Friday, October 14, 2005

Blueliner Blues

These are tough, tough times for D-men. In one fell swoop the new offensive minded NHL has made playing defense a whole lot different and more difficult for these guys. Even more so than goalies D-men are being asked to make HUGE adjustments to their games. A lot of what they've been taught and have used to play good sound defense over the years is illegal now. Practically overnight ingrained habits and styles have to be dropped or changed. It seems like during this rough period of transition they're spending more time in the penalty box than on the ice. It's enough to try the souls of good men.

It's the Blueliner Blues

....the true victims so far, caught in the collateral damage of the NHL's new unobstructed path to offensive nirvana are the defencemen.
Senators defenceman Chris Phillips:
"Playing our position is a lot harder than it was."
Body position and fundamentals take on even added importance for defencemen.

If the rules continue to be called this way, the qualities scouts look for in defenceman will be re-ordered.
"Already, it's changing what we look for in defencemen," said one NHL scout watching last night's game. "The two most important qualities now are quick feet," he said, and tapping his temple: "A quick mind."
Here's another thing defencemen have to contend with now:
Forecheckers that are no longer being held up under the new rules are free to come blasting into the corners on D-men retrieving pucks.
Philadelphia Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock made the point the other day defenceman are going to start letting the forward get in their first on purpose and turn the tables on them.
The defencemen need to take it out on somebody.
Now there's an example of that "quick mind" quality the NHL is looking for from their defensive players these days.

The goalies also feel that "open season" has been declared on them and they're tired of being run in their creases.
"The forwards are really taking advantage of this right now," Brodeur said yesterday in a phone interview. "They know everybody now can be a tough guy in front of the net. You don't pay the price anymore. That used to be a tough job, standing in front of the net, but now everybody can go. And they're taking liberties."
It's too bad the goalies can't come up with something as innovative to get back at their tormenters as the D-men have. I guess they might not be as "quick minded" as their blueliners are... otherwise I guess if they were they wouldn't be goalies.

GAME RECAPS for 10-13-05

1986-87 - 7.4 - The Golden Era
2003-04 - 5.1 - The Dead Puck Era
10/13/5 - 6.8 - Last night's games

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