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12-09-2009, 03:20 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lumberton, NJ
Originally Posted by
That was the MO under Stevens...certain teams (read: poorly coached, or poor defensively)
had a difficult time dealing with us because they just couldn't keep up with the forwards. This year, we have a bit less talent at forward, and a bit more on the backend.
However, what we were doing before didn't take advantage of what our backend could provide pushing the puck, and without the previous forward depth it was beginning to show in breakouts.
That being said...it must be noted that Stevens did get this team to improve in numerous areas (again, more talented D) as far as controlling the puck a bit more and limiting chances. If our goalies don't crater and the special teams go into a collective funk, he's still employed here.
However, already I think what we're seeing actually has a chance to compete for a Cup...which was never the case with what we were doing before.
I agree with EVERY single point you've made in this entire thread, but I think that point is arguable. Granted our lineup is not currently healthy, but really our offense is minus Knuble and Lupul while plus vanRiemsdyk, Betts, and Laperriere. You can say what you will about production values not adding up for either side, but we're pretty close. The offset is obviously Pronger's offensive abilities along with a capable version of Matt Carle. I think our offense in that regard was better this season than last season (in a perfect world) if you consider Gagne's long-term injuries equal to Briere's last year.
I don't think it's enough to make a difference whichever direction in which you view it.
Anyway, enough nitpicking.
One thing I think absolutely has to be emphasized (since I saw a bit of it already in this thread) is responsibilities for the "activated" defenseman.
Forwards seem to be more aware of their surroundings. We're moving as one cohesive unit on the ice instead of a defense and an offense. With the amount of two-way talent among our forwards along with the offensive potential of our blueline, I see no reason why a philosophy like this should not have been implemented sooner
This will obviously allow more rush/transition opportunities for opposing offenses, but it seems to me as though the vast majority of issues in handling other teams is not their transition game but our own inability to break out of the zone.
As mentioned countless times, breakouts have been another major point of emphasis under Laviolette.
There isn't a large enough sample size to determine if we are in fact a more disciplined team with Lavi, but we certainly are a more "aware" team. We have a general idea of what is happening, what will happen, and what should happen during sequences of on-ice action. Discipline I think plays a part in that.
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