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Tortorella's philosophy, a white book on his Tampa fiasco et c et c et c

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Old
02-24-2009, 10:34 PM
  #26
BwayBshirt
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I dunno if this has been tossed around yet in this forum but in a way I guess Torts can be called the Mike D'Antoni of Hockey and vice versa.

2 Coaches, seemingly having the same philosophies in different sports under the same roof.

Should be a helluva lot of fun at the very least.

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02-24-2009, 11:11 PM
  #27
HockeyBasedNYC
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Originally Posted by BWayBShirt View Post
I dunno if this has been tossed around yet in this forum but in a way I guess Torts can be called the Mike D'Antoni of Hockey and vice versa.

2 Coaches, seemingly having the same philosophies in different sports under the same roof.

Should be a helluva lot of fun at the very least.
As long as it equates to wins and titles...

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Old
02-24-2009, 11:38 PM
  #28
I Am Chariot
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Originally Posted by Ola View Post
Around 1993 New Jersey Devils started to play a system that was named "the trap" in the NHL. Later any organized defensive system have been called the trap to, so don't get hanged up on that word.

Their system was created to put players in the best positions to counterattack after you won the puck. Thats important to remeber, its a system created to create offense. And it definitly did! New Jersey Devils scoured the 2nd most amount of goals in the NHL in 1994, more then NYR and less only then the Red Wings. For example. It only became a low scoring system when everyone in the league played it at the same time.

For thoose who don't know what the real NJD trap was about; there was a man in Sweden who studid hockey at University level and wrote a paper about goals scored in hockey. He found out that like 90% of the goals at that time, the late 80's, were scored seconds after giveaways in the neutral zone. He then sat down and thought about it, every team spent all their energy on getting into the attackingzone and try to score from there -- when in reality the goals where scored not after pretty plays and passes, but after the attacking team made misstakes. A team in Sweden started playing that way, and had a ton of success with it. NJD went to Sweden to scout Tommy Albelin and the rest is histrory...

The results of the trap became that the most talented teams didn't win. You basically didn't need the skilled centers for example to win. A Bobby Holik was just as valuble.

But the teams with the Forsberg and Sakics, with the Lecavaliers and co they needed to do something.

Colorado is really the first team in the NHL who I saw play the STLYE JOHN TORTORELLA USED AS A HEAD COACH IN TAMPA in the NHL.

Its a system where you pressure all over the ice, with wingers designed and designated to be able to take away the boards, while you drop back further then the redline, you drop back further then NJD, your D's drop back all the way to their own defensive blueline. With the forwards pressureing all over the ice, you have them come back with speed and therefor you also get allot of support for your D's since your forwards are all skating at the same speed as the attacking team. Your D's then end up in perfect position to make high defensive plays at their own blue. Stand up forwards with good ol'e body checks.

The purpose with the system is that after hits like that from your D's, which results in won pucks at your defensive blueline -- the other team is then stretched out all over the neutralzone basically. That opens up room for skilled centers in the neutral zone. That won Tampa Bay the Cup. That won Colorado 2 Cups.

You don't backdown and trap at the redline like NJD as of mid 90's did. You don't play it safe with 3 guys back all the time like the leftwing lock that Detroit and Dallas used. You stress hard all over the ice, make sure that your D's have a ton of support with people comming back with speed, you have big wingers who you can pass the pcuk to up the boards who then can direct it to a skilled center right away after a won puck at your own blueline.

It sounds great, right? 3 teams have won cups with it.

But what happend after the lockout? What happend to Tortorella's Tampa Bay? What happend to ex Colorado coach Bob Hartleys Atlanta? Detroit lost Hasek but became better after the lockout. Tampa lost Bullinwall and went from the best team in the league to the worst. Why is that?

You stopped winning thoose defensive battles high up ice. Guys like Michael Nylander suddenly could skate 8's around the Sutton's, Exelby's, Vishnevsky's of the league. The Lukowich's, Sarich's and Jassen Cullimores in Tampa wasn't able to hit guys at Tampa's defensive blueline anymore. Even the Nylanders of the league suddenly could skate 8's around them.

John Tortorella never figured that out in Tampa. Bob Hartley never figured that out in Atlanta. Not even after 3 years. They kept building more and more extreme in the same direction. To get better D's, and to provide thoose D's with better support -- so that they could win thoose darn defensive battles at their own defensive bluelien...

This is how Tortorella described it in todays interviews:


The fact that he descibes it as "our D couldn't handle it" really scares me. Because I haven't seen any D in this league who can stand up a Zach Parise, Michael Nylander or any of the talented players in this league at their own blueline on a regular basis. Its just not happening anywhere, by anyone. Phaneuf isn't able to do it, Lidström isn't able to do it, Pronger isn't able to do it. Not on a regular basis. The game have changed.

The reason things turned into a disaster in both Tampa and Atlanta for example for teams with that philopsophy is that they didn't have a ALTERNATIVE "transition mechanism". Pittsburgh have also played somewhat like that, but it haven't hurt them as much because they just give the puck to Malkin or Crosby and asks them to skate with it. But it defeinitly have hurt even Pittsburgh for stretches.

The Bottomline
John Tortorella is obviously aware what got him into trouble in Tampa, but I am not really sure he got the answears to fix it. He obviously still think that philosophy can work with a "D" that can "handle it". Pretty soon he is gooing to figure out that if Tampa's blueline couldn't handle it, neither will ours in NY...

In Tampa Torts didn't have a alternative "transition mechanism". Hopefully he got some kind of plan for that here in NY. In reality, we need to hope for that Tortorella got a backup plan that turns out to be state of the art and can allow us to compete with the best in the league.

I think its pretty likely that we just speed things up and starts playing more like Montreal and Buffalo and less like Detroit basically. I know that sounds a bit nutty, because we haven't even remotely "looked" like Detroit this season. But the philospohys are the same; the standard play is to slow the tempo down and have a controlled transition play. Or to play a controlled transition game, to have it slow is no purpose in itself. There is a major diffrence in X and Os between Detroit and teams like Montreal and Buffalo. Montreal and Buffalos philosphy is not to keep the puck within the team, its about playing really safe hockey but still getting offense from it by dooing it extremely fast. The reason the controlled puckpossesion approch didn't work for us in NY is because we tryed to play a skilled puckpoession game with very little puckskills especially... It worked pretty darn well the first two seasons after the lockout, but then we where far to soft and had too poor D's to go all the way.

//Ola
(The reason I call it a news article is because there isn't a "expert" in NA who ever covers these aspects -- while they are darn vital. So I tryed to write one myself.)

This was great Ola. Thank you for posting such a careful assessment of the Torts book. Hopefully he makes the most of his opportunity to grow it into what will work best for the present and future

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02-25-2009, 01:19 AM
  #29
lotus
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Well done. The things that helped eliminate a neutral zone trap, or any form of it, has mostly been the elimination of the two line pass. You can break out much quicker now, the D have to be a little further back to keep the forwards honest. In turn that opens up the neutral zone a little bit, and by the time the D and the strong side winger converge on the puck carrier, he's past the red line and will dump it in...so long as he's willing to take a hit to do so.

Make no mistake, it can still work. But I don't think the problem comes with the D. It is a lot of responsibility for them to know when to step up, but with the elimination of the red line, the forwards have to be faster and more decisive in cutting the neutral zone and taking away the passing options. And that one forchecker really needs to hustle back.

Granted, it's long been said that keeping your feet moving is the solution to beating the trap - so if you're going to play it, everyone on the team better damn sure be working just as hard as everyone else on the ice, especially his teammates. One man isn't in position and it's not going to work.

*sidenote, try not to quote the entire post guys

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02-25-2009, 01:26 AM
  #30
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Opinions of Tom Renney aside, the only desire I would want from a new coach is the question:

"Can he outcoach and develop a better system than Brent Sutter?"

Going into the coaching debate, so many people thought Tortorella was so sexy because of his snarl and persona. Neither of those attributes really matter to me, as they can ultimately add up to nothing more than a sideshow.

Nothing I have ever seen of John Tortorella's career has shown me he's a hockey intellectual and is evolving with the game. He's a fiery, play by the gut type coach. If it feels right, it must BE right. The problem, Sather is the same way. In talking about his free agent signings, he goes on to point out how good these players were in the past and his unending belief that they will be good again in the future. Nothing based off current play or rational expectations, but a feeling they should be great players.

