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the approach the Stanley Cup-winning coach is t

in Tomahawk 24.07.2019 04:22
von Dogcat250 • 1.150 Beiträge

TORONTO -- Ken Hitchcock has a theory on how to deal with his team not scoring a lot of goals. "Just not talk about it," he said. "Talk about something else." Thats the approach the Stanley Cup-winning coach is taking with his St. Louis Blues, who have gone through a mini scoring slump. Of course they still lead the Western Conference, which is based on large part on being one of the NHLs stingiest defensive teams. "Ive always believed, like a lot of coaches, if youre not scoring, talk about checking. If you check better, youre going to get more chances," Hitchcock said Monday at Air Canada Centre. "The structure of our game, were just going to weather the storm. The structure of our game has got to stay solid like it is right now, and then well weather it and well come out on the other side fine." An 82-game regular season is a totally different animal than the Olympics, but a similar philosophy guided Team Canada to gold. Worries about a lack of offence from star forwards -- at least externally -- lasted well into the playoff round, but those were quieted by dominant play on the puck. "Its about controlling the hockey game. And you dont control the hockey game with offence, you control it with checking," said Hitchcock, who was one of Mike Babcocks assistants in Sochi. "We were tied or leading by one goal -- we werent concerned with the way we were playing that we werent scoring. It doesnt matter if youre leading 5-4 going into the third period or 1-0 as long as you have the lead youre in good shape." Like with Canada, Hitchcock said he feels comfortable seeing the Blues checking well because it means theyre "committed to the right things." One of those things hes proud of is that for a couple of games in a row St. Louis has displayed a high work standard. To Hitchcock, thats a bigger deal -- the way the Blues play -- than having an offence thats always rolling or a power play thats constantly clicking at a high rate. As far as special teams go, hes more concerned about the penalty kill and what that could mean come playoff time. "Ive seen a lot of (teams) who have had bad power plays do really well in the playoffs, but Ive never seen any team play worth a damn if you cant kill penalties," Hitchcock said. "Its more on can you kill the penalty at the right time because you can live with poor power plays and still win hockey games. But you cant survive if you cant kill penalties because your whole game falls apart, youre nervous, youre uptight, you panic and weve got to be great killing penalties." That would also follow Canadas blueprint. The gold-medal-winning Canadians converted on just 16.67 per cent of their power plays in six games, middle of the pack in the tournament, yet led the Olympics with a 93.75 per cent penalty-killing rate, giving up one goal on 16 chances. Hitchcock, though, must guide the Blues through choppier waters than Canada endured at the Olympics. Sixteen playoff victories are required to win the Stanley Cup, and most of those wont be by large margins. Perhaps thats one way the Blues balance plays in their favour. The have no one player in the top 35 in the league in scoring, but 10 with at least 30 points, led by Alex Steen and T.J. Oshies 54. St. Louis isnt built on scoring, which means they could be built to withstand droughts like this. "Youre going to go through stages where youre not scoring, and youre still going to have to win hockey games," Hitchcock said. "If youve got to win for a week or 10 days, youve got to win 1-0, 2-1, youve got to do it until you get back engaged where youre going to score again." Until then, the Blues are happy to talk about -- and execute on -- checking well and frustrating opponents in the process. Michael Gallup Youth Jersey . Some members of the U.S. Congress arent so sure. They say Russia isnt doing enough to assure that athletes will be protected at the Feb. 7-23 games, happening not far from an Islamic insurgency that Russias huge security apparatus has struggled for two decades to quell. Russia may run greater risks in towns outside the tightly controlled Olympic zone. Suicide bombs last month a few hundred kilometres (miles) away have increased concerns, and an Islamic warlord has urged his followers to attack the Sochi Olympics, Russian President Vladimir Putins pet project. Bob Lilly Cowboys Jersey . 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