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07-30-2012, 08:40 AM
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Zone Starts

Originally Posted by ssh View Post
What the Canucks in particular have been doing recently is optimizing zone starts the whole game, every game.

Edit: Was this something that was not done before the 50's and was the tactic pioneered by a specific team/coach or was it something that gradually became a part of normal procedure.

In the first decade after the 67 expansion some teams seemingly low on talent had defensive specialists playing almost all the PK time and a group of offensive players (5 forwards in some cases) playing the whole PPs. Were there teams that tried to optimize zone starts based on players' perceived abilities on ES as well?
Zone starts are a function of standardizing where face-offs are held - designated closest face-off spot and increased game skater rosters combined with rules dictating when players may or may not be changed.

The importance of face-offs evolved as did the importance of the PP/PK after the introduction of the Red Line at the start of the 1943-44 season combine with the increase in game skater roster size between the 50 and 70 game schedule. As is the case today or the post 1967 expansion era all teams nuance this within the rules and their available talent.

Toe Blake was probably the most influential coach in this area since he used the SH situation to rest his star forwards while getting line match-up advantages post SH situation. Also his positioning of Doug Harvey on defensive zone face-offs combined with centers used for the draw was quite advanced. Likewise the positioning of Doug Harvey on the PP - left point as opposed to Harvey's usual RD position advanced how dmen were used on the PP.

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