Breakdowning Henrik Sedin’s 1-0 goal versus the Wild

Breakdowning is a semi-regular feature on PITB wherein we take a single play from a game and break it down into its constituent parts to analyse it in detail. It’s also only three letters removed from being “breakdancing,” which is purely coincidental. Or is it? It is.

PITB’s list of the top 50 Canuck goals of 2011 begins next Monday, and you can rest assured that at least two of the goals the Canucks potted last night are going to be on that list: Henrik Sedin’s 1-0 goal and Alex Burrows’s 3-0 goal.

Now, Daniel already broke down the third goal, which is about as full of wizardry as Waverly Place, but with many raving about the wonders of Sedins’ first tally instead, I thought I’d take a closer look at that one as well.

The secret to defending the Sedins is very simple: don’t make any mistakes ever. If you leave a guy open for even a moment while they’re on the ice, there’s a pretty good chance that one of them will find him.

That’s how most of their goals are scored. Very rarely do they try to muscle their way to the net. They’re more content to move the puck around, forcing defenders to adjust to new alignments and, hopefully exposing, a new seam through which they can thread a pass. That’s what happens on this long give-and-go.

This play begins relatively innocuously, as Henrik Sedin carries the puck into the offensive zone after Alex Edler breaks up Matt Cullen’s shorthanded breakaway and immediately goes off for a change. You can see Kevin Bieksa joining the play in our first screenshot. Ignore him. He is of no consequence.

The other thing to notice in the screenshot below: because of the defensive change, while the Canucks are on a powerplay, they don’t outnumber the Wild on this rush. With Matt Cullen changing as well, this zone entry is a routine 3-on-3, with Henrik, Daniel and Kesler entering the zone and Mike Lundin, Nick Schultz, and Darryl Powe backing up to defend their entry.

Powe goes to Henrik on the boards while Schultz extends his stick to take away the option to pass the puck to Kesler. Note that everybody in white and green is watching the puck. This will be a theme.

Henrik sprints down the wall and Powe moves to check him. This is when Henrik beats him past the Playstation ad and makes a brilliant cross-ice pass to Daniel.

This pass is absurd. It’s just behind Schultz’s outstretched stick and perfectly weighted to land on Daniel’s without him having to come to a stop. Watch the way Daniel glides onto it. Ridiculous.

But I’m not the only one impressed with this pass. You’ll notice that everyone, save Ryan Kesler, is watching the puck, which I’ve circled.

Although the play develops very quickly, the pass is quite slow, meaning I can actually do two separate screencaps before it even arrives on Daniel’s stick. The one below makes it much clearer where the Wild’s defensive coverage breaks down. While Mike Lundin and Nick Schultz have finished admiring the pass and remain in good position on their respective checks, Darryl Powe continues to watch the puck sashay across the ice.

In fact, he’s even drifted somewhat towards it. Unfortunately, his love of Henrik Sedin’s pass leads him to briefly forget that Henrik Sedin is still skating down the wall. I drew red arrows around Henrik to really draw attention to the glaring error: never forget there are two Sedins.

Check it out: I was able to pinpoint the exact moment he remembers Henrik still exists.

By this point, however, Daniel Sedin is already in the midst of effectively one-timing a return feed, and poor Powe is forced to admire a second pass — the one to his wide open, long-lost check.

And finally, there are two things to notice about the moment that Henrik Sedin scores. The first is that he doesn’t shoot it very hard. Knowing that Backstrom is going to have to open up to come across, Henrik simply puts it low to the fivehole.

What’s the second thing? Ryan Kesler is such a jerk that, assured nobody is watching him during this moment of wizardous Sedinerie, he takes the opportunity to slewfoot Schultz for no reason just as the puck crosses the goal line. Never change, Kes.

 

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14 comments

  1. alviator
    December 21, 2011

    lol @ Kesler’s slewfoot. I didn’t even notice until you pointed it out.
    He is such a douche bag and that is why I proudly wear his jersey.

    He’s the kind of person I secretly want to be.

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    • Daniel W.
      December 21, 2011

      Ditto!

      Seriously, very nice job, I very much enjoy the breakdowns of the goals, especially, playing myself, some of those thoughts (especially the crap part for powe) actually cross your mind!

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    • Tom
      December 21, 2011

      Slewfoot? Not cool.

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  2. Zach Morris
    December 21, 2011

    Yep, this is pretty much perfect.
    “The secret to defending the Sedins is very simple: don’t make any mistakes ever.”
    “I’m gonna slewfoot you so hard.”
    I can see why you don’t want to “breakdowning” every goal, but it’s pretty cool when you do.

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    • Zach Morris
      December 21, 2011

      Also, Darryl Powe should open a “Sedin Appreciation” Club, since he spends so much time watching them.

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  3. bergberg
    December 21, 2011

    I love the “slewfooted” stamp. That’s awesome. I’d put those stamps everywhere!

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  4. JoGuitar
    December 21, 2011

    The craziest thing about this goal is how Daniel pretty much one-times the pass back to hank. It hits his stick, and before the Wild can even think to readjust to the new puck carrier Danny has fired it to the far post. The sheer difficulty of the timing of this play on two rink-wide passes is baffling.

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  5. peanutflower
    December 21, 2011

    Those had to be two of the slowest passes ever, which must have been completely frustrating for the Wild guys. It’s like you can see it happening right before your eyes but can’t do a damn thing about it. I didn’t notice that slewfoot either, and I watched this goal (IWTG — hey!) a lot. A lot. So let me ask you guys, do you just slow down the PVR to analyze the goals? How do you do it from a technical perspective? Just curious, but if it’s a state secret I can live with that.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 21, 2011

      We just watch it a few times. And we try to watch each player individually, to see what’s happening away from the puck. If you do that, you’ll know why opponents hate Ryan Kesler. He’s an absolute jerk.

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      • peanutflower
        December 21, 2011

        but a jerk in a good way. right? there is such a thing…

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        • Harrison Mooney
          December 21, 2011

          Not really. Simply put, if he’s on the team you cheer for, then you like it.

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          • tj
            December 21, 2011

            I agree. We can’t hate Lucic for some of the stuff that he does, for example, and then in good conscience cheer for Kesler when he pulls that kind of stunt. Plus, he could have ended up with a penalty and possibly cost us the lead. This is essentially and example of ‘smart play v. dumb move’.

            Nevertheless, I continue to love most of what the (dirty) Monster brings.

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    • stathead
      December 21, 2011

      If you can download the video clips onto your computer from Canucks HD channel on youtube and play in vlc player (freeware), it lets you slow it down as much as you want. Had to do this a lot when I started watching hockey. Still have to when I watch the Sedins or Hansen. :)

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  6. tj
    December 21, 2011

    This breakdown reminds me of those bits on Animal Kingdom where the pack circles its prey, in this instance the puck. Survival of the fittest, indeed. And a nastyass honeybadger slewfoot from Kesler, cause he don’t give a sh*t…

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