Monday, May 14, 2012

Jack Todd Getting It Right Today

It doesn't happen very often, but in the wane of aSuper Moon, even Jack Todd can still put together a column that gets my head nodding. As a tribute to the guy I used to buy newspapers for in my younger days, I link his piece here.

Why I think he's right?

The playoffs are boring.

I mean, don't get me wrong, they have exciting moments, such as Brad Richards tying goal with seconds to go. A goal which saved a team from elimination (essentially). But on the whole, the playoffs are very boring indeed.

Why is that? It behoofs the NHL to be asking themselves this question. Is it because there's no fighting? Not in my opinion, though some rumble that it is. I think it's due to the same very things that Todd starts to point out. Shot-blocking, grinding, etc., etc.

He gets it so right when he sums it up:
"The new NHL was supposed to be all about movement, skating, offence and talent. Right now it’s about obstruction, shot blocking, grinders and boredom."
The league's singular inability to enforce their own rules is the biggest culprit in all this. Instead of getting to watch Ovechkin vs. Lundqvist, we see Girardi vs. Beagle. No offense to the latter, but no one fell in love with a game for the skills they provide. That is except the coaches who employ those players solely for those assets and the way they fit into their simplistic game plan.

I could legitimately coach in the NHL right now. There is one strategy, and I know it. Dump, chase hard, grind, block. If you do that, I play you. Hunter made the playoffs because of it, but criminally went out against an opponent there for the taking for his complete lack of adaptability to situational circumstances.

The NHL is literally wasting the careers of some of the most dynamic players seen in a generation. They'll be lucky to get more like these if youngsters grow up adhering to the wisdom of current coaching strategy.

Russians are picked on too much

It's gotten to the point where Russians are being singled out to a ludicrous degree. Read Todd for the synopsis. The criticism is so systematic that it's built into every word that comes out of a commentator's mouth. The default to look for Russian shortcomings and praise grinding heroics.

Kovalchuk has been outstanding and we hear very little indeed. Doesn't fit the script.

Time for a new script to go along with a new game with rule enforcement.


Can't say I agree with Todd about Beckham in full, however.

Never a great soccer player? Perhaps not, but then the list of greats would be pretty concise. During his youth at Manchester United Beckham was never a Ronaldinho ball handler or a Messi mesmerizer, but he was excellent at almost everything else. If you could watch a midfield with Roy Keane, Paul Schole, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham and come away saying any one of them was not great, it was probably a game reffed by NHL officials.

Beckham never delivered England the World Cup he and his generation looked like they could, but his delivery into the World Cup in 2002 was everything that greatness is about. Wouldn't expect Jack Todd to get it completely right, though, would we?

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