that the 1993 team was better than the 2009 team, for instance.

The real issue seems to be what 'luck' means. The 1993 Habs were a damned strong club that was full value for the Cup win - I share your aggravation at the media narrative that they were mediocrities carried on Roy's back. However, the fact remains that they were lucky to draw Buffalo and the Islanders instead of Boston and Pittsburgh. Lucky. They were also lucky - let's face it - that a guy like Paul DiPietro came out of nowhere and made a significant contribution. Lucky, in the sense that these were unpredictable X-factors that turned the Habs' way.

So 'luck' to me refers to exceptual circumstances that break in your favour. A team can have all the breaks go its way - horrible, series-destroying calls against the opposition, for instance, or a great playoff draw, or the opponents suffering massive and crippling injuries. I don't particularly recall seeing that happen against the Caps or the Pens. (Losing Markov sure wasn't a break, except of the literal kind, against Pittsburgh). What I do recall is goalies that couldn't stop a beachball and one team (Washington) that was manifestly overconfident, relying on sheer talent to win, which is always a playoff kiss of death.

A goal post here or there...sure, but you can say that about any team that wins anything. Team Canada was 'lucky' to beat Team USA for the Gold on that analysis. All that proves is that the series were close. If your criterion is that you're always lucky to win a close series, then I just don't buy it.

But this isn't your actual view, of course. Your idea seems to be that a team has to reach some threshold of objectively-measurable excellence before its playoff victories can be deemed something other than 'luck.' So a team that finishes 19th overall and proceeds to upset two heavy hitters is by definition 'lucky,' while a team that finishes 6th overall and does the same is not.

I'm still not sure I accept this, necessarily. First of all, the current team has bobbed at around 10th overall for most of the season, so where does this leave us? But more to the point, I accept that the 2009-10 Habs were not an elite team in the regular season - who would argue that? But equating them to 2002 is also unfair. The reality lies somewhere in the middle. Last year's team was artifically bad during the regular season due to massive chemistry and adjustment issues. This year's team is arguably more representative. And what this year's team is, it seems to me, is a better-than-bubble team that is a significant notch below the handful of really strong NHL clubs, but is also capable of playing a game that beats most of those teams on any given night, especially if they are unprepared or get bad netminding.

Now we come to the shots against. This was a source of controversy last playoff and I suppose it will never go away. I don't think the game plan was to give the Caps 70 shots a night. But I DO think, first of all, that goaltending counts (do the 93 Habs win with Niemi?) and secondly, that the game plan all along was to collapse down the middle, keep the other guys to the perimeter, and wait patiently for chances and bury the ones you get. It's a game plan that concedes the superior talent to the opposition and is predicated on neutralizing that talent as much as possible. Rope-a-Dope. Over an 80 game schedule, it's a recipe for injury, exhaustion and defeat. But it can work very nicely over 7 games when you have Gill and Gorges, Markov and Halak/Price on the back end and hornets like Cammy and Gio up front. As it happens, it did work. You need good coaching, excellent goaltending, the right of kind of talent - Florida could never have done it - and total team buy-in. I just don't see what's so 'lucky' about all that.

The difference with 2002 is that these guys are not pieces of crap relying 100% on superb goaltending and an extraordinary emotional boost supplied by the near-death of your best player to cancer. On those grounds, while the Habs cannot be considered 'favourites' in any playoff matchup, neither can they be viewed as insane unpstarts if they do win. Their 'A' game is unorthodox but meanginfully capable of beating all but the very strongest teams in a playoff series.

The 71,86 and 93 Canadiens are victims of an overwhelming favourite losing and media trying to cover their ass to explain why it happened. Add in a toronto bias and the word "luck" emerges.

I don't think I view the Pens/Bruins losing as luck. The Sabres had Lafontaine, Hawerchuk and Mogilny and had lost to the Bruins in 7 games the season before. The Isles actually outshot the Penguins in that series and were only outshot in Game 6 and 7 and the Pens had to score 2 late goals just to get that to OT. I don't consider that luck.

