Hi all, I know this is now gotten to be old news but I thought I should post a message just to say a few things. First of all Im very proud of my team and the way that they played in their run to the cup. Amazingly we won without scoring a single power play goal which is unthinkable. On the plus side, I think that 3 things really set this team apart.
1-Goaltending, when Tugnutt struggled early against the Vengeance and got injured Aubin stepped right in and won that series and the next one. (The most agonizing coaching decision I made in the playoffs was who to start in game 7 of that first round series when both goalies were healthy.) I went with Aubin and he played great. Confirming something Ive learned about this league, sometimes its better to go with who is hot rather than who has the better rating. That includes skaters as well as goalies.
Then Aubin got injured and I was worried we wouldnt win without the white hot Aubin, and Tugger came in and battled and won the last two series.
2-Balance scoring, all four lines contributed in every series. A quick look at the stats shows the first line contributing 29% of the teams total points , the second line 21%, the third line 18% and the fourth line with 11%. The defence as a whole contributed 21% of the points scored. The third and fourth line literally won a game for us in every series. Guys like Scott Walker, Denny Lambert and Andrew Cassels all had strong playoffs. It was very fitting that Walker got the cup winning goal.
3-Star players played like stars, despite the aforementioned balance the top line played consistently well. Pavel Bure of course led the playoffs in goal scoring and won the Conn Smythe. Alexei Yashin had 4 game winners and Kariya and Lecavalier always made the plays.
Finally I just want to say something that was on my mind and is the main reason it took me so long to write the traditional championship address.
I am sure every GM in the league was rooting for Bruce's Sting Rays and to be honest I was kind of rooting for them too. When it was confirmed that I was going to meet them in the finals I was kind of relieved. I felt I really couldnt lose no matter what happened.
Either the team I had created, and taken from missing the playoffs in year 1, squeaked into the second round as an 8th seed in year 2, and turned into the best ever regular season team would cap it all off with the championship. Or my losing the series would mean that Bruce won the cup, and we could all feel good about that. Now I cannot apologize for winning but I would like to dedicate the victory to Bruce's memory. If anyone feels this is inapropriate please send me a message or post something on the board.
Further, I know we have installed the Bruce Nightingale memorial award for the most dedicated gm, but what is the current title of the NHA's championship trophy?? Could we not name it the Nightingale Cup or something similar??