Scotty Bowman

Bowman on defensive trend: “There’s nothing anybody can do about it”


If Scotty Bowman can’t figure a way to make a team pay for collapsing around its goalie and blocking shots all day, what hope do the rest of the coaches have?

Bowman, arguably the greatest coach in NHL history, spoke to the Globe and Mail about the style of hockey we’ve seen during the playoffs that’s caused so much consternation, particularly in media circles.

“They don’t cover the points like they used to,” said Bowman.

“The term they use is ‘cover the house,’ the house being the net. We’ll have guys cover the slot area and help the defensemen in the corners and around the net.”

And, of course, block shots.

One potential solution that’s been floated is to make the defensive zone smaller. In theory, this could reduce the necessity for defending forwards to drop down low and help out their defensemen, since the attacking team wouldn’t have so much room to work with and defensemen could handle the job more easily themselves. The defending forwards could then turn their focus more to counter-attacking.

But Bowman’s not so sure.

“I don’t know if that would make the forwards cover the points or what,” he said. “It may be worse if [the defensive zone] was smaller because the defensemen wouldn’t be as far out.

“There’s nothing anybody can do about it.”

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?