All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

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All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Betamax » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:55 pm

Okay, I know there is a small crossover of users here that read and also post on hfboards. Well, last year, Betamax got involved in some lively discussion with some of the hfboards' canucks' fanbase (including some members that also post here) on the utility of Coach Torts' Coaching Philosophy when it came to issues such as shot blocking and the proper deployment/utilization of players on the ice.

I was one of the few, actually,probably, the only one there that at the *beginning* of the season was actively criticizing Coach Torts and the actual utility of implementing his collapse, "6 goalie system" of shot blocking defense among other issues which included his apparent lack of self-control -- you know, anger management issues, how the Sedins were being miscasted/misused etc.. ...

Time does reveal the truth, does it not?

Anyway, after several locked threads on said issues I had with the Torts' system, it was and is my perception that there is a certain segment of fans who participate in social media who would blindly eat whatever crap sandwiches they are served (a repeat of the best tweet ever by Botchford) ... that's sick and should not be supported!!!

ICYMI (In case you missed it), I found it very interesting to read the comments of newly appointed President Trevor Linden and Pat Quinn on how Coach Torts' style of play may have negatively affected the Vancouver Canucks' season when they were interviewed on the Bill Good Show on CKNW a couple of weeks ago:

via transcript and interpretation of said comments via VanCityBuzz.com:

http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2014/04/canu ... nn-linden/
1. Linden part 1 – thoughts on coaching

Were the Sedins misused this year?

“I think you have to use your people where they will best excel, and good coaches understand that. I haven’t talked to John about it. I think most people would say you put your best offensive players in the most offensive positions you can.”

Was it a good idea to use the twins to block shots and kill penalties?

“It’s one of those things where I probably felt personally it was a misuse of their abilities, but I’d have to dig deeper into it.”

Good: “But you know they’ll do anything they’re asked to do.”

“Exactly, but I have to get the information. I’m not sure if John feels that was a mistake or not, I mean if he feels strongly about it… (trails off).”

On usage of depth players and running the bench:


“When I think about the coaches that were most influential for me, if you take Pat Quinn for example, his greatest strength was to use his whole bench. I think certain players can take big minutes, and certain players start to economize.

When you save yourself because you know you’re going to play X amount of minutes, it’s not a great thing for your bench. I think when you take other players out of the game by playing them such small minutes, that can detract from the overall team identity.”

Side note: Scott Rintoul recently asked Ryan Kesler if playing so many minutes affects him. He said: “There wasn’t a game where I felt like I didn’t have legs or I couldn’t go. There’s a certain way you need to play when you play that many minutes. Is it tough playing that many minutes every night? Yeah, but I welcome that.”

So Kesler pretty much agreed with Linden’s thoughts on economizing to handle the playing time.

Does the team need to get bigger and faster?

“Big and fast is always a good thing in any sport. The model never changes. I think we need to support the core guys with people from underneath, and I think that’s been part of the disconnect in the last couple of years”
and ...
3. Quinn part 1 – on coaching

Before I start here, if you’re wondering why Quinn’s voice is even relevant any more, it’s because he’s Linden’s mentor. When the new Pres needs advice, he’ll be picking up the phone (or perhaps walking down the hall – more on that below) and talking to the man who drafted him.

Why did the Canucks perform so badly this year?

“During the first part of the year, (the Canucks) played (their) veterans until their noses were bleeding, and then we started to hit the injuries. I talked to (team doctor) Mike Bernstein and he said the injuries are terrible. He said so many of them are coming from the blocked shots and they’re fractures, and they’re not easily healed.”

Thoughts on divvying up playing time:

“I think you don’t leave half your bench. I wanted all of our bench to play. I wanted everyone to be involved.”

“I knew that Mats (Sundin) was at the top of his game if he played about 20 minutes… I think that’s the same with these players here. There comes a point where your play will drop off, whether it’s in the third period or whether you coast a little bit so you reserve energy in the third period, you’re not at the maximum you can bring each night… That’s why I knew in ’94 we were going to beat Toronto, because they wore Gilmore out. He could hardly play against us in the semi finals.”

“The players want to play. They love being out there. I know when I used to play I wanted to be out there every shift… I like the way Detroit approaches it, Chicago approaches it, Boston approaches it – everybody gets used. The better players get to play more, but everybody gets used.”

