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-   -   Defense is the difference this year (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=1359925)

Illinihockey 02-25-2013 11:02 AM

Defense is the difference this year
 
And I'm not just talking about our defensive depth. Look at our forward lines, its ridiculous.

Line 1: Toews and Hossa may be our 2 best defensive forwards, throw is Saad who has played very responsibly and you have the best 2 way line in the NHL

Line 3: Our checking line with 2 big, speedy wings and a grinder center who always gives it 100%.

Line 4: Our 2 top penalty killers and a little muscle

Line 2: possibly our worst defensive line and it has our shut down defensive center on it and Patrick Sharp, another good defensive player.


As long as there aren't a ton of injuries or a goaltender meltdown, I don't see any way we aren't in the top 5 teams in goals against this year. The way Q has configured the lines, along with some guys really accepting their roles, may make this a better defensive team than the 09 team that ended up 5th in goals against.

Cullksinikers 02-25-2013 11:04 AM

Having solid depth guys like Brookbank and Rozsival over Blowdonnel is nice to have, too, on top of the aforementioned solid defensive play out of forwards on all four lines thus far.

Bubba88 02-25-2013 02:31 PM

Our D is great on paper, I still don't get why many here thought it was a bad D and the players aren't good enough. It was clear that the D personell was not whats wrong.

HockeySensible 02-25-2013 04:01 PM

This is what a few posters were saying last year: IF Chicago played a structured and committed defensive game, as a 5-man unit on the ice, the goaltending would take care of itself.

Thus far, that's exactly how it's worked out. Crow and Emery haven't had to be spectacular (save the Calgary game) and their numbers are ridiculous.

deytookerjaabs 02-25-2013 04:13 PM

Any team that commits to a 200 foot approach and a system which optimizes it's respective talents is going to have success greater than the sum of it's players.

slappipappi 02-25-2013 04:34 PM

The biggest difference, in addition to the commited defensive play of the forwards, is the addition of Oduya. It has elevated Jammer's play to a huge degree the second he came aboard.

IIRC, we have in the regular season played close to 40 games (or almost half a season) since we obtained Oduya at the trade deadline. We have 2 loses in regulation during that time. 2 !!!!

Or, to put is exactly, as I went back and checked, our record in the 36 games played is 27-2-7, which would be a pace of 139 points over a full season.

99 steps 02-25-2013 04:46 PM

the biggest difference is that Q has the confidence to play 5 (or 6) defensemen relatively equal minutes

HockeySensible 02-25-2013 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slappipappi (Post 60456093)
The biggest difference, in addition to the commited defensive play of the forwards, is the addition of Oduya. It has elevated Jammer's play to a huge degree the second he came aboard.

IIRC, we have in the regular season played close to 40 games (or almost half a season) since we obtained Oduya at the trade deadline. We have 2 loses in regulation during that time. 2 !!!!

Or, to put is exactly, as I went back and checked, our record in the 36 games played is 27-2-7, which would be a pace of 139 points over a full season.

Yeah but he sucked in the playoffs!

theaub 02-25-2013 05:16 PM

I still think there's a question mark as to how Oduya and Leddy will deal with the extra physicality that comes with the playoffs

But there's no doubt that having Roszival and a non-terrible Hammer is a definite improvement over last year as well.

Pepe Silvia 02-25-2013 05:41 PM

And yet people are still complaining about Oduya

w00d 02-25-2013 05:51 PM

Goaltending is the difference.

The Blackhawks are allowing virtually the same number of shots against this year as they have the previous two years (around 27-28 per game) but the goaltenders are stopping a higher percentage of them. In that regard, the defense has changed little since the Cup was won. Crawford's spotless 1.5 GAA is not due to facing fewer shots per game.

In 2009-10 (Cup year), the Hawks allowed an average of around 25 shots on goal, which climbed to almost 30 SOG during the playoffs. The goaltending during the Cup year was bad (Huet) to average (Niemi), and they were allowing 2.48 goals per game, as opposed to 1.78 this year.

The goaltending this season is the best that the Hawks have had in recent memory, and there isn't much credit due to the defense, which is worse than the Cup year by a significant margin. If this team had that year's Niemi and Huet in goal, they would not be doing well at all. If the Hawks win the Cup again this year, it will be because of the goaltenders.

