Last night in Tampa, the Flyers were in town to take on the Bolts. After the first draw this happened:
Essentially, the Lightning have a defensive ‘trap’ set up where three dudes are on the red line, one dude is in the defensive zone, and the 5th dude is out front doing a really limp-wristed job of forchecking.
On the one hand, it is a good system. Any play that tries to move through the neutral zone gets gang-banged by 4 of the 5 dudes. The trap has been around for years and it has proven it’s worth. On the other hand, what the Lightning’s trap is doing is being so passive that they just wait for the puck to be put into play by the other team. The Flyers here, and the Capitals last playoffs, realized this and stopped being aggressive themselves. What we got with that was a stand still. Nobody doing anything. Just 12 guys out there on the ice wearing funny shoes.
There is buzz in the hockey world right now about how legitimate this 1-3-1 system is. Philly defenseman Chris Pronger says, ‘that’s not hockey’, but technically speaking it’s not against the rules. It is, however, very boring. If every team played like that, the entire sport would crumble because no one would want to watch a game where half the time people were just standing around doing nothing.
But a game is a two way street. What the Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told his players was to wait for the Lightning players to attack, knowing full well that they wouldn’t. It’s like he was tattling on the Lightning because he doesn’t like they’re game. Who cares Pete? You should play your game and not be worried about showing the fans that you don’t like how the other guy plays. Plus, it’s not like the system is unfair to play against. Tampa is 23rd in the league in goals against with 45.
My least favorite thing about this game was that it was on national tv last night. I could understand if it was just the local guys covering it, but everyone with a tv and cable potentially could have seen this slow, boring, stalemate. That’s not a good way to showcase hockey.