Apparently, in Tampa Bay, when the Flyers come to town, it can.
In a game this week between the Flyers and Lightning, it was the immovable object meeting the irresistable force. The Lightning deployed their traditional 1-3-1 formation, a system of play that proved to be very effective in their Cinderella playoff run last season. Some might argue the system is boring, but it is effective, and it got results. The Flyers countered by…well, by not moving.
The two Flyer defensemen sat back in their own end, one with the puck, not moving, as the Lightning forechecker sat waiting for their first move. None came. Seconds literally ticked away as neither team acted on the puck. Eventually the play was whistled dead, as even the officials didn’t know what to do.
Some are blaming the Tampa Bay coach for making the game boring, and not appealing to fans. Some are blaming the Lightning system of play.
Are you kidding me?
It’s the coach’s mandate to win hockey games. To devise a strategy to best lead their team to victory. Have we ever seen a coach keep their job for long by being entertaining losers? The losses pile up…but hey, they lost a “close” game 6-3 by being entertaining. Give me a break.
It is the coach’s job to devise strategies to win. It is the opposing coach’s job to develop a system to counter that strategy. Say what you want about the Flyers’ “strategy”, they still lost. So what is the real moral of the story?
Mock the Lightning trap all we want…applaud the Flyers as much as you want for “exposing” this strategy as “boring”…the bottom line still remains:
Lightning 2, Flyers 1. In the cutthroat profession of coaching, results are what matters, and on this night, it was the Lightning and their boring system that got the results.
The Lightning coaches owe no one an exciting brand of hockey. A true fan of the Lightning will look at the end result…a Lightning victory…as the source of true entertainment. True hockey fans appreciate the wins, and the beauty of the systems that lead to that win…victories don’t always go to the most entertaining team. They go to the team that has more goals than the other team. If it comes as a result of a trap system, so be it.