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Bylsma

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#1 Randall Flagg

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 07:31 PM

I don't think there's any thread specifically pertaining to this. It's a good discussion to have regardless of the coach of this team, though. I don't mean it to be a "let's pile on DD" thread, I want to learn about his system and the way our players are taught to play. 

The quote that we most remember from Dan at the start of his tenure was that it's a tough play for the defenseman to turn around and find the puck. As such, we see a lot of rushes where the puck gets thrown in the zone, when perhaps you'd expect that player to carry, especially if it's a guy like Reinhart/O'Reilly/Okposo doing it, this is on top of the dumps that are obvious, which every player on every team does - when alone at the end of a shift, when the neutral zone and blue line are totally clogged, etc. 

 

I obviously don't like this, but others might think differently.

I've outlined this elsewhere, but it seems we have the defensemen get the puck to the one with the best shot at a stretch pass, not just an outlet pass. These passes are almost always long. The wingers are slow/stationary in the neutral zone on the boards waiting for them, and deflect them behind the defensemen of the other team, and go to get them. When Bylsma says "fast hockey" I think he means that the puck gets zipped up and tipped in very quickly, and we skate fast to go get it. It's not the fast hockey I thought we'd get, the passing plays we see lots of teams like Florida/Pittsburgh/Dallas etc play. I'm trying not to be positive or negative, I'm just trying to state what I see.

When we dump the puck in, it feels like the forwards aren't sure where to go, or that the dump-er isn't sure where to put the puck. Not sure if that's on them or the coaches. We lose a lot of the races we should be winning as a dump-first team, though. 

 

In the d-zone, we FINALLY have a system that puts pressure on the point-men, and so those point shot goals we became so used to seeing have gone way down. I still believe that that had nothing to do with Miller's vision.

 

In the o-zone, we try and cycle. The FLG line is great at it, and so is O'Reilly. And Okposo. The center, when in the middle of the ice, seems to rove along the top of the slot. There aren't a lot of guys close to the net, but we're pretty good along the boards and Kulikov/Risto can really handle the puck well at the point. 

Whatever anyone else wants to add and discuss about the system the Sabres use, post here! 
 



#2 SwampD

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 07:38 PM

There is a big difference between Dump and Chase and Chip and Chase. A lot of time I hear people complaining about the Dump, it's actually a forward just chipping it past the D-man. It actually allows the forward to enter the zone even quicker and not really lose possession.



#3 Randall Flagg

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 07:42 PM

There is a big difference between Dump and Chase and Chip and Chase. A lot of time I hear people complaining about the Dump, it's actually a forward just chipping it past the D-man. It actually allows the forward to enter the zone even quicker and not really lose possession.

I see us do both quite a bit honestly. 

 

And the chip and chase is pretty slow, because as I've described there's a lot of waiting for the puck in the neutral zone, and our players just generally aren't fast.

We have looked slower than every team we've played so far, both because of our personnel and because of our system, IMO.



#4 Randall Flagg

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 09:12 PM

I know every coach goes Alamo mode, but since Bylsma doesn't not-go-Alamo-mode, I'll mention it in here too. 



#5 Eleven

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 09:34 PM

I know every coach goes Alamo mode, but since Bylsma doesn't not-go-Alamo-mode, I'll mention it in here too.


3-0 in the third? I dont even want Alamo. I want those British soldiers in the Zulu movie,

#6 WildCard

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 09:35 PM

Can you append 'Sucks' to the title?

#7 Randall Flagg

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 06:22 PM

I'm going to take some notes here as the game goes on.

Samson had a little pass to send Girgensons up to the line. The right move for Girgensons was to chip it by the defender, who was there waiting for him, and he did, and we got some zone pressure.

My issue isn't with Girgensons' chip.

The forwards were spread out across the whole entire blue line, Sam in the center, Ennis on the left, Zemgus on the right. There's no puck support in transition. When I say I want the Sabres to carry the puck in, I'm not saying I should expect every player to do an Eichel zone entry. Even the best team in the league only has 2 or 3 guys who can regularly do that. 

