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06-08-2009, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by BrooklynCapsFan View Post
I really think you're giving them too much credit as as group. In the playoffs, the forecheckers come on faster and the first man in will almost always initiate contact with the defender. Our defensemen simply do not have the skill or poise to initiate a transition game in the playoffs.

Injuries obviously prevented them from breaking up cycles, but their failure to prevent forecheckers from establishing the zone is indefensible.
its impossible to "prevent" a forecheck - i team is either going to commit to doing it, or they are not.

what we had trouble with (all season long, not just in playoffs) was "breaking" the forecheck. Bruce opted to stretch the ice, hoping the forcheck would relent to prevent odd man rushes going the other way... but in order for that to happen, our D need to execute (near perfection) quick passes & even quicker decisions.

* i cant stress this enough: we had trouble with heavy forechecking all season long, this problem did not just appear in the playoffs... its damn hard work to forecheck well and thus alot of teams dont do it / dont do it %100 during the regular season... but the playoffs are a different beast all together. *

often times it appeared that when 1 of our defenders with the puck was pressured heavily, the center and other D man were flat footed and not close by - ie not good or close targets for a simple, high percentage pass... thus forcing the pressured D man to make a low percentage pass in hopes of getting the puck to a teammate or even getting it out of the zone.

watch Detroit's solution to the Pens forecheckling - its quite simple. 2 man support of the puck carrier, and often times the puck is passed between 3-4 Wings before it even exits their own defensive zone, with wingers coming back hard to give the D-man / center an option to escape pressure...

it also helps that they know where their support is without having to look... another problem i noticed we had. we would reverse the puck along the boards to get away from the flow of the forecheck, only to have the puck be thrown into an empty corner where its a footrace to it...

THAT is the defensive commitment we lack, and that is all coaching.

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