A Head Coach has the privilege of setting the culture for his/her team and there is no task more important. The values and beliefs of the Head Coach become the basis for all decisions made by the coaches, players and the organization. Rod Brind’Amour has set the culture in Carolina and the players have bought into his program of excellence.
After watching the CANES sweep of the Islanders it is undeniable that the CANES have taken on the personality of their Head Coach. This 2018/2019 CANES team play a tenacious, relentless, smothering, physical, hard working game in all three zones of the hockey rink. What is most impressive is the consistency and discipline in their execution which should be no surprise because those traits were the foundation of their Head Coach’s game and career in the NHL.
Keys to the CANES Sweep
- Ability to advance the puck on the Islanders net and win the game below the hash marks in the offensive zone. The team that advances the puck on net the most generally wins the contest. The CANES won the down low game and ability to take the puck to the net of the Islanders which is something most teams struggled with against the Islanders during the regular season.
- Play a smothering relentless checking game in the defensive zone and neutral zone. The CANES applied pressure at the point of attack in both of these zones playing with speed and physicality. The CANES took away the Islanders Attack Rush Game and Down Low Game in the offensive zone by playing more man coverage than zone which limited the Islanders scoring chances in all four games. The CANES limited the Islanders ability to make plays with the puck with their tight checking which reduced their quality scoring chances and offensive output.
- Establish the forecheck in the offensive zone to support puck recovery and the ability to advance the puck on net.
- Consistent back pressure support by forwards which allowed the group five on five to defend their blue line, recover the puck off dump ins and exit their zone with puck support.
- Speed & physicality of the CANES was evident in all three zones. The CANES consistently won races to loose pucks, pressured up as a group and won the puck possession and control game as a result.
- Support of the puck offensively and defensively as a group in all three zones.
This CANES team is well coached. If this group keeps up this work rate and team game in all three zones and plays like this the remainder of the playoffs there is a good chance they hoist the Stanley Cup in 2019.
A video link of the G4 Highlights that support the Keys to the CANES Sweep: