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Hitchcock's GamePlan in the new NHL?

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08-27-2005, 01:45 AM
  #1
Hinger
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Hitchcock's GamePlan in the new NHL?

With the league moving towards a more open ended game, will Hitchcock "open up" his offense? In his last three years as coach in the NHL (looked up stats to 2000-2001) only one player has scored over 30 goals (Modano with 34 in 2000-2001).

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08-27-2005, 03:57 AM
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I think the effect of the new rules in the NHL will be appreciable, but perhaps not as much as some are expecting. By nature, people tend to exaggerate or devalue just about everything in sports, it's rare that we accurately predict things that have never been tried before, right on the spot. I don't think this case will be any different. We haven't had NHL hockey for a year, naturally we're very excited. In our enthusiasm, I think we have a tendency to oversell the effects of these new rules. It will increase offense, the only question is by how much.

I believe at worst, the rule changes will have little or no effect on the game. At most, NHL games are now decided by more than two extra goals per team per game on average. I think both scenarios are equally unrealistic; average out the two, and you're probably close to the answer. I think the average goals scored in the NHL this season, will increase by about 1 per team, perhaps a little less. That is a fairly large sum, but it won't return the NHL to the high-flying 1980s.

I don't really see any teams drastically changing their approach to the game. The Flyers will still be a largely defense-first hockey team. The Flyers were the 8th best scoring team in the NHL last season, and I believe they have upgraded their offense (some here may disagree) over last year's team, but more importantly have upgraded relative to their competition. If things pan out with the younger players like Carter and Radivojevic, and Forsberg can remain mostly healthy, then I think the Flyers will be one of the better offensive teams in the NHL. Now, I doubt they'll be first or second, but I think they'll be higher than 8th in the NHL, and that should be more than good for a Hitchcock team. And it is still a Hitchcock team, you won't see all-out offense or any of that nonsense, but by virtue of the skill level of their players, this Flyers team will score some goals. But to be specific to your question, I don't think Hitchcock's strategy will change much, he'll still play a team which is defense oriented and scores as much as they need to. I could see Hitchcock letting the first two lines open up offensively a little more than in years past, but not at the cost of their defensive awareness, as it's what took the Flyers to within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals.

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08-27-2005, 03:42 PM
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hinger
With the league moving towards a more open ended game, will Hitchcock "open up" his offense? In his last three years as coach in the NHL (looked up stats to 2000-2001) only one player has scored over 30 goals (Modano with 34 in 2000-2001).
IMHO Ken Hitchcock is one of the truly great coaches in the NHL. He can motivate and he knows the X's and O's. He is the current Scotty Bowman. So when he talks, I listen.

Hitchcock has been at the Team Canada training camp in Kelowna BC. In a number of interviews he has indicated that he has picked up some things under the new rules that are going to require a revamping of his game plan for the Flyers.
http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Columnists...81222-sun.html

In an interview with Gary Kingston of the Vancouver Sun newspaper, said he has some serious work to do when he got back to Philly after seeing the new rules in action in the Team Canada orientation camp.

"There's five or six things that I never thought about... that I now am going to have to put in place in training camp. I see some things that are going to be major factors."

Hey Hitch what might those be?

"Can't say. And won't say," he said with a laugh.

He obviously did not want to give a leg up to his less astute coaching brethren.

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08-28-2005, 04:04 PM
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Dr Love
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad
I believe at worst, the rule changes will have little or no effect on the game. At most, NHL games are now decided by more than two extra goals per team per game on average. I think both scenarios are equally unrealistic; average out the two, and you're probably close to the answer. I think the average goals scored in the NHL this season, will increase by about 1 per team, perhaps a little less. That is a fairly large sum, but it won't return the NHL to the high-flying 1980s.
Excellent post Brad. I completely agree, the increase in goal scoring will be subtle... we won't notice it during a game, but as the season begins to wind up, we'll notice a few more 30 goal scorers, perhaps a couple more 40 goal scorers, and maybe we'll have some guys potting 50 goals. Nothing earth shattering but a better flowing game most likely and some better stats in the end.

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08-30-2005, 11:57 AM
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I don't know what his plan is, but taking the team to train with the military is one thing he's going to do, well atleast the rumors say so...

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08-30-2005, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nacho
I don't know what his plan is, but taking the team to train with the military is one thing he's going to do, well atleast the rumors say so...
http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/sport/...691414,00.html

Yup, according to this story in this Swedish paper, they will train at West Point. I know the article is in Swedish but the gist of it says that Hitchcock will take the team to train alongside the army guys at West Point. I'll bet Danny Hinote wishes he had followed his pal Peter to the Flyers.

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08-30-2005, 02:47 PM
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Hitch took the team to West Point before. It's a bonding thing.

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