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Old
01-04-2008, 01:18 PM
  #26
Nordique
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Vyborny... gee whiz, what happend to you man?
The million dollar question it seems.

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01-04-2008, 02:43 PM
  #27
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Just my opinion but I think scoring has nothing to do with "opening the wallet", lack of talent or line juggling. It comes down to a couple of fundamentals of the game that has been lacking here for a very long time, and GScott touched on it...we have some guys that do not wanna set up and live in front of the net when we have the puck in the offensive zone which creates more chances for scoring and rebounds.

The other is playing out of position! This one drives me crazy. Many times we bunch up and once the puck is in the zone it seems the D-men are either too far behind the blue line or pinching in and leaving to big of a lane for the puck to be moved out.

Lastly it seems we never set up for a break away chance.
I think we should spend a little more time on the basics and scoring chances will certainly follow.

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01-04-2008, 03:14 PM
  #28
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Interesting responses.

It's not surprising to me how Peca got 2 goals last night. Novotny's recent goals were no flukes. Murray's goal was not a mystery. Hainsey's assists on the PP weren't pure luck. Lindstom's goal wasn't pure talent.

When you watch what they do/did and you watch Chimera, Fritsche, Malhotra, Feds, and Vyborny. It's no secret why these guys were or are currently in deep slumps.

The guys in the first group are driving and/or setting up shop in front of the net, getting deflections, getting the puck though from the point, etc. The guys in the second... aren't.. well, at least no consistantly.

I remember a Chimera breakaway, I think it was Nashville, he was driving, took the shot, and instead of continuing to the net he simply pulled up and glided toward the boards. Last night Chimera was rewarded because he got the puck on the net, but if Peca doesn't deflect that, we very likley don't score on that shot.

Chemistry is nice, doing the right thing is better.

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01-04-2008, 03:23 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by cbjNash61 View Post
Just my opinion but I think scoring has nothing to do with "opening the wallet", lack of talent or line juggling. It comes down to a couple of fundamentals of the game that has been lacking here for a very long time, and GScott touched on it...we have some guys that do not wanna set up and live in front of the net when we have the puck in the offensive zone which creates more chances for scoring and rebounds.
As to that....Last time this was brought up, my memory triggered something I thought Hitch had said about how he didn't want players camped in front of the net. He wants them to shoot the puck and then have everyone converge on the net. Cycle, cycle, shoot, converge, in other words. Makes it harder on defenders, but not harder on the goalie.

That philosophy isn't applied to Agnew's department, the PP. But even then, you rarely see it. You also rarely see it done well: we don't have a Holmstrom. I've wished we did for a long time.

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01-04-2008, 03:39 PM
  #30
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As to that....Last time this was brought up, my memory triggered something I thought Hitch had said about how he didn't want players camped in front of the net. He wants them to shoot the puck and then have everyone converge on the net. Cycle, cycle, shoot, converge, in other words. Makes it harder on defenders, but not harder on the goalie.
I would be curious to here that one again. You want to be moving toward the net, however a shot with traffic is usually more effective that a shot without. I would think that you want a combination. Converging seems to make more sense for rebound goals, like Novotny's recent goal following up the shot from Zherdev.

However, last night we had a nice deflection goal from Peca on the Chimera shot (a decent screen as well). Then on his other, he was driving the net and Boll basically put it right on his stick. The defender didn't lift Peca's stick, easy goal.

The one thing in common of all of them is that people were either in front of the goalie or moving towards him.

Either way, it stuff that we've been getting better at recently.

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01-04-2008, 03:51 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by blahblah View Post
I would be curious to here that one again. You want to be moving toward the net, however a shot with traffic is usually more effective that a shot without. I would think that you want a combination. Converging seems to make more sense for rebound goals, like Novotny's recent goal following up the shot from Zherdev.

However, last night we had a nice deflection goal from Peca on the Chimera shot (a decent screen as well). Then on his other, he was driving the net and Boll basically put it right on his stick. The defender didn't lift Peca's stick, easy goal.

