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Fancy Stats Simplified: Gotta Take a Dump

Kid's shortest post ever, because what started out as a great idea ended up enraging him, and now he's wandering around his office yelling, "fiiiight me!" as loud as possible.

"Derp, derp, I beat my guy, better dump the puck in and totally forfeit all my previous work!"
"Derp, derp, I beat my guy, better dump the puck in and totally forfeit all my previous work!"
Victor Decolongon

And there came a day, with Light and Darkness both set upon the land, when the most favored of His Massive Holiness became like unto gods among their brethren, so vastly improved in talent and skill that those who were now liken unto thy children could not continue to give to the Great Holy One with the sameness of offerings. And on that day, the Lord of the Buffalo Wings, the Most Holy’s dumbass little brother, looked upon those without talent and said unto them, "lo, and behold, and alas! You sucketh at the great game of the gods. Unto thou I shalt bestow ‘systems,’ so that thou mightest compete against thy superior kin."

And on that day, systems were born.

See, "olde tyme" hockey had always been more a thing of feel. Like soccer, once you taught the basic premise of play and style and positioning, guys just went and did it. Pre-game speeches were, "ok boys, you know what’s at stake. Go out there and give it your all." There was no video. There weren’t as many stat lines to watch. You didn’t have to worry about flubbing an assignment and losing ice time – you lost ice time if you were injured. Otherwise, guys with talent got ice time because they either scored or prevented other guys from scoring well.

Then the gap between guys who could and guys who couldn’t widened considerably as the sport grew. Because technology was also better, and the game could be broken down on so many other levels, a lot of thought was put into equalizing this phenomenon. (The sad part: this is 100% normal in all evolving systems and in all growing sports in general. That gap lessens naturally as that growth produces more talent from a bigger base, and the games continue to evolve.)

So a lot of fancy defensive systems were put in place to help the teams with the have-nots compete with the teams with loaded guys. And now here we are, witnessing rule changes every year to "increase scoring" in the league, because shockingly defensive systems are really f***ing boring.

Last time, I brought up Carlyle’s safe defensive zone system. It’s self-defeating, even though words like "safe" appeal to people who don’t get that skating around on knife blades lends itself to being unsafe as a general rule. Safe, in hockey? Please. Fighting and hitting are allowed. Screw safe, go score goals. So anyway, today I bring up coach Carlyle’s very favorite thing on the planet: the dump and chase. This applies to our Anaheim Ducks because the top line is like a dump and chase system’s wet dream of players, and I have to wonder if Bruce Boudreau will tell them to pull their heads out their asses and possess the damn pizza or if he’ll resort to being Canadian after all and buy into it.

Talk about a system created solely for the sake of sucking the life out of a hockey game. Look, the original point of the dump and chase was really, really stupidly obvious and simple: keep the puck away from the really skilled guys so you have a slight chance. (Because the theory here is that skilled guys are a. generally forwards, b. not the first players back on a dump-in, c. total and complete sissies who hate being hit.) The point isn’t and never was all this nonsense about "winning battles" or "playing gritty" or "wearing down an opposing D" – that’s all the crap current coaches preach because they grew up with this soul-sucking system as a means of equalizing their suck from the other guys’ not suck. They really don’t know any better.

Now, Kid, don’t be so crass, the dump and chase is perfectly valid when – BUZZZZZZ NOPE. It is never useful, ever, except as a way to change lines. (Can you tell I abhor this "style of play?" Hate hate hate hate.) Here’s some numbers and junk.

The principle of this stupidity is that, when you approach the neutral zone and see a couple guys manning the blue line to prevent you entry, you voluntarily give up possession of the puck. You "send it deep" so that you can use your oncoming speed to go get the puck back, never mind that the defenders and/or goaltender who are closer to where you sent the puck have a much higher chance of getting it before you do because physics. Oh well, if they do get it first, you can "finish your check" and "wear them down," so that later in the game they will be scared to death of your dump-ins because god forbid all those pads absorb more hits from you!

I’m almost pissing myself off more just trying to talk about how inherently anti-goal scoring this all is. Like…how are people paid millions of dollars to think this is a good idea? Let’s break it down.

The dump and chase starts with voluntarily GIVING UP THE PUCK. It’d be like the quarterback handing the football to a rushing linebacker with the hope of causing and recovering a fumble. Or sending the soccer ball to the opposing team right at the start of the match so you can set up your defense properly. Or tipping the basketball to the other team off the tipoff so you can get a steal faster. IT MAKES NO SENSE.

It is a system designed to give up the object that scores points.

You know what, I’m over it. Go read that link I put in there. I was going to sum that up for everyone, save you the reading and point out that offensive output drops nearly 50% with dump-ins, but the system is so stupid it doesn’t even deserve more words. I need a pizza.

Dumping the puck gives up possession of the puck, the latter of which increases your chance of scoring with the puck, which is the point of hockey. You might get possession back, but why give it up to begin with?