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Blog Entry

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

Posted on: November 9, 2011 8:35 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 9:30 pm
 
By: Adam Gretz

When Guy Boucher took over as the Tampa Bay Lightning head coach last season and had the team within one game of reaching the Stanley Cup Final, his defense-first, 1-3-1 neutral zone trap was a big part of the team's success. Of course, like any system, it only works as long as the players buy into it. And based on the first period of Wednesday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers, they're committed. Very committed. Incredibly committed.

The Flyers strategy for defeating it? Do absolutely, positively nothing.

It was a bold move that was countered by the Lightning ... doing absolutely, positively nothing.

On a number of occassions in the first period on Wednesday, the Flyers simply refused to advance the puck out of their own zone, while the Lightning refused to apply any pressure on the forecheck. The result is perhaps the most boring highlight in the history of the NHL. This makes the the mid-late 90s clutch-and-grab, dead puck era look like the high-scoring 1980s.



And this happened on multiple occassions. If I had to guess, I would say that at least four-five minutes of the opening period was spent with the Flyers standing around in their own zone, with the Lightning standing around in the neutral zone, all while the paying fans in the stands let loose with a chorus of boos. It should also be pointed out that the Flyers entered the game as the highest scoring team in the NHL on a goals-per-game basis.

Pierre McGuire, who is analyzing the game from between the benches for the Versus Network, said the Flyers bench was standing up and openly mocking the Lightning players for refusing to apply a forecheck.

During a stoppage, McGuire interviewed Boucher and asked him what he told his players, and Boucher's response was simple: "Stick with our plan, not their plan."

Back in March, the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL tried a similar strategy against the Montreal Juniors (video via Twitter).

Brilliant strategy, or an admission that you have no idea how to beat the system? Or do you blame the Lightning for playing such a passive brand of hockey? Either way, if a team is going to try it over the course of an entire game, scoring first would appear to be an absolute must.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: November 11, 2011 11:17 am
 

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

So Philly has the puck and can't figure out how to beat a defense unless that defense does what they think it should do.....  pathetic

I want to see a QB in the NFl take a snap and sit back and do nothing because he doesn't like the defense.

ABSURD to blame TB



Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: November 11, 2011 12:25 am
 

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

Do you really think either Boucher or LaViolette is dumb enough to use their respective tactics for the whole game?  And as I said earlier, get a lead, and then you won't have to worry about it.

But you've left the door open for the team to do just that.

Get an early 1-0 lead and if the team you're playing against is a big underdog, they will sit in the 1-3-1 until late in the game because they're thinking it's better to be only behind 1-0 until 10 minutes are left in the game, rather than risk being down 3 or 4 to nothing by then.

So the favorite justs sits there, stalling with the puck until the other team decides they need that goal ... late in the game.

Don't say it won't happen, because you can see all the boring hockey you want in New Jersey and Nashville. They don't care how they win.

Using this tactic for five minutes is five minutes too long.

If you don't close the loopholes like this, you will have coaches -- like the late Roger Neilson -- take advantage of it. They had to put a rule in the book that a team had to use a goalie in net during shoot-outs, because Neilson would throw a defenseman in net, who would rush out and knock the puck off the shooters stick.

Although in his defense, I'm not sure Neilson would've even done what the Flyers did.

This was bound to happen, given the importance of winning. Time for the NHL to step in and sort it out.



Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: November 11, 2011 12:12 am
 

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

Well, the NHL brass has spoken. An impromptu poll of 18 NHL GM's by TSN had 13 against Tampa not attacking, 3 against Philly not moving the puck and 2 GM's abstained.

What now? Are they going to outlaw the 1-3-1?

Why should they make the defense attack ... but not the offense move the puck?

Again, if we don't have any goals, it's an extremely unentertaining 0-0 game.

It makes no sense to outlaw a defense in the world's fastest team sport.

The fans will settle this when they stop buying tickets.

But this is on the agenda for the NHL GM meeting on Tuesday. Stay tuned.



Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:08 pm
 

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

I don't buy your argument for one second.
You don't have to.  You just have to recognize that both teams' coaches are going to do what they feel they must to win. 
...You'll have to extrapolate "judiciously". One minute of no action? Five? Ten?
Well, it generally means "careful", "well-judged", or the like.  Again, what it takes to win, within reason and within the rules.  Do you really think either Boucher or LaViolette is dumb enough to use their respective tactics for the whole game?  And as I said earlier, get a lead, and then you won't have to worry about it.

