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  1. . “Individuals must get better at what they are good at and enjoy doing. Only then will a team work at its optimal capacity and have long-term sustainable growth.” –Vahick Yedgarian (Forbes article Vahick is quoted in) As soon as you find yourself in a role that requires you to play to one of your nontalents-or area of low skills or knowledge-a weakness is born. Donald O. Clifton, Now, Discover Your Strengths Last night I decided to watch the first period of the Duluth game again. A couple of things were peeking my curiosity: One, I wanted to check out how many times our defensmen possesed the puck up top at the blue line after we gained the zone in 5 on 5 situations and two, I wanted to take a look at the no goal call (if you want to call it that since it wasn't even reviewed). What I saw when I watched was quite telling to say the least. So hear goes... First of all let me say this, I think most would agree we have, top to bottom, one of the best if not the best defensive groups in country and it is a very very offensive minded group. Given this, I think it should/would be a primary focus to work to get the puck up top to the blue line upon gaining the zone, unless of course there is an opportunity through time and space for a quick strike during the transition. This is especially true given our D-men's ability to drive to the net as well as feed our dynamic forwards. So with this in mind I sought to count the number of times this occurred in the 1st period of the Duluth game. Here is what I found; In the entirety of 5 on 5 hockey in the 1st period we gained the zone and got the puck up top a grand total of twice. The first time it was only a single defensmen who touched the puck and then shot it... The second time (at the 7min mark) we gained the zone and got it to the point. It was moved D to D this time and ironically, this was the play that resulted in the goal which was not counted nor did it get reviewed. (0% chance that wasn't a goal unless there was a force field along the goal line which the puck bounced off of in lieu of the goalie pad which was clearly well inside the net). The fact that that was not reviewed is a very big mystery in my mind. We all remember the nearly 10min review we had to endure earlier this year of a play there was 0 question on....Anyway, I digress... Back to my observations: I noticed a little more in my re-watch worth mentioning... We were horrible at transitions through the neutral zone. We gave the puck away more than we didn't. Very unlike us? And when we actually got to the blue line we would kind of half ass dump the puck into the zone. Most of the time it seemed more like a pass to them as they clogged the middle. Way to many give aways. Yikes!!... When we were successful dumping it in it was down low and we were out maned and lost puck battles. There was no cycle for us. ...I should say this, I think the one area we are not as dominant at this year is cycling -In the past yes- not so much this team. The Pogo line can do it but really what we are better at is the chipping the puck with little passes and giving constant puck support and keep it moving while alluding the body. When we are rolling we come in wave after wave of relentless attack where everyone is involved. In the Duluth game we seemed more interested in being physical with the body. It appeared deliberate and looked to me as it was the game plan. Trying to out physical a team by focusing on body checks is absolutely NOT playing to our strenghths and a huge mistake IMHO... again, smart simple passes, hustle wisely and give constant puck support in waves. We can do that way better than anyone else in the country and it works the best when quarterbacked from the blueline. When our defensmen have the puck at the blueline I see good things happening and I want good things to happen. Go Sioux!! The time for #8 is now!!
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