Dan H wrote:
mikey287 wrote:(snip)For instance, puck comes rolling back to the point, the defenseman throws it in deep, alright fine...in high school and even college (because of those damn cages) you'll see a forward take a stride and blow that guy up just because...he can...ya know what I mean? It's not a "productive" hit, it's just a hit because you're wearing this body armor, you don't feel pain, you're 18 years old and full of testosterone and you can hit someone...
At the pro level, that hit isn't made...you don't finish that hit because it's an amateur hit...if you know what I mean...the only player I can think of in the NHL that actually makes that hit fairly regularly I think is Zac Rinaldo. It's not a "respectable" pro hit, it's a high school hit...(snip)
Mikey, is there a tactical reason that hit isn't made above a certain level of hockey? It's been a long while since I've played checking hockey (since local leagues don't want us old men getting broken hips and suing them, I guess), but my instinct as a winger was always that if I'm pressing hard on the d-man at the point and I can take the hit just after he dumps the puck, I take it. Well, not in a no-checking league, obviously. But the rationale is that situation arises all the time, and the next time it does, that d-man is going to remember getting checked and dump the puck a little more hastily... perhaps right to one of my teammates. It's a "don't give them any time and space" thing to me, and makes perfect sense strategically.
So do the pro wingers pass up that hit more often than I used to because they take themselves further away from their breakout positions? They shouldn't be out of position defensively by taking the hit; the d-man is their guy. It's just not obvious what the tactical or strategic reason for passing it up might be. And I don't remember that hit being any more dangerous than hits along the end boards or in the crease. So unless it's just part of a cult that doesn't extend down to us slow fat beer league players, like the whole thing about not touching the Stanley Cup, I don't get it.
It's a fair question, Dan, and you're on point by and large. There are a couple of different permutations that exist that relate to timing to consider first:
- Scenario 1: Puck is sliding towards the blueline, pinching d-man is not in the zone, defending winger is charging towards the puck, the d-man is pinching. If the timing is close (a train is leaving from Chicago at 10:30...nevermind), you want to lead with your stick if you're the winger to help escort the puck out and then it's ok to finish that hit as it will aid you in winning the potential board battle and/or help you out-number on the boards if necessary.
- Scenario 2: Puck slides back to the point, defenseman whacks it back in deep or slides it to the other point. The winger has no legitimate chance at the puck, but within a stride can legally finish the check on that defenseman. This is the hit that serves no real purpose. Scenario 1 is more of a collision than anything, this scenario is actively completing a hit for no effective gain, at least, in my opinion. I wouldn't tell a player to make this hit, but I've heard some coaches endorse it a little bit...
In terms of injury/danger, I'd say it's a little bit heightened with this hit. A) the chance of the stick coming up from the d-man is pretty high as he'll be on his follow-thru... B) The d-man will have his head up here and might want to "bail out" of this overly-aggressive hit, which can always cause more problems
tl;dr version: The timed collision is ok. The out and out finishing on this hit is frowned upon/non-beneficial