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Special Teams 2008-09


franck5890

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think the PK will do better this year because Carbo now has the confidence to use more of his skill players to kill penalties, thereby preventing a smaller group of PKers from getting tired during games when we spend lots of time in the box. Kovalev, Plekanec, Saku, Higgins, Begin, Lang, Kostopoulos, Lapierre, Chipchura: that's a nice stable of forwards to choose from.

My hope is that we're eventually able to adopt a Babcockian system where your best players are also your best penalty-killers, because it keeps them focused and in the game, and if done right (e.g. Datsyuk and Zetterberg), it doesn't hamper offensive output one bit.

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I think we will potentially do worse on the PK this year. With the puck moving into the attacking zone for the faceoff, PK faceoff wins will be crucial, and our strongest centers only average %60 on a good night.

Lang is the only element with the potential to improve on last year's numbers and I don't think it will be enough to offset the rule change.

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I'm still astonished that Doug Jarvis, one of the best faceoff men of his day, seemingly can't teach any of our young players how to win a draw on a regular basis.

It's one thing to teach all the tricks and it's another thing if the said centermen possess the hand-eye coordination to put into effect what they were taught hence the expression "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"

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It's one thing to teach all the tricks and it's another thing if the said centermen possess the hand-eye coordination to put into effect what they were taught hence the expression "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"

True enough. I guess I'm just frustrated that Jarvis's prowess in that area hasn't translated into any tangible gains for the team in terms of faceoff percentage.

As for Ricochet's point, I doubt the rule change will have much of an impact. It's basically only one faceoff per power play that's affected. It might burn us occasionally, but I can't see it being a significant problem unless our PKing as a whole goes down the tubes.

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It's one thing to teach all the tricks and it's another thing if the said centermen possess the hand-eye coordination to put into effect what they were taught hence the expression "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"

Who knows. It's possible either there is a problem with scouting or with luck where we keep drafting centers incapable of winning faceoffs. But I can see why when all 3 young centers here have faceoff problems, it may come back to coaching. It may just be a coincidence, it may not, I really don't know.

Fortunately Lang will be a nice addition in that area, and Koivu is always solid. I really wish Plekanek could pick it up, because we could have a bad situation come playoff time. That is, let's assume by the end of the year Plekanek's line isn't overtaken as the #1 line by Koivu's line (if the current lines even stay together all season). In a clutch situation, you want the best line, but you also need to win the draw. Yet you don't want to disrupt the chemistry by just throwing Koivu onto the Kovalev line either.

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I think the PK will improve with the additions of Lang and Tanguay. Lang is pretty good on faceoffs and I've heard Tanguay is a pretty good penalty killer.

It's hard to say if the powerplay will repeat last years performance or not. Everything points to it being as good if not better, but powerplays can be very streaky. A lot will depend on how well the top guys on the powerplay play. If things go well at the start of the season and they build some confidence then things will probably go well, but if they have trouble scoring on the PP like in the playoffs last year and it builds to the point where the players have no confidence then it might not go as well as last year. The key players to get going I think are Kovalev, Markov, Koivu, and Tanguay. If these guys get some confidence right off the bat then it will help the rest of the players on the team.

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True enough. I guess I'm just frustrated that Jarvis's prowess in that area hasn't translated into any tangible gains for the team in terms of faceoff percentage.

As for Ricochet's point, I doubt the rule change will have much of an impact. It's basically only one faceoff per power play that's affected. It might burn us occasionally, but I can't see it being a significant problem unless our PKing as a whole goes down the tubes.

I'm just as frustrated as you are in this department. Hopefully with the addition of Lang we'll be significantly better and maybe Lang can teach the youngsters a few tricks himself.

Who knows. It's possible either there is a problem with scouting or with luck where we keep drafting centers incapable of winning faceoffs. But I can see why when all 3 young centers here have faceoff problems, it may come back to coaching. It may just be a coincidence, it may not, I really don't know.

Fortunately Lang will be a nice addition in that area, and Koivu is always solid. I really wish Plekanek could pick it up, because we could have a bad situation come playoff time. That is, let's assume by the end of the year Plekanek's line isn't overtaken as the #1 line by Koivu's line (if the current lines even stay together all season). In a clutch situation, you want the best line, but you also need to win the draw. Yet you don't want to disrupt the chemistry by just throwing Koivu onto the Kovalev line either.

That is a very good point about team chemistry. I hate the fact that we have to break up the top line in critical situations because Pleks can't be trusted to win the draw. Hopefully it changes this year. Winning faceoffs on the powerplay or in the final minutes of close games can be the difference between two points or no points.

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True enough. I guess I'm just frustrated that Jarvis's prowess in that area hasn't translated into any tangible gains for the team in terms of faceoff percentage.

