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.
Ballard is a better skater, aside from that I agree, Edler might have the same speed, but not the acceleration, and Bieksa is in the same boat as Eddie but he isn't as fast, and Hammer is the complete package of both speed and acceleration IMO, just not at the level of Hoffer.
Eddie and G-5 have only been better shortly as you say, and once they gel I think that will be better with Garrison than it ever was with Ehrhoff, Ballard and Tanev have been together and I thought they played great in the playoffs, and I thought they played great last night, and even the prior game against Oilers they played well IMO.
I don't know that what you are saying is accurate, I mean if the Bruins speed was a great advantage, with bigger guys it would only exploit our defense more, and I don't think our defense is small and fragile, I think aside from maybe Sami, Tanev and Ehrhoff everyone else brought/brings a good dose of physicality, grit, toughness and durability, exc. Don't see that as a problem. Also don't think there were many odd man rushes until the game was out of reach, at that point the team is done for and mistakes are a write off.
And against LA it was coaching, the PP failed and they picked it apart and scored shorthanded alot, that's not defensive style, that's the coaching staff not changing the PP strategy that is as clear as day, even in the series, I don't think it was pinching, look back at the goals that were short handed, not very many or none of them were cause by a bad defensive strategy, Raymond made a terrible play, Kopi sniped, Brown was left open by the center and the defensemen, in game 5 there was a pile in the crease and they scored, and Hamhuis fell, most of the goals in that series we not due to pinching, and it was our entire team that was terrible, can't pin it on just the defense.
Again, it peeked against SJ because we were healthy, and I think no matter what you judge besides goaltending that the 2012 playoffs have to be written off, I don't think that is a good way to judge any specific thing aside from coaching, goaltending and the team in general because no one was emotionally invested, no one came to play, and we were missing our best player. That's why it is much more accurate to make a judgement on the 2011 playoffs, where we came to play and were at our best, and that style worked very well until we were too unhealthy too continue.
My Point with STL and DET is that these teams are like us in that they have puck movers, and guys that can play in all situations, and they have success, that's what you need to be successful, we need to adjust our strategy a bit but we can't overhaul it, that will affect us offensively and defensively and I don't see anyway we can do that and gel in time to have a solid run.
Make changes to play less risky, not overhaul the entire thing, as that is a critical component to our success.