On using everyone on the bench (including fourth liners):

“I know this: you don’t get confidence sitting on the bench and watching the play go on or getting two minutes of play, or being sent out because it gets rough out there. I don’t buy that style of coaching, and yet it exists.”

His thoughts on bringing in Tortorella to coach the team in the first place:

“To assess your team like you need a hammer – now we need the tough guy – well it’s like bringing Mike Keenan in… to pull the whip out and play the tough guy with them didn’t seem the right way to approach this group of players.”

Conclusion: Linden basically said if Tortorella doesn’t admit to and agree he made huge mistakes, he’s gone, while Quinn compared him to Mike Keenan and disagrees with everything he’s ever done… pretty sure they’re already removing Torts’ murphy bed as we speak.

BTW, I'm not sayin' I think I got it right, I'm saying I got it damn right!

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Last edited by Betamax on Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Betamax » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:04 pm

FYI, there seems to be a limit of posting one URL per post, so for those interested in the "backstory" between Betamax v. Torts' "fanboys" on hfboards, it "currently" can be found in this thread:

via hfboards:

The All-Encompassing Shot Blocking Discussion Thread!!!

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Betamax » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:15 pm

Oh, the main reason I started this thread was that Ken Hitchcock made a few remarks today on the actual "utility" of being a shot-blocking team:

via: https://www.facebook.com/OrangeAndBlack ... 3849916603
Ken Hitchcock was just talking about St. Louis' series with Chicago, and shot-blocking came up. Very interesting viewpoints on the subject, check it out: "I think shot blocking is the most useless stat in the National Hockey League ... If you're blocking shots it means the puck is in your zone a lot. When you're a shot blocking team, you never get it back."
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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by The Brown Wizard » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:42 pm

I haven't been around in awhile but good stuff here.

BTW...are you The Artist formerly known as THE THINKER by chance?
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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Betamax » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:01 pm

Betamax wrote:via transcript and interpretation of said comments via VanCityBuzz.com:

http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2014/04/canu ... nn-linden/
1. Linden part 1 – thoughts on coaching

Were the Sedins misused this year?

“I think you have to use your people where they will best excel, and good coaches understand that. I haven’t talked to John about it. I think most people would say you put your best offensive players in the most offensive positions you can.”

Was it a good idea to use the twins to block shots and kill penalties?

“It’s one of those things where I probably felt personally it was a misuse of their abilities, but I’d have to dig deeper into it.”

Good: “But you know they’ll do anything they’re asked to do.”

“Exactly, but I have to get the information. I’m not sure if John feels that was a mistake or not, I mean if he feels strongly about it… (trails off).”

BTW, I'm not sayin' I think I got it right, I'm saying I got it damn right!

Tell me I'm wrong. Image
THIS ............. to me says, in one youtube clip encompasses all we need to know about utilizing the Sedins' in a situation where the other team has an extra forward. Look at Daniel's, duh, "attempt" at shot blocking. It's like he aided and abetted the GTG by Frans Nielsen:



What say you? Image

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Meds » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:09 pm

Uncle dans leg wrote:I haven't been around in awhile but good stuff here.

BTW...are you The Artist formerly known as THE THINKER by chance?
Is it the fact that he's linking us to his own posts in another forum and peddling them as something that we should be interested in that makes you THINK he might be THINKER? :roll:

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Betamax » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:15 pm

Meds wrote:
Uncle dans leg wrote:I haven't been around in awhile but good stuff here.

BTW...are you The Artist formerly known as THE THINKER by chance?
Is it the fact that he's linking us to his own posts in another forum and peddling them as something that we should be interested in that makes you THINK he might be THINKER? :roll:
Actually, the comments by Hitchcock today on Shot-Blocking, duh, reminded me of the similar opinions I expressed last year on that forum. I probably would have posted those same thoughts here rather then there ... since this board is duh, a seemingly more suitable venue for me to demonstrate my talents but registration here was in lock-down mode last year, ergo, decided to chose the path of least resistance. The other option was CDC forums. But I'm not a one messageboard at a time user here. No ménage à trois.

Edit: spelling
Last edited by Betamax on Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Island Nucklehead » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:26 pm

The New York Rangers, coached by Alain Vigneault, blocked 98 fewer shots than the Canucks this season (1.2 fewer per game). The Oilers blocked 35 more shots, and the Flames 206 more. San Jose blocked more shots than Vancouver this season.

