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BLITZ 07 TEAM REVIEW - DALLAS - A LEAGUE

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DALLAS STARS - BLITZ 07 A LEAGUE

COACH: KINGRAPH

TEAM LINK: http://www.blitz94.com/draftab/rosterinfo.asp?team=DAL

TEAM OVERVIEW

Dallas Stars coach KingRaph just seems to get better and better with each seasons results, and Blitz 06 was no exception. He put together a really solid looking roster last season which, even if it lacked a little star power, arguably overachieved to finish 6th in the A league before going out to Buffalo in 6 games in the first round of the playoffs.

For Blitz 07 the solid Blitz 06 roster has evolved and grown into an all-star cast which looks as though it has just about everything needed for a title tilt this season. There's speed, muscle, tons of scoring ability and beastly defending. This looks a roster that is right up there with the best in A, and has to be fancied amongst the contenders.

A look at the personnel suggests not too many goals or assists are likely to come from the defence..........but with offence this good, will it matter?

Does this 07 Stars roster represent KingRaph's passage into recognition amongst the A league elite?

TEAM MAKE-UP

Dallas surprised everyone last season, as Gary Roberts and Russ Courtnall both blew their previous career bests away, going over 100 points (and nicely backed up by Cliff Ronning's 73 points) to comfortably push the Stars into the playoffs. Very good players who overachieved to post elite stats.........so what can the 07 Stars forward line do? Well, if Roberts & Courtnall could live with the A league best, what might Teemu Selanne & Cam Neely do? These are two very different elite forwards who are both as comfortable on the wing as they are at center. Coaches' favourite Teemu can do it all with devastating 5/6 skating, 5 Off aware, 4/5 shooting and 4 passing. His speed blows pretty much any defender out the water, and completely annihilates the possibility of playing a high pressure defence, and his deking, one-timer or slapshot ability can hurt you in many different ways. A complete player who's only "flaw" might be his weight, in so much as "If you can catch him, you can knock him down".........but try and catch him!

If Roberts was Dallas' attempt at playing a physical forward in Blitz 06, Cam Neely takes it to a new level. With his 10 weight and 4 checking he gives the Stars a whole new dimension to their play this season, but he adds elite skills to his size too. 4/4 speed, 4/5 shot and 4 passing means he has a great skill set. Add his 5 Off aware to his accurate shot and he's guaranteed to lap up the one-timers and 1vs1 chances. Neely's brawn and technical grace combined with Selanne's blistering pace and elite skills looks a sensational partnership which is destined to compliment each other beautifully.

In Ronning's place this season Alexei Zhamnov and Geoff Sanderson come in, and again, these look like 2 players who will provide classy support to the 2 main men. Zhamnov's 5 passing makes him a dream playmaker to feed Selanne and Neely, and with 5/3 speed, 3/4 shooting and 5 stick handling he has the individual skills to contribute too. He actually doesn't have great career stats, with a 77 point season in Blitz 05 pushing his PPG average up over just 1.000. He's never really been a recognised starter in other seasons, but his potential combinations with Teemu and Neely look mouth-watering, and you have to imagine this is a breakout season for him.

If Zhamnov's speed is proving a weakness though Sanderson provides another great option. 4/4 speed, 4/4 shot and 3 passing make him more of a goal scorer than Zhamnov, and he may be the answer if Dallas are chasing a game and just want pure finishing ability on the ice. He also has the skills to adequately cover any of the other 3 forwards during injuries or penalties. 07 Dallas already looks to have the extra depth the 06 version may have lacked.

Completing the forward line are Darren Turcotte, returning for another season with the Stars, and Ray Ferraro has been signed up for his Blitz debut season. These 2 are solid players, who just lack the top end of class of their team mates. Turcotte boasts more 4/4 skating with 3/3 shooting and 3 passing, whilst Ferraro brings 3/3 skating, 4/3 shooting and 3 passing to the party. Don't expect either of these two to get much ice time, but they'll likely do a solid enough job on offence when they do.

The likely front 3 of Selanne, Neely & Zhamnov looks devastating, and up there with the best of them, and Sanderson offers a genuine quality 4th option off the bench to put the Stars up there with the A league elite. Does the addition of Ferraro waste a place that could have been offered to an enforcer though, who could have been paired with Neely in a close game to make sure Dallas get the right result? If he doesn't play, why is he there?

On D we're probably struggling for much offensive support, but what we do have is elite checking ability, and a unit that is going to keep things tight at the back. If Selanne, Neely & Zhamnov are the hyperactive randy sons of the family, off scoring at all the houses in the neighbourhood, Marty McSorley, Glen Featherston & Bill Houlder must be the chastity belt protecting the daughter's honour at home!

McSorley is famously one of the greatest benefactors of the weight bug fix. 14 weight and mammoth checking make him a forward's worst nightmare. His 3/3 skating, 3 passing and 3/2 shot make him averagely skilled with the puck, but when he sticks to what he's good at he's imperious. McSorley's job is simple - stand in front of the Dragon Gandalf style and scream "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!!!" and in most cases that's going to be enough to send all the bravest forwards in the opposite direction. Those stupid enough to get close to McSorley quickly find themselves chewing the ice. He's not all brute force though. His acceptable skill set means he can contribute to the plays too, even if he's not Ray Bourque.

Featherstron & Houlder are both huge hitting 11 weights, and similar players. Like McSorley their play wont win too many beauty pagents, but what they do is simple & effective. Featherston's 3/3 skating and 2 passing speaks for itself, as does Boulder's 3/2 skating and 2 passing. They're goons, nothing more, but there's nothing wrong with that and they'll be invaluable on penalty kills.

