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Scotty Bowman and the 1970s Canadiens.

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01-09-2013, 03:14 PM
  #26
Hawkey Town 18
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Let's approach this from a an offensive and defensive perspective.

The Canadiens during Bowman's tenure focused on defence. They were a defence first team. Offence in the NHL tended to be RW oriented. More offensive talent and depth on the RW and most of the rushing defensemen played RD. So on the PK and at ES there were advantages to be able to get 60 minutes of ice time from your best defensemen at the LD position supported by your best defensive forwards playing LW. The diversity of forward talent combined with Bob Gainey supported the LW.

During the Bowman tenure the Canadiens favoured a five man defensive rotation eventually built around the Big 3. This would be augmented with players like Jim Roberts, Rick Chartraw, Pierre Bouchard who would swing between forward and defence. Question of need and circumstances.

The interesting part was how the Big 3 were rotated for defensive purposes. Basic idea was to disrupt the opposition by not having any patterns or tendencies so that individual defensemen could not be targeted and on every shift the opposition would have to adjust. This had the additional advantage of splitting the workload of facing a prime elite RW like a Mike Bossy or RD like Brad Park amongst three instead of two elite defensemen.

Offensively the same approach was used at ES and during the PP. Basic idea was exploiting weaknesses and neutralizing opposition strengths. Watch the Guy Lafleur goal in Game 7, 1979 game against Boston:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12-x70nq0vI

Attack up the RW away from Brad Park, kept wider by Steve Shutt. Serge Savard is playing the RD, sets a nice pick:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12-x70nq0vI

Also the various Big 3 pairings would switch LD/RD during a game or even a shift.

See the OT goal by Yvon Lambert in OT from the same game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l22FV4105p8

Savard makes the key defensive play as a LD transitioning smoothly to a RW rush.
Thanks for the additional info...very interesting and informative.

What other teams have come closest to this kind of situation/strategy with their defensemen? The 60's Leafs come to mind, but it seems like they may have been more about depth than relying on 3 elite players (not that Montreal didn't have some good Dmen after the Big 3).

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01-09-2013, 03:27 PM
  #27
Canadiens1958
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Bowman Red Wings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Thanks for the additional info...very interesting and informative.

What other teams have come closest to this kind of situation/strategy with their defensemen? The 60's Leafs come to mind, but it seems like they may have been more about depth than relying on 3 elite players (not that Montreal didn't have some good Dmen after the Big 3).
1960's Leafs we rather fixed in their pairings Stanley/Horton, Brewer/Baun, a LHS with a RHS, with clearly defined sides and roles.

Bowman Red Wings although the turnover on defence was much greater, less diversity and variety, geared to the short shift game.

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01-10-2013, 08:46 PM
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1977 SC Finals Game 4

One of the attributes of the Scotty Bowman Canadiens was the teams ability to play while adapting to Scotty Bowman's line match-ups, variable shift lengths and rotating defensive pairings or line combinations.

Game 4 of the 1977 SC Finals illustrates this very well especially in OT, starting at 1H 37 minutes of the clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe5vsIzjPkE

Note how Bowman out coaches Cherry on the line changes and the length of the final shift leading to the series winning goal by Jacques Lemaire.

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