Archive for Hockey 101

Anatomy Of A Goal: Ovechkin Snipes Reto Berra


Anatomy Of A Goal is back! This time, we take a minute to focus on a goal that went in against the Colorado Avalanche vs. the Washington Capitals, specifically Alexander Ovechkin’s snipe. This goal is a perfect example of how one bad decision leads to terrible things.

In specific, we have to pick on Andreas Martinsen, whose bad decision to chase the puck right alongside Erik Johnson causes him to lose his man, Alex Ovechkin, who scores with a beauty of a one-timer. He’s played pretty well since being called up, but this goal was a perfect display of some of his inexperience, especially in the defensive zone. Enjoy the video!

As usual, if you see a goal that’d you’d like us to break down, let