Today’s music video is Anybody Out There by Civil Twilight.
Yesterday Harvey Fialkov talked about avoiding early deficits to win these up coming home games. While I agree with that, there’s more to the strategy. Physical presence. Energy. Finishing checks. Playing with snarl and a chip on your shoulder.
All attributes that are needed as a team, yet not in everybody’s makeup. The Florida Panthers have been promising that they would be a difficult team to play against. I look back at the first 12-15 games of the season and I would venture to say that was a correct statement. Since then, they have gone back to the inconsistency we’ve known for the past few seasons. The biggest element that’s missing is the complete lack of physical play.
I know that Bryan McCabe responded to the Jordan Tootoo hit on Michael Frolik on Saturday night. But that’s exactly what I’m talking about. We’re responding. We’re being reactive instead of proactive.
It’s a pretty simple game plan if you’re an NHL coach when playing the Panthers. Be physical early. Forecheck hard,make them (Panthers) run around in their own end, and hit early and often. See we aren’t the aggressor and therein lies the mistake.
We need to set the tone. We need to be the one’s that hit the opposition before they hit us. Pete the Bore insists on not playing that style of game. Pete what’s wrong with putting your energy line out for the first shift of a game, or the second? Having Darcy Hordichuk and Kenndal McArdle throw some weight around and establish a physical presence?
Our forechecking is pretty week if you ask me. Sure sometimes it works, but most of the time the one man in is circling and not necesaarily applying pressure. Sometimes during the game, and you have to pick your spots, instead of playing a 1-2-2 sytle, you might want to consider playing a 2-1-2, where you send in two forwards to check. One deep and one slightly higher in the oppositions zone. force the play some more. if we’re as fast as some people say we are, recovering back to defence shouldn’t be a problem.
While we don’t have the most physical players, it’s not actually required that they blast people into the boards. I mean can you see Little Stevie dropping his handbag to send a bone crushing hit? I doubt it. But at least if he finishes a check for once in his lifetime it will slow down the opposition. From the looks of it, the only thing that Weiss will do is give your kneecap a black eye. Not enough to slow you down.
Energy, quick start, and physical presence are all elements that can set the tone for a game. As I’ve said, being pro-active instead of re-active is the approach. if we can make it difficult for any team to get started and get into a flow of the game, we’ll be a lot better off, and will be able to compete. We must learn to make the first 5-10 minutes of every game difficult for the opponent. Especially on home ice.
Throw a few checks. Bang a few bodies. Get the crowd in the game. Make some noise. I’m tired of the P.A. announcer telling me to clap my hands to that damn chicken song!
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