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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tips and tricks, etc.

In light of hearing that we've slid down the slippery slopes of mediocrity (division 12!), I have compiled a list of things to do to not suck :-)

Most of this post is complements of crveza81, perhaps with a few comments of my own afterwards.

"Rebounds are the best way to score. It's a lot like the real NHL, to be honest.

Cross crease passes work well, but I agree, doing it all game is retarded. In real life, the goalie would cut off 98% of those passes, even if the other team is too retarded to adapt and play defense.

Shots still work, if you place them right. Top corner doesn't work to often, too easy for the goalie to glove it. Going 6-hole, over the pad, under the glove or blocker works quite well.

Also, if you have time, which isn't very often, you can do a little fake with the skill stick, just move the puck a bit, and get the goalie to go down, and rip it upstairs. That's not the glitch where you walk in from the corner or anything.

Also, the standard glitch stuff, like getting the goalie off the post, etc, but I hate doing that.

Oh, also, using defensemen as screens works quite well... not talking about blasting it from the point when there's 6 bodies in front, those almost never get through (rightfully so), but if you're on a 1-on-1, or find the puck in the slot, shooting it through the legs works quite well. It gets blocked sometimes, and sometimes the goalie makes the save anyways, but time it right, and you might sneak one by him.

When playing with computer players, we don't all need to just auto-call for the pass the second they get the puck. I'm guilty of this as well, and it certainly leads to a ton of turnovers. It just seems like an instinct for each person to call for it, even if it makes no sense for them to receive a pass, and it's not always the best play.

The other thing, is breakouts. I think, the way some teams forecheck and pick off passes, and most specifically, the way teams line up at the blue line, backcheck, etc, I think we need to move it fast.

The D needs to make a fast pass to a forward, but that means the forwards need to be in position. General breakouts in the NHL start with the wings on the boards at the hash marks, and usually the center curls low in the zone. The d-man plays the puck to an open winger, the curls in that direction, towards the puck, and the winger can then skate it, or dish it off to the center, who generally will be skating fast.

If we can do that, we can avoid running into 2-on-2s where we have trouble gaining the blue line."

Solid post.

Some of my own thoughts:

When the forwards carry the puck into the offensive zone, one of a few things usually happens:

1) The forward with the puck somehow manages to feed it through 3 defenders to the other guy streaking to the net, scoring chance.

Analysis: awesome when it works. However, it rarely ever works if the situation is not right.

2) The forward with the puck tries to pass it through three defenders, and is easily picked off. The opposing team's forwards streak down the ice, while our defenders are streaking into the offensive zone. Easy 2 on 1 or 2 on 0 for the opposing team.

Analysis: happens too many times in a game.

3) The forward with the puck (usually on the wing) drops the puck back to the point on the strong side. From there, the defender either makes a good play, or immediately winds up for a soon-to-be-blocked-breakaway-opportunity-for-the-opposing-forward slapshot.

Analysis: defenders, I understand that you'd like to have a little contribution to the team's offense. It's fun to score goals and get points. However, remember that your #1 priority is to stop opposing goals from happening. It's not a glamorous job, nobody ever said it was. Your greatest contribution to the team comes from being solid in the defensive zone, which includes making good breakout passes. If you play good defense, the offense will come.

In a lot of games I play, there's times where I know that passing back to the point is the best option, but I won't make the pass if I don't trust the defender back there. Too many times have I passed back, only for the defender to turn the puck over for an easy breakaway goal for the other team. If you want the puck, be certain to make a good decision with it.

In addition, there's no need to constantly call for the puck at the point. Point, point, point, point, point... yes I see you at the point on the other side of the ice. Just because there is nobody in a 10 feet vicinity of you, does NOT mean you are open. There are most likely forwards cutting off the passing lanes like they should. If you are open and I trust that you will make a good decision with the puck, I will pass.

Another thing I shouldn't even have to say: defenders should not be leading the rush or streaking down the ice on a defensive zone faceoff. But I digress.

4) I don't remember the 4th. But believe me, it was going to be good.

Another note to defenders: the defender on the weak side should be the last one coming in the offensive zone. There's no need to get there ASAP, as it is most likely that you will not be open when entering the zone. Staying back and trailing the play ensures that at least 1 defender will be back in the case that we turn the puck over in the offensive zone. Again, it's not glamorous, but it's good, smart hockey.

I admit, I've been trashing defensemen too much. They don't deserve all the hate. In the few games I've played D, I wasn't very good. It's not easy, and you get little credit for the good you do. Forwards deserve some attention:

crveza made great points about the breakout. No need to repeat them. Some points about moving the puck in the zone:
  • Everyone loves to score goals. Where do you go to score goals? the front of the net. Where do the 2 forwards without the puck go when the puck enters the zone? the front of the net. How many do we need there? just 1. It's not necessary to have 2. The first one there is okay in front, but the trailing forward needs to get open elsewhere. The points are usually off limits to forwards, so where else to go? Behind the net is a great option. Cycling the puck around is a great way to get defenders moving around, which leads to more open space.
  • The cross crease is a great way to score goals in this game. It's a high risk, high reward play that often isn't worth the risk. If you can, take some time to assess the situation. You might find that you have more time than you thought. There should be a few choices once you're in the zone:
There should be a defenseman open behind you.
There should be a forward open somewhere. If the pass across isn't open, the other forward should have found a way to get open.
Putting the puck to the net is never a bad idea either.

Yada, yada, yada. Can't think of anything else at the moment.


Mr Pockets 12 said...

Ah ha you missed me more than you thought! jk

Great post but here's another note.

When entering the zone, instead of passing it into a clogged slot, hold it along the boards if you have the time. Then you can hit the trailing forward with a pass, or can pass it down low. Posting up on the half boards is a great offensive strategy. Pairing a forward on the half boards with a forward down low is a good way to generate offense. Its called cycling. Learn it. Live it. Do it. Peace out.

Justin said...

Just expanded the comment on calling for it at the point.... it works for everyone not just the defenseman at the point. The ice is not that big in offensive zone. We see you when you are open, we sometimes miss an open man but screaming for the pass everytime gets annoying. I see you and sometime you are so focused on screamng for it you dont see an opposing player right behind you. Passing lanes arent always there so just be calm. Make a comment like im open on this side or that but leave it to like one or two times. More than that gets annoying.

P.S. I wont be on til after the new year as i am out of town.

Dark Justice

Josh said...

just wanted to drop by the blog and say thanks for a good game last night guys... you played my friend (octavian35) and I as the Manitoba Moose (team Barneys). It was quite the fucking relief to play a team that wanted to play hockey rather than glitch the AI in a video game... hope we meet again some time. -Josh (apoc112)