steen goal

Last night after Alex Steen stole the puck from Jonathan Quick behind the Kings’ net in overtime and iced the game for the Blues, CBC cut to their panel of hockey minds to get some reaction and opinion on the game-deciding goal.

The lone ex-goalie on the panel, Kevin Weekes, described what had just happened with Jonathan Quick behind the net as a “miscommunication.” Kevin Weekes was wrong. And so, PJ Stock disagreed with him, and Weekes offered little more follow up then head shakes and disagreeable mutterings. He stuck to his guns on this one.

Occasionally, miscommunications (and thus, bad things) happen; this is a real thing in hockey. Also, sometimes that label is used as a copout for a bungled play by a goalie. But like skaters, sometimes they just doof up with the puck, and Jonathan Quick did.

Here’s what he had to say about the play:

“It’s exactly what it looked like. I tried to make a pass. He blocked it and scored. I don’t have an option to the left; you try to make him make a decision. And he got the stick on it.”

That should be all the confirmation we need, but whatever, I want to look at what went wrong in Los Angeles. Join me, won’t you?

For the record, this isn’t going to be your usual “Systems Analyst” breakdown, given that there’s no system to dissect, so I’ll do another one later this week. To the pictures!

***

The other thing that was said on that CBC panel and many other places around the hockey world last night was that the two Los Angeles Kings that are coming back into the zone, Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter, need to come back quicker to provide Quick with options.

Maybe, but not really on this particular play. As far as his options go, they’re providing some pretty decent ones.

On a powerplay breakout, the only player who needs to head back on the puck with any speed is the first dude back – in this case Doughty – and he’s back in decent time. He’s given a little lollygag leeway because when he gets to the puck, he’s going to have to wait for everyone to get to their set spots to start the breakout. That might mean a center coming back to swing low and join him, or a winger get to the blueline and get set to time the rush, or whatever it is that the Kings do. You just have to let guys get momentarily set, is all.

The bulk of the point is, in this case, they are not to blame for what happens here. Quick – who was an absolute stud who made 40 saves yesterday and was the main reason the Kings were even in OT, I know – is 97% responsible for this gaffe based on a simple premise: he’s the damn goalie, he chose to play the puck, he was behind the net, and he had time. He had 100 options that weren’t “turn it over and get scored on.” Things go wrong in sports, and just because you feel for a guy doesn’t mean we need to create excuses.

The only thing I can think of that would be in his favour on the play, is that in this instance, you generally don’t see the forward chase behind the net when someone back there has possession, they’ll loiter in front so they don’t get caught deep. But really, they only park in front for d-men with possession, not goalies, so I’m reaching here.

To the tape! Let’s see how much of this was a miscommunication:

a1 copy

Self-explanatory.

a2 copy

He’s looking around, knows what he’s dealing with. People enter the frame.

a3 copy

There’s tons of space here. And to those people saying Doughty isn’t back quick enough or whatever – he’s showing trust here. Quick has the puck and he’s going to go to the corner for an outlet instead of hustling to take it from him. The danger could be over with as soon as now with a little rim.

a4

Quick is now facing up ice with solid possession, Doughty is getting wider for him.

a5

Now it’s time to move the puck – literally, NOW – for one simple reason: you’re the goalie. You see a guy coming towards you, you have solid possession of the puck, your head is up, and you need to get back and tend the goal, which is literally the description of your job.

a6

Now it’s panic time, cause he’s enjoyed just having the puck for awhile, which is rare in a pro hockey game. You almost always have to move it right away. He’s like “This is SWEET. I like HAVE IT and stuff. It feels so good on my blade.”

When he says “I didn’t have an option left” in his post-game quote, I’m not sure I agree (okay, I don’t). When the turnover happens, Jeff Carter is coming from the far boards in a panic, meaning he’s there right now (or could at least take the stride or two over there) Quick could rim this to him or Doughty right now.

a7 copy

And now it’s too late. He tries to get too cute by making the play past Steen, which is exactly what coaches rail against: don’t take chances – especially huge chances in a huge moment like this – when you don’t have to.

Coaches hate when players try to force passes through the opposition on the powerplay because they don’t need to. You can imagine how they feel about what’s unfolding here. Take the easy option, dawg.

a8

Oh boy.

a9

Oh no.

a10

Oh crap.

a11

Oh.

a12

Oh.

a13

OH

Folks are scrambling to find more depth to this play than “Jonathan Quick made a mistake,” but there isn’t more, and that’s fine. He more or less owned it, and it’s in the past for the Kings now.

I just wanted to be clear: this is no issue of miscommunication or due to lazy returns to the zone or anything of that nature. It’s a simple mistake. We all make ‘em.

Comments (22)

  1. Great as always. I especially enjoyed the dig at Glenn Healy:

    “The lone ex-goalie on the panel, Kevin Weekes”

    Boom. You roasted.

