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The Habs Defensive Gaps, Burrish, and Cages

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Coaches teach their defenseman to have good gaps.  And they don’t just advise it – they spend entire practices making the d-men make a play in their own zone, sprint to the far blue line, then pivot and take a rush coming back into their end, in order to emphasize tight gaps.  You have to be coming back with the play.  Leaving too much room allows the forwards to cross, be creative, and play patient, which would be more likely to happen if they pivoted at center instead of getting all the way up to the blue.

This is an awesome thing the Habs do.

And they should work on that. I loved when d-men had bad gap.  (There’s a good tip for you rec hockey d-men.  If you’re a sufficient backward skater, don’t back off so deep and give oncoming forwards any freedom.  If you keep your stick on the puck – just anywhere near it – most guys will find a way to lose it to you)

But is it just me, or is Montreal more effective when their gaps are worse?

I feel like no long shots are getting through Halak, so when they sag, they’re able to block shots and clear out rebounds better, without getting roasted wide.  It’s a horrible style of hockey, looks sloppy, and is playing with fire.  But when you’re team is, um, not all that good, you have to roll the dice on occassion.

Anyway, whatever, good on ‘em for getting back in the series.  I’m just spit-ballin’ here.

{Coming soon: BOURNE’S COLUMN ON SHOT-BLOCKING, AND OF COURSE, LES HABITANTS EFFECTIVE USE OF IT}

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This is late, and I tweeted about it the other day, but was having a laugh with a buddy I used to play with:

Adam Burrish calling Shane O’Brien a “spot-picker” in the paper last round was kinda funny, just cause…. Really, Burrish?  You’re a heavy now?  I mean, he’s tough(er than me), but really?

Big Bad Burrish

What’d he say again, something along the lines of “if he wants to fight someone, come find me or Benny (Eager)”?  Does he think he’s in Eager’s weight class?  I mean, I’m not one to care about this stuff all that much, we were just laughing, like, when did he get promoted from “physical and effective” to “NHL heavy”?  O’Brien would do just fine against him.

I should point out that I liked the guy in college, and I totally respect his game… it’s just… SayWhatNow?

{UPDATE: Found the interview, may have lost a leeeettle respect here.}

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Not sure if you read James Mirtle’s article on Tkachuk’s horrible, messy dental work he’s had to go through since breaking his upper jaw (amongst other things in his mouth), but it reminded me a bit of the lower jaw shattering party I held in my face last year.

It’s an interesting read, and led me to a column I’ll be taking on soon – basically, I think full cages are worse for concussions, so where do we go from here?  Somebody needs to create some new technology, because the game isn’t going to get any slower and the guys aren’t going to get smaller.  If you have any info that you think would be relevant to a column like that (or contrary to it), feel free to fire it my way at jtbourne@gmail.com.   Thanks!

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If you’re not following me on Twitter yet, hop on - I’ll be firing out links to more of my work on there today.  And as for tonight, Game Three, in the United Center….

I’m calling an overtime San Jose Sharks victory.  Joe Pavelski.  On the powerplay.  Off a rebound.  Nothin’ too specific.

Comments

7 Responses to “The Habs Defensive Gaps, Burrish, and Cages”
  1. mikeB says:

    No broken jaw or anything but I had to get 2 root canals done (they decided not to do a third for some reason) while wearing a full cage and a mouth guard. Its not like the stop everything, especially when you wear them improperly, like every single person who wears one does (incl myself).

    Rec-Hockey D-men, play with a stick that is 2-3 inches longer than you played with when you were younger, or 2-3 inches longer than it should be, it’ll take some time to get used to but 95%+ forwards do size up a D and estimate stick length as to how close the puck can get to him without them losing it. Longer stick = more terrible judgments by forwards.

  2. Joe G. says:

    I had to chuckle at your comments about Burish. He seems to be well-liked in Chicago, and a lot of his act seems to be a way to set himself up with some media opportunities when he’s done playing, but a lot of what he says makes you go “Eh?” Even the part of looking for Eager along with him, I never seemed to get the impression anyone is scared of Eager. I still remember watching a game shortly before the Hawks got him where he cheap shot Georges Laracque with an elbow, somehow managed to avoid a fight with Laracque, taunted Laracque while Laracque was sitting in the penalty box, turned around to skate to his bench, and 41 year old Gary Roberts grabbed him and beat the shit out of him. Even now when I see him jawing with guys, they seem to pretty much ignore him or wave him off. They both hustle and throw a few checks, but it’s not like O’Brien is avoiding them for fear of getting tuned up by either one of them.

  3. Char says:

    Running off to work so I don’t have time to hunt around, but isn’t their some newer sort of mouthguard around these days that supposedly helps prevent concussions?

    “I loved when D-men had bad gap” – that sounds vaguely dirty, somehow…

  4. Steve C. says:

    Darren McCarty (?) was on Versus/Hockey Central without his teeth again…WUWT?

  5. GregO'Maine says:

    This is apropos of nuttin but I just wanted to share this quote I read in The New Yorker of all places (thats right beeotches, I am VERY cultured):

    Freddy (The Fog) Shero, their (the Flyers) head coach in the seventies, used to tell his players, “Take the shortest route to the puck and arrive in ill humor.”

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/hockey/#ixzz0ofrRTxNM

  6. Anna S. says:

    So, I know you already wrote up your opinions on Game 4 of the WCF for Puck Daddy, but I’d be interested to see you more specifically address what it feels like in the handshake line, either from the winner or the loser’s perspective. I know I watch the video of the handshakes several times, trying to work out the dynamics of what guys are feeling at the time, but I’d be really intrigued to hear about it from the perspective of a player. What’s going through your head when you have to grit your teeth and make nice with the other team?

  7. Jeff says:

    O’Brien has more than “just fine” against Burish in the past, which is interesting. He pounded on him last season.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NcfJ5gL84Y

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