The special units of the Canadian, the key to this season?

Sport 27 September, 2017

Photo: Paul Chiasson, The canadian Press
The attacker of the Washington Capitals Devante Smith-Pelly has been sent to the dungeon for a game to be unlawful, on 20 September against the Canadian.

The work of special units, often has an impact on the outcome of a game. It might be even more true this season if the referees continue to be as severe as during the calendar preparatory once the regular season begins.


The application of certain regulations by the arbitrators is one of the hot topics since the beginning of the calendar preparatory while the punishments for blow of the stick and for game illegal are multiplying like never before.


The players will see already a difference in the severity of the arbitrators between the beginning of the calendar out of competition, and recent games. Monday in Toronto, the arbitrators have awarded only six minor penalties in the gain of 5-1 to the Maple Leafs against the Canadian.


“I think it’s like this every year. The referees want to pass on a message for the camps, noted the attacker of the Canadian Artturi Lehkonen, earlier this week. Maybe they will continue to call as many penalties during the regular season, but it is difficult to predict. “


Last September 18, during the first day of the calendar preparatory to the NHL, the referees had distributed forty-two penalties for slashing and nine punishments for in-game illegal in seven out of eight games for which the statistics are available on the website of the circuit. In fourteen meetings recorded on sixteen during the weekend, only forty punishments have been awarded for a blow to the head and three for the game to be illegal.


“I saw a little difference between my first game against Washington [Wednesday] and Saturday in Ottawa, noted Charles Hudon, before facing the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night. The players had more margin of manoeuvre in the game. But it would be necessary that the players know that, otherwise the rules are difficult to follow. If there is a little margin of manoeuvre and that we can cheat a little, we should take advantage of it. “


Jonathan Drouin has not played a single match out of competition up here, but it has also been able to notice a difference in the work of the referees during the first calendar week of preparation. “It has decreased a little. At the beginning, if you gave a small blow of the stick or if your skate was moving when in game, you were punished, he recalled. I have watched both parties [on Sunday]. They were less strict. It was more like last season. It was particularly excessive on the game. You began even to forget the washer. “


Several advantages


The Canadian was so focused on the numerical advantage during a short workout on Monday and we can expect it to be so, often enough by the beginning of the season. The team took advantage of a rare day off, Tuesday.


The first unit was composed of the attackers Lehkonen, Drouin, Max Pacioretty and Ales Hemsky, as well as defender, Shea Weber. Weber was the only player at the peak, while the Habs had deployed a 1-3-1 formation with Drouin along the ramp to the left of Weber and Pacioretty to the right. Lehkonen settled in the centre of the enclave, while Hemsky was posted near the goal line.


“It is quite common in the national League to use the four attackers within the digital advantage, recalled Drouin. We have several advantages. Weber has a launch very powerful and Hemsky can make beautiful games. “


Drouin is accustomed to the position on the left flank. He recalled that it was used this way both the midget and junior level with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season.


“I like to get there with speed and have the option to shoot or to pass,” he explained Drouin. I can do the back pass to Shea or attempt to join Max on the other side. There are several options and I think it’s going to work. “


“When “Joe” has the puck along the ramp, you must be ready for everything, said Lehkonen. He can hide his intentions and he can make good games. “


The Canadian hasn’t got particularly a lot of success in the digital advantage up here. Before the game Monday in the face of the Maple Leafs, he had a efficiency 3-for-22 in his three previous releases. Drouin was absent in the face of the Leafs because of an injury to the upper body, but Jeff Petry is hit the target in numerical advantage.


If the referees continue to use their whistle as often when the “real season” will begin, the Canadian will have to do better if he hopes to rack up the victories — and the players are the first to recognize it.


“If there’s a lot of punishment, the special units are key, recognized Drouin. We will have the obligation to produce. “