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Babcock on Championship Defense


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#1 Biggest

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:06 PM

Stanley Cup and Canadian Olympic team champion coach Mike Babcock describes what it takes to win at the highest level in commenting on his team's second consecutive Gold Medal run:  

 

  • "Great defense means you play defense fast and you have the puck all of the time."

 

There is more to good defense, but in the modern game, perhaps nothing quite as important as speedy blue liners who maintain puck possession - because they go get the puck and don't give it up with sloppy play, turnovers, and excessive dumb penalties.

 

Clearly, Babcock's assertion above - made in response to questions about how dominant the Canadians were defensively, and what were the keys to their great defensive play in ensuring Team Canada successfully defending its 2010 Gold Medal victory last weekend in Sochi - represents some of his core beliefs, values embodied by his teams - and perhaps never more so than in the person of recently retired Red Wing great Nick Lidstrom.

 

What bothers me about McPhee and his tenure in Washington is his failings at finding, acquiring, and developing defensive players who would make a defensive-minded coach like Babcock grin.  I think Carlson mostly makes the grade, and George deserves credit for drafting him.  But Alzner, as solid as he is, really isn't speedy - and not very physical, issues that subtract from his ability to excel at puck possession.

 

And with Green's tough year, where his scoring has been very lacking here in the 13-14 regular season, we really don't have all that much else on D - here, in the kiddie corps players shuffling between Washington and Hershey, and in the organization writ large.  Orlov, a former 2nd rounder, seems to have the most potential among the bunch.

 

What do others think?  Do McPhee and Oates ultimately have to go (and likely Ovie in a trade, probably to some loaded team where he'll get a Cup late in his career) for the Capitals to put together a defensive minded club like Babcock has coached - both in Detroit and with Team Canada?  Are others, like me, fed up with the regular season run and gun antics of Ovie and company that largely get shut down in the postseason given fewer power plays in playoff hockey?

 

Would like to know others thoughts on this.

 



#2 Lady_1908

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:24 PM

Stanley Cup and Canadian Olympic team champion coach Mike Babcock describes what it takes to win at the highest level in commenting on his team's second consecutive Gold Medal run:  

 

  • "Great defense means you play defense fast and you have the puck all of the time."

I agree with this, the faster you get that defense cleared out, clear out your own zone, send it to forwards the less time you spend with the puck in an area guaranteed to give the opposing team a chance to put it in and score.  Another clear indication of why "control is king", having the puck most if not almost all the time eliminates those minutes of opportunity your opposition wants to use to make it count against you. 

 

There is more to good defense, but in the modern game, perhaps nothing quite as important as speedy blue liners who maintain puck possession - because they go get the puck and don't give it up with sloppy play, turnovers, and excessive dumb penalties.

 

Clearly, Babcock's assertion above - made in response to questions about how dominant the Canadians were defensively, and what were the keys to their great defensive play in ensuring Team Canada successfully defending its 2010 Gold Medal victory last weekend in Sochi - represents some of his core beliefs, values embodied by his teams - and perhaps never more so than in the person of recently retired Red Wing great Nick Lidstrom.

 

What bothers me about McPhee and his tenure in Washington is his failings at finding, acquiring, and developing defensive players who would make a defensive-minded coach like Babcock grin.  I think Carlson mostly makes the grade, and George deserves credit for drafting him.  But Alzner, as solid as he is, really isn't speedy - and not very physical, issues that subtract from his ability to excel at puck possession.

 

And with Green's tough year, where his scoring has been very lacking here in the 13-14 regular season, we really don't have all that much else on D - here, in the kiddie corps players shuffling between Washington and Hershey, and in the organization writ large.  Orlov, a former 2nd rounder, seems to have the most potential among the bunch.

 

What do others think?  Do McPhee and Oates ultimately have to go (and likely Ovie in a trade, probably to some loaded team where he'll get a Cup late in his career) for the Capitals to put together a defensive minded club like Babcock has coached - both in Detroit and with Team Canada? 

I do not think Oates/McPhee come from the same pedigree/school of thought as Babcock has coached with.  In D you will hear often times where DC legitimately Snoop's prefered word for the ladies and moans (ahh, irony) about how his favorite team has become soft.  They often are very defensive minded as you have stated, good at having possession but being as they are not what I would call physically dominant from a physical presence and don't play a rough and tough game it means that people will hit them hard to slow down their puck possession game.  It's like my violin teacher said, practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.  They may have puck possession but when they give it up due to a hard check, or  physical type of roughness that they might not be set for they lose possession, despite how defensive minded they are.  We may have more able minded bodies than they do from a physical size perspective however when we dump and chase over and over we immediately do the opposite, we give up the possession when we dump with the high percentage we won't get it back immediately and maintain control again.  We might be better at causing turnovers or helping others lose control, but we aren't necessarily good at maintaining it ourselves.     



