The Umbrella

I myself like many of us am not a fan of our umbrella power play offense. I'm guessing that Tort's and Rammer don't much care for it either. Why use it then? Let's look at our Big 4. Richards mans the point and is not a down low in-front-of-net physical player in 5 on 5 situations either. Boyle is a smallish defenseman with good mobility - not Kubina who was large and willing to try to go to the front of the net. St. Louis - kinda like a baseline player in basketball. Hangs on the goal line, is good at the sharp angle shot and the cross ice pass, but not an inside guy. Vinny? In the playoffs in the Montreal forum - he's a down-low "Give me the damn puck" kind of a guy. At any other venue and in any non-playoff situation he aspires to be a point man. Craig is doing well and may turn ouy to be special, but the one place I really feel the loss of R2 affects us is right here. When he had time with the umbrella guys, the goalie didn't have much opportunity to see what's going on out there. Tort's and Rammer appear to be using what they feel is the best system to match the abilities of their best 4 players to be on the ice at the same time. Pete's 5 question column yesterday is accurate. Craig's work will really be the key. The reason I feel this way is that I rarely see three guys hanging outside in the umbrella when the full second unit is on the ice. From the fan's stand point our organization has the great pleasure of being associated with Esposito, Andreychuk, and Ciccarelli, three of the 4 or 5 best ever to muck it up in front of the net. If Craig plays to those standards, we'll probably all quiet down about the umbrella. If we don't play the umbrella we'll question why we don't ice our best guys in that situation. Vinny simply won't do what he's needed to do in any other set-up.

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Lets not forget Brian Bellows who was another guy who was outstanding in that role.

Yes he was.

For some reason, I never liked Bellows much, but he was good down low on the PP.


Tampas coaches like the one time opportunity. They love the idea of setting up off the side boards. A technique most teams will use if they have the talent to either walk into the slot off the side boards or send a cross-ice pass for a one time shot. With St. Louis being the better one time shot man and Vinny a great off the side boards kind of player it seems like a fit, especially with two of the better "quarterback" type players in Richards and Boyle at the point. Only problem with this style... too many chances for shorthanded chances due to only one player sitting at the point. If a team can master it and effectively keep the puck moving, it can be deadly.

Good information, thanks.

Then what do they have to do when the other team is agressively pressing the points? That appears to be the achilles heel of this set-up. During the 2 e-games at the forum Dallas sat back in the box and we had a field day while Detroit agressively chased the puck, reduced our handling time and other than our 1st 2 PP opportunities they pretty much handled us. Last season was much the same thing. During the cup run though, Feds slipped into the mid slot when we were being pressed and it was bingo! Against the stay-in-the box teams we'll pad our numbers, against the pressing teams we'll struggle.

your right

Against aggressive teams the only chance you are going to get is to either move a side board player back onto the slot, or try cycle the puck down low and look for a cutting playing into the slot. Which, like you said Feds does affectively. Only problem is you have to be good at cycling the puck and do so quickly, this is a problem Tampa has struggled on, but I do see getting better. With Craig emerging into a good in-front of the net threat teams are going to have be aware of him, kind of like an Anderychuk of old and Ryan Smyth does now. This prevents the two low PK men to stay put and leaving someone to skate down low and open up the offensive zone for more passing lanes against the aggressive penalty kill. Sounds easy to explain, a lot harder to execute being one bad pass could lead to a shorty breakaway. I have to say though I have been impressed with this years PP look in Tampa than last seasons.

It was extremely easy to defend tonight.

First of all, Bergeron, Murray, and Axelsson are unbelievably effective forwards on the PK. I'm not talking about just tonight either. Bergeron ate Vinny up along the wall all night. When other PK guys were on the ice (less aggressive ones) they used an interesting and effective tactic. When it went to the other wall (Boyle usually) Two guys trapped the passing lanes off the wall and they played us 2 on 4 over the rest of the ice. I don't think the 1st group got a pass through until the last PP. They got a take away off that steadily in the 1st. The 2nd unit played a little better with 2 on the point, 2 down low and 1 in the slot. Unfortunately, Affy took Feds' office in the slot relegating Feds to playing down low. In the 2nd, Perrin took Affy's spot, Feds' went back to his office and when the puck was out front Perrin and Feds' or Craig each manned a spot in front of each post. We had several good, good chances with that group. We didn't pass well all night, so that alone could've stymied the umbrella. Give Boston their due though. They made our umbrella look like their offensive weapon.

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