Quarter pole report, one game early

Posted: 11/20/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

The Ducks/Wings game on Sunday marks the 20th game of the season. It’s not like our Ducks are going to change anything with one game. To say that their record 6-9-4 is a disappointment is an understatement of staggering proportions. A losing record, slow start or whatever else you want to call it is now an annual ritual.

What is painfully obvious is that nobody has an answer.  So far our Ducks leadership, including and especially Coach Carlyle has focused on the slow starts to games and the PP. He’s talked about lacking grit, will, compete and losing the one on one battles. Sometimes though the obvious, lack of scoring, will, grit etc isn’t always the problem. Sometimes, the obvious is a symptom of something else.

In this case, that something else is puck possession and territorial play. There are reasons but I need to build the case first. We don’t have territorial play stats. We’re being outscored by about a goal per game on average. We’re getting out shot on 31 to 26 on average.  We’re 29th in face off win percentage, 7th in giveaways. 20th in PP efficiency.

Lack of will or passion and PP efficiency might be contributing factors but neither is the cause for our getting losing face offs, getting out shot and out scored so consistently.

Ducks teams have been at a territorial disadvantage throughout the Randy Carlyle era.  RC’s teams look to dominate from the end zone face off dots to the end boards. RC’s teams will happily give you that wide expanse of open ice between the end zone face dots through the neutral zone.

One problem is that this roster isn’t constructed to dominate physically from the high percentage areas to the end boards. With the exception of the RPG Line, this team is built for speed and puck movement. On the back-end Beauchemin, Sbisa and Brookbank are the only hard-nosed players. Foster is trying to be but it’s not his game.

So what does Coach Carlyle do? Rather than simplify the system to a support the puck, out number the opposition at the point of attack while maintaining a short gap between the D and forwards, Coach Carlyle spreads them out and looks for those high risk turnover causing long stretch passes.

One thing that is really hard to do in hockey is to score when the opposition has possession of the puck. It does happen that players will occasionally put the puck in their own net. For the most part though where the game is played and which team enjoys the edge in puck possession is the team that wins the most games.

Focus on puck possession and all the other issues melt away. Hockey is fun when your side has the puck. It’s not so much fun when you have to get the puck back.

Am I hopeful? I was earlier in the season and in camp when Coach was talking about puck possession, transition from the blue line, give and goes and attacking the net. I’m not so hopeful when the GM keeps constructing teams that are unsuitable to executing his coaches system. I’m even less hopeful when the owner rewards mediocrity with contract extensions.

Don’t look now but  Joffrey Lupul, who was never more than a 3rd liner for Randy Carlyle is currently one half of the NHL’s most feared twosome. Yeah Loops is now 3rd in the NHL points race. Jeez, all former Ducks coach Ron Wilson did for Loops was to pair him with a smallish, not so physical sniper with great wheels. it would have been very interesting indeed to see what Loops might have accomplished skating alongside Koivu and Selanne. Randy Carlye never gave him or the Finn Twins that opportunity. And then Bob Murray traded Loops. And then Henry Samueli extended Murray’s contract. And then Murray extended Carlyle’s contract. And now our Ducks really suck.

Ain’t connect the dots fun?

  1. czhokej says:

    You said it before bc, Many former Ducks’ players flourish somewhere else, after not getting the proper treatment (and opportunity) here.

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