This is about „superior aspects“ of the game (ice hockey, ya know?) that I learned to understand through tracking hours and hours (in last seven years) of hockey. These aspects are:
– time resistant
– league resistant
– (leave alone individual ones) sport resistant
Actually nowaydays when all players have such a quality training and development these aspects are even more crucial than in past.
What really matters the most in hockey is TIME AND SPACE MANIPULATION. Actions leading to this type of manipulation should be built on a will to surprise (deke, fake, deceive, try and evaluate, over and over again) and to be proactive (do not be satisfied with reacting to plays only, try to create, be proactive).
The best players know how to manipulate space to their team advantage and they time their decisions perfectly. I also often say „this player understands spatial dependencies“. By this I mean both space and time.
I am not bringing anything new. Many coaches, players and those who watch hockey knows this. But it is rarely discussed as a concept or aspect of the game. Some rather talk about its parts and tools/skills – speed, skating, physicality, passing, shot, skills, hockey IQ …
You can see in a short video above how the best players do it:
– Jagr uses his vision, passing skills and brain (he knows when)
– Lemieux uses his skating, puck skills and brain (he knows when)
It does not have to be about having all tools. It is about ability to create a space and time for yourself or your linemates. You can be a master of one tool, you can combine them or you have all of them and they can call you a „hockey god“.
If you thought I was referring to creating offence only you are wrong. The same „time and space manipulation“ principle holds also defensively (here we talk about reducing time and space for opponents).
Above Gavrikov decided to take a responsibility. Instead of reacting only he made a proactive move to kill an odd man rush. These plays carry a certain level of risk. Experience and use of analytics (risk of giving up 18% of a chance with 2 on 1 vs 12% with 3 on 2) can help you a lot to optimize your decisions.
Sometimes it is advisable not to go the way of „analysis“ but „synthesis“. Space and time are still more of synthetical terms.
Okay, what I am trying to say is:
Step 1: Stop thinking of skills as isolated tools only.
Step 2: Think first of actions you can do on the ice to surprise opponents and to be proactive = manipulate.
Step 3: Use skills you already have, continue mastering them and develop these that will help you to do actions defined in step 2.
Synthesis ain´t simple, folks but can be so healthy.