The Devils - A Model Habs Should Follow


During the first intermission on RDS, either of Jacques Demers or Joel Bouchard suggested that propective coaches wanting to learn the game ought to tape every Devils game and study what it is they do well.

Gainey might not need to watch such, but the Habs players could sure use the education.

What New Jersey does isn't hockey rocket science. What they do is simplify every single hockey play down to basic commom sense. They take few risks in their system and rarely allow indiscipline to infiltrate the mechanics of what they do. They flawlessly execute their game plan and there are no loose links in the chain.

Most importantly, everything they do involves unit of five thinking. Devils players do not get caught out of position. They are always where they ought to be placed, are always within a smart distance from each other, they are consistently skating and moving so as to remain pass options to one another, and when the slightest facet of this system fails, they return to form as a group of five and position themselves to act accordingly, falling back into formation to proceed again.

The keys to what Jersey does begins and ends with strong skaters, tireless workers, and flawless dedication. On the rare occasion that a team forces a screwup, there's Martin Brodeur. When few flaws are committed and scoring chances against are kept to a minimum, Scott Clemmenson become Brodeur. Enough said.

New Jersey are often accused of playing the boring trap system, but isn't neccessarily that cut and dried. When the Devils execute their system to perfection, they rarely need to deploy neutral zone suffocation.

And if boring means a 40 goal season by Zack Parise, a career year from Jamie Langenbrunner, a stranglehold on the record books by Brodeur, and a solid shot at a fourth Stanley Cup in 14 seasons, then bring on the dull workings to the Canadiens, I'll live with it. So will you.

Something else worth thinking about, involves the Devils organization, during the Lou Lamoriello reign. The GM does not bring in coaches who apply their systems onto the team. Lamoriello brings in coaches with as little bend in them as possible in order to enforce a system - a vision some would suggest - already in place, onto the players. Lamoriello then seeks players who fit in with the plan.

It's hard to argue with the results.

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