I’m fooling around with some data, which I don’t propose to discuss in any detail in this post. I want to make a point about something though: the intersection of data and video when it comes to understanding how things go.
Nashville was excellent last year after they lost a neutral zone faceoff. Edmonton struggled when they won one. Simple thing to do? Look at them and see what’s going on. I pulled a collection of Nashville neutral zone faceoff losses against Edmonton to examine and it’s kind of amazing how easy it is for even someone like me, a non-expert in technical hockey matters to see what sort of a scheme the Preds are running.
Two things to look for with these clips: watch the two Pred wingers when the faceoff is lost. They both move up to pressure the Oilers’ defence, with the centre hanging back. Whichever defenceman has the puck is under pressure. Then watch what the Preds’ defencemen do. Whichever side the puck goes up, that defenceman pinches on the Oilers forward receiving the puck while the centre drops in behind him.
Also of note: you can see what an advantage having the faceoff just outside the Predator blue is, as the puck can just be dumped in before the Preds can get their structure set. I love seeing stuff like this – for all the talk about systems and technical stuff in hockey, I’ve found it pretty easy to understand what a team is doing whenever you see a bunch of clips of a given situation lined up like this. The difficulty lies in the fact that you don’t get to see twenty identical situations played back to back in a game, which makes it harder to spot this stuff.
Hockey broadcasts should do more of this and less of people yelling at each other.Email Tyler Dellow at firstname.lastname@example.org