This is the way I saw it as well. They weren't covering on the pinch, and they weren't supporting the D in their own zone well enough. The gap between the Ds and the Fs has been pretty bad.
Originally Posted by Reverend Mayhem
It's not just when they are losing, though. Even when we are winning, our gap control is horrible, Luongo is torn to shreds after nearly every goal it seems, Kesler taking wrist shots into shin pads, Raymond falling down/is crap/let's trade Mason Raymond, Bieksa is horrible player, our defense sucks without Salo, shootouts suck, refs suck, Sedins are too fancy, we miss "X" (ehrhoff now), we need depth defenseman, we need another 4th line player, Malhotra isn't good anymore, playoffs, powerplays, lack of effort, defensive breakdowns...I mean, it's almost comical how many problems this team have or doesn't have in relation to how good we are.
Originally Posted by ProstheticConscience
Okay sure. I get what you're saying. The Red Wings won because they were the better team, it went to a shootout, and hey, it's the Red Wings.
But I really don't think there's a hell of a lot to be happy about in the performance department. Honestly, there are now chronic problems that have been going on all year (and in some cases longer) that just aren't getting fixed. Mind-numbing defensive ****-ups and giveaways are really killing us, and while it's great our goalies are keeping us in games we should be dead and buried by the halfway mark, the cracks in the system are showing, and badly.
Most of this game, it was like the Wings had sat down and memorized the Canucks' entire playbook. Every single thing was countered. There was just...nothing. Okay, it's just one game. **** happens. But the same **** happening over and over is concerning.
All very good points. Personally I thought we had a tremendously difficult time getting through the neutral zone because the Wings were reading our D's stretch passes and had our forwards all smothered and covered, making it really hard to gain possession in their zone. When it happens a few times maybe you can chalk it up to timely reads, or smart individual defending. But when it happens all night long it strongly suggests that our game plan has been totally read and that our coaches aren't doing anything about it.
Seeing the players do the same thing over and over again to no avail is like banging your head against a wall. Eventually you might break through, but at what cost and after how long?
But really, where is the flexibility in our system? The funny thing is I don't even think we were outworked by Detroit in this game. We were just outsmarted and, I hate to say this, outcoached. I also thought the Wings were allowed to get away with blatant cases of holding, obstruction, and mauling our players for pretty much the entire game, but the team as a whole wasn't performing well anyway, for reasons mentioned above.
And I will say once again that the poor puck support on this team kills us at the most inopportune times, and is only made worse when the D themselves are struggling. Where is the responsibility?
The "system" is not broken and has not been figured out. The "system" is not too complex either. Right now the team is struggling because players are making too many bad reads and are failing to execute when they make the right one. That's it. Nobody plays 82 great games and unfortunately sometimes a large percentage of a team struggles at the same time. Thats what we are seeing now. They would be struggling with any system, you have to pass, shoot, handle the puck and make reads in any of them.
The "system" should not be blamed for a lack of puck support. Hockey isn't a game like football where a player goes from A to B on x play. How and where you support the puck involves reading the play. Sometimes that means getting over the redline for that long/bank/stretch pass. Sometimes that means coming back to the puck. When the team is playing well they are doing both and at the right times, right now they are not.
The margin for error, especially against a team like Detroit, is very small. One bad pass and you might not touch the puck for 5 minutes. I thought the team came out a little tentative, made a few bad passes through the neutral zone and ended up on their heels for two periods. That can happen against Detroit just like we can do it to them every once in a while. It happens.
Except that the nucleus of this team hasn't changed in a couple of years and they've shown in the past that they can put in the effort. You can say 'oh the players have to play better' but the coaching staff can also do their part. We hardly criticize the coaching around here except for the personnel decisions. People seem reluctant to question whether the team is prepared or motivated.
I don't think it's unfounded to ask whether the coaching staff is doing all it can to help the players succeed besides shuffle some lines. And the question can be asked without 'making excuses for the players'.
A system is usually in place to reduce the amount of decision making necessary to execute a complicated plan. That's why it's called a system. I don't buy this 'we're in a slump so most of our team is making bad plays'. This has been a recurring theme throughout the season.
Not only that, but when you have opposing forwards jumping on reasonably executed drop passes and moving up preemptively into time and space that players expect to be open from past experience, it's not a matter of our guys making bad reads. It means the other team is anticipating what we do, and that we are predictable enough that they can do it with regularity.