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View Full Version : Probably the most well thought out hockey take I've ever read (the borgman treatment)



Bar Down
11-27-2017, 06:51 PM
Many young D1 players would benefit from the Borgman treatment.

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(Source - a Maple Leafs blog.)

[]OverlyReductionist 4 points 3 days ago*

Honestly, I think Zaitsev needs the Borgman treatment.

What is the Borgman treatment? I'm glad you asked!

Ever notice how ballsy Borgman plays? Dude just got into the NHL and he tries to make sharp turn cutbacks to elude forecheckers, delay plays in his own zone while holding on to the puck, and rushes full speed into the opposing zone. In a bunch of the early games, Borgman got burned because of this, either getting stripped of the puck, falling, or committing turnovers. However, these mistakes don't seem to rattle the dude. If you read the Athletic article on Borgman, it mentions how, on a previous team, Borgman and other Swedish Dmen were told never to flip the puck out of the zone, or ring it around the boards. If they were going to clear the zone, they either had to skate the puck out themselves, or pass it cleanly to a teammate. If you try to play like this, you will inevitably mess up sometimes, but the upside is that you practice valuing possession and develop the patience and confidence with the puck necessary to break out cleanly.

How does this apply to Zaits? In another article from The Athletic, Siegal gets a bunch of quotes from Zaitsev, and the recurring trend seems to be him not wanting to screw up. It's clear Zaitsev wants to be a really good player, is competitive, and gets really angry at himself when he screws up and costs his team. Apparently he felt this way a lot last year, and is trying to get out of that mindset.

On-ice, if you watch Zaits, a recurring issue with his play is that he frequently makes "the lesser of two evils" plays. He'll bank the puck off the boards, make a high clear, or shoot the long stretch pass for a deflection. In many cases, he makes plays that result in the Leafs losing possession. He turns to these plays even more when placed under pressure, as a "release valve" of sorts. I think it's a big part of why any Dman partnered with Zaitsev performs worse in possession and shot metrics (both Gardiner and Reilly have seen this effect). I started asking myself why Zaitsev, who is a great skater, makes these suboptimal plays. Is it because he doesn't see the ice well? Is he scared to rush the puck? Perhaps. But the article confirmed something I suspected all along: Zaitsev is the type of player that desperately wants to be good, and is very uncomfortable screwing up in a costly way. Looking at it from that perspective, a bunch of Zaitsev's weaknesses make a lot more sense in context.

1.Zone entry struggles: If you are scared about screwing up and getting burned, what are you likely to do? Play a bigger gap and concede the blue line.

2.Zone exits (exiting the zone with control): If you are worried about making a bad turnover, what do you do? You make a high flip, bank it off the boards, or throw a stretch pass half on-target for a tip-in (if you watch Zaits, a lot of his stretch passes don't seem to be aimed for the player to actually receive the pass).

3.Poor shot metrics: If you tend to make plays that give the opponents back the puck, your team won't produce as many chances, and will lose the possession war.

So what's the fix? I think the Leafs need to give Zaitsev a longer leash, and actively encourage him to make the best play, even if it means screwing up. There are some players who naturally want to go for the big plays and benefit from someone reigning them in. I think Zaits is the opposite type of player, one who is disproportionately hard on himself for screwing up, preferring to make the mediocre play in order to avoid making the "awful" play. I was that type of player, and I know that for people like me, we are our own worst detractors, and get in the way of our own success. Zaitsev himself said that he watched game tape too much last season, and had to consciously hold himself back from that habit, because he lets it influence his own game too much. I'd bet good money that he needs someone to tell him that he can hold on to the puck longer, skate it out himself, make that delay move to let the forechecker get out of the passing lane, etc. He needs to be told not to worry solely about shutting down the best players on the other team, and instead on making the best play himself (not just the safest). He needs to not hate himself for screwing up. Give him the Borgman treatment.

joecct
11-27-2017, 07:33 PM
Never be afraid to make a mistake of comission. A mistake of omission is to be avoided at all costs.