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A Different Brand of Hockey?

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04-21-2013, 09:50 PM
  #1
BlueAero
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A Different Brand of Hockey?

I'm a total noob here so apologies if this has already been discussed but, while enduring an extremely sloppy and disappointing effort from the Blues tonight, it struck me that the NHL game has changed in a very fundamental way in recent times....that being a serious reduction in the impact of the shot from the point as a reliable means of scoring goals on a regular basis. Watching Shattenkirk's shot go behind Giguere in the 3rd period tonight was an anomoly considering the way the game is currently being played. We just don't see it happening a much as we used to. Defensemen at large seem to almost always be positioned so that the shooting lanes are blocked....especially during the penalty kill. Most of the goals are either being scored on some sort of slick play in transition, an odd-man rush or as the result of an ugly play in a scrum down low. Makes me wonder if today's defensemen in general are simply not as skilled at shooting the puck from the point (hard to imagine) or if guys like Al MacInnis, Bobby Orr and Al Iafrate would have a lot more issues trying to score against today's defensive schemes than they did back in the day. Thoughts?

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04-21-2013, 10:06 PM
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Oberyn
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Honestly, our team can't make crisp passes. That's the main reason for our struggles in my opinion.

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04-21-2013, 10:08 PM
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MattyMo35
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6 goalie system.

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04-21-2013, 11:27 PM
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Mike Liut
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1 goalie and 5 defensemen. HitchHockey.com

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04-22-2013, 12:12 AM
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BadgersandBlues
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Originally Posted by GoofSlashFoig View Post
Honestly, our team can't make crisp passes. That's the main reason for our struggles in my opinion.
I totally agree with this. I've thought for a couple of years now that we have to be one of the worst passing teams in the NHL. Just watch a game for how many times we make a terrible pass, or even worse, someone makes a good pass, and the person accepting it flubs it hard. It's astronomical. It's boggling. A couple of years ago, I thought it was the system. But we've been through three head coaches and it's still happening.

I mean, look at what happened the two times we actually made a nice pass in tonight's game. Backes scored a goal, and Steen should have off of Schwartz's pass. And both of those passes I was like, wow, we actually made a nice pass there!!! The rest of the game we could barely carry the puck across center ice without screwing up simple tape to tape passes. Most of our defensive zone issues also stem from the fact that we can't make decent passes up and out. It wasn't as glaring last year as this year, but this year it's back in full affect.

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04-22-2013, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by BadgersandBlues View Post
I totally agree with this. I've thought for a couple of years now that we have to be one of the worst passing teams in the NHL. Just watch a game for how many times we make a terrible pass, or even worse, someone makes a good pass, and the person accepting it flubs it hard. It's astronomical. It's boggling. A couple of years ago, I thought it was the system. But we've been through three head coaches and it's still happening.

I mean, look at what happened the two times we actually made a nice pass in tonight's game. Backes scored a goal, and Steen should have off of Schwartz's pass. And both of those passes I was like, wow, we actually made a nice pass there!!! The rest of the game we could barely carry the puck across center ice without screwing up simple tape to tape passes. Most of our defensive zone issues also stem from the fact that we can't make decent passes up and out. It wasn't as glaring last year as this year, but this year it's back in full affect.
Yep, I agree.

Watch games of other teams (Chicago, Pittsburgh, and even Detroit and San Jose). We do not pass like they do. We are a better overall team than SJ and Detroit, but they still have us beat in that category.

Hell, even ****ing Palushaj's pass to McGinn tonight is better than a lot of the stuff we do.

Team really needs to improve in that area, and get more creative to boot.

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04-22-2013, 01:07 AM
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They all make those slick through the legs passes and no look backhand passes to guys in the slot for a one timer. We just never seem to be able to make great passes.