The one thing in common of all of them is that people were either in front of the goalie or moving towards him.

Either way, it stuff that we've been getting better at recently.
One of these days, I'll try to hunt it down, mostly because I don't like quoting from memory myself. Regardless, whether it was Hitch's plan or not, it's been an oft-mentioned complaint about their play from we armchair coaches for quite some time.

The deflection goals are promising because they may show Hitch wasn't all talk when he confessed that hard work isn't the only way pucks are going to be put into the net. I take it as a sign that he's willing to change his offensive style--or at least willing to let the players dictate it a bit more. Who knows.

Edit: Well, you need to pay a fee to view archived articles (and not even one fee to view all of them). Blah.


Last edited by Renion: 01-04-2008 at 04:03 PM.
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01-04-2008, 04:02 PM
  #32
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The one thing in common of all of them is that people were either in front of the goalie or moving towards him.

Either way, it stuff that we've been getting better at recently.
I do agree with you blahblah we are getting "better" but I would like to see us be CONSISTENT! Camping in front, cycling players in and out to screen, EFFECTIVELY converging to the net.
Being in the right place at the right time shouldn't be an accident.

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01-04-2008, 05:17 PM
  #33
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Originally Posted by cbjNash61 View Post
I do agree with you blahblah we are getting "better" but I would like to see us be CONSISTENT! Camping in front, cycling players in and out to screen, EFFECTIVELY converging to the net.
Being in the right place at the right time shouldn't be an accident.
Yeah, but that will only ever be effective if your wingers are finding pucks shot from the point or the slot that actually GET THROUGH traffic. Add to this that defenders in the NHL are getting more and more proficient at clearing away loose pucks from the crease AND that the referees are showing less and less tolerance for interfering with the goalie (Well, at least they are showing less tolerance if your name is Boll ) - "camping" isn't as effective as consistent waves of forecheckers driving the net.

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01-04-2008, 06:34 PM
  #34
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I'll go against the grain and place at least some of the "blame" on Hitchcock. He has a real disdain for "taking chances" on offense; some of the players have alluded to as much. It is much easier to "destroy" than "create" in the NHL, and it's safe to say our team is a lot better at destruction than creation.

But all told, I think team's defensive approach is the biggest thing impeding scoring. We saw the same thing with the Sutter-coached Flames a couple years ago; they were an ultra defensive team who were completely reliant on their goalie for success. I don't think their goal differential that year was even better than +20.

However, they finished with like 100 points, so obviously defense itself isn't all that bad. Our problem with the Jackets seems to be that they don't really know how to "switch" from playing defense into offense-mode, but whether that is due to coaching or team age can be debated. Regardless, I think that if Hitch could tweak his "system" to be slightly more offense-oriented, we wouldn't have this problem to begin with.

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01-04-2008, 07:20 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by Feicht View Post
I'll go against the grain and place at least some of the "blame" on Hitchcock. He has a real disdain for "taking chances" on offense; some of the players have alluded to as much. It is much easier to "destroy" than "create" in the NHL, and it's safe to say our team is a lot better at destruction than creation.

But all told, I think team's defensive approach is the biggest thing impeding scoring. We saw the same thing with the Sutter-coached Flames a couple years ago; they were an ultra defensive team who were completely reliant on their goalie for success. I don't think their goal differential that year was even better than +20.

However, they finished with like 100 points, so obviously defense itself isn't all that bad. Our problem with the Jackets seems to be that they don't really know how to "switch" from playing defense into offense-mode, but whether that is due to coaching or team age can be debated. Regardless, I think that if Hitch could tweak his "system" to be slightly more offense-oriented, we wouldn't have this problem to begin with.
Everything about winning hockey in the Western Conference is built from the net on out. In other words, all good offense is born of a good defense ... a hellacious forchecking unit is dependent upon it's defensemen and their transition game. That our scoring problems started with the arrival of Hitchcock is an absurd statement. There is a proper and effective way to play and win hockey games and it starts with defense. Everything else flows from the confidence and desire to beat the opposition in every facet of the game.

