The troubles against California teams thread

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The troubles against California teams thread

Postby not_a_wings_fan » Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:17 pm

I mentioned it a few weeks ago, it dribbled into the GDT the other day... so let's just put it in one place and figure out what's going on.

Personally, I believe it's a system problem.

Not sure exactly what they are doing so I would have to go watch a bit more tape, but at first glance the style of play of the ducks, sharks, and kings is our kryptonite. But it's not just those teams... we haven't been stellar against Vancouver or Phoenix either.

What is it about the Pacific division that undermines our dominance over the entire rest of the NHL?

We are 33-10-5 overall, but 6-8-3 versus the Pacific with 5 wins against teams not from California.

Is Ryan Miller the answer? Is it all heart and want-to?

Discuss
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby Oaklandblue » Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:57 pm

not_a_wings_fan wrote:I mentioned it a few weeks ago, it dribbled into the GDT the other day... so let's just put it in one place and figure out what's going on.

Personally, I believe it's a system problem.

Not sure exactly what they are doing so I would have to go watch a bit more tape, but at first glance the style of play of the ducks, sharks, and kings is our kryptonite. But it's not just those teams... we haven't been stellar against Vancouver or Phoenix either.

What is it about the Pacific division that undermines our dominance over the entire rest of the NHL?

We are 33-10-5 overall, but 6-8-3 versus the Pacific with 5 wins against teams not from California.

Is Ryan Miller the answer? Is it all heart and want-to?

Discuss


The bar isn't being raised high enough.

The skill and talent is there but the bar isn't being raised. It's at a low level and the team isn't being pushed to win. You can see it when we play teams that we steamroll and see it when we play teams in California and get rolled over. The bar should be at beating the best teams or at least staying up toe-to-toe with them, and half of those teams are on the West Coast. We own Chicago, but that's not saying much as Chicago is having as much trouble with those same teams as well.

After thinking about it rationally, the real problem is that Hitch isn't demanding enough of the team. His system works and is what is making us effective but his coaching style isn't enforcing it consistently. You can see this when you look at players that need to be pushed, like Stewart, Elliott, etc. You can just push them and leave them alone, you have to keep your foot in their back and demand the best and not be afraid to go to Army and say this person isn't going to work. There is no example being set. Winning a game is no excuse for playing sloppy and we've won one too many sloppy games. Sloppy games are won by a mix of luck and skill and are a lazy way to play. If Hitch is tolerating that, and it seems he is, then that's not coaching. That's something else.

I'd love to lamblast players like Halak and Elliott but the team in front of them is simply not playing for them and if I played goal, I'd be like a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs if I had to be in goal and dealing with my own team suddenly forgetting how to play hockey.

The last time we had this issue, Jake Allen was brought up and it seemed to help fix things. I don't think the real solution was Jake Allen insomuch as it was the fact that we made a change. It got peoples attention and they played right. I think Hitch needs to be more effective and change things up, not be afraid to call up players and not be afraid to enforce Bag Skates and hold players accountable. I simply don't see it happening here.

Trading for Miller is our way of saying Miller is going to save us. He's not. He's going to end up in the same boat as Halak and Elliott and be hung out to dry until this is solved and even then, if the team is rolling, Halak and Elliott are more than enough to hold the pipes. Our D is so deep they have no excuse for not being able to do something as simple as close the lanes and play a physical game and leave offense to the forwards, unless they can chip a shot in.

That's my two bits.
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby not_a_wings_fan » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:25 pm

So one vote for effort.

I agree that there is ample talent already on the team to get it done. There are guys that need to play more consistent and skate harder, sure, but I really think there is a flaw in the system that's being exploited while Hitch has done nothing to figure out how to break down these other teams.

I am saying this is the specific game plan that coaches make to win closely matched games, and I don't see Hitch coming up with anything other than "do the same thing better with more effort." (Said another way: you can eventually get a screw into a board with a hammer, but it's much faster and more effective to locate a screwdriver.)

Contrary to what you said above, Chicago has done well against the teams in question (11-0-4 against the Pacific). I would be watching film of how other teams are playing to beat them and finding ways to get that into our game plan. We are very familiar with the teams in our division and have destroyed them all year... it's time to start game planning differently for California.

