Alain Vigneault Discussion - Part 2
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02-02-2013, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Originally Posted by
Here is my basic problem with AV.
He keeps trying to employ a gameplan that doesn't fit our players.
He wants us to be a top-6/bottom-6 team. Then he also wants a defense that contributes to the offense. Actually, sometimes I suspect he only has this because it was mandated to him earlier.
I don't think we have guys who fit a bottom-6 defensive chip-it-in style and you see it. You watch them try this and their forecheck isn't that effective, they don't have a cycle game, and they haven't been good at dump-in retrieval for at least the last two years. I think our bottom guys are fast and reasonably defensive-minded but besides the centers (Lappy and Malhotra) I don't think you would handpick these guys for these roles.
So you have a situation where you have a pinching/offensive defence core who is trying to play with a bottom-6 that doesn't get much puck possession time. If you chip it in and don't get it back, guess what - it ends up back in your zone. This exacerbates the fact that we have a gap control/contain defense.
Our d-core is schizo when it comes to offense as well. Our defence doesn't rush it that much, but when they do at least 3/4 of our forward lines have no idea what to do. We alternate between this and being super lazy and constantly trying long bomb passes. I was angry for at least half the season last year when you literally could not see forwards on the screen because they had all released out of the zone and were providing ZERO puck support. This happened for games on end.
Actually this year they are doing a better job of forward puck support, but I don't know how we could be that predictable for that long last year. And this is not the first time the team has lapsed into bad/weird habits on offense that then start affecting team defense. All that early releasing last year led to turnovers and more d-zone time.
Let's not even talk about how this top/bottom system leads to overplaying the first two lines and IMO having nothing in the tank/injuries in the playoffs. Or how if kesler is healthy, the second line is suddenly a do-everything line that takes away from the bottom-6 icetime.
I think our team is built to be constantly pressing the attack with three lines and speed, with the fourth line on there to be a crash/bang/energy contributor. But that's not how we play, and that's why we see all those leads evaporate on us.
at least wrt to playing time, this year is going to tell us (and presumably MG) a lot about whether AV is really what a lot of us have been complaining about for four years now, or whether it was the hands he'd been dealt.
finally, we have young guys contributing on ELCs. if kes and booth not only make it back into the lineup but also at something approximating full speed, the roster is going to dictate that AV puts together a speedy defensively competent but not shutdown third line. probably some combination of schroeder, raymond, and another winger, whether that's booth, kassian, higgins, or hansen.
if AV does the reasonable thing and gives the kesler line the tough defensive match ups and rolls the third line for timely scoring against lesser competition (as opposed to, say, building a third line around lapierre, hansen, and higgins/deadline acquisition as a shut down unit), then i'll be happy. if not, then it'll be clear that AV will always try to adapt what he's given to his own vision, as opposed to vice versa and we'll know 100% he needs to go.
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