Monday, 5 April 2021

Change Your Angle

While the Jets may have escaped tonight's game with a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators, it has become glaringly obvious that Josh Morrissey is not the right player to quarterback the first power-play unit for the Jets. The above imaged was burned into my mind tonight because it seems that Morrissey is only comfortable shooting the puck if he's in the middle of the ice. And because he's telegraphing that shot with his slow wind-up, it allowed the Senators to block the shot seen above as well as other shots in this game. Morrissey needs to play this game with better instincts, change the angles he's shooting from, and find lanes for shots to the net.

Alex Formenton blocked Morrissey's shot from the point and got some help clearing the puck from the Ottawa zone, but there was more than enough room for Morrissey to find a better shooting lane than the one he chose which saw the puck carom off Formenton. If there's a player approaching you as the defender at the top of the zone, you have to walk the line in order to open up a lane.

Here's Neil Pionk who moves back and forth across the rink during his power-play time on the second unit, and identifies a clear shooting lane as I illustrated on the image. There's no player that's going to block that shot, and the simple wrist shot keeps the defenders at bay because Pionk gets it off so quickly. That's how to generate rebounds and scoring chances through pucks from the point, and I'm not sure why Morrissey can't make that happen.

On a later power-play opportunity, we see Neil Pionk again looking to shoot, but he recognizes the defensive play by Nick Paul, and drags the puck as he moves laterally on the ice as he looks to open up a better shooting lane. This recognition of the lanes by Pionk is why he's a better quarterback than Morrissey when it comes to generating offence from that point position.

On the same sequence, Nick Paul is out on Pionk at the point, and Pionk walks the line to open a shooting lane for himself as he looks to get the puck on net. Again, Pionk isn't content with winding up for the big drive; instead he goes for the wrist shot while putting the puck on net. That's the key to causing chaos for the penalty-killers - move the puck quickly and get shots to the net!

As a defender, I loved the cannon blast from the point as much as anyone, but getting the puck to the net for rebounds and second chances often is the better choice. You can't just stand and fire rockets from the point if the shooting lane isn't there, so you need to be able to walk the line and find seams where you can put the puck on net for your teammates to attack.

Josh Morrissey would make the first power-play unit of the Jets so much more dangerous if he simply got pucks to the net rather than trying to load up the big gun with a defender on him. I'll take Neil Pionk's wrist shots that find daylight every day of the week and twice on Sundays because it allows the three or four guys down low to make plays on the puck that wasn't blocked by the defender up high because Morrissey hammered it into shin pads.

Kids, the wrist shot from the point is just as effective as the cannon. Ray Bourque could hammer the puck when he wanted, but he often scored more points by simply throwing a quick wrist shot at the net from the point as guys like Oates and Neely would clean up the loose pucks. Add this weapon to your arsenal, work on walking the line, and identify the shooting lanes when they become available. You'll do wonders for your team by getting the puck to the net with a wrist shot, and every single coach knows an assist means just as much as a goal.

Here's hoping Josh Morrissey watched a little game film from tonight's game and recognizes that he needs to find the lanes rather than hammering pucks into shin pads.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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