Foligno, The Details & Those Little Intangibles

Posted: 11/10/2010 by bc in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Note: Indulge a long set up and intro. This piece does address the headline, eventually and hopefully thoroughly;

Eric Stephens of the OCR has a well worth reading blog about resiliency. Check out this ADHN video and compare Carlyle’s answers to the same question.

With Ice, Elmer is hedging his bet. On the video he’s adamant.

Randy Carlyle’s supporters just don’t get why so many of us find him confusing. Jeez coach, where the heck is that resiliency widget? Do they have it? Or is it outside, in the parking lot maybe?

During recent games…Brian Hayward has been pointing out numerous changes in the system.  Last night he even went so far as to say the Masterton Line is really a puck possession line. Holy jumpin’ a year ago a comment like that could get a color analyst banished to The Element.

Hazy also pointed out how the D is protecting Hiller’s weak side allowing him challenge shooters and protect against the cross-ice pass through the crease.

Bobby Ryan has spoken about opening up the offense being allowed to attack the net off the rush. He even said this allows them to be more creative and less predictable.

Commenters on this blog have noted the new net presence at both ends of the rink. How we’re attacking the opposing net with speed instead of wash, rinse, repeat, I mean dump, chase, cycle. Sorry mixed up my mindless chores. We’re witnessing more lateral puck movement and give and goes.

I have noted, here and elsewhere that our Ducks are boxing out in our own end, playing the zones more responsibly, getting sticks and bodies into the passing lanes and blocking shots. There is both a willingness and ability to compete for inside position at both ends of the rink. The forwards are picking up their checks and staying with them.

Taken individually and separately, as we tend to do in the day-to-day discussions regarding our Ducks, these changes are small and subtle. When considered in total, it is something quite different. It’s more than subtle tweaks to the system.

There are but two changes from last season to now that can account for all these changes. One our new shot blockers on the blue line are big and strong enough to box out. The other change is that Mike Foligno has been added to the coaching staff.

When Carlyle brought Foligno in, he talked about the need for a different voice. Carlyle didn’t talk about changing the system.  Where Carlyle deserves credit, by accident or design, is for allowing the change. Most head coaches wouldn’t have permitted it.

Another change that coincides with the arrival of Mike Foligno it the focus on priorities. For two years we watched an endless exhibition of stupid, selfish penalties. We saw a team that couldn’t or wouldn’t skate for 60 minutes.

Even last season Randy Carlyle waited until early December before he instituted even minor changes to the system. Last season Murray waited until mid-December, IIRC, to give his Yosemite Sam Carlyle is the coach and that  changing rant and threaten to trade everybody and their mothers.

From the first of the season until now we are witnessing before our eyes, the parts that become those intangible building blocks that allow any hockey team to catch lightning in a bottle.

Those intangibles are sacrifice, discipline, trust and resiliency. What these intangibles create is chemistry.

Sacrifice is putting yourself in positions where you will get pasted and pay price to create a scoring opportunity or prevent one.

Discipline, and we’re seeing it, is not retaliating to the cheap shot. It’s keeping the negative emotions in check and not becoming overwhelmed in anger and rage. Discipline is simply keeping your head out there.

Trust. Maybe a no better, in our face example is the trust developing between Jonas Hiller and the D. Trust is knowing your teammate will be there. Another example of trust is all the no look passes we’re seeing. It’s Teemu getting on his wheels because he knows the puck will be there. It’s Lydman or Fowler drawing an opponent to them before dishing the biscuit to his partner.

This is still an emotionally fragile hockey team. It is not as fragile as it was even two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, even one week ago, one bad break led to 2-3-4 goals for the other team. That isn’t happening right now. These Ducks give up a goal and regroup. These Ducks are regrouping after a bad shift.

Even Randy Carlyle is using his timeouts effectively.

Right now you can see it all these intangibles just beginning to come together. When these intangibles fall into place, we have clichés like playing over their heads and catching lightning in a bottle. These clichés are off the mark and miss point entirely.

The reason you know it’s beginning to come together? The guys are winning ugly. Different guys are stepping up each night. Different parts of the team are stepping up. The team doesn’t need everything to go right in order to win.

When sacrifice, discipline, trust and resiliency come together it proves one of Aristotle’s laws of physics, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

It’s so special and so rare that when it does happen it only looks like lightning in a bottle.

  1. wildwing8 says:

    I like what you said about the guys winning ugly. It’s totally true because a few if these have just been poorly played games by the Ducks, but yet they’re still finding ways to win. I definitely like where things are going for this team. Great post btw. I like how you analyzed all that.

  2. czhokej says:

    OK, there is a winning streak. We have started being a little bit more optimistic. There have been some improvements. But do you like our game ? Why almost every team outshoots us by 2:1 ratio. I cannot identify the main problem.
    I am glad that you have noticed Ryan’s comment about creating chances from the rush. You have mentioned it several times (shortest way to the goal is a straight line).

    We are still only two-line team. I am not convinced yet, and I still have serious doubts about RC.

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey czhokej, no I don’t like our game yet either. I like our intangibles and how the team is coming together and creating it’s own group dynamic.

      Using the phrase ‘group dynamic’ because our Ducks are just not far along enough to use words like personality or identity.

      And yeah cz, we’re still only a two line team. These guys make a ton of mistakes. Hockey doesn’t have to be played perfectly though, just effectively.

      Remember the song?

      If you want to be happy for the rest of your life,
      Never make a pretty woman your wife
      So from my personal point of view
      Pick an ugly girl to marry you.

