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Chunking is why players rarely improve ice awareness

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Old
08-20-2013, 09:25 PM
  #1
chosen
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Chunking is why players rarely improve ice awareness

In another thread there is a discussion on the relative merits of MDZ. A common perception in regards to him, is that "if only he was more aware of what is going on around him" he would be great.

I mentioned in that thread that there is currently evidence that supports the idea that guys like him will not him improve in that department by the time they get to the NHL.

The evidence is based on a concept called chunking. Chunking is a talent that the best athletes in every sport have. It involves seeing what is going on around you as one whole picture rather than reacting to individual stimuli. There are other very interesting things in the article regarding athletes.

This is not meant as a knock on MDZ. It's a universal that spans sports. I thought that some here might enjoy reading it. I think it's a tremendous read and I hope that those of you who give it a shot will see my point as to why the one thing I never expect improvement from in a player is awareness.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mor...-gene-excerpt/

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08-20-2013, 09:32 PM
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Is that why Brodeur is so aware? He's a real chunker.

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08-20-2013, 10:08 PM
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No, you're looking for Chunky.

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08-20-2013, 10:20 PM
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Neat article. Although, it pretty much says that it comes with practice throughout the player's life. The thing is that NHL players should technically all be in that expert category. Are we saying that someone like Crosby just happened to have practiced a whole lot more than most other players?

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08-20-2013, 10:23 PM
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I chunked in my pants.

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08-20-2013, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by WhipNash27 View Post
Neat article. Although, it pretty much says that it comes with practice throughout the player's life. The thing is that NHL players should technically all be in that expert category. Are we saying that someone like Crosby just happened to have practiced a whole lot more than most other players?
Glad you liked it.

It's saying that from practice and natural ability and something somewhat intangible, comes an elite athlete.

Also, by the time they reach the top level of competition, such as the NHL, it is unlikely that their ability to "chunk" will still grow much, if at all.

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08-20-2013, 10:27 PM
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article was pretty good. Though I'm pretty sure DZ's issues are in his head.

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08-20-2013, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chosen View Post
Glad you liked it.

It's saying that from practice and natural ability and something somewhat intangible, comes an elite athlete.

Also, by the time they reach the top level of competition, such as the NHL, it is unlikely that their ability to "chunk" will still grow much, if at all.
Yeah, it was saying a difference between experts and the good, etc. was the amount of practice time they put in when they were younger as that time adds up throughout their lives.

Although there are players who get better as they progress in their careers.

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08-20-2013, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by WhipNash27 View Post
Yeah, it was saying a difference between experts and the good, etc. was the amount of practice time they put in when they were younger as that time adds up throughout their lives.

Although there are players who get better as they progress in their careers.
Players can improve, but I would guess that passing is one skill that would not improve much. That would seem to me to be a good application of chunking to hockey.

It's also funny that a lot of great goal scorers always seem to be open around the net while others never are. The great ones seem able to pick up the seams better.

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08-20-2013, 11:20 PM
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Am I the only person who would think that DZ's biggest problems are hesitating, and then while trying to not hesitate, impulsively making the wrong choice?

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08-21-2013, 01:22 AM
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Am I the only person who would think that DZ's biggest problems are hesitating, and then while trying to not hesitate, impulsively making the wrong choice?
Interestingly enough, I was watching Brian Leetch in an old Rangers game. And I was sort of surprised at his skating and how average his top speed seemed. Of course Leetch had some of the best agility ever and amazing anticipation. I started comparing him to MDZ and what was different in their games. And a few things stood out. One - Leetch was allowed to freelance. Even deep in the SC run in 94 he was all over the ice. Taking chances MDZ would be absolutely benched for. And again, not the fastest skater, but he seemed to be everywhere because he was allowed to play instinctively.

I'm not sure if MDZ has the same instincts as Leetch, nor the same agility, but hopefully we'll get to see a little bit more of it this year to at least judge. In his rookie year MDZ was pretty good at jumping into pass lanes - something leetch was amazing at. So we'll see.

That said, one of the little ways you can sort of judge a players visual recognition of the game, certainly a defenseman, is how well they're able to keep the puck in the zone on the PP point. No one in my lifetime on the Rangers has ever come close to Brian Leetch in this regard. And this is one area I've been very disappointed in with MDZ, Girardi, pretty much all the Rangers D. I'd like to see if Moore and McDonagh are any better back there. Oddly enough, Brad Richards has shown a decent knack for this in his time here. Stralman has been very strong as well. But the way the PP has been run most of Torts' tenure has made pretty much everyone look bad back there.

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08-21-2013, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravey9 View Post
Interestingly enough, I was watching Brian Leetch in an old Rangers game. And I was sort of surprised at his skating and how average his top speed seemed. Of course Leetch had some of the best agility ever and amazing anticipation. I started comparing him to MDZ and what was different in their games. And a few things stood out. One - Leetch was allowed to freelance. Even deep in the SC run in 94 he was all over the ice. Taking chances MDZ would be absolutely benched for. And again, not the fastest skater, but he seemed to be everywhere because he was allowed to play instinctively.