Somewhere in the organization, a hockey scholar is needed. If anyone followed John Tortorella's commentary on TSN, it was ATROCIOUS. Entertaining to some, it showed a consistent lack of insight and knowledge outside of his trademark demeanor.

I have many fears with this addition. If the on-ice product severely sputters in the next year, Tortorella's presence and scorched earth political style could severely hinder the ability to attract free agents as well (may be a blessing in disguise).

The cap era has put a premium on getting the most out of your players. While a cursory look at John Tortorella's approach would support this notion, it can run in direct contrast. While his head-on approach has worked with some players, it has totally failed with others. Adding the complexity of the cap, getting rid of a player not pulling the same way as a coach is not as easy as it once was. Have a fallout with two players and 25% of your cap's buying power is irrevocably gone. Moving a "Redden" is downright impossible in today's financial landscape. If his motivational style fails, there is no middle ground.

I feel the true criticism of this team has been avoided. Such red herrings as accountability are being labeled as the cause of these issues, when not enough emphasis is being placed on the true problem, talent, specifically top line, game breaking talent.
It's no surprise the PP has struggled without a preeminent talent. 4 lines consisting of a smattering of 20 goal scorers are great for being a strong even strength team, but when push comes to shove late in games and on the PP, game breaking talent isn't a luxury, it's needed.

I'm not skirting the idea of accountability, but very few are asking the hard/right questions. When Chris Drury was signed for 7+ million, the masses were full of words like "intangibles" and "leadership". Talk of paying 7 million for 55 points were not discussed to the necessary length.

Much like Brian Burke's belief that a team is on the way up, or the way down, I believe coaches should offer at least one, and if a great coach, both of the following:

1) Building a program/system; nurturing a developing core.
2) Push a talented team over the top and make them reach their potential.

I don't see Torts being a builder. His hard love may be a benefit to a few, but is ultimately living on borrowed time on how long it can be effective. I don't begrudge the desire to replace a coach, but in the longrun, I don't see John Tortorella as the best answer for this organization. At the moment, there is a large risk that Torts is only filling an unbelievably short-term need by making a longterm move in retaining his services.

I see this as Brian Trottier - Part 2. The man with the vision orchestrating this move and the direction of the team, Glen Sather, has shown his hockey development knowledge and vision have clouded with time. Like many of his recent activities, I see Tortorella as another to add to his list of poor choices.

Lastly, I truly hope to God that he will overcome all of his historical inadequacies (the greatest of all, his steadfast intransigence). As a Ranger fan, my hopes for the team are always greater than my opinions on them. Recently, I have seen a terrible rash of "told you so's" and "i always knew better" posts. I'm almost tempted to start pulling up some bookmarked archives where the arrogant oracles had these opinions, amongst tens of other completely wrong ones (I have a feeling they've forgotten about their other predictions). I may not like a player signing or a coaching change, but I will always support the team and wish for their success.

Let's Go Rangers...(and Ola is always great)


Last edited by frozenrubber: 02-25-2009 at 01:57 AM. Reason: ola love
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Old
02-25-2009, 02:17 AM
  #32
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i really like ur post.

but overall in general, i feel we still needed the change. it wont be instant results but i like what torts had t say in the post-practice interview where he doesnt know the players and it will be easy because he can get right to work. this is going to take time, but id like to see who gets benched

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02-25-2009, 03:25 AM
  #33
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If there is one thing I like about this, it's that Torts likes aggressive forechecking. No more 1-2-2 crap, we will more likely see 2-1-2. If there is one thing many teams have a problem with (Rangers very much included), it's pesky forwards that just won't leave them alone in their own zone.

If you can create turnovers, you get alot for free. Renney was too passive and too afraid to attack.

Hopefully Torts can find a middle way between his old system and Renney's system. I want to take the battle to our opponent and not fight it on home soil, if you know what I mean. And it absolutely must be a priority to send in men in front of our opposing goalie. We need a faster puck tempo so we can get shots through (can we handle that?), we need constant motion by all skaters and we need deflections, screens and rebounds badly. This takes alot of practice though, because it's hard to have the timing to get in front of the net when the shot comes if you move alot.

Skate, skate, skate.


Last edited by Chimp: 02-25-2009 at 03:31 AM.
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Old
02-25-2009, 03:40 AM
  #34
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...unless you're Wade Redden's agent!

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02-25-2009, 07:26 AM
  #35
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Your system is only as good as your goaltender. If you have Brodeur or Khabibulan in net, you are a genius. If Cam Ward doesn't come in hot as a pistol, Carolina gets knocked out in Montreal. If Osgood doesn't come in for Hasek, Detroit may not get out of Nashville. Giguere stood teams on the head when Anaheim had little talent, then when they had talent they went all the way.

The great Canadiens teams won because the puck never stopped moving forward. The Flyers won their cups because anyone who touched the puck got hit. The Bruins won because they had Bobby Orr.

It's true today there are coaches on top of coaches, the players are on average much bigger than they were, and they have professional guidance on physical fitness. In the end it still comes down to heart (and luck). If Lecavalier doesn't go from an immature kid to a man under Tortorella, Tampa Bay does not win the cup. If a key Calgary goal no one saw had been counted, Tampa Bay does not win the cup.

As the great philosopher Mike Tyson said (approximately) everyone has a plan until they get hit on the nose.

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02-25-2009, 07:34 AM
  #36
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Originally Posted by ivrydov View Post
The great Canadiens teams won because the puck never stopped moving forward. The Flyers won their cups because anyone who touched the puck got hit. The Bruins won because they had Bobby Orr.
No. The great Canadians teams won because they had outstanding personnel, top to bottom. The Flyers hit everything but they also had tremendous talent. So, the Rangers will have to acquire likewise great talent and size (neither is here presently) or talk Bobby Orr out of retirement.

The greatest coach will almost always lose to the more talented team.

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02-25-2009, 08:09 AM
  #37
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Originally Posted by Chimp View Post
If there is one thing I like about this, it's that Torts likes aggressive forechecking. No more 1-2-2 crap, we will more likely see 2-1-2. If there is one thing many teams have a problem with (Rangers very much included), it's pesky forwards that just won't leave them alone in their own zone.

If you can create turnovers, you get alot for free. Renney was too passive and too afraid to attack.

Hopefully Torts can find a middle way between his old system and Renney's system. I want to take the battle to our opponent and not fight it on home soil, if you know what I mean. And it absolutely must be a priority to send in men in front of our opposing goalie. We need a faster puck tempo so we can get shots through (can we handle that?), we need constant motion by all skaters and we need deflections, screens and rebounds badly. This takes alot of practice though, because it's hard to have the timing to get in front of the net when the shot comes if you move alot.

Skate, skate, skate.
I agree. It would be nice if we had more big, powerful and quick forwards to make the style a bit more threatening.
But in any case, more aggressive should be a lot more fun to watch and hopefully will give us a few more chances.

What concerns me is that Lundqvist is going to be left out to dry...even more so than the previous regime.

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Old
02-25-2009, 08:17 AM
  #38
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Originally Posted by Chimp View Post
Hopefully Torts can find a middle way between his old system and Renney's system. I want to take the battle to our opponent and not fight it on home soil, if you know what I mean. And it absolutely must be a priority to send in men in front of our opposing goalie. We need a faster puck tempo so we can get shots through (can we handle that?), we need constant motion by all skaters and we need deflections, screens and rebounds badly. This takes alot of practice though, because it's hard to have the timing to get in front of the net when the shot comes if you move alot.
Are you sure you're Swedish?

Very interesting post, Ola. I would hope that all of the rational people here aren't expecting the world to be delivered on a silver platter starting tonight. What I am hoping is to see a team that is for one much more exciting, and also relieved of a mounting pressure to execute that was becoming ever more noticeable as the weeks wore on. I am really hoping that if things open up, even just a little bit, it will allow these guys to loosen the grip on their sticks and stop trying to force things, and hopefully this translates into better offensive stats.

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02-25-2009, 08:33 AM
  #39
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Torts made a alot of money for Jassen Cullimore who was able to play in TB under Torts but couldn't play in Chicago which was brutal at that time.Cullimore got his payday from the Hawks.

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02-25-2009, 08:37 AM
  #40
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Originally Posted by Chimp View Post
we need constant motion by all skaters and we need deflections, screens and rebounds badly. This takes alot of practice though, because it's hard to have the timing to get in front of the net when the shot comes if you move alot.

