Setting Up The Play: Hatin' On The Dump And Chase

Justin Azevedo
February 12 2012 02:15PM

 

 

I'm going to come right out and say it: I despise the "Dump and Chase".

Long the play style of highly physical teams, the dump and chase is exactly what it sounds like-dump the puck into the opponent's zone once you've gained possession and go in hard after it. It's been termed as a style that's "hard to play against", mostly because it creates such a physical game. All of this is well and good, but I have a couple of problems with it. (To be clear, I don't mean this in the sense of getting rid of the puck when you need to change-but there are ways to keep possession and still get fresh legs out there, which are obviously preferable.)  

First of all, the thing is that in today's NHL, speed, not physicality, trumps all. Just 8 years ago the rules of the game were wildly different and allowed a hard hitting, less skilled team to use this style of play and actually win with it-see Flames, Calgary circa 2004. My second main problem with it is that we know possession helps you win games. It's been demonstrated time and time again that possession leads to shots directed at the net, which lead to scoring chances, which lead to goals, which lead to wins. Ergo, the less possession a team has, the more likely it is to lose.

The principle point of this system is to give the puck up and hope that you're fast enough to get to it before the other team does. This is a moronic idea to base a system on, even if you have the speed to regain possession of the puck most of the time. Think about it: is it easier to keep something you already have or chase after something you don't? The answer is obviously the first one. Not only do you control the pace and direction of the play when you have possession of the puck, you're also going to save energy; since the puck always moves faster than a skater.

It's easiest to think of it this way: every second your team has the puck is another second the other team doesn't, which means that they don't have the opportunity to score. It seems to me that the point of this system is to give away the puck in order to get it back again. That doesn't seem very efficient or smart.

Lastly: injuries. We see players get hurt or checked weirdly every single game when there's a rush to the puck on the end boards. While it usually isn't the team dumping the puck in that ends up with injuries, the chances for penalties go way up when an opponent's back is facing you and you're trying to get possession. You just end up with some ugly situations. While I will fully admit that a severe injury or penalty is rare, it's best not to risk it.

Bottom line, it's easier to keep possession of the puck then it is to chase it and that will help you win more games. If you have the speed to always chase after the puck, you have the speed to keep the puck away from the other team. If you don't have the skill and speed needed to keep the other team at bay, then it's definitely going to be more challenging to get that biscuit back. 

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Justin is a 23-year-old Flames fan who also happens to be pursuing a double major at the University of Calgary. He has played hockey at high levels, enjoys wearing shorts and tends to drink far too much Grasshopper. Please don't hate him.
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#1 MC Hockey
February 12 2012, 02:21PM
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Two works - Agreed dude! (nice article)

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#2 Robert Vollman
February 12 2012, 02:53PM
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Eric T over at Broad Street Hockey has done excellent statistical research demonstrating how controlled zone entries generate more shots, chances and goals than dump and chase.

Here's an index of their work: http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2011/10/18/2497456/zone-entry-article-archive

And two favourites: Question 1: Which method of bringing the puck into the offensive zone most often results in the play getting shifted to the other end of the ice? Question 2: Which method of bringing the puck into the offensive zone most often results in an odd man rush at the other end of the ice?

http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2011/12/13/2630489/does-aggressive-equal-risky

And this one: •Carrying the puck in definitely generates more offense, and should be attempted at every opportunity when trailing. •The top 9 should usually try to carry the puck in whenever they can, and top-9 players who often carry the puck in are helping the team with their aggressive play. However, with a lead towards the end of the game there may be cause to run designed dump-in plays that give up fewer counterattacks.

•The fourth line should carry the puck in when they have a clear opportunity, but should be a bit more cautious with borderline plays.

http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2011/12/14/2635710/zone-entries-and-scoring-chances#storyjump

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#3 @Gingras34
February 12 2012, 04:45PM
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I'd rather see a dump and chase as long as theres someone going in hard, over a turn over at the blue line becuase everyone is standing around trying to stay onside.

I agree it's nice to have puck posseission, but sometimes playing the simple game is more beneficial. Unless you're on the PP, I have no issue with dump and chase.

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#4 SmellOfVictory
February 12 2012, 05:55PM
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I hate it as a default mode of zone entry, but if a team is playing the trap well enough, sometimes dump/chase is the more effective way of getting the puck in. You can even shoot it on net just to mix things up a bit.

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#5 MC Hockey
February 12 2012, 07:40PM
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Agree with SmellOfVictory...sometimes you need to do the "D&C" if trappoing is foiling the carry-in.

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#6 ChinookArch
February 13 2012, 07:16AM
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@Robert Vollman

When I read the article you suggested http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2011/12/13/2630489/does-aggressive-equal-risky, I couldn't but help think about Sean Donovan. He had a ton of speed and I swear that guy didn't enter the zone without being offside. Justin is right when he says speed now trumps agressive play, but speed without skill gets you no where.

One stat that is not apparent is the unsuccessful attempts to gain the zone, when carrying or passing the puck (i.e. going offside and therefore not getting in). Dump and chase has its problems, but at least you're not going to a face off, in the neutral zone.

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