If you watch those games there is a pretty even flow and it is not indicative of one team dominating the other. If you played those series over and over with those players playing at the same level you would likely get an even split. The same can't be said about the 2010 Canadiens.

The US/Canada Olympic game was dead even. If you played that 100 times in the same setting I wouldn't tell you Canada would dominate. Now if you took those two teams and had them play a full NHL season together and then meet in the playoffs, Canada would likely destroy the US, but that isn't the setting.

An injury isn't unlucky, it is misfortune. Was Lindros' injury unlucky? Markov has become injury prone, I don't consider that luck, I consider it a player who gets injured with regularity.

I think 2002 is a fair comparable because that team made the playoffs without their best player all-season. The shot differential is shockingly similar and they were outplayed thoroughly by the Bruins and Canes.

I consider luck a variable that is totally random. If you fire 40 pucks a game at the net and only allow 25 at your own net the law of averages will benefit you more often than not.

Look at last night. Kessel gets that shot from the slot 1-2 times a game and rarely puts it a 1/4 inch inside the post. Replay that play 100 times and 50 times he puts it in Auld's chest, 10 times he misses the net, 10 times it hits the post, player etc. Zone charts and shooting percentages show this to be true. Just like an NBA player wide open from 3. Same mechanics, same technique but one slight change and the shot is missed.

The areas where the Capitals took their shots from should have resulted in a lot more goals. Now the shot totals are outrageous enough, but when you add in missed shots and blocked shots we begin to see an expected goal total from those zones go through the roof, but that never happened.

That is what I am talking about. If you replay those shot positions over and over random luck will result in goals more often than not.

The Capitals took 578 shots (shots, misses, blocks) at the Canadiens net over 200 more than they allowed (378). Considering they lost three one goal games in the series, 1-2 bounces could have altered the whole storyline of that series even though nothing would have changed outside of a little fortune.

I am fully on board with it being a strategic decision and it required a full commitment to win (41 blocks in game 7!), but it was done out of necessity and we all know that it is not a style that can win long term.

Considering they did it for 14 games and got away with it I cannot discount that run as anything but fortunate. History is always written by the winner and I can't buy into narrative about heart, commitment and desire in a series that close. The Capitals wanted it just as bad, they just didn't win.

Edited by Wamsley01
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So you're looking at probabilities: if I fire 400 quality shots to your 200, then all other things being equal, I am likely to outscore you. 'Luck' is the term you use to desginate situations where the outcome does not match the probability. (Personally, I think my use of the term - as an unpredictable X-factor that turns events in favour of one party over another - is closer to common useage, but whatever).

Here's another way to look at it. Your goalie sucks. Mine is awesome. Therefore, all other things are NOT equal: we are not equal at this key position. So you need 600 shots to my 200. But you only get 400 shots; and so you lose. But I don't see the label 'luck' being the best way to describe the gulf between your suckage and my excellence in nets.

Also, Wamsley - and you know I love ya - there seems to be some slippage in your analysis of last year's playoffs. When we traded Halak, I expressed anxiety because in my book Halak, unlike Price, had proven he could excel in the clutch, and I seem to recall you arguing that Halak was the beneficiary of excellent team play rather than the single transcendant variable that created our playoff success. Yet now you seem to be arguing the reverse. Am I misrepresenting you, or - ?

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber
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So you're looking at probabilities: if I fire 400 quality shots to your 200, then all other things being equal, I am likely to outscore you. 'Luck' is the term you use to desginate situations where the outcome does not match the probability. (Personally, I think my use of the term - as an unpredictable X-factor that turns events in favour of one party over another - is closer to common useage, but whatever).

Here's another way to look at it. Your goalie sucks. Mine is awesome. Therefore, all other things are NOT equal: we are not equal at this key position. So you need 600 shots to my 200. But you only get 400 shots; and so you lose. But I don't see the label 'luck' being the best way to describe the gulf between your suckage and my excellence in nets.

