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10-09-2013, 04:53 AM
Blue Blooded
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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.

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. 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...

2. Inability to make passes: Starting with looking at our defensive-zone passing, one thing I noticed a CRAP ton in the SJ game was our players' unwillingness to hold onto the puck for that split second to actually make a play to another player. I saw too many hacks and whacks at the puck instead of controlling and passing it to safety. I noticed a lot of this from Staal, Pyatt and Pouliot but everyone on the team is guilty of it. It's that whole feel of them playing timidly and not having the confidence (skill?) to settle the puck and themselves and make a god damn play. This then permeates to the neutral zone (the most important area to pass the puck well in) where our players will opt to chip the puck off the boards to no one instead of either passing it back to the D and regrouping or passing East - West to an actual player's stick. What's worse is that when our players DO try to pass laterally they usually don't make the pass tape-to-tape and it slows down the rush to the point where the player receiving the pass is out of room before he has a chance to do anything. It's so frustrating watching our team SUCK at passing while almost every other team's players can connect with relative ease.

3. Deflections are killing us. It seems like most goals scored against us are garbage goals - shots from the point that either hit our players and go in or get deflected by someone on the other team. I'm not really sure how you remedy this because obviously deflections are dangerous for every team in the league but damn do I get angry when Hank makes great saves all game long and then gets beat by a deflection that he had absolutely no chance on (and then I come on here and read people saying that they think Hank had a terrible game/games).

Like I said... these issues are recurring and even though it's only the third game under our new coach, it is still discouraging to see them in full force. I always thought our team's problems were on the players (even back when Torts was here) and their lack of skill/confidence/poise. I guess this season will show whether or not that is the case.
This is exactly why I go on and on about Strålman to the point where I've alienated 86.7% of the posters on this board. His strong points are exactly what you bring up here, he is calm with the puck which makes him our best break out passer as it is hard to pressure him into a mistake. Concurrently, we don't spend a lot of time in our own end with him on the ice. Running around in our own end is what leads to these deflection goals as even a stray wrister becomes dangerous with enough traffic in front.

He led our team in TOI vs the Sharks and managed to be even in +/- and a freaking positive in Fenwick differential (17-16) in a game where the Sharks won Fenwick 62-33. That means the Sharks had a 46-16 advantage when Strålman was off the ice (Fenwick is shots on goal plus missed shots for those rusty on your #fancystats).

We have our Dan Girardi on the first pairing, the Sharks have their two "Girardi"s (Stuart, Hannan) on the third pairing or in the press box. They've built their defence the right way: with emphasis on puck movement instead of hitting and blocking shots.

Though I have to say that our passing game likely will get better as the season goes along. I think a lot of it is rust from the Torts days where the players basically weren't allowed to pass the puck in that manner, the only thing that mattered was to get it up the ice and behind the opponent's net ASAP no excuses. That isn't a viable strategy in modern hockey (IMO), but it takes some readjustment after spending four years in that system.

Last edited by Blue Blooded: 10-09-2013 at 05:23 AM.
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