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04-22-2013, 02:28 AM
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MattyMo35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesman91 View Post
They all make those slick through the legs passes and no look backhand passes to guys in the slot for a one timer. We just never seem to be able to make great passes.
See I think that's Hitch's influence, honestly. No, we didn't do it much under previous coaches either, but Hitch would have a players ass if he tried to make a drop pass, or pass it through someone's legs and he turned it over. I personally like Hitch's philosophy of hockey quite a bit, but it's certainly conservative to say the least. When the game opens up, and we start trading chances with the other team, we lose. Simple as that. We don't play that type of game. It's certainly not as exciting as a team like Pittsburgh/Chicago, but we also don't have players like Malkin, Crosby, Kane, Hossa etc. I think Hitch's extremely conservative philosophy is the perfect fit for this group because the guys we have like Backes, Oshie, Steen, Berglund etc. are solid two way players. They would be two-way players without Hitch, but in his system, their defensive games are taken to the next level. Basically, we don't have the personnel to pull off those slick plays on a regular basis, and we have a coach that absolutely hates when cute plays end up in turnovers. If we were losing constantly, I'd be pretty upset at the lack of excitement generated by the team on the ice. However, I prefer boring, winning hockey, to exciting losing hockey(Oilers!!).

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04-22-2013, 04:29 AM
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Bluesman91
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Originally Posted by MattyMo35 View Post
See I think that's Hitch's influence, honestly. No, we didn't do it much under previous coaches either, but Hitch would have a players ass if he tried to make a drop pass, or pass it through someone's legs and he turned it over. I personally like Hitch's philosophy of hockey quite a bit, but it's certainly conservative to say the least. When the game opens up, and we start trading chances with the other team, we lose. Simple as that. We don't play that type of game. It's certainly not as exciting as a team like Pittsburgh/Chicago, but we also don't have players like Malkin, Crosby, Kane, Hossa etc. I think Hitch's extremely conservative philosophy is the perfect fit for this group because the guys we have like Backes, Oshie, Steen, Berglund etc. are solid two way players. They would be two-way players without Hitch, but in his system, their defensive games are taken to the next level. Basically, we don't have the personnel to pull off those slick plays on a regular basis, and we have a coach that absolutely hates when cute plays end up in turnovers. If we were losing constantly, I'd be pretty upset at the lack of excitement generated by the team on the ice. However, I prefer boring, winning hockey, to exciting losing hockey(Oilers!!).
The 4th line's passing and cycling ability is what I want to see from every line. It's not just the fact that they play a physical game and work hard, but they play the Hitchcock system perfectly. They like to cycle and move along the boards where our top lines when they receive a pass on the cycle they pause to look over both shoulders and just end up getting tied up and forced into board play.

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04-22-2013, 07:00 AM
  #10
CitizenSnips
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I love our ability to absolutely dominate the offensive zone with the cycle and it works best when our defense moves up and we can play the puck to the net through them. If we were able to open up the opposite side and create scoring chances through crisp passing instead of all three forwards on the cycle, we would be one dangerous offensive team.

I agree with all the posts above about or lack of ability to make and receive great passing. I see glimpses of it but nothing consistent. We need to find a way to turn that around and the goals will come

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04-22-2013, 09:09 AM
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HockeyGuy73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyMo35 View Post
See I think that's Hitch's influence, honestly. No, we didn't do it much under previous coaches either, but Hitch would have a players ass if he tried to make a drop pass, or pass it through someone's legs and he turned it over. I personally like Hitch's philosophy of hockey quite a bit, but it's certainly conservative to say the least. When the game opens up, and we start trading chances with the other team, we lose. Simple as that. We don't play that type of game. It's certainly not as exciting as a team like Pittsburgh/Chicago, but we also don't have players like Malkin, Crosby, Kane, Hossa etc. I think Hitch's extremely conservative philosophy is the perfect fit for this group because the guys we have like Backes, Oshie, Steen, Berglund etc. are solid two way players. They would be two-way players without Hitch, but in his system, their defensive games are taken to the next level. Basically, we don't have the personnel to pull off those slick plays on a regular basis, and we have a coach that absolutely hates when cute plays end up in turnovers. If we were losing constantly, I'd be pretty upset at the lack of excitement generated by the team on the ice. However, I prefer boring, winning hockey, to exciting losing hockey(Oilers!!).
If not for phenomenal human goal tending in April, we would have been eliminated already. I don't think you can depend on that level of goal tending on a consistent basis.

