To be completely honest, I was struggling to find a topic for today’s Mashup. Somehow, yet another recipe for beating the Bruins didn’t seem like a good conversation starter. Sure, we can beat the around the bush, or puck for that matter, but fact is this topic has been beaten so many times now a dead horse metaphor is a putting it mildly.
But even so, reality is, in light of back to back games against our yellow nemesis, that topic is hardly coming down from anyoneâ€™s lips. Since yesterday was a good day to relax – and what better way to relax than reading about hockey – I was reading the last issue of the Hockey News when I came across pure gold written by Ken Campbell.
Campbell was doing a piece on Washington’s latest roadtrip and it included a lengthy analysis of Leafs‘ flaws and systems. As it turns out it was the last bit of gold left in the Caps dressing room by a very loveable chubby coach before leaving Ovechkin and the guys.
So, in case you missed it, here is how Boudreau and our coaching staff drilled their players prior to the Leafs game (as it turns out, it didnâ€™t work too well but hey, it’s still insight). WARNING – The following lines contain pure Leaf gold.
Boudreau on Steckel:
â€œStecks isnâ€™t going to get in the way and block shots unless it hits him. Heâ€™s going to stand there and look like he wants to block shots, but he doesnâ€™t want to block shots. We can shoot from up top.â€
Keys to beating the Leafs:
â€œBoudreau points out the Leafs have pretty consistently played a 1-3-1 and that their defense tends to give up the blueline without closing the gap, so the Caps shouldnâ€™t have a problem gaining the zone with speed and setting up their offensive system.â€
â€œGood puck movement is the key to beating Toronto. By keeping it to the perimeter, the Leafs will run themselves tired and put themselves out of position. They go for goals when they get the opportunity, but they stay on the ice a little too long and thatâ€™s going to be their problem. They get caught out of position and good puck moving teams can catch them.â€
That basically describes a couple of Boston goals in the last game against the Bruins. Campbell also pointed out that much of the five on five focus (naturally) was on our top scorer, Phil Kessel. Boudreau seems to have compared him to Daniel Briere of the Philadelphia Flyers, a comparison that never entered my mind. The more I think about it – the more tap in, far post goals I see – I perfectly understand that comparison.
Some really interesting stuff here, post your views down below. Iâ€™m really interested to hear your thoughts. Also, itâ€™s not often I say this about Ken Campbell, but that piece on the Capitals is pure genius. Give it a read.