I love hockey. I love analyzing. Both are passions of mine and they tend mix quite often. When I read Yzerman hired a coach with a unique, at least in the NHL, neutral zone trap, I was intrigued. I looked for coaching systems online that taught the 1-3-1 system and didn't find any; which only raised my interest in watching every game that much closer. Over the season I have been getting my money out of my NHL GameCenter account as I have been able to watch, and re-watch, how the Lightning operate under this system.
I rarely miss a game. Actually, there was no game this season that I missed; I was either there, watched it on Sunshine, or watched it on GameCenter. At least half of the 82 games I was able to spend time studying. I'm not listing this to boast or brag, but to let you know I really geek out on hockey - especially this year. Most people find going to games with me annoying which is nothing to brag about, but it's the truth. When the team does something different or handles situations differently than they had in previous games I try to point it out to the people at the game with me; trust me, to them in it's not cool, it's annoying. But I have learned a lot of hockey this year. I will share some of what I learned here so that other fans can better understand our game and maybe some other puck heads can throw in their two biscuits as I'd love to hear what others have picked up on. Hopefully this is a less annoying forum for this than at the Forum!
I will show you my observations on the 1-3-1 "Tampa t": I will diagram how it worked at different points in the season, the changes that have occurred, and where I think our strengths and weaknesses have been.
First things first, why do I refer to 1-3-1 as the " Tampa t ". Well if you are using a hockey dry erase play board, you basically draw a lower case "t" on it:
Pretty simple. Now let's add my position indicators. Note that these are probably not what Boucher uses to coach the team, it's just how I mapped it on my hockey board while I'm watching tape and re-drawing the play:
So let's talk about the role of xF1 as the puck is being moved up ice toward our zone. The common assumption is that this player is supposed to dog the puck carrier. This is only true to extent. If the puck carrier fumbles the puck between the opposing teams defensive zone blue line and center ice, yes the xF1 marker dogs the puck. However, the main role of the xF1 marker is to funnel the play away from center ice (and generally away from xD1) and eliminate cross ice passes after the puck carrier enters the neutral zone. On a play with no opponent sweeping crosses, it looks like this (the green circle is the puck/puck carrier):
As you can see, things get pretty congested at the blue line. This is why we saw Washington dump and charge in our 4 game series. It's important to note that what we saw against Washington more resembled what the team was doing in November than what we saw in January through February. During those latter months we were not standing the blue, but cycling on the blue line as the puck crossed center ice. During those months it looked like this:
There was a ton more movement on our blue line in the spring while the puck was being carried through the neutral zone. It was fun mapping it out though, and we were pretty consistent on the movement; although it didn't appear to be as nearly coordinated . xF3 was exciting to watch though because he was responsible for lining up hits as the puck carrier came up to the blue line.
Now, about the dump ins.... There was a lot of tape against Washington in regards to our system and how we controlled/forced the play. At times people were saying we were lucky, that Washington spent a lot of time in the our zone, but honestly we looked very composed the entire series (obviously right...it was a sweep after all) if you recognized the system. (Green arrow is a controlled play on the puck by the carrier, purple bar between Xs and Os are the match up responsibilities of the Xs):
Once the play is pinched to the boards by xD2, the play looks like this:
You can picture the ensuing scrum along the boards...
Now, when you look at this diagram where the puck is along the boards something should be glaring at you. All of our guys get pretty low in the zone, this is our weakness. The key for the opponents is getting the puck back out to the point, and actually Washington did a relatively decent job at this. The solution to this? This is our strength. Look at this stat:
|16 results: 2010-2011 - PLAYOFFS - REAL TIME - BLOCKED SHOTS||LEGEND ›|
|SUMMARY | GOALS HOME/ROAD | GOALS BY PERIOD | GOALS FOR | GOALS AGAINST | GOAL-GAMES | OUT-SHOOT/OUT-SHOT BY | OT/SHOOTOUT RECORD | PENALTIES | POWER PLAY |POWER PLAY TIME | PENALTY KILL | PENALTY KILL TIME | PLUS/MINUS | REAL TIME | LEADING/TRAILING | SCORE/TRAIL FIRST | SHOOTOUTS|
|Team||Home: Hits||BkS||MsS||GvA||TkA||Road: Hits||BkS||MsS||GvA||TkA||Total: Hits||BkS||MsS||GvA||TkA||FOW||FOL||FO%|
1-16 of 16 results 1
And this one:
|333 results: 2010-2011 - PLAYOFFS - ALL SKATERS - REAL-TIME STATS - BLOCKED SHOTS||LEGEND ›|
|SUMMARY | ASSISTS | BIOS | DIVISION | FACEOFF LEADERS | FACEOFFS | GOALS | HOME | PENALTIES | PLUS/MINUS | POINTS | REAL-TIME STATS | ROAD | SHOOTING % LEADERS |SHOOTING % | SHOOTOUTS | SPECIAL TEAMS | TIME ON ICE|
Once that puck comes out from the boards to the point our defense is quick to get into those shooting lanes, because they know everyone is low. It's the "Tampa t" system!
More to come later if I get some more time! Hope someone finds this interesting!