mikey287 wrote:Martin did some of his best work in New Jersey paired with a somewhat sluggish, physical defensive defenseman in Bryce Salvador (a career third pairing guy), for reference. Conversely, it could be the style of play the Penguins employ that is causing his hiccups, not his partner.
what would you make of his play on the first goal of the game here?http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/consol ... 32&lang=en
is this the sort of play that can be a result of a guy who is uncomfortable, or is it just lousy hockey, or is it just that skinner made an unbelievable move - because these are the moments that stick out for me. IIRC, this game against carolina was martin's masterpiece. he had a few plays that set the tone for the rest of his season. plays that seemed like they shouldn't happen under any circumstance.
Good question, and good to using video for evaluation something that's used on all quality, organized levels of hockey for educational purposes.
Just as important as how a play ends is how a play begins. Let's freeze it at the 0:00 mark.
Paul Martin has the man in front of the net. He's ready and identifies the puck and he's close enough to his man to make a play. Good.
Kris Letang has identified the puck, is reading the play and has Tuomo Ruutu (#15) going to the net, good, he has his man. Good.
Our other two wingers Asham and whoever, have the point men. Good.
Note where the puck is, in a place where Richard Park should be able to get a piece of it or disrupt Jussi Jokinen somehow, this play should be disrupted here in the slot. Let's watch...
It says I froze it again at 0:00, but I have to be 0:01 in by now.
The puck is in the middle of the rink, everyone still has their same man. Letang ties up the man (Ruutu, 15) closest to the puck by engaging him physically to prevent him from making a reasonable play on it.
Watch the jump though by Jeff Skinner, who is probably slightly closer to the puck than Paul Martin to start the play based on where the puck bounced to after Park disrupted Jokinen (36).
It's too difficult for the wingers, from a standing start, to get back to that puck really...though Asham creeps down for it, he can't win that race. Skinner, who is wonderful on his edges and does a great job protecting the puck displays that here...he, without touching the puck, walls off Paul Martin from it to gain possession. Excellent play by Skinner. Martin has him though, as he's right on his back. So far, good enough. Ideally, you'd love to get stick on stick contact there to push the puck away from a high scoring area, but Martin is walled off so quickly that from the angle he was coming from, there was really nothing he could do...the odds of getting a tripping penalty by getting a poke check in there are higher than the odds of knocking the puck away. An early penalty in a home game will do nothing but help rev up the home players and fans. It's not Martin's nature to be really aggressive either, so he's playing probably as best as he can right now.
Martin's job now that he's lost the race to the puck in high scoring zone is to try to reduce the shot quality. Martin does this by forcing Jeff Skinner on to his backhand. However, Skinner uses his terrific edgework and very good first step acceleration to roll off of Martin who still has his momentum carrying him the other direction. Problem.
Freeze it at 0:03 - Martin is now beaten as Skinner makes a terrific play with his puck and the body on his backhand. Letang is guarding the front of the net and the man that went behind to come around the net looking to "get lost in the wash" and forgotten about (that's Ruutu again). Martin is going for a diving sweepcheck now in desperation. If Letang commits and steps on Skinner, the pass goes to a wide-open Tuomo Ruutu. It's too late to make that switch, young Letang probably would have gone for it though.
Next frame, Martin dives for it but the incredible puck protection of Skinner (one of the reasons I was so high on him in his draft year despite the "36" to the left of his name or whatever Central Scouting had him as...not discussed here, ahem.) just doesn't allow for it. Skinner releases a backhander off the frame and in and that's the end of the story.
In this instance, the best (not really a right or wrong thing) answer of the three you gave is really credit to Skinner. That's a very tough play and Skinner isn't chopped liver in this league. It's a result of a 50/50 puck in a weird place on the ice and Skinner got the jump on Martin while having the inside track. Martin could have played that worse, but he was rendered pretty ineffective by Skinner's protection abilities and ends up flailing while failing. I also kind of wonder if that could have been stopped by Johnson. No push off when Skinner commits to release the shot from in close. One push towards the puck, and that probably hits Johnson in the arm. But that's sometimes what you deal with a replacement level goaltender.