If you watch Tampa/Chicago/Florida etc, there are set neutral zone pass plays with players nearby. They are designed to create little odd man rushes within the neutral zone, still 2 D back but in this spot there are two forwards and one winger or something, and the pass gets made and new seams are made. Coaches make these plays and teach their players to do it. THIS is how carried zone entries happen. The way we do it, we can only carry in if the D gives us space, and even then there's nowhere to go with the puck. Bylsma employs NONE of this passing stuff that you can see almost every team do in the neutral zone when you watch the national game every night. THAT's what I mean by carrying versus dump ins.

The crux of the issue is that the forwards rushing have no support, so they either have room to carry in (and no one to pass to because of how far away everyone is) or they have to get rid of it by dumping, and that stems from not making these pass plays and having a  base strategy of a long stretch pass to forwards that are incredibly spread out. 

 


Edited by Randall Flagg, 27 October 2016 - 06:24 PM.


#8 Randall Flagg

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 06:57 PM

Watching closely, it really does seem to be all they've got as a strategy. There's no hint of anything else. Sometimes we get a lucky bounce and can set up stuff in the offensive zone. Lots of times we give up possession. 

From what I can tell, our in-zone play with possession is fine, though I don't know as much about that zone as I do the middle one, I think.

 

In the d-zone I think the system is fine but I think a lot of our players have no idea what they're doing, namely Girgensons, who has never looked good when told how to play, which is why he was awesome under Nolan.


I'll also stress that with all of this going on, we still can score 3 or 6 goals in a game. This team has potential. My belief is that it isn't close to being maximized.

Watching Minnesota's structure and comparing it to ours, it's not even close.


And when Eichel and Kane come back, they don't fix this problem - they just have the ability to make those dazzling 1v1 rushes end in goals sometimes. 



#9 d4rksabre

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 07:10 PM

Good stuff here Flagg. Keep it coming.

#10 Randall Flagg

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 07:14 PM

Thanks d4rk.

Yeah, from what I see these guys know what to do in the zone. I think getting there is 100% the problem. 



#11 TrueBlueGED

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 07:25 PM

I love this running commentary--it's covering all the specific things I yell about during the game, but forget 95% of afterwards when I'm bitching about Bylsma.



#12 Randall Flagg

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 07:53 PM

I love this running commentary--it's covering all the specific things I yell about during the game, but forget 95% of afterwards when I'm bitching about Bylsma.

Well this is the spot. I don't want to be the only one in here talking about various parts of the system! 

 

I miss X. I wish he was here to tell us what he sees. He'd be able to dissect what's happening within the o and d zones much better than I can.



#13 pi2000

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 08:05 PM

Good analysis. Every game I'm losing more and more faith in Bylsma. It seems we're at a point where other teams know exactly what to expect when they play us, and it makes us look terrible.

#14 Randall Flagg

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 08:15 PM

Offensively, we seem to avoid the slot like the plague. We never pass into it, we just try to pass through it.



#15 TrueBlueGED

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 08:16 PM

Well this is the spot. I don't want to be the only one in here talking about various parts of the system! 

 

I miss X. I wish he was here to tell us what he sees. He'd be able to dissect what's happening within the o and d zones much better than I can.

 

Another game! Midterm grades due tomorrow, and uh...procrastination n stuff.



#16 Randall Flagg

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 08:17 PM

Another game! Midterm grades due tomorrow, and uh...procrastination n stuff.

I have an open GRE prep book on the table across the room :P 



#17 Jacque Richard

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 09:13 PM

Far from a tough team

#18 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 10:08 PM

I think a car hit a skunk in the street near my house.

#19 Wyldnwoody44

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 10:10 PM

The system..... put your skates on... Tie your laces..... And lose

#20 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 10:14 PM

The system..... put your skates on... Tie your laces..... And lose


Sounds like the prison system.

#21 Wyldnwoody44

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 10:14 PM

Sounds like the prison system.


Have the Sabres bent over??

