Indulged some chat about a couple technical aspects of our Ducks story you might enjoy. The first came in an email so I won’t identity the other person. But the info is worth sharing and maybe discussing further.

The second is from bb, known here as bbdux93 and is also available on the OCR’s Ducks page here. It is reprinted in its entirety.

All the lefthandedness of the Ducks D – is that a problem?Yes, the all southpaw D creates a few problems. (i) Taking a pass on the backhand is especially tricky with the curved blade. You’ve really only got 2-3 inches at the heel of the blade where you can properly receive or corral a pass on your backhand; (ii) taking a pass on the backhand side requires an extra move to get it your forehand (iii) D-men generally lineup on the opposite side of their shot. A right handed plays the left side and vice verse. This is so the stick is turned into the center lane from the D-man’s strong side.

Today’s hockey player is far more agile and ambidextrous than in my day. So the players are bailing out management a bit here. Also our play without the puck is a little different this season. Our forwards are coming back to help. We’re playing a shorter gap between the wingers and the D when we don’t have the biscuit.

Where you can see us paying a price for this is the southpawed D-men playing the left side is having difficulty controlling the puck on his stick and coughing it up.

bb says:

Backcheck – About geometry. I’ve seen a lot of triangles in the corners when we are defending our net, I see boxes as we move the puck away from those corners – these are the basis for my question. Which is better and why – or maybe better – when is one preferred over the other. Then again, maybe those naturally develope more as a response to the play in a more organized way.
Your thoughts please.

backcheck says:

G’day bb,

You are always on the right track. Your good eye for the game, “maybe those naturally develope (sic) more as a response to the play in a more organized way.” is seeing exactly what is going on.

Let’s back up a bit for context. We’re talking about playing without the puck. The objective is to get it back. The offense is trying to create a scoring opportunity.

The box is used to force the play outside to the perimeter. The offensive side accepts the outside position, moves the puck around the perimeter, looking for gaps or passing lanes through the box.

The defense is looking for an opportunity to trap a puck carrier and force a turnover. The D always traps, sets the triangle or outnumbers the opposition at the puck with the puck carrier against or near the wall. Which is why you notice it happening in the corner. You can also see the defense slip from a box out to an aggressive triangle when a player with puck is stationed anywhere along the boards.

For the most part, the trap or triangulation is sprung in the corner because the boards create less room for the puck carrier. You also see it along the half wall and at the point.

To see this working from the offensive side, watch how either Getzlaf or Ryan supports the other by serving as the outlet guy. One quick pass, or a back and forth series of passes, cycle, and SNAP! The trap is beaten, an odd man situation is created down low and a scoring opportunity results.

Am I seeing our guys, particularly the Getzlaf & Koivu lines, work the cycle or give and go or one timer from the half boards and point more often than from the corners? If so, is this another change or adaptation in the system?

bb says:

I’ve read this twice now and have the pictures in my head. I will read it again several times over the next few days. I have to look for the triangle happening more at the point now – for me it’s a bit harder to see there.

Thanks again for this hockey 101 :-) It is very much appreciated.

backcheck says:

Hockey 201, you passed. with honors BTW :)

Just thought, later today or maybe tonight I’ll pull some video links from ADHN and post them. So don’t rack your brain too hard. This works better with a visual aid. Additionally, I’ll send you an email tickler that it’s up.

Retired Hockey Mom is telling me it’s time go grocery shopping, CYA’s later…

  1. czhokej says:

    Good reading.
    It was a problem for the Ducks to make a quick transition from the cycle to the shooting lanes (positions). When they cannot move the defense, cycling and moving the puck behind the goal is good only for a checking line. For our first line it could be the waste of time.

    • BackCheck says:

      lol as you’ve noted cz just a tad tricky finding a shooting hole with 3 guys below the red line. Other than Gretzky has anybody else created a high percentage shooting area from below the red line?

