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We Need To Change our Defensive Style of Play


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#1 DownUndaCanuck

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:19 PM

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Going back the last few seasons, AV has changed the Canucks defensive system from one of a complete trap style (especially successful in the 06-07 season) to one where defencemen jump up in the rush, take risks, pinch often and go deep in the offensive zone.

This new system worked well for us in the 2011 campaign and during the playoffs as teams weren't able to anticipate our attack and our forwards cycled perfectly back to defend when our defencemen were caught up ice in the rush.

However, this is NOT how you win a Stanley Cup in today's NHL. AV and Rick Bowness need to change our system back to a much more conservative defence, and here's why. The biggest reason it worked well in 2011 was our personel - Edler, Bieksa, Ehrhoff and Salo are all perfectly suited for that style of play, especially Ehrhoff who really lead the way. However, this style also lead to our downfall against Boston, as they exploited our smaller, faster defenders and often caught us on odd-man rushes where they would victimize us and capitalize on our mistakes.

Now look back the last 2 seasons. Boston won a Cup over us with solid, stay at home defence. Their defencemen never jumped up in the rush but always hung back which is why we couldn't score against them. Their defence didn't make many mistakes and that's how they won. Then look at Los Angeles, and even New Jersey. The only real offensive threat there was Doughty - all the other D-men sat back, played physical shutdown-hockey and that's how they won games all season and playoffs long. But it's not just a personel issue, Sutter and Julien play a very defence-first minded hockey game and that's what stymied other teams. Defence first, then offence through capitalizing on opponents mistakes, and that's what won them the Cup.

Here we are in 2013 and once again the Canucks are already being victimized for their stupid defensive system. It's been 3 games and our defencemen are being caught up ice, caught pinching at the wrong time and getting scored on for being out of position because they're trying to join the rush. Sure, we get a bunch of goals from defencemen, but more are being scored on us which will kill us come playoff time. Goaltending is not an issue on this team, and we have decent depth at forward now to score without defencemen needing to jump up in the rush. Plus, our personel are far better suited now to play solid stay-at-home defence than they were before with Garrison and a flourishing defensive stud in Tanev.

Meanwhile, the real defensive stalwarts will challenge for the Cup this season. St. Louis is coming off their 2nd shutout of the season already but it's not because of their goalie. They included a 13 and 14 save shutout which just shows how well the whole team plays defence in front of their goalie. Aside from Peitrangelo, St.Louis don't have many stars on their blueline, but it's Ken Hitchcock's defensive style of play that is winning them games and will do so in the playoffs as well. Similarly, New Jersey is playing solid defence once again despite having no stars on their back-end which just shows the importance of the defensive coaching. Minnesota have always been a great defensive team, and now with Suter to help out they will be a force come playoff time because of the lack of mistakes they make.

So in short, for us to contend in the playoffs we need to adopt a similar, defence-first mentality and scrap this "offence from the defence" idea. We don't need defencemen jumping up in the rush every shift to score from the blueline, just let them shoot and sit back. Defence first wins cups. I'd much rather watch solid positional and sound defensive hockey and win a Cup than watch nervous, end-to-end hockey and get kicked out in the 1st round again.
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#2 Zach Morris

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:34 PM

Aside from Peitrangelo, St.Louis don't have many stars on their blueline


Kevin Shattenkirk says Hi!!!

J/K... LOL

I kind of agree with you. However I am of the mindset that when you have a goalie like Schnieder behind your defence than a team like the Canucks can take a few chances with their d-core.

Edited by Zach Morris, 24 January 2013 - 09:36 PM.

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#3 Tearloch7

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:35 PM

Going back the last few seasons, AV has changed the Canucks defensive system from one of a complete trap style (especially successful in the 06-07 season) to one where defencemen jump up in the rush, take risks, pinch often and go deep in the offensive zone.

This new system worked well for us in the 2011 campaign and during the playoffs as teams weren't able to anticipate our attack and our forwards cycled perfectly back to defend when our defencemen were caught up ice in the rush.

However, this is NOT how you win a Stanley Cup in today's NHL. AV and Rick Bowness need to change our system back to a much more conservative defence, and here's why. The biggest reason it worked well in 2011 was our personel - Edler, Bieksa, Ehrhoff and Salo are all perfectly suited for that style of play, especially Ehrhoff who really lead the way. However, this style also lead to our downfall against Boston, as they exploited our smaller, faster defenders and often caught us on odd-man rushes where they would victimize us and capitalize on our mistakes.

Now look back the last 2 seasons. Boston won a Cup over us with solid, stay at home defence. Their defencemen never jumped up in the rush but always hung back which is why we couldn't score against them. Their defence didn't make many mistakes and that's how they won. Then look at Los Angeles, and even New Jersey. The only real offensive threat there was Doughty - all the other D-men sat back, played physical shutdown-hockey and that's how they won games all season and playoffs long. But it's not just a personel issue, Sutter and Julien play a very defence-first minded hockey game and that's what stymied other teams. Defence first, then offence through capitalizing on opponents mistakes, and that's what won them the Cup.

Here we are in 2013 and once again the Canucks are already being victimized for their stupid defensive system. It's been 3 games and our defencemen are being caught up ice, caught pinching at the wrong time and getting scored on for being out of position because they're trying to join the rush. Sure, we get a bunch of goals from defencemen, but more are being scored on us which will kill us come playoff time. Goaltending is not an issue on this team, and we have decent depth at forward now to score without defencemen needing to jump up in the rush. Plus, our personel are far better suited now to play solid stay-at-home defence than they were before with Garrison and a flourishing defensive stud in Tanev.

Meanwhile, the real defensive stalwarts will challenge for the Cup this season. St. Louis is coming off their 2nd shutout of the season already but it's not because of their goalie. They included a 13 and 14 save shutout which just shows how well the whole team plays defence in front of their goalie. Aside from Peitrangelo, St.Louis don't have many stars on their blueline, but it's Ken Hitchcock's defensive style of play that is winning them games and will do so in the playoffs as well. Similarly, New Jersey is playing solid defence once again despite having no stars on their back-end which just shows the importance of the defensive coaching. Minnesota have always been a great defensive team, and now with Suter to help out they will be a force come playoff time because of the lack of mistakes they make.

So in short, for us to contend in the playoffs we need to adopt a similar, defence-first mentality and scrap this "offence from the defence" idea. We don't need defencemen jumping up in the rush every shift to score from the blueline, just let them shoot and sit back. Defence first wins cups. I'd much rather watch solid positional and sound defensive hockey and win a Cup than watch nervous, end-to-end hockey and get kicked out in the 1st round again.


I could not agree more .. a solid defensive team with some skilled forwards and sound goal tending is the way to go .. it spreads the pressure onto the whole team, and with the skilled guys getting chances via turn-overs in our own end and quick puck movement, we would score more often on the rush ..
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#4 DownUndaCanuck

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:39 PM

I kind of agree with you. However I am of the mindset that when you have a goalie like Schnieder behind your defence than a team like the Canucks can take a few chances.


It doesn't matter who's in net, as we've seen against Boston, Los Angeles and even early in this season, you can be the best goalie in the league but if a defence craps the bed in front of you, you're going to let in goals.

For example, last night, Bieksa pinches, 2-on-1 and Tanguay scores on Schneider. Go back to the Edmonton game, Edler is caught pinching in one play, then gets spun around by Eberle in the next for not being back deep enough and both plays result in goals. Even look at the first game, plenty of horrible turnovers and Schneider gets shelled.

Then back to the Los Angeles series, the series-ending goal sums up what I'm talking about. A defenceman gets caught up ice, Stoll rushes in on a two-on-one in overtime and just clean beats Schneider on a shot.

It doesn't matter how good our goaltending is, if we play poorly in front of them and give up glorious chances any team will capitalize on them. Meanwhile, a couple of average-to-slightly-above-average goalies like Halak, Elliot and Harding look like the worlds best because they play behind a solid defensive team.
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#5 susraiders

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:42 PM

It is only a couple of games in with no training camp. I say we give the team 10 games before we change our entire system.
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#6 Kumquats

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:43 PM

Been wanting to say something like this for awhile now. I've tiptoed around saying they need to put more pressure on the puck carriers when the opposing teams have the puck. They tend to back off a lot and let the other team dictate the pace. Meanwhile our guys get double and sometimes triple teamed carrying the puck forcing turnovers, sloppy passes or weak shots from the blue line. The Sedins aren't the fastest skaters in the league and other teams know this so they can exploit that.

As you said, we don't need our defense core leading the rush, Bieksa did that after 2 5 on 3 penalty kills and it caused a turnover which resulted in a Flames goal (the last game)
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#7 Kumquats

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:44 PM

It is only a couple of games in with no training camp. I say we give the team 10 games before we change our entire system.

It's been going on a couple years now. It doesn't work in the playoffs. Boston eliminated us, and so did LA, playing the exact same system. Pressure, pressure, pressure.
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#8 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:46 PM

Going back the last few seasons, AV has changed the Canucks defensive system from one of a complete trap style (especially successful in the 06-07 season) to one where defencemen jump up in the rush, take risks, pinch often and go deep in the offensive zone.

This new system worked well for us in the 2011 campaign and during the playoffs as teams weren't able to anticipate our attack and our forwards cycled perfectly back to defend when our defencemen were caught up ice in the rush.

However, this is NOT how you win a Stanley Cup in today's NHL. AV and Rick Bowness need to change our system back to a much more conservative defence, and here's why. The biggest reason it worked well in 2011 was our personel - Edler, Bieksa, Ehrhoff and Salo are all perfectly suited for that style of play, especially Ehrhoff who really lead the way. However, this style also lead to our downfall against Boston, as they exploited our smaller, faster defenders and often caught us on odd-man rushes where they would victimize us and capitalize on our mistakes.

Now look back the last 2 seasons. Boston won a Cup over us with solid, stay at home defence. Their defencemen never jumped up in the rush but always hung back which is why we couldn't score against them. Their defence didn't make many mistakes and that's how they won. Then look at Los Angeles, and even New Jersey. The only real offensive threat there was Doughty - all the other D-men sat back, played physical shutdown-hockey and that's how they won games all season and playoffs long. But it's not just a personel issue, Sutter and Julien play a very defence-first minded hockey game and that's what stymied other teams. Defence first, then offence through capitalizing on opponents mistakes, and that's what won them the Cup.

Here we are in 2013 and once again the Canucks are already being victimized for their stupid defensive system. It's been 3 games and our defencemen are being caught up ice, caught pinching at the wrong time and getting scored on for being out of position because they're trying to join the rush. Sure, we get a bunch of goals from defencemen, but more are being scored on us which will kill us come playoff time. Goaltending is not an issue on this team, and we have decent depth at forward now to score without defencemen needing to jump up in the rush. Plus, our personel are far better suited now to play solid stay-at-home defence than they were before with Garrison and a flourishing defensive stud in Tanev.

Meanwhile, the real defensive stalwarts will challenge for the Cup this season. St. Louis is coming off their 2nd shutout of the season already but it's not because of their goalie. They included a 13 and 14 save shutout which just shows how well the whole team plays defence in front of their goalie. Aside from Peitrangelo, St.Louis don't have many stars on their blueline, but it's Ken Hitchcock's defensive style of play that is winning them games and will do so in the playoffs as well. Similarly, New Jersey is playing solid defence once again despite having no stars on their back-end which just shows the importance of the defensive coaching. Minnesota have always been a great defensive team, and now with Suter to help out they will be a force come playoff time because of the lack of mistakes they make.

So in short, for us to contend in the playoffs we need to adopt a similar, defence-first mentality and scrap this "offence from the defence" idea. We don't need defencemen jumping up in the rush every shift to score from the blueline, just let them shoot and sit back. Defence first wins cups. I'd much rather watch solid positional and sound defensive hockey and win a Cup than watch nervous, end-to-end hockey and get kicked out in the 1st round again.



Didn't read your entire post (read about 3 quarters)

Our team has been making changes and adjustments to be able to play any style of game, whether it be a defensive style or one where you need your defense to jump up and help out offensively.

I think it is good that we have mobile defense as the new NHL is all about speed and moving the puck quickly, we have made efforts to get tougher on our backend with Garrison who is an upgrade in the defensive/toughness style over Salo and Ehrhoff.

for Playoff success it all comes to goaltending, we have seen you can be successful being offensive aslong as you get the goaltending, so to me either way you slice it it comes down to goaltending.

Also I think you are jumping the gun, it has only been 3 games and we are still knocking off rust, if we are seening the same situations in a month or 2 then by all means make a thread and raise the concern but it seems too quickly.

Not sure if you are suggesting making big changes but having a mobile defense built of players who can play in every situation and having a group where some are offensive, some bring grit, some bring reliability, some bring defensive play is a huge key for us.

St.Louis's defense are full of Mobile guys like us, and look how good they are, the most defensive guy Jackman is still mobile, as is Polak, then aside from that Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, Cole, Russel and now Redden are all guys who push the pace, the difference is there guys are just playing better than ours ATM.

And BTW I think you are off base on your Boston comments in 2011. This style didn't lead to our downfall, if anything it is the opposite as most of our guys who play that style were injured and out of the line-up or else not as effective as normal, and we were forced to rely on guys like Alberts and it cost us.

I think if our defense was healthier if wouldn't have been a "downfall" it would have been to our benefit against a team like Boston who just surrounded the goalie.

I just think you are jumping the gun and I don't think it is a valid concern as all successful teams in this league have a mobile defense and to change it now would be a huge step backwards IMO.

Edited by Smashian Kassian, 24 January 2013 - 09:48 PM.

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#9 MoneypuckOverlord

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:47 PM

I think not having Christian Ehrhoff kinda effected the way the whole team played. Sure Edler provided some offence, but his style is totally not Christian Ehrhoff at all. That being said, we still came out on top with a Presidents trophy last season, without Ehrhoff, so I guess lets just wait and see. Even A.V this morning said, a lot of the players are not in Sync right now. I think Hamhius by the end of the season will be our best overall dman, but the Edler Garriason paring will be our best overall pairing. Don't worry guys, we are fine right now, teams like L.A and Detroit are in trouble with the defence they have.
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#10 Zach Morris

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:48 PM

It doesn't matter who's in net, as we've seen against Boston, Los Angeles and even early in this season, you can be the best goalie in the league but if a defence craps the bed in front of you, you're going to let in goals.

For example, last night, Bieksa pinches, 2-on-1 and Tanguay scores on Schneider. Go back to the Edmonton game, Edler is caught pinching in one play, then gets spun around by Eberle in the next for not being back deep enough and both plays result in goals. Even look at the first game, plenty of horrible turnovers and Schneider gets shelled.

Then back to the Los Angeles series, the series-ending goal sums up what I'm talking about. A defenceman gets caught up ice, Stoll rushes in on a two-on-one in overtime and just clean beats Schneider on a shot.

It doesn't matter how good our goaltending is, if we play poorly in front of them and give up glorious chances any team will capitalize on them. Meanwhile, a couple of average-to-slightly-above-average goalies like Halak, Elliot and Harding look like the worlds best because they play behind a solid defensive team.


My friend we are not going to win 5-0 every night... It's hockey. You are going to let in some goals.

I don't blame Vancouver's defensive style for losing to the LA kings. The Kings drank Big D's koolaid, and decided to become the best team in the NHL for 4 months in a row.

Also:

Canucks hockey is a very very entertaining style of hockey. Don't get me wrong I want a stanley cup, but I would not want to watch my team play LA kings style hockey for an extended period of time.

