Breakdowning Jordan Schroeder and Dale Weise’s brief turn as the Sedins

Much like Stella Payne, Jordan Schroeder had lost his groove, so the Canucks sent him down to Chicago to get it back. On Tuesday, he made a strong case for having rediscovered it.

Alain Vigneault faced a lot of criticism for his decision to pair Jordan Schroeder with Dale Weise and Tom Sestito in the games before Schroeder’s demotion to the minors, but much of it was misplaced. Sure, Schroeder is the most skilled player on that line, but that should be perfectly clear. To be a centre in the NHL, you have to be able to elevate your wingers rather than falling to their level, and Schroeder was unable to stand out on that fourth line during his first stint with the team.

Early in his second stint, however, he finally broke through, making Dale Weise look like the Daniel Sedin to his Henrik as the two combined for a highlight-reel goal that turned out to be the game-winner. It’s a great goal, and it only gets greater the more you watch it. How does a 2-on-4 during a line change turn into a down-low 1-on-0 for Dale Weise in a matter of seconds, especially against the St. Louis Blues, who are usually airtight defensively? Well. Let’s break it down.

But first, let’s watch it again, because it’s awesome:

This play begins in the neutral zone, where Daniel Sedin is parked at centre ice, hoping to gain the red line so the Canucks can complete a line change. But instead of just dumping the puck into the St. Louis end, Daniel spots Jordan Schroeder streaking up the ice, and simply pokes the puck out of David Backes’s lane and over to Schroeder.

The rush has begun, and Daniel heads to the bench to change off.

I like to think that Daniel didn’t just impart the puck to Schroeder, but also passed along the Sedins’ uncanny ability to make a pass that thoroughly befuddles and breaks down an otherwise well-structured defence, because the moment Schroeder takes this puck, you’d think he was Henrik Sedin.

Daniel’s blessing begins what should be a relatively easy 2-on-4. Schroeder and Weise are crossing the blue line, yes, but the Blues are in good defensive position, with Alex Pietrangelo and Barrett Jackman back, David Backes trailing the play, and Alex Steen on the far end of the ice, watching for trailers and whatnot.

This is when Schroeder gets wizardous, curling away from the goal and into the middle of the ice, not unlike Henrik Sedin often does. And that simple move breaks the Blues. This is your screenshot of the Blues falling apart:

It doesn’t look like much, but here’s what you’re seeing. Both Jackman and Backes are watching Schroeder, along with Steen and Pietraneglo. Suddenly, all four defenders on the 2-on-4 are checking one guy.  Meanwhile, Weise is streaking down the wing. No one is watching him.

Granted, the only people screaming “Keep an eye on Weise!” are Blues fans who also happen to be Tilburg Trappers fans, and there isn’t a whole lot of crossover in that Venn diagram. But still. Schroeder has managed to draw every St. Louis player on the ice towards him, and Weise is all alone.

So who’s in the wrong here? I’d say Jackman first. The simplest approach is for him to play this as a basic 2-on-2, ignoring Schroeder as he crosses into the middle and sticking with Weise. Instead, he drifts out of his lane to watch Schroeder’s magic.

That said, when the game’s best defensive centre is in position to hang with Dale Weise, you can understand why Jackman might assume Weise isn’t going to be a problem. Unfortunately, Backes assumes the opposite, slowing up and following Schroeder into the middle. It’s your classic cross-up.

But these guys are still in luck. It would take remarkable presence of mind for Schroeder to hit Weise, especially since he’s heading directly for Alex Steen, who’s about to steamroll him.

Except that Schroeder notices the massive passing lane his curl has opened up behind him:

Unsurprisingly, this pass gets through to Weise.

From there, Weise feasts like a fancy beast, going backhand on Jake Allen, putting the Canucks up 3-0, and making Jordan Schroeder very happy.

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17 comments

  1. Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)
    March 21, 2013

    Not to impugn the Tillburg Trappers, but is there even a Venn Diagram of St. Louis Blues fans who have heard of the Tillburg Trappers?

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  2. Kyle
    March 21, 2013

    “So who’s in the wrong here? I’d say Jackman first.”

    Were the Blues not actively employing a strategy where they overwhelmed the puck carrier with multiple men? Coach is at fault, as it clearly burned the team here. Game winner, too.

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  3. Steven Ray Orr
    March 21, 2013

    I’m not positive, but should it not be “every Blues jersey on the ice towards him”? My brain doesn’t like team names that are colours.

    Wait. St. Louis Blues is a reference to music? Next you’ll be telling me that the Dallas Stars isn’t an homage to the Canadian indie pop band and is actually a reference to the motto of Minnesota…

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      March 21, 2013

      And Texas.

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    • rvtBC
      March 21, 2013

      Should be “every Blues’ jersey on the ice …”. The possessive helps remove any sort of ambiguity. Just saying.

      For my two cents – the real defensive miscue is by Backes in leaving Weise to turn to Schroeder. Weise was his man to mark coming back into the zone. But, as readily seen on the replay, he just eases up, lets Weise continue merrily along and lazily turns to Schroeder despite Schroeder seemingly running directly into a number of Blues’ players.

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      • Harrison Mooney
        March 21, 2013

        Changed it to “every St. Louis player on the ice”, which is even better!

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        Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  4. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    March 21, 2013

    Love these features. In this case, you’ve highlighted the Blues’ defensive miscue quite nicely, although in this case, the chances of a player (other than Henrik or, like, Crosby) noticing and making the perfect pass that Schroeder did are probably slim enough that an NHL defenseman can get away with this more often than not. If I’m Ken Hitchcock, this one gets an “I ain’t even mad” from me, because it was some pretty impressive offensive execution.

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  5. steveB
    March 21, 2013

    For Tilburg! :-D

    One request: would it be possible to have the links to the diagrams larger than 560px × 308px?
    It’s kind of squinty that teeny.

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    • nick
      March 21, 2013

      That’s what she said!

      *drops mic*

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    • Harrison Mooney
      March 21, 2013

      I can do that, but I’ll warn you that we’re taking screenshots from web videos, so it’s just going to get pixelly the larger we make it.

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      • J21 (@Jyrki21)
        March 22, 2013

        CanucksHD and Makaveli do them in HD, don’t they? I’m fine with the current size, but I imagine you could get a bigger, non-pixelly screencap if you needed.

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      • steveB
        March 22, 2013

        …but it works on CSI: Enhance!
        :-D

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  6. best behaviour
    March 21, 2013

    Hey! In the IWTG, you guys promised a Sedinery breakdown… are you taking them for granted now? Yeah, just another nice pass and goal as usual… ;) jk

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  7. Mitch
    March 21, 2013

    I cackled over “For Tilburg!”

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  8. Rivalpiper
    March 22, 2013

    This is my favorite feature of all the Canucks blogs. Love seeing it. Thank you!

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  9. Ray
    March 23, 2013

    Sorry, but that’s not Chris Stewart,, who’s a right hand shot. I think it’s No 20 Alex Steen. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      March 23, 2013

      Yep, back to the drawing board. Scrap the whole post. OR I could fix my mistake in five seconds since it changes nothing about the breakdown in the slightest. Huh. I think I’ll do that.

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