February 18, 2009

A suggestion for the Lightning....

The Tampa Bay Lightning are still struggling to find some consistency during games. I'm sure their coaches are good guys and doing all that they can to help them out, and I'm sure they've been throwing out a lot of stuff for those guys to digest. But here's what I think is a decent summary of what they need to do.

There are three things in hockey that they need to do well to win. And they have to do them all the time, all game long. Everything else is just details.

1. Play defense. Everybody. All game long. Figure out where you need to be at all times, and then be there. Don't get distracted by jumping into a play and getting stuck somewhere that you shouldn't be. Just put your body in the place on the ice where you're role dictates you should be in order to be defensively responsible. There should never, ever be five or six guys with the same colored jersey's hanging out around a net unless that team just scored a goal.

2. Short, clean passes. No blind passes, and no drop passes unless someone calls for it. Stick to stick, tape to tape, teammate to teammate. Make sure they're looking at you and are ready to take the pass. And you shouldn't need any more than four passes in the offensive zone before taking a shot.

3. Shoot the puck. It doesn't matter from where, and it doesn't matter from who. Just shoot it. Often. From everywhere. From everyone. Whether you think you have one or not. And only make a pass on a breakaway if you know you don't have the shot. There should be at least ten shots per period from the entire team - in every period of every game. The more the better. You can never have too many shots on goal.

That's it. You do those three things all the time and well, then you should at least be in the game, if not actually win it. The key is consistency. It doesn't matter who the opponent is - you can only control the things that you do.

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