No one can deny that the Canucks have been successful over the past few years. Sure no cup to show for it, but we were 2 games away from beating the Bruins (If only Thomas pumped Luo's tires...GAWD).

IMO it was a mental collapse the past couple of years as opposed to playing a more defensive style of hockey.

Edited by Zach Morris, 24 January 2013 - 09:49 PM.

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#11 Tearloch7

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:48 PM

I took the OP's perspective to be long term, and not based on these three games, but rather the last 3 seasons ..
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#12 Zoolander

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:54 PM

Yea, I'd like to see our defence play less aggressively in the offensive zone ans stay back a bit however we should stick with the system we have now on the powerplay
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#13 Ugli Fruit

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:58 PM

This season may not be the right year for it, given the fact that it's only a 48-game season. A complete overhaul in our game means another 5-10 games wasted in trying to develop team chemistry. All of our D are used to pinching, and being covered by the forwards. This will hamper our already weak offense.

Also, our D seems to have most trouble when defending plays down low. Passes get through the crease way too easily. Clog up the front of the net, and the opposition won't score.

I do agree with you philosophically, but I don't think you can say that is the one and only way. If Vancouver can play the transition game well (just a little better than 10-11), then we can at least wear down a defense-first team's D-men and forwards by forcing them to skate more than their game plan would suggest. Conservative D means less skating and less communication. Forcing them to counter us by skating more and covering more men can lead to more open spots.
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#14 Zach Morris

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:10 PM

This season may not be the right year for it, given the fact that it's only a 48-game season. A complete overhaul in our game means another 5-10 games wasted in trying to develop team chemistry. All of our D are used to pinching, and being covered by the forwards. This will hamper our already weak offense.

Also, our D seems to have most trouble when defending plays down low. Passes get through the crease way too easily. Clog up the front of the net, and the opposition won't score.

I do agree with you philosophically, but I don't think you can say that is the one and only way. If Vancouver can play the transition game well (just a little better than 10-11), then we can at least wear down a defense-first team's D-men and forwards by forcing them to skate more than their game plan would suggest. Conservative D means less skating and less communication. Forcing them to counter us by skating more and covering more men can lead to more open spots.


It may mean more than that.

The back 2 are not the only ones that need to buy into a defensive style. The forwards need to as well.

I'm sure the Sedins would buy into a new system if asked, and be the front runners in getting everyone else on board. However telling the sedins to hamper their style of play and "play more like LA" would be detrimental to our hockey team.

Look at Calgary!! very skilled hockey players (a little old, but 3 years ago they were not that old) that have been hamstringed by defensive style coaches. Do you want to have a hockey team like the calgary Flames? I don't!!

It's all well and good to come oonto the CDC and announce that "if we do this we can emulate the past Stanley Cup Champs". But, not all stories end so happy.

If I'm being fair than I have to say that the above is exactly what the Canucks did, and they have tried to mirror the Red Wings style of hockey. Too bad Lidstrom never had a twin!!

Edited by Zach Morris, 24 January 2013 - 10:18 PM.

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#15 DownUndaCanuck

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:33 PM

Guys this has been happening for the last 3 years, and the offensive-defence tactic only works well when we're at perfect timing. All our players on the ice need to be 100% in synch and on time perfectly for it to work successfully. The only time I recall this was during the San Jose series in 2011 when our defence and forwards were perfectly working together, and that was amazing hockey to watch. All 5 guys rotated and worked as one, anytime a defenceman was caught a forward would be back covering and our forwards up front would keep pressure going so that the Sharks couldn't mount an attack until our defenceman recovered.

It was brilliant, but far too risky and we're not going to play at that level over an entire regular season and playoffs. It's much easier and more consistent to play safe defence.

We really don't need a complete player overhaul - just start introducing new (rather, old) things in practice, tell defencemen to hang back rather than gamble and stick to the safe side whenever there is a split decision. Implementing a new system on defence wouldn't take that long really, entire teams change their whole system when a new coach comes in on the fly so just changing the way 6 players play isn't too difficult.

Ideally we should be able to play a versatile style, where we can jump up in the rush and gamble when necessary. However, that's the coaching staff's responsibility to relay that to players. For example, we were up 2-0 midway through the 2nd period in both Edmonton and Calgary games and still our defencemen take stupid risks and go for more offence which lead to goals against and eventually ties, losing us points. In the perfect world, our coaches would be able to tell their defencemen to start playing safe hockey at 2-0 and nurse that lead home. You don't need to get into a full-team trap, just don't take risks and pinches that could get us caught and lead to mistakes.

It's been 3 seasons now, I'm not sure how much longer our close-minded coaches need until they realize they're doing it wrong. Big forwards have won Cups for the last 3 or 4 seasons and MG rectified that by drafting bigger and trading for bigger players. Now how long will it take until AV and co. figure out that only defensive-styled teams are winning Cups?
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#16 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

Guys this has been happening for the last 3 years, and the offensive-defence tactic only works well when we're at perfect timing. All our players on the ice need to be 100% in synch and on time perfectly for it to work successfully. The only time I recall this was during the San Jose series in 2011 when our defence and forwards were perfectly working together, and that was amazing hockey to watch. All 5 guys rotated and worked as one, anytime a defenceman was caught a forward would be back covering and our forwards up front would keep pressure going so that the Sharks couldn't mount an attack until our defenceman recovered.