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01-04-2008, 07:33 PM
  #36
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Warning, long response but done so with respect to R-2.

Great thread, the duplicate posts early in the thread need to be deleted for easier reading.... that said,

There is no single answer for our scoring woes.... I mentioned several during recent game day threads but I'll try to list the reasons in order of significance:

1. Lack of enough elite all-purpose scorers.... Nash is a one dementional scorer who can be shut down by simply keeping him away from the net. Zherdev is not one dementional but he can be stopped by the trap or attention to stealing the puck off his stick.

2. We are a team over loaded with excellent third line players and not enough first and second line excellent players. This impacts my #1, if we had more elite all purpose scorers teams could not shut down everyone, example: when Peca/Nash/Z all play one of the three will impact the game.

3. Excessive focus on defense.

4. What appears to be non-existent coaching of the "screen" concept for scoring (especially on the PP), you can add to that a lack of effort in deflecting or tipping shots that do get through a screen... Peca does this routinely.

5. Little effort to attack the goalie when he covers the puck, the only guy who does this routinely is Novotny.

6. Relentlessness on a nightly basis.... if they would play as Chelios does (he plays thinking every game will be his last unless he proves his worth) we would beat Nashville and Detroit routinely.

7. Although things are looking up with Russell, Murray, Glencross, Lindstrom and Boll we are yet to prove our "system" can make late round picks NHL players.

8. Veteran players being outplayed by youth are still considered key to the organization.

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01-04-2008, 07:33 PM
  #37
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I have to say I personally think Hitchcock is the best thing that EVER happened to this team. While I'm reserving any comments on Howson, just haven't really paid alot of attention up til recently, but Hitch is the man!

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01-04-2008, 07:43 PM
  #38
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The common misconception is that you need a bunch of flashy danglers who score pretty goals to have a high powered offense. The reality is that the goals like Z sometimes scores are few and far between for even the best players. A big part of a great offense is having guys who can consistenly win the one-on-one battles in the offensive zone and create scoring chances from nothing.

Don't get me wrong, the danglers are nice to have, but ironically they are often the players who are least likely to win the race to the corner for the puck which means more turnovers and broken plays.

Hitch needs to find a way to combine these 2 types of talents to keep the scoring level up.

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01-04-2008, 10:57 PM
  #39
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Everytime I look at scoring stats ... Everyone else's blueliners seems to be outscoring ours by a significant margin. I think Hitch is working on this with his "transition" talk and focus, but eventually he's going to have to *make* our Dmen be more offensively aggressive ... right now they all seem loathe to pinch or jump into the play because they all know if they make the wrong decision and then miss their man ... all hell is going to break loose and likely end up in the back of our net. I don't see how our offense can be much more potent so long as our dmen remain so timid and afraid of making mistakes. Of course, a loong and difficult stretch of 19 games away from home is probably not the best time for Hitch to be telling his D to go create a little "chaos" :sigh:

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01-04-2008, 11:02 PM
  #40
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here is the scoring problem in a nutshell...

Aside from Nash and Zherdev, this team has no other constant scoring threats currently...

Feds is capable...but seems more content to play great defense and mentor.

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01-05-2008, 05:00 AM
  #41
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Originally Posted by Pluckfur View Post
Everything about winning hockey in the Western Conference is built from the net on out. In other words, all good offense is born of a good defense ... a hellacious forchecking unit is dependent upon it's defensemen and their transition game. That our scoring problems started with the arrival of Hitchcock is an absurd statement. There is a proper and effective way to play and win hockey games and it starts with defense. Everything else flows from the confidence and desire to beat the opposition in every facet of the game.
I agree with Feicht. One part of the lack of scoring is offensive talent, but other part is in my opinion the way Hitchcock runs his system. It's really defensive and he wants to keep things 0-0. Because of that, our defense works really well and our wins are usually by just one goal - We try to get into the lead and keeps things settled down.

