• Two Goals Against

    by  • January 23, 2013 • Uncategorized • 10 Comments

    Last night was one of those games but there was something that caught my eye on two of the goals that I thought I’d highlight. First, the 2-0 goal, which was scored on the PP.

    As the Sharks hit the blue line, the Oilers seem to be in a pretty good position, with four guys back. There’s a 2 on 2 type situation emerging on the Oilers’ right side, with MPS and Ryan Whitney facing Logan Couture, who has the puck there, and Patrick Marleau, who’s circling in behind him.

    Couture gives it to Marleau and, like moths drawn to a flame, both Whitney and MPS go to Marleau who, quite unfairly, gives the puck back to Couture.

    And then Dubnyk’s really got to have that.

    Here’s the 5-1 goal. This is a 5v5 goal. Again, the Oilers look to be in a reasonably good position here. It’s basically a 3 on 3, with Gagner Petry and Smid on the ice. It’s a little different than the 4v5 goal, in that Gagner’s considerably further from the puck carrier, at the top of the defensive zone, than MPS was.

    Gagner goes for the puck carrier anyway and Petry kind of gets caught between going after the puck carrier and staying with Logan Couture. He elects to do neither. The puck carrier (TJ Galiardi) passes the puck across to Martin Havlat.

    This leaves Ladislav Smid in a rather awkward position.

    And Logan Couture scores on the rebound.

    I’d love to hear Ralph Krueger talk about the responsibilities of the various players in that situation. I would be more interested in this than in his thoughts on all sorts of things that he’s far more likely to be asked. My suspicion is that the defenceman and the backchecking forward both need to read who is better positioned to take which guy, with a preference/default towards the forward taking the puck carrier when it’s that high up the ice.

    So, on the 2-0 goal, with MPS in good position, it probably would been more sensible for Whitney to leave Patrick Marleau to MPS, while he backed in and kept himself between Logan Couture and the goal. By contrast, on the 5-1 goal, Gagner was a healthy distance from Galiari, with Petry in a much better position to deal with him. If Gagner either goes with Logan Couture, or looks around and finds the third guy (Havlat) coming in late, things probably work out a lot better for the Oilers.

    Does that seem sensible, in terms of how the responsibility is likely allocated? You can’t really have a hard and fast rule because of how the game flows, so you need to have a sort of set of defaults that change depending on the situation.

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com

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    10 Responses to Two Goals Against

    1. Lee
      January 23, 2013 at

      I would be very interested in Krueger’s answer to these questions as well.

      I suspect the system is instructing the first forward back to assist the D and attack the puck carrier so that they are ‘outmanning’ the opposition in the D zone. It doesn’t put the onus on the D to win every single one on one battle and it’s a fairly aggressive puck retrieval scheme.

      The problem is the Oilers are DUMB.

      The opposition consistently draw the first forward back towards them to free up the trailer or they cycle behind the net where, so often it’s infuriating, the two D attack behind the net to outman the opposition forward in the vain belief that the center will actually be on time to stifle the pass out.

      Given how much confusion they exhibit in the D zone, I’ve often wondered why they don’t implement strict zone coverage instead – albeit that puts a strong emphasis on players getting back on the backcheck (where are the other forwards in these pics?!) ? They’re a skilled team, so they should excel at man-to-man schemes but they’re clearly very confused when presented with simple misdirection.

      Even worse, watch what happens when the opposition set a pick. Complete shitshow.

      • Tyler Dellow
        January 23, 2013 at

        The one set is a 4v5 so everyone’s there. The other, I dunno, it’s a 3 on 3. How often do you see all 5 skaters back defending that?

        • Lee
          January 23, 2013 at

          Not enough in the Oilers case. Lack of hustle on the backcheck is a contributor on a LOT of goals. Look at Hemsky in Game 1 against Vancouver on the Edler goal. That kind of stuff is systemic with many of the Oiler forwards.

        • spOILer
          January 24, 2013 at

          Looks like it was a line change, judging from Eberle’s appearance in the last pix.

    2. dawgbone
      January 23, 2013 at

      Yeah that play by Whitney was pretty high risk for not much reward. Best case scenario is you end up creating a 2 on 2 high in your own end. Worst case scenario you end up with 2 PKers trapped on the boards and a puck carrier behind him.

      That 5-1 goal I watched a few times as well. Generally speaking, you want your 1F to take the high man. Having watched it a few times, either Gagner didn’t see Havlat (and thought he was double teaming on a 2 on 3), or Gagner went into panic mode because of the score and took a pretty unnecessary risk to try and get the puck going the other way.

      Pat said it last night, the puck starts going against you and nothing goes right and common sense goes out the window.

    3. David Staples
      January 23, 2013 at

      The players, Gagner and Petry, needed to talk to each other, and failed to do so.

    4. Pingback: Revisiting Oilers “defensive structure” (WARNING: Not for the faint of heart) | Edmonton Journal

    5. Woodguy
      January 23, 2013 at

      Goal 1) If 91 sees 6 stepping up to take the puck carrier isn’t he supposed to switch and skate past 6 to take his position?

      Most strategy that I see (at least 5v5) when the D steps up to force the play at the blue line has the forward skating past the Dman to take his position.

      Goal 2) Does Kruegeur assign lanes? It seems to me that this is like Goal #1. The D is stepping up to force the play to the boards at the blue, but the forward doesn’t keep his lane and goes for the puck carrier causing Smid to almost burst his groin by having to cover 40ft of ice.

      If Krueger is instructing the D to step up at the line (he’s stated he wants a high pressure system) then the F MUST cover what the D is giving up or else it turns to shit.

      I could be wrong, but both d-zone coverage failures seem to rest on the F and not the D, but it really depends on what they are being told to do.

    6. Chris C
      January 24, 2013 at

      This is a great blog and you now have a loyal reader. Keep up the good work Tyler!

    7. Sliderule
      January 24, 2013 at

      The oilers are running a pressure the puck carrier and switching in the defensive zone system of coverage.This requires good communication and back side pressure from forwards to be effective.Otherwise you get a lot of blown coverage as you have shown in your examples.

      When Gilbert was traded to Minny after a while he commented on how much easier it was to play the zone system they use rather than oiler switching pressure system.

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