So notch a vote for coaching is the problem.
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby ComradeT » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:43 am

I think our offensive zone play is the issue. Blues are a perimeter passing team that rarely crashes the net. We do not capitalize on rebounds and do not generate second chances. California teams are really good at taking away passing and shooting lanes and with big bodies blocking shots, there's no way Blues can be successful unless they start crashing the net big time and finding the opportunities between the faceoff circles.

Stewart (as much as I hate the guy) is a prime example of this. As soon as he went to the net a few times, he got goals. Same with Bergie and his deflections. At the same time, the game vs the Devils was a prime example of the opposite. I noticed multiple times that as the Blues entered the zone 3 on 3, the puck carrier would be along the right boards and the other two guys would go to the opposite boards and behind the goal. Right there, instead of generating a goalscoring opportunity, we set up for a cycle or limit the puck carrier to a shot from a bad angle. Blues' are really good at cycling but they seem to fall into that mode too much instead of trying to take advantage of the straightforward scoring opportunities that come their way.

The goals we give up to CA teams are very often from their big guys going to the net and finding that rebound. Unless the Blues change the way they attack, their shots are going to find sticks, skates and bodies but not net.

My two cents (maybe slightly less because of currency conversion).
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby not_a_wings_fan » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:24 am

I am right there with you about not being able to adapt to the situation. It's kind of like in Basketball when teams switch up their defense to play matchups. It's also like Tom Brady handing the ball off all day against Indy this year - not their best offense but exactly what they needed to do to win. There's a way you might want to play but there is also a situation where you need to play differently. The Blues seem to play their system regardless of the situation or effectiveness on a given night.

The California teams do an excellent job of screening out goalies and pouncing (lifting, ffs!) on rebounds.

Net crashing is a good thing - especially now that D can't just cross check and move people like they once did.
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby STLADOGG » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:11 pm

I just looked the schedule; we only play one more game against a California team. We are at the Ducks pond on Feb 28th. Then that's it!
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby sseagle » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:20 pm

STLADOGG wrote:I just looked the schedule; we only play one more game against a California team. We are at the Ducks pond on Feb 28th. Then that's it!



I'm gonna take that game off from the site, I don't want to hear about this anymore..

PS - We haven't won a single game in New Jersey either... #skyfallinglolz
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby Oaklandblue » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:26 pm

sseagle wrote:
STLADOGG wrote:I just looked the schedule; we only play one more game against a California team. We are at the Ducks pond on Feb 28th. Then that's it!



I'm gonna take that game off from the site, I don't want to hear about this anymore..

PS - We haven't won a single game in New Jersey either... #skyfallinglolz


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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby ViPeRx007 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:58 am

California can suck my balls for a number of reasons BEFORE the hockey stuff. That's saying something.
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby cardsfan04 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:37 am

I still think this is overblown. I mean, the stark contrast in our record vs California teams and vs other teams is frustrating. But the flip side is that our record vs everybody else is ridiculously good. I think this is mainly a function of 2 things.

1. Coincidence.
2. There being a number of really good teams in California.

Let's say we were 1-2 against the blackhawks, 2-0 against Anaheim, 1-2 against Vancouver, and 1-1 against LA and 0-1 against both Pittsburgh and Boston. If it was spread around a little more geographically, I don't think people would be making quite the fuss even though they are all good teams. Also, and I've said it before. The only 2 realistic chances of playing a team from the Pacific in the playoffs are:

1. In the first round by winning our division and playing their 4th or 5th place team which doesn't scare me.
2. In the Conference Finals after winning 2 playoff series, one of which would be against the blackhawks which are every bit as talented as any team in California.

Every year there are elite teams with really good records against some elite team and really bad records against some other elite team. It doesn't mean much at all come playoff time. It's pretty much a total non-story.
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby dmiles2186 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:51 am

cardsfan04 wrote:I still think this is overblown. I mean, the stark contrast in our record vs California teams and vs other teams is frustrating. But the flip side is that our record vs everybody else is ridiculously good. I think this is mainly a function of 2 things.

1. Coincidence.
2. There being a number of really good teams in California.

Let's say we were 1-2 against the blackhawks, 2-0 against Anaheim, 1-2 against Vancouver, and 1-1 against LA and 0-1 against both Pittsburgh and Boston. If it was spread around a little more geographically, I don't think people would be making quite the fuss even though they are all good teams. Also, and I've said it before. The only 2 realistic chances of playing a team from the Pacific in the playoffs are:

1. In the first round by winning our division and playing their 4th or 5th place team which doesn't scare me.
2. In the Conference Finals after winning 2 playoff series, one of which would be against the blackhawks which are every bit as talented as any team in California.