Skate, skate, skate.

You couldn't be more right about that. JM pointed it out the other night and it's painfully obvious. When the Rangers have the puck on the PP, everybody is standing still. Nobody cuts to open lanes. They just stand there. IMO< it's one of the main reasons we have given up so many SH goals. The 2 dmen stand flat footed 6 inches from the blueline and make rink wide passes. If a guy misses of fumbles a pass, the forechecker is right on him at top speed, and has no chance of catching him from a standstill. You can't be like Voros and just go stand in front of the goalie, all you do is block the shot yourself. You need to cut through and arrive there as the puck is arriving in order to make an impact.

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02-25-2009, 09:04 AM
  #41
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Nice post Ola, I always enjoy reading your thoughts.
This is my take on the team, and maybe more on the game in general.

Anyone who has ever played or watched hockey extensively knows that the counter attack is one of the most important facets of the game. Being able to stop an attack is half the battle, but only half the battle. Now, as you mentioned in your post, the defense alone is not able to stand up the skilled players time and time again, be it with the body, stick check etc., and I think the biggest reason for this is that the clutch and grab have been all but eliminated from the game. If you watch hockey from the pre-lockout era, defensmen (especially players like the Cullimores and such that you mentioned) were able to make up for a lack of skill, but most specifically SPEED.

Now, with this in mind, I thoroughly believe that speedy and skilled forwards are the basis to success, and here is why: If a coach is able to motivate and instill a system of backchecking, hard working forwards to assist the defense (because even the best defenders will still be hung out to dry without responsible forwards helping out), then the counter attack can be successful.
I agree with this. The Sabres of 05-06 and 06-07 employed a transition mechanism that depended on speed. They used it to get up ice in an instant and made you pay before you had time to realize it.

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02-25-2009, 09:25 AM
  #42
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You couldn't be more right about that. JM pointed it out the other night and it's painfully obvious. When the Rangers have the puck on the PP, everybody is standing still. Nobody cuts to open lanes. They just stand there. IMO< it's one of the main reasons we have given up so many SH goals. The 2 dmen stand flat footed 6 inches from the blueline and make rink wide passes. If a guy misses of fumbles a pass, the forechecker is right on him at top speed, and has no chance of catching him from a standstill. You can't be like Voros and just go stand in front of the goalie, all you do is block the shot yourself. You need to cut through and arrive there as the puck is arriving in order to make an impact.
Yeah, the Rangers in general do too much standing around or moving slowly, relying on other people to pass the puck to them rather to where they will be. If Torotorella does one thing, I hope it's getting through to the players that you can't just stand around and instead have to be active so you can stretch out the other teams defense and create shooting lanes and open spaces

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02-25-2009, 09:33 AM
  #43
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However, where I will disagree with you a little is with your interpretation of Tortorella's comments with regard to his defenseman in Tampa not being able to handle it. I don't draw the conclusion that he thinks they couldn't handle it but here the defenseman will be able to handle it. At least I'm not making that assumption.
But he also says HE "made a major mistake", as opposed to condemning the work of the Tampa defense or comparing them to the current NYR blue line. I interpret it as, he just needs to accurately read what the Ranger defenseman are capable of handling, then give them only that much responsibility.

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02-25-2009, 10:28 AM
  #44
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To take the excellent thread a little further, think back to Carolina's cup run. True they had the hot goalie, but they also played a pressure system that thoroughly beat a Devils team that a lot of people saw as unstoppable going into the playoffs. And when you look back on it, Carolina did not have a line-up of superstars.

I don't think it's an accident that the Devils play that same system, more or less, today, with a great deal of success.

The question of course is what it takes to make any system work. Remember, a lot of teams played the trap, but a bunch of them were still drafting in the top five every year.

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02-25-2009, 10:39 AM
  #45
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Thanks everyone for the nice comments -- they are truely to much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilsFanPassingBy View Post
To take the excellent thread a little further, think back to Carolina's cup run. True they had the hot goalie, but they also played a pressure system that thoroughly beat a Devils team that a lot of people saw as unstoppable going into the playoffs. And when you look back on it, Carolina did not have a line-up of superstars.

