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09-21-2010, 12:38 AM
  #1
Blueline Bomber
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I'm going to bring this up again

Because it's an issue I feel needs to be addressed by the coaching staff, and one they seem to make every effort to ignore. I was just reading through Canes Country, and I came across this little section:

Quote:
Rod Brind`Amour was on the ice for the first group, and afterwards he had Matsumoto and Blanchard taking face-offs (apparently Tom Barrasso learned to drop a puck this summer) while Brind`Amour showed them moves with their sticks, leg placement and shoulders. Within a minute, Jeff Skinner skated up, and Brind`Amour had him in the mix. They spent a long time working and talking. Brind`Amour seems to be taking a strong interest in Skinner and, to my eye, Skinner was appreciating the support he was getting a beyond just technique. Brind`Amour may be the Canes secret formula to get Skinner to the NHL faster than anyone thought possible last spring.
And it made me happy. Because after all, even despite his problems over the past couple years, Brindamour's been the king at faceoffs. He ranked 3rd last year at 58.8%, and if there's one person who knows how to get an edge in the faceoff dot, it's him. It also showed that Brindamour's taking his new position as seriously as he played the game. I don't know about the rest of you, but with the way things ended with Brindamour, the organization basically forcing him to retire, I felt a little uneasiness there.

But then I've got to once again ask the question: Why isn't Staal taking part in these little sessions? No center had a worse faceoff percentage than Staal last year, ranking 80 out of 80 at 41.8%, almost 2% lower than the next lowest player. For a guy with his body size and with his hands, he shouldn't be struggling so much in the circle. And even if he was, he's got Brindamour and Francis right there in the organization. There's zero reason he should be this poor at it.

Behind the Net did a large coverage of articles concerning the importance of faceoffs, including the average win percentages of individual teams and the effect a percentage change could have on said team. I can't find a lot of the articles, but what I did find concerns me:

1. A defensive zone, even strength faceoff loss is equivalent to being on the PK for 15 seconds.
2. In the first seven seconds after a face-off in your own end, you are 10 times more likely to be scored on if you lost the draw than if you won it.
3. One out of every 40 lost face-offs results in a goal in the next 20 seconds.
4. If a team improves its face-off winning percentage in the offensive zone from 50% to 60% (say, by signing Yanic Perreault, assuming all other things are equal), it can expect, on average, to improve its goal differential by 25 goals over the course of the season.

So if a 10% improvement can increase a team's Goals For by 25 goals, a 17% decrease (say, by going from Rod Brindamour to Eric Staal) certainly doesn't seem like a favorable outlook.

Sorry, I know I've brought it up before and there's really nothing that can be done about it, but it's early in the morning and seeing Eric's faceoff percentage last year got me ticked.

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09-21-2010, 01:01 AM
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vwg*
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It was just one practice session... and the author may have omitted that Staal was actually there, too. It's not like Staal isn't going to try to do everything he can do to get better at faceoffs. I share your same concern about them but we are going to have to make due with what we have for now.

I personally think Staal just doesn't have what it takes to be an elite faceoff guy like Brind'Amour.
I think it takes 3 main things to win a faceoff from my experience playing center:
1. knowing what the opposing center is going to do and what strategy is his favorite, and if he favors any particular method at certain spots on the ice
2. using this to your advantage to develop your strategy
3. having the actual drive, quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination to win the puck back to another teammate


Staal just seems lackadaisical when he skates up to the circle and doesn't seem to give much thought as to what the other guy is going to do. Brindy always seemed very focused and like he was going to win the draw at any cost. I definitely noticed the difference between the two throughout the years. I think he can still be an average faceoff guy though, most people can depending on the amount of work they put into it. Another option could be having someone on his line take the draws, then switch back positions whenever appropriate.

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09-21-2010, 04:14 AM
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Vagrant
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Skinner is very used to and receptive to the kind of style that Brind'Amour brings to the table. If you'll remember, Skinner voluntarily worked out with Gary Roberts during the summer which is something that not many kids his age would be able to do, much less be willing to do.

I think his insatiable work ethic is what drew the Hurricanes to him. I would hate to become the resident "dog on Boychuk", poster.... but that's a quality that I question about him. I don't know if he wants it bad enough.

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09-21-2010, 07:46 AM
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Yeah but it seems you got it from that one interview with Daniels. I'd never heard anything that way about boychuk before, haven't since. I think Daniels was just playing head games with him.