If you're wanting a bit of finesse to compliment all this savagery on D then you might look to Adam Burt with his agile 4/3 skating, 3 passing and 4/1 shot. He's only 7 weight and not a big hitter, but surrounded by the other Dmen he looks a nice option to join with the offence a bit more. Not elite by any stretch of the imagination, but a nice bit of cheese to go with the chalk of McSorley, Featherston & Houlder.

In goal there's even more quality as Tim Cheveldae signs up with the Stars. Below the very elite level goalies in the league, but another classy player to have on the roster, and one that just adds to Dallas' overall strength. A solid rock that the team will build from for sure.

STARS

Dallas have some true super stars this season. Teemu Selanne's rocket skates will pose all sorts of problems for opposition defences and guarantee goals, but supported by Neely's muscle and silky skills the Stars have a devastating duo.................so add Zhamnov's elite passing and playmaking skills and we could have something very special here. Seriously, how you gonna defend against that?!

McSorley is the star name on what is a pretty averagely skilled D. He will probably have to be the link between defence and attack, even if he's not the most skilled, because the other viable options on D look like pure bruisers. In goal Chevaldae adds another top class name to the pack, and will be reliable when called on.........if the thugs in front of him allow him anything to do!

WEAKNESSES

It looks like KingRaph has done an awesome job of putting together a team that has all the bases covered. All I can suggest is this: There's no Dman with more than 3 speed, or above average skills here. Will they be susceptible to elite speed and agility? The best way to combat these bruisers may be by intercepting their passes out from the back and quickly moving the puck around them.

That aside, could one of the 6 forward slots have been given to someone with more muscle? Neely aside they're all tiny guys and unlikely to help much on D. If Neely goes out on a penalty or injured might they be vulnerable to slap shots and rebounds from the areas where the Dmen can't pressure the puck?

PRE-SEASON PREDICTION - HIGH PLAYOFF QUALIFICATION

What a fantastic looking roster! It seems to have it all and if they can't have a great run in the league this season with such a talented coach questions will surely be asked. There can't be too many offences in the 2 divisions that can rival this team for quality, variation and balance, and the only weak area looks to be the puck handling ability of the Dmen, although McSorley does have 30 career goals to his name. As mentioned, with the offensive firepower they have you have to think a lack of support from the back is not going to be a major problem anyway.

If the D & offence can function fluidly together this looks a great team, and KingRaph may just be a nice outside bet for a title challenge?

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If Selanne, Neely & Zhamnov are the hyperactive randy sons of the family, off scoring at all the houses in the neighbourhood, Marty McSorley, Glen Featherston & Bill Houlder must be the chastity belt protecting the daughter's honour at home!

:lol: :lol:

As always, great write-up!

Yeah, this team is an upgrade from last year for sure. Neely is basically a heavier version of Roberts, and Selanne is a more accurate and agile version of Russ Courtnall. McSorely returns to rack up checks (and penalty minutes! :( ), and Cheveldae should be an improvement over Jon Casey. While I messed up with my draft trading (maxed out by accident), all my main players are set. Let's see what this squad can do!

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Awesome write up Robbie!

Love the bit about ferraro and wh is he even on the team? I'm afraid we all ave our 'chicken parm's'

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Awesome write up Robbie!

Love the bit about ferraro and wh is he even on the team? I'm afraid we all ave our 'chicken parm's'

LOL. Ray Ferraro. My 11.19 pick. He, or ANY 11.19 pick, will not change the fate of my season.

If Neely, Selanne, Zhamnov & Sanderson are all injured and/or in the penalty box at the same time, I'll be in deep $h!t regardless.

Kind of goes back to my preference for a single line vs. depth. (see Brent Sutter and/or Colin Patterson season 06)

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LOL. Ray Ferraro. My 11.19 pick. He, or ANY 11.19 pick, will not change the fate of my season.

If Neely, Selanne, Zhamnov & Sanderson are all injured and/or in the penalty box at the same time, I'll be in deep $h!t regardless.

Kind of goes back to my preference for a single line vs. depth. (see Brent Sutter and/or Colin Patterson season 06)

Well as we all know i'm a long way short of being one of the best players here, but for what it's worth the way I look at it is this: I have 6 forward slots. If after the first 3 I just continue adding downgrades on the same theme the 6th pick is most likely never going to play............so what's the point in having him? If it's a redundant pick why don't I use it to at least add something different? If I get in a situation where I end up having to use my 6th forward, yeah, I am definitely in the $h!t........so i'm probably going to want a defensive player on the ice at that time.

My 6th forward is Mike Hudson. Never going to lift his arse off the bench in normal circumstances, but if I do find myself with 4 guys in the box & i'm staring at a full period of penalty killing, do I want Mike Hudson throwing his weight around, slamming into people left right and centre..........or do I want Ray Ferraro's skinny backside standing in front of the onslaught?

300 would have been a different movie if the Spartans had stayed at home and sent the women up to the hot gates!

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LOLOLOL

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That write is fn crazy man ,I wanna poll,how many guys actually read that from top to bottom,lol

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Chevelga is mentioned in the STARS section?

I know this is the Dallas Stars, but c'mon.

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Chevelga is mentioned in the STARS section?

I know this is the Dallas Stars, but c'mon.

I mentioned this before - The "Stars" section is not identifying a star of the game in general, but rather, who are going to be the stars of this team? Who is the team looking to for a big contribution. I did say he's below the elite level goalies.

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