Also, Wamsley - and you know I love ya - there seems to be some slippage in your analysis of last year's playoffs. When we traded Halak, I expressed anxiety because in my book Halak, unlike Price, had proven he could excel in the clutch, and I seem to recall you arguing that Halak was the beneficiary of excellent team play rather than the single transcendant variable that created our playoff success. Yet now you seem to be arguing the reverse. Am I misrepresenting you, or - ?

And you also need to consider that hockey players are humans not machines.

Who can say how many times out of 100 Ovechkin is going to make that shot? The variables are infinite and too complex to count. Maybe a fan took a picture with the flash on at just that moment and Ovechkin saw it in the corner of his eye. Maybe he had to sneeze. Maybe he was sore from when Hamrlik checked him into the boards earlier in the shift. Maybe his team's inability to break a supposed heavy underdog was weighing on him psychologically. Maybe Halak's mask created an optical illusion that made OV think he had less time than he really did. Infinite similar factors going into every play. With all of these factored in, the odds of him making the shot are drastically different. There is no sense speculating on variables that are decidedly unknowable.

All we know is that the Canadiens won playing the way that they did against the Capitals playing the way that they did. How much was out of their control we'll never know. For all we know, the Habs weren't trying to play a defensive style at all, they just sucked. But they did it.

Luck plays into every situation though.

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I have to say the thing I love about this forum is that when debates arise it brings out intelligence where as most other places it brings out the worst and it's just pointless arguing I agree with parts of all of the above and also disagree with parts but none the less appreciate and respect the intelligence

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So you're looking at probabilities: if I fire 400 quality shots to your 200, then all other things being equal, I am likely to outscore you. 'Luck' is the term you use to desginate situations where the outcome does not match the probability. (Personally, I think my use of the term - as an unpredictable X-factor that turns events in favour of one party over another - is closer to common useage, but whatever).

Here's another way to look at it. Your goalie sucks. Mine is awesome. Therefore, all other things are NOT equal: we are not equal at this key position. So you need 600 shots to my 200. But you only get 400 shots; and so you lose. But I don't see the label 'luck' being the best way to describe the gulf between your suckage and my excellence in nets.

Also, Wamsley - and you know I love ya - there seems to be some slippage in your analysis of last year's playoffs. When we traded Halak, I expressed anxiety because in my book Halak, unlike Price, had proven he could excel in the clutch, and I seem to recall you arguing that Halak was the beneficiary of excellent team play rather than the single transcendant variable that created our playoff success. Yet now you seem to be arguing the reverse. Am I misrepresenting you, or - ?

I am talking about probability, but it is the same in poker.

If you go into a hand with 25% chance to win against 75% and you play 5 hands instead of 100 and you catch the card twice you got lucky. If you play that hand over and over again then you will lose that hand more often than not. The improbable occurred in a small sample size hence the description of luck. If you are playing poker and that happens, what do you refer to it as? Luck. So you are essentially splitting hairs.

The Capitals dominated play. They did fire a lot of pucks from the outside but if you took a much larger sample size of teams outchancing and outshooting teams you will find a lack of success from teams like the Canadiens. The more the puck is in your zone, the more chance you will be scored on.

I did say Halak's save percentage was a beneficiary of this strategy and it was, but I never said he didn't play well or that he wasn't the better goaltender. The Canadiens tried to run and gun with the Caps and it exposed Price and Halak to odd-man rushes. When this happened the Caps put up 19 goals in 4 games. So they collapsed into a shell out of self preservation. It worked, but fortune and the improbable was on their side. They were outshot 134-69 over the last 3 games and everybody created the legend of Halak from it. A legend he will NEVER live up to again. The Canadiens pulled a rope-a-dope, but the Caps were one lucky bounce away in 3 games from ending the season.

If you break it down to "our goaltender was better than yours" then you have to ditch all the ridiculous narratives about "wanting it more", "willing to sacrifice" etc, because if you flipped Halak for Varlamov and everything else remained equal then all those hyperbolic descriptions are instantly proven wrong. It is probably over in 4-5 games and the descriptions all change based on changing only one variable.

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