Dump & Chase & Sucks

DC Sports Nexus ---- Monday, October 31, 2011

I am a great basketball player. Whenever there is a white girl smaller than me covering me in a intramural beginners coed basketball league game I always show her what is up. For some crazy reason instead of throwing the ball past her off the backboard and running to get it, I pull off one of my amazing one on one Allen Iverson crossover moves and proceed to break her ankles before she catches up from behind and blocks my shot.

My move looks just like the Iverson except it is less of a spinning crossover and more like I just dribble right hand only past the girl and push her to the ground with my off hand. Either way, it is a great one on one move, and a great way to score.

Prior to actually watching hockey, I assumed that the idea in the sport was similar. Use some kind of stick-handling skill to get the puck past a defender for an open shot. I was incorrect. It appears the way that a player gets past the last defender back is to just hit the puck past him behind the goal and hope that maybe he can get it back.


This is called the dump & chase and it makes watching hockey annoying at times. With this move a player goes from a good position to score in front of the goal to having the puck in a logjam behind the goal, no angle to score. Imagine how terrible the NBA would be if there was a "loose ball" every single time down the court. Frustrating!

My non hockey mind tells me that the idea is to get the puck deep into the offensive zone so the offense can shift up. If your guy gets to it first you have more scorers in place. If the bad guys get to it first you can hopefully block it before it clears the zone?

Soccer also has a similar move where you kick it past the defender and beat them to the ball, but the hockey version seems to have less of a purpose. It seems like players don't even pick a spot, they just hit it anywhere and skate to it. Almost like they are hoping for a 50/50 bounce to come to them.

I'm going to assume that because NHL professional teams do this, and NHL professional coaches tell the players to do this, that it actually has some kind of offensive benefit. However, Kyle Shanahan who is a professional NFL coach on a professional NFL team seems to think handing the ball to a washed up DUI Manslaughtering wide receiver has some kind of offensive benefit, so I don't know what to believe.

In conclusion, I don't care if the dump & chase works. I don't care if it is the only way to win a championship. I think it should be outlawed in hockey so we can see more one on one stickhandling moves like the following:

Did you see any dumping or chasing there?


Ned Keitt-Pride said...

The problem is that most times a breakaway ends up in a 1-on-3 (two defenders and a goalie) rather than a 1-on-2, or quickly turns into one if your stickhandling takes too long. Ovechkin is a great example. His first couple of years in the league, he had the speed and strength to outrace or outmuscle a single defender quickly. And after The Goal, that was pretty much all he tried to do on offense. The problem is that even being a tiny bit slower has given defenses all the time they need to catch up. In addition, constant stickhandling made him predictable on offense. Defenders started figuring out his favorite moves, or committed to blocking his shots knowing that he wasn't going to pass. He became much easier to shut down. It's like knowing that a basketball player is always going to go to the basket and that he vastly prefers going to his left on a breakaway - if you know where he's going and he's not fast enough to beat you, you're going to win as the defender.

I'm not a stat expert or anything, but I am also guessing that as a percentage successful dump and chase play exceeds successful stickhandling. At the very least, I would imaging there are far more situations in a game where a dump and chase strategy makes more sense as an option for maintaining pressure in your opponent's zone. By coaching players to default to that strategy, you increase your overall chances to score.

One other thing to note is that this strategy requires a good forecheck so that if you don't get to the puck first you can still apply pressure to your opponent. If you just sling the puck down ice and don't hussle, basically you turn the game into a 60 minute power play for the other team.

Blake Kaplan said...

Another problem is that if you turn the puck over at your opponent's blueline, the transition favors them (your forwards are skating the wrong direction to backcheck effectively, likely leading to a 3 on 2 situation in your zone). When you get the puck deep in your opponents' zone, you lessen the possibility of a fast break going the other way.

I totally agree that it sucks though, and it probably made way more sense during the 90s, when defenders were basically allowed to jump on oncoming forward's backs to prevent them from moving (seriously, watch any pre-lockout hockey game) or much less stickhandle.

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