As for Ricochet's point, I doubt the rule change will have much of an impact. It's basically only one face-off per power play that's affected. It might burn us occasionally, but I can't see it being a significant problem unless our PKing as a whole goes down the tubes.

I've come to feel (understand?) that face-off prowess is generated by the time you get to the NHL; it's more an inbred skill than a taught one. The face-off % leaders every season are the same, year-in-an-out. For example, if we are waiting for Chipchura to develop into a 50% plus face-off centreman, we could be waiting a very long time (like, forever).

I can kick a soccer ball fairly accurately, but put me at the plate and underhand some pitches to me and I have a tough time just connecting, never mind knocking it out of the park. A hand-eye thing as was said.

One of the many reasons BG went hard after Sundin was for his face-off skill. Didn't work out. Lang's not bad, but certainly not as good (in any area of the game).

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I've come to feel (understand?) that face-off prowess is generated by the time you get to the NHL; it's more an inbred skill than a taught one. The face-off % leaders every season are the same, year-in-an-out. For example, if we are waiting for Chipchura to develop into a 50% plus face-off centreman, we could be waiting a very long time (like, forever).

I can kick a soccer ball fairly accurately, but put me at the plate and underhand some pitches to me and I have a tough time just connecting, never mind knocking it out of the park. A hand-eye thing as was said.

One of the many reasons BG went hard after Sundin was for his face-off skill. Didn't work out. Lang's not bad, but certainly not as good (in any area of the game).

Then why do we keep drafting centers who can't win faceoffs? Graeme's right: either it's a coaching issue or a scouting issue. Somewhere in our system, there has to be at least one center who's consistently above 50% on faceoffs, and if not, then Timmins needs to get busy.

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Okay, I'll eat crow now and admit the new PP format should be fine with time and practice. Though I do notice they're using different looks. We had Hamrlik and Kovalev on the point, then Markov and Sergei. I like both those configurations as it allows Saku and Tanguay to control plays on the half wall with Lang and Latendresse as the cross-side finishers.

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As for Ricochet's point, I doubt the rule change will have much of an impact. It's basically only one faceoff per power play that's affected. It might burn us occasionally, but I can't see it being a significant problem unless our PKing as a whole goes down the tubes.
well, I think it could be a bigger factor than you think...

having the faceoff in the attacking zone (while of course having no affect if the faceoff would have been there under the old rule as well) is a significant advantage over having the faceoff in the neutral zone (or in the rare occasions, in the defending zone): the main thing is if the PP wins the draw they don't have to gain the blueline before setting up, saving them probably 10-15 seconds of 1st PP unit time... (in the Detroit-Toronto season opener, Mayers shot the puck over the glass with 30 secs left in the game, the Wings won the draw in the Leafs end and got a good scoring chance... and the subsequent draw was also in the Leafs end... if the faceoff was in the neutral zone, the Wings may have had only one scoring chance assuming they were even able to gain the zone with their PP)... and even if the PK wins the draw, it's a lot further to get it out of the zone than if the puck was just drawn back across the blueline from a neutral zone faceoff...

also, it's the play during the delayed call, since teams know they will have the faceoff in the attacking zone, barring an icing call, they may take bigger risks or try to score on the rush more with the stretch pass instead of waiting for the extra attacker to get on the ice and setting up in the attacking zone...

a team with excellent faceoff men might even use the new rule like this: if it's very late in the 3rd and you're trailing by a goal, and a penalty occurs in your defensive zone, turn the puck over immediately instead of trying to score on the delayed call... you gain the length of the rink and no time runs off the clock...

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Alright, our PK is looking great, and the PP stood in stark contract to the egg we laid in Buffalo. I am happy with our special teams play thus far. We are looking good out there and need to have another good game against Philadelphia. They won't be easy to run over, like the Leafs, and will be much better in face-offs against us. We shall see how we measure up to them.

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The PP looked good, but the strange though is it didn't come from the Kovy unit. It came mostly from the Koivu/Tanguay unit. Last year I don't think the Koivu unit ever dominated a game via the powerplay. A lot of the PP was worked through Kovalev. Obviously Tanguay adds another dimension as he seems to be as good as Kovalev at working the left and right boards. I do notice they do it differently though. Kovy likes to slow the play down and wait for something to open up. Tanguay likes to move the puck quickly before the other team can react. I'm hoping the Kovy unit gets a PP goal soon just to boost their confidence a little. The Tanguay unit is looking really good though.

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The PP looked good, but the strange though is it didn't come from the Kovy unit. It came mostly from the Koivu/Tanguay unit. Last year I don't think the Koivu unit ever dominated a game via the powerplay. A lot of the PP was worked through Kovalev. Obviously Tanguay adds another dimension as he seems to be as good as Kovalev at working the left and right boards. I do notice they do it differently though. Kovy likes to slow the play down and wait for something to open up. Tanguay likes to move the puck quickly before the other team can react. I'm hoping the Kovy unit gets a PP goal soon just to boost their confidence a little. The Tanguay unit is looking really good though.