It was brilliant, but far too risky and we're not going to play at that level over an entire regular season and playoffs. It's much easier and more consistent to play safe defence.

We really don't need a complete player overhaul - just start introducing new (rather, old) things in practice, tell defencemen to hang back rather than gamble and stick to the safe side whenever there is a split decision. Implementing a new system on defence wouldn't take that long really, entire teams change their whole system when a new coach comes in on the fly so just changing the way 6 players play isn't too difficult.

Ideally we should be able to play a versatile style, where we can jump up in the rush and gamble when necessary. However, that's the coaching staff's responsibility to relay that to players. For example, we were up 2-0 midway through the 2nd period in both Edmonton and Calgary games and still our defencemen take stupid risks and go for more offence which lead to goals against and eventually ties, losing us points. In the perfect world, our coaches would be able to tell their defencemen to start playing safe hockey at 2-0 and nurse that lead home. You don't need to get into a full-team trap, just don't take risks and pinches that could get us caught and lead to mistakes.

It's been 3 seasons now, I'm not sure how much longer our close-minded coaches need until they realize they're doing it wrong. Big forwards have won Cups for the last 3 or 4 seasons and MG rectified that by drafting bigger and trading for bigger players. Now how long will it take until AV and co. figure out that only defensive-styled teams are winning Cups?


I agree that we should play a less risky style, but I would keep the personal and add in the pinching and use the skating ability when the time is appropriate rather than making constant pinches.

But I don't think an overhaul would make any sense right now, it would just be a huge step back.

You said it works when they are all in sync, and I agree but I think even with that comment you are jumping the gun, as it is 3 games into a 48 game season where most guys haven't played in a long time and they are still knocking off rust and making a adjustments and building/re-building chemistry. Too early to say it wont work because if we get the rust off and build the chemistry like we can and will then we could get in sync and that style could be very useful.

Right now though I agree we need to change the mentality up a bit and aslong as the coaching staff is committed to making a some adjustments I don't think it will be an issue for the personnel we have to play a more reliable and less risky style.
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#17 Ugli Fruit

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:59 PM

Our team is not built for the style you suggest, DownUnda.

Like you said, our D is made of speedy, puck-moving guys who are not very big or very physical. Edler can throw big hits but even his style of play does not suit what you are suggesting.

Can Bieksa or Ballard, or even Garrison play this sort of game? I know the former 2 will not and more importantly cannot. Both are very offensive D-men who love to jump into or lead the rush. Hamhuis should have no problem with the change as with Tanev, but Edler has become accustomed to our style of play and when our best D has to adjust, the team is either in serious trouble or the change is not suited to us.

I honestly can't see a guy like Keith Ballard playing conservatively and hanging near the blue line and backing up when we lose possession. Our forwards are not big, and the majority of them are not power forwards either so we have no choice but to use our D on attack. While we may conceptually decrease chances conceded, the time we will have on the puck will be drastically reduced, both in time and effectiveness.

The style you are talking about is almost like trap hockey - clog up the neutral/defensive zone and never let the opposition mount an attack. If we had forwards like Lucic, Penner, (Jeff) Carter, etc, who are massive and are strong on the puck, we might be able to manufacture some goals.

But in the playoffs, you want to leave the Sedins out to dry with the D hanging back in case of turnovers? You'll get your turnovers, alright.





Edit: What we should have done is lose some of our top 9 depth, not sign Booth, and push for Weber/Suter.

What we could do is get one of the best all-around Dmen available.

Edited by LordofBrussels, 24 January 2013 - 11:02 PM.

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#18 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:02 PM

Our team is not built for the style you suggest, DownUnda.

Like you said, our D is made of speedy, puck-moving guys who are not very big or very physical. Edler can throw big hits but even his style of play does not suit what you are suggesting.

Can Bieksa or Ballard, or even Garrison play this sort of game? I know the former 2 will and more importantly cannot. Both are very offensive D-men who love to jump into or lead the rush. Hamhuis should have no problem with the change as with Tanev, but Edler has become accustomed to our style of play and when our best D has to adjust, the team is either in serious trouble or the change is not suited to us.

I honestly can't see a guy like Keith Ballard playing conservatively and hanging near the blue line and backing up when we lose possession. Our forwards are not big, and the majority of them are not power forwards either so we have no choice but to use our D on attack. While we may conceptually decrease chances conceded, the time we will have on the puck will be drastically reduced, both in time and effectiveness.

The style you are talking about is almost like trap hockey - clog up the neutral/defensive zone and never let the opposition mount an attack. If we had forwards like Lucic, Penner, (Jeff) Carter, etc, who are massive and are strong on the puck, we might be able to manufacture some goals.

But in the playoffs, you want to leave the Sedins out to dry with the D hanging back in case of turnovers? You'll get your turnovers, alright.





Edit: What we should have done is lose some of our top 9 depth, not sign Booth, and push for Weber/Suter.

What we could do is get one of the best all-around Dmen available.


I agree that our D is an important part of our offense, like the Sedins exc.

But I think Ballard and Bieksa would be fine defensively myself, both are good one-on-one defensemen.

