Archive for Hockey Tactics

david quinn

Friends, I don’t know about you but I’m going a little bit bonkers with no hockey to watch. Well, that’s not entirely true, because after doing a little bit of research I found that BU games are carried online by a website called Stadium, where you can watch a ton of college sports. I’m interested in David Quinn’s Terriers in particular, partially because I want to learn what kind of style he likes to play, and partially because if there’s a college team to follow it might as well be Boston University, thanks to our new coaching connection. Below I’ll provide a link to a University of Vermont v Boston University game that took place this past season, so that you can watch in another tab or window and follow along with the breakdowns of individual plays I’ve provided (just 5v5, because I figure that’s the most interesting and illuminating).

A few things to note. First is that the timestamps I’m going to provide refer to the time on the video, not the time of game, because the game clock/score isn’t always up there. Second, I’m not going to use names too much, in part because I’m more interested in the how of this hockey than the who, as well as the fact that I just don’t know them as well and don’t want to mess up (the announcing also cuts in and out and is borderline incomprehensible thanks to that thick Boston accent).

This is going to be a bit long and obsessive, but I hope you find it interesting – it’s as much of a learning experience for me as it will be for you, so I hope we can have some fun together. I’m going to try and juggle more in-depth tape breakdowns this season, college/minor league stuff ideally, provided I can balance everything with the rest of my life (I’m starting law school this fall!). Anyways, since it’s the dog days of summer I’m going to let it rip. As a brief post-script caveat, all of the “near” and “far” terminology refers to the camera angle.

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Categories : Hockey Tactics
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david quinn

(Here’s Part I)

Back again this week is some tape analysis from yours truly, this time focusing on a big game for David Quinn’s BU team – the 2017 Hockey East Semifinal against Boston College. Below you’ll find the video I’ll be taking apart, and then I’ll jump right into it.

First up is a nice save by the BC goalie, Joseph Woll, but it’s worth taking a closer look at anyways. BU makes two good passes here moving up the ice – the first is from the near wall in the BU defensive zone right up into center ice, with the angle and the speed of the puck allowing the puck carrier to get around the two BC defenders, who were between him and the boards, not him and the faceoff spot in the middle of the ice. From there, as the four BC defenders collapse in a big of a box around the puck carrier, there’s a B forward breaking through the two defenders on the edge of the box closest to the goalie. A nice pass threaded through means a high-quality scoring chance for BU, with Woll making an even better save.

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Categories : Hockey Tactics
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Still not our guy

Not our guy, unfortunately

The Rangers have a new head coach as you may have heard, and with that comes a new style of play. The latter part of the equation there raises some questions about the style of play he intends to implement and the way he hopes to use his personnel, all of which can be alluded to in press conferences but have to be seen to be believed.

As such, a little bit of video analysis is called for, and although this is just a short clip and the analysis here will be pretty cursory (I’m unfortunately writing this on a bit of a short schedule, for no fault but my own, so apologies) I hope to go more in depth in the future. Without further ado, here’s a clip of BU playing Denver from 2017. It’s worth noting in this clip that BU ends up losing, which is not totally unexpected given that Denver was ranked first overall and BU only sixth, however, BU hangs in there and creates some nice plays worth picking apart.

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Categories : Hockey Tactics
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It is a rite of passage as a hockey fan to desperately scream “Shoot the puck!” at the team you root for.  It’s heard in arenas, bars and living rooms the world over, and why not?  After all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  Getting the puck to the net is never a bad play.  Insert hockey cliche here.  

Last night during the Rangers/Blackhawks game, Eddie Olczyk (who is currently battling colon cancer, and working for NBC Sports during his 24-weeks of chemotherapy – get well, Edzo!) pointed out several 2-on-1 chances for the Rangers that didn’t result in a shot on goal.  On the surface, this seems both insane and infuriating.  But if you’ve watched the Rangers closely, especially in the Alain Vigneault era, you know that this isn’t necessarily something new.

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alain vigneault

Photo: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Adapt or die.

