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keslerian one

Defense Pinching

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I'm not sure if this has been discussed before, but I've seen many threads about lines and d pairings but not necessarily about the way we play defense.

Needless to say, we play (most nights anyways) one of the most exciting brands of hockey. We focus on skill, speed, forechecking, backchecking, pressuring and possessing the puck, and to do this we need a very active group of Dmen.

In fact, one of the differences that sets our team apart is our offense from defense. Even with Ehrhoff leaving (50 pt D is insanely hard to replace generally), our dmen haven't missed a beat and even producing at a higher clip.

Jumping in the rushes and pinching to keep the puck in the zone is great, but has anyone noticed that we are also giving up costly goals because of this? We need to be a LOT smarter in pinching and staying the blueline. Many teams are smartly using this against us, blowing by that blueline dman by chipping over him or making a short pass to get an odd-man rush. I've seen this happen at least 2~3 on good nights, and 4~5 on bad nights. We can't be giving up 2 on 1 rushes that many times and blame the goalie or the d pairs.

We need to emphasize smarter pinching and this means actually encouraging defense to take a step back when needed. It feels like our D is ALWAYS going down the boards or trying to keep the puck in. But that shouldn't be the prerogative, especially if you are leaving yourself in a vulnerable position. Tanev made a dumb read to keep the puck in which led to one of many odd-man chances last night that led to a goal. Hamhuis, Bieksa, and Salo all were left standing at the blueline when Coyotes made quick passes or chipped the puck along the boards: away they go on a two-one or three-one break.

I understand we get offense from defense and that's important to us. But we also need to play smarter and I really don't think this style of play will be safe for the playoffs. Coyotes, Blues, and Preds FEAST on counter attacks and tight checking games and we would be quite vulnerable.

Defense needs to be more patient and let the play come to them. I remember Bieksa saying that letting the play come to him was one of the lessons he's learned that's helped in grow as a dman. I think he, as well as other defensemen, could use a reminder.

Defense wins championships and we have a good group. We just need to have them play smarter and not always pinching so much. Join the rush, and use your speed to join the play like Hammer did in scoring his goal last night. Pinch when you can and keep puck possession when you can. But if you need to reach to get to the puck and it's a borderline play, why risk a scoring chance? We have two art trophy winners, selke winner, former 20, 25, 30 goal scorers on our team. Stop taking so many risks for the sake of offense from defense.

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Odd man rushes have been a problem of late. Raymond suggested they needed to improve their communication between the forwards and defense. It's interesting because it is something they have done extremely well through most of this year.

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Odd man rushes have been a problem of late. Raymond suggested they needed to improve their communication between the forwards and defense. It's interesting because it is something they have done extremely well through most of this year.

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Terrible reads by the defensemen last night. They have to make smarter pinches. Teams are learning this and trying to make short shovel passes around our pinching defensemen and breaking out on odd-man rushed.

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I think if we had Alberts and Rome be our 1st defensive pairing, we would win EVERY game! ...

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I think if we had Alberts and Rome be our 1st defensive pairing, we would win EVERY game! ...

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Yeah, sometimes its risky to pinch but you know what thats why our d gets so many points as well. We don't fix what isn't broken right!

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Yeah, I agree that style will get us killed in the playoffs. Gotta tighten it up. 1 of those a game is too many. I also agree that the forwards battling back on the sideboards is key.

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Just heard an interview on Team 1040 from a guy from The Province. He made a very good point:

Canucks defense are pinching beyond pinching.

Now I am all for the defense rushing up to keep the puck in the zone at the RIGHT TIME. However in the past few games it seems they are doing too much of that. Often times they pinched, but failed to keep the puck in for long. That results in turnovers, and leads to multiple 2 on 1s and 3 on 1s the other way.

When a team goes pinching beyond pinching, its pretty much kamikaze. Now if we are down by 1 goal with 2 minutes to go, I am all for this kind of plays. However there is no need to play this super aggressive style for the whole game.

What do you guys think?

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They've obviously got the green light to pinch whenever possible but the forwards aren't covering for them

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Sometimes it doesn't make sense when Gragnani is deep in the offensive zone while Kesler is covering at the point.

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as long as they get back to prevent 3 on 1s, I'm cool with their pinching.

lazy defence in the last ten games, though.

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Were usually fine, and its a good stragedty, but when guys like Gragnani pinch for no reason, causing a forward to cover, its annyoing

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It seems with the green light that they all think they can do it. Right now its coming down to bad reads. They'll iron it out I'm sure. I would like to see them go back to the normal D pairings tho..

Bieksa needs Hamhuis

Edler (needs to get out of his funk - we know he always turns it up in the playoffs so no worries!) and Salo (steady)

Tanev and Grags is a good combo, but Grags needs to pick his spots too. He isn't Bobby Orr

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And what does MAG have to show for all his pinching?

6 0 0 0 -2

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The Coyotes scored as a result of a terrible pinch (by Tanev I think). That left Bieksa all by himself on a 3-on-1, where he landed on his arse and waved at the puck blindly (this was Doan's goal). We have been extremely sloppy on pinches, among various aspects of the game, and pinching requires team chemistry, and team chemistry requires all players to be playing well. None of our players are doing very well, so you can see what can and will happen.

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Pinching requires you to have a forward cover you, a d-man that can take 2on1s just incase it fails and a goalie that can make a save once in awhile. Currently we're missing all of those.

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Pinching is great and really you need to do that in order to win and to play an interactive game. I play right now with a great bunch of great guys, we got to the top level but we really bring nothing offensively to the table. We are in every game but lose 3-1, 3-2, 4-3, etc., too many times. You need to be agressive and take chances in hockey and in any sport in order to win and to do so with confidence that builds a winning attitude. However, there is a fine line. The Canucks are good enough that they don't need to take careless chances time and time again. Last year we were dominant because we knew how to close out teams right from the first whistle. I'm not sure of the stats but it seemed we played enough scoreless first periods or scored first to never give our opponents a leg up. If this team plays focused precise hockey we match up with anyone and it will translate into wins.

I think we're refining our game but if we give up the same amount of odd man chances we have been we aren't going anywhere. The checking in the playoffs is going to get tighter, not looser (is that a word?) but the writing on the wall is in Greek, English, Russian, and every other language under the sun, you need an offensive push from defence in order to make a cup run. Jeff Brown in 94 was huge for us. Really turned the table along with the rest of the St. Louis players we got.

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Gragnani thinks he's the next Bobby Orr or some crap

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