But I disgaree with your edit, first off we didn't sign Booth, and I see anyway we would have got Suter or Weber anyways. So it would have been disposing of an important part of our team in Booth for nothing. We had the cap space to go after either anyways we did have about 10 Million at one point, so I don't see have unloading Booth would have helped.

Edited by Smashian Kassian, 24 January 2013 - 11:03 PM.

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#19 DownUndaCanuck

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:04 PM

You said it works when they are all in sync, and I agree but I think even with that comment you are jumping the gun, as it is 3 games into a 48 game season where most guys haven't played in a long time and they are still knocking off rust and making a adjustments and building/re-building chemistry. Too early to say it wont work because if we get the rust off and build the chemistry like we can and will then we could get in sync and that style could be very useful.


The thing is they've been playing this way since we acquired Ehrhoff and it's only really worked well for us with him in the lineup. We continued playing the same way last season without him and guys like Bieksa and Edler in particular simply can't skate as well as he could, so were victimized plenty of times.

The fact that we only had success with this system was during the 2011 playoffs with Ehrhoff after using it for 3 seasons shows that it's no longer effective, and needs a change. There's no point waiting for our guys to get their timing before it works, because quite frankly it will cost us and it doesn't work against good defensive teams.

Our run-and-gun defence was shutdown completely by Boston and Los Angeles because a proper defence doesn't give up many mistakes and covers a defenceman who jumps up into the rush quite well. Other teams caught onto this and we've struggled.

The only other team to play this way that I can recall is Florida. They didn't do it as well as the Canucks, but they brought defencemen up in the rush all the time. While it worked well during the regular season (where checking isn't as tight as in the playoffs) they were booted from the playoffs for the same reason - mistakes made by defencemen who were out of position.
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#20 DownUndaCanuck

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:07 PM

Our team is not built for the style you suggest, DownUnda.

Like you said, our D is made of speedy, puck-moving guys who are not very big or very physical. Edler can throw big hits but even his style of play does not suit what you are suggesting.

Can Bieksa or Ballard, or even Garrison play this sort of game? I know the former 2 will not and more importantly cannot. Both are very offensive D-men who love to jump into or lead the rush. Hamhuis should have no problem with the change as with Tanev, but Edler has become accustomed to our style of play and when our best D has to adjust, the team is either in serious trouble or the change is not suited to us.

I honestly can't see a guy like Keith Ballard playing conservatively and hanging near the blue line and backing up when we lose possession. Our forwards are not big, and the majority of them are not power forwards either so we have no choice but to use our D on attack. While we may conceptually decrease chances conceded, the time we will have on the puck will be drastically reduced, both in time and effectiveness.

The style you are talking about is almost like trap hockey - clog up the neutral/defensive zone and never let the opposition mount an attack. If we had forwards like Lucic, Penner, (Jeff) Carter, etc, who are massive and are strong on the puck, we might be able to manufacture some goals.

But in the playoffs, you want to leave the Sedins out to dry with the D hanging back in case of turnovers? You'll get your turnovers, alright.





Edit: What we should have done is lose some of our top 9 depth, not sign Booth, and push for Weber/Suter.

What we could do is get one of the best all-around Dmen available.


That's what I'm saying - our defence is PERFECTLY built for a shutdown type of game. In 2011 it used to be far more mobile and offensive with Ehrhoff and Salo. Now we have Garrison and Tanev taking their spots who are much more of a stay-at-home variety and far more physical than before.

With Vandermeer, Alberts and Barker as our depth guys it just shows that this defence can play solid physical, shutdown hockey if it wants. Hamhuis is one of the best shutdown defencemen, as is Garrison, and Bieksa is very comfortable playing this role as well (he played his best overall hockey in 2006-2007 when we implemented this strategy). Edler is a big physical defenceman who can learn to play defence better, which leaves only Ballard as the only free-wheeling defenceman who isn't great in his own zone.

That being said look as the other defences I've mentioned. St.Louis really don't have any big, physical shutdown defencemen but as a team they play amazing solid defence and are shutting down the best of offences. Peitrangelo and Shattenkirk are fast offensive skaters but they've bought in and are playing great defence under Hitchcock.

Like I said, personel doesn't matter - it's all systems, and right now we have one that is being exploited night after night.
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#21 meh_wassup

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:09 PM

wow this thread is filled with long comments and I'm too lazy to read them, I'm just going to give my 2 cents. So at the risk of repeating what somebody else already said, I think this is a good system if the Sedins get going here. If the Sedins finally get going then I can see us scoring a ridiculous amount of goals which would overwhelm the other teams' defense-first mentality. If they are still slumping a week from now (which would mean that they've been slumping for about a year since the second half of last year), then I would start making the transition into the system the OP is suggesting and rely on winning games 2-1. But if the Sedins start leading our offense and regain their form then this system would tear up the league. Staying healthy is key here, I think injuries played the biggest role in our misfortunes the past 2 playoff runs, if you can call last year's outing a "run".

Thanks and peace out
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#22 Kryten

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:29 PM

My beef with team defence is backing in on their goaltenders, hanging them out to dry. The league is fast and if you are standing still inside your own blueline because you are scared to get beat (or because Bowness who IMO is a bonehead, told you to be there), you are going to give up tons of goals on the rush. Our defence need to be forcing the play and our forwards need to backcheck for us to be a successful team. Overall, our play and work ethic without the puck needs to improve.
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#23 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:33 PM

Though IMO you have jumped the gun a bit, I do think you raise a legitimate concern which I understand completely in some aspects but I think you are off base in some of your justifications.

