A good pass. Of course there are players who score their goals with impressive dekes and flashy moves, but those players are called stars...superstars. Not the Dallas Stars. But last night the Isles got trampled by Mike Rebeiro and his career-high four assists.
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This brings me to my point. What does it take to score a goal? We know that the Isles were going to have trouble scoring this season. It was an issue last year and with the infusion of inexperienced youth it was only further expected. To score a goal you need someone to be the set-up man; someone to make that hard, crisp pass on to the shooter's tape so he can bury it home with ease.
But before we even get to the offensive zone I need to know if anyone else has noticed something I've seen for the past few years. This team almost seems incapable of making a good pass from their own blue line, and it's incredibly frustrating to watch. Every game I see the puck dumped about 20 feet into the air across the neutral zone. This isn't football, our forwards aren't going to catch the puck and run with it towards the goal. They need a pass to be made on their stick and that doesn't happen.
On the PK sure, it makes TONS of sense to do that. But five on five? When you're trying to successfully break out of your own end? In no way will your "overspeed" forecheck be effective, even if executed well, if you're always chasing the puck instead of controlling it. So yeah, they're forecheck may have looked better and more in place last night, but that doesn't mean it's going to establish an abundance of scoring chances, and Dallas took advantage of that.
So then where is the flaw? Is it Scott Gordon? I don't think so. I've noticed this about this team for years. Are the young players making rookie mistakes and lacking confidence to carry the puck? Could be...but I hate to say this but I see more of the veterans doing this than the young guys, and this team has had several aged veterans playing for them over the years leading me to believe the issue lies there. How are they going to lead by example if they themselves feel incapable of carrying the puck?
Dump and chase works and should be used from time to time but not from your own blue line on every play. And the funny thing is that when half of the players try to make a real pass they rush it, forcing it past the intended receiver usually resulting in an icing or a turn-over.
Gordon needs to tweak his system a bit and start working on basic break out passes. Keep the overspeed and aggressive forecheck. It will work and has shown that it has potential, especially with the young guys. Tambellini, although he hasn't scored, is all over the opposing defenseman every game. I'm starting to think that once he buries his first goal it's going to give rise to his confidence and hopefully lead to further production. Same can be said for Bergenheim and his tenacious hustle.
I'm not an NHL coach or AHL coach of the year winner, but I do know that we are the only team that I see doing this on a consistent basis. Even the marginal teams have good passers or can complete a pass from their end. We seem to have so much trouble doing that and until that's addressed we're not going to score goals.
It takes a good pass to score a goal, and the first one has to be on the ice, not 20 feet in the air.
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