Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 10/01/13 at 01:27 AM ET
The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhtaschek penned an article about the decline of the "pure goal-scorer," and in asking why scoring continues to decline, he went to the party that is, in my opinion, the biggest culprit--a member of the NHL's digital video-equipped coaches:
“If you watch the game now compared to 20 years ago, you don’t see nearly as many mistakes happen,” [Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave] Tippett said. “I do believe coaching is very strong, but the other thing is players have a lot at stake financially now. … Players work hard not to make mistakes and if they do make a mistake, they work hard to get the mistake back.
“The evolution of goaltending, and goaltending equipment, and far fewer mistakes in the game is the reason why scoring is down. We can tweak it however we want, but if you watch a game from 20 or 25 years ago, and see how many mistakes are made – the number of 2-on-1s, the lack of back pressure, the lack of back-checking – it is a very different game than now.”
Tippett was a defensive specialist as a player and is a defensive specialist as a coach and finds his job easier than ever, thanks to a dramatic rise in players’ overall hockey IQ in the past two decades. He says it’s gotten to the point where even the youngest prospects are well-versed in the ins and outs of defensive positioning.
“I was blown away by the knowledge that these kids had just coming in,” he said. “And that’s just growing up with good coaching. If you watch minor hockey now, they’re teaching structure, they’re teaching systems. When I was a minor hockey player, they just taught you, ‘Wherever the puck is, go get it.’”
Continued with a discussion of the reductions in goalie gear and the prevalance of defensive systems of play...
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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