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

18 Comments

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.”