However, it hurts offense. Because players are required to keep defense in mind so much, our offense can't do things freely and we have very limited amount of good straight attacks leading into good shots.

A good example would be Nash. Hitch has turned his offensive style to a more defensive one. It's a good thing that he helps out in our own zone, but he struggles offensively. Using him on PK isn't something I really would want to see. We have some excellent defensive players and because of that I would want to free Nash from PK and to use him in a more aggressive offensive role.

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01-05-2008, 06:33 AM
  #42
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I agree with Feicht. One part of the lack of scoring is offensive talent, but other part is in my opinion the way Hitchcock runs his system. It's really defensive and he wants to keep things 0-0. Because of that, our defense works really well and our wins are usually by just one goal - We try to get into the lead and keeps things settled down.
Yes, Hitch's systems emphasize TEAM defense. For a team that has so much trouble scoring goals (and this has been a chronic issue with the team that pre dates Hitchcocks tenure here) Hitch needed to improve his whole squad's defensive abilities so to prevent the whole team from running around in circles in their own zone trying to get puck position rather than doing what they should be doing - getting the puck up ice. I think Hitch's theory translates much like the Hippocratic dictum of "First - do no harm." If your club can't score many goals your only option for winning games is to play heady/ heavy hockey inorder to take away the time and space of the opposition and thusly limit their scoring opportunities. [/quote]

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However, it hurts offense. Because players are required to keep defense in mind so much, our offense can't do things freely and we have very limited amount of good straight attacks leading into good shots.
I'm sorry, Handyy, but I'm not clear on your meaning here at all. What do you mean when you say that concentrating on defense prevents our offense from "do things freely ?" What is it you want them to be doing that they are not?

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A good example would be Nash. Hitch has turned his offensive style to a more defensive one. It's a good thing that he helps out in our own zone, but he struggles offensively. Using him on PK isn't something I really would want to see. We have some excellent defensive players and because of that I would want to free Nash from PK and to use him in a more aggressive offensive role.
A more offensive role? I think playing the PK has given Nash a lot of confidence in his game and his role on this team. He should be proud to be an important part of our very successful PK. Honestly now, Nash gets boatloads of ES and PP time in which he has many, many opportunities to score goals - all he has to do is to start doing it. Easy! See?

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01-05-2008, 07:12 AM
  #43
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Originally Posted by MJ--A--N View Post
The common misconception is that you need a bunch of flashy danglers who score pretty goals to have a high powered offense. The reality is that the goals like Z sometimes scores are few and far between for even the best players. A big part of a great offense is having guys who can consistenly win the one-on-one battles in the offensive zone and create scoring chances from nothing.

Don't get me wrong, the danglers are nice to have, but ironically they are often the players who are least likely to win the race to the corner for the puck which means more turnovers and broken plays.

Hitch needs to find a way to combine these 2 types of talents to keep the scoring level up.
Yours in only one of several posts that presume that coveting skill players means those very same players can't do the other things you rightly suggest are important. Iginla, Crosby, Lecavalier, Jokinen, e.g. (a very cursory list at that), are elite scorers who hardly lack the ability to create scoring chances with their physicality or hustle play. Nash, for that matter, falls into this category as well. He is highly-skilled and hardly only a pounder who wreaks havoc. Can he do this and has he done this, with success? Yep. But this team's offensive make-up requires that he be every type of scorer all the time.

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01-05-2008, 08:22 AM
  #44
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Good discussion.

Interesting quote in THN this week about "too much coaching" going on during the games. I forget who said it, but the gist of the quote was, "You got 3 or 4 guys on the bench yelling DEFENSE everytime a player takes the ice. Back in the ol' days with only 1 or 2 coaches on the bench the guys just went out and skated... more open entertaining game."

I think this remark about pressure from the bench fits the current discussion. Seems to me that Hitch's "defense first" strategy is absolutely correct, but it has ALSO had unintended consequences. Namely, that several guys who USED TO score, are playing too tight (Vybes, Chim, Fritsche).

