We’re almost there… there are about 10 Regular Season games left to play and this week there is the last (very short!) international break. We think it’s the perfect time to have one quick look at the 12 National League teams and try to figure out which are their strengths and weaknesses. Try to figure out what are the chances to make the playoffs and which are the players who will play a key role from now until the end of the season.
Zug finally lifted a trophy again after over 20 years… they won the Swiss Cup last Sunday in Rapperswil and therefore finally won something for the first time since when they became Swiss Champions back in the 1997-98 season.
There are those saying that they won “only” the Swiss Cup… wrong! The Bulls broke the ice and this was crucial even if only for the mindset. We mean, the Swiss Cup win is such a big confidence booster!
The club has been working well for years but nevertheless – for a reason or another – has never been able to bring a trophy in Zug. For what we’ve seen so far this season, and considering also that the team has already been strengthen in view of next season, we cannot but think that the Swiss Cup win was the first one of many wins…
The system of play
Zug deliver some very smart and interesting performances. The Bulls are well-organized and even the defensemen are oftentimes involved in the offensive zone. Moreover, the impression is that when Zug increase their level of play at some point during the games… well, the opponents are darn struggling to stop them.
Power-play & Penalty-killing
Zug’s power-play is highly organized. Sure, it helps when you can count on a player like Raphael Diaz, but that’s not the point… the truth is that the Bulls’ power-play is very effective and not for nothing they are the best team of the league when it comes to power-play efficiency (22.0%). What about shorthanded situation then? The Bulls are excellent penalty killers, actually they’re the second best penalty killers of the league (87.3%) just behind Bern (87.6%).
Zug have the best attacking record of the league and that says everything. The Bulls are impressive in the offensive zone… In addition, the new system of play of Dan Tangnes, means that also defensemen are much more involved and take responsibility in the offensive zone. We mean, Zug are a scoring machine!
The Swiss Cup
Zug won the Swiss Cup and therefore finally broke the ice! That was such a confidence booster for the players and such wins allow you to build a winning mindset. Winning mindset is not something you buy at the market… yet, it’s crucial for any team who wants to be successful. That’s because it makes a world of difference at key moments of the season!
Zug have the best away record of the NLA. They played 20 away games, they won 13 and lost only 7 (including 4 overtimes defeat). We mean, only 3 times this season the Bulls travelled back home with 0 points in their pokets. That’s impressive and it means that the team is self-confident and the players have a lot of personality.
A face-off is potentially a pivotal play in hockey therefore it’s very important to be effective. That’s because being effective allows you not to waste energies to recover the puck possession. In this regard, Zug struggle… in fact, they’re the second worst NLA team (47.2%), only Bienne (45.6%) are less effective. Among the “Bulls” who normally take face-offs, only Garrett Roe (51.8%) has a decent success rate. That’s not enough and it’s something that must improve because can make the difference at key moments of the games.
At times, Zug went so close – and yet so far – from winning the title. It’s not only bad luck… the truth is that the Bulls have been waiting since 1998 to become Swiss Champions and it’s not an accident. From that moment on, only 4 teams have been able to go all the way and also to make the last step: that is, Bern, Zürich, Lugano, Davos. We mean, in Zug something was always missing. What about that “something” was Dan Tangnes?! The Swiss Cup win suggests us so. Then again, only time will tell…
CHANCES TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS
Zug aren’t green yet when you have a look at the “txt” but they’re by now certain to make the playoffs and to finish the Regular Season first or second placed. That’s great. The Bulls still have a couple of weeks to prepare for the most important time of the season.
THE TOP SCORER
Lino Martschini – 36 points (18G, 18A)
Raphael Diaz came back to Switzerland to help Zug win. He’s got an impressive talent and can help the team in every way. He will play a crucial role within the team from now until the end of the season.
Tobias Stephan wants to leave Zug with a gold medal around his neck, that’s for sure. He’s an impressive goalie capable of making the difference. We all know that an excellent goalie is the key for a team to be successful.
There are so many top class players in Zug. During playoffs, however, also emotions are crucial. And here is when Johan Morant comes in… he’s solid in defense and he brings in emotions. He’s that kind of an “agitator” player who can change the momentum of the games.
WEATHER FORECAST FOR ZUG
Clear, daily sunny
The sun is shining in Zug! The Bulls are having a hell of a season and are ready to play a leading role during the upcoming playoffs. The new coach Dan Tangnes – unknown to many until this season – is turning out to be the right man in the right place also for what concerns the crucial EVZ Academy project.
Way too often this season, there has been talk of Zug mostly because of the transfers in view of next season and this is a pity. Right now, however, it’s time to focus on this season. There will be time to talk about the future.
Good luck for the last part of the season!