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12-17-2008, 02:11 PM
Lord Horse
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Full City
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100% with you on that. This board is swimming in redundant threads about "what's missing" etc. etc. and most good threads inevitably end up there.

Panic button threads --- should be merged.
Coach/team bashing threads --- should be merged.
Player bashing threads --- should be merged.
general whining / refs / etc --- OP should be banned forever.

We'd be left with 'plottes a puck', 15 other OT thread about hockey miscellania, and 2 on-topic threads.

To the points at hand (before this becomes a thread-bashing thread).....

I think the system (and this is a dicey word) prevents too much more tinkering at 5 on 5. I'd like to see the D activate more but the forwards are really not coming back far enough to do that and it seems that they basically give the wingers a green light every game, all night.

But no big deal, really our 5 on 5 play is much improved. So long as the forwards DO come back, and DO backcheck we're OK. Carbo is dead right on this -- when the team commits to playing defense, we win hands down. When the team plays a lockdown defensive game, the scoring chances always come. Always. I actually think that they're starting to understand this, but not every player is ready to make the sacrifices that come with *fighting back* rather than just hanging about looking for passes from inside our zone.

That why Plekanec is still a worthy centre - he can and does some back. His wingers haven't always. Koivu - plays defense. Lapierre - mostly but his rushes often leave him at the other end boards so even with his speed he's a bit late at times. Lang - slower of foot but yeah, he does it quite a bit.

Our wingers - **** - our wingers just don't offer it consistantly. Higgins, check.

Tanguay (who everyone told me would play well defensively when I complained about a lack of shutdown line) doesn't. A Kost- forget it. S Kost - when he feels like it. Kovalev - more than never but he seems to 'save' his defensive play for the PK. Latendresse - not much D there period, still not quite skating fast enough to keep up.

The fourth line guys all bring it. D'agostini - looks like he's game for it too.

The D does come into the offensive zone here and there, notably Brisebois and Markov, who are the 2 you'd expect. But we have some good skaters, I'd like to see Boullion take 2 more steps toward the net before he takes his shots (he shoots regularly at least).

GOING TO THE NET. Well, there's no one doing it consistantly except for Lapierre and Kostopoulos. That's the #2 problem with our forwards. It also makes it so that they prefer to make pretty passes (one too many!) as a way to keep from entering the high OR low slot.

NOT PLAYING AGAINST THE END BOARDS. Every night I yell at the TV: "Play in the small zone!" meaning: the area behind the goal line is where the puck needs to go 90% of the time it enters the offensive zone. THAT is the place to have your battles, not the side boards. Again, the nice passing is fun and all, but the skilled forwards are going to have to dump and chase and fight down low, as low as possible. It's the #1 problem and ties in with #2 above. Until the team is willing to generate offense not from the Triangle or Overload (using these terms so younger EA Hockey fans relate better) but from Behind the Net we will be an average squard with above average players.

The plays where someone carrying the puck stops at the blueline have got to end forever. AK27, I'm looking at you. And where you carry the puck OUT of our zone and are challenged at the blueline, for pete's sake just chip it past the guy and skate like Carbo is asking you to. For the love of all things good on this Earth.

Playing behind the net is the best defense as well -- a lost puck battle still results in a long fight to get the puck back into OUR zone in a scoring position. Multiple chances to regain it. ANYTHING can happen, but if the puck starts out the entire length of the ice away from our net, it's not only the best offense but the best defense.

FACEOFFS. My only real problem with our coach. How can this team be so back at them? It makes the rest of the above unfixable when we stink it up in the faceoff circle.

What's working:

Carbo demo'd it on HNIC with Ron MacLean -- moving the puck up ice from our zone. The way the Habs use the boards, pass it up NOT through the middle of the ice, support it with multiple bodies - it's often a really beautiful thing to watch. I think some of the more creative players don't like this system, and THEY are the problem since it WORKS WELL and being "creative" be going through the middle is a turnover game. Watch our neutral zone play. With the puck, going up the boards, it's often a success. Going through the middle, dancing etc. across the red line slightly east-west, bad play.

Without the puck the forwards are often good at clogging that neutral area too, but they need to do it consistently, like I said above, commit to it as a strategy. When we don't play defense in the neutral zone the puck is often stuck in our zone because the beaten forwards just stop and don't go hammering the opposition in our own zone.

That's all I have time for now, hopefully someone else can pick up more... don't forget to put what we are going RIGHT !

Edit: to the posters above me - try saying something useful if you're so much smarter than the average bear.

Last edited by Lord Horse: 12-17-2008 at 02:16 PM.
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