Not that I blame Hitch for this. Like everyone else, I'm sure he's looking forward to some trades to bring in the kind of players who can play his system AND score.

I would also add that it might take more time to see if C/V/F can FIGURE OUT how to play in H's system.

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01-05-2008, 09:32 AM
  #45
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I'm sorry, Handyy, but I'm not clear on your meaning here at all. What do you mean when you say that concentrating on defense prevents our offense from "do things freely ?" What is it you want them to be doing that they are not?
They are in my opinion concentrating too much on the defence. We are not doing a good job in the transition play as we want to be absolute sure about defence first. If we want to be more effective on offense, we need to start thinking it at once when we get the puck. We need to take a little bit of risk. When we head to offense, we are not creative enough as we are forced to be where we need to be defensively if we lose the puck. So I think we concentrate too much on the defence, when we would need to think about offense. That's just how I see our offensive situation right now.

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A more offensive role? I think playing the PK has given Nash a lot of confidence in his game and his role on this team. He should be proud to be an important part of our very successful PK. Honestly now, Nash gets boatloads of ES and PP time in which he has many, many opportunities to score goals - all he has to do is to start doing it. Easy! See?
But let's compare Nash to example Kovalchuk who he tied for Rocket Richard Trophy. Ilya is only there for offense and he is scoring loads of goals. He is the key factor in PP for Atlanta. I'd like to see Nash only in EV or PP situations, as he is now more tired when playing SH as well. He is not like Brind'Amour who can play 60 minutes in a game. Like said, we have excellent defensive forwards who we should play instead of Nash when we are SH. Right now he is not doing too good... At least we should see how he would perform if he would be only for the offense on ice.

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01-05-2008, 10:20 AM
  #46
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A good example would be Nash. Hitch has turned his offensive style to a more defensive one. It's a good thing that he helps out in our own zone, but he struggles offensively. Using him on PK isn't something I really would want to see. We have some excellent defensive players and because of that I would want to free Nash from PK and to use him in a more aggressive offensive role.
Totally agree here. Every time I watch a game I shake my head that Hitch uses Nash on the PK. If there's one thing this team is full of, it's forwards who can play the PK (Peca, Novotny, Malholtra, Chimmer, Feds, and now Murray - PK specialist in Syracuse). Save the truly skilled offensive forwards for the PP and 5-on-5.

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01-05-2008, 11:32 AM
  #47
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They are in my opinion concentrating too much on the defence. We are not doing a good job in the transition play as we want to be absolute sure about defence first. If we want to be more effective on offense, we need to start thinking it at once when we get the puck. We need to take a little bit of risk. When we head to offense, we are not creative enough as we are forced to be where we need to be defensively if we lose the puck. So I think we concentrate too much on the defence, when we would need to think about offense. That's just how I see our offensive situation right now.
But the defense IS responsible for the transition game out of their own zone. The dmen and the forwards both need to be thinking aggression and offense as soon as they gain possession of the puck. You only make your job (scoring goals) so much harder for yourself if you are not playing with controlled aggression on both offense and defense and this goes for every player on the ice. It's not like the opposition will lay down and play possum just let you do whatever "creative" thing comes to mind ... if that were the case there wouldn't be any such thing as a shorthanded breakaway. Our ability to control the flow of the game at both ends of the ice suffers tremendously when we can't be bothered to maintain body position and play a defensively responsible brand of hockey. Playing good D doesn't detract from a teams ability to control play and earn quality scoring chances but rather enhances it, and actually makes it a more likely occurrence.


