20 Sep

Pochettino sympathises with Carver

first_img Handed the reins until the end of the season following Alan Pardew’s departure, the Geordie has not had the easiest of rides – something Pochettino sympathises with, to an extent at least. “In your career, sometimes maybe you are up and sometimes you are down,” the Spurs boss said. “We know the stress. “You suffer a lot when things are not good, so for that reason I care a lot about my colleague. “I think we understand that when you put your face in front on the touchline and you are a head coach or a manager, you are responsible. “If you want to keep your place, you need to stay behind (the scenes). The manager, the head coach, needs to be brave because it is not an easy job. “When the good things happen, sometimes it is good to hear ‘good job’, ‘good manager’, ‘good man’. “When the problems arrive, it is difficult to be in a good mood like me today. But it is important to be brave and to be calm and to be clever because you need to understand this is football.” Hugo Lloris and Kyle Walker are among several Spurs doubts for the trip to St James’ Park, where Pochettino’s men will look to get back to winning ways after a disappointing few weeks. A number of fans will boycott the Magpies’ match against Spurs on Sunday in a show of defiance against owner Mike Ashley as another disappointing season comes to a close. The protest may well hinder United’s chances of a first Premier League win since February, which will no doubt ratchet up the pressure on Carver. Press Association Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino sympathises with under-pressure John Carver, even though his Newcastle counterpart knew exactly what he was letting himself in for. A goalless draw at Burnley was followed by defeat at White Hart Lane to Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa, but the Spurs boss insists his players’ are not already thinking of their summer holidays. “When you lose it is an easy explanation,” Pochettino said. “In football we use a lot of those but it’s not true. “When you lose we need to be serious and analyse why. But it is difficult to explain sometimes why. “It is true that different things happen during the season, we are up or down. But it is true that the last two games were not good. We need to improve.” last_img read more

16 Sep

Power play powerful again

first_imgIn the last three games Wisconsin has scored five power-play goals, converting at just over 41 percent clip.[/media-credit]What was once a weakness could be turning into a strength. And at just the right time.For a large majority of the 2012-2013 campaign, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team (17-9-2, 13-9-2 WCHA) has struggled to score on their power plays, with a conversion rate of a mere 17.5 percent – a mark landing the Badgers fifth in the WCHA.UW’s power play pales in comparison to last season’s special teams unit that converted 22.8 percent of their power plays – good for third in the WCHA and only 2.2 percent behind first in the 2011-2012 season.Unsatisfied with his special teams’ performance this year, head coach Mark Johnson decided to shake up the lines and create a more fluid power play attack by moving senior forward Brianna Decker to the other side of the ice and making sure both Decker and freshman defenseman Courtney Burke were on the ice together.Johnson said the biggest factor in the change was to get the puck in the stick of two of the better offensive playmakers on the team in Decker, who leads the team with 23 goals, and Burke, who is second on the team with 15 assists.“One thing on a power play is you want certain people to be touching the puck and making decisions with the puck,” Johnson said. “[Burke and Decker] have shown that they can make good decisions with [the puck] and make good reads. Usually, if those two kids have the puck, generally good things are going to be happening with it.”Since the early season struggles and change in scheme, Burke says the coaches have been stressing the team’s power play a lot more in practice, and the players are doing all they can on and off the ice to improve.“We practice [our power play] so much in practice, normally a few days before our games,” Burke said. “We always talk in between periods. If we see something, the five of us will talk about it and we’ll see we what it is we can do to get through whatever their penalty kill is.”Since the halfway mark of the season, around when Johnson shook up the power play attack, the Badgers have 12 power-play goals in 14 games. The power play unit did continue to struggle for sometime but seemed to break through on Jan. 27 with a power-play goal against Minnesota who has the best penalty kill in the WCHA conference.Since the power-play goal against the Golden Gophers, Wisconsin has gone on to score five goals with the man-advantage in three games and have earned a conversion rate of just over 41 percent.In their series last weekend against St. Cloud State, the Badgers put up four power-play goals on the Huskies, including a Saturday game where UW posted three goals with the man-advantage.Burke says Wisconsin is more comfortable with their new power play scheme, which is translating into the success the team saw last weekend.“I think we are starting to get the movement down, and people know that they can move in different spots and it’s not just stationary,” Burke said. “It’s a lot of movement, and I think we just realized that this weekend.”Although UW’s four power play goals last weekend did come against the team with the second worst penalty kill in the WCHA, it is still a promising sign that may point to more success down the road in the special teams aspect of the game.Decker hopes Wisconsin’s success with the power play against St. Cloud State will carry over into UW’s final four games of the regular season.“Special teams come in huge, whether it is penalty kill or power play,” Decker said. “So if we can create confidence from last weekend and bring it into this weekend and the postseason, it’s going to be huge for us.”Wisconsin will look for continued success from their power play unit with Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State – whose penalty kill units rank sixth and eight in the WCHA – rounding out the end of the Badgers’ regular season schedule.Johnson knows it is extremely important for his team’s continued success in the power play attack with the postseason fast approaching.“You get a power play, it’s a perfect time to get yourself right back in the game,” Johnson said. “When you score, all of a sudden, it creates that energy and gets everybody excited. At this time of the year, at the end of the night you look at who killed penalties, who scored on the power plays. If you are good in those areas, all of a sudden the chances of winning go up quite a bit.”last_img read more