The thing is they've been playing this way since we acquired Ehrhoff and it's only really worked well for us with him in the lineup. We continued playing the same way last season without him and guys like Bieksa and Edler in particular simply can't skate as well as he could, so were victimized plenty of times.


I think Ballard is a better skater than he is, I think Edler is just as good he's just a bigger body, I think Bieksa is almost as good but not quite as fast, still a good skater, then the rest are all great skaters. The advantage we have is all of our defense are great skaters that can play successful in any situation, we are just rusty right now and are still building chemistry with out systems, the PP and even defense pairs in some cases.

The fact that we only had success with this system was during the 2011 playoffs with Ehrhoff after using it for 3 seasons shows that it's no longer effective, and needs a change. There's no point waiting for our guys to get their timing before it works, because quite frankly it will cost us and it doesn't work against good defensive teams.

Our run-and-gun defence was shutdown completely by Boston and Los Angeles because a proper defence doesn't give up many mistakes and covers a defenseman who jumps up into the rush quite well. Other teams caught onto this and we've struggled.


Only had success in the 2011 playoffs? What are you talking about, this was a huge key to our 2010-11 season as it was last year in our 2nd PT year, it has been constant strength of ours since the 10-11 season begain.

Our "Run and gun" defense wasn't shut down against Boston, our supposed "run and gun" defense was injured against Boston.

Ehrhoff, Salo, Edler, Bieksa were all battling injuries that majorly affected there play and there effectiveness in that puck moving, pushing the pace style we had played, so they weren't as effective and notice how in that series the defense rarely joined the rush like they had in prior series? A direct point that proves your theory wrong, as we tried to play a more defensive style and still lost, it wasn't a "run and gun" style that cost us defensively it was injuries.

And against LA that didn't cost us, it was just a terrible performance all around, Bieksa and Edler were terrible, whereas Ballard who was renound the year prior for playing this way and making mistakes played this way effectively with Chris Tanev and was easily our best defensemen. Hamhuis was good, Salo was good, it was just 2 key parts of our defense and overall I think it has to do with coaching alot more against LA, we didn't make necessary changes and we came out flat in most situations, and not having your best player also doesn't help.

It has worked, I don't know how you can come to the conclusion it hasn't with all the success we have had.

The only other team to play this way that I can recall is Florida. They didn't do it as well as the Canucks, but they brought defencemen up in the rush all the time. While it worked well during the regular season (where checking isn't as tight as in the playoffs) they were booted from the playoffs for the same reason - mistakes made by defencemen who were out of position.


That's not the reason they were booted out of the playoffs.

I don't know how you can say defense cost them when the entire series was a back and forth battle that was decided in a double OT of game 7, Florida could have just as easily won that series then what would you say about the defense?

New Jersey was a better team than them anyways.

St.Louis also plays this style and look how good they are, Detriot has played this style since the lockout and look how successful they have been, San Jose plays this style look how good they have been.

Not going to go through every team but alot more teams than you think have success with puck moving, pushing the pace and joining the rush offensively.

Edited by Smashian Kassian, 24 January 2013 - 11:36 PM.

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#24 elvis15

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:36 PM

We scored 8 goals in 7 games in the SCF.

/thread
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#25 SamJamIam

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:05 AM

We scored 8 goals in 7 games in the SCF.

/thread


Ikr?

I'll just back that up with this stat: Last year, we came in at 3rd highest goal differential, +51, and we played BAAAAAD for a while there. The system is fine.

Now if AV matures a bit more as a coach (which he has been doing year-over-year), then I think we'll see a better showing from our guys in the playoffs. Is this the year? AV seems more confident than ever. Really knows what he's got to do and the players seem to pick up on that. Plus for how many new guys we've got/guys playing in different positions, he's getting some solid play from what should be some pretty cobbled together lines. Give the guy credit for giving Kass 19 minutes a game with the Sedins, giving Garrison 23 right off the bat and giving Ballard way more time. He's coaching well.
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#26 LegionOfDoom

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:25 AM

They would have thrown mactavish in when he was around if they were thinking about it
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#27 DownUndaCanuck

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:27 AM

Though IMO you have jumped the gun a bit, I do think you raise a legitimate concern which I understand completely in some aspects but I think you are off base in some of your justifications.



I think Ballard is a better skater than he is, I think Edler is just as good he's just a bigger body, I think Bieksa is almost as good but not quite as fast, still a good skater, then the rest are all great skaters. The advantage we have is all of our defense are great skaters that can play successful in any situation, we are just rusty right now and are still building chemistry with out systems, the PP and even defense pairs in some cases.



Only had success in the 2011 playoffs? What are you talking about, this was a huge key to our 2010-11 season as it was last year in our 2nd PT year, it has been constant strength of ours since the 10-11 season begain.

Our "Run and gun" defense wasn't shut down against Boston, our supposed "run and gun" defense was injured against Boston.

