I don’t care if it’s effective or not, but the way Guy Boucher coaches his team is bad for hockey. He ruins the game, pure and simple. The trap nearly ruined the game a decade ago, and now he’s brought along an even slower and more boring version of it. I HATE it.
Sure, we all want our team to do whatever is necessary to win games. So if some teams use more of a defensive approach, more power to them. But there’s a right way and a wrong way. And something that makes the game of hockey slow and boring is absolutely the wrong way. Hockey’s appeal is it’s speed. Yeah, we like fighting and goals and wicked saves, but those are all secondary. The most exciting part of a game, for me, is simply when players make plays at high speeds. Whether it’s a one on one move, or some nice passing, or simply end to end rushes, that’s what makes this game so different. It’s all about flow. And Guy Boucher is simply killing it.
Peter Laviolette isn’t the first one who came up with the strategy you see above. First person, I’m pretty sure, was Bruce Boudreau from Washington. And when Tampa gets into their 1-3-1 trap setup, holding the puck and waiting is the right way to attack it. Why the hell should the Flyers skate or pass the puck out and just fall into what the Lightning are trying to do? If they’re going to play boring hockey, I’m more than content to sit back and watch the perfect counter to it. But therein lies the problem with this whole thing.
If the perfect way to play against the 1-3-1 trap is to sit in your zone, practically motionless, and wait for them to forecheck, then we have a problem. Who the hell wants to pay to see that? It’s not why we watch this game. Who wants to see guys on skates standing still? I don’t know what can be done about this. The announcers last night mentioned that the NHL might consider some sort of timer that forces teams to move forward in a given amount of time. I am really, really against that simply because more teams will start trapping and the game will turn a lot more into dump and chase.
Finally, in regards to the fans that were booing last night. All I can do is repeat exactly what I said back in February of this year:
Now, about those dumbass Tampa “fans” and their booing last night. That really set me off. Their team sits back in a boring ass 1-3-1 neutral zone trap. Sitting there, waiting, doing nothing. Not putting any pressure on the Flyers. The same bullshit they pulled on us last time, which we weren’t ready for. So this time, the Flyers sat back in their zone, picked a lane to attack, and then moved the puck at our own pace. Nice and slow, nice and safe. And they have the audacity to boo us for taking our time? No, we’re not going to rush across our blue line just so your team can use their system to beat us. You should be mad at your own team for forcing us to play like that. Your team is slowing the game down, making it boring, not us. You want to get mad, blame your coach. Don’t boo the Flyers because we don’t want to give your guys the damn puck. There’s a reason traditional hockey fans feel that warm weather cities don’t deserve teams, because the fans don’t understand or care about the sport. And you, Tampa fans, helped feed that fire.
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