But seriously I like Sislo. Two years ago, I think it was an absolute shootoff of a game between Boston College and UNH. 8-6 or some baseball **** like that. He scores a goal and gets up into the glass and trolls the crowd. I like ****** who do **** like that
Lou's love with the NCAA is partly why this team is so soft...
Need moar Saskatchewan boys.
"Devils just trap trap trap trap. Sure it's a modified trap different than LeMaire's but even with two forecheckers they have the defense sitting back with the third guy clogging up the middle of the ice." - explanation of how the Devils still employ the trap
Lou's love with the NCAA is partly why this team is so soft...
Need moar Saskatchewan boys.
I object to this entire line of questioning...oh wait...
Well, I disagree with the premise. I think this team has a philosophy and the result is that they are minimally penalized. If you heard the opponents during the streak, I think you would agree that they all felt the Devils were NOT EASY to play against. You don't have to run people to be challenging. NSH, CHI, DET, NJD are 2 through 5 on PIM/G and they seem to have done pretty well. In fact, the top 13 teams look a lot better than the bottom 13.
What's happening now is that the season is winding down and this team is old. Kovy is floating, the young folk look like they've hit a will (Fayne, Salmela, Zhark) except Josefson. Tedenby looks great and out of control at different points in time and the goalies are keeping this team competitive.
I DO AGREE that they need more people following up on rebounds. I have noticed two big differences from the elite teams:
1. The elite teams are able to control low, play high and get a shot on net from their D MUCH better than the Devils.
2. The elite teams are able to get shots off on the rush much better than the Devils and I don't think I've seen a single "Gionta-to-Darche" like goal this year. But I think the Habs and Flyers run that play like clockwork.
I think Clarkson, when he's ON, gets a lots of that going and Zubrus, when he's not falling can do it too.
I am not equating softness with the perimeter play style and lack of going to the net through the slot. I am equating softness with overall lack of grit and willingness to get your nose dirty by going into the tough places to play - in the paint so to speak. One is the system and the other the player. The perimeter style system is partially to blame but when you don't have they types of physical players needed to drive the net in a different system then you have to play the cards dealt. Chicken and Egg scenario.
We have guys 6'5" that won't throw a hit when they should and peeling off rather than throwing the body to finish a check on the boards. Wearing down the opposition with and extra check or two every shift is how you get them agitated, taking stupid retaliation penalties and overall just tired.
I'm not sure how many people have played competitive hockey on here but if you have you know full well how demoralizing it is to get knocked on your butt, sent flying to the corner and have to pick yourself up and get back in to the play after repeatedly getting the business end of the play. It sucks... and when the Devils don't make it tough for the opposition by doing so - they are making it physically and mentally all that much easier.
When you don't play physical, you make it a technical execution game. We've seen how well the Devils fare when trying to out-score the opponent on pure execution (*see powerplay). Defense first is one thing, but soft defense and trying not to make any mistakes at the expense of playing physical is not going to get you far at all. I want more grit and overall nastiness. You can still play clean and penalty free while checking the opponent and making them go wide rather than split the defense going to the net (and then bumping Marty into the back of the net).
My reference to Saskatchewan boys was purely a nod to how physical the boys up in those parts tend to be in their approach to the game as well as Canadian junior hockey compared to NCAA hockey which won't even let you drop the gloves without automatic suspension. Are all NCAA players soft? Certainly not, but on the average they are not nearly as gritty in their approach to the game as they are not required to walk the talk like their counterparts in Canadian juniors.
You don't need a roster of fighters to play tough, and right now our "tough guys" are pathetic at their role. Pelley plays tougher than Mair and Steckel combined and he has nowhere the size advantage they do. Zubrus and Clarkson are occasionally tough in their style of play, but even then it's fleeting in duration and not consistent game to game. I love it when they are, but rarely does the team follow in suite.
It's sad we won't get to see Zubrus in beast mode - it usually kicks in for the playoffs and he plays like Animal from the muppets breaking loose from his chain. It's fun to see - I just wish we saw more of it more often.
I am not equating softness with the perimeter play style...It's sad we won't get to see Zubrus in beast mode - it usually kicks in for the playoffs and he plays like Animal from the muppets breaking loose from his chain. It's fun to see - I just wish we saw more of it more often.
I will miss Devils playoff hockey too; well aside from the part where you stare and wonder why they are getting pinned in their zone and eliminated in 4 games in the first round...
So, I did a quick correlation analysis on toughness statistics:
- Pts. v. Hits (weak positive correlation but definite upward trend)
- Pts. v. Blocks (weak negative correlation, but "stronger" than hits)
- Pts. v. Faceoffs (strongest positive correlation; 18% r-squared)
- Pts. v. Major penalites (weak negative)
- Pts. v. PIM /G (weak negative)
Perhaps the Devils could stand to finish their checks a bit more, but when I think about the players, Parise, Zajac, Rolston, Elias, Zharkov, Boo, Josefson, Kovy are all aggressive STICK/SKATING forecheckers (ok, Kovy is more of a visual forechecker) but their style really gives them limited chances to finish a check. Mair, Pelley, Clarkson (sometimes) and Zubrus (sometimes) definitely finish checks.
RG is right. We've become a perimeter team and it's really, really frustrating.
As per Sislo - he's not afraid of dirty areas, but he's not big enough to carry an NHL defenseman to the net.
Palmieri can hopefully develop more of a mean streak in the offensive zone. He throws awesome hits and uses his strength pretty well, but I've yet to see him really lean into a guy and use that frame when he has the puck.
Hopefully as he gets more comfortable we can see him crash the net more. And use that big shot.
it's a team issue - from drafting to system to execution. Having the mindset that you are going to punish the other team for coming into your crease, punish them in their zone if they don't move the puck quickly by hitting on the forecheck, punish them coming over your blue line by stepping up and throwing the body or heaven forbid use a hip check. Separating the man from the puck rather than just clogging the passing lanes and hoping you force a turnover.
Stats really don't tell the story I'm talking about because they award a hit for little stuff. Aggressive forechecking is not what I'm trying to describe really - but it does require that to an extent.
I'm talking about not just backing into your zone swatting at the puck with your stick and actually forcing the puck carrier to make a decision before he wants to and then finishing the check when he does. Bruising hits in the corners when their D-man fumbles around picking up the puck or hesitates. Stepping into the neutral zone passing lane and knocking the puck carrier off his feet.
Sislo was the best player on one of the NCAA's best teams. UNH is a constantly underrated hockey school, but year after year they hang it with the big boys. I've got high hopes for Sislo -he's got a scoring touch.
I'm talking about not just backing into your zone swatting at the puck with your stick and actually forcing the puck carrier to make a decision before he wants to and then finishing the check when he does.
It's infuriating when they have all the time in the world to force the puck carrier to cough up the puck, but they don't play aggressive enough and so the trailer can get into position to take a dangerous shot if the puck carrier can complete the pass. It shouldn't get to that point. The worst part of this is that it gives the point-men time to set up, too, so if the pass to the trailer coming into the slot is off the mark, 9 times out of 10 when our defense tries to clear, the point-men keep it in and we get pinned in our zone.
I see Greene do this ALL the time, and I think it's just attributed to not having really great on-ice awareness; he's worried that the trailer is coming up faster than he actually is and doesn't want to make a mistake. Part of that could be that he doesn't trust his defense partner to cover for him when he puts himself out of position after making the check, too.