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08-10-2010, 02:21 PM
  #4
NyQuil
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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I think you're confusing the skillsets of the individual players with the actual strategies employed on the ice.

I would argue, for example, that Russia typically employs a more defensive style than Canada, despite the number of offensively gifted players they have. Guys like Ovechkin and Kovalchuk play much differently on the Russian team compared with how they play on their NHL teams, which are modelled more on the North-American style of hockey. However, it depends somewhat on the personnel and the situation.

In general, I would argue that:

Russia plays a more puck possession style and traditionally they pass more and shoot less, looking for the high-quality scoring chance. They do not typically go for high-risk plays, gambling less and trying to exert control over the game by maintaining dominance over the puck as much as possible.

Russia will often play the game with five men units, with no single player as the ultimate focus but rather each player as a cog in an overall system. While they have PP and SH units, each line is typically given identical roles and offensive and defensive responsibilities.

Canada is much more willing to give up the puck, and will dump the puck in deep often and attempt to retrieve it via physical play. They are also taught not to pass in scoring position but rather put as many pucks on net as possible.

Canada will orient lines and strategies to the talents of individual players, with clear offensive and defensive responsibilities allocated to particular players and lines.

Training wise, Russia and most European countries emphasize skill development at an early age while Canadian training emphasizes team-based competition. As a result, European players are typically more talented in skating and stick-handling while Canadian players seem to be able to handle the pressure of competition better at early ages. I'd say both hockey schools have realized their weaknesses and are adopting strategies from the other to try to shore them up.

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