I don't think it's an accident that the Devils play that same system, more or less, today, with a great deal of success.

The question of course is what it takes to make any system work. Remember, a lot of teams played the trap, but a bunch of them were still drafting in the top five every year.
Good point. But at the same time, that NJD team trapped old style -- which obviously didn't work. Like you can play defense by trapping, but you can't play offense by trapping if you get what I mean. Today a team like NJD is only trapping when they can't forecheck.

Carolina had a little luck, NJD was not a really good team (I really would have liked to see that NJD-NYR series played again with a healty Jagr. The Rangers where the better team in the 1st period in G1. They then FUed up in the 2nd period. And lost Jagr in the 3rd and the series was over. I am not saying that it would have ended diffrent with a healty Jagr, but I am not willing to draw conclusions from 1 bad period.), and they played Buffalo who in 1 game where without 6 D's...

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02-25-2009, 10:49 AM
  #46
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You couldn't be more right about that. JM pointed it out the other night and it's painfully obvious. When the Rangers have the puck on the PP, everybody is standing still. Nobody cuts to open lanes. They just stand there. IMO< it's one of the main reasons we have given up so many SH goals. The 2 dmen stand flat footed 6 inches from the blueline and make rink wide passes. If a guy misses of fumbles a pass, the forechecker is right on him at top speed, and has no chance of catching him from a standstill. You can't be like Voros and just go stand in front of the goalie, all you do is block the shot yourself. You need to cut through and arrive there as the puck is arriving in order to make an impact.
Dawes had a great deflection the other night by standing to the side, if not behind the goalie near the goal line. He saw the play develop in front of him and then went in front of the goalie to make a deflection and was better positioned for the rebound. As opposed to Voros or Dubi who plant their butts in front of the goalie and end up missing the deflection and then the puck bounces past them for the opposing team to control.

BTW, nice job Chimp, Frozenrubber and Ola with your thoughts in this thread.

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02-25-2009, 10:58 AM
  #47
SML
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And more capable of surviving in an environment where he works for a strong-headed boss, and that will be a test indeed for the new Rangers coach. He walked in and decided today that Mike Pelino is not an assistant coach. He will use Pelino to help pre-scout opponents, and Pelino may have some other input. But Tortorella made it clear that his assistant coach is Jim Schoenfeld, that Benoit Allaire is the goalie coach, and that is his coaching staff. Pelino will not be on skates at practices, despite Sather’s wishes.


Just grabbed this off one of the blogs... I don't think I linked it right, but it's interesting...

http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/

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02-25-2009, 11:52 AM
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I agree about the atmosphere at the Garden idea. Rangers fans want exciting hockey. Give us boring hockey, and the attendance will still stay high, but the Garden will be as quiet as a funeral even on nights when we win. The Garden wants wins, sure, but it LOVES goals, fights, and excitement. Wins without excitement fail to please the Garden crowd. Individual tastes may vary but the crowd doesn't lie. Aside from the boos, the place has been silent for most of this season.

Torts style SHOULD bring the crowd back as a factor.

Nice post, Ola. I don't agree with all of it but its a good analysis.

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02-25-2009, 11:55 AM
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Interesting.

But the trap itself wasn't invented in the late 80s. Maybe a form of the trap was conceived around that time. But Scotty Bowman was using a trap in the 70s even with the great Montreal Canadiens' line-ups. He was coaching St. Louis as a new coach and with a fairly mediocre line-up he brought his team to two Stanley Cup finals. The guy was an outstanding hockey mind that was thinking about systems when nobody in Canada knew what that was. The Habs snatched him up and the rest is history. Then Jacques Lemaire after he retired as a player, traveled Europe and went to seminars to perfect himself as a coach. There he learned new ways to implant the trap and put it to use in 1983 when he became the Montreal Canadiens's coach. Sure Patrick Roy was a great goalie but the system(wich Guy Lafleur prefered to retire rather than playing it) was a huge reason why the team won the cup in 86 and 93.

By the way, I don't know how much the Devils looked at Tommy Albelin. But one thing is for sure, the Devils never drafted him: he was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques and he played years with them.

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02-25-2009, 11:58 AM
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So when's the Garden going to start sounding like this?

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