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07-06-2013, 09:09 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Nashville, TN
Originally Posted by
please comment on how badly the lack of defensemen who could make an outlet pass and/or skate the puck up the ice hurt our offense last year, and does Jones go a long way toward fixing that? And does Josi do it better now than he did early in the season?
Acquiring puck moving defensemen has been a priority for the team this summer, especially after the addition of Phil Housley to the coaching staff (yes, I believe there was a definite connection to that). When you think back to us starting with a gaping hole on the first pairing from Suter's departure, to pairing Klein with Hannan, and Gill with an unprepared Ellis to now having Weber pair with a proven Josi, Klein likely with Jones or Ekholm, and a third pairing of Ekholm, Bartley, and/or Jones we are still largely unproven, but faster and much more able to quickly transition up the ice with a strong first pass and correct read out of the zone.
The first pass is critical to setting up the timing and direction of the breakout. The quicker you can get back to the puck, the quicker you can turn up ice and make your read. The quicker you are able to make your read and get the pass away the quicker the defense must move in response to the new position of the puck and adjust the angle, depth, and support of their forecheck.
The more efficient the team becomes in moving the puck quickly out of the defendive end, the better the team becomes winning the battles along the boards to get the puck outside of the blue line, and more the team becomes able to stretch the opposing defense out into the neutral zone, the more we will be able to attack through the neutral zone with speed and push the defense back instead of having to dump the puck in and chase after it to generate any opportunity.
It'll be a work in progress. There will be nights when players reflect their youth and shifts were the puck winds up in the back of our net because of a bad read or mishandle, but moving forward the defense should become an effective part of our offense.
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