The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey Team

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The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey Team

Postby RxBandit66 on Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:48 am

I may be beating a dead horse here...but not the the extent that Dan Bylsma has been beating a dead horse throughout his coaching tenure in Pittsburgh.

Given the Penguins' skill level, they could be so much more successful if they went to more of a trapping system that emphasized a quick transition, as the team is so good at scoring off the rush.

The Canadiens of the 1970's and the Red Wings of the 90's and 2000's had this down to a science. And they were dominant. But by emphasizing three of the most idiotic tactics in the history of NHL coaching, Bylsma manages to negate his team's greatest strengths:

1) The long stretch passes. Teams can see these coming from a mile away, and the Pens give their opponents short ice and an easy transition to offense. Any team with speed and hustle can defeat them.

2) Refusing to match lines. This is absurd. It's like a teacher who doesn't believe in giving grades. Either Bylsma simply doesn't know how, or he refuses. Either of those two are equally unforgivable.

3) The buddy-buddy system. By creating a country club atmosphere and taking the attitude that "we can impose our will and beat anybody," Bylsma opens the door for an emotional collapse at the first sign of adversity. It was true in Sochi, true with the Penguins.

Sid and Geno can't do it all. Two aging defenders can't shut down the league's top players every night. A well-coached system can. There is only one man behind the Pens bench who can lead this team to the promised land, and his name is Jacques Martin.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby Kovy27 on Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:58 am

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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby Beveridge on Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:24 am

I can't wait till we have a new coach and people realize it isn't all on coaching. Should be fun times for reading.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby sniper on Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:40 am

Fans for every team in the league think their coach sucks. Every coach does things wrong throughout a season. They all have their strength and weaknesses. You can replace dan and whoever replaces him will have strengths and weaknesses too. They will be different ones in all likelihood but they will still leave something to complain about.

As far as the penguins system. They are supposed to be playing the left wing lock and some times you can see it, but far too often lately we really haven't been able to. I don't know if that's the injuries causing a lack of chemistry or not. The long stretch passes are fine when it's available. They clearly need to have several methods of moving the puck up the ice though that they can go to when teams take that away.

I don't think Dan believes in matching lines for the most part. At least not with this team, especially on the road. The last two home games against Montreal he did make an effort to have Malkins line out against Subban instead of Crosby and it worked very well. I think he believes those two are good enough to play through it and especially when on the road that trying to match lines will screw up his own team. It's definitely something he needs to work on. I think he has made some progress in this area as the Montreal example shows.

As for the country club thing. They probably are a little too friendly with the team, but if you go to far in the opposite direction you probably only last 2 years per team. This is the best team in the east despite having far and away the most injuries in the league. The fact is Dan Bylsma is one of if not the top candidate for coach of the year. He's doing something right, but he certainly isn't without his flaws.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby mikey287 on Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:48 am

People really obsess about the line matching thing. Bylsma is a situation matcher, but he's not a line matcher. And that's ok. Especially when you have two of the best centers in the league.

See, the flip side of line matching is you prevent players from getting into a rhythm and they have to think about another aspect and be looking out for someone else. It's like in elementary school and there's a bully and you have to be always looking around making sure he doesn't see you and your lunch money. It's an uncomfortable feeling, it creates on-ice paranoia almost...and if the players aren't used to it or into it, it disrupts a bench.

I'm not much of a line matcher myself, but I do it when the situation calls for it. Usually when we're over-matched or there's a particular player that's known to be better than the rest and my best. That's a situation that will never occur in Bylsma's mind and he's not incorrect.

We should know by now that we have at least one "rhythm" player in Sidney Crosby. He's like Peyton Manning, the more times he can get a good shift in a row, the more times the next one will be better. Bye weeks are the devil's piss. We saw it, too, when Mike Babcock choked down on the bat and gave Crosby 15, 17 minutes per night (well, morning for most of us) and it just wasn't quite the same player. Effective because he's the best, but not dominant in his usual way. He needs a little longer shift, a few extras. And Bylsma does a pretty good job managing his time and he grants him (and Malkin) these extra shifts on the fourth line and sometimes on the PK and where ever he can fit them to keep them fully engaged...