That’s a quote from the movie Moneyball. Although that direct quote references including stats in analysis, it applies here to Alain Vigneault. AV has run the same hybrid overload/man coverage system in New York since his arrival in 2013. It seemed to work initially, but each season we’ve seen diminishing results.

At first it seemed to be a personnel issue. The Rangers weren’t mobile on defense, and it was certainly getting exploited regularly. This offseason changed things, as Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith replaced Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein. More playing time for Brady Skjei should have also led to positive results. But they haven’t. The defense is still a train wreck.

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brendan smith

Note: Big welcome to Chris (@yolo_pinyato), the newest writer at BSB. Chris has put together some phenomenal work at HockeyGraphs, and has present at the RIT Hockey Analytics Conference. We are all stoked to have him on board. Give him a follow on Twitter and check out his work, it’s great stuff.

With the Rangers season already perilously close to teetering off the edge of contention, I wanted to take a quick look at the Ranger’s big offseason acquisition, Kevin Shattenkirk.

First a quick breakdown of the data:

When looking at Shattenkirk’s shot impacts last year at 5v5, we can see that relative to competition, he was by far the best player of the Rangers’ current set of defensemen. The shot impacts are weighted meaning that if two players had the same Corsi For% but different levels of competition, the player with the stronger competition would be higher on the y-axis.

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Jul
17

What a move to center means for JT Miller

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jt miller

Photo: NHL.com

As currently constructed, the Rangers have a decently sized hole at center. It’s the one major flaw of the roster right now that can’t be ignored. There are no names in free agency that make sense. There are some trade targets, but anyone worth while is going to cost an arm and a leg to acquire. The fix, as of now, appears to be internal, and one of the major names thrown out there is JT Miller, and shifting him back to center.

Miller was drafted as a center and played the position until he came to the Rangers. It was then that Alain Vigneault moved him to wing. On the surface, it made sense. Miller isn’t sound defensively, and AV requires a lot of defensive play from his centers. Even Martin St. Louis, one of the game’s greats, had trouble making the shift to center for a short period. There’s a good reason for that too.

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Categories : Hockey Tactics, Players
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Depending on which sites you read, Kevin Shattenkirk is either amazing at defense or a defensive liability. Fancy stat folks obviously love possession stats and have countered the beat writers’ narrative that Shattenkirk is all O and no D. The eternal fight continues…YAWN.

What’s important though is not what the pundits say about his d-zone coverage, but whether or not he wears summer threads (preferably hopsack over cotton) that are body conscious.

Apologies, I forgot this is Blue Seat Blogs, not Gentlemen’s Quarterly. Got my blogging journalistic responsibilities mixed up.

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Categories : Hockey Tactics, Players
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Apr
24

Rangers vs. Senators: Systems preview

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alain vigneault

The second round matchup is now set, as the Rangers will take on the Ottawa Senators in the Atlantic Division Final. The Sens closed out the Bruins in overtime last night, setting the stage for Game One in Ottawa this week. The Senators are going to pose a problem for the Rangers, as they have some pretty solid team speed and skill.

The last time these two teams faced off in the playoffs was in 2012, with the Rangers winning in seven games. Both teams are completely different now, so there isn’t much to go on from that series. While the Senators certainly do not have the forward depth to match the Blueshirts, they have a good amount of speed and skill throughout the lineup. Erik Karlsson looms large as well. They play very well and are a disciplined team under Guy Boucher.

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Categories : Hockey Tactics, Playoffs
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The image that keeps on giving

It’s white board time.

In life, sometimes it is the simplest of decisions that can put you in a position to succeed or fail. Hockey is no different. Being in the right position at the right time usually doesn’t happen by chance. It’s a decision or a chain of decisions that can set you up with a Goal For or a Goal Against.

Perhaps there isn’t a more critical time to get that decision making process right then when you are on the backcheck. For the Rangers, executing their backchecking system is crucial to their counter game, which you all know has been the bread and butter of AV’s system during his time in New York.

For today’s post, we’ll breakout the different ways teams execute backchecking systems and discuss whether or not the Rangers are excelling at this aspect of the game. Then maybe if we have some time later in the comments, we’ll discuss what kind of seasonal fabrics everyone should be buying for the holidays!

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