Instead of clipping another BoroCowen goal against, I thought I'd be positive and go through the Bobby Ryan goal from last night's game. The Hoffman-to-Turris goal from Tuesday was just too nice and my entire breakdown would just be "wowwwwwwwww" so I decided to be more educational with this selection! Let's begin.
The play starts off with some excellent work from Shane Prince, the closest Senator to the puck, doing some really nice work to outmuscle the very-strong Blake Wheeler to even make this a controlled zone exit. You can see a couple of Jets players standing up on the bench at the very left of the picture because they just had some consistent zone time on the Prince - Zibanejad - Ryan; Cowen - Karlsson unit and would like to make a line change. This context is very important.
Prince wins the puck back to Erik Karlsson, who's getting ready to jump up into the play. He's supported by Marc Methot, who just changed for Jared Cowen, Bobby Ryan on left-wing, and Mika Zibanejad entering the camera angle and gaining speed quickly. This is important because it gives the Senators speed through the neutral zone that's needed to turn a controlled exit into a controlled entry, especially against a tactically strong Winnipeg Jets team. Another important person to note is at the bottom-left of your screen, #18 in white, Bryan Little. He plays centre and would like to defend the middle of the ice, but because the Jets are about to start a change, he ends up where he is.
Wow was that a bad line change by Paul Maurice's group. Note that for the rest of the play, the two players behind the puck never end up recovering. It just goes to show how little micro-decisions like this can end up influencing an entire game. Bryan Little, who was on the right-side, followed his position and ends up in the middle of the ice but practically in no-mans land. What I would've done (?) was adapt to the changing situation and recognize that your changing teammates would be able to cover that location, and instead, stick on a now vacant Bobby Ryan. However, I can empathize with the fact that players are coached habitually, so they tend to stick with their system. The change means that Shane Prince is allowed some free space on the right-wing boards so Karlsson glides and sends the puck to him quickly. To ensure that he's in line with his teammates, Bobby Ryan is also gliding, and Marc Methot is positioned like a quarterback in case the team has to regroup. The LAST key thing to notice in the frame is the Jets defender, #5 Mark Stuart, charging at Shane Prince. Compare where he is there to where he ends up below.
Where's Stuart? He missed at his swipe so bad that he ended up behind Karlsson. Yikes. Prince ended up stationary while controlling the puck to avoid the hit, and is directed nicely by a now caught up Zibanejad to take the puck into the zone. Again, notice how free Bobby Ryan is because no Jets defender can make it from the bench to his position in time.
Oh Erik Karlsson, how you generate something out of nothing. Prince ended up scooting into the zone with the puck only to drop it off for Karlsson, who takes the puck down the right-side boards until he can sweep it around Bryan Little to Mika Zibanejad, who's looking pass all the way. Jake Trouba is helpless. His gap is too deep and he has no support from Mark Stuart, who's realized how big of an error his poor defensive play was, especially given line change and resulting defensive situation that the rest of his teammates found themselves in.
Peace and love, y'all.
I hope this example illustrates a couple of things. One, how important a small decision like a line change is. Two, how it's important for players to adapt to the ever-changing situations on their defensive assignments (Little, Stuart). And three, how important it is to have controlled exits and entries. This wouldn't have been a goal if Prince didn't work his butt off to win a puck battle against a much-bigger Blake Wheeler (Prince didn't get an assist on the play). This wouldn't have been a goal if Karlsson didn't sneak in on the right-side boards for the zone entry. This wouldn't have been a goal if Zibanejad didn't hustle to catch up from being low in the defensive zone, direct traffic at the opposition blueline, and provide a sweet pass for a primary assist.
- Two victories for our heroes in red this week! First, your recap from last night's shootout win vs. the Winnipeg Jets. [Silver Seven, SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen]
- Next, your recaps from an even MORE satisfying win (because it was against the Habs) [Silver Seven, SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen]
- Nichols has a piece on the hot-button topic of the
day week monthseason, the Senators blueline. [6th Sens]
- For thoughts on almost every other piece of Sens news, check out Andrew's 30 thoughts and observations over at WTYKY. [WTYKY]
- Jeff's Bingo Bites engaged a couple of BSens fans, who weighed in on the team's goaltending situation after Matt O'Connor had a rough home debut. [Silver Seven]
- Peter's weekly column also features some BSens observations, in addition to news + notes on the Evansville Icemen, the Sens ECHL team. [Eye on the Sens]
- James has got you covered with all the information you need to know about the prospect of the hour, the QMJHL's current leading scorer, Francis Perron. [WTYKY]
- For a piece on the Sens player of the hour, check out these two pieces on Kyle Turris. His growing confidence has been fun to watch and is positively correlated with his shiftiness behind the net. [SenShot, Ottawa Citizen]
- One player who's been playing really well but doesn't have much to show for it is Shane Prince. Thankfully, Daniel Alfredsson is around to provide some mentorship when young players are being too hard on themselves. Have I mentioned how happy I am that Alfie is around again? [Ottawa Citizen]
- An interview with Tie Domi revealed that he intentionally turned on the Persson hit back in 2002, which should have been a Senators playoff victory vs. the Maple Leafs. [6th Sens, Metro]
- VIDEO BREAK. Check out Brian's second vlog, where he talks about Curtis Lazar's smile. [Bonk's Mullet]
- A column on Alex Chiasson, who I've been impressed with for a couple games now, despite the lack of production. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Our friends over at The Sports Quotient have been checking in on every NHL team, and featured the Ottawa Senators this week. [The Sports Quotient]
- Ian Mendes (REC) has reached out to Sens bloggers for a new radio show called Advanced Chats! Our very own Michaela was on the inaugural episode. Give it a listen here as part of your end-of-Nuggets audio! [TSN 1200]
- The funnest NHL game of the week was the Stars vs. Bruins, where Tyler Seguin recorded a hat trick against his struggling former team. [Sports Illustrated]
- The saddest (?) NHL game of the week was Edmonton vs. Philadelphia, where rising star Connor McDavid fell into the boards awkwardly and will be out for an extended period of time. Will the Oilers be okay? Or should they start packing it in? Dimitri Filipovic has more. [NHL Numbers]
- For other NHL news + notes, check out Elliotte Friedman's 30 thoughts. [Sportsnet]
- With Hockey Fights Cancer games happening over the past couple of weeks, I thought it'd be important to highlight a couple of articles that showcases hockey's power to create positive change. The Senators organization is featured in both. [NHL, TSN]
- The funnest Nuggets link comes courtesy of Peter Forsberg, who dressed up in disguise to play in a Swedish beer league game.
*doesn't make Mikael Wikstrand joke*[Aftonbladet.se]
- In the Tuesday Nuggets, I linked a whole bunch of hockey stats sites. One of the site creators, Dom Galamini, was just hired by the Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL) [Hamilton Spectator]
- Here's Justin Bourne with a tactical piece on breakaway dynamics and deception as a skater. [The Score]
- Two non-hockey related pieces for you today. The first documents the story of Bronson Arroyo. [Deadspin]
- The second is on the ever-persistent threat of concussions in today's sports leagues. This time, focusing in on Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers. [Sports Illustrated]
Thanks for reading!