Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Same Dump, Now With Less Chase

Shout out to Drew of End of the Bench for bringing this up. It needed clarification.

In my last post, I stated that Hitch was doing away with the dump and chase. This is only partly true.

The old style CBJ dump and chase worked like this: After a forward crossed the center line, he would dump the puck into the offensive zone. He, along with up to 2 other Jacket skaters would sprint down the ice to fight for the puck in the corners. This strategy is fairly mainstream in hockey, as it enables big strong forwards the ability to forecheck and dominate the defending team with physical play. If the puck was recovered, it could be brought back to the point or cycled into a normal offensive setup.

Hitch's strategy is a bit different. Instead of allowing all of our forwards to skate kamikaze style into the end boards, he wants the first forward on the scene to attack the puck, and have the second evaluate the play and either go in for assistance or move to make a play. The third player should stay up higher near the blue line, available for a pass or to make the transition to defense if the forecheck fails.

The Hitchcock method of dump and chase should help to prevent a swift counterattack by keeping players closer to the neutral zone and not tied up near the opponent's net. It will also promote faster scoring opportunities as the second and third man in will be ready to make a play rather than chasing the puck.

The old style of dump and chase was such a staple for the Jackets, and I'm happy to see it go. The team gave up so many odd-man rushes by not properly watching their backs when on the forecheck. A dump quickly turned into a play the other way with only one or two skaters ready to play defense.

We already saw the revised strategy on Saturday when the Jackets played the Wild. Watch for it tonight as the Jackets take on Vancouver. 10pm on Fox Sports Net Ohio.

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