When you start line-matching, it disrupts flow. And sometimes players get upset with it. I've done it and had my bench reaction both ways to it, and sometimes you lose your own star player to frustration and other factors because you're watching, he's watching, players are calling him off to put out a third liner...and it's taxing mentally...

In our situation, we're essentially (and I'm simplifying) saying "ok, Reemer, Bozak and Kess just jumped...ok, Goc and Sutter, you call off Malkin and Neal..." now, that's gonna happen for about a third of the game...that's uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable for the third line who isn't used to this, it's uncomfortable for Malkin and Neal, it's just uncomfortable...

You saw it in the Boston/Toronto series from last year...Zdeno Chara, who relishes these opportunities, left defensemen, so you know he's going against the right wing Phil Kessel. And Chara stands at the end of the bench, looking over, he knows his assignment, when 81 jumps, he calls off Boychuk or whoever and goes...and the players know it, and they're into it, and it makes sense because a probable HHOFer is jumping for a second pairing or worse d-man...that's ok...that's their style...they don't have Crosby and Malkin, they have a bunch of "next tier" guys that make it a deep team, but not top heavy...

For us, it's not quite the same...Martin/Orpik, sure, that's fine. And I think Martin is good for it, but Orpik at this point, I don't know that to be the case...Sutter is a very good player and so is Goc and the whole deal, but they aren't Patrice Bergeron...

"So you're saying because we don't have maybe the best defensive defenseman of the era and maybe the best shutdown center of the era, that we shouldn't match lines...? Yeah, real good point..."

No, not necessarily. It's just an example...but we're not a team that's really made for match game...we should be trying to dictate that matchup to disrupt other benches...keep Kessel on the bench because Jay McClement gets Malkin...Bolland gets Crosby...get those guys to combine for 41 minutes and see what we can do...because that will keep Kadri away, right? The first line is going to get time, somehow, but maybe that next wave of Kadri and Macey Raymond and Lupul and those guys, maybe they get lost in the match game and they end up with 11 minutes...9 minutes...whatever...

But we're not a line match team, I don't think we should be expected to be and I don't think it's a terrible detriment to our success...there's other things that are more important to gripe about it tactically...I think we'll never be over-matched with our top two centers, so that's why I think we're okay on that front...
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby shmenguin on Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:07 am

Bergeron owned Sid last year. Sid needs to get away from Bergeron. Seems pretty simple.

This line matching thing isn't an issue...until it is. We're fortunate it didn't bite us in 09 when Sid was totally neutered by Babcock's matchups, just like last year. So it's generally overblown, but you need to have the ability to acquire breathing room for your stars, even if it's only for a little while.

I'll take a lack of continuity over the junky crap we've seen too often from sid's line once things get real.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby The Current One on Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:41 am

Bylsma should have been canned after last year's debacle. As if the Flyers series wasn't enough, he was completely outclassed by Julien. The Olympics were another failure, from the best team in the tournament, to a passive approach against Canada. Anyone else see a pattern here?
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby Pitt87 on Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:44 am

shmenguin wrote:Bergeron owned Sid last year. Sid needs to get away from Bergeron. Seems pretty simple.

This line matching thing isn't an issue...until it is. We're fortunate it didn't bite us in 09 when Sid was totally neutered by Babcock's matchups, just like last year. So it's generally overblown, but you need to have the ability to acquire breathing room for your stars, even if it's only for a little while.

I'll take a lack of continuity over the junky crap we've seen too often from sid's line once things get real.


