Jack Blatherwick

Quickness requires efficient strength, not just a lot of strength

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

Above is my favorite photo of world-class sprinters, because it shows clearly why the athlete in the forefront is the quickest in the first few strides. He is not likely to win the 100-meter race, because the top-ranked sprinters are in the middle lanes, but he wins the first 15 meters or so, the part of a sprint that matters most to a hockey player. 

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Bad traditions don’t die soon enough

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

For more than a century, it has been fashionable for team coaches and strength/fitness instructors to think they are drill sergeants. They aren’t satisfied with an exercise until everyone is gassed – until tongues are dragging on the ground.

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Expert analysis and unwritten codes

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

I found a new TV channel. Or was I online?  Well, maybe I was just dreaming. Wayne Gretzky was doing the color commentary on a channel that wasn’t listed, and I compared his thoughts side-by-side to the ‘expert analysis’ on NBC/NBCSN (which I will now call NBCxx). 

After the first offensive rush it was obvious the same play was seen from different perspectives.

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The defensemen are winning the dump-and-chase battle

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

No doubt ‘dump-and-chase’ is a strategy that wins in the NHL Playoffs, but we’re selling our younger players short if we don’t allow them to learn offensive attack by trial and error. At what age do we totally abandon playmaking and insist on ‘getting it deep’ when we cross the red line?

I don’t know the answers, and they aren’t mine to make. I do know that if youth and high school hockey are nothing but platforms for adults to win games – if a coach doesn’t have the patience to allow turnovers when youngsters try creative plays – that coach will never have a hand in the development of a Patrick Kane.

The reliance on dump-and-chase hockey in the NHL is another story, of course. It’s a business. If the coach doesn’t win, he’s done – well, maybe that would happen to a PeeWee coach. Are the missions the same at the PeeWee and NHL levels? That’s a scary thought.

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Playing by the rules promotes safe, skillful hockey

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

The guardians of tradition in the NHL (the Don Cherry over-the-hill-gang) have successfully swung hockey backwards a few years. They stubbornly defend the tradition that refs should bury their whistles during the playoffs, so games are decided by unwritten rules. Of course, this favors defense and thuggery over skill, so the team that hoists Lord Stanley’s Cup will be survivors of a game that differs from the regular season like night and day.

Read more: Playing by the rules promotes safe, skillful hockey