March 15 2012 04:37AM
It's been a while since we've done one of these.
Every game I see one or two things that players do that just make me cringe. I'm not sure if it's coaching or mismanagement or guys just not thinking, but it seems to me that there's way more peewee level mistakes this year than last-and that really grinds my gears. When you're getting paid millions of dollars, you don't get to make those types of mistakes.
- There's a saying that my coaches (usually my father) drilled into me as a young defenseman - "off the glass or it's your ass". It annoys me when I see a player try to force the puck through an opponent on the boards instead of putting it where the other guy can't get it. Inevitably, the defender or whomever blocks the puck with his body, regains possession and your forwards are caught in transition heading towards the neutral zone because they thought the Flames guy passing the puck would be able to get it out. Obviously, the best example here was the last goal scored in last year's first round series between Vancouver and Chicago:
Instead of putting it high off the glass, Campoli causally flips the puck almost right to Burrows-resulting in the winning goal. Now, someone won't score on these every game (hell, most won't even wind up as chances) but they're still dangerous. While there is an argument that players are more reluctant to put a puck off the glass because of the potential delay-of-game penalty, my counter to that is an NHL player has no excuse for not being confident in their ability to accurately place a puck within a 5 by 5 box.
- Players who leave the puck stationary on the cycle. The point of the cycle is to move the puck between players in a manner that will tire the other team out by making the puck do the hard movement for you. Leaving the puck in the open creates an excellent situation for the opponents in that you can easily lose possession and depending on the depth of the cycle, have an odd-man rush go back the other way.
- Slapping the stick on the ice when calling for a pass. This is just a little tic that I'm sure only I have, but it poses two risks: a stick slapping makes the same sound regardless if it's from your team or your opponents, and sometimes slapping a stick on the ice can leave you ill-prepared for a pass because your stick isn't on the ice (thanks, Charlie).
- Lack of notifications from the bench. I guess this isn't totally a player thing, but once in a while I see risky passes right as power plays are about to end blow up in player's faces. Example:
There needs to be some semblance of verbal communication between the bench and the ice, simply because players often don't have either the presence of mind to look up at the scoreboard or the time to do so. It's a cliché but you need to talk when you're on the ice.
What about you guys? Any specific pet peeves you have?