Anyway, about everything you said in your last post applies as much to the Lightning as it does to the Flyers.  Aren't the Lightning interested in scoring either?  And how do they plan to, by using that defense against a team that won't bite on it?  So why single out the Flyers for your ridicule?
Bettman is not going to let this go for 30 seconds!
Uh, he sort of has by now, hasn't he? 
And if he does do anything about it for the future, I won't necessarily be upset, as I already said.  But if he does, don't assume that it's only the team with the puck that he'll force to change its ways.
Okay, I'm heading over to the newer article on this subject.  See you there, no doubt.



Since: Apr 28, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:51 pm
 

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

Well that just proves my point you know a minor league level of the game.  I have played professional soccer for 7 years and the details and strategies are so much different then even division I soccer in which I played.  I train and play with Division I players and coaches and their thought processes on how the game are played and taught are so extreme.  So there is a huge difference in the way the game is played and thought of from Minors to the pros.  That is why guys can play into their 40's can still play hockey because of their understanding.  So while I am a Flyers fan and didnt like what the Flyers did last night I cant understand why there is such a difference in what the FANS think and what the PROFESSIONALS think.  Washington and Boston did similar things in a smaller scale last year.  I understand playing to your strengths but that was absurd to watch a team sit back and not play the game the way it is supposed to be played.  And as someone pointed out in another comment, sorry not sure who it was, why is it okay to sit back to prevent a team from scoring but skating around not letting the other team touch the puck a form of preventing the other team from scoring.  For example on a PK situation the team passes the puck all the way back in their own zone and passes around to kill time, do you get upset then?  No because it is a way to prevent the other team from getting the puck and waste time.  So they were both at fault and I will almost always agree with the majority of the professional player in that sport than a minor leaguer or fan.  So that is why I take the some of the blame away from the Flyers and place it more on the Lighting.



Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:28 pm
 

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

I think it is funny that all these arm chair QBs are blaming the Flyers but when it happened the announcers were stating that players from other teams, other NHL officials were blaming TB. If the league is blaming TB, players and such, wouldn't they be the ones that know best and be correct?

These "announcers" are schmucks the U.S. networks found in Poughkeepsie doing play-by-play for Ping Pong.

They don't know their butt from the face-off dot and couldn't find Moose Jaw on a map. Nor do the guys in the production truck who put up mundane stats like a player's average penalty minutes per game. Big deal.

Just watch. Dollars to donuts say it's the Flyers that the NHL takes to the wood shed.

Delay of game penalty on tap for the team WITH the puck who refuses to move it up ice.

You can put this one on your fridge.



Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:21 pm
 

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

I meant real professional players numb nuts. 

Please tell me how exactly the game differs between the NHL and minor hockey? We still use the same pucks, sticks, nets ... and rules.

We certainly can't be talking about speed ...  because the Flyers last night made sure there wasn't any.

HAH!

If you've played the game, your opinion counts. Period. Not so if you're merely an arm-chair quarterback.



Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:01 pm
 

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

Wasn't the 2 line pass eliminated to get rid of the trap defense that NJ used for so many years? So if they changed the rules to eliminate that style of defense wouldn't TB be bending the rules by making the trap even bigger? They essentially remove the dump and chase because of the free safety in their own zone. Then have basically 4 between the blue lines. So what are the Flyers suppose to do?

I think it is funny that all these arm chair QBs are blaming the Flyers but when it happened the announcers were stating that players from other teams, other NHL officials were blaming TB. If the league is blaming TB, players and such, wouldn't they be the ones that know best and be correct?



Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 4:53 pm
 

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

Even more of a reason to not watch hockey anymore. Shanny wants to take big hits out of the game, to young players, now we have a trap back in the game. It shows how much of a genious Bowman really was.



Since: Apr 28, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 4:47 pm
 

Flyers boring strategy for 'beating' 1-3-1 trap

OttawaYankee, I am sure you are a big hockey guy.  I meant real professional players numb nuts.  If you were that knowledgable and good you wouldnt sit on here and post all day.  More importantly my basketball reference was not mine, if you took the time to read.  On the radio this morning a former professional hockey player called in a said that and that is why I put it in quotes moron.



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