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“Tampa Trap” to be discussed at NHL GMs meeting

Nov 11, 2011, 4:28 PM EDT


ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun notes that the fallout from Wednesday’s bizarre stalemate between Philadelphia and Tampa Bay isn’t going away anytime soon. The trap/stall controversy will be one of the issues tabled at Tuesday’s NHL general manager’s meeting in Toronto, which should prove interesting as both Philadelphia’s Paul Holmgren and Tampa’s Steve Yzerman will be in attendance.

“My TSN colleague Bob McKenzie polled GMs around the league and asked them which team they blamed for Wednesday’s controversy,” LeBrun writes. “As of 7 pm ET Thursday, 18 GMs responded; 13 blamed Tampa, three blamed Philadelphia and two stayed neutral. Eight of the 13 who said it was Tampa Bay’s fault said they were in favor of instituting new rules or penalties to combat the 1-3-1 trap.”

That said, don’t expect any new rules to come from the meeting. LeBrun’s sources indicated this would be more of a “big-picture” discussion about the state of the game (and trapping’s place in it, presumably.) The last time the NHL fast-tracked a rule change was the infamous “Sean Avery Rule” during the 2008 playoffs, when the wording of unsportsmanlike conduct was widened to include waving arms and/or sticks in front of a goaltender’s face.

In retrospect, that decision to immediately ratify the unsportsmanlike language might’ve been overkill. The Avery rule has only been called once in three years since (on Chris Pronger, which itself was a fairly controversial decision.)

  1. nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 11, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    Simple solution is my Simple Icing Rule: If you and the puck are clear of your defensive zone, you may shoot it down the ice. If either you or the puck are still in your defensive zone when you shoot the puck down the ice, the whistle will be blown when the puck crosses the opponents’ red line, with the face-off in your zone, and like now, no substitutions may be made by your team. This icing rule is in effect regardless of whether either team is shorthanded due to a penalty. (Getting a penalty should not give the penalized team an advantage!)
    Presto, the 1-3-1 becomes useless and the game opens up.

  2. Chris Ross - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    I think that it is great for the NHL to finally see what has happened to the game of hockey. It’s not knee jerk by any means, this has been building for quite a while and fans are tired of it. This isn’t just one crazy instance. Peter Laviolette has showed what goes on all too often in the NHL. Interesting that he would do this in Tampa Bay and continued to take a stand. I could imagine someone doing this once but not multiple times as Laviolette did it. It will be interesting to see how the league reacts to this, as obviously this is unprecedented. Maybe this will go down as just one weird happening on one day but I suspect it could lead to bigger things, or at least it opens up the possibility.

  3. muttbolts - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Hey lets have the nfl take out the “prevent”d-fence.really.

    • comeonnowguys - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:28 PM

      They don’t have to. If NFL teams played the equivalent of the trap they’d never win a game.

  4. muttbolts - Nov 11, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    So,isnt the d-lines job to “TRAP” the qb or rb in the backfield? Ok you say they rush the qb, not all of them every play.some drop back into zone,some spy and some rush.who is runs this teams play on the ice? The coach,who r any of you to change the way a guy coaches.

  5. lsxphotog - Nov 11, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    I love that there is support in the league to squash a defensive structure that works. It forces other teams to be better because they have to win the races to the puck and use their teammates to bring the puck up the ice. In my near 20 years of playing hockey, it was always beaten into me that we have to look for our guys, win the races, crash the net, and get open. How do you play a trap? Wow, you play good hockey and hope you have the better skaters and talent to win the battles. When you crowd the neutral zone it just prevents the Jagrs and Girouxs from creating a one man play up the ice. The Chicago and Lightning game was extremely exciting because both teams were continuously playing their advantages. If the Flyers and cycloptic Pronger couldn’t figure out how to play them (as indicated by the 14 regulation shots) that’s nobody’s fault but their team and coaching staff. It made for some of the best playoff hockey in years last season, but the Flyers were sitting at home, so they may not recall. If anything comes of these meetings it will only stand to prove how weak the league really is. God forbid a coach employ a method that gets his team to win games and play hockey requiring meticulous talent and execution. Every goal is a battle. Screw the sloppy 5, 6, 7, 8 goal games the Flyers thrive on. More power to Tampa for finally getting talked about for something, at least. They’re like the Ron Paul of the NHL. No matter how good they become they receive little admiration for the great organization they’ve built. Rant over.

    • lsxphotog - Nov 12, 2011 at 2:08 PM

      I would like to renege my “cycloptic” statement about Pronger. I don’t like to see players get injured and having suffered an eye injury myself, I don’t like that I said that. I’m happy he made a good recovery as a person and player.

  6. lsxphotog - Nov 11, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    BTW, nothanksimdriving, your icing rule is comical. It would also never function to benefit the game. There is no advantage to being short a man for 2 minutes or more, even with no ice. The icing call off on the PK is what keeps the power play exciting because the team with the advantage must retain possession if they want to take advantage of the extra attacker. It keeps the teams on their toes and passes and plays sharp. Take it away and you have a mess out there, at least that’s what I imagine since it would swing too far in favor of the team on the PP.

  7. boltsfan777 - Nov 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    It’s especially ridiculous for a team to get criticism for finding a way to win within the rules, especially that way the Bolts did against the Flyers with two of their top defensemen unavailable. As Tom Jones of the St. Pete Times pointed out, imagine a baseball hitter comes to the plate, and he notices an exaggerated defensive shift not to his liking, so he refuses to step into the box until they make it easier for him to get a hit. Or how about a QB refusing to take the snap because the defense is in an unusual but perfectly legal formation. So who is being ridiculous, the Bolts or the Flyers?

    Chip, chase and check. That’s one way to beat Tampa, or any other team. Teams that have dared to fly into the face of “The Trap” (Ooh, it’s a trap, and it’s unfair; it used to simply be a 1-3-1) have scored 47 goals against them in 15 games. Sometimes they actually use speed to skate through the dreaded “Trap”. Last year Boucher was considered innovative and now he’s killing the game. They don’t even use this system all the time. Once they were down 1-0 against the Flyers, they moved to forechecking. Sometimes their lack of forechecking hurts themselves!

    The Bruins found a way to win the Eastern Conference finals. It was a very exciting, physical series! It was a very close matchup but the Bruins out-skated them, out-passed them, and out-shot the Bolts. It’s ridiculous that the league is now scared of the Bolts, and the Broad Street Bullys (who took 15 shots on goal for the entire game) are upset that the Bolts won’t make it easier to score goals.

    • comeonnowguys - Nov 12, 2011 at 4:56 PM

      “Or how about a QB refusing to take the snap because the defense is in an unusual but perfectly legal formation. So who is being ridiculous, the Bolts or the Flyers?”

      Are you kidding? QB’s call timeouts because of this all the time.

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