NHL executives Youth Calvin Ridley Jersey , coaches and players are quick to say the game is faster than ever and there is technology available to track how quickly players skate and how hard they shoot.
Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee calls it the ”next wave” in the evolution of the top hockey league in the world, but what happens to that information is secret for now.
”I don’t tell people what we do,” McPhee said as his Pacific Division champion team prepares for its playoff opener against the Los Angeles Kings.
Younger, faster – and cheaper – players are pushing out older, slower – and more expensive – veterans to kick the pace of the game up a notch. When Radim Vrbata announced he was retiring after this season, the 36-year-old Florida Panthers forward acknowledged the speed of the game played a part in his decision to leave the league.
”The speed of the game has really jumped over the last couple of years,” Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill said. ”You can tell with your eyes. We don’t have any chips in jerseys or any of that stuff.”
The league is working with a company, or companies, it will not disclose to use camera-based technology to track players and pucks.
”We are still in the evaluation stage,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an email. ”We have generally shared the results of our testing as part of an overview of the technology as opposed to on a team or player basis. Ultimately, I would envision most (although maybe not all) of the acquired data would be made available to the clubs, and the public.”
Iceberg Sports Analytics, which says it is working with the NHL, uses cameras to track the players and the puck 10 times per second.
”We get a limitless amount of information from these coordinates collected by using machine/deep learning algorithms,” Iceberg global sales director Scott Vargas said.
For a while at least, the public may be kept in the dark on some of those details.
At the 2018 Winter Olympics Womens Terrell Suggs Jersey , microchips were put in the back of jerseys tracking cameras were perched high above the ice. Data on speed, acceleration, stopping, distance traveled, shift lengths and ice time was available to teams. How fast a player skated sometimes flashed up video boards in the arena, much to the chagrin of former NHL defenseman James Wisniewski.
”I think for people on TV to see how fast you’re going down the wing, really, does it really matter?” Wisniewski asked.
Daly said open questions include how quickly the tracking will grow and which technologies are used. But he believes it will eventually become prevalent in the NHL and in other major professional sports leagues.
”Fans and other observers of the game want and demand more and more information all the time,” Daly said. ”It enhances the way they consume the sport. And it is incumbent on us to respond to and satisfy that demand.”
The NHL Players’ Association, meanwhile, will only say it is ready for more dialogue on the topic.
”We look forward to continuing our discussions with the league to ensure the successful implementation of player and puck tracking,” NHLPA general counsel Don Zavelo said.
Even in the Detroit Red Wings‘ dressing room, there wasn’t a consensus.
”If you track players and show how fast you’re skating, I think fans will be able to appreciate it and it will look cool on TV,” Red Wings center Dylan Larkin said .
Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg provided another perspective.
”I’m not a big fan of that because eventually that will be used as a disadvantage for players,” Zetterberg said. ”Even though they say it won’t be Marvin Harrison Jersey , it will be in contracts and it will be used against players in all different areas with management and coaching issues.”
Daly insisted he doesn’t buy that argument.
”Our experience with enhanced statistics is entirely the opposite,” Daly said. ”Players and agents have historically and virtually without exception been able to use enhanced statistics and analytics to their individual benefit. That’s just a fact.”
It is also true, without debate, the league’s large, lumbering defensemen have been replaced by smaller, faster players on the blue line. And up front, the days of having enforcers play limited minutes to rough up opponents are over because every team tries to roll four lines of swift skaters who can match up with the best opponents.
When teams turn the puck over in the neutral zone, it is coming back at them in a hurry. Retreating and regrouping is more rare these days. Kings President Luc Robitaille said beyond scoring chances for and against, how quickly his team and opponents get the puck up the ice is an important statistic.
”Everyone is measuring how fast you’re moving the puck end to end,” he said, declining to share details.
”Teams that have success are moving faster. Look at Vegas,” Robitaille added. ”Everyone has been wondering why they’re winning and it is because they have a lot of guys with speed.”
Rule changes, philosophical shifts by teams and improved training are among the contributing factors to create the need for speed.
After the league emerged from a lockout in 2005, players were allowed to make longer passes up the ice to create more scoring chances and officials were told to have zero tolerance for clutching-and-grabbing defensive tactics.
”When the red line was taken out of the game that sped the game up,” Tampa Bay coach Jon The Green Bay Packers are debuting their own defensive changes this weekend against the Bears , even if they may not initially make as much of a splash as Chicago's acquisition of star linebacker Khalil Mack.
But the effectiveness of those new wrinkles could be just as important to the fortunes of a team looking to return to the playoffs.
After playing it safe in the preseason Authentic Minkah Fitzpatrick Jersey , new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine can finally take the wraps off the Packers' revamped scheme when the Bears visit Lambeau Field on Sunday night.
"It just opens up everything," linebacker Nick Perry said Thursday about the new defense. "I think from attacking it off the edge, attacking it inside, you have more options to attack."
The Packers ranked 22nd in defense last year. It was especially a problem given that quarterback Aaron Rodgers was limited to seven games because of a collarbone injury.
Rodgers has the talent to be able cover up deficiencies in other areas of the team. With Rodgers out, everyone else had to step up. Instead, the Packers finished 7-9 and had its streak of eight straight postseason appearances snapped.
Changes in the organization included the firing of longtime defensive coordinator Dom Capers. He was replaced by Pettine, the former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, who stuck with the 3-4 defense as the base scheme.
So far, so good for the transition.
"I know in preseason, we're keeping it basic," inside linebacker Blake Martinez said. "So it'll be cool to kind of dive into the playbook on Sunday and see how we kind of compete and get the job done."
They will be expected to get pressure with just four outside linebackers on the roster. Perry and fellow veteran Clay Matthews will be backed up by Reggie Gilbert, who emerged in the preseason to become the top reserve; and Kyler Fackrell, a third-round draft pick in 2016.
"It's a demand," Perry said. "But at the end of the day, the big guys have got to kind of take the big load. That's what they pay us for."
More pressure might come from up front. Green Bay added Muhammad Wilkerson as a free agent in the offseason, making the line perhaps the strongest position group on the team. Stalwarts Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark lead the front Authentic Denzel Ward Jersey , along with emerging third-year player Dean Lowry and promising second-year pro Montravius Adams.
More inside pressure might lead to more 1-on-1 opportunities on the outside. And that's assuming that Pettine isn't disguising from where the pressure might come on a particular play. Even Rodgers has been impressed this preseason by some different looks on defense.
"We can line up in different spots and attack you. I don't think we're just going to sit there in spots and let people try to pick us apart," Clark said. "I feel like if Aaron is saying it, you can only imagine how other quarterbacks can struggle with it."
A more effective pass rush can also have the effect of forcing quarterbacks into making bad throws, which in turn could lead to better pass coverage, which was another problem area in 2017.
A cornerback group prone to injury the last two seasons has also been revamped, with veteran Tramon Williams returning to provide leadership. The Packers also took promising rookies Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson with their first two picks in the draft.
Matthews estimated that the Packers showed just 5 percent of the defensive playbook during preseason games.
"We definitely have a number of pressures, base defenses, little wrinkles that we like to think will play in our favor," Matthews said. "At the end of the day, we're going out there and playing defense, and the name of the game is tackling the ball. That doesn't change."
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