I understand almost all the rules but I think strategy is a hard one. The intermission guys try to explain it but I think they do a poor job. Its not their fault but its hard to break down plays in such a short amount of time and make it digestible for the average fan.
I would like a little more insight about the strategies of the game that we as the viewing audience might not understand. Perhaps from the perspectives of the coaches and/or players. Z explaining why he doesn't race back for pucks in the defensive zone (looks like he isn't skating hard enough) so he can avoid big hits was interesting and informative. I like those things because they are things we as fans probably don't pick up on. Understanding strategy is helpful and I don't know much of it. Examples of things to highlight...
- Cam was moved to the right half wall on power plays which means he has no opportunities to use his one timer. Seems illogical to me but the coaches must have a reason for it. So...what's the advantages and disadvantages of this.
- Along that same line, the advantages and disadvantages of having a left sticked vs right sticked d-man on the blue line (protecting the wall).
- Most people understand picks in basketball or WRs crossing the middle of the field to take out a defender (its highlighted for us) but I notice it happens in hockey as well but I am less cognizant of it. Would like to understand its uses better.
- Another example, AP did some really great work this fall talking with the goalie coach about the challenges Elvis and V2 faced making the transition to the smaller rink. Bemmer of course also had to make major adjustments as well. We fans say "well they have to get used to the smaller surface because its a different game" but getting into the nuts and bolts about how it was different made the story work.
As a note, I have a buddy in Philly who plays hockey. I get to see him once a year if we are lucky and go to a game. He watches the game differently than I do...he sees so much more. I ask him questions but I don't want to ruin his experience watching the game by asking too many. I don't need to understand the game quite the way he does but I recognize I understand so little compared to him.
We were at a CBJ game in Brooklyn and the CBJ scored (he's an Isles fan). He says, 'you know that goal never happens without that great play by Jones'. I am thinking...'really, he never even touched the puck during the play and never seemed a factor' and he is simply referring to how Jones' positioning forced the Isles to move the puck in another direction and caused a change in possession resulting in the goal (most d-men would have positioned themselves differently in that instant). I hadn't noticed it.
I think hockey strategy is harder to grasp than it is in the other three major team sports. Everyone understands the reason for a bunt or putting a left handed pitcher up against a left handed batter or how a shift on a the defensive line is meant to create mismatches and confusion for an offensive line hopefully freeing up a blitzer. But hockey...not so much.