“Bruce is one guy who never taught the trap,” Capitals right wing Mike Knuble said Friday [Sept.9, 2011] after a workout at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “He never played it and never coached it. So he was kind of learning on the fly.”
Here's our post back in December 18, 2010, "Ovechkin, Boudreau at crossroads":
For Bruce Boudreau the time is as hard as ever. He never played defensive hockey, he never coached a team that used trap. Can he do it? The first example that comes to mind is Scotty Bowman.
After losing to trap team like New Jersey Devils is, Scotty Bowman had to adjust. And the help came from one of his assistant coaches. Barry Smith installed the defensive system called "left wing lock".
Unfortunately Capitals don't have an assistant coach who can help in that category. It's do or die for Bruce Boudreau now.
Back then my two suggestions were:
- Hire a consultant who is a trap specialist, like Hitchcock
- Play trap on the road, run 'n' gun at home
These suggestions come from the experiences of the greatest hockey coaches of all times, Scotty Bowman and Victor Tikhonov. Just like Boudreau Bowman was not a trap specialist, but he had an assistant who was. As for Tikhonov, he always played trap on the road and run 'n' gun at home virtually destroying the opponent in the first 10-15 minutes of the first period.
So what kind of a system will Boudreau install this season? In an informal get-together with the media earlier this week Boudreau hinted that he’ll play some version of a trap but will allow his players to use their offensive creativity.
This is going to be a disaster, if you play trap, you have to commit to it, "hybrid" is not a trap, it's a "hybrid"! Instead, do what Tikhonov did, players must be good at offense if they are behind, and as boring as trap can go if they are ahead. And the best way to do it is practice. Practice run 'n' gun at home and trap on the road during regular season.
Work on the road, have fun at home, because "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy".