Lightning-Flyers 1-3-1 controversy not much of one at NHL general managers meeting
Considering the flare-up of emotions over the Nov. 9 game between the Lightning and Flyers, the discussion at Tuesday’s general managers meeting in Toronto was pretty tame.
“Just a general discussion and an exchange of opinions and views on that game and the way the game is played in general,” Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said took place.
The Flyers purposely stalled their offense several times in the game by holding the puck in the defensive zone rather than attack Tampa Bay’s 1-3-1 trap. The purpose, apparently, was to make a statement about how the 1-3-1 is stifling the game’s offensive flow and creating a boring product.
The discussion in Toronto, Yzerman said, wasn’t so much about the Lightning and Flyers but broadly about ways to open up the game.
“It’s something for people to think about, myself included,” Yzerman said. “It’s not a Tampa Bay Lightning or Philadelphia Flyers issue. It’s an issue for the game in general. We’ve taken out the red line and made the end zones bigger and coaches have adapted to ways that are going to make teams successful.”
Yzerman said he believes every team uses the same basic formula.
“If you can’t get in on the forecheck, you fall back into some form of trap,” he said. “Teams collapse in front of their net in their end zones, and teams are collapsing in the neutral zone.”
In fact, Yzerman said trapping is “more extreme” now than in the ’90s when the Devils’ neutral-zone trap caused so much consternation and led the rules changes out of the 2004-05 lockout.
“Now the discussion is, what do we do about it?” Yzerman said. “Is it worth exploring ways of changing it or do we just live with it.”
General managers meet again in March.