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10-09-2013, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Fanned On It View Post
After watching the SJ game last night, it seems like the issues from last year and the year before are still present and the team plays exactly the same way.
I am also down on this team and I feel I can respond to you reasonably.
1. Getting hemmed in our own zone: Our "great defense" constantly loses one on one battles in the corners in our zone and then when they finally do gain possession what do they do? They throw it blindly up the boards to a player of the opposing team.
This is true. Some guys do try to make outlet passes- we saw it in the Kings game the other night. But you have to keep in mind that the ability to make those passes equally depends on the opposing team's presence and positioning in the neutral zone. As a defenseman, you can't risk putting the puck on the tape of an opposing sweater.

This is a strong point that we actually have on the team, and it's part of our strong D- Johnny Moore and Ryan McDonagh, for example, are two guys who are capable of carrying the puck to and through the neutral zone.

But they need the confidence, coaching support, and most importantly on ice support from their forwards to do so. Otherwise they'll just be coming back the other way.

I made a thread about this EXACT issue either last season or the season before. This is a huge problem and speaks to the lack of composure of our defensive-core. How can this defense be heralded as some great shut-down unit if every time they get the puck in our own zone they just panic and throw it away? This leads to my next point...
The fact is that our defensive shutdown ability is nothing to be messed with. Being pressed in our own zone means that our D is making smart plays to keep the puck out of high risk areas in most cases.

Their job is to clear the slot. They keep the puck out of high risk scoring areas. When the puck gets forced up the boards or behind the net in our end, the defensemen are doing their job.

We call this keeping the puck outside. Blocking shots is an additional responsibility that a lot of NHL defensemen (and forwards,) particularly our guys, take on. This means that the D does their job of keeping the puck in low percentage scoring areas (portions of the ice where goals are less likely to be scored- outside the faceoff circles, beneath the goal line, towards the blue line, etc.) and add another layer of defense in taking away a layer of lower percentage scoring opportunities.

I think I can address your primary concerns right here, which is our inability to make outlet passes or carry the puck into neutral territory. I completely agree that this is an issue, especially against physical teams.

We absolutely need defensive duos to force turnovers in our own end and either feed outlet passes or carry the puck. The trouble is that we really don't have any Beukeboom's in the system, and our Leetch types (Moore and McDonagh) haven't quite grown into the puck carrying role yet.

All that being said, there's really nothing to worry about in our D. I think the scouts and development folks have been placing great emphasis on those big D men we need, and we've already happened upon some great puck carrying D.

And yes, we have amazing shutdown guys in the meantime. I hope this helps.

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