Originally Posted by Fat Tony
IMO as some of you have stated, its the coaching style that discourages physical play.
If you think about it when a defense man is skating backwards and stick checking he still has momentum enough to spin and transition into offense faster than if he body checks and loses speed and the puck for that matter, slowing the transition game because then the other defense men must skate over retrieve the puck and pass it ahead.
When done correctly, this very thing that is responsible for many of the Lightning's goals.
On the contrary it is also responsible for some of the Lightning's goals against.When yes the better play is to take the body removing the possibility of the opposing player getting a shot off.
In the case that they don't get the puck and transition they are supposed to keep the player to the outside near the boards and depend on the goalie and back checking forwards to help out neutralize the attack.
There are rarely times when a player can do both take the puck on his stick, transition, and take the body at the same time.
Pretty simple stuff...in that regard, and I like that part of the defensive system, but where I see the problem being is once the puck is in the zone.
When they're stuck in their zone and teams cycle the puck around the boards its causing confusion between the Bolt's defense and forwards and then defensive responsibilities go out the window.
This is a product of the Boucher's defensive playing style against the cycle and his encouragement to play all 5 guys on the puck side of the zone opening up space for back door plays but attempting to make it more difficult for the opposition to keep the puck because of lack of numbers in the corners. This is where players like Malone Hall Thompson Downie and Moore excel and "soft" players like Shannon Hedman Connolly Purcell Lecavalier and others don't do so well.
In order to fix this problem, I would like to see a change to the mentality behind the line combinations in order to get both forwards and defense the right roles both offensively and defensively. And to encourage the defense to stay near the net making sure its clear and allowing the forwards to cycle the boards and block shots. Very similar to how the Sharks play if you ever see them they play almost a boxed style 5on5 when in their own zone having the nearest forward follow the puck and the other forwards blocking passing lanes while the defense never leaves the post unless someone is out of position or the opposing forwards aren't near the net.
Still when the lightning are as is if the forwards are being physical in their own zone and blocking shots the bolts have much more success(playoffs, last year). Too much skill style forwards not enough size and their tendencies of flying the zone floating around waiting to go on offense, if you ask me. If you watch players like Stamkos and Connolly in their own end they are constantly standing on the top of the circles waiting to go up ice.
You are correct, in that there are two games under discussion. One is when the guys are coming at you--the other is, if they have position (cycling) on you.
I and many others are talking about the former--and most times that will effect and determine the latter.
And again, I maintain that the thought of being hit will dramatically change the dynamic. Been there, done it, seen it, etc etc.. there is NO substitute for the threat of physical contact when the attacking player is bringing the puck up ice.