Senators Get Committed.


This is why they won.

It wasn’t harder work, or even smarter work.

It was commitment to making the play.

For the previous 6 games Ottawa players frequently found themselves in the right position, initiating the right play, but then bailing on it, and taking the pressure off of the opposition in favour of taking a defensive posture.

Basically, instead of playing an assertive game, they played a passive game. Even worse, they played a passive game, while implementing an assertive system.

Last night, versus the Sabres, Ottawa doggedly stuck to the game plan, through the first 2 periods. They refused to back off of puck battles, they chased down opposition players in the defensive zone, and they took advantage of shooting opportunities, come where they may, knowing a line mate would be charging the front of the net to capitalize on any rebound.
Then, in the third, they reverted to the passive game, and the shot clock, if not the scoreboard, screamed the result of this poor decision.

However, the reversion can be understood, as the Sens feared losing the lead, in a tight game, versus a divisional rival.
But the fact remains, you don’t do what put you into a bad position, instead of doing what put you into a good position.

But it’s a catch-22.

You need to win in order to develop the confidence to play an aggressive system when “protecting” a lead.

When you don’t win, it is near impossible to play an aggressive vs defensive game.

The Sens haven’t been winning, thus have not been committing to the system, and then not winning…repeat.

Now, after 2 great periods of play, and then white knuckling through a 3rd period which saw them completely dominated, hopefully the Sens have earned some confidence in doing what it takes to win, and learned the result of not doing what it takes to win, all without it actually costing them anything.

As the Spartan saying went “come home with your shield, or on it”.

Over an 82 game season, to lose while playing to win, will breed more success than to win playing not to lose.

GN

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6 Responses to “Senators Get Committed.”

  1. I think it is common practice in the NHL to play a 1 – 4 trap in third when you have the lead (e.g. Pittsburgh vs Ottawa this year). As the tactic works the vast majority of the time I don’t think the shots on net reflect a “passive” attitude on the part of the Sens but rather an implementation of a successful strategy.

    Personally I hate the use of the trap (Damn you Jacques and Lou – may you never be allowed into the HHOF!!). I think there should be an “illegal defense” penalty as in the NBA whenever the trap is employed – i.e. whenever the puck is behind the “ringette line” there must be at least two opposing players inside the blue line. More space would be created and there should be more flow and consequently more scoring chances.

    Fat Chance – but one can dream!

    • I get what you’re saying, and agree, to a point.
      The difference, to me, is that the Sens are completely fore-going offense, and playing a purely reactive game, allowing the opposition just too much control over the play.
      I have no issue with playing a more guarded game, but not one that is little more than stacking up in front of the net trying to block shots and dump out the puck.
      GN

      • I agree the trap is very passive but unfortunately is very effective for protecting leads. When it first arrived on the scene, it used to generate counter-attack opportunities but now trams know how to attack it without giving up the odd man rushes going the other way – and so now is a very passive defense that probably can’t last three periods but can be sustained for one i.e. the third

        In the day (circa 2007) Ottawa used a flex trap where the forwards would fore-check if there was an opportunity and peel back if there was not – but I suspect given our current roster of D-man that the forwards are reluctant to get caught up ice and now simply fall back to clog up lanes, zones etc – but this reduces scoring opportunities even further

        Maybe the return of Kuba will give the forwards more faith in their desire to gamble on a fore-check when they are defending a lead – one thing is almost certain – we won’t be seeing much of Lee when Kuba returns

  2. You have to think the Sens were following Coach CC’s plan in the third. You don’t just take your foot of the pedal when your going 200 mph. (unless there is a tree in front of you :), or the coach tells you to back off).

    I’ll admit that strategy is very much employed at the NHL level. These guys are sooo fit, it must be coaching to some degree, and the rest chance, i.e. puck luck.

    KJ

    • I’d love to agree, really I would, but can you explain why they played exactly the same in their losses?
      I chalk it up to a fear of losing.
      GN

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