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Systems Analyst: Gap Control


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#1 haroldsnepsts

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:40 PM

I'm guessing  a lot of people here know this but if anyone ever wondered what "gap control" means, here's a good explanation.

 

It nicely breaks down what it is a subtler part of playing defense and demonstrates how a seemingly harmless play can end up with the puck in the back of your net because of poor gap control.  

 

I think one of the biggest differences between a veteran d-man and a young guy is consistent gap control.  A kid can play great all game but then have one shift where he's tired and it all goes to hell and they end up blowing their coverage.

 

 

 

Gap control through the neutral zone is important at all levels because if you you’re backing in too fast you allow forwards to go east-west inside the blueline and create, and if you’re too tight you risk getting your doors blown off wide. It ain’t easy matching someone’s speed in a backwards-versus-forwards race.

In the NHL it’s even more important, because it isn’t too many strides inside the blueline before players are in a dangerous shooting area. And by “not too many strides” I mean like, seven feet of gliding, especially since they intend to use you as a screen. Most of these guys have bombs, which makes that area of the ice a little dangerous.

 

 

http://blogs.thescor...men/#more-89787

 

I know I've posted this guy's stuff a lot, but I think he's one of the best hockey writers out there. 



#2 thegerkin

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:32 PM

I love that website and I think you pointed me in that direction. I really like how they breakdown plays and shows where players were supposed to be when a breakdown occured. Cool stuff for sure.



#3 Richdg

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:14 PM

Gap control or positioning are 2 of the hardest things to learn in any sport. Where do I need to be on each ply is a very tough thin to learn, because it changes every play. Every forward you are covering plays at a different pace, and they differ their paces each play. Some guys have the natural feel if you will, others really have to work to learn it.



#4 dropkickshanahans

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:25 PM

Gap control or positioning are 2 of the hardest things to learn in any sport. Where do I need to be on each ply is a very tough thin to learn, because it changes every play. Every forward you are covering plays at a different pace, and they differ their paces each play. Some guys have the natural feel if you will, others really have to work to learn it.

 

It definitely shows a perspective to fans that it takes a lot of brainpower for many of the professional individuals in any sport to study game film and apply it in real time. Especially in a sport such as hockey that's so fast paced, forcing the player to think fast. It's really amazing to me how some players like Lidstrom just "got" stuff like this and made it look easy.



#5 kipwinger

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:45 PM

As soon as I read "gap control" and "hurricanes" I knew Semin was the goal scorer.  That guy's wrister is unreal.


GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#6 Echolalia

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:51 PM

My orthodontist says I have terrible gap control



#7 haroldsnepsts

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:08 PM

 

It definitely shows a perspective to fans that it takes a lot of brainpower for many of the professional individuals in any sport to study game film and apply it in real time. Especially in a sport such as hockey that's so fast paced, forcing the player to think fast. It's really amazing to me how some players like Lidstrom just "got" stuff like this and made it look easy.

 

Definitely. 

 

Lid's brain was his biggest strength as a hockey player.  It seemed like he figured out all the little things that were the difference between a good play and a bad one.  And he was so disciplined in preparation and execution. 

 

I think it was Babcock who summed him up best by saying he simply makes the right play every time. 



#8 haroldsnepsts

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:16 PM

Gap control or positioning are 2 of the hardest things to learn in any sport. Where do I need to be on each ply is a very tough thin to learn, because it changes every play. Every forward you are covering plays at a different pace, and they differ their paces each play. Some guys have the natural feel if you will, others really have to work to learn it.

 

Agreed. It's easy to forget how hard that is, especially at the NHL level.  Matching your speed skating backwards to a guy who's skating at you forwards, while maintaining enough space that he can't blow by you on the outside, but not so much he has a lot of room to move.  

 

Like that play with Semin.  You let him get too deep in the zone untouched one time and that's all it takes. 



#9 number9

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:24 PM

It makes you think... What if Lids had played wing? Would he be just as good at recognizing an out of position D-man that he could then blow by or move east/west on? I think so.

#10 Richdg

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:41 AM

Yes on Lids. He was so smart and had such great instincts. Something that can't be taught. He just had it.



#11 kipwinger

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 10:03 AM

 

Agreed. It's easy to forget how hard that is, especially at the NHL level.  Matching your speed skating backwards to a guy who's skating at you forwards, while maintaining enough space that he can't blow by you on the outside, but not so much he has a lot of room to move.  

 

Like that play with Semin.  You let him get too deep in the zone untouched one time and that's all it takes. 

 

Helps when the guy can put a 3 inch puck in a 2 inch hole.  I wish to god we had a shooter like that on our team.


GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#12 F.Michael

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 11:59 AM

I thought there was gonna be the obligatory pic of Nick Lidstrom.


As soon as I read "gap control" and "hurricanes" I knew Semin was the goal scorer.  That guy's wrister is unreal.

Rumor has it he's a mean bongo player as well.



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#13 kipwinger

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 05:30 PM

I thought there was gonna be the obligatory pic of Nick Lidstrom.


Rumor has it he's a mean bongo player as well.

 

One of my all time fav videos.  Such a pathetic attempt.  Why even try?  He must have been REALLY pissed off if he still tried to fight knowing that's his skill set.


GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 






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