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BLITZ 08 Team Review - Detroit Redwings - B LEAGUE


LA Robbie
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For those of you around during Blitz 07 you'll remember I had a go at writing some "AJ" style reviews for all 24 teams. Having got the bug again I thought i'd try to do the same this season. Kind of some subjective opinions to go alongside KingRaph's statistical rankings.

I don't have the time I used to, so no idea how long it will take me to do all the teams. I've started with my own roster & this took me 3 days on & off to complete. If I do 2 a week I should finish this year anyway, which should still be before the projected January start date for the league.

If you'd like me to review your team let me know, & i'll give priority to the requests first. Hope you enjoy the read, & comments welcome.

Nothing like a Blitz season to get '94 excitement levels raised!!

Red_Wings.gif

BLITZ 08 TEAM REVIEW - DETROIT REDWINGS - B LEAGUE
STRENGTHS
- Big counter-attacking threat
- Solid D & goal tending
WEAKNESSES
- Light forward line
- Lack of offensive support from defence
TEAM OVERVIEW
Gretzkyonacold has moved the team's roster back to Detroit for Blitz 08 after an underwhelming season in Washington in 07. Only Pat Verbeek will be in familiar surroundings, as the only returnee from the 06 roster, and Sergio Momesso & Garth Butcher are the only players retained from a Blitz 07 in which Gretzkyonacold took them to just 8th place in the standings and a quarter-final 5 game exit.
The entire roster has been revamped. Expect a totally different style & a much more balanced team to the one which relied so heavily on Tomas Sandstrom's 92 league & playoff goals in Blitz 07. Dino Ciccarelli & Russ Courtnall will lead the line this season, & Curtis Joseph also brings elite goaltending, but will it be enough to mount a serious threat to the B league title?
OFFENCE
Gretzkyonacold's decision to release Tomas Sandstrom in favour of Dino Ciccarelli this season on the face of it doesn't look too bright. Sandstrom was the B league's 3rd top scorer last season in a team that struggled to make the playoffs, and who then hit 10 goals in the Caps' 5 game losing quarter-final series vs Toronto. His 9 weight coupled with 4/4 skating & 5/5 shot has yielded 574 goals in 308 Blitz league games...............quite simply he's an elite sniper. Guaranteed goals and surely a huge loss for any team, so how do Detroit intend to replace him this season?
Dino Ciccarelli is 5 weight, so immediately Sandstom's physical impact is gone. Dino isn't going to bully any defence, but what he does have over Sandy is an improvement in skating (5/4), stick handling (5) and passing (4) as well as a 5/5 shot equal to that of Sandstrom. This guy can be just the sniper & one-timer threat that Sandstrom was, but can also play the set-up man too. He actually boasts almost identical career stats to Sandstrom, with 528 goals in 285 league games, as well as another 251 assists.............forget the weight, this guy has it all & has the ability to get close to Sandstrom's goal tally if not equal it. His extra agility & acceleration gives him an ability to avoid & ride the hits where Sandstrom might just plough through. Don't expect much less of an attacking threat, but of course there's no way of avoiding the fact that he can't play D like Sandy can. Dino's addition comes at a price on the other side of the puck.
Speedster Russ Courtnall partners Ciccarelli this season in place of Brian Bellows & a quick look at the stats suggest it's a definite step up. Bellows has a Blitz career average of just over 1.4 points per game & his 100 point season for XDeath's Florida in Blitz 06 is far & away his career best. Courtnall boasts a career average of over 1.8 points a game, including two 100 point seasons and a 90. His blistering 5/6 skating with his 6 weight makes him one of the games most explosive players, & it's this speed that adds another dimension to his 4/3 shot & 3 passing. Russ is going to get mountains of 1v1 opportunities on the breakaway, but he'll also pull defenders out of position as he blazes down the wings to create 1timer chances in the center. He'll stretch slow defences all over the place, which could give Dino lots of holes to fill where he can finish the moves.
