Friday, 2 December 2011
Outside the Box
This morning alot of people are waking up and yelling "Travis Moen! Travis Moen? Why Travis Moen? what were you thinking Jacques???". I actually like the move.
Last night the Canadiens walked into San Jose, after an abysmal performance the night before in Anaheim, and played an excellent hockey game. They showed emotion. They gave an effort. They clearly have not quit on their Coach. Had they quit on the coach, they could have tanked the game last night, and I don't think he's still coaching today. So if the team is still playing for the coach - what's the problem?
Is it the injuries? Every team has injuries. Is it the team's lack of size? It doesn't help - but they make up for lack of size with a ton of guts. I think Pierre Gauthier may have been more prophetic than we all believed a month or so ago when he said that "we need to think outside the box".
Coach Martin has a system. His system is a solid defensive structure with 1 fore checker. The system has worked real well for Jacques, but if I can see the system and you can see the system then coaches and GM's surely can too, and they can figure out ways to beat it. I think that may be the greater issue at the moment.
On occasion, the Canadiens under Jacques Martin have played up-tempo attacking games. The opponents usually look shocked, confused, rudderless when it happens and after the game we hear quotes like: "we were unprepared for that". It looks to me like the coach may have to switch to his up tempo plan - or something like it more often to keep opponents off balance.
When you prepare for one type of opponent but end up with something entirely different it becomes difficult to defend. It's the same with goalies and shootouts. We've all seen Mike Cammalleri, Thomas Plekanec, and Brian Gionta as the Canadiens shootout shooters multiple times - but I can't recall ever seeing Travis Moen.
Is Travis Moen a goal scorer like Cammallerri or Gionta? no. But those guys have certain shootout "moves". I've seen them. You've seen them. Other goalies have seen them, and prepared for them. Travis Moen has 8 goals this season, and if I've never seen him in a shootout, then the goalies haven't prepared for him. That's called thinking outside the box. Had Moen scored the move would be called "genius". He didn't score, but at least the coach is starting to think outside the box.
...and for the benefit of those who haven't seen it, Alexei Emelin obliterating Joe Pavelski