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04-22-2013, 10:21 AM
  #12
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Having played the position, I will say that goaltending is a product of system play, it always has been. You don't have to be great, you just have to do all of your little things consistently.

And every goaltender has to believe they can be consistent forever, it's why you play. It's the rush, being the one guy that can make or break a game on every save, it's where the buck stops. Focusing on the puck to slow it down, thinking ahead of the shooter, feinting them, drawing them in to shoot when and where you want, constantly skating to the angles, controlling the flow and just reacting with good positioning when you have to.

Oh yes. The 4th line can so often be the best example of how to play within the coach's system. That's just how it is with unattached egos. I loved Reaves' goal Friday, what an excellent reward.


Last edited by ZaphodBeeblebrox: 04-22-2013 at 10:27 AM.
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04-22-2013, 10:38 AM
  #13
Celtic Note
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueAero View Post
I'm a total noob here so apologies if this has already been discussed but, while enduring an extremely sloppy and disappointing effort from the Blues tonight, it struck me that the NHL game has changed in a very fundamental way in recent times....that being a serious reduction in the impact of the shot from the point as a reliable means of scoring goals on a regular basis. Watching Shattenkirk's shot go behind Giguere in the 3rd period tonight was an anomoly considering the way the game is currently being played. We just don't see it happening a much as we used to. Defensemen at large seem to almost always be positioned so that the shooting lanes are blocked....especially during the penalty kill. Most of the goals are either being scored on some sort of slick play in transition, an odd-man rush or as the result of an ugly play in a scrum down low. Makes me wonder if today's defensemen in general are simply not as skilled at shooting the puck from the point (hard to imagine) or if guys like Al MacInnis, Bobby Orr and Al Iafrate would have a lot more issues trying to score against today's defensive schemes than they did back in the day. Thoughts?
I think this is a good observation. There seem to be three things that standout to me as reasons for this change.

1. Goalies are bigger. They cover more of the net, so even when they can't see the puck through screens, there is a better chance it will hit them.

2. Goalies play a lot stronger positionally then they ever had in the past. There is a lot less dramatic saves, because they are not flopping around and trying to make up for poor positioning. On a point shot it is all about squaring up to the shooter. If you were trying to make the reactionary save...well...good luck on a Iafrate slapper.

3. The defensive schemes are different in the defensive zone. Instead of forwards over committing at the point in attempt to strip the puck, they are taught to take away the angles first and foremost. At the same time, when the puck is at the point, teams seem to collapse closer to the center of the ice than the had done previously. Thus, once again, talking the shooting lanes away. Closing up the middle of the ice not only makes it harder for the D to get it though, but it also makes getting rebounds more difficult. I think someone in here called it the 6 goalie system.

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04-22-2013, 10:39 AM
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MattyMo35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyGuy73 View Post
If not for phenomenal human goal tending in April, we would have been eliminated already. I don't think you can depend on that level of goal tending on a consistent basis.
It wasn't entirely goal tending. It never is. Elliott was FANTASTIC for those games, no denying that whatsoever. The defense in front of him was also great. That's how you put together the run he was on.

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04-22-2013, 10:53 AM
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I wish Hitch allowed the boys to cherry pick a bit more. Chicago takes our D out of the game offensively by forcing them to drop back to the neutral zone or be burnt by the stretch pass. They always give themselves an available stretch pass on the right, a streaking player on the left or middle, or their D rushes the puck up the left side. Just some things I've noticed.

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04-22-2013, 11:22 AM
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BlueAero
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celtic Note View Post
I think this is a good observation. There seem to be three things that standout to me as reasons for this change.

1. Goalies are bigger. They cover more of the net, so even when they can't see the puck through screens, there is a better chance it will hit them.

