For today’s video, I chose a play that featured another simple play and a great example of how one more simple step could make a big difference.
The highlight above shows Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins winning a puck battle with Brett Lebda of the Detroit Red Wings in the far side corner. Though the video doesn’t really tell us what options Bergeron had, he made a smart, low-risk, play by simply directing the puck on net. Though its not always the right choice, putting the puck on net is never a wrong choice. Bergeron’s decision led to a high quality scoring chance born out of hard work (by both Sturm and Bergeron) and heads up thinking.
The other point I wanted to make here focuses on Pavel Datsyuk. When Bergeron directed this puck on net, he was in decent position covering his man in front of Chris Osgood. Datsyuk had adopted the standard “fronting” pose and was more or less on top of Marco Sturm. Sturm, to his credit, manages to get the puck and make a move to beat Datsyuk and get the puck into a prime place to score. So, you say, big deal. Sturm beats Datsyuk to get a shot on goal. True, but if you look closer at Datsyuk, he doesn’t move his feet once he turns to face Sturm. All it would have taken for him to close the gap and perhaps prevent an initial shot, or at very least take away a rebound, was to push off (with either foot) and close the 2 foot space between him and his man. Instead, he makes a lazy play by reaching in and fails to impede Sturm.