By now, just about every fan of hockey knows what the 1-3-1 trap is and that the Tampa Bay Lightning used it effectively enough Wednesday night to cause the Philadelphia Flyers to employ a stall tactic of holding and not advancing the puck. In fact, the referees blew the play dead and forced two faceoffs in the Flyers zone. Eventually the Lightning won the game 2-1 in overtime.
After the game, fans, players and media all began debating who to blame for this NHL “atrocity” that had just played out on National TV…Versus is on National TV, isn’t it?
For the record, in my opinion, there is no question that the burden was on the Flyers to move the puck. After all. They possessed the puck and were the attacking team.
That being said, I certainly understand the fans not liking Tampa Bay’ coach Guy Boucher’s strategy. It is BORING and not the up-tempo style of play the NHL has forced its members to play since the lockout.
Agreed. It’s a system that will cause you to become a drooling Zombie in the first period and awaken in the third period with the imprint of your keyboard on your forehead, but I’m fairly certain that every player and fan of the Lightning, if given the choice of running and gunning to a ninth place finish or keeping a pillow close by during the 1-3-1 dominated games and getting to the Cup Final, will take the latter.
The Bolts defense has been putrid over the last two seasons. Coach Boucher knows the cards he has been dealt and instead of folding, has decided to do something that is foreign to most of the NHL coaching community…THINKING and EMPLOYING A STRATEGY!
I have mad respect for Guy Boucher’s figuring out a way to slow down the highest scoring team in the NHL despite missing two of his top four defensemen. (Victor Hedman and Mattias Ohlund) Even if you don’t like the style of play, how can you disrespect a coach who finds a way to win? Isn’t that his job?
Boucher has employed the 1-3-1 system since he came into the NHL. Did no one watch the Lightning’s sweep of the Capitals last year? Where was all the uproar during that series?
And I don’t want to hear anything about a trap system that embarrasses the NHL from you Detroit and New Jersey fans. Unless, of course, you want to give back your cheesy little fake souvenir Stanley Cups.
For those of you that have completely lost your minds and your ability to reason, who think the league should immediately jump in and create an “Avery Rule” of some sort to stop this “embarrassing” type of play…Stop “should-ing” all over yourself. It ‘aint gonna happen.
When all is said and done, Boucher and the Lightning are beyond reproach. They did what they are paid to do…WIN. They broke no rules nor did they disrespect or embarrass the game of hockey.
What are your thoughts puckheads?
About the Author: WB Philp is a published hockey writer who has a built in disdain for Barry Melrose. He covered the Detroit sports teams for many years until he came to his senses and moved to the Sunshine State. He is a true puckhead on a mission from God (Gordie Howe) to make hockey relevant in the south. He lives in Hockey Bay USA and covers the Lightning full time. Did I mention he hates Barry Melrose?