The shot-blocking discussion as it relates to Torts is way overblown, imo. If we had the puck more, we wouldn't have to block shots. As it is, most coaches, especially come playoff time, want their players blocking shooting lanes. Torts' teams have to block more shots because they collapse more towards their own goal, and thus have to get into the lanes when the puck goes high. It's not a shot-blocking mentality as much as it is a byproduct of a collapsing defence.

You have to go all the way down to #32 on the Blocked Shot leaderboard to find a Canuck, where Edler and Tanev are tied. Montreal (Markov and Gorges) has two players in the top-5. Guys like Pietrangelo, Weber, Kronwall, Goligoski, Gunnarsson, Hjarlmarson and Phaneuf all block more shots than anyone on the Canucks. Brad Richardson blocked the most shots amongst Canuck forwards (52), the same amount as Brian Gionta and Gabriel Landeskog. Chris Higgins is next, tied with such notable shot-blockers as Nathan Mackinnon and Zach Parise.

Daniel Sedin blocked 21 shots this year. Less than Cody Hodgson. Hank blocked 19, one more than Evgeni Malkin.

So yeah, blocking shots hurts. But it can also be said we're a soft team. Tortorella may be a vocal proponent of blocking shots, but let's not act like the Canucks were runaway shot-blockers this season. In the 2010-11 season, when we were Presidents Trophy winners, the Canucks blocked 146 fewer shots than this season. Obviously we've fallen a long way from those lofty days of puck domination, might that have something to do with our corresponding 1.78 more shots blocked/game?

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Meds » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:51 pm

Island Nucklehead wrote:The New York Rangers, coached by Alain Vigneault, blocked 98 fewer shots than the Canucks this season (1.2 fewer per game). The Oilers blocked 35 more shots, and the Flames 206 more. San Jose blocked more shots than Vancouver this season.

The shot-blocking discussion as it relates to Torts is way overblown, imo. If we had the puck more, we wouldn't have to block shots. As it is, most coaches, especially come playoff time, want their players blocking shooting lanes. Torts' teams have to block more shots because they collapse more towards their own goal, and thus have to get into the lanes when the puck goes high. It's not a shot-blocking mentality as much as it is a byproduct of a collapsing defence.

You have to go all the way down to #32 on the Blocked Shot leaderboard to find a Canuck, where Edler and Tanev are tied. Montreal (Markov and Gorges) has two players in the top-5. Guys like Pietrangelo, Weber, Kronwall, Goligoski, Gunnarsson, Hjarlmarson and Phaneuf all block more shots than anyone on the Canucks. Brad Richardson blocked the most shots amongst Canuck forwards (52), the same amount as Brian Gionta and Gabriel Landeskog. Chris Higgins is next, tied with such notable shot-blockers as Nathan Mackinnon and Zach Parise.

Daniel Sedin blocked 21 shots this year. Less than Cody Hodgson. Hank blocked 19, one more than Evgeni Malkin.

So yeah, blocking shots hurts. But it can also be said we're a soft team. Tortorella may be a vocal proponent of blocking shots, but let's not act like the Canucks were runaway shot-blockers this season. In the 2010-11 season, when we were Presidents Trophy winners, the Canucks blocked 146 fewer shots than this season. Obviously we've fallen a long way from those lofty days of puck domination, might that have something to do with our corresponding 1.78 more shots blocked/game?
I would be interested in seeing the stats of how many players got hurt actually blocking a shot they were prepared to block versus the number who were hurt by just being in the shooting lane and not expecting to actually block a shot.

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Hockey Widow » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:35 pm

I think Betamax needs to go out with Torts for a beer and a burger to discuss this. Find out exactly what Torts system is.
Last edited by Hockey Widow on Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Betamax » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:36 pm

Island Nucklehead wrote:The New York Rangers, coached by Alain Vigneault, blocked 98 fewer shots than the Canucks this season (1.2 fewer per game). The Oilers blocked 35 more shots, and the Flames 206 more. San Jose blocked more shots than Vancouver this season.