We will never see a playoff game against the Pens where a team doesn't have a plan to prevent Sid and Geno from breaking the game open, if they can prevent it. Thats why depth, and the coaching of depth players, is important. That is certainly a strength that HCDB possesses. The biggest difference between DB and Babs is the tactical stuff that can get you one or two quick chances to net a goal in a tight game, or get you that first goal in a game your losing by a couple. We rely heavily on Tony Granato for that.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby no name on Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:49 am

As far as i can see in 09 we played a much more defensive style and won the cup. Heck we beat Detroit matching the style that Detroit played. It worked we had a much different line up then also. You might even say it was a weaker line up than the one we have now. We had defensive dmen who didn't jump up in the play at will.

WHat happened?? What could of changed. Dan implimented his own style and got a way from what Therian tought. See Detroit and Threians systems are based on chances. If you have a bad team who plays a defensive style they can win they just have to capitalize on a the 10 good chances you get a night. If you have a good skilled team playing a defensive style they can capitalize on more of thoes 10 opportunities.

As much as we see a left wing lock system or some sort of defensive style. It doesn't help when your players play it with a run and gun attitude. That s kinda of mentality the players have comes from the coach, THerians players understand its a defence first system. And when your coach says we want to play the entire game in our offensive zone and get out of the defensive zone as fast as we can, its no wonder why our player think its an offensive system.

Dan just needs to get back to 09 hockey.
Last edited by no name on Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby dixonyy18 on Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:50 am

another freaking Bylsma thread...unreal
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby columbia on Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:50 am

Beveridge wrote:I can't wait till we have a new coach and people realize it isn't all on coaching. Should be fun times for reading.


I don't have a strong opinion on DB, but I tend to agree with this.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby no name on Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:59 am

columbia wrote:
Beveridge wrote:I can't wait till we have a new coach and people realize it isn't all on coaching. Should be fun times for reading.


I don't have a strong opinion on DB, but I tend to agree with this.


Wait a second, are you guys suggesting that no matter who is coach we will complain about not winning the cup??? You might be onto something here.

I do enjoy a good coach bashing every once in a while.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby pcm on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:01 am

mikey287 wrote:it makes sense because a probable HHOFer is jumping for


We've got 2.... ?

You use an example that goes against your argument. I know you know this, but line matching isn't necessarily a defensive tactic.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby headh on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:06 am

dixonyy18 wrote:another freaking Bylsma thread...unreal



why exactly do you think they unravel?
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby headh on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:10 am

columbia wrote:
Beveridge wrote:I can't wait till we have a new coach and people realize it isn't all on coaching. Should be fun times for reading.


I don't have a strong opinion on DB, but I tend to agree with this.



If not coaching why do you think the Penguins have a tendency to collapse defensively?
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby IanMoran on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:12 am

The debate, of coaches of great teams, in any sport is always, how much credit does ____ coach "can any coach have won 6 championships with lineup Phil Jackson?" Db is the answer to that question. I'm sorry, I truly believe almost any NHL coach could have regular season success he's had. This team has underachieved, consistently when coaching matters more

I get the dont have to match lines every game, but when he just lets a team get the exact strategy / matchup they want, and it's worked for 3 straight games....
Last edited by IanMoran on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby headh on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:12 am

pcm wrote:
mikey287 wrote:it makes sense because a probable HHOFer is jumping for


We've got 2.... ?

You use an example that goes against your argument. I know you know this, but line matching isn't necessarily a defensive tactic.



I think his overall point is that other teams should have to "match" our superior firepower and that line matching is a strategy employed by teams who need to make up for having less talent.....I think. I like your point thought and I am interested in his response
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby shmenguin on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:15 am

no name wrote:As far as i can see in 09 we played a much more defensive style and won the cup. Heck we beat Detroit matching the style that Detroit played. It worked we had a much different line up then also. You might even say it was a weaker line up than the one we have now. We had defensive dmen who didn't jump up in the play at will.

WHat happened?? What could of changed. Dan implimented his own style and got a way from what Therian tought. See Detroit and Threians systems are based on chances. If you have a bad team who plays a defensive style they can win they just have to capitalize on a the 10 good chances you get a night. If you have a good skilled team playing a defensive style they can capitalize on more of thoes 10 opportunities.

As much as we see a left wing lock system or some sort of defensive style. It doesn't help when your players play it with a run and gun attitude. That s kinda of mentality the players have comes from the coach, THerians players understand its a defence first system. And when your coach says we want to play the entire game in our offensive zone and get out of the defensive zone as fast as we can, its no wonder why our player think its an offensive system.

Dan just needs to get back to 09 hockey.


i'm sure there's some tactical stuff that's different, but effectively, i don't see much of a departure from 09. we beat up on junk teams (carolina in 09, ottawa in 13), we're susceptible to getting lured into shootouts with fast paced teams that could have easily knocked us out (washington in 09, nyi in 13) and we have issues when the other team isn't interested in scoring, and only cares about tormenting sid and geno (detroit in 09, boston in 13). the one clear difference is that, since the cup, this team has taken their brat mode to a whole new plain, so instead of stepping up in an intense series, they combust (philly in 09 vs philly in 12). and of course we have swill in the bottom 6 as opposed to the best 3rd line in hockey. that's enough right their to alter our fate.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby IanMoran on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:18 am

headh wrote:
pcm wrote:
mikey287 wrote:it makes sense because a probable HHOFer is jumping for


We've got 2.... ?

You use an example that goes against your argument. I know you know this, but line matching isn't necessarily a defensive tactic.



I think his overall point is that other teams should have to "match" our superior firepower and that line matching is a strategy employed by teams who need to make up for having less talent.....I think. I like your point thought and I am interested in his response

Just gotta get to that game
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby AlexPKeaton on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:21 am

Can't wait to see this team under Lavy next year!
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby shmenguin on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:25 am

i'm much more concerned about his personnel choices than his in-game coaching. he's seriously a dimwit with the choices he makes.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby Tico Rick on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:28 am

dixonyy18 wrote:another freaking Bylsma thread...unreal


There really should be a Bylsma Related Forum for those interested in pointing out Bylsma's faults on a daily basis.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby pcm on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:41 am

shmenguin wrote:i'm much more concerned about his personnel choices than his in-game coaching. he's seriously a dimwit with the choices he makes.


His first ideas are usually wrong, and he's really stubborn. But other than that, he IS learning. Gibbons got dropped off the first line after his awful shift. Despres moved up in the rotation (I know Bot was hurt) and was out there when the team was trying to tie it up. Maybe he'll figure its a good idea to have Engelland on the 4th line as 7th dman insurance after this game?
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby largegarlic on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:48 am

Beveridge wrote:I can't wait till we have a new coach and people realize it isn't all on coaching. Should be fun times for reading.


As I said in the post-Chicago thread, the parallels to the Boudreau-era Caps are there and can be instructive. The Caps got rid of Boudreau, installed a very defensive system, and still couldn't get past the 2nd round.

This year's playoffs seems like a make-or-break time for not only Bylsma, but for this core group of players.
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Re: The Anatomy of an Undisciplined, Poorly Coached Hockey T

Postby shmenguin on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:48 am

pcm wrote:
shmenguin wrote:i'm much more concerned about his personnel choices than his in-game coaching. he's seriously a dimwit with the choices he makes.


His first ideas are usually wrong, and he's really stubborn. But other than that, he IS learning. Gibbons got dropped off the first line after his awful shift. Despres moved up in the rotation (I know Bot was hurt) and was out there when the team was trying to tie it up. Maybe he'll figure its a good idea to have Engelland on the 4th line as 7th dman insurance after this game?


in fairness, he's not alone in his culpability. shero signed adams to a 2 year contract, so he shares a brain with bylsma to an extent. plus, it's not like bylsma would have cart blanche to try to ruin depres like he has been. i'm sure shero's on board with that as well, considering the pedigree there.
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