Everyone always talks about a few killer plays in hockey: bad turnovers, stupid penalties, or a bad pinch. Yes, these all suck, but usually they involve a screw up or an unintentional mistake. No, the worst play in hockey is one that I see all the time as a goaltender and it almost always comes back to bite the team in the ass.
Fly past the jump to find out.
This play is as follows: The decision, when a forward or defenseman has a puck in the zone, usually by the boards, and decides rather than to get the puck out of the zone, to circle back into his zone to find a better play. Here, I made some excellent paint examples to show you what I mean and my paint skills.
First, the puck is passed from the defenseman to the winger as most normal breakouts occur.
Now if the center is covered, the right play here is to get the puck out of the zone, no matter what. That's the right play 99.9% of the time. It gets the flow of the puck moving towards the other net, allows your team to regroup, and might even allow your center to get the puck before their D does.
Now the wrong play is to circle back and "restart the breakout" hoping to get a better opening. Your entire team is going the other way and they have to stop, turn around and start returning to the zone to try again. Plus the defense, who've done their job, have to be swearing at you under their breath and are confused at what the hell you are doing. This allows the defense to continue forchecking and can reverse a lot faster than your team.
This almost always causes a turnover and often a goal. During the Great Goal Famine of 2011, a few Wings were often guilty of this. Specifically three players: Datsyuk (surprisingly), Ericssion (unsurprisingly), and the worst offender, Todd Bertuzzi. When he's not on his game, poor decisions almost always follow. But when he's playing well, "up and out" is his motto.
Now that the ship has been patched and the players are confident again, I haven't seen much of this. But pay attention to games. If you notice this happening, bad things almost always follow.
I think we don't notice Pav doing this as much as the others, because his amazing skill level can often overcome that choice. Pav turns back, gets cornered, and 90% of the time makes someone soil themself. Bert turns back, gets pinned to the boards, and soccer kicks a pass for the 1-timer on Jimmah.
whenever i see this happen, i think of game 7 against the ducks in 2009 when ericsson got the puck caught on a broken stick after it was passed back to him. led to the tying goal.
@Twig I know it's not the same play because he decided to try and carry it out by himself but all this reminiscing has me thinking, '07, Lilja, game 5, OT... (huddles in corner starts rocking back and forth).... "it's okay, the bad man is gone, it's okay the bad man is gone..."
Hmmm... come to think of it, I did notice that. Ericsson did it all the freaking time last year. I have only seen it a few times this year from him and it's usually with hopes that the other D man will get a pass out the other side from behind the goal. That all depends on if there is a guy already over there. Glad to see this pointed out. I didn't even think about it when Datsyuk or Bert has done it... just Ericsson... go figure.