Nothing particularly new about this fiasco, the 1-3-1 system. It reflects the dichotomy between winning and entertaining, faced by all NHL teams.
In a perfect world all teams would combine the two, in one package, but all too often, teams that are trying to save money on the salary front, attempt to mitigate the lack of skill by employing a stifling system. The fact that a dynamic team, like the Bolts, are employing this system, is just bizarre. I would think that this roster could win, and entertain, and if just winning is the end result of the season, I doubt it will do the teams coffers any favours in the long run.
To me the end result of boring hockey will solve the issue on its own, as no system is foolproof, and when the gate receipts drop, while the losses still come (even if fewer), something will change.
But what to do in the near term, when facing this system? That’s actually pretty easy to solve.
The 1-3-1 is like any other system, it’s based upon “normal” hockey, and is a reactionary system. The solution is to play abnormal hockey. Don’t play into the 1-3-1’s strengths, utilize its lack of flexibility and predictability. When the puck is in your end, cycle the puck between your two D until the one forechecker stays high on the blue line, all while your forwards line up on the offensive blue line. Once the forechecker is high, have the second D fly the zone, pulling the 4 neutral zone players to one side of the rink. Then have the back D, who has the puck, and time (as there is no forecheck) flip the puck into the offensive zone, over the heads of the defenders, into the corner that the D man is driving.
Now the play is in the offensive zone, right where you want it, and the defending team is reacting to you, in their zone, not the neutral zone.
Do this every time you have the puck in your zone. It will look ridiculous, highlight the weakness of playing a rigid system, and, through its oddity, be quite entertaining to watch, in the short-term.