Rossi: Give trap its due respect
I know what to expect from the Devils, and it doesn't bother me at all. Indeed, I'm caught up in defending the neutral-zone trap.
Call me a sucker for strategy and a fan of rigid discipline when it comes to appreciating what hockey's most hated system routines offer — the best chance for teams to win on the road.
There was no coincidence that the Devils' victory Thursday at Mellon Arena was their ninth straight away from home. They're already 2-0-0 in Pittsburgh, having allowed only two goals in those contests. (The Penguins were healthy for that first loss, so no excuses.)
New Jersey's trap is perfectly designed for winning on the road during the regular season — though having Martin Brodeur between the pipes is a nice part of the equation.
Watch how the Devils trap under head coach Jacques Lemaire, the godfather of its modern-day standing. His players are seemingly never out of position. They almost always know when to flip the switch from patient to aggressive. Opponents are left shaking their heads by midway through the first period — because the Devils' trap not only denies time and space to force turnovers; it also causes frustration that leads to unforced turnovers.
In its own way, the Devils' trap is a thing of beauty.
Full disclosure: Given the choice, I'd rather watch the Penguins play than the Devils, especially if I was a paying customer. Still, count me out of any discussion that begins with, "The NHL needs to do something about the trap ..."
If anything, the NHL would do well to educate its fans on the history of the trap, which was a championship-system before the Devils reintroduced it to the masses in the mid 1990s.
As legendary Penguins adviser Eddie Johnston told me last year, "Those great Canadiens teams in the '70s played the trap."
What those teams didn't do, I'm told, is clutch-and-grab to slow the game to a crawl. That is what happened for about 10 years before 2005, when the league decided to start enforcing rules it previously allowed officials to ignore.
That dark decade not only destroyed interest in the product, it also permanently placed a negative connotation on the trap.
Well, no negativity here. I say it gets a bad reputation. I also say that it will keep the Devils in the thick of the Atlantic Division race until the very end.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Based on glowing recommendation, Pens hire Agnew as assistant
- Penguins re-sign Megna, Samuelsson to 1-year deals
- Penguins are saying captain Crosby’s right wrist may need surgery
- Familiar Penguins faces say goodbye via free agency
- Pens hope to reach long-term deal with Brandon Sutter
- New Penguins winger Spaling files for arbitration
- New general manager Rutherford, Penguins in favor of short-term deals