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09-21-2010, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Stall View Post
I personally think Staal just doesn't have what it takes to be an elite faceoff guy like Brind'Amour.
I think it takes 3 main things to win a faceoff from my experience playing center:
1. knowing what the opposing center is going to do and what strategy is his favorite, and if he favors any particular method at certain spots on the ice
2. using this to your advantage to develop your strategy
3. having the actual drive, quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination to win the puck back to another teammate


Staal just seems lackadaisical when he skates up to the circle and doesn't seem to give much thought as to what the other guy is going to do. Brindy always seemed very focused and like he was going to win the draw at any cost. I definitely noticed the difference between the two throughout the years. I think he can still be an average faceoff guy though, most people can depending on the amount of work they put into it. Another option could be having someone on his line take the draws, then switch back positions whenever appropriate.
I don't ask that he be an elite faceoff guy, just an average-to-above-average one. Since 1997-1998, Brindamour is #5 in all time faceoff percentage (59.2%), and he took FAR more faceoffs than the 4 above him. Staal is 282 out of 300 on that same list, averaging about 43.6%, and in terms of talent, only Shane Doan and Malkin are below him (and Doan's a winger).

As far as Staal taking faceoffs, I agree that his work ethic is a big reason why he doesn't seem to win a lot of them. I also think he'd be more suited with a Thornton/Sakic style of taking faceoffs rather than his current setup. At the moment, he's simply trying to beat the opposing player to the puck, and for the most part, his timing or his speed is off. Whatever he's doing, it's not working.

He's got the body size (ala Thornton/Sakic) to muscle the opposing center away from the puck, or at the very least, tying them up to let his wings swoop in and get it. I feel he'd have much more success trying to implement that style of play.

The other option is one that's been brought up before and that's simply to make Staal a winger. I understand it's a little late in his career for that change, but I really don't see it being too big of a difference. His goal scoring prowess suits better at wing in the first place, and getting another center to take the faceoffs means more puck possession, which could lead to more success as a whole.

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09-21-2010, 10:23 AM
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I think we need to look at the way Skinner is handling his situation in his own respect and not compare it to others. Don't dog Boychuk or Staal because of what Skinner is doing, just praise Skinner for it.

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09-21-2010, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vagrant View Post
I think his insatiable work ethic is what drew the Hurricanes to him. I would hate to become the resident "dog on Boychuk", poster.... but that's a quality that I question about him. I don't know if he wants it bad enough.
This is an article from the Canes website yesterday and Boychuk worked with some NHL'ers this offseason and really focused on his skating and leg strength. I believe he said he feels better than he's ever felt before, and much stronger than last year heading into camp. I think the kid deserves a clean slate chance at this current time, to be honest.

http://hurricanes.nhl.com/club/news....id=DL|CAR|home

Quote:
“I skated a lot more this summer than last summer and worked a lot with a power skating coach,” said Boychuk, who spent the off-season working out with NHL'ers Mike Green and Duncan Keith in his home province of Alberta. “That’s one of the things I wanted to work on, and I feel a lot better out there now.”
Heading into an unknown time that we're about to transition into, the true colors will show quite quickly of which kids have put the work in and want to put the work in to being on this team and making an impact. Rookie seasons in the AHL, NHL, even junior hockey are so hard to make judgement from because the adjustment and transition period can be such a learning curve that you simply don't see results.

Lastly, I don't intend to call you a liar or degrade your opinions or views, that's not my intentions. We've all got opinions and they're to be respected whether one agrees or disagrees, but from anything and everything I have read regarding Boychuk from people who watched him last season it seems the last thing they question is his work ethic and commitment level. Again, the true colors of these guys will shine through soon enough and for Boychuk it appears to be a month away before we get our first real, long-term look at him with the big squad.

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Last edited by Guerzy: 09-21-2010 at 11:05 AM.
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09-21-2010, 10:48 AM
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Tall and lanky in a battle of upperbody strength and low center of gravity isn't going to be good.

I'm trying to think who in the NHL has a comparable body size to Staal at 6'4" 205, and can't come up with anybody for comparisons sake.

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09-21-2010, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallym View Post
I'm trying to think who in the NHL has a comparable body size to Staal at 6'4" 205, and can't come up with anybody for comparisons sake.
Brandon Sutter

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09-21-2010, 11:36 AM
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Just because it doesn't get reported, doesn't mean Staal doesn't ever practice faceoffs. I've been to practices where Staal was working with Francis on them. He does work on them.

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09-23-2010, 11:50 AM
  #11
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^ Yeah, me too. Staal practices faceoffs on a pretty regular basis, usually with Francis. Brindy is tagged to work more with the prospects.

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