Still a work in progress

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

DETROIT -- Any stubborn coaches who continue to rely on that trap crap could find themselves in the unemployment line very soon, Detroit Red Wings veteran Brendan Shanahan warned yesterday.

"I don't think you'll be coaching very long in the NHL if that's how you coach," said Shanahan, whose ideas to speed up the game during the lockout helped the NHL adopt a number of new rules, specifically those aimed at wiping out obstruction.

"I think you'll get passed by. If that's your only solution as a head coach, I think someone else will be taking your job soon. Guys like John Tortorella, Dave Tippett, Mike Babcock, they have new ideas every day."

Shanahan was reacting to comments made during the summer by New Jersey Devils coach Larry Robinson, who suggested his team might respond to the new rules by playing a 1-3-1 trap, simply moving more bodies back to the defensive blue line in order to suffocate opposing offences.

"If you drop guys back to stand still on the blue line and Mats Sundin comes in at full speed and chips it by you, I don't know what you do," he said. "At a certain point teams get tired of standing around and want to play hockey.

"I hope Larry doesn't mean what he says."

Shanahan, a key member of the league's new competition committee, knows there are growing pains while players and officials attempt to locate some consistency in the definition and implementation of the new rules. In fact, he sheepishly admits taking a minor for clearing the puck over the glass during one of the Wings recent pre-season games.

Nevertheless, he insists, the league must stay the course.

"Hey, the old way was better for me," he said jokingly. "Clutching and grabbing was great for me. I think (these new rules) are taking a few years off my career with all this skating."

FASTER GAME

On a more serious note, Shanahan continues to preach patience.

"The biggest thing I've noticed is how much faster the game is through the neutral zone," he said. "Hash mark to hash mark, it's a no brainer. It has been great through there.

"I think there still are grey areas like the corners and in front of the net. It's a zone where you can't tackle people but you still want battles.

"It's still a work in progress. No one said it would change overnight. But I'd hate for us to quit right away because I feel we're on the right track."


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