• Set Play Klaxon!

    by  • July 9, 2014 • Hockey • 3 Comments

    Like all right thinking people, I love set plays in hockey. The game is unlike basketball, in that it doesn’t really provide opportunities to run plays in the organized fashion of basketball. From a tactical perspective, coaching a hockey team is sort of like driving on ice compared to basketball. You have some control over what your team does but there’s just so much chaos. You’re just trying to make the chaos happen within some sort of a structure that makes it more likely that you’ll be the benficiary of it.

    Faceoffs are, of course, different. All the pieces are standing still, like in a basketball game. A coach can impose some structure and coaching can have a significant impact on results, as we’ve discussed for the last year or so around here. I’m doing a little project right now that involves looking at goals scored when Sidney Crosby is on the ice and came across this little gem of a play.

    Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.10.54 PM

    Just a standard neutral zone faceoff outside the opposition’s blue line. Pay no attention to right winger Paul Martin. He always plays right wing.

    Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.11.12 PM

    Why is Paul Martin blocking like he’s protecting a quarterback off a faceoff win? Why is Penguins rookie forward Jayson Megna playing defence?

    Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.11.15 PM

    So, um, Martin seems to have run the Canes LW across the ice, while Megna gets to build up a head of steam from the red line against a Hurricanes defender who is standing still as Matt Niskanen plays the puck off the far side of the rink.

    Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.11.25 PM

    Uh oh.

    Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.11.29 PM

    This doesn’t look good at all.

    Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.11.39 PM

    Megna ends up getting stopped but Tanner Glass (!) puts in the rebound.

    Cool little play. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like this highlighted in a broadcast before and I never notice stuff like this when I’m just watching casually. The fact that it succeeded here doesn’t mean that it makes sense in the bigger picture but Pittsburgh managed to generate a carry in circumstances where the puck is usually dumped in. What’s more, they completely confused the Canes while doing so, leading to a couple of high quality chances and a goal.

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com

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    3 Responses to Set Play Klaxon!

    1. Jason
      July 10, 2014 at

      Hi Tyler, been reading your articles for sometime now and always wanted to ask with all the as you mentioned “chaos” in hockey. Are there not to many variables in hockey to truly boil it down to math ? I think fancy stats are very interesting but they are not kind to some players such as Shea weber but everytime I see him play his control of the game far exceeds what the #’s tell .

    2. July 10, 2014 at

      Good catch!

    3. Ted
      July 10, 2014 at

      I have been enjoying your blog for several months now and wanted to say thanks for your work, this seemed like a nice place to do that.

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