As much as I, like other Canadians, want to forget yesterday’s thorough butt-fumble of a World Junior hockey game against the Americans, I was goaded into doing this by a couple curious minds: an analysis of Jake McCabe’s first goal, in which, at one point, the Canadians were in the above defensive “formation.” Five of the six on-ice Canadians are packed into a lane slightly wider than the net (and as you’ll see farther down, they get tighter), along with three Americans, putting eight of the 12 humans on the ice in an area about seven feet wide. Actually, if we feel like drawing those lanes down 200 feet, nine of the twelve were in there. Presumably, this was not the game plan before the puck dropped.
Let’s take it from the top. This is a bit of a long one because I have to mention what starts the US breakout down at the other end of the ice, and because, y’know, the whole thing is a mess. Boone Jenner, this is not your finest shift.
First, take a look at it for yourself, if you dare.
This, to me, is a 50/50 puck. The problem, at least for Jenner, is that he’s probably going to get a touch on it first, which means he’s the guy who has to take the hit. Or, he could completely pull-up, forfeit the puck, and let US defenseman Mike Reilly grab solid possession and make a play. If he takes the hit there, at the very least there’s a puck battle and his linemate Phillip Danault can come in and help dig it out.
He pulls up. I know, it looks like he’s heading off to change, but I assure you, he’s not. You’ll see him again in a bit. Read the rest of this entry »