Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

DownUndaCanuck

We Need To Change our Defensive Style of Play

Recommended Posts

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.