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Why I think the Habs should try to play an offensive Vs. defensive system

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03-03-2007, 08:32 PM
  #1
Belso
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Why I think the Habs should try to play an offensive Vs. defensive system

Ever since I've been watching the Habs play, they have used a defensive system..

The team just can't get motivated. I've been reading in many places how different player at different times have complained or at least mention their dislike to the defensive system.

Now I can understand that IF you are winning and IF your team has no scoring potential that you may as well use a defensive system. But think about who the Habs have drafted and went to get through trades and free agency.

Koivu, Samsonov, Plekanec, are all speedy players who like to play offence even though I agree that even though Pleks is fast he is very good defensively.

Kovalev wants to score goals.. He's hard to motivate.

Perezhogin played with Jagr. He doesn't complain much and says he takes his role seriously playing on the third line against other top lines. But he did say he liked to contribute more having an offensive role. I beleive Markov is one to want to please his coach, but man does he have great hockey sence. I say he'd be even better playing an offensive game.

Bonk has had much success in an offensive system in Ottawa.. 70pts one season, +27 an other. Johnson can score. He can score 20+ goals for sure if he was asked to in an offensive system.

Higgins can play both. Ryder seems more of an offensive player being a sniper. Latendresse is slower but can still drive the net and get rebounds.

Kostitsyn is full of offensive potential.. Why squeeze a defensive game out of him when you can let his offensive game blossom?

Souray has NO defensive game, Streit and Dandenault have both been asked to play as forwards by Carbo and Bouillion in my opinion is better offensively then defensively.

I don't think they have ever had a great defensive game, all the players I named would be more confortable in an offensive system, the team would be much more motivated (which is a problem for at least one period each game in the last 2 years) playing that system and They don't have a real No 1 goalie to depend on to keep the scoring low.

So I say, let them skate, fly, plow their way to the net. Let them score goals. Let them enjoy the game more. If you want a working defensive system, you need to built around a defensive minded team. You can't get offensive minded (who's assests are offense) players and try and squeeze a defensive game out of them.

As a fan, I'd rather them be motivated and win 6-5 or 6-4 as opposed to trying and play defensive and loose 4-1 or 3-2. It might be more exciting for us fans too. Who agrees with me?

The only problem I see now is Carbonneau's not going to want to change his system at this point in the season. It's maybe too late. Too risky. But let's hope they think about next year if they don't change it now. The habs should have realized way before now that they were playing the wrong systems for the players they had...

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03-03-2007, 08:41 PM
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An offensive style would be a whole lot more fun watching and suits the players on this team better (speed + skill).

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03-03-2007, 08:46 PM
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Ross MacLochness
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I have a feeling this issue is going to be beaten to death this summer.

Last season: offensive minded players with passive, defensive system. Solid Miracle start to the year followed by a disatrous collapse. Coach fired, Huet saves the day. Squeak into the playoffs.

This season: offensive minded players, passive 1-2-2 system. Excellent first 30 games. One of the worst teams in the league from Christmas onward. No coaching, no system, no defence, no offence, no Huet to save the day.... No playoffs.

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03-03-2007, 08:49 PM
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The Habs should try to play.

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03-03-2007, 09:08 PM
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kostitsyn1489
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sports1131 View Post
The Habs should try to play.
It would indeed help

But yeah everyone agree that we need an offensive system... Except Cabonneau which is pretty much all since he's head coach.

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03-03-2007, 09:35 PM
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I've been all for the offensive system. It's pretty easy to make four offensive lines out of this team.. However it's molded into a crappy two-line system in which the bottom two lines get most of the ice-time and contribute zilch.

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03-03-2007, 10:06 PM
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Belso
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Well I am glad to know that most people, so far, agree with me. Maybe the problem is Carbonneau doesn't know how to play a good offensive system. I can't see how having played in Dallas.

Hopefully something will change at one point because if they keep it up, it's going to be like this every year. The fans want a scoring team, Gaineys gets some scorers, they will be asked to play defensively, the players will not play with heart, the team will not win, the players will be unhappy, the fans will be unhappy, Gainey will trade/draft new scorers and then 2008-2009 it will be the same.

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03-03-2007, 10:20 PM
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Papa_Bear_21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belso View Post
Ever since I've been watching the Habs play, they have used a defensive system..

The team just can't get motivated. I've been reading in many places how different player at different times have complained or at least mention their dislike to the defensive system.

Now I can understand that IF you are winning and IF your team has no scoring potential that you may as well use a defensive system. But think about who the Habs have drafted and went to get through trades and free agency.

Koivu, Samsonov, Plekanec, are all speedy players who like to play offence even though I agree that even though Pleks is fast he is very good defensively.