2. Goalies play a lot stronger positionally then they ever had in the past. There is a lot less dramatic saves, because they are not flopping around and trying to make up for poor positioning. On a point shot it is all about squaring up to the shooter. If you were trying to make the reactionary save...well...good luck on a Iafrate slapper.

3. The defensive schemes are different in the defensive zone. Instead of forwards over committing at the point in attempt to strip the puck, they are taught to take away the angles first and foremost. At the same time, when the puck is at the point, teams seem to collapse closer to the center of the ice than the had done previously. Thus, once again, talking the shooting lanes away. Closing up the middle of the ice not only makes it harder for the D to get it though, but it also makes getting rebounds more difficult. I think someone in here called it the 6 goalie system.
Excellent response. Perhaps I phrased my comment to indicate that I was referring only to the Blues as it pertains to the shot from the point when in reality I was referring to the entire NHL. Sorry for any misunderstanding. I watch a lot of games on Center Ice and I see a lot fewer point shots making it through the defenses of all teams anymore. "6 goalie system" is probably an accurate reference as you see all 5 skaters collapse to cover any angle between the point and the low slot. One might think that this would lead to a lot more goals with the goaltender being screened but, as you mention, netminders are a lot bigger and cover more of the net than the "stand-on-their-head" acrobatic goalies from the past like Hasek, Vanbiesbrouck, etc. You really don't see a lot of flopping anymore. The game truly has changed from my perspective. Thanks to all for the comments!

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04-22-2013, 12:16 PM
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HockeyGuy73
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Originally Posted by MattyMo35 View Post
It wasn't entirely goal tending. It never is. Elliott was FANTASTIC for those games, no denying that whatsoever. The defense in front of him was also great. That's how you put together the run he was on.
I can not disagree, you are right. But it seems on this run, he was coming up with a big save at least once a gave, which is huge when you talk about 1 goal games, and needless to say, in shootouts.

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04-22-2013, 08:39 PM
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Today's coaching emphasizes clogging up the slot in the defensive zone and forcing opponents to the sideboards. Shot blocking is an aspect of the game that every team expects, where as most players weren't actively blocking shots 20 years ago. In short, defenseman on average are (imo) more skilled than ever, and are routinely asked to play good defense while being able to move the puck and provide some offensive pressure. It's tough to get a point shot through when there are 2-3 guys willingly jumping in front of it.

To the guys you specifically mentioned, the greats will stay the greats. There is something to be said about offensive instincts, and as far as that goes, no one is confusing Pietrangelo with MacInnis, who used his shot in a variety of ways, including backing off defenders to open up passing lanes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoofSlashFoig View Post
Honestly, our team can't make crisp passes. That's the main reason for our struggles in my opinion.
This is exactly right. I'd add zone entries and a general lack of offensive acumen. We grind the sideboards all to hell but rarely will you see guys move their feet and create east-west lanes to set up backdoor plays. Breaking out seems to be a big issue as well.

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04-23-2013, 12:02 PM
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I blame it on the League moving the goal lines closer to the end boards and the Blue lines closer to the center red line in 2005. Notice how the one timer from the point is hardly ever used anymore? If you ever see a one-timer, they are almost exclusively from the top of circles or closer. Add to that the fact that the players block probably 3 times as many shots now due to them wearing military grade armor as opposed to the simple cloth and foam pads they used to wear.

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04-23-2013, 02:06 PM
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I blame it on the League moving the goal lines closer to the end boards and the Blue lines closer to the center red line in 2005. Notice how the one timer from the point is hardly ever used anymore? If you ever see a one-timer, they are almost exclusively from the top of circles or closer. Add to that the fact that the players block probably 3 times as many shots now due to them wearing military grade armor as opposed to the simple cloth and foam pads they used to wear.
I will use my same arguement as I use in the goalie gear defense. The players are getting bigger, stronger and faster, and the sticks are being made to have more whip action, causing the puck to move faster, so it goes to reason they would want more effective padding, too.

Its getting away from the point of this thread, but I think a lot of the rules they created to improve the game have done just the opposite.

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