June 17, 2013

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 15 comments

Just thinking about the Stanley Cup...Bruins have seemed to get stronger as the games go further into the 3rd period and overtime. This was true to an extent in the regular season, as Bruins had a large 3rd period goal-scoring edge over their opponents. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I do remember it was remarked upon many times. That being the case, should Boston win the Cup, and should the pattern persist of late Bruins' goals being the difference, shouldn't Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides win the Conn Smythe? I know he's not eligible of course, but his contributions to the team are greatly overlooked by the media.

posted by Howard_T at 10:49 AM on June 17, 2013

NFL overtime question: If the first team scores a field goal after a 10-minute drive and the second team still has the ball when 15 minutes expires, does the game end or do they get to continue the drive?

posted by rcade at 11:22 AM on June 17, 2013

Filed under Rich Get Richer: I watched the Spain U-21 Euros and Spain-Uruguay this weekend and man, both Spanish sides were amazingly dominant! The senior team didn't allow Los Celeste an offensive touch for over 20 minutes to start the match and in the first half Spain had 108 passes in the offensive third compared to NINE for Uruguay. Frankly the ref blew many calls in this one, if he'd had a better game the final score would've been lopsided.

The youth side were almost as overwhelming against Norway in the semi-final game, getting two late goals to pump up the margin to 3-0. And if you want to know the name of the next star to emerge from the ranks, it's Isco. Currently of Malaga but rumoured for a big money move to Madrid or Man City. His playmaking was outstanding and his goal was, well, sick. Think of David Silva but potentially even better, if he doesn't get lost in a squad of stars at club and country level.

Wonderful stuff to watch, and dream that one day the US will have a similar run at the top.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:38 PM on June 17, 2013

An answer to rcade's question:

Article 5 (PDF) The following shall apply to overtime games in the postseason.

(a) If the score is tied at the end of a 15-minute overtime period, or if the second team's initial possession has not ended, another overtime period will begin, and play will continue, regardless of how many 15-minute periods are necessary.

posted by 86 at 12:40 PM on June 17, 2013

Thanks. If that happens I think it would have to be the longest regular-season game in NFL history.

posted by rcade at 01:19 PM on June 17, 2013

Oops, sorry, thought you were asking about post-season, for some reason. The regular season is different...

Article 4 The following shall apply to overtime games in the preseason and regular season.

(a) There shall be a maximum of one 15-minute period, even if the second team has not had an opportunity to possess the ball or if its initial possession has not ended. If the score is tied at the end of the period, the game shall result in a tie.

posted by 86 at 01:35 PM on June 17, 2013

Is the superstar era in hockey fading?

posted by kokaku at 01:38 PM on June 17, 2013

That article spends an awful lot of its time trying to cut off possible responses and begging the question. The Bruins may not have Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby, but they have star-quality players. Patrice Bergeron is an incredible talent, it's just not obvious without watching games. The same is true of Chara, Krejci and, when they're on, Marchand and Lucic. It looks like Rask may fit in there as well. The author's real contention seems to be the Bruins don't have any "stars" you can spot simply by looking at the NHL scoring leaders table.

To clarify that a bit, Chara is on the same level as Bergeron and maybe Krejci is too. Bergeron is the best player on the ice most nights.

posted by yerfatma at 02:39 PM on June 17, 2013

Zdeno Chara is a superstar.

He's won the top honour for his position, he's instantly recognizable to anyone who follows the sport, he's been on 6 all-star teams, and entire offensive strategies by the opposition are dictated by his presence on/off the ice at any moment.

It's ridiculous to suggest that he isn't a superstar. He'd be the #1 or #2 pick at his position by any team that is building to win a Stanley Cup. Is there any other defenseman that made the playoffs that has had a bigger role in their team's success than Chara?

posted by grum@work at 03:05 PM on June 17, 2013

Brendan Smith had a big role in the Blackhawks' success.

Jokes aside, Chara is one of the most recognizable defensemen in the game. He is probably easily the most recognizable player whenever he is on the ice, although that probably has more to do with his half-giant status.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:13 PM on June 17, 2013

Is the superstar era in hockey fading?

To amplify yerfatma's point a bit, Bruins emphasize defense before offense, meaning that the forwards all have defensive responsibilities that will generally be considered more important than just looking for goals. Watch what happens when Bruins cede possession of the puck in Chicago's defensive zone. One forward will stay in as a forechecker, not hoping to regain possession, but rather to delay Chicago's advance. In the meantime, the other 2 forwards have taken up position in the neutral zone, covering Chicago's forwards, limiting the opportunities for a long lead pass, and forcing the entry into the Boston zone to be along the perimeter or via a dump-in.

In their defensive zone Boston's forwards play more of a zone defense, but will try to stay close to an opponent in their area and provide support to a defenseman fighting for the puck along the boards. When a Bruin defenseman gets possession, a forward is stationed along the boards about halfway to the blue line. The pass will usually come up the boards to the forward who will look for another forward moving toward the blue line. He will make a short pass to this forward if possible, but will try to avoid the long breakaway pass unless it is wide open.

Boston's offense comes from the forecheck once possession in the attacking zone is established. Motion, physical play, short passes, and traffic in front of the net are the keys. Shots from the points are a feature.

Bruins' lack of one or 2 high scoring players, while having a number of high-quality players, reminds me a bit of the old Celtics teams from the late 1950s and early 1960s. There were players on these teams (Russell, Sharman, Heinshon, for example) who could have averaged high point totals night after night had they been the sole offense. The scheme was not to set up one scorer, but rather to set up the easy, high percentage shots. The other part of this was having one defensive stopper in Bill Russell while the rest of the team concentrated on defending their individual responsibility.

One thing the writer of the linked article says is flat wrong. Daniel Paille is not your 4th line stiff. I believe I mentioned that he was a first round draft pick (by Buffalo), is very fast on his skates, understands defense, and certainly has enough offensive skill that he should not be left alone in the slot.

posted by Howard_T at 03:25 PM on June 17, 2013

Is the superstar era in hockey fading?

I think this article is about 20 years too late. Didn't the superstar era in hockey begin to fade fairly rapidly with the '95 New Jersey Devils' immolation of the Detroit Red Wings? Since that time, hockey has been decidedly system-oriented, most notably including the Red Wings' "left wing lock" system and the Draper-led grind line and last years' Kings/Devils all-grind finals. Throw in the '11 Bruins and there begins to be a trend.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:14 PM on June 17, 2013

Zdeno Chara has 'beard like Goliath'

posted by tommybiden at 07:13 PM on June 17, 2013

The Penguins and the Red Wings last victories were definitely superstar driven. The problem is that both those teams were chock full of superstars, so they didn't stand out from each other.

The team composition that is never going to win the Stanley Cup finals (unlike the NBA finals) is the "King and his Court" system, with one mega-star and a bunch of role-players.

posted by grum@work at 08:37 PM on June 17, 2013

The Washington Capitals are painfully aware of that.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:05 PM on June 17, 2013

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