Hockey is back.
Unfortunately, my beloved Leafs just lost 2-0 (empty netter) to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Kyle Dubas often talks about “the process”, which I gather to mean something along the lines of: draft and develop well, keep improving in all areas, put in your best effort and when you lose, learn what you can then forget about it as quickly as possible.
Sounds all great on paper, but here’s another way to think of “process”: a repeatable set of actions that are as simple as possible maximizing the likelihood of their consistent repetition.
McDonald’s is the world’s largest fast food company because they have a process that can be executed by 17 year old high school kids managing 15 year old high school kids.
It’s simple, making the result predictable and the result is palatable to a large majority of the population. Myself included.
Same goes for the Columbus Blue Jackets – their process on the ice is to try really hard to get the puck out, get the puck in, get the puck back.
Their players do the same thing, albeit some are bigger or faster or older or younger. Regardless of their individual differences, they all follow the same process.
Because it’s simple.
The system the Leafs run on the other hand requires too much skill to execute, making it less likely to be flawlessly executed.
Cute little passes into the middle of the ice to exit the zone. 34 and 16 using their wizardry to enter the zone on the PP instead of picking up the puck skating at full speed. A team wide aversion to giving up the puck whether in the defensive, neutral or offensive zone (giving up the puck here might be taking a shot).
All hail Corsi!
It looks really pretty when it works, but it just doesn’t work as often as “get the puck out, get the puck in, get the puck back.”
Top to bottom the Leafs forwards could all be great forecheckers as it’s not just a simple matter of size. Good forechecking requires doggedness, knowing angles, agility and a low centre of gravity and all of the Leafs from a physical/skills perspective could be as good if not better than CBJ’s. If they really wanted to be.