#3 Detroit_Caps_1908

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:32 PM

Stanley Cup and Canadian Olympic team champion coach Mike Babcock describes what it takes to win at the highest level in commenting on his team's second consecutive Gold Medal run:  

 

  • "Great defense means you play defense fast and you have the puck all of the time."

 

There is more to good defense, but in the modern game, perhaps nothing quite as important as speedy blue liners who maintain puck possession - because they go get the puck and don't give it up with sloppy play, turnovers, and excessive dumb penalties.

 

Clearly, Babcock's assertion above - made in response to questions about how dominant the Canadians were defensively, and what were the keys to their great defensive play in ensuring Team Canada successfully defending its 2010 Gold Medal victory last weekend in Sochi - represents some of his core beliefs, values embodied by his teams - and perhaps never more so than in the person of recently retired Red Wing great Nick Lidstrom.

 

What bothers me about McPhee and his tenure in Washington is his failings at finding, acquiring, and developing defensive players who would make a defensive-minded coach like Babcock grin.  I think Carlson mostly makes the grade, and George deserves credit for drafting him.  But Alzner, as solid as he is, really isn't speedy - and not very physical, issues that subtract from his ability to excel at puck possession.

 

And with Green's tough year, where his scoring has been very lacking here in the 13-14 regular season, we really don't have all that much else on D - here, in the kiddie corps players shuffling between Washington and Hershey, and in the organization writ large.  Orlov, a former 2nd rounder, seems to have the most potential among the bunch.

 

What do others think?  Do McPhee and Oates ultimately have to go (and likely Ovie in a trade, probably to some loaded team where he'll get a Cup late in his career) for the Capitals to put together a defensive minded club like Babcock has coached - both in Detroit and with Team Canada?  Are others, like me, fed up with the regular season run and gun antics of Ovie and company that largely get shut down in the postseason given fewer power plays in playoff hockey?

 

Would like to know others thoughts on this.

From a lifelong Wing fan, he's right. . .IF,  . . .IF,  you have an Olympic roster/Olympic rules,  no salary cap, or at MINIMUM: Nick Lidstrom/Hank and Pavel on your team.

 

Other than that, Babocks system hasn't gotten him out of the second round in 5 five years, and is almost about to break an over 20 year streak of getting into the playoffs.

 

It has been described as Passive European Puck Possession, which CAN be highly effective.  But, can also be beat.  A great example of the formula to do it:  San Jose.  McClellan was Babcocks assistant, and went to SJ and put in a system and roster to beat the Wings, and they did on a regular basis.

 

Also, careful is describing  Babcoks system as "defensive". . .it is a "possession" system, not a lock or trap.

 

Actually, Oates system is similar to Babcocks: out break: possession/triangle cycle/ get open/shoot. . .where the idea is (in Laymans terms) use skill to get an open shot and retrain the puck. . .

 

So, that being said. . .I would love and have been campaigning for The Caos to go to a defensive system, not another possession system like Babcocks.   But to take a book from Sutter, Jaque Lamaure (of NJD, know I butchered that), Claude Jullian, or Torterrella system. . . 

 

Clog the neutral zone, hit anyone that comes near you, make the other team chase, don't let anything get set up, wear the other team out until they make a mistake. . .

 

Most people call this boring but hell. . .Most people call this boring but, this is whats referred to as "playoff teams":  built to get to the playoffs, then to win 4 seven game series. 


"Life goes by pretty fast, if you don't stop to look around once in a while, and do what ever you want all the time, you could miss it" -- Parker

" . . . Drinking 15 beers and going to a hockey game can qualify as a relaxing night" -- Max

"This calls for a delicate blend of psychology, and extreme violence" -- Vivian

 

"Ministry is for fighting, RevCo is for ******* " -- Uncle Al


#4 Biggest

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:35 PM

Lady - thanks for your excellent insights.  I think the Caps' failings at puck possession are arguably the one thing that holds them back most and why they have disappointed in Stanley Cup play when there is less scoring and maintaining control of the puck is so darned important.  Yes, you have to score, play disciplined hockey, be steady on defense, and be strong in net, but puck possession is critical to success.

 

 

Stanley Cup and Canadian Olympic team champion coach Mike Babcock describes what it takes to win at the highest level in commenting on his team's second consecutive Gold Medal run:  

 

  • "Great defense means you play defense fast and you have the puck all of the time."

I agree with this, the faster you get that defense cleared out, clear out your own zone, send it to forwards the less time you spend with the puck in an area guaranteed to give the opposing team a chance to put it in and score.  Another clear indication of why "control is king", having the puck most if not almost all the time eliminates those minutes of opportunity your opposition wants to use to make it count against you. 

