Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

The Best Answer (For now)

5

Greg Whyshynski thinks the NHL may have to take action in the wake of the fiasco between Philadelphia and Tampa last night. The Lightning trapped and the Flyers delayed their contest into a nonhockey game. Clearly Greg is right if other coaches decide to follow the lead of Peter Laviolette. The Flyer response to the trap cannot become an acceptable strategy.

Is it going to continue?

Perhaps Laviolette was merely registering a protest, making a point about the way the Lightning choose to play. If that is the case, we can safely ignore the incident as an aberration, unlikely to be repeated. Unfortunately, I can’t see any NHL coach embarassing the league to make the point about the way another team plays. Particularly when he has coached against many other teams that adopt the same or a similar style. Why now?

I think Laviolette believes he has found a winning strategy when the Flyers are on the road and playing a team that traps even when the game is tied. The Lightning trap from the opening whistle? Running out the clock puts the game into a shootout, providing a good result in a road game. Why should the road team risk that good result trying to beat a trap?

If that is the thinking, Whyshynski is correct and the league will have to take action. Either the Flyers will have to be forced to attack the trap, or the trap itself will have to be banned. Neither is an appealing option.

The best thing is for Brendan Shanahan to call Peter Laviolette and talk to him on the QT, “Don’t make us do something, okay? Your point is made. Give it up.”

We can hope.

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Comments

5 Responses to “The Best Answer (For now)”
  1. My preference would be for the officials to call delay of game minors on both teams and let them play four-on-four. If one team doesn’t want to play four-on-four, they break the stalemate. While I suppose it’s possible that you see the same kind of all-defense formation arise even during four-on-four play, I get the feeling that you wouldn’t. It’s at least worth a try.

    • Tom says:

      I’ve been chewing on this since you posted it, Scott. I don’t think the implications are that simple. Doesn’t it mean the end of the trap even when teams are trying to protect a lead? Is that a good thing?

      Team A starts to trap in the third period up by a goal. Team B delays because they are much more likely to score four on four than five on five. Team A has a choice – abandon the trap, or play four on four. Most will abandon the trap and deliver up at least a token forecheck.

      • I think that this would be a great result (though I’d be a bit disappointed if it resulted in a tonne of four-on-four hockey). One of the league’s goals should be to create more exciting hockey without fundamentally changing the game. I don’t see this application of the rules as a fundamental change to what constitutes hockey, and do think that it would make for a more exciting and unpredictable game, especially in the third period.

        • Tom says:

          I think you’ve convinced me even though the trap doesn’t bother me as much as it bothers others.

          I’ve never been upset at teams that trap to protect a lead. I don’t like it much when teams trap all the time, although it’s hard to criticise a team like Nashville. They can compete – make the playoffs, even win a round once in a while – with the strategy and I don’t think they can compete any other way with a payroll at the floor. Phoenix is doing the same thing.

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  1. [...] TOM BENJAMIN’S HOCKEY BLOG: Tom weighs in on the subject, suggesting if the league decides to step in and take action regarding the Flyers recent reaction to the Lightning’s system, perhaps it might be best for league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan to quietly tell Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, ““Don’t make us do something, okay? Your point is made. Give it up.” [...]



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