Every year there are elite teams with really good records against some elite team and really bad records against some other elite team. It doesn't mean much at all come playoff time. It's pretty much a total non-story.


I'd been thinking about the way I wanted to word how I felt about this topic, but you pretty much said exactly how I feel and in a much better way than I could relay it. Plus, for me, to win the Cup, you're going to have to go through any opponent that comes up against you. It's as simple as that. So the Ducks have killed us all year? So what? If we meet them in the playoffs, we have to beat them 4 times before they do it to us. It's that simple.

It's frustrating we can't beat teams from California, but like you said, it's a coincidence on top of the fact that they have really good teams out there. I think it would be more of a concern if the teams ranged from crappy to mediocre and we were getting smoked by them. It's all about perspective. It's annoying, it's weird, but it's nothing to be concerned about.
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby Oaklandblue » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:55 am

dmiles2186 wrote:
cardsfan04 wrote:I still think this is overblown. I mean, the stark contrast in our record vs California teams and vs other teams is frustrating. But the flip side is that our record vs everybody else is ridiculously good. I think this is mainly a function of 2 things.

1. Coincidence.
2. There being a number of really good teams in California.

Let's say we were 1-2 against the blackhawks, 2-0 against Anaheim, 1-2 against Vancouver, and 1-1 against LA and 0-1 against both Pittsburgh and Boston. If it was spread around a little more geographically, I don't think people would be making quite the fuss even though they are all good teams. Also, and I've said it before. The only 2 realistic chances of playing a team from the Pacific in the playoffs are:

1. In the first round by winning our division and playing their 4th or 5th place team which doesn't scare me.
2. In the Conference Finals after winning 2 playoff series, one of which would be against the blackhawks which are every bit as talented as any team in California.

Every year there are elite teams with really good records against some elite team and really bad records against some other elite team. It doesn't mean much at all come playoff time. It's pretty much a total non-story.


I'd been thinking about the way I wanted to word how I felt about this topic, but you pretty much said exactly how I feel and in a much better way than I could relay it. Plus, for me, to win the Cup, you're going to have to go through any opponent that comes up against you. It's as simple as that. So the Ducks have killed us all year? So what? If we meet them in the playoffs, we have to beat them 4 times before they do it to us. It's that simple.

It's frustrating we can't beat teams from California, but like you said, it's a coincidence on top of the fact that they have really good teams out there. I think it would be more of a concern if the teams ranged from crappy to mediocre and we were getting smoked by them. It's all about perspective. It's annoying, it's weird, but it's nothing to be concerned about.


I decided to sit down and do something smart for a change; I pulled up the schedule and looked at it. Then I looked at the standings.

Beyond the one trend that we suck hard at back-to-back games (which seems to have always been the case, at least as long as I've followed the Note), and, just to make sure I had an accurate and clear vision of the situation, took a few shots of Jack and after that, came to this conclusion:

It's not a damn coincidence, it's a fugging FLUKE.

Saying that, I hereby withdraw my previous Standing-Too-Close-To-The-Bridge Theories (Tm) (Phrase used via permission of Sseagle (Checks in the Electronic Mail SS ;)) ) and from now on, whenever we get blown out in a game in the First Period, instead of injecting my own brand of negativity, I will, from now on, say WHAT THE FLUKE?!

Sadly, I will continue to say how much Stewart and Bergy suck and should be traded for a replacement blade for T.J.'s Oshie's right skate and a Terry Yake Bobblehead.
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Re: The troubles against California teams thread

Postby SIU LAW » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:11 pm

As a group, the Blues' struggle with a very hard-hitting and/or speedy forecheck. Plain and simple. The "California teams" all coincidentally have that forecheck this year. Blues’ struggles with that kind of forecheck, as the Jets and Blue Jackets (for example) give the Blues similar problems. The difference between the Jets / Jackets and the "California teams" is the ability to finish.

For all the positive attributes of Bouwmeester, Shattenkirk, and Pietrangelo, they all share this Achilles Heel to varying degrees. Shattenkirk and Pietrangelo may match up better against it with age and experience, but it is an ongoing issue for them. Shattenkirk is probably the worst of the bunch at being rattled by such a forecheck, but he is improving.
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