Kovalev wants to score goals.. He's hard to motivate.

Perezhogin played with Jagr. He doesn't complain much and says he takes his role seriously playing on the third line against other top lines. But he did say he liked to contribute more having an offensive role. I beleive Markov is one to want to please his coach, but man does he have great hockey sence. I say he'd be even better playing an offensive game.

Bonk has had much success in an offensive system in Ottawa.. 70pts one season, +27 an other. Johnson can score. He can score 20+ goals for sure if he was asked to in an offensive system.

Higgins can play both. Ryder seems more of an offensive player being a sniper. Latendresse is slower but can still drive the net and get rebounds.

Kostitsyn is full of offensive potential.. Why squeeze a defensive game out of him when you can let his offensive game blossom?

Souray has NO defensive game, Streit and Dandenault have both been asked to play as forwards by Carbo and Bouillion in my opinion is better offensively then defensively.

I don't think they have ever had a great defensive game, all the players I named would be more confortable in an offensive system, the team would be much more motivated (which is a problem for at least one period each game in the last 2 years) playing that system and They don't have a real No 1 goalie to depend on to keep the scoring low.

So I say, let them skate, fly, plow their way to the net. Let them score goals. Let them enjoy the game more. If you want a working defensive system, you need to built around a defensive minded team. You can't get offensive minded (who's assests are offense) players and try and squeeze a defensive game out of them.

As a fan, I'd rather them be motivated and win 6-5 or 6-4 as opposed to trying and play defensive and loose 4-1 or 3-2. It might be more exciting for us fans too. Who agrees with me?

The only problem I see now is Carbonneau's not going to want to change his system at this point in the season. It's maybe too late. Too risky. But let's hope they think about next year if they don't change it now. The habs should have realized way before now that they were playing the wrong systems for the players they had...
Excellent post. Excellent. I have been saying to my friends that we are not playing the right systems for the players we have. Hopefully, Carbo will get the picture in the off season.

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03-03-2007, 11:07 PM
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I strongly disagree. It's a fantasy, not a strategy. Did anyone notice that the Habs are lousy passers and frequently lose the puck in the offensive zone, leading to breakouts? This tends to explain why they don't score many goals but have huge minuses at 5-on-5. The fact that they're also not great shooters doesn't help either. With the forwards they have, they ought to concentrate more on defense, not less. Some of their D men aren't very good, and lately their goaltending has been atrocious. If this Habs team were to play offensively they wouldn't even be able to sniff the playoffs.

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03-03-2007, 11:19 PM
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Papa_Bear_21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes View Post
I strongly disagree. It's a fantasy, not a strategy. Did anyone notice that the Habs are lousy passers and frequently lose the puck in the offensive zone, leading to breakouts? This tends to explain why they don't score many goals but have huge minuses at 5-on-5. The fact that they're also not great shooters doesn't help either. With the forwards they have, they ought to concentrate more on defense, not less. Some of their D men aren't very good, and lately their goaltending has been atrocious. If this Habs team were to play offensively they wouldn't even be able to sniff the playoffs.

I respect you're opinion, but the players have not demonstrated that are disciplined enough to play to win games 2-1. They are not the devils that limit teams to 20-25 shots per game. They have been playing a passive 1-2-2 system all season and are allowing a league high 30+ shots a game.

Some of the games that they have allowed the least amount of shots is games they have played an aggressive offensive game.

As for you comments alluding to the lack of goalscorers, I refer you to hockey db, where you can look up the stats of many of the Sabres pre lockout and post lockout. You'll notice that many of the players are having much better seasons since Lindy Ruff decided to adopt their aggressive system.

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03-03-2007, 11:39 PM
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Teufelsdreck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa_Bear_21 View Post
I respect you're opinion, but the players have not demonstrated that are disciplined enough to play to win games 2-1. They are not the devils that limit teams to 20-25 shots per game. They have been playing a passive 1-2-2 system all season and are allowing a league high 30+ shots a game.

Some of the games that they have allowed the least amount of shots is games they have played an aggressive offensive game.

As for you comments alluding to the lack of goalscorers, I refer you to hockey db, where you can look up the stats of many of the Sabres pre lockout and post lockout. You'll notice that many of the players are having much better seasons since Lindy Ruff decided to adopt their aggressive system.
The Sabres have added some very good offensive players that they didn't have before. The Habs didn't. Also, Ryan Miller is better at covering up for mistakes than anyone the Habs have.

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03-03-2007, 11:55 PM
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Kirk Muller
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Its not necessarily playing an offensive or defensive system. Montreal plays a very passive defensive system whereas a team like NJ and Calgary play a more aggressive defensive system.

