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If I Were Coach


GreekHockeyCoach

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This past week I've exchanged pm's with Moneypuck over some questions he asked me about systems. Which gave me the idea for this thread. We have an If I were GM thread so I figure why not have an If I were Coach thread.

Therefore, if I were Coach of the Montreal Canadiens I'd look to improve on the following:

Defensive zone coverage: I've noticed this year that JM is playing his wingers really low in our zone. I figure the reason for this might be that he realizes that our defensemen are not that strong and wants the wingers to help down low. The problem that this creates is that the points are left unattended thus explaining why we're being outshot most games. While point shots nowadays rarely beat NHL goalies, if they can see the puck, there is always the element of luck if the shot is unintentionally redirected and somehow finds its way to the back of the net.

My suggestion: I would like to see our wingers cover the points better. This would entail our defensemen and forwards to work harder. While the winger would be allowed to pinch and help our defensemen, I would like the weak side winger to slide over to the strong side point and defend. Basically, use an F1, F2 and F3 scenario in the defensive zone. Therefore, F1 would be the player helping our defensemen, F2 would drop low and cut the passing lane in the low slot and F3 would cover the strong side point. If the puck were reversed and on its way to the weak side point, F3 would go the weak side point, F2 would replace F1 low in the slot and F1 would replace F2. Sounds complicated, it's not. Draw it up on a board and check it out.

Breakouts: Our breakouts last year were dependent mostly on the stretch pass where the weak side winger would basically cherry pick. This year we were told that we'd see shorter passes breaking out of our zone. I've only seen it a couple of times, the rest of the time we're either chipping it out and turning it over or attempting longer passes than we should. Ever notice that our defensemen are too eager and want to get rid of the puck too soon once they're pressured. They'll usually chip it high off the boards and the puck usually winds up on the opposing defenseman's stick.

My suggestion: When we gain possession of the puck, I'd like to use different options. If our defensemen recover the puck, I'd like to see them hang on to the puck a second longer than they do, pass it to the closest forward or defenseman. What I'd like to see them do is get the puck to the closest breaking out forward who instead of trying to pass the puck quickly to the next forward would skate the puck to open ice (usually the middle) before the breakout even starts. Therefore, if D1 were to recover the pass and pass it to F1, then I'd like to see F1 skate it for 3 or 4 strides to open ice in our zone before making a pass. This way he'll draw a few of the other team's forwards thus leaving the other forwards more open. Then when F2 who is skating with him gets that pass, F3 is already at the far blueline for a shorter stretch pass.

Forechecking: What I've noticed so far is that we're using an aggressive 1-2-2 forecheck. Meaning, F1 is pressuring the puck carrier while F2 is supporting and F3 is cutting the passing lane. D1 is holding the strong side blue line while D2 is covering the neutral zone. I wouldn't change this because it seems to be effective with our current players. They are fast and aggressive and capable of playing this type of forechecking system whereas our last year's players would not be able to adapt such a system. Downside to this type of forecheck, there are the occasional odd man rushes if the forechecking doesn't create a turnover.

It's late and these our my thoughts so far. In the following days I will post my thoughts on powerplays, penalty kills and even strength offensive systems that I think would fit this team.

Feel free to post your thoughts on systems that you think might make this team better or what changes you'd like to make to the Habs if you were the Coach.

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Well I won't be contributing much to this thread in the form of X's and O's but I most definitely like the idea of the thread. Hockey is a fast moving game and although I try to figure out "systems" I usually don't succeed. I see this thread as being more of a teaching tool for me which I'll really enjoy.

Thanks for starting this thread. There appears to be too much knowledge in this forum for this thread not to exist.

:)

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Well I won't be contributing much to this thread in the form of X's and O's but I most definitely like the idea of the thread. Hockey is a fast moving game and although I try to figure out "systems" I usually don't succeed. I see this thread as being more of a teaching tool for me which I'll really enjoy.

Thanks for starting this thread. There appears to be too much knowledge in this forum for this thread not to exist.

:)

+1

This will help a lot of people understand systems better (myself included) and in effect help identify player qualities/types that are missing to be successful.