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But let's compare Nash to example Kovalchuk who he tied for Rocket Richard Trophy. Ilya is only there for offense and he is scoring loads of goals. He is the key factor in PP for Atlanta. I'd like to see Nash only in EV or PP situations, as he is now more tired when playing SH as well. He is not like Brind'Amour who can play 60 minutes in a game. Like said, we have excellent defensive forwards who we should play instead of Nash when we are SH. Right now he is not doing too good... At least we should see how he would perform if he would be only for the offense on ice.
Illya is not only in Atlanta for the offense and scoring goals. If that were the case then Bob Hartley wouldn't have benched Kovalchuk repeatedly through the years (and infact benched him in the last regular season game last year) because of selfishness and sloppy defensive play. I don't care how many goals Kovalchuk scores for the Thrashers ... they aren't going to win any Cups (and not even many playoff games) before Kovalchuk becomes the kind of two-way player he ought to be. Yeah, Kovy scores a lot goals but that doesn't seem to help the Thrashers win any more often than the Jackets.

We have seen how Nash plays when he's not expected to contribute to the defense on this team ... we witnessed season after season of it without any clear benefit to the team. I'm not saying I *have* to see Rick on the PK every game ... what I am saying is that it's been my observation that the added ice time and responsibility has only made Rick a more valuable and effective member of this team.

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01-05-2008, 11:50 AM
  #48
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Folks...I think we've danced all around it here...
It's not really about our 'scoring problems' - it's about winning.
Our scoring is down a bit from last year but, our points against is way down.
(I don't have exact numbers here but, someone quoted above we have 103 goals this year as opposed to 106 last year - and looking at our goalies GAAs)

This has computed to Ws (and points.)

It's a combination of playing good defense AND offense. That's the system. You start by establishing the system. 'This is how we are going to play'.

Next you work with what you have. Some folks won't fit in the system. (Vybe's maybe) Some will adjust. Nasher and Z are each going to have more goals this year than last and are playing much improved D. The balance is coming and improving.

Then, you bring in a couple guys that you know fit in the system. Peca - Hejda - kids from the 'cuse.

Then, when the opportunity is right, we'll get a big name or two that fit in the system.

Then, it's 'Katy bar the door'!!!

I absolutely LOVE the direction we're heading. It will never happen over night. But, we're moving forward. In Hitch I trust!!

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01-05-2008, 12:05 PM
  #49
IgnatiusReilly
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Originally Posted by Pluckfur View Post
We have seen how Nash plays when he's not expected to contribute to the defense on this team ... we witnessed season after season of it without any clear benefit to the team. I'm not saying I *have* to see Rick on the PK every game ... what I am saying is that it's been my observation that the added ice time and responsibility has only made Rick a more valuable and effective member of this team.
Regardless of what it does for Nash's confidence, I think that having Rick out there on the PK is a huge advantage for our PK unit. Not because he is a defensive stud, but the fact that he can keep the other teams PP unit "honest." The other teams pointmen are not going to be able to pinch in as much as they would like, because it could easily result in an odd-man rush the other way (although we haven't seen it as much this season as compared to last) and relying on shots from the perimeter.

If Nash being a little bit more tired at the end of the game is the trade-off for having a better PK, I'll take it. Hell, if anything, I would like to see Zherdev out there more in SH situations, because I think he could have as good or better results than Nash.

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01-05-2008, 12:18 PM
  #50
Pluckfur
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Originally Posted by IgnatiusReilly View Post
Regardless of what it does for Nash's confidence, I think that having Rick out there on the PK is a huge advantage for our PK unit. Not because he is a defensive stud, but the fact that he can keep the other teams PP unit "honest." The other teams pointmen are not going to be able to pinch in as much as they would like, because it could easily result in an odd-man rush the other way (although we haven't seen it as much this season as compared to last) and relying on shots from the perimeter.

If Nash being a little bit more tired at the end of the game is the trade-off for having a better PK, I'll take it. Hell, if anything, I would like to see Zherdev out there more in SH situations, because I think he could have as good or better results than Nash.
Can't disagree with any of that, IR. I too would like to see what Z could do on the PK - he seems to rise to the occasion whenever he's asked to do anything new.

I think there was a stretch in the second 15 games or so where Rick was probably being used too much on the PK due to the injuries to Peca, Malhotra, Vyborny, Novotny and that this coupled with his infected tonsil remains (eew) was just too much for him to handle.

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