One of the most common aphorisms I heard about advocates when I was growing up was the idea of being invisible as a positive trait. I can remember some great hockey minds telling me as a kid through radio and TV that the best compliment you can receive as a defensive man is that no one notices you’re playing at all.
This was mostly true of the hockey era. The two-line pass rule was in effect. The game was unduly more forgiving with Nelson’s full maneuvers of pulling off talented attackers with slick heads. But, in general, the spirit of this adage was true of defenders: do not burn, do not make the big mistake and do not pay the big penalty. If you can make it all happen while keeping your opponent quietly in check, you may not be talked about on the front page of the news, but you’ve done your job calmly and healthy enough that people want you to play more.
While defensemen in the modern game are required to do little more than “go unnoticed,” the spirit of the adage has been the crux of the matter. Brian DumoulinCareer path in Pittsburgh. Safety net for fellow defender Chris LetangIn his offensive adventures, Dumoulin was mobile with effective use of size, long reach and a strong gap between him and his attackers. His work isn’t flashy, or notable stuff, but it’s effective with Letang.
It is starting to deteriorate before our very eyes. Dumoulin now finds himself embroiled in a lot of goals against him, and we can see his struggles on video and in the defensive pairing data this season.
according to Natural Statistics TrickThe penguins They have posted five defensive pairs that have played at least 20 minutes of equal power this season. Among these five pairs, Letang and Dumoulin rank last in shot attempts per 60 minutes, total shot attempt share and raw scoring chances per 60 minutes. Although they do slightly better from an imaging quality standpoint, the results in both groups are far from what we would expect from the coupling.
To take this one step further, I used the query run on hockey evolution Take a look at the 20 best quality scoring chances the penguins gifted this year (determined by the opponent’s shot quality using expected goals as a criterion). In the top 20 scoring chances against the Penguins this year, Dumoulin was on the ice for 11 of them.
Dumoulin puts himself in situations where he faces more scoring opportunities than usual, and the Penguins score only 45 percent of goals when Letang and Dumoulin are on the ice.
Some of this is caused by playing “Hope” with the disc. Traditionally, we’ve seen a somewhat responsible Dumoulin with limited puck touches he gets every night. This year, some of that has turned into vertical shifts that require the penguins to defend right away. Consider the following video straight from an opening showdown.
This is not after a long night of checking foreclosure from kingsAttackers, this is off Opening face. Discus skips Dumoulin’s wand and immediately tries to hit it against the wall, but gets no help. Kings jump on it and make an attempt.
This is what I mean by “hope” plays – the strategy here is to do a quick play on the wall and not your partner on the other side. The hope is that a team member will snatch it, but the Kings get it first.
Such decisions hinder the penguins’ attack as much as they affect defense. The confrontation win must result in a port pass to start the attack. Instead, the penguins lose that opportunity to attack. These losses accumulate, as we can see in the following chart from J Fresh Hockey. This graph shows how the Penguins’ Defenses rank in their ability to create and block high-quality shooting attempts.
No snowboard penguin defense man for an overall inferior quality of Dumoulin-generated shots, due to situations like the ones above. Dumoulin doesn’t make sound decisions like in years past – it’s a big problem because he spends a lot of time with her Sidney Crosby And the Jake Goentzel. The two deadliest strikers on the team get fewer looks into the attacking area if they’re dealing with a high number of turns and missed opportunities for the port’s passes.
In the next section, we see that decision-making and passing become a problem again. Watch as an unwise pinch turns into a panic moment that results in a spin for a high-quality chance against her.
Dumoulin bounces back hard at the beginning of this clip to set himself up for a nice defensive round but causes him to run late for work and finds himself in a precarious position as a result. Even though he skates away from the pinch of the disc, he’s going the wrong way. He has an outlet for his partner as he did in the previous clip, but the pass is smooth and off the mark. It’s instant spinning in a high-quality area of ice. Note that this is the upper unit of penguins; If the pass to Letang is connected, it is an attacker’s chance. This does not happen.
We’ve seen pills like this from Dumoulin throughout the year. In the next passage, he encountered a similar situation. He’s looking to create an offense but it’s too late and no longer mobile enough for it. An important part of all this: Dumoulin was never the most mobile defensive man, but his combination of size and efficient maneuverability made him difficult to handle in the transition. These sections do not show much of this navigation.
It’s a little annoying to see Dumoulin being lifted this way, but this clip shows so much more than that. There is a bad crisis without the ability to recover like the old days, and there is a general lack of body and consciousness.
We have seen that these situations arise in other involved regions, such as the mouth of the net. In the next clip, Dumoulin tries to protect the wrinkle and take out the box Legendary sea monster‘s Alexander Weinberg. Wennberg gets a good body position and is able to lift Dumoulin’s wand, steal the disc from him, and put a quick chance on the net.
While Dumoulin was never painfully physical, he at least used to have more physicality than this. Here, his head is lowered, he looks panicked, and someone else takes advantage.
Let’s draw on some data again to show how these situations escalated in the early part of the season, using the snapshot chart map provided by HockeyViz.com. If you see red, the Penguins allow more shots than the league average in that area. The opposite is true for blue.
Take a look at the dark red color point noticeable in front of the crease.
Data and eye tests tell us the same things.
There is a noticeable lack of involvement in the front grid areas, allowing opponents to pile on high-risk shot attempts. In the next clip, we see Dumoulin in the crease but not effectively affecting the play. It shows a sense of indecision, see if that stands out to you too.
After the bad change of one of his teammates, Dumoulin does not make physical contact with Bruins Player until the disc is already in the network. He’s a bit late arriving due to his turnover, which is understandable, but when he gets to play, he outruns the net and doesn’t contact an attacker until it’s too late. Situations like this stack up in the chart we saw above.
In the next section, we have a similar topic. The play collapses, and Canucks Keep attacking, and Dumoulin and Letang find themselves in the fray with no one covering the mouth of the net – a high-quality scoring area left by both defenders. It results in a hint of a target and is one of the reasons why the retinal mouth area in the above diagram is red as it is.
It’s clear from data and video that the penguin’s traditional top-coupling is broken. Letang and Dumoulin don’t mesh, and we’ve seen dips in each of their games.
For Dumoulin, the solution may be to reduce the icing time. Pierre Olivier Joseph and Marcus Peterson They independently play strong hockey now. Pettersson was more like a traditional Dumoulin, a low-action player who tempers chances and quality well but doesn’t add much to the attack. Olivier-Joseph is known to be two-way, with a tendency to add to the attack and move the disc. Sullivan will have his choice of style that he feels will work best for the best pairing.
This is not a defense issue. It puts undue pressure on the direction of the goal and leads to increased goals against it, but more importantly, it robs a critical offensive unit of its ability to continue attacking.
For Sullivan and his staff, the challenge is to harness Domoulin’s ability by deploying him wherever he fits his existing skills. There is a legitimate question as to whether this is at the top of the conjugation.
(Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)