He may be a poor man's Mogilny, but he's proven an able support man for several successful teams, including helping Winnipeg to last season's B championship. With over a goal a game in his Blitz career & almost as many assists you under-estimate his influence at your peril. His 73 overall rating does not reflect his impact on the ice.
So who is backing up these two "Mighty Mice"? Well, Pat Verbeek returns to Detroit in a trade for Tony Granato after a season away in Calgary. Gretzkyonacold made an early play to bring him back after he recorded his career best stats of 81 points, including 43 goals in Blitz 06. His 3/4 skating is decent enough, but when you consider his 4/4 shot, 4 stick handling & 4 passing you see he's solid all across the board. He'll score his fair share of slappers, is accurate with the one-timer & will ably assist plenty of goals too.
With these three on the forward line it's clear that goals and assists can come from anywhere & Gretzkyonacold will be desperately hoping the reliance on Sandstrom is now a thing of the past. What's more is that any one of these guys looks comfortable in any of the three forward positions so expect plenty of inter-change if things aren't working too.
What's obvious though is that this forward line looks extremely light. They're not going to batter anyone into submission, so what happens in those physical battles where you just have to fight it out & scrap your way to the win? Enter Sergio Momesso & Brent Ahston. These two heavy weights provide absolutely monsterous checking, but with a sprinkling of finesse too. Momesso played 35 games for this team last season back in Washington, often from the bench & scored just 10 points in the regular season before 5 in 5 in the playoffs. His 4/3 skating & 3/3 shot mean he can actually play a bit too, as evidenced by his 74 point season for Vancouver in Blitz 06. This two-way play may see him get plenty of ice time again this season if the little guys are getting pummelled.
Ashton on the other hand has little Blitz pedigree but he also boasts more than just massive checking with 3/3 skating & 3 passing. these Bruise Brothers can play, and could serve as genuine quality alternatives against the bigger teams or when trying to see out a tight game in the third.
Cory Millen completes the DET forward line, drafted for the first time in Blitz history. At 4 weight he's another hobbit, but his 3/4 skating, 3 passing & 4 shot accuracy mean he may get to see some time on the ice if the team are behind & struggling with injuries. Don't expect him to be anywhere near the starters.
All in all the offence looks exciting, & based on counter-attacking with Ciccarelli, Courtnall & Verbeek potentially forming a free-scoring 3some, but weight is clearly an issue. Do Momesso & Ashton have sufficient quality to be more than just enforcers? Additional help on D may end up being a necessity because Dino, Russ & Pat certainly don't excell without the puck.
DEFENCE
More big changes this season as both last season's starters, Chris Chelios & Eric Desjardins have moved on, and with them some of the most effective offensive support you could hope for below the top 5 or 6 Dmen in the game.
What we see here is a total reverse in defensive strategy as Richard Smehlik leads the D along with Doug Lidster. Smehlik comes in from the NYR in a trade for Eric Desjardins. Gone is Desjardins' silky skating & stick handling, along with a 0.735 point average that comes with his offensive surges, but with Smehlik there's perhaps something extra defensively. His 10 weight is one better than Desjardins & even if his 3/3 skating and 3 stick handling is slightly inferior he can still hold his own with the puck. His career point average is 0.688, but Detroit look at lot more solid at the back with this guy's huge hits. Unspectacular, but very solid and dependable.