  2. Anyone else notice Quicks reaction to the goal? Only a goalie would smash his head into the ice multiple times.

  3. That was fun to watch. He wasn’t very Quick with the puck, was he? *nyuk*nyuk*nyuk*

  4. This was no different than ANY player taking too long to make the safe play, getting cute, and turning over the puck. It happens all the time. It just so happens that, in Quick’s case, there’s no goalie behind him to make the save. It’s unfortunate that the glaring weakness in his game is handling the puck. Kings fans freeze up anytime he leaves his crease to play the puck because we’ve seen him turn it over back there so many times.

    Last guy back. Coughs up the puck. Empty net goal. No can do.

  5. So about that trapezoid rule….wouldn’t this maybe solve the scoring problem if we had Quick playing the puck in the corners each game.

  6. Look, I agree, Quick f’ed up, but his team isn’t exactly racing to give him options, he’s trying to pass across his body to the only King forward who aint skating to avoid Steen’s pressure.

    • Yeah, this was definitely Quick’s fault, but man, Doughty is in the same place in pretty much all of those stills – and don’t the Kings have other guys on the ice?

      • I tried to make this point, but apparently it’s not going through, so watch the guy headed back to pick up the puck on a PP regroup. Find me a guy with the throttle down. Skating back fast is pointless, as you just have to wait for everyone else to set up anyway.

  7. I think it was Mike Milbury (ya i know what youre already going to say) that mentioned that Quick has never been a great puck handler. He cited several prime examples from last season (most notably one of Parises goals from the finals). He also mentioned Quick has always come back the next game and thrown up a brick wall. Milbury makes a good point here. Did I just say that?

  8. I have to disagree with the whole “getting cute” with it description. A glance to the left and one to the right is being cute?? Granted, it looks like an eternity in the still frames, but watch the video again – the puck is on his stick for less than 4 seconds. He had 2 seconds to make a play that took him 3.5, give or take a few hundredths of a second!

    To me it looks like he simply waited until he got behind the net instead of having a decisive plan when he left the crease.

    • Four seconds is pretty much forever in hockey.

    • If you have an entire uncovered direction to go, and inexplicably choose the more complicated route, you’re “getting cute.”

    • “Getting cute” is usually used to reference guys who try and do to much, wait too long, or generally thread the needle. Quick waited waaaaaayyyyy too long to make the pass. And lets, just for arguments sake, say Doughty was late getting back. The correct play would have been to throw it up the boards, either side, towards one of your team mates. Even in a worse case scenario where they have to battle an opposing player for the puck, it gives you the chance to get back in front of your net.

      When you aren’t making the safe play, you’re being “cute”. Sometimes it works, sometimes you get burned.

  9. Was that Panger yelling “YESSSS!” ?

  10. I apologize in advance for beating this to death, but good on Quick for going out, facing the media, and owning up to his responsibilities. *cough*Kessel*cough*

  11. Kind of a goaltenders perspective on this:

    As Doughty is coming into the zone Quick does his shoulder check, he’s seeing Steen and Doughty in roughly the same area of the ice. Logically he’s thinking if he passes it then, it becomes too much of a 50-50 puck. So he wants to try and draw Steen as low as possible towards him in order to free up time and space for Doughty as he peels to the corner. If you can give a guy like Doughty time and space AND trap F1 too low on a man up situation that’s definitely a better option that passing into a 50-50 situation. Where he really messes up is he doesn’t really try and sell the rim around towards Carter’s side at all. Ideally you want to see him turn his back towards Doughty’s corner to show he’s just going to throw it up the boards and then at the last minute pivot back to Doughty (or back hand it). If he does that, Steen will try and take a route that crosses in front of the net and applies pressure from the other side. Carter isn’t really a good option because he’s coming back in to the zone more in the center of the ice (a place, as a goalie, you don’t want to pass the puck ). He’s coming down low to provide support to Doughty on the breakout. It’s definitely on Quick but Doughty was the only real option on the play. He just didn’t do a good enough job of selling the fake option.

  12. another goalie’s perspective on this:

    quick assumed there was no way steen would dive below the net, assumed he’d do a fly-by on the near post and park himself in front of the net waiting to see which way quick went with the pass. which is exactly what steen would have done, had it been a dman with the puck. so. quick made that assumption, figured he’d then have a clear and uncontested lane to doughty, who, by that time, would have support arriving, transition out of the zone, up ice, golden.

    I don’t think it had anything to do with measuring good options or bad, just failed to anticipate steen would attack him that deep in the zone while killing a penalty. complete shock and surprise when he did, no bailout plan in place, had to try to jam it past steen (because backhand with a goalie stick = a mess), whoops, OT winner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *