• On Paajarvi

    by  • July 29, 2013 • Hockey • 3 Comments

    Every so often I’m reading stuff and I happen across two items in the same day that are kind of complementary, which is always cool.

    This, from Young Willis – I’d link, but the Journal has a paywall because Postmedia doesn’t want people stealing their valuable content:

    Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi play dump-and-chase much more than is ideal for offensive players. Paajarvi in particular has the aggravating trend of gaining the opposition blue line and then dumping the puck in even when not under significant pressure; with his combination of size and speed there’s no reason he can’t retain possession of the puck more often. It’s particularly damaging because he carries the puck so frequently. it isn’t on the chart above but Paajarvi makes 28 zone entries in an average hour of 5-on-5 ice-time; only Hall (31), Hemsky and Eberle (29 each) more frequently move the puck into the attacking zone.

    This, from middle aged Gregor:

    the question is are we going to get him to play through people, and the answer is yes. We’re going to get him to play through people. I know what you’re saying; there is a difference between playing to people and playing through people. In St. Louis we had the same challenge with three or four other forwards; Jayden Schwartz was the same was, he used to just play to people. T.J. Oshie was the same way, we were able to make those guys and get them to adjust, Valdimir Sobotka, the same thing, we were able to show them the difference, explain to them how to do it and then put mechanisms in place and sometimes the bear in the woods had to come out. But we got ‘er done and they learned how to do it properly and we feel very confident that Magnus will be able to do that for us in very short order.

    I would guess that what Willis found with data is pretty similar to what the Blues concluded. It’s kind of cool when data and observation align like this, although in some ways it’s more interesting when they don’t and you have to figure out where the divergence is. In any event, it will be interesting to watch Pajaarvi next year and see whether or not Pajaarvi is driving wide with the puck when he gets across the blue line.

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com

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    3 Responses to On Paajarvi

    1. July 29, 2013 at

      It didn’t strike me as particularly obvious that what Hitchcock was getting at with his play to/play through distinction is the same thing that Willis is getting at with his dumping vs. trying to make a play. It’s possible that they’re related, but I’m not so sure they’re not talking about different things. It seems to me Willis is asking Paajarvi to play with a brain, and Hitchcock is just talking about playing tough. Actually, I think it’s possible that Hitchcock would call trying to make a move around a guy “playing to” and chipping it past him to retrieve it as “playing through.”

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