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Great thread idea, Coach, and a very nice post to start. I hadn't really thought about any of these issues except the forecheck, which I kind of half-noticed was more aggressive than last year's forecheck. I agree with you whole-heartedly about our D-men getting happy feet with the puck. Instead of taking that extra half-second to make a short crisp pass to a forward, they just dump it over the boards, giving it right back to the other team. If Martin wants us to be about puck possession, this absolutely has to change.

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I'm not a coach but for the life of me on that 5 - 3 why were we so persistent in blasting from the outside? It just looked like that was Martin's plan because that's all they did. That 5 - 3 left me perplexed. Geez, we can do backdoor play 5 - 4 but not 5 - 3?

I wish so badly that the guys blasting it had of stopped and picked where they were shooting. The Sens let our D literally move in to the hash marks for those cannons. Still cant believe we didnt score on that epidemic.

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Very difficult in a text based fan forum. However, I would suggest trying to discuss each goal to understand if the JM system is broken or if the players are not in the correct position on the ice.

In football they talk about the RED zone. In hockey there is an area called the slot, breakaway, PP, and odd man rush. Far too many wide open players in the slot. Result. Goals against Montreal. Far too many odd man rushes, result in goals. Far too many breakaway goals, result in goals. Far too many PP chances and for fun let's go down two men just to increase the chance of getting scored on.

Montreal is doing some good things during the first two home games. But we have zero wins to show. I really don't think it is possible to have a real discussion about x and o. But if it is possible then my suggestion is to ask a coach who is a fan to break down each of the goals from tonight. Who was on the ice, what system is JM using for defence, and who made the mistakes besides the Price bashers that put all of the blame on Price. I might have rose coloured glasses but in the last two games I don't think Price was to blame for any of the goals hence the X and O's should explain why. Although PP goals are harder to find fault as by it's nature the PP is the fault. And lastly we should all blame Markov as the coach cannot put his X on the diagram. You know the X that says I will block the pass, steal the puck, make the smart pass, and have an active stick since I am a star player that makes everyone much much better. And the sad truth is that Markov does make our team a lot better based on last season ending without Markov and every game so far without Markov.

This could be a long season. I wonder if X and O's can diagram that?

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Very difficult in a text based fan forum. However, I would suggest trying to discuss each goal to understand if the JM system is broken or if the players are not in the correct position on the ice.

In football they talk about the RED zone. In hockey there is an area called the slot, breakaway, PP, and odd man rush. Far too many wide open players in the slot. Result. Goals against Montreal. Far too many odd man rushes, result in goals. Far too many breakaway goals, result in goals. Far too many PP chances and for fun let's go down two men just to increase the chance of getting scored on.

Montreal is doing some good things during the first two home games. But we have zero wins to show. I really don't think it is possible to have a real discussion about x and o. But if it is possible then my suggestion is to ask a coach who is a fan to break down each of the goals from tonight. Who was on the ice, what system is JM using for defence, and who made the mistakes besides the Price bashers that put all of the blame on Price. I might have rose coloured glasses but in the last two games I don't think Price was to blame for any of the goals hence the X and O's should explain why. Although PP goals are harder to find fault as by it's nature the PP is the fault. And lastly we should all blame Markov as the coach cannot put his X on the diagram. You know the X that says I will block the pass, steal the puck, make the smart pass, and have an active stick since I am a star player that makes everyone much much better. And the sad truth is that Markov does make our team a lot better based on last season ending without Markov and every game so far without Markov.

This could be a long season. I wonder if X and O's can diagram that?

i agree poor defense or no defense on every one of the last 6 goals

Price could of made some of the saves but you cannot expect him too

Goalies get on streaks to sometimes you need the easy oppurtunities to get you on a roll

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Very difficult in a text based fan forum. However, I would suggest trying to discuss each goal to understand if the JM system is broken or if the players are not in the correct position on the ice.

In football they talk about the RED zone. In hockey there is an area called the slot, breakaway, PP, and odd man rush. Far too many wide open players in the slot. Result. Goals against Montreal. Far too many odd man rushes, result in goals. Far too many breakaway goals, result in goals. Far too many PP chances and for fun let's go down two men just to increase the chance of getting scored on.

Montreal is doing some good things during the first two home games. But we have zero wins to show. I really don't think it is possible to have a real discussion about x and o. But if it is possible then my suggestion is to ask a coach who is a fan to break down each of the goals from tonight. Who was on the ice, what system is JM using for defence, and who made the mistakes besides the Price bashers that put all of the blame on Price. I might have rose coloured glasses but in the last two games I don't think Price was to blame for any of the goals hence the X and O's should explain why. Although PP goals are harder to find fault as by it's nature the PP is the fault. And lastly we should all blame Markov as the coach cannot put his X on the diagram. You know the X that says I will block the pass, steal the puck, make the smart pass, and have an active stick since I am a star player that makes everyone much much better. And the sad truth is that Markov does make our team a lot better based on last season ending without Markov and every game so far without Markov.

This could be a long season. I wonder if X and O's can diagram that?

It will be interesting to see how the Marky situation plays out this year. The guys have no choice but to learn a system and style that they can have some success with while Markov is gone. By the time he is back it should be a detrimental addition to this club and he should be coming into a very strategically sound dressing room.

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Great idea for a thread, there a million gerant d'estrade in Montreal, let's take a crack at this shall we.

5 moves I would make as coach:

#1 - Tell BGL that he needs to fight once per game or throw at least 5 hits to keep his spot in the lineup.

#2 - Play Jaroslav Halak more often at home (2 out of 4 games), he seems to play well and when Price lets one in the energy in the building is sunk.

#3 - Show the team a video of how the Senators defended our 5 on 3 and compare it to how we did theirs. The shot blocking and collapsing in front of the goal was an amazing display of commitment to winning. Guys like 6'7" Gill need to block more shots.

#4 - Ask the GM to call up MAB and Sergei Kostitsyn. Immediately have Sergei in the office and give him explicit instructions on how he needs to play to remain with the team as a Top 6 forward, then I would room him with Mike Cammalleri or Brian Gionta on the road.

#5 - Stress to the team that while puck possession remains important, covering the high slot is far more valuable. Sometimes you need to fling it out of the zone instead of throwing a side to side suicide pass.

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If I was coach I would have worked on the following today:

1. Board work - the puck squirted out from the right boards too often.

2. High slot coverage - when the puck squirted out that's where it went - there and then into our net.

3. Goalies would have worked on shots from the high slot. I'm not blaming price but I think it was only their second shot = first goal. We could have used a big save.

4. 5 - 3 and 3 - 5. LOL

5. Shooting da puck into the net?

But I'm not coach and there are probably more pressing issues. :huh: I'll stick to my day job.

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If I were the coach, Mr. Price would have a seat in the press box for the next 4 games, so he could watch and learn something, like not falling on his knees as soon as the puck crosses the red line.

Call up Sanford for 4 games, give him 2 starts and 2 to Halak ;)

I would call Sergi back up, and Pacths and Doggystinky would be in hamilton (for a long time) <_<

I'd smack BG in the head everytime Gill coughed one up and ask him what on earth was he thinking. :blink:

and i would keep the 3rd and 4th liners on the lines they belong on, and the top 6 together. :D

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I want people to remember you when I finally do get around to banning you :lol:

How thoughtful of you.

Well since you already did the deed, I'll bring one of the main topics of our discussion to the forefront for those to analyze:

Here is my question,

How would a teams system affect a players ability to prevent goals one player to the other. When I say "defense" I don't mean holding at the blueline, or active stick or batting along the boards I mean in general when that player is on the ice, whats the chance of a goal being scored. So this isn't PKing, this isn't defensive zone coverage its just plain player X goes over the boards in a 2-2 game in the 2nd and as a coach you know the player has a better chance of not having a goal scored upon you than the alternatives.

So it could be through forechecking and holding the puck too, as well as good backchecking and hockey sense in the neutral zone and his own zone.

What I'm trying to see is, would a player make a pinch, a bad decision or different positioning that may result in more or less goals against depending on the system hes in? And if so how great is the effect?

Also question numero dos, what qualities in a player do you think makes them better defensively?

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How thoughtful of you.

Well since you already did the deed, I'll bring one of the main topics of our discussion to the forefront for those to analyze:

Here is my question,

How would a teams system affect a players ability to prevent goals one player to the other. When I say "defense" I don't mean holding at the blueline, or active stick or batting along the boards I mean in general when that player is on the ice, whats the chance of a goal being scored. So this isn't PKing, this isn't defensive zone coverage its just plain player X goes over the boards in a 2-2 game in the 2nd and as a coach you know the player has a better chance of not having a goal scored upon you than the alternatives.

So it could be through forechecking and holding the puck too, as well as good backchecking and hockey sense in the neutral zone and his own zone.

What I'm trying to see is, would a player make a pinch, a bad decision or different positioning that may result in more or less goals against depending on the system hes in? And if so how great is the effect?

Also question numero dos, what qualities in a player do you think makes them better defensively?

Kind of hard to show you different scenarios without being able to illustrate things on a board. Basically, a coach chooses a system based on the players he has. Take our top three players this year, Gomez, Gionta and Cams. They can play the most aggressive forechecking system because of their speed, meaning all three can be in the other team's zone forechecking and rarely get caught. They can read the play better than others and anticipate the other team's move.

This is why most teams opt for a system that will fit the whole team as a opposed to a few players. Some teams will discriminate and play different defensive systems for different players.

So let's say F1 does his job and pushes the other team's defenseman to the outside along the boards, then F2 has to cut out the outlet pass along the boards and F3 has to cut the passing lane to the middle of the ice. D1 has to watch the strong side while D2 has to cover for the hail Mary pass. If executed as planned things go smoothly but if one of those players doesn't do their respective job then the whole thing crumbles.

Therefore, a good system has all the variables worked out in the "what if" scenarios" and thus becomes effective. Overall, players need to be intelligent in order to read the play and adjust to the different scenarios.

Key attributes for players: intelligence, speed and aggressiveness.

You can definitely prevent more goals if you have a more aggressive system, problem is, can all players respond equally to that system.

Last year's team only sent in one forechecker and they allowed teams to enter the neutral zone easily. Then they tried to clog up the neutral zone and stop them there. It wasn't very effective. So far Martin is trying to stop the other teams from breaking out of their zone and not worrying about the neutral zone.

So yes, good systems can prevent goals if executed properly and by the right players.

Therefore:

1. A system is a structured approach with set plays where players anticipate what will happen if they pressure the other team. Systems are more difficult in hockey than in other sports because of the speed of the game.

2. Players are referred to with numbers, F1, F2, F3 for the forwards and D1, D2 for the defensemen. The forward that's in the play first is referred to as F1 and so on. Players are asked to read the play and adjust to different scenarios. While they might be set plays, there are too many variables to successfully execute a system. That's where players need to be smart and fast in order to force the puck carrier to react in a way that is favourable to the forechecker or defender.

So, to your question, how does a system affect a player defensively? It means that your best offensive player and your best defensive player have to do the same job if they are put on the ice together. Which means that defensive systems need all players to work as a unit regardless of their offensive talent.

3. Any player can play defense, a coach can't continuously match up a forechecking line with the other team's top line. They try, but it doesn't always work. Most established coaches implement a system that all lines have to follow regardless of what line is out there.

Let's take this scenario:

Puck is on the boards at the face off circle in the defensive zone, F1 has taken the puck carrier and F2 has closed the passing lane along the boards and F3 has the passing lane up the middle closed, however, the other team's defenseman is really skilled and reverses the puck, but as he heads for behind the net, he cuts in front of the net confusing the forecheckers. Now everyone has moved to where they're supposed to be going until that cut in front of the net and a winger is found open where F2 once was and the pass is made. BUT, F3 was smart enough to read the play and allow the pass to be made only to intercept it. Had he not read the play and the pass was made only to react to it afterwards, then it's too late.

Accountability is a the key word to every system. Every player on the ice has a job and needs to be held accountable if the system is to be successful.

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i actually like this system, our 1st line outplays thier opponets, pleks looks like pleks sould, cuz martin has a role that suits his skils. the coaching is very good right now, we are missing a scoring ctr for the 2nd line, we get him and pleks ctrs laps and pacs on the shutdown line, we will be a top 6 team in the east. btw, when we get a lead we will be hard to score on 5-5

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