Montreal has zero forecheck or if they do, its one man. Also, when they sit back in the neutral zone, there is no puck pursuit, they let the opposition make its way thru their "trap."

Most teams in the NHL are defensive however i wish the philosophy would change in not necessarily system, but make the team more difficult to play against. Get a tougher team. I like Mike Johnson, and Bonk, and they do a good job, but they are soft soft players. No grit whatsoever. Its fine having defensive players but they need grit too. Combined with your top 6 forwards, who overall, lack toughness, its bad mix of players.

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03-04-2007, 12:23 AM
  #13
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I forgot Grabovsky. He's a fast talented scoring forward.. I can't see why the Habs should keep this system...

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03-04-2007, 12:24 AM
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Belso
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa_Bear_21 View Post
Excellent post. Excellent. I have been saying to my friends that we are not playing the right systems for the players we have. Hopefully, Carbo will get the picture in the off season.
Glad you appretiated it..

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03-04-2007, 12:33 AM
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this is a nice constructive criticism of the team, refreshing from all the other crap. I totally agree with playing an offensive game, if not this year at least next year, but i have a heavy feeling it won't happen unless carbo, muller, and jarvis take a look back at this season and see their flaws as rookies coaches.

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03-04-2007, 01:45 AM
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Unfortunately no system offensive or defensive is going to make any difference if our players aren't willing to shoot the puck.
if they do actually shoot the puck sadly it ends up right in the goalies crest or low for an easy pad save. no system is going to make the players go to the net and pay the price or enable them to make simple tape to tape passes. No system is going to make our players work/skate hard for 60 minutes or lay down to block some shots or finish there checks.
These all seem to be fundamental issues and i'm not sure what the solution is.

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03-04-2007, 02:15 AM
  #17
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Quote:
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Its not necessarily playing an offensive or defensive system. Montreal plays a very passive defensive system whereas a team like NJ and Calgary play a more aggressive defensive system.

Montreal has zero forecheck or if they do, its one man. Also, when they sit back in the neutral zone, there is no puck pursuit, they let the opposition make its way thru their "trap."

Most teams in the NHL are defensive however i wish the philosophy would change in not necessarily system, but make the team more difficult to play against.
You are on to something here.

As you said, most teams have defense-first systems. The issue is HOW they are executed.

We have seen many cases of two-man-in forecheck. But they come off plays where the forwards dump it in from just outside the blueline. Actually the fourth line is VERY good at this.

The Habs typically play 1-2-2 when they shoot the puck in off a guy barely reaching the red line while an opponent is in hot pursuit. We have no chance to recover the puck, so we set up in 1-2-2. What happens next is that, too often, when the opponents hit their own blue line, the Habs do NOT do what the system is meant to do, which is swarm the puck carrier, trapping him and forcing one of two things:
a) turnover; or
b) long shoot-in with no chance of recovery

In order to accomplish the swarm, the forwards have to be alert and moving their feet, and the defence cannot back up too fast. Unfortunately, when the confidence level is down, the D are collapsing quickly and the forwards don't see the opportunity to trap. The result is that the opponents hit our blueline with the puck and with speed and either carry it in, or shoot it in and recover a high percentage versus some of our vulnerable D-men.

Some possible remedies:

a) Improve the breakout system execution so that we don't so often settle for a desperation shoot-in from a guy barely making the red line. Here the replacement of Rivet and Bouillon/Dandenault with Streit and Gorges will probably be a big help. Passing skills and vision are what is needed.

b) Work with the defencemen to STOP backing up so much in the neutral zone. This tactic may be necessary when faced with a 3-on-2, but if we are in 1-2-2 trap, the 5-man unit has to minimize the gaps big time.

c) With the D standing up more, get the forwards to attack the puck more, and finish their checks more often. Make it harder for teams to play against us.

d) If Doug Jarvis can't do a stellar job of defence coach, don't be shy to hire one like we used to have in Jacques Laperriere. There is only so much the GM can do in a cap world to stockpile talent. The coaching staff then has the very important job of MOULDING this talent, and resources should be put into the staff.

In the NHL, a good defensive system can be one of the best offensive weapons in a team's arsenal. Neutral zone turnovers create the odd-man rushes that yield high-percentage scoring chances. Turnovers in the opponents' zone also create good scoring chances.

Let's hope the Habs will move to a more aggressive defensive pattern SOON.

