Morning Skate 510: Don't Fall into the Trap

191545.jpg

Morning Skate 510: Don't Fall into the Trap

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON While its true that goaltender Dwayne Roloson wasnt a part of the Tampa Bay Lightning when the Bruins built a 3-1 record against the Bolts this season, there is still information to be gleaned from the four times these two teams played each other this season.Much has been made of the 1-3-1 trap defensive system that innovative Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher employs with the Tampa team, and the way it clogs up the neutral zone while softening up the opposition for a counter-attack strategy. The trendy defensive system along with the long scar on his face makes him a perfect Bond villain with the intense French-Canadian accent all he needs is a monocle or a purring white kitten in his lap to cap it all off.All Dr. Evil references aside, however, the Tampa quick strike counter-attack is one of the big concerns for the Boston offense and defense.But its also about getting pressure on the Tampa Bay defense when theyll collecting pucks in the corner and inflicting a little punishment on them that should start to take a toll as the series rolls on.I dont think you want to certainly put your whole game plan around that, said Julien. The bottom line is youve got to find a way to get through that. What theyre very good at is when they force you to move the pucks in deep, they got a defenseman there that just grabs it and shoots it right back out. So its about us getting through that, and making sure that we give ourselves an opportunity to still have the puck in the offensive zone.But we dont want to put all our attention to that. Our game plan is not going to change a lot. Theres going to be some small adjustments here and there, but our game plan should be good enough. We should be confident enough with it that we know it can continue to bring us success. Youre going to see our team play a lot the same way it has. As far as their neutral zone, its very similar to Montreal and we were able to get through that one.There will certainly be some challenges along the way as Boucher and Co. have shown willingness to game plan and adapt within games depending on the Lightning and that will be something Julien will have to combat just as fiercely as the players attempting to bust through the vaunted Boucher trap.On to the links:Bizarre interview with Uptown Hockey agency representative Todd Reynolds, who sent out some obtuse tweets on Monday criticizing Sean Avery for his stance supporting Same Sex Marriages in New York.Underachieving Sharks center Patrick Marleau had little to fire back at Jeremy Roenick with after his former San Jose Sharks teammate deemed him "gutless" on a Versus postgame broadcast on Sunday night.National Post columnist Sean Fitz-Gerald caught up with Don Reynolds from Uptown Sports Management, Todds father and the President of the company, and he somehow equated same-sex marriage to a man marrying a horse. Okay then. Red Wings areconfident they can push to a Game Seven against the San Jose Sharks, and so am I.Flyers are still in shock over the thorough beating the Bruins slapped down on them in four straight games.Detroit is crediting goaltender Jim Howard with getting them to a Game Six in the series, and that shouldnt come as any surprise to Hockey East fans out there.A nice piece in the Toronto Sun on a Three Wise Men behind the Tampa Bay Lightning and the puck renaissance thats led them to the Eastern Conference Finals in one season of rebuilding.Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports has a great piece on Vancouvers Captain America, Ryan Kesler, and his romp through the Western Conference playoffs.Elliotte Friedman of CBC with his indispensable 30 thoughts for the week and one excellent assistant coach that deserves a shot at the big time head coaching ring in the NHL.Justin Bourne takes all of the NHL floppers to task in his typically entertaining and enlightening piece in The Hockey News.Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.

Sunday, May 21: Has Kessel changed?

Sunday, May 21: Has Kessel changed?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while finding it unbelievable that some people are questioning the heart of Isaiah Thomas at this point.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Arthur with a column on Phil Kessel playing all of his cards right with the Penguins. It’s something he never did in an untenable Toronto situation where he and Dion Phaneuf were expected to be franchise players instead of the “third banana” type roles they were meant for on good teams with Ottawa and Pittsburgh.

That was very clear when he was with the Bruins early in his career, was not a good match with the hearty crew that ended up winning a Cup in 2011 and basically didn’t want to play for Claude Julien anymore after just three seasons. It was more clear when he pulled the same reluctant public figure card as Toronto’s high-paid star forward in the NHL’s biggest media market, and never did more than put up his numbers. Now in Pittsburgh he’s clearly well behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the pecking order, plays in a place where he can fade into the background a little bit without too many problems and a lot of his eccentricities are viewed as charming, or Phil being Phil, rather than Kessel being viewed as a bit of an odd duck or a malcontent.

But to this Bruins writer he’ll always be the guy that clashed with Julien over the stick that he preferred to use, clashed with Zdeno Chara on the ice for his work habits and was ultimately a player that wasn’t very popular at all in the Bruins dressing room despite the obvious talent and the courageous battle with cancer he waged during his first year in Boston. He’s obviously matured and is more well-rounded in some ways than his Boston days, but in many ways he’s the exact same Phil that doesn’t want to change for anybody or anything.

*Here’s the New York Islanders season in review after disappointing with a failure to get into the playoffs, and a big situation coming up with John Tavares.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen done for the playoffs after being diagnosed with “acute compartment syndrome.” What a big blow to the Predators.  

*The Ottawa Senators are still looking to push the Penguins to the brink in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it’s obviously going to be a difficult task for them.

*Don Cherry and Ron MacLean had their Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada this weekend, and tackled some hot topics like the Nashville crowd throwing a dead duck on the ice.

*Ryan Getzlaf addresses the fine from the NHL for using a vulgar slur on the ice, apparently aimed at nobody in particular according to the player.

*Here’s a set of statistics that effectively sums up the pathetic regular season put forth by the Colorado Avalanche.

*For something completely different: In an interesting rumor, the Mr. Robot show creator is apparently in talks on an Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone movie.