Steve Yzerman, the Hall of Fame center turned mastermind general manager, rarely partakes in media interviews. When he does, the Detroit Red Wings executive tends to play his cards close to his chest.
That said, if the topic is right, he may share a pearl of wisdom with the world.
Take his appearance on a national TV broadcast in late November. Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet, then an analyst for TNT, asked Yzerman about the astounding number of blown leads during the 2022-23 season.
"Yeah," Yzerman replied. "I wouldn't say I have a real scientific answer. But I think our game - the league, in general - is in a real transition."
In today's NHL, Yzerman continued, the attacking team prioritizes puck possession and motion within the offensive zone. Defensemen activate often, which creates confusion for the defending team and leads to goals against.
"The offensive side of coaching has overtaken the defensive side," the GM added. "Now teams, coaches are going to have to adjust and come up with better defensive techniques or systems to defend a little bit."
Traditionally, hockey coaches have obsessed over defensive structure and habits: backchecking, blocking shots, clogging passing lanes, battling along the boards, closing gaps, and clearing the front of the net. It's ingrained in coaches' collective identity to care deeply about defensive details.
With the NHL plunging deeper into an era of offensive dominance, where league-wide scoring continues to hover well above six goals per game, how are coaches adapting? How much credit do coaches deserve for the uptick?