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03-04-2007, 02:38 AM
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Nice post Baseball coach

I would also like them to move the entire 1-2-2 up towards the opposition blue line, right now our forwards our are setting up at the centre ice line and the defence is just inside the blue line.
with the way it is now the oppsition is able to gather to much speed before they encounter our forwards, resulting in them blowing right by them. if the forwards were more engaged further up the ice the opposition would be much easier to neutralize. resulting in more turnovers for the counterattack and less speed from the opposition through the neutral zone.
Our defence would have to set up more up ice which is kind of a scary thought. as long as the defence communicates and are aware of the long pass it might be ok.

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03-04-2007, 07:04 AM
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Belso
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reuben View Post
Unfortunately no system offensive or defensive is going to make any difference if our players aren't willing to shoot the puck.
if they do actually shoot the puck sadly it ends up right in the goalies crest or low for an easy pad save. no system is going to make the players go to the net and pay the price or enable them to make simple tape to tape passes. No system is going to make our players work/skate hard for 60 minutes or lay down to block some shots or finish there checks.
These all seem to be fundamental issues and i'm not sure what the solution is.
The players I named would be more confortable in an offensive system, the team would be much more motivated (which is a problem for at least one period each game in the last 2 years) playing that system. They WANT to play an offensive system. I know the coach has the last word, but if most of the team want's to play this system, why not do it if they will respond to it? See if they can enjoy the game again. You can't get offensive minded (who's assests are offense) players and try and squeeze a defensive game out of them. That's one of the reasons I think they should try and change.

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03-04-2007, 07:41 AM
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We should have a two-man forecheck. One-man does not work with us because we are too small.. If you have Plekanec going in against Chara and another defenceman with no support, there's seldolm chance he comes out with the puck.. Then he's trapped.

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03-04-2007, 10:49 AM
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Every organisation has a mindset, a "look", a "system" it applies through out their minor ranks, up to the pros. It is often based on the management team in place, or plain tradition through the organisation.

In Montreal, it's always been, for the most part, a defensive minded system. Even during the great team of the 70's. Therrien tried to apply a 2-man rush, playing a 2-1-2. The problem with Therrien's system was that he added some elements of man-to-man coverage, which created major breakdowns in the neutral and defensive zones.

Claude Julien reinstated the 1-man rush 1-2-2 system, zone coverage. he thought that the team did not have the speed, nor the physical implication to play an agressive forecheck. I agree. While this team "looks" fast, it is not an overly fast team. You can see the difference when Pleks, a fast forward, is on the ice, versus Koivu or Bonk. Plus, we do not have tons of players that like to force the play in the offensive zone. Look at how out players act when there's a dump in to realise that this team's composition is not suited for a 2-man forecheck.

In order to have a 2-man forecheck, you need faster and more agressive wingers. I can't see Kovalev do it.

This organisation, in Hamilton also, plays a 1-2-2, just like the Hens and most teams in the NHL. It is an effective system. The most proven one in the league. Others have been tried, but the 1-2-2 has made its mark over the years.

The problem with the Habs is not the system; it's that some of the veterans do not want to apply it to a tee. Why does a guy like Pleks flourish "despite" the system should answer your question.

Don't blame the system; blame the actors.

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03-04-2007, 10:54 AM
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Oh! and by the way, this is an EXCELLENT thread, much better than some of the doomsday ones I've read here.

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03-04-2007, 02:23 PM
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we've had trouble scoring 5 on 5 all year... we can't play offensive...

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03-04-2007, 03:22 PM
  #24
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Great thread, and superb posts by Baseball Coach and deandebean. Offensive vs Defensive is a false choice. Every team fundamentally plays some defensive system. Even the boring trap can be an offensive powerhouse with the right players and commitment to the system. Like Ottawa under Martin. Even under Murray this year, they only started winning games by playing sound defensive hockey. They turned their season around by winning close, low-scoring one goal games.

Anyway, I'd like to see more of an aggressive, physical style. When the Habs play that way, they do well. But too often as a group they don't finish their checks. They peel off and wave at the puck too much, and then glide into the neutral zone. I don't know if that's coaching. I'm pretty sure Muller & Carbonneau want them to play that aggressive style on the forecheck, but then retreat to the neutral zone once the other team breaks out, and only as a fallback try to trap them there. It seems to me that the players are basically skipping a step.

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03-04-2007, 03:40 PM
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Ross MacLochness
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Step 1 is to get the coach and GM on the same page. Yeah Gainey and Carbo are good friends, but there doesn't seem to be any real communication between them. Our GM doesn't seem to be bringing in players that suit Carbo's system. Well right now I can't even figure out what Carbo's system is. We play a passive 1-2-2, 1 forechecker, the rest skate backwards and let the other team carry the puck at them. The defence back up too much, the the forwards offer no support. I don't know any group of players in the history of hockey that have succeeded playing that way. And we HAVE been playing that way all season. Difference is right now we don't have an all-star goalie saving our ass.

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