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Stanley Cup winner Jacques Lemaire backs Tampa Bay Lightning's 1-3-1 strategy

Here's a question:

Why is Flyers coach Peter Laviolette being called a hero by some for having his players stall Wednesday against the Lightning to apparently send a message he does not approve of Tampa Bay's 1-3-1 trapping system?

Flyers players, with the puck, stalled in their defensive zone several times throughout the game, hoping to draw the Lightning out of its structure. That didn't happen, and in the process the Flyers lost several minutes of attack time — one stall took at least 50 seconds — in what turned into a 2-1 overtime loss.

Please explain how that was a good strategy for the league's highest-scoring team against a Tampa Bay squad depleted by three injuries, including to two of its top three defensemen: Mattias Ohlund and Victor Hedman.

Please explain how the Flyers didn't come at Tampa Bay with everything they had. And please explain it to former Devils and Wild coach Jacques Lemaire.

"Well, it didn't look good to me when I saw the Flyers stop playing," Lemaire told the St. Petersburg Times. "What does it show? What is the coach showing to his players? That 'I don't like the way they play, so we won't play?' "

Lemaire, whose neutral zone trap stirred the same vitriol in the '90s — it's boring hockey, it slows the game — said he ignored critics, especially those in the media.

"That's all they do," said Lemaire, whose 1994-95 Devils won the Stanley Cup. "They have the mike, and some guys with the mike try to coach. They couldn't coach, so they go behind the mike because they couldn't find a way to win. So they're no big deal.

"I think he's got to coach the way he feels is going to win games, and that's it," Lemaire added about his friend, Lightning coach Guy Boucher. "You want to play a certain style that maybe does not fit your team and (you) lose, and then in a month you're looking for a job. What's that?"

In other words, the coach is supposed to find ways to win, and that is the real point in this fake controversy. Laviolette — whose Flyers are (and isn't this funny) 1-3-1 against Tampa Bay since last season — did not.

Why haven't we heard more criticism of that?

Stanley Cup winner Jacques Lemaire backs Tampa Bay Lightning's 1-3-1 strategy 11/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 12, 2011 7:39pm]

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