When it comes to Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter, he’s usually viewed as a coach who will opt to have his team defend the puck at all costs, even at possible detriment to his offense.
In speaking about new acquisition Marian Gaborik with Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, he turns that notion on its ear with his thoughts on what he feels the NHL is like now.
“The game’s changed. They think there’s defending in today’s game. Nah, it’s how much you have the puck. Teams that play around in their own zone they they’re defending but they’re generally getting scored on or taking face-offs and they need a goalie to stand on his head if that’s the way they play,” said Sutter.
We won’t go digging into advanced statistics and scare you away with numbers, but it boils down to a basic thought that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock got known for when they won the Stanley Cup in 2008. If you have the puck, the other team won’t and that means they can’t score.
Seems like a simple plan, but it’s one that works and when it’s played to perfection it’s a stifling, dominating way to play hockey. Just look at Team Canada in the Olympics who ran Babcock’s ideal kind of game to the letter.
So next time you think a team is being “trapped” to death or they’re “sitting on a lead” they might just be playing keep-away and making you pull your hair out just the same.