The shot-blocking discussion as it relates to Torts is way overblown, imo. If we had the puck more, we wouldn't have to block shots. As it is, most coaches, especially come playoff time, want their players blocking shooting lanes. Torts' teams have to block more shots because they collapse more towards their own goal, and thus have to get into the lanes when the puck goes high. It's not a shot-blocking mentality as much as it is a byproduct of a collapsing defence.
Re-read the comments made by Hitchcock:
Ken Hitchcock was just talking about St. Louis' series with Chicago, and shot-blocking came up. Very interesting viewpoints on the subject, check it out: "I think shot blocking is the most useless stat in the National Hockey League ... If you're blocking shots it means the puck is in your zone a lot. When you're a shot blocking team, you never get it back."
Just try to work it out mentally. When you have that blocking shot mentality i.e. the "6 goalie" system, you are likely not in a ideal position to retrieve the puck when there is a shot attempt, ergo, you are aiding and abetting the practice of having the puck less and letting the other team retain position of the puck.

Daniel Sedin blocked 21 shots this year. Less than Cody Hodgson. Hank blocked 19, one more than Evgeni Malkin.
It goes beyond actual blocks. Look at "attempted" blocks. Like the example I cited previously:



Island Nucklehead, in the example cited above, could you please tell me what sort of, duh, utility was derived from Daniel's "lame" attempt of a shot block?

To see that was like having expectations that a fish should have the ability to cross the road.
So yeah, blocking shots hurts. But it can also be said we're a soft team. Tortorella may be a vocal proponent of blocking shots, but let's not act like the Canucks were runaway shot-blockers this season. In the 2010-11 season, when we were Presidents Trophy winners, the Canucks blocked 146 fewer shots than this season. Obviously we've fallen a long way from those lofty days of puck domination, might that have something to do with our corresponding 1.78 more shots blocked/game?
Yeah, I think it's the mindset that Coach Torts has put on his personnel and not trusting the goalie to save the shot and ergo, giving the players a better chance of puck retrieval.

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Betamax » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:40 pm

Hockey Widow wrote:I Hank Betamax needs to go out with Torts for a beer and a burger to discuss this. Find out exactly what Torts system is.
The Torts system is one that led to failure. Well, the painful results are clear to see. Not only in the IR for players like Burrows, Ricky Schroeder and Tanev and the countless others that played through injury (via the comments made by Quinn) ... but the pure objective numbers. Lack of goal scoring and drop in performance from the majority of players on the roster.
Last edited by Betamax on Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by SKYO » Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:12 pm

To increase our star players odds of staying healthy, shot blocking should mostly be done by players who have harnessed this craft diligently, and these types of players should be on our 3rd/4th lines and bottom pairing dmen.
A long time ago, a baseball player remarked: "If I owned a ballclub, I'd hire a $5,000 coach and a $15,000 scout."

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Island Nucklehead » Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:19 pm

Betamax wrote: Re-read the comments made by Hitchcock:
Ken Hitchcock was just talking about St. Louis' series with Chicago, and shot-blocking came up. Very interesting viewpoints on the subject, check it out: "I think shot blocking is the most useless stat in the National Hockey League ... If you're blocking shots it means the puck is in your zone a lot. When you're a shot blocking team, you never get it back."
Just try to work it out mentally. When you have that blocking shot mentality i.e. the "6 goalie" system, you are likely not in a ideal position to retrieve the puck when there is a shot attempt, ergo, you are aiding and abetting the practice of having the puck less and letting the other team retain position of the puck.
Point being? Possession matters. I'm sure the Canucks would love to have possession, in the opponents end, more often. What I'm saying is the Canucks are not a good enough team. Ken Hitchcock's Blues blocked 96 fewer shots than us over an 82 game season. He obviously doesn't like the shot-blocking stat, and Tortorella praises it. If they are at polar opposites of the shot-blocking spectrum, shouldn't that disparity (1.17 fewer blocks/game) be a bit wider? Or does it have something to do with the Blues being the league's 4th best team, and the Canucks one of the league's worst teams?

You should be taking issue with Tortorella's defensive collapse system. The notion that shot-blocking is inherently bad is flawed, as all teams block shots. The Canucks might have to block roughly one more per game (compared to the Blues, whose coach apparently hates shot blocking), because they are a shittier team. From a quick glance I would say that teams that are near the bottom of the standings are forced to block more shots because they play in their own end more often.

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Re: All-Encompassing Coaching/Shot Blocking Discussion!!!

Post by Betamax » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:53 pm

Hockey Widow wrote:I think Betamax needs to go out with Torts for a beer and a burger to discuss this. Find out exactly what Torts system is.
Forgot to mention ... I "THINK" in that hypothetical get together, what Betamax would be served is a platter full of crap sandwiches. Image
Last edited by Betamax on Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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