I was just coming here to post something similar. It's scary that our power play was so effective last night without Kovalev even being on the ice. Benoit Brunet commented quite rightly that what makes the Saku unit so lethal is the fact that all five men (Saku, Lang, Sergei, Markov, and Latendresse) are excellent passers, but all five can also score. The other thing is that they scored goals by getting traffic in front of Toskala, crowding the crease and paying the price in the blue paint. That's something we lacked at times last season and it's wonderful to see so early in the current season.

Truth be told, the passing sequence leading up to Sergei's goal was some of the best puck-handling I've ever seen from a contemporary Canadiens unit. Crisp, tape-to-tape passes (no-look, feathered, hard, whatever), great fakes that turned seamlessly into passes, plenty of skating to create the overload matchups and get the shooter some open ice, and excellent finish. Honestly, it was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters.

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I was just coming here to post something similar. It's scary that our power play was so effective last night without Kovalev even being on the ice. Benoit Brunet commented quite rightly that what makes the Saku unit so lethal is the fact that all five men (Saku, Lang, Sergei, Markov, and Latendresse) are excellent passers, but all five can also score. The other thing is that they scored goals by getting traffic in front of Toskala, crowding the crease and paying the price in the blue paint. That's something we lacked at times last season and it's wonderful to see so early in the current season.

Truth be told, the passing sequence leading up to Sergei's goal was some of the best puck-handling I've ever seen from a contemporary Canadiens unit. Crisp, tape-to-tape passes (no-look, feathered, hard, whatever), great fakes that turned seamlessly into passes, plenty of skating to create the overload matchups and get the shooter some open ice, and excellent finish. Honestly, it was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters.

The Koivu unit was moving the puck very quickly. Sometimes they had Lang and sometimes they had Lats out there. I think you will see two very different PP units out there this season. You wil see the Tanguay unit which will move the puck around quickly and get a shot. Kovy likes to take his time on the boards and wait for an opening so you will probably see a little less puck movement on that unit. Hopefully they will both be effective.

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Truth be told, the passing sequence leading up to Sergei's goal was some of the best puck-handling I've ever seen from a contemporary Canadiens unit. Crisp, tape-to-tape passes (no-look, feathered, hard, whatever), great fakes that turned seamlessly into passes, plenty of skating to create the overload matchups and get the shooter some open ice, and excellent finish. Honestly, it was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters.
As the HNIC commentators said, there should have been 4 assists given out on the goal. :D

P.S. Is the HNIC broadcast ever more enjoyable without Bob Cole and Harry Neale. Wow.

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I'm surprised no one is commenting on the "new look" powerplay. Very interesting formations out there. Once they gained the zone, a lot of the time they seemed to "shift around" and play with one point man.

Kick it low, pass it out, send it cross ice. The puck movement was unbelievable. You don't see the point man going to the guy in the slot on very many teams. Very shifty new look.

Could be risky having only one guy out there on the point, but was it ever effective last night and SUPER exciting to watch.

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P.S. Is the HNIC broadcast ever more enjoyable without Bob Cole and Harry Neale. Wow.

Truth. I still prefer RDS -- which is also much improved with Brunet in for Pedneault -- but Hughson and Simpson are a very serviceable announcing tandem.

I'm surprised no one is commenting on the "new look" powerplay. Very interesting formations out there. Once they gained the zone, a lot of the time they seemed to "shift around" and play with one point man.

Kick it low, pass it out, send it cross ice. The puck movement was unbelievable. You don't see the point man going to the guy in the slot on very many teams. Very shifty new look.

Could be risky having only one guy out there on the point, but was it ever effective last night and SUPER exciting to watch.

Yeah, one point guy is a risk if we lose contain, but the flip side is that PKers who overplay the point leave the door open for a 3-on-2 down low, and with our precision passing, they will get burned more often than not.

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Truth. I still prefer RDS -- which is also much improved with Brunet in for Pedneault -- but Hughson and Simpson are a very serviceable announcing tandem.

Yeah, one point guy is a risk if we lose contain, but the flip side is that PKers who overplay the point leave the door open for a 3-on-2 down low, and with our precision passing, they will get burned more often than not.

Oh definitely, and with that many men down low, it makes it tough for opposing teams to cheat a guy up high to pressure that point man and, as you said, if they do cheat up high we'll likely burn them down low.

Like I said, could be risky, but for us it seems to be very effective. Not every team could pull it off. Actually, I'm not sure if any other teams ever try it. Anyone know of another team using this setup?

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