I'm not sure if MDZ has the same instincts as Leetch, nor the same agility, but hopefully we'll get to see a little bit more of it this year to at least judge. In his rookie year MDZ was pretty good at jumping into pass lanes - something leetch was amazing at. So we'll see.

That said, one of the little ways you can sort of judge a players visual recognition of the game, certainly a defenseman, is how well they're able to keep the puck in the zone on the PP point. No one in my lifetime on the Rangers has ever come close to Brian Leetch in this regard. And this is one area I've been very disappointed in with MDZ, Girardi, pretty much all the Rangers D. I'd like to see if Moore and McDonagh are any better back there. Oddly enough, Brad Richards has shown a decent knack for this in his time here. Stralman has been very strong as well. But the way the PP has been run most of Torts' tenure has made pretty much everyone look bad back there.
Leetch at least in his time was a top notch skater. The worst aspect was maybe his speed which wasn't up there with Scott Niedermayer but was still very good. Leetch was the most intuitive player--apart from an older Gretzky that I can remember in watching the Rangers since 1971-72. It's not to criticize DZ but he's just not at that level and is never going to be. Current d-man maybe capable of that is Erik Karlsson--that's about it and Erik's career has to pan out more.

From watching the playoffs last year actually McDonagh at times was making the kind of plays you mention all over the ice--as a kind of rover. McDonagh does not have the same creative and intuitive IQ for making the kinds of plays that Leetch use to make but he does have enough speed and mobility to intercept/read plays one play right after another. Del Zotto does not have that sense or that extra skating gear.

The first time I saw Leetch by the way was right after he was drafted and he was playing a summer tournament along with guys like Clark Donatelli. Greg Brown and maybe Granato and Corey Millen--a lot of the same guys who went on to play for the 1988 Olympic team. There was a visiting Russian team that was touring the US and long time ago but I think the US team won. In any case Leetch looked fantastic. My first impression was 'Bobby Orr'--has just resurrected and the Rangers drafted him! Hoo--****ing--ray! Leetch pretty much owned the puck--he was picking slapshots out of the air with his stick--knocking them straight down--whirling around and bringing the puck up the ice--skating through and around the other team. Leetch had tremendous hand /eye coordination and an acute intuitive sense of where a play was going. That's why he's an HOF'er and as far as the '94 team--if I had to rank players in that playoffs 1. Leetch--and it's not even that close to # 2. Messier 3. Richter.

A good example though of a player who did not have great skating but also IMO had a great sense of where the play was going was also on that team and that's Steve Larmer who even though he only played a short time for us before he retired was one of the most underrated players that I've seen in a Ranger uniform.

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08-21-2013, 07:40 AM
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Continuing the Leetch discussion, McDonagh reminds me of him much more than MDZ. I'd actually like to see McDonagh given an absolute green light to jump into the play and see if that can't open up our transition game.

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08-21-2013, 11:30 AM
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Seed of Chunky?

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08-21-2013, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by gravey9 View Post

I'm not sure if MDZ has the same instincts as Leetch, nor the same agility
Im sure that he doesnt. Vigneault could let MDZ do whatever he wants out there, and that'll still be the case.

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08-21-2013, 01:57 PM
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Im sure that he doesnt. Vigneault could let MDZ do whatever he wants out there, and that'll still be the case.
I agree, and frankly, I think that's a big part of the problem. There are people on here who will never be happy with any PMD who ISN'T Brian Leetch reincarnated. Leetch was a once in a lifetime kind of player. Del Zotto not being as good as Leetch does not mean that Del Zotto is not an excellent player to have.

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08-21-2013, 02:30 PM
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Is that why Brodeur is so aware? He's a real chunker.
so much win so early in a thread.

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08-21-2013, 02:58 PM
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This thread needs more:


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Old
08-21-2013, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by eco's bones View Post
Leetch at least in his time was a top notch skater. The worst aspect was maybe his speed which wasn't up there with Scott Niedermayer but was still very good. Leetch was the most intuitive player--apart from an older Gretzky that I can remember in watching the Rangers since 1971-72. It's not to criticize DZ but he's just not at that level and is never going to be. Current d-man maybe capable of that is Erik Karlsson--that's about it and Erik's career has to pan out more.

From watching the playoffs last year actually McDonagh at times was making the kind of plays you mention all over the ice--as a kind of rover. McDonagh does not have the same creative and intuitive IQ for making the kinds of plays that Leetch use to make but he does have enough speed and mobility to intercept/read plays one play right after another. Del Zotto does not have that sense or that extra skating gear.

