At the end of April, I put out another call looking for new writers for In Lou We Trust to write about the New Jersey Devils. I've opened up the audition to the community at large in order to get some new perspectives and additional voices on the front page with regularity. Since then, I've received eighteen entries that met the submission criteria. Regardless of how they're received, I thank the writers of each and every one of them - you know who you are - for stepping up and submitting an entry. (One more instruction for those who made submissions and received letters, by the way. Please do not comment on your submission or any of the other audition posts. This will help allow others to freely judge the work and show that you can handle online reactions. No drama is the best drama.)
Throughout the this week, I will post each one under an anonymous name so you can discuss and critique the post without regard to who actually wrote it. I can ensure you that I did not change any of the content outside of formatting it in to the SBN platform. To that end, please note that I don't necessarily agree with what the posts actually say. I'm just letting them stand on their own. Please be constructive in any criticism and do offer your thoughts about whether you liked (or disliked) the post in addition to discussing it's content. Don't be mean, but be fair.
Now, I assigned a letter to each writer based on when I received it. However, I decided to mix up the letters in terms of order of posting. So this process continues with the submission of
Writer N stevenwoj, who has thoughts about the team's philosophy with respect to their play.
This has really been a great playoff season so far full of every type of game you can imagine: blowouts, close one-goal games, scoring with the goalie pulled to tie it up late, overtime games, multiple overtime games, seven game series. If you haven't been watching, you are missing out on some great hockey.
In watching these games, I have noticed that an alarming majority of the teams employee a similar offensive philosophy and, not surprisingly, it is the exact opposite of what our beloved New Jersey Devils do. It seems like the DeBoer offensive system is, dump it in, chase it down, get it to the point for a shot and hope for a deflection or rebound. While this isn't horrible in theory there are just too many factors involved that all have to fall in line for a scoring chance to emerge. This type of play also leads players to stay in one spot and wait for the puck to come to them rather than moving without the puck to create some open space. I understand that this might be the best system for the roster as it is currently constructed, but it is a system that doesn't lend itself to long term success. I also wonder that if a couch potato like myself can decipher this offensive scheme with ease, wouldn't the opposition know that is what they are going to do and thus be able to defend it better?
There was, however, one exception to this philosophy. Whatever line Jaromir Jagr was on was allowed to skate the puck in deep, cycle in the corners, and generate offense from down low. This typically lead to the creation of time and space for someone to make a play. I don't think it is any coincidence that his line was generally the one that was leaned on to produce on the offensive side of the ice. Another benefit to this type of play was that it lead to drawing penalties.
The New Jersey Devils finished the 2013-14 season 9th overall on the Power Play at 19.5% however they finished 28th overall in Power Play Opportunities (PPO) with 241 chances. The top five in PPO were Philadelphia (294), Washington (291), San Jose (291), Dallas (290), and Los Angeles (28). If the Devils could have drawn as many penalties as Philadelphia and continued to score at a 19.5% clip it would have resulted in 10 more goals (10.33 actually but I rounded down, not even someone as small as Stephen Gionta would only get credited with .33 of a goal).
I know I am playing a game of what ifs, but please allow me some latitude. The Devils played 27 games that ended in a 1 goal regulation loss, an overtime loss, or shootout (unfortunately all losses). If the team had tallied an extra goal in 10 of these games the Devils would have finished with 98 points instead of 88. Those 98 points would have been good for #2 in the Metropolitan Division, taking over the Rangers and thus pitting us against them in the first round of the playoffs (the other first round matchup would have been Flyers/Penguins).
A more likely scenario would have been that the Devils racked up at least 5 more goals in those games which would have tied them with the Blue Jackets at 93 points. The Devils still would have been on the outside looking in on the playoffs due to the tie breaker, but, who knows, maybe the team would have scored a few more goals in other games and gotten the one more win to break the tie.
With Free Agency and the draft right around the corner, let's hope the powers that be are watching the playoffs too and see the things that need to be corrected for this team to right the ship and return to playoff glory.
Now that you read
Writer N stevenwoj's post, I want to know what you think about it. What do you think of the subject matter? What did you think about how Writer N stevenwoj wrote this post? Based on how it was written and what was it about, is this the kind of post you would want to see regularly at In Lou We Trust? Please leave your answers and other comments about this post in the comments. Thanks go to Writer N stevenwoj for the submission and thank you for reading.