Friday, November 11, 2011

Why all the controversy regarding the trap?

Several years ago when I was coaching youth hockey we had a pretty good scoring team and finished first in our division. But when the games tightened up in the playoffs we had problems holding a lead. I has spent so much time working on the offense that I had largely ignored the defensive part of the game. So I employed the 1-3-1 trap late in games and used no forechecker.

The point I'm making is that defense is part of the game. It doesn't get fans out of their seats. But it wins games and fans seem to appreciate wins too. The hockey world is abuzz because in their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Flyers trapped the trap. They skated around in their own zone, ragging the puck and refusing to advance. The Lightning remained in their system, refusing to attack on the forecheck. It was boring and stupid. But so what?

The interesting dynamic in postgame debates about this tactic were that fans and media, by and large, supported the Flyers. Everyone hates the trap. So what are you going to hand out penalties for not advancing the puck? That would be dumb. So teams would no longer be allowed to rag the puck to eat away at the clock? Lets not get carried away because of 1 game out of 1230.

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