The first time I saw Leetch by the way was right after he was drafted and he was playing a summer tournament along with guys like Clark Donatelli. Greg Brown and maybe Granato and Corey Millen--a lot of the same guys who went on to play for the 1988 Olympic team. There was a visiting Russian team that was touring the US and long time ago but I think the US team won. In any case Leetch looked fantastic. My first impression was 'Bobby Orr'--has just resurrected and the Rangers drafted him! Hoo--****ing--ray! Leetch pretty much owned the puck--he was picking slapshots out of the air with his stick--knocking them straight down--whirling around and bringing the puck up the ice--skating through and around the other team. Leetch had tremendous hand /eye coordination and an acute intuitive sense of where a play was going. That's why he's an HOF'er and as far as the '94 team--if I had to rank players in that playoffs 1. Leetch--and it's not even that close to # 2. Messier 3. Richter.

A good example though of a player who did not have great skating but also IMO had a great sense of where the play was going was also on that team and that's Steve Larmer who even though he only played a short time for us before he retired was one of the most underrated players that I've seen in a Ranger uniform.
couldn't agree with you more. Leetch has definitely spoiled any of us who grew up watching him. We will probably never see another guy like him in a rangers uniform. I just wish the Rangers could find a guy who could approach how good he was at stopping clearing attempts on the power play. His ability to not only stop pucks from leaving the zone and those quick little agility plays he'd make with the puck near the blue line would keep so many plays alive and really increased offensive zone time on the PP. That puts a ton of pressure on opposing PKers. Keeping them out there 1 min as opposed to 30-45 seconds can make a big diff in a game. Not only on that shift, but in the momentum of the whole game and those PKers effectiveness as the game wears on. Those little plays tilt the ice. And the team has been dreadful, absolutely dreadful at extending zone time on the PP over Torts' tenure. If they lose the puck, it's getting sent all the way down, almost guaranteed. To me, it's that anticipation back there that will really help the PP. It's not so much having a deadly shot from the point or any of that mess. it's about vision and anticipation and keeping plays alive. You can have 3 carl hagelins and 2 john moores out there and you won't accomplish a damn thing because it's not speed but about vision and anticipation. speaking of which Kovalev was underrated in this skillset as well. But yes, there are far fewer Steve Larmers in the game today. Many more Cal Clutterbucks.

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08-21-2013, 08:06 PM
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Nature vs Nurture dressed up with a new corney term "chunking".

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08-22-2013, 05:40 PM
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I thought it was a city in China.

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08-22-2013, 07:32 PM
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I thought it was a city in China.

Holy hell..

But yeah, Nature/Nuture thing it seems

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08-22-2013, 09:17 PM
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Seems like a combination. I've heard a lot about the 10,000 hour rule, and that part does make sense.

But nature definitely plays a role in things as well. Not just genetic gifts, but personality as well. You can practice something for 10k hours and still not be elite...all depending on your intensity and desire, proper practising techniques, and physical build.

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08-23-2013, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by chosen View Post
In another thread there is a discussion on the relative merits of MDZ. A common perception in regards to him, is that "if only he was more aware of what is going on around him" he would be great.

I mentioned in that thread that there is currently evidence that supports the idea that guys like him will not him improve in that department by the time they get to the NHL.

The evidence is based on a concept called chunking. Chunking is a talent that the best athletes in every sport have. It involves seeing what is going on around you as one whole picture rather than reacting to individual stimuli. There are other very interesting things in the article regarding athletes.

This is not meant as a knock on MDZ. It's a universal that spans sports. I thought that some here might enjoy reading it. I think it's a tremendous read and I hope that those of you who give it a shot will see my point as to why the one thing I never expect improvement from in a player is awareness.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mor...-gene-excerpt/
I like Epstein and I thought the article was interesting too.

However, I have a few comments and I really do -- not -- think this is relevant at all in connection to MDZ:

1. No way is what you call "chunking" digital. Binary. You say that its something the best in sports have, and presumably the others don't.

At any level you play, the level your awareness have is matched against the awareness of the defenders. I've played hockey at quite many levels, and at all levels I've had teammates that had tremendous awareness, and definitely could be labled to process more or less the entire ice while playing and not just reacting to individual stimuli. I once had a teammate who scored 66 pts in 25 games in a pro league, he came from the Finnish 2nd tier league where he had started to struggle to the Swedish 4th tier league. He had this real no-look auora around him.

You do not need to move MDZ very far from the NHL to get a D who in all aspects of the game is in total control of every detail.

2. Where is this notion coming from that MDZ supposedly doesn't have hockey sense? Because he sends a small marginal pass up center ice?

That notion is just, I don't know what to say. Drop it.

The game is easy to play when you play Rich Pilon-hockey. Under Torts, many of our D's did just that. Our forwards might not always have been that well prepared to play another style. But if you play any other style of hockey than Rich Pilon-hockey in the NHL, you will not be misstake free.

MDZ is what he is. I think he is a very solid hockey player who could be a tad quicker on his feets to really be a standout in the NHL, but who still is very good at what he is good at. A D like that will make good plays or bad plays. Just as Ryan Callahan makes good and bad plays.

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08-23-2013, 10:56 AM
  #25
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Nothing says Fall time like Hockey and some good ole' chunkin!


Nothing quite goes together like training camp and starting to build your own trebuchet!

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