Doug Lidster comes in to Chelios' spot this season, and he's actually got some pretty nice stats. Along with solid 3/3 skating his 4 stick handling & passing ensures he can play his part in the offensive plays, but it's on D where he'll be most dependable. His 9 weight & 4 checking ensures he hits as hard as Desjardins, and a lot bigger than Chelios. He wont get the goals that Chelios did, but Detroit look a lot more solid on D for Lidster's presence this season.
Garth Butcher, along with Momesso is the only face from Blitz 07 on the roster, and it's easy to see why. A really solid back up Dman with 9 weight and 4 checking he's equal to Lidster & with 2/3 skating, 3 stick handling & passing he's another who wont let you down with the puck. At a 55 overall rating he may be one of the most under-valued Dmen in the game, and he actually had Washington's best +/- rating in the regular season with 6 and was the only WSH player with a positive rating in the playoffs. Detroit won't lose much if he needs to come in for Smehlik or Lidster.
Completing the defensive quartet is big Stephane Quintal, brought in from St. Louis. His 11 weight, 3 checking makes him another huge hitter and with 3 stick handling and 3 passing he's another that is dependable enough with the puck. His big achilles heel is his 2/2 skating. Incredibly slow, but if he catches you, you're going down. Certainly a great PK option to stand in front of the pipes screaming "Come at me bro!"
The D clearly doesn't have the offensive threat provided by Chelios & Desjardins, indeed 14 regular season goals & 44 assists have left with them. but it's probably a tougher nut to crack than last season. Don't expect many goals from this bunch, but they should be solid & dependable.
GOALIES
Mike Richter was another who was allowed to leave in the draft but Detroit appear to have lucked out after Curtis Joseph became available at just the right time when Grant Fuhr was drafted to Los Angeles. Cujo looks a 4th round steal, probably coming in just below the top 3 or 4 goalies in the game. With 5 agility, 4 speed he moves lightning quick to get across the goal for the slappers and with 4/5 gloves he'll also pick out the big saves on auto. A definite upgrade on Richter & Gretzkyonacold will be hoping Cujo can cut out some of the basic errors that dogged the team last season.
Dominic Roussel provides back up. Nothing spectacular but certainly one of the better second goal tenders available. With 4 agility, 3 speed & 3 puck control he should at least be a usable manual goalie.
STARS
No doubt Dino Ciccarelli is the man the Redwings are looking to for goals this season. He looks the team's leader but should also be well supported by Russ Courtnall.
Curtis Joseph also adds star quality between the pipes & should provide confidence on D. Although there are no real defensive stars Richard Smehlik will be expected to be a dominant force without the puck.
WEAKNESSES
This looks like a team set up to break down the opposition offence & break quickly on the transition, but the lack of size from the biggest attacking threats could cause a problem against deep-lying defences. There's no one of class with the physical characteristics to batter their way through to goal. The counter-attack may actually be the best tactic against this counter-attacking team.
SEASON PREDICTION - PLAYOFFS
This looks a really exciting team to watch. Last season it was all about Sandstrom but this time round it's much easier to envisage some attractive combination plays between the silky smooth trident of Ciccarelli, Courtnall & Verbeek. Can they all add up to more than Sandstrom, Bellows & Granato? No goals are coming from the defence this season, so this offensive trio will need to be something special to make up for the losses in other areas.
They should be expected to score goals against anyone, and have enough on D to keep them out at the other end, without being stellar. They look capable of beating anyone on their day, but the lack of physical presence on offence may prove to be the biggest obstacle to a title push.
Edited by LA Robbie
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I do not want to be the b***h,but the B level sux...

