Zug reinforced themselves a lot and obviously on the eve of this season they were considered the number one favourite to win the title. So far, things have been good, not great though. The potential, however, is impressive!
The Bulls have proven to be like a steamroller at times and seem destined to have a great season. Yet, these early stages of the regular season made clear that it will not be a walk in the park for Zug to win the first title after more than 20 years of wait.
So, let’s see what is already working and instead what, in our opinion, didn’t work.
Oftentimes, Zug have been able to outplay their opponents. Dan Tangnes’ troops are capable of driving their opponents nuts when they increase their level of play in the offensive zone. We mean, the potential of this team is impressive to say the least. The above-average talent is well-suited to Tangnes’ system of play which aims in a very modern, fast and catchy hockey.
When it comes to goal average scored per game, Zug have the third best scoring record of the league. It’s no surprise, after all. The Bulls in fact, are second to no one in Switzerland when it comes to talent. Most of the forwards are delivering good performances and certainly scoring goals is not a problem for this team. The scoring percentage, moreover, is quite high and above the 10%.
Faceoffs are pivotal plays in ice hockey. We all know, in fact, how important it is to be effective during faceoffs in order to avoid wasting unnecessarily energies – both physically and mentally – just to recover the puck possession. Well, Zug are among the best teams of the league when it comes to faceoffs efficiency. The players who take faceoffs more frequently – Jan Kovar, Yannick-Lennart Albrecht and Oscar Lindberg – all have an above 50% successful rate.
The difficult life
Perhaps the results that have been achieved so far, even though they’re decent, are below the expectations. However, paradoxically, this fact can become a great strength. From the very beginning, Zug understood that they have all it takes to go all the way… but, from the very beginning, they also understood that it will not be a walk in the park. The fact, that this became clear immediately, should help Zug be always 100% focused and never take anything for granted.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Ability to make the difference
As we said, oftentimes, overall Zug outplayed their opponents. However, so far, the Bulls haven’t been effective enough when it came to makeing the difference at the key moments of the games. That’s the reason why they’ve lost way too many points here and there. Dan Tangnes’ troops must find the way to become more “sharks” at certain moments. Moreover, they should find the way to be more consistent in terms of performances over-the-arc of the 60 minutes of play.
Perhaps Leonardo Genoni’s arrival – the best goalie around – made everybody think that life would be easy. Perhaps, subconsciously, the players are more distracted because they know that there is a phenomenal goaltender between the pipes. The fact is, that Zug are much less effective compared to last season when it comes to defensive play. Even though the defensemen are basically the same. We mean, the Bulls can improve a lot in this regard, especially in terms of consistency from one game to another.
Power-play & Penalty-killing
Zug’s power-play is not very effective (17.9%). In fact, only Fribourg Gottéron and Langnau are less effective during power-play opportunities. Moreover, the Bulls are also the second worst penalty killers of the league (73.7%), only Davos are worse when it comes to kill penalties. The power-play efficiency should improve, because let’s face it… the Bulls are able to enter the offensive zone well and are able to outplay their opponents during power-play situations. When it comes to kill penalties instead, Dan Tangnes’ guys look way too distracted at times.
Zug earned 1.56 points on average per game at the Bossard Arena. That’s a decent average but certainly not good enough. Oftentimes, the Bulls haven’t been able to turn their good performances into points. Suffice it to look at games like the one played against Rapperswil and Fribourg Gottéron. On both occasions, the Bulls had enough chances to win but finally suffered two very painful defeats.
THE THREE STARS
Gregory Hofmann was Zug’s most anticipated addition. And the former Lugano and Davos is delivering outstanding performances. Even better than the ones delivered last season. Greg is a scoring machine and has an out of the ordinary will to succeed. Perhaps his “bustle” leads him to make unnecessary mistakes at times, but overall, he’s been the real star of Zug. An outstanding player, the most lethal Swiss forward around!
Among Zug’s import players, it’s likely that Carl Klingberg is the one who gifts the fans with less spectacular hockey. If we want to talk about precious players, however, the Swede forward of Zug is second to no one. Oftentimes, he’s just doing the right thing at the right time and contrary to his first two seasons in Zug, he’s even been tallying a lot of points. We mean, the last time Carl Klingberg was tallying 1 point a game on average, goes back to the 2007-08 season when he was playing for the Färjestad U18. Let’s face it, he’s not always at the top of his game but he basically never underperforms.
There are many stars in Zug but there are also other players who play a crucial role. Just like Johan Morant. The latter is playing little bit “dirty” at times and that’s not good. Overall though, he’s a rock-solid defenseman who’s been doing a great job since years. Moreover, he brings in emotions. And let’s face it, Zug lack of players who can bring in emotions into the games. Emotions play a key role, especially as the season goes on and we reach the post-season. Johan will continue his career in Zürich starting from next year, so Zug are better enjoying him while they still can. Because Johan Morant is such an underrated player who gives always the 100% during each shift.
THE SPECIAL MENTION
Livio Langenegger collected 10 appearances this season and didn’t score points. Yet, “points” are the only thing missing. In fact, this guy coming from the EVZ Academy, already starting from his first game with the first team proved to have an amazing talent. In fact, he can become the next Yannick Zehnder or Sven Leuenberger. A new precious gem formed in the EVZ Academy!
Stats taken from: nlicedata.com / leading-sport.com
Goals For & Goals Against
Considering that teams have a different number of games played, we took into consideration the average of goals scored and goals conceded.
As we’ve already said, Zug have no problem when it comes to scoring goals but concede too many of them. To make the story short, the Bulls have the third best scoring record of the league but also, surprisingly, the third worst defensive record. We mean, there is no need to mention in which area the Bulls need to improve.
Goals For & Goals Against each 10’
As a trend, Zug can make the difference only during the central period. But during the first and the last thirds they struggle to score more than their opponents. Is that because of lack of focus during the early stages of the games? Is that because of lack of determination during the final thirds? One thing is sure, Dan Tangnes’ troops must become more consistent over-the-arc of the 60 minutes of play.
Shots & Shots Against
Considering that teams have a different number of games played, we took into consideration the average of shots and shots faced.
Zug could shoot more on goal but are also the team that faces less shots in the whole National League. Overall, we think it’s safe to say that they’re a dominant side. There is, however, another interesting data regarding the number of shots…
Let’s see, in fact, how dangerous the shots are.
Shots & Shots Against from the Slot – Percentage
Zug take 43.8 % of their shots from the slot, that is from the most dangerous area. Meanwhile, they allow their opponents to take way too many shots from the slot. This is something that must improve, the Bulls must become more effective in the defensive slot.
Scoring & Saving %
It’s no surprise to see that Zug have a very high scoring percentage, which is in fact the second highest of the league. The problem instead, is the saving percentage which is surprisingly the lowest one of the League!
PP % – PK %
When Zug have a power-play opportunity, oftentimes they can put the opponents under huge pressure. They can easily enter the offensive zone. They can move the puck around smoothly and can create scoring chances. Then, however, they darn struggle to put the puck in the net.
Meanwhile, Dan Tangnes’ troops aren’t excellent penalty killers either. So, Zug must improve in both situations because as we all know, if you want to succeed you must be effective during power-play opportunity and also a solid penalty killer.
Let’s see, who are the three best scorers to date.
Gregory Hofmann is having a great season and he is the Top Scorer of the team. We’ve already talked about him. And Jan Kovar, in terms of scoring points, is doing his job. The Czech forward, contrary to the first part of his career, hasn’t been a real scoring machine since few seasons. But as a playmaker he’s doing a great job even though he’s got room for improvement. Let us not forget, moreover, that Kovar is excellent when he takes faceoffs.
Then there is Carl Klingberg, perhaps not the most spectacular player around but one of the most precious. We talked about him before also.
To note also that Lino Martschini and Raphael Diaz are tied on points with Jan Kovar.
1th – 5th place
Zug are among the few teams that, in our opinion, should not struggle to make the playoffs. And after that, they can really go a long way.
There is no denying that the Bulls have room for improvement. And there is also no denying that, contrary to what many people believe, it will not be a walk in the park to win the title. On paper, Dan Tangnes’ troops have all it takes to lift the trophy next spring, but then we all know that “to win” for real is very complicated because there’s no such thing as free lunch in the world.
Anyway, Zug have a great advantage now, as they got already the fact that if they’re not at the top of their game they can simply forget about their dreams of glory. I mean, this is something obvious. But it’s always a great lesson when you experience first-hand the fact that if you’re not at the top of your game you fail. Well, it’s the best way to improve and become, eventually, Champion.
Good luck, Bulls!