#22 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 10:16 PM

Have the Sabres bent over??


Maybe they can find a coach named Ben Dover.

#23 Wyldnwoody44

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 10:16 PM

Maybe they can find a coach named Ben Dover.

With goaltending Coach Hugh Jass

#24 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 10:20 PM

With goaltending Coach Hugh Jass


If Dick Butkus can survive a life with his name, anyone can overcome the odds

#25 Thorny

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 12:12 AM

Maybe they can find a coach named Ben Dover.

  

With goaltending Coach Hugh Jass

  

If Dick Butkus can survive a life with his name, anyone can overcome the odds


All this talk about our terrible system is enough to turn me in to Al Coholic.

#26 That Aud Smell

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 07:29 AM

I didn't see any of the game last night (for which I am grateful), but I very much appreciate this analysis. 

 

I'm going to do what I can to discern what's going on. I'm unqualified to do it, but I am an observant person.

 

And, yes, I miss X. Could use that guy around here right about now.



#27 Touched by Boyes

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 08:11 AM

Thanks d4rk.

Yeah, from what I see these guys know what to do in the zone. I think getting there is 100% the problem. 

From my observations the problem with the zone entries is that the forwards get too far up in the neutral zone (almost to the opponents blue line) when we get possession. So the defenseman with the puck is at our faceoff circle/our blue line and has to make a long pass to our stationary forwards. The only play the forwards have is to deflect it into the zone, which is then easily cleared because we have no momentum to put pressure on the puck retriever. This strategy is especially problematic since I think our defense is one of the poorest outlet passing groups in the league - they just don't have that skillset.

 

I'd much rather see us employ a "Barcelona Soccer" style passing game and transition where we use a lot of high %age short passes to create different angles and have all players coming into the opponents zone with speed as a unit. IMO we would be far more effective utilizing triangle passing concepts and wall passes (give and go) to maintain possession and force the opposing D to back off the blue line. Right now they can stand us up at the blue line without fear because we have no momentum (or team speed) to blow past them.


Offensively, we seem to avoid the slot like the plague. We never pass into it, we just try to pass through it.

When we do gain possession in the offensive zone, we seem to do a lot of cycling below the opponents goal line and then go low to high and pass to the point men. There doesn't appear to be a concerted effort or set plays to get movement and chances in the high percentage scoring areas.



#28 That Aud Smell

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 08:18 AM

^

 

More good stuff.



#29 Randall Flagg

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 09:30 AM

From my observations the problem with the zone entries is that the forwards get too far up in the neutral zone (almost to the opponents blue line) when we get possession. So the defenseman with the puck is at our faceoff circle/our blue line and has to make a long pass to our stationary forwards. The only play the forwards have is to deflect it into the zone, which is then easily cleared because we have no momentum to put pressure on the puck retriever. This strategy is especially problematic since I think our defense is one of the poorest outlet passing groups in the league - they just don't have that skillset.

I'd much rather see us employ a "Barcelona Soccer" style passing game and transition where we use a lot of high %age short passes to create different angles and have all players coming into the opponents zone with speed as a unit. IMO we would be far more effective utilizing triangle passing concepts and wall passes (give and go) to maintain possession and force the opposing D to back off the blue line. Right now they can stand us up at the blue line without fear because we have no momentum (or team speed) to blow past them.

When we do gain possession in the offensive zone, we seem to do a lot of cycling below the opponents goal line and then go low to high and pass to the point men. There doesn't appear to be a concerted effort or set plays to get movement and chances in the high percentage scoring areas.

Good points. It seems that Bylsma forces the forwards to do that and likes the stretch pass - that's his "fast hockey". It's true that the puck goes from behind the goal line to being chipped into the corner faster than anyone could carry it, but I don't think it's a particularly effective brand of "fast".

#30 Touched by Boyes

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 10:06 AM

Good points. It seems that Bylsma forces the forwards to do that and likes the stretch pass - that's his "fast hockey". It's true that the puck goes from behind the goal line to being chipped into the corner faster than anyone could carry it, but I don't think it's a particularly effective brand of "fast".

Since it's also a fast way for the puck to be retrieved and then subsequently cleared by the opponent. It's certainly end to end but it's why we get killed in the possession metrics.



#31 inkman

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 08:43 PM

From my observations the problem with the zone entries is that the forwards get too far up in the neutral zone (almost to the opponents blue line) when we get possession. So the defenseman with the puck is at our faceoff circle/our blue line and has to make a long pass to our stationary forwards.


They aren't getting too far up in the zone, they are going precisely where they are being told to go.

#32 SwampD

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 09:08 PM

I really think y'alls is crazy.

 

 

Dan Bylsma will be fine.

 

 

Whatever you thought you saw on one play happens in every game by every team. I finally watched last nights game expecting a shnizshow. All I saw was hockey. NHL hockey. The difference was that I saw about a thousand passes by the Sabres that didn't connect and a hundred shots that just didn't go in (I know it wasn't a hundred, but we almost doubled them in shots.)

 

The system is fine. We still have a a little too many not quite skilled enough guys on the ice.



#33 Randall Flagg

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 09:19 PM

It's cool to disagree.

But we aren't basing our beliefs on one play, the one I described just was a perfect example. If I tried to do that every time I saw something it would take hours and a dvr, and I have other stuff to do and no dvr.

I watch loads of other teams play hockey, I see every NHL team play at least 3 and up to ~12 games that don't include the Sabres, and draw these Bylsma opinions from these and the 90 games he's had here and dozens I saw in Pittsburgh, not one play last night.

I hope you're right that he's not the problem, but to my eyes it's plain as day what the problem is. I hope my eyes are wrong and they certainly might be.

#34 TrueBlueGED

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 10:00 AM

I really think y'alls is crazy.


Dan Bylsma will be fine.


Whatever you thought you saw on one play happens in every game by every team. I finally watched last nights game expecting a shnizshow. All I saw was hockey. NHL hockey. The difference was that I saw about a thousand passes by the Sabres that didn't connect and a hundred shots that just didn't go in (I know it wasn't a hundred, but we almost doubled them in shots.)

The system is fine. We still have a a little too many not quite skilled enough guys on the ice.


What myself and others are trying to say is those outcomes aren't independent of Bylsma's system, but rather occur because of it. On the passing front, the reliance on hail mary stretch passes for breakouts and movement through the neutral zone causes our players to force a bunch of low percentage stuff that of course isn't going to connect regularly. I missed yesterday's game, but from what everyone has said, there was a focus on carrying the puck through the neutral zone as a team with shorter, higher percentage passes. Lo and behold, the teams ended up even in possession.

#35 SwampD

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 10:08 AM

What myself and others are trying to say is those outcomes aren't independent of Bylsma's system, but rather occur because of it. On the passing front, the reliance on hail mary stretch passes for breakouts and movement through the neutral zone causes our players to force a bunch of low percentage stuff that of course isn't going to connect regularly. I missed yesterday's game, but from what everyone has said, there was a focus on carrying the puck through the neutral zone as a team with shorter, higher percentage passes. Lo and behold, the teams ended up even in possession.

I wasn't talking about long stretch passes. Watch the Mini game again. There were countless 5 to10 ft passes in the neutral zone that just jumped over the stick or bounced off the tape. It was the same system as the game before, they just did it better.


Edited by SwampD, 30 October 2016 - 10:08 AM.


#36 Randall Flagg

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 10:59 AM

I wasn't talking about long stretch passes. Watch the Mini game again. There were countless 5 to10 ft passes in the neutral zone that just jumped over the stick or bounced off the tape. It was the same system as the game before, they just did it better.

This isn't true. There was a huge decrease in the amount of stretch pass chip ins. I counted 8 in the second period of the Wild game, and there were fewer than that against Florida the whole time.

The structure of the game was clearly different. 



#37 dudacek

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 12:09 AM

Not sure what the right thread is for this, but I suppose this is as good as any.

The consensus of this board is that our defence corps sucks.
Haven't seen a lot of people who are all in on Robin Lehner.
And there aren't many fans of Bylsma's system.

Putting aside the 4-0 stinker against Minny, we've allowed four even strength goals in our past seven games.
How?

#38 Taro T

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 10:04 AM

Not sure what the right thread is for this, but I suppose this is as good as any.
The consensus of this board is that our defence corps sucks.
Haven't seen a lot of people who are all in on Robin Lehner.
And there aren't many fans of Bylsma's system.
Putting aside the 4-0 stinker against Minny, we've allowed four even strength goals in our past seven games.
How?


You sure about that?

The consensus seems to be that the D IS NHL caliber but is painfully thin. (4 guys worthy of top 4 status on most teams, though 1 of them is FAR too injury prone to be relied on, and then a solid 3rd pairing guy & a couple of borderline 3rd pairing guys; a big problem being the solid 3rd pairing guy plays on the top pairing. Another problem being the injury prone guy is out injured AGAIN.)

How have they been getting it done?

Lehner is demonstrating he was worth the #1 pick, though he may not be the LT answer between the pipes. (He might be, but the rebound control leaves that a question open for discussion.) I've leaned towards him being an at minimum midterm answer to who should be the #1 guy, but haven't been sold yet on LT. Hope hebis, though.

The D can be NHL caliber, but w/ Bogosian out we could quite possibly see them wear down as at least 12 of his minutes have to get eaten up by the other 5 guys that were regulars (& really, get eaten up by the other 3 true top 4 guys).

Most of the criticism of Bylsma's system has been offensive related (zone entry); that won't manifest itself at 5v5 defensively as much as 5v5 offensively.

They haven't exactly faced a murderers row of opponents yet this year. Let's see how they fare vs the Chicago's of this league.

And w/ all that stated, they're sitting where they need to be while waiting for Eichel to come back. Hopefully they can keep it up, but November will be much more challenging than October was.

#39 dudacek

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 10:39 AM

You sure about that?
The consensus seems to be that the D IS NHL caliber but is painfully thin. (4 guys worthy of top 4 status on most teams, though 1 of them is FAR too injury prone to be relied on, and then a solid 3rd pairing guy & a couple of borderline 3rd pairing guys; a big problem being the solid 3rd pairing guy plays on the top pairing. Another problem being the injury prone guy is out injured AGAIN.).

That's your opinion and my opinion, but I'm not sure it's the board consensus.
What I read about is how bad Gorges and Franson are, how people like Risto and McCabe, but how they aren't as good as they will be and they need to be, and how people are hopping in and out of the Bogo bunker.

I generally agree with your analysis, but even including Minny, that's 8 even strength goal against in the past 8 games.
Pretty impressive stretch that doesn't seem to be getting much attention. Somebody must be doing something right defensively.

Edited by dudacek, 06 November 2016 - 10:48 AM.


#40 Thorny

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 07:15 PM

Our D is looking good for a number of reasons. One is that Ristolainen and McCabe are studs. McCabe's apparent emergence this year is making me downright giddy, as he seems to be realizing the potential he always had, and that really ups the quality of our D corps. When you add in Kulikov, who's been very good, and capable of top pair minutes, we suddenly have the left side of our top 4 figured out. It's a very pleasant development. With Ristolainen, now we nearly have our top 4.

I'm firmly in the Bogo bunker and expect to remain there, as his injury prone-ness is the thing preventing the solidifying of our top 4. He was pretty good before getting hurt, and will be pretty good when he comes back. But he's pretty much guaranteed to miss a big chunk of the season every year, and that's not a viable option in my view. I'm not really worried about the bottom pair going forward, as I think those positions are easier to fill and we have some options in the system.

Credit Bylsma as well, his system is producing very good defensive results.

Lehner absolutely is the answer LT in goal, in my view, and the question of whether he was worth a draft pick, be it a first rounder, has been wholly answered.

Edited by Thorny, 06 November 2016 - 07:16 PM.






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