who fn cares??? seriously?

Did you leave your forum account open whilst at a sleepover at Plabax's house?

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I do not want to be the b***h,but the B level sux...

who fn cares??? seriously?

This coming from the same a**hole who boasts his B championship in his signature.

I'm so happy to have houly's useless and disrespectful posts back on the forums. Great job guys...

Robbie, please ignore this "great, changed person", who is "fn hilarious". I, for one, appreciate the work you put into the review and enjoy reading these articles. It will be interesting to see what you do with this team this year.

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This coming from the same a**hole who boasts his B championship in his signature.

I'm so happy to have houly's useless and disrespectful posts back on the forums. Great job guys...

Robbie, please ignore this "great, changed person", who is "fn hilarious". I, for one, appreciate the work you put into the review and enjoy reading these articles. It will be interesting to see what you do with this team this year.

LOL. Yeah don't worry, it didn't bother me one bit, but like you I also immediately spotted the irony in these comments from the guy who not so long ago was whining about wanting to be in B because he couldn't hack it in the A league. lol

And yeah, the week after Plabax gets banned for excessive trolling the king troll himself jerks into life again. After the success of the "Free Houly" campaign i'm starting a "Free Charlie Manson" campaign................what could go wrong?!

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LOL. Yeah don't worry, it didn't bother me one bit, but like you I also immediately spotted the irony in these comments from the guy who not so long ago was whining about wanting to be in B because he couldn't hack it in the A league. lol

And yeah, the week after Plabax gets banned for excessive trolling the king troll himself jerks into life again. After the success of the "Free Houly" campaign i'm starting a "Free Charlie Manson" campaign................what could go wrong?!

its Murphy's Law and you never know who could come back Rob. BTW nice writeup

Edited by mav
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That was just to suck you all in with an introductory offer............i'm setting up a paypal account

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yeah! sry robbie...im just ironic AND RAPH IS TOO SERIOUS! hehehehe

I think raph was too serious here as well. All the mods have been so serious lately it's weird, I don't like it

Raph isn't that too much? Calling him an a**hole then sarcastically thanking the people for trying to get houly back? Even if houly's post wasn't a joke (who knows) idk if it's fair that you mods get to get shots in like that while adding another tally to somebody's 3-strikes you're banned list

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I think raph was too serious here as well. All the mods have been so serious lately it's weird, I don't like it

Raph isn't that too much? Calling him an a**hole then sarcastically thanking the people for trying to get houly back? Even if houly's post wasn't a joke (who knows) idk if it's fair that you mods get to get shots in like that while adding another tally to somebody's 3-strikes you're banned list

There was no point to his post other than to be an a**hole. It wasn't a joke, it was just Houly doing what he does.

Sure, if it were somebody else, I wouldn't have been so harsh, but Houly?

Not sure what I'm doing that is so "serious" (I'm not giving any warning, banning, etc), but if you think Houly's comment was fun and hilarious, then we'll just have disagree on that.

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I think raph was too serious here as well. All the mods have been so serious lately it's weird, I don't like it

Raph isn't that too much? Calling him an a**hole then sarcastically thanking the people for trying to get houly back? Even if houly's post wasn't a joke (who knows) idk if it's fair that you mods get to get shots in like that while adding another tally to somebody's 3-strikes you're banned list

Ya tru dat man! calling me an ass**** is cheap.

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There was no point to his post other than to be an a**hole. It wasn't a joke, it was just Houly doing what he does.

Sure, if it were somebody else, I wouldn't have been so harsh, but Houly?

Not sure what I'm doing that is so "serious" (I'm not giving any warning, banning, etc), but if you think Houly's comment was fun and hilarious, then we'll just have disagree on that.

whatever. GGS and peace!

Edited by Houly
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TK what's going on with you dude? 5 of your last 6 posts are

- calling out moderators for being too serious

- getting jabs in on Trudatman

- slamming ice guy for 'prolly disappear 8 months from now)

- slamming KUpuck

- posting an inappropriate photo depicting a black family playing sega

LOL weird

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TK what's going on with you dude? 5 of your last 6 posts are

- calling out moderators for being too serious

- getting jabs in on Trudatman

- slamming ice guy for 'prolly disappear 8 months from now)

- slamming KUpuck

- posting an inappropriate photo depicting a black family playing sega

LOL weird

TomKabs93

thanks for being the guy to bite the bullet and say something to robbie

haha

him and his gay 12 paragraph write ups

about how 'his team can beat any team on a good day'

I think TK is right!

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TomKabs93

thanks for being the guy to bite the bullet and say something to robbie

haha

him and his gay 12 paragraph write ups

about how 'his team can beat any team on a good day'

I think TK is right!

:(

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from playing exis, the biggest difference in your team this year from last is the scoring depth. last season the strategy was to watch Sandstrom. now there's Dino, Russ, and Verbeek when he's in. can't just ignore the other forwards. but like you said, all 3 can be targeted, no superman ability that Sandstrom had. still not a particularly fun team to play against tho.

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loll tks on teenage crisis...under the bad influence of the outlaw faganov

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loll tks on teenage crisis...under the bad influence of the outlaw faganov

LOOOL

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loll tks on teenage crisis...under the bad influence of the outlaw faganov

yeah that's it!

no 94 for 5 months + no school this year + jobless since summer job ended a week ago last Friday makes me a dull and extremely rude boy :(

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i admit robbies reviews are overkill but at least the guy has passion ,and houly ...wtf man,another comment or 2 like that and you will be banned forever.i admit i have been a bit rough lately to but thats just an a**hole comment duuuude.

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Well a couple of people asked if I was doing them again & requested one for their team, but I guess it's pretty easy: Like a Trudatman comment, if you don't want to read it don't!

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