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01-29-2013, 08:24 AM
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A couple of factors, from where I sit:

First off, this primarily due to puck possession, as referenced by Stigs.

Despite having a relatively skilled team over the last 5-6 years, we have not been a good puck possession team - no where near the team we had in the mid-90's. The skill has not been very deep on the forward lines, and a lot of this starts with skill and puck handling on the back-end, and also the systems in place. MacLean is no doubt putting in a decent system, but post-Jacques, we have lost our puck possession style, and also lost a lot of the discipline Jacques demanded. As unimaginitive as he was at times, in particularly adjusting mid-playoff series, Martin was a terrific at putting in a solid discinplined system, and we had a ton of talent to make the puck possession part of it work. We also didn't have as much toughness, other than guys who play 4 minutes a game every other game when necessary.

The second factor has been the types of players the team has started to put in place. And Murray has definitely been part of this. He likes a tougher and bigger team, that impose themselves physically on teams. He has tried to transform this team by adding a different breed of player than we had back in the day, and many of these types take more penalities than they draw.

Many years ago, our 3rd and 4th line had the likes of Vermette, Kelly, McCammond, Eaves and Schaefer. Not totally soft, but more skill and speed on the bottom 6 than we have even today (we're getting better). And our D had toughness from the likes of Chara and Volchenkov (who were tough, but didn't take bad penalties).

In recent years, our forward lines have added guys like Ruutu, Foligno, Smith and a few others that tend to be more physical, but also take a lot of bad penalties (those three in particular). On D, we used guys like Carkner and Sutton on a regular basis, who didn't handle the puck as well as Chara and A-Train, and also took a lot more bad penalties trying to impose themselves.

I think the disparity this year is more of a blip though - at least I hope so. MacLean is putting in place a decent puck possession game, so I suspect this trend will start to reverse itself. But it has been a major achilles for us, as we used to get a ton more PP's than the opposition.

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