Cutting Room Floor

I started writing a piece on Caps defenseman Shaone Morrisonn last week, but wound up getting derailed by other events. I just finished the Mo piece, which you can read here. But as is often the case, I got far more quotes than I actually needed. Rather than just trash them, here they are for your reading pleasure:  

Bruce Boudreau on his philosophy of setting defensive pairs:
“I’ve always been a big believer in that. If you’ve got a real offensive guy and you’ve got a real defensive guy, why not pair them up? Because you know that somebody is always going to be back and you have that threat from the blueline to go down and score.”

Boudreau on offensive vs. defensive players:
“In any sport, offensive players make the splash but defensive players are sought after. Management and coaches love the defensive players that can do a real steady job. But the offensive guys are the ones who get all the ink.“Mike Green, putting up the numbers he is, he is getting a lot of the attention. But Shaone Morrisonn deserves a lot of the attention for allowing Mike Green to do what he is doing and still be the constant safety blanket back there.”

Morrisonn on the difference between playing with Milan Jurcina and Mike Green:
“Me and Juice are more stay-at-home defensemen. Playing with Greenie, he is like a fourth forward out there. He is a great offensive threat to have on the D corps. It gives him a chance to go and have me back there for him. He knows I am going to be there and always have his back when he is going, so it really makes things easier for him. I tell him, ‘Go Greenie, and I’ll be back there to cover you once in a while.’ And hopefully I’ll get a couple chances to go too, myself. It just fits. All the pairings have that solid D guy and a guy with a little more offensive flair and it’s been working out for us pretty good.“It’s fun to watch him and learn from him offensively and pick little things up. And I teach him little things defensively. We’re both helping each other each way.”

On the flexibility of playing with the rest of the defensemen:
“We’ve all played together. I can play with Ersk, Emmy and Juice and Pottsy and Schultzie. Everybody has to adjust to all six guys that are in the lineup, because you never know what can happen during the game. On the PK, I’m with Schultzie. He plays the right side and I play the left side. Or Pottsie or Poti. It’s all relevant. The pairings seem to work, so we’re sticking with what works.”

On the flaws of plus-minus:
“It’s kind of an overrated stat, I think. You’ve got to look at the tape and you’ve got to break down the game in more detail to really tell who is causing it and who is in a slump. Personally, you always know how you’re doing out there, if you’re making mistakes or you’re making costly turnovers or getting beat one-on-one. It’s tough to say, but if you’re getting more ice time they have confidence in you and you’re playing well, you’re playing with confidence. If your ice time is declining, they don’t have as much faith in you to put you out there. There is something wrong there. But it’s a tough stat, that plus/minus. I was talking to Greenie about it. It should be the guy who makes the mistake who gets the minus. Or if it’s a weak goal, the goalie should get it. I think it’s a stat that could be adjusted. I think it’s an overrated stat.”

On Boudreau’s system:
“I love the system. It’s great for pressure and we’re not sitting back as much as we used to be. We’re always in their face and if we’re getting beat, we’re getting beat but at least we’re being aggressive. Before, it was tough because you’re always sitting back. It’s hard to defend in this league if you’re sitting back. The last couple of games, you can tell teams don’t have anything against us. When we do our system against each other in practice and we don’t have anything, it’s tough. When the system is done perfectly, it’s a great system. I’ve never played it [before] but I enjoy it. I think it’s great for a skating defenseman, because the defenseman is always up and in the play and you feel more a part of the game. It’s fun to play. It’s a great system.”

George McPhee on Morrisonn, and on the philosophy of a “shutdown pair:”
“He has played much better than he did in the first 21 games. It is just different philosophies with coaches. But you can’t always get the match-ups you want. If you have a couple guys who are your shutdown guys, that’s nice to have. But you can’t always get the match-ups. Sometimes you’re going to get stuck out there with guys who aren’t as good defensively as your shutdown guys. Sometimes you’re a lot better off just having pairs who can play in any situation. And that’s what we’ve tried to develop here. Each pair has a guy who is good defensively and the other guy is good offensively. They can play against the other team’s best line or their fourth line. I think we’re all much more comfortable with that approach than sort of designating people to be a shutdown pair.”

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