Ehrhoff, Salo, Edler, Bieksa were all battling injuries that majorly affected there play and there effectiveness in that puck moving, pushing the pace style we had played, so they weren't as effective and notice how in that series the defense rarely joined the rush like they had in prior series? A direct point that proves your theory wrong, as we tried to play a more defensive style and still lost, it wasn't a "run and gun" style that cost us defensively it was injuries.

And against LA that didn't cost us, it was just a terrible performance all around, Bieksa and Edler were terrible, whereas Ballard who was renound the year prior for playing this way and making mistakes played this way effectively with Chris Tanev and was easily our best defensemen. Hamhuis was good, Salo was good, it was just 2 key parts of our defense and overall I think it has to do with coaching alot more against LA, we didn't make necessary changes and we came out flat in most situations, and not having your best player also doesn't help.

It has worked, I don't know how you can come to the conclusion it hasn't with all the success we have had.



That's not the reason they were booted out of the playoffs.

I don't know how you can say defense cost them when the entire series was a back and forth battle that was decided in a double OT of game 7, Florida could have just as easily won that series then what would you say about the defense?

New Jersey was a better team than them anyways.

St.Louis also plays this style and look how good they are, Detriot has played this style since the lockout and look how successful they have been, San Jose plays this style look how good they have been.

Not going to go through every team but alot more teams than you think have success with puck moving, pushing the pace and joining the rush offensively.


Yes they're all good skaters but not one of them are close to Ehrhoff. That guy could go end to end with ease and skate right back in position without being caught. Bieksa has been caught so many times up ice with not enough gas in the tank to get back, and Edler although a good skater, if he pinches he can't accelerate as fast back as Ehrhoff could. As for pairings, I understand Edler and Garrison may take time to gel but Tanev and Ballard have been together for over a year now, Bieksa and Hamhuis have been together since Hamhuis has been here so there are no excuses there.

I understand that injuries hampered their play against Boston, but if you watch the goals Boston scored in that series you can obviously tell how many times our defence were caught. Often by a big hit in the offensive zone or our defence getting checked and tangled up by their forwards, leading to odd-man rushes against. I haven't witnessed that many odd-man rushes against in a series before and it's because of our defencemen pinching when they really shouldn't have. We did not play a sound defensive game in that series at all, and all our pinches were exploited by Boston's fast forwards in particular, like Peverley, Marchand and Krejci who tore us apart. Their big forwards broke our small agile defencemen down, then their small guys scored on them by outskating them when they were caught out of position.

Obviously we crapped the bed against Los Angeles, but again look at the goals they scored there. Plenty of odd-man rushes against, which is the result of their coaches exploiting our defence getting caught up ice. Once again, their big bodies contained our defencemen quite well, but they had the speed up front to capitalize on our poor defensive positioning.

Simply put, this run-and-gun defence works great in the regular season when there is more open ice. Yes it succeeded all throughout 2011 but really peaked during that San Jose series - after that we were never as successful again and it's been 2 years since that success. During the playoffs however, forwards check much more closer, checking is tighter, there's less ice out there and so any mistake caused by poor positioning can lead to goals against. It's simply not how you win in the playoffs and the coaching staff have to figure that out.

Exactly, New Jersey played a sound defensive game, Florida was free-wheeling from the back-end and the solid defence triumphed. Defence wins championships, it won one against us in 2011, swept through the playoffs in 2012 and it will win another win this season.

As for those teams, St. Louis have never played that way. Do you watch their games at all? Their defence rarely jump up in the rush, but more importantly their forwards collapse back and they play a very tight all-around defensive game, from forwards to defencemen which is impressive to watch. It's a modified trap, they basically hang around until the opponent make a mistake when they pounce, but score off a very aggressive forecheck as well - very similar to how L.A won the Cup last season. I've never seen one of their defencemen leave his position and just skate end-to-end unless on the powerplay (when Peitrangelo will often skate around and pass from the half-boards).

Detroit have a MUCH better overall defensive strategy than the Canucks - their forwards play similarly to St.Louis in that they collapse back to help their defencemen, plus they never skate around as much as the Vancouver defencemen. Similarly to Ehrhoff though, when you have an excellent guy like Lidstrom on the blueline as well as Rafalski it works perfectly, but now that these guys are gone they cannot keep it up.

San Jose is a good example of what the Canucks are doing wrong. Yes, they free-wheel and their defencemen like Vlasic and Boyle are always joining the rush and going deep, but likewise they get caught. They have great regular season success because of the open ice allowing their D-men to do what they want, but come playoff time they're getting torn apart by solid defences and have never had much playoff success.

Once again - to win in the playoffs you need to play tight defence, not this rubbish wide-open offence from the defence. History has repeated these very words and it will happen again in a few months time.
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#28 Bananas

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:44 AM

Flaw in your logic: trap won 2 years in a row. Primary objective: solving the trap. Yeah, let;s adopt the trap. Good idea!

I suppose we should also trade the Sedins for big tough goons too, right?

If you like the style of hockey those teams play, then go watch them...
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#29 Steve Carell

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:02 AM

I mostly agree with your post, but I don't feel that Boston beat us because all these 'odd man rushes' you speak of.. they outscored us through every possible scenario (shots from the point, etc.)
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#30 Kola Nuts

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:08 AM

Having D men jump into the play is all about making smart reads and the center dropping back for D zone coverage. It's a good system when executed well, but it's also dependent on the Canucks scoring goals as well.
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