Sevanston 02-25-2013 05:59 PM

There's a lot more to defense than the number of shots you allow.

Not just shot quality, but also rebound recovery, and proper zone clearance.

The team's defense is vastly improved in all of those areas.

Chris Hansen 02-25-2013 06:01 PM

w00d, if you haven't noticed the difference in shot quality against Hawks goalies, you're not watching closely enough. They've played well but they're also facing nowhere near as many great scoring chances as they did all of last season.

^^Agree with Sevanston, although shot quality is the most important factor by far.

Hawkaholic 02-25-2013 06:01 PM

Team defense is clearly the big difference, along with improved goaltending, but they come hand in hand.

Blocking shots, smarter decisions with the puck, and man to man coverage are the noticeable differences.

HawksFan74 02-25-2013 07:42 PM

Defense has been better but I'm seeing as many odd man rushes and point blank shots. Goalies are doing an outstanding job either way.

Bubba88 02-26-2013 12:30 AM

Goaltending improved big time too. Just think about all that Soft goals we saw last year

Sevanston 02-26-2013 01:30 AM

The Hawks don't even have a defenseman playing 24 minutes a game yet.

Keith is at 23:53 (31st overall). Compare that to other seasons where he played closer to 27-30 minutes a game.

Not only is that a great sign of our defensive depth, but it's going to pay off hugely come playoff time.

DisgruntledHawkFan 02-26-2013 04:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sevanston (Post 60494041)
The Hawks don't even have a defenseman playing 24 minutes a game yet.

Keith is at 23:53 (31st overall). Compare that to other seasons where he played closer to 27-30 minutes a game.

Not only is that a great sign of our defensive depth, but it's going to pay off hugely come playoff time.

It keeps everybody fresh, but more importantly we're not an injury or two away from having 2 and 7 playing 30+ a night.

Godlike13 02-26-2013 05:11 AM

The D has been better, but so has the Goaltending. They're not letting in those deflating weak goals, and has even stole the Hawks games this year. Which is huge.

IndianHeadSweater 02-27-2013 01:44 PM

I'm also in the "better defense" camp. Last year, everyone was *****ing about the goaltending, but while the goaltending wasn't good, they were regularly getting peppered with great chances.

Illinihockey 02-27-2013 01:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IndianHeadSweater (Post 60588079)
I'm also in the "better defense" camp. Last year, everyone was *****ing about the goaltending, but while the goaltending wasn't good, they were regularly getting peppered with great chances.

More than anything, it seems that our forwards or defense are always in the right possession to clear our rebounds. Seems like there were dozens of goals last year that were stopped by the goalie and then banged in by a wide open man in front of the net.

ChiGuySez 02-27-2013 03:26 PM

Keith bailed out Crawford twice in two early games taking away a sure goal that would have trickled across the crease. Had those gone in, the Hawks may have lost. Crawfords confidence may have reversed being very early in the season. Of course there are other incidents but those two stick out for me.

It seems the Hawks d and forwards are protecting the goal this year more than ever playing much better percentage hockey instead of high risk run and shoot. Great to see.

Additions of Oduya and Rosival has cemented the defense with experience and ability.

crazyhawk 02-27-2013 03:46 PM

On the topic of Hjalmarsson playing much better along side Oduya.
I think it may be some crazy Sweedish yin yang thing!
I may have to call them the Swin Swang pairing!

digdug41982 02-27-2013 03:48 PM

Everything being better is the difference this year.

ChiGuySez 02-27-2013 06:07 PM

Observations from some impressive people...

Quote:

St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock: "They don't give up easy ice anymore. You don't get odd-man rushes. You don't get lots of time in the offensive zone. There is no easy ice when you play them now. Every piece of the ice is contested.

"Last year, they played kind of a hybrid game where there was a lot more attacking going on and a lot more numbers on the attack, but it opened up odd-man rushes against. This year, they've lowered the risk and increased the wins. I think there is a great answer there. They play a very smart, manage-the-ice game.

"When you watch them play, every time you look there are five in the picture. And when there are five in the picture that leads to winning hockey."...
NHL Insider


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