  2. BackCheck says:

    Hey bbdux93,

    1.) On this one you can see the guppies shift form the box to the triangle in the low slot as their defense breaks down. This is Jason Blake’s tip of a Toni Lydman shot against San Jose. Watch how the guppies shift from the 2-1-2 box to the 4 man North/South wall. They do it a couple-of-times on the play. On the goal you see Lydman beat his check Setagouchi and move into the face off circle for a shot. As Lydman attacks see the Sharks begin to collapse to around Niitymaki? Seeing Setagouchi is beat the guppies collapse into a 3-man triangle with a player guarding off each post and another taking slot. Each guppie has his check but Blake gets inside position to the shooter Lydman. You might stop the video and see how Blake not only has inside position against his checker, but he’s won inside position on defensive triangle as well. Lydman shoots. Blake tips. The guppies are cryyying 😉

    2.) This is a Canucks PP goal. Tossing it in to show how easily and willingly the Nucks accept our box and work from the perimeter. As Daniel Sedin scoops the biscuit off the left wall and passes to Edler at the point, our Ducks shift from the four cornered box into a 1-1-2 with Marchant applying top side pressure on Edler and I think that’s Chipchura picking up his check in the mid-slot. Chipper is the key player to watch as Henrik Sedin and Edler play a little back and forth. On the 2nd cycle between H. Sedin and Edler, Marchant leaves Edler at the top to pressure H.Sedin on the half wall. Chipchura leaves his check in the mid-slot and covers Edler. Chipper makes the wrong read, moves up to cover Edler which opens up the East/West passing lane, for the Sedins read the rest is history.

    3.) Franzen’s first goal is exactly the play, box shifting to triangle in the corner that began this chat. Sutton fails to get it out as the puck is sent back to the point you see the Ducks set up the box. Filppula and Franzen pass it back forth coming down the Center/Right lane. just like the Blake goal, Franzen beats the first man, Belesky and our Ducks are now diamond or 1-2-1 set. You can see the triangles ,top, Blesky-Koivu-Sutton and bottom Koivu-Brookbank-Sutton.

    Now you should have no doubt you saw it right. In almost your exact words, the shifting geometry develops naturally as a response to the play.

    And that’s why you passed Hockey 101 with honors. Congratulations.

    bb, there’s extra credit for identifying at least two mistakes Ducks players make on this play. And Belesky missing his check doesn’t count 😉

  3. bbdux93 says:

    Not sure I’m at the point of earning extra credits yet. 🙂 The only things that I noticed and not sure they are any part of the problems, there was too large a gap between our players and their’s and I’m not sure all of our players should have been in so far on the play. If we had been able to break their cycling, we would not have had anyone in position to get past their defenders

    • BackCheck says:

      Good eye bbdux93. Certainly Sutton gave Franzen too much room on the play. Brookbank was kind of pylon at the post in a support position but didn’t actually step up and support. But you said “too large a gap between our players.” Koivu is actually on top of his check Filppula, but stuck on the outside. Brookbank is definitely in too deep to support. I’m a bit confused by what you’re seeing in your last sentence.

      You earned one of a possible two extra credits. Not too shabby.

      Just so you know my props are genuine, not gratuitous 🙂

  4. bbdux93 says:

    I almost forgot to Thank You

    Your work has greatly enhanced my appreciation of the game. I see things I could never have understood before and they make sense to me now. When I read your and CZ’s analysis of a game I know a bit more about what is behind your comments.

    • BackCheck says:

      Ahhh…you’re so nice. The fact you get it is also a nice thank you too.

      yeah czhokej is special. I’m encouraging him and certainly willing to share the platform. He begs off with time constraint blahblahblah due to that pesky corporate rat race priority thing.

      I can be patient cz. You will need a hobby in retirement 😉

  5. bbdux93 says:

    Selanne is the only guy far enough away from the play to have any chance of turning any break in the cycling into a play the other way. It is during but near the end of the first play on that video.

    And, yes I did see Koivu was on his man – that he was on the outside – I did not see as a poor position on the play… I will look at it again. Actually (as I remember it) I thought his position was Ok, I think he was between his man and the net – maybe not. Needs another look

  6. bbdux93 says:

    I will have to come back here several times and study this a bit more.

    • BackCheck says:

      Oh this may help on seeing Koivu’s poor position. The play is where the puck is located. Filppula has inside position on Koivu relative to the play or puck and the net.

      Sorry, I should have communicated that better the first time. No extra credit for moi.

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