 

There is more to good defense, but in the modern game, perhaps nothing quite as important as speedy blue liners who maintain puck possession - because they go get the puck and don't give it up with sloppy play, turnovers, and excessive dumb penalties.

 

Clearly, Babcock's assertion above - made in response to questions about how dominant the Canadians were defensively, and what were the keys to their great defensive play in ensuring Team Canada successfully defending its 2010 Gold Medal victory last weekend in Sochi - represents some of his core beliefs, values embodied by his teams - and perhaps never more so than in the person of recently retired Red Wing great Nick Lidstrom.

 

What bothers me about McPhee and his tenure in Washington is his failings at finding, acquiring, and developing defensive players who would make a defensive-minded coach like Babcock grin.  I think Carlson mostly makes the grade, and George deserves credit for drafting him.  But Alzner, as solid as he is, really isn't speedy - and not very physical, issues that subtract from his ability to excel at puck possession.

 

And with Green's tough year, where his scoring has been very lacking here in the 13-14 regular season, we really don't have all that much else on D - here, in the kiddie corps players shuffling between Washington and Hershey, and in the organization writ large.  Orlov, a former 2nd rounder, seems to have the most potential among the bunch.

 

What do others think?  Do McPhee and Oates ultimately have to go (and likely Ovie in a trade, probably to some loaded team where he'll get a Cup late in his career) for the Capitals to put together a defensive minded club like Babcock has coached - both in Detroit and with Team Canada? 

I do not think Oates/McPhee come from the same pedigree/school of thought as Babcock has coached with.  In D you will hear often times where DC legitimately Snoop's prefered word for the ladies and moans (ahh, irony) about how his favorite team has become soft.  They often are very defensive minded as you have stated, good at having possession but being as they are not what I would call physically dominant from a physical presence and don't play a rough and tough game it means that people will hit them hard to slow down their puck possession game.  It's like my violin teacher said, practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.  They may have puck possession but when they give it up due to a hard check, or  physical type of roughness that they might not be set for they lose possession, despite how defensive minded they are.  We may have more able minded bodies than they do from a physical size perspective however when we dump and chase over and over we immediately do the opposite, we give up the possession when we dump with the high percentage we won't get it back immediately and maintain control again.  We might be better at causing turnovers or helping others lose control, but we aren't necessarily good at maintaining it ourselves.     



#5 Biggest

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:39 PM

Awesome Detroit - thanks for the correction; Babcock's system, as you say, is possession oriented.  That helps defense, but it's not the defensive approach other successful coaches you mentioned have deployed.

 

Would you say Joel Q.'s approach in Chi-town is more possession or defensive minded?

 

Whatever the case, coaches like Sutter, Quinnevile, and Julien are awesome.  Not sure if Oates will join them in the elite category - seems to have a long way to go yet, and it's hard to get their without the right players.

 

 

From a lifelong Wing fan, he's right. . .IF,  . . .IF,  you have an Olympic roster/Olympic rules,  no salary cap, or at MINIMUM: Nick Lidstrom/Hank and Pavel on your team.

 

Other than that, Babocks system hasn't gotten him out of the second round in 5 five years, and is almost about to break an over 20 year streak of getting into the playoffs.

 

It has been described as Passive European Puck Possession, which CAN be highly effective.  But, can also be beat.  A great example of the formula to do it:  San Jose.  McClellan was Babcocks assistant, and went to SJ and put in a system and roster to beat the Wings, and they did on a regular basis.

 

Also, careful is describing  Babcoks system as "defensive". . .it is a "possession" system, not a lock or trap.

 

Actually, Oates system is similar to Babcocks: out break: possession/triangle cycle/ get open/shoot. . .where the idea is (in Laymans terms) use skill to get an open shot and retrain the puck. . .

 

So, that being said. . .I would love and have been campaigning for The Caos to go to a defensive system, not another possession system like Babcocks.   But to take a book from Sutter, Jaque Lamaure (of NJD, know I butchered that), Claude Jullian, or Torterrella system. . . 

 

Clog the neutral zone, hit anyone that comes near you, make the other team chase, don't let anything get set up, wear the other team out until they make a mistake. . .

 

Most people call this boring but hell. . .Most people call this boring but, this is whats referred to as "playoff teams":  built to get to the playoffs, then to win 4 seven game series. 



#6 Lady_1908

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:39 PM

From a lifelong Wing fan, he's right. . .IF,  . . .IF,  you have an Olympic roster/Olympic rules,  no salary cap, or at MINIMUM: Nick Lidstrom/Hank and Pavel on your team.

 

Other than that, Babocks system hasn't gotten him out of the second round in 5 five years, and is almost about to break an over 20 year streak of getting into the playoffs.

 

It has been described as Passive European Puck Possession, which CAN be highly effective.  But, can also be beat.  A great example of the formula to do it:  San Jose.  McClellan was Babcocks assistant, and went to SJ and put in a system and roster to beat the Wings, and they did on a regular basis.

 

Also, careful is describing  Babcoks system as "defensive". . .it is a "possession" system, not a lock or trap.

 

Actually, Oates system is similar to Babcocks: out break: possession/triangle cycle/ get open/shoot. . .where the idea is (in Laymans terms) use skill to get an open shot and retrain the puck. . .

 

So, that being said. . .I would love and have been campaigning for The Caos to go to a defensive system, not another possession system like Babcocks.   But to take a book from Sutter, Jaque Lamaure (of NJD, know I butchered that), Claude Jullian, or Torterrella system. . . 

 

Clog the neutral zone, hit anyone that comes near you, make the other team chase, don't let anything get set up, wear the other team out until they make a mistake. . .

 

Most people call this boring but hell. . .Most people call this boring but, this is whats referred to as "playoff teams":  built to get to the playoffs, then to win 4 seven game series. 

Biggest, I'll agree that perhaps it's Possession Minded style vs Defensive, DC is right where perhaps defensive style may not adequately identify the true play style we are trying to describe.

 

I have never seen dump and chase as a possession minded play style.  Granted, as DC refers to I wouldn't call hitting people/wearing them out possession minded either, not sure really what to describe that.  Maybe that's more defensively aggressive style?



#7 Detroit_Caps_1908

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:46 PM

Awesome Detroit - thanks for the correction; Babcock's system, as you say, is possession oriented.  That helps defense, but it's not the defensive approach other successful coaches you mentioned have deployed.

 

Would you say Joel Q.'s approach in Chi-town is more possession or defensive minded?

 

Whatever the case, coaches like Sutter, Quinnevile, and Julien are awesome.  Not sure if Oates will join them in the elite category - seems to have a long way to go yet, and it's hard to get their without the right players.

I haven't seen Chicago much, but I THINK (don't quote me) they run a version of a Lock, which is defensive, but more flexible than a trap.

 

What I do know about Chicago, is they have one of the best groups of centers out there.  By that I mean, all think D first.  They augment that with two elite level shooters in Kane and Sharp, and Keith who is Defenseman who can play offense. . .

 

So while admidtly I don't watch them often, they appear to function as a shut down team first which opens up Kane and Sharp. . .


"Life goes by pretty fast, if you don't stop to look around once in a while, and do what ever you want all the time, you could miss it" -- Parker

" . . . Drinking 15 beers and going to a hockey game can qualify as a relaxing night" -- Max

"This calls for a delicate blend of psychology, and extreme violence" -- Vivian

 

"Ministry is for fighting, RevCo is for ******* " -- Uncle Al


#8 Biggest

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:49 PM

Possession Minded & Defensively Savvy, knowing when to DC and when to refuse to give up the puck no matter the beating along the boards you'll take.  And you need some nice balance of cycling (think Kono-Ulfie-Halpy back in the day), 'sniper-ing' (think Ovie and Semin back in the day), and power play magic (like Oates' teams have produced) on the offensive side.

 

Then of course, all is for naught if you don't have a beast between the pipes - if not an elite goalie, surely a steady one with maximum mental toughness (one athletically arrogant and assured enough to, like a stud NFL defensive back, shakes off goals and moves on mentally).

 

We seem to be lacking so many of these 'winning' qualities you and I are citing that I'm not surprised, when you add up our OT losses (losses and shootout losses) we're only 5th in wins in our whole conference.  I don't think we're going to get there this year - the postseason - without a Herculean hustle to the finish line like we've done a couple of times in recent years (last year being as good an example as any).  Hope they surprise me as they didn't really seem to kick it into gear last season until early March (albeit a lockout-shortened year after a horrible start; we've been trending the wrong way - with mounting defeats - here in 2014 leading up to the Olympic break that is now over).

 

 

Biggest, I'll agree that perhaps it's Possession Minded style vs Defensive, DC is right where perhaps defensive style may not adequately identify the true play style we are trying to describe.

 

I have never seen dump and chase as a possession minded play style.  Granted, as DC refers to I wouldn't call hitting people/wearing them out possession minded either, not sure really what to describe that.  Maybe that's more defensively aggressive style?



#9 ALX

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 03:01 PM

I agree with much written...After about a period playing canada i had a feeling etc..Give a good coach the best players and a system that works it is rough...Our offense looled nothing like the previous games,but 1-0 is nothing to be ashamed of...The finish game got under my skin though...



#10 Mickstix

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 07:11 PM

Possession game would be great! If we had any players who could actually do so.. Nicky is our best at not coughing the puck up. After him, who? Ward maybe?

 

Watching Jarg stick handle with one hand and hold the defender at bay with the other was a thing of beauty... You get the feeling he could possess/control the puck all shift long if he felt like it.. Bummer we have none of that in DC..


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