      Our Ducks are the ugly girl in that oldie but goody 😉

  3. bbdux93 says:

    Thanks for a great article.
    Regarding Carlyle’s acceptance of Foligno, I don’t think he had any choice, there were too many sites that had him in real danger of loosing his job unless things changed.

    While I have often been frustrated with the poor performance of our team(s) over the past 3 years, I can see a big improvement in this group starting with fewer penalties and a better PK.

    Watching Sbisa last night gave me hope that our defense will become effective again and soon I hope. Do I expect them to be as good as ’06 – ’07 no, but they do seem to be improving from the beginning of this year.

    Offensively – which was so highly touted at the start of the year needs to see an improvement starting with fewer bad passes by our top line.

    Winning ugly is still winning, but does make me worry a bit. I’ll keep watching for that “lightning in a bottle”.

  4. zseller says:

    Interesting read and some insightful responses.
    I am amazed at how down so many people are on Carlyle.
    Other than Babcock this guy is without a doubt the best coach the Ducks have had. Would anyone want to see Craig Hartsburg back here?
    I can live with what he does as he has been successful. Is it a great product everynight, no but he needs to work with the horses he has.
    I can take him for another 5 years or more. I do wish that the Ducks would get a better color guy on the radio as Dan Wood leaves a lot to be desired. Hopefully he will improve as did Jim Fox with the Kings.

    • bbdux93 says:

      Dan Woods seems to be liked by managment – I guess – but listening to him makes me cringe. Actually, I’ve got their timing pretty close now so when it’s his turn to speak I just shut off my sound.

      Comparing coaches – Pierre Paget was maybe our worst. I think what most people here complain about with RC is his inability to adapt to the changes that other teams have made when playing us – our game is too predictable.

      • zseller says:

        Maybe you can invent an ap for my IPhone that I can use with my radio when I have to listen to the games instead of watching them.
        It is not just the sound of his voice but also the comments that he thinks are funny that would not be funny in a Vegas lounge act after a bottle of Tequilla.
        Hopefully this experiment will end in the near future or he will improve immensly.

    • BackCheck says:

      hey zseller, is comparing coaches the best way to measure a coach? If it is, I agree 100% with your post. I’m a believer in work is measured by what’s accomplish though.

      If we measure a coach by what he accomplishes with the talent he’s given, we get a different answers. A great current example is the Rags under Tom Renney and John Tortorella.

      Torts has the resume that includes a Stanley Cup ring and a Jack Adams Trophy but Renney who doesn’t accomplished more with essentially the same team and arguably less considering Gaborik.

      In this context, measuring a coach by what he accomplished with the quality of his talent, is Randy Carlyle any better than say Ron Wilson?

      He was only behind the bench for one year but in that one year Bryan Murray made talent assessments that essentially J.S. Giguere and Mike Babcock brought to within one game of the Stanley Cup.

      Whenever I read pro-Carlyle blogs I come away feeling that the blogger credits Carlyle for WCF & SC but blames the players for the failures of the recent 3 seasons. I’m inviting you to correct my inference. A person can infer what wasn’t implied.

      Can we revisit Big Sexy? Yeah, you’re right. Martin St. Louis is a stretch based on what Dan Sexton has shown to date. We could be looking at another Stanislav Chistov.

      Sometimes my heart rules my head. I’m a sucker for a Little Train That Could story. We haven’t seen the last of Sexton though. Touch wood?

      • zseller says:

        It would be hard to compate Carlyle to anyone at this point with regards to the Ducks as he has been the coach for the last several seasons and it does not appear that there is going to be a change at least in the near future.
        I have heard a few things from a few sources that would lead me to believe that he can be abrasive. With that said if he produces he will still be here, if not he will be gone. At some point in time you get to the point where you have to make a change and it is easier to do it with the coach than the players as a whole.
        In reading your blog, I am going to make the assumption that you are not 100% sold on RC, correct me if I am wrong.
        I enjoy reading about the sport and think that I am able to sift out what is wieghted with emotion versus what is reality. Bottom line is that neither of us will have the complete insight as neither of us (here I go assuming again) are there with the team everyday to get the flavor of what the players are thinking.
        The 03 run was magical and I could see where that could happen to someone again this year from the West. You need to get on a roll when you make the round of 16 and hope that the pixie dust carries you to 16 wins. I truly believe that if the Ducks did not have to wait as long as they did for the Finals to start they would have won in 03. I think that the waiting woke them up from the dream and they realized where they were.
        I do not know if I am pro RC but he did play a part in both 06 &07. I think the part a coach plays is getting the most out of each of his players. RC was helped by outstanding talent in 06 & 07. Pronger pushed them over the edge.
        I think that this year he is either gettting lucky or is doing a better job of coaching as this team has far less talent but is winning games of late.
        As for RW he was great for what the Ducks had at that time, a group of guys that were put together as an expansion team and where just not trying to be embarassed. I would guess that as I describe below about players a coach can be at the wrong place at the wrong time as well as at the right place at the right time. Herb Brooks was the best coach for the 1980 Olympic team. Joel Quenville is a very good coach who was fired in St Louis but wins a Cup in Chicago. Life is all about timing.
        As for Sexy, he is my wifes and one of friends favorite player. I think that it is becuase they are about the same height. I think that he is liked by someone in the organization so I think he will be back.
        He might be like Jason Blake, he was a King and did not show near the potential as to what he produced on LI or even with Toronto.
        Sometimes a player has to leave a system to find a system that fits his talents. Do you think that Francois B would have been traded by Columbus if they knew he would be the force he was with the Ducks?
        Some guys will always have it like Selanne or Thornton, others can be a flash in the pan or move to a new team and blossom. No guarantees that they would blossom if they stay with the original team.

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