In this post we’re dissecting Pavel Datsyuk’s end-to-end goal against Nashville. As great as the individual effort was, there are quite a few team details that really made this play possible.
It starts with Datsyuk providing proper support for his defenseman in the defensive zone. He picks up the puck and initiates the breakout to the right winger. After making the breakout pass, he follows up the play, providing mid-lane support on the breakout. As the breakout is happening, the weak-side winger blows out of the zone, pushing the opposing defenseman back, which opens up space for Datsyuk to wheel. The play finishes with the opposing defenseman reaching for the puck, and Datsyuk eats him alive.
Great individual effort, made possible by well-structured positional play.
We talk a lot about positional play on this blog. Positional play is extremely important, but it’s only part of the equation! There are tactical elements that must be executed in any given scenario for the positioning to be worth anything. In other words, it’s great to be in the right place at the right time… but if you are doing the WRONG thing while you’re there, it’s useless!
Controlling the Stick
There are many instances in games where positional and tactical must be executed together. In this video you see situation where the Team Canada has a positional mix-up, and a forward ends up playing defense. He does a good job covering for the defenseman positionally, but tactically he makes the mistake of not controlling the Slovakian player’s stick, and it results in a goal against.
This Hockey Plus Minus App for iPad is a Fast and Easy Way to Track Plus Minus During Games!
Anybody who follows my blog knows I’m a huge believer in using technology to enhance hockey coaching. I recently came across an iPad app that I’m really excited about… it’s called Hockey Plus Minus.
If you check out the app store, you’ll see there are a number of hockey stat apps that have begun cropping up, some are really complex with the ability to track tons of different stuff, some are extremely simple, and only track a few things. With all the different options out there, I figured I’d take the chance to throw in my 2 cents worth on the subject.
Here are three questions you should ask yourself before picking a mobile stat tracker:
What do you want to track?
You can get REALLY in depth with your stat tracking, or you can stay pretty basic. Higher level teams need a lot more depth in their tracking (hits, faceoffs won, shots on goal and shot locations, etc.), younger teams don’t need to dedicate as much time and effort into stat tracking––in my opinion.
What is already being tracked?
Obviously, an app that tracks goals and assists will be redundant, since that’s already being tracked on the game sheet. Some leagues require the score keepers to track shots on goal as well. I don’t care about wasting time and effort tracking things that are already being tracked.
Who will be tracking the stats?
If you, as the coach, are planning on tracking the stats yourself from the bench, you’ll need an interface that is clean and simple, that requires little time to input each event. This is the main reason I love this Hockey Plus Minus app. The interface is simple, and I can enter in the info quickly, with minimal effort.
As a coach, Plus Minus is the main stat I prefer to keep control of. The real strength of Plus Minus is what it shows over the course of a season, so if it is inconsistently tracked, its useless and might as well not be tracked at all. This app makes it really easy to track it consistently.
There are a few suggestions I’d make to the developers of this app as they roll new versions out:
add the ability to view, select, and edit by individual goal (if you made a mistake and need to change it)
add the ability to see the score
add the ability to export a report into an excel doc
QuickStickz is a Fun and Effective way to Develop Stickhandling Ability
I’ve been really excited to get this post out, and let you know about a cool product called QuickStickz. QuickStickz is an innovative new way to work on your stickhandling abilities off the ice, and it’s a lot of fun too!
A few months ago I was invited to take a look at QuickStickz, which is a video-game-based, hockey stickhandling development system. I had seen the product before, but I’d never had the chance to get my hands on one. The idea seemed really cool, so I was excited to see what it was all about.
How it Works:
QuickStickz uses a special infrared camera that connects up to your PC via USB jack. The camera combos up with a customized SmartHockey stickhandling ball, that has been machined out with a whole bunch of tiny reflectors all over its surface. As you stickhandle, the camera picks up the movements of the ball, and sends the signal into the computer, which allows you to see your stickhandling movements on the screen.
Set-up is pretty simple, just plug in the camera, go to the QuickStickz member’s area, and install the plug-in when prompted.
Drills and Games:
Once you’re up and running, just select a drill or a game from the member’s area, and have at it! The drills are designed to help you work on various skills such as tight puck movement, wide puck movement, dekes, toe drags, etc. The games apply these skills in a more dynamic environment.
The member’s area is a great way to track your progress. You can check your own stats and progress, or see how your top score compares to other top scores from around the world. The member’s area also tracks how much time you’re spending on QuickStickz. This makes it easy for parents or coaches to check in on the player’s efforts and progress.
Conclusion: QuickStickz is a great tool to help any player develop his or her stickhandling abilities. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a product that I think connects with kids on their level. The one weakness of QuickSticks is that it’s fairly sensitive to the ambient lighting in the room you’re using it in. Sunlight badly interferes with the infrared signal put out by the camera, and makes the ball just jump around on the screen. So make sure you close the blinds, and rely on your “artificial lighting” (regular lightbulbs), and you should be just fine!
Perpetual Breakout Drill Mimics Passing Patterns Often Encountered in Games
The Perpetual Breakout is a great drill to develop hockey breakout abilities in a high-tempo, flow and timing setting. Here’s what the drill looks like:
Perpetual Breakout Explanation:
1. “Ghost man” passers start the drill by shooting then picking up a puck behind the net to initiate the breakout
2. Low forward simulates winger, and swings in to pick up board-side breakout pass
3. High forward swings through and acts as the centerman providing middle support
4. winger one-touches to center, who attacks and shoots, then initiates breakout in far zone
5. winger moves to middle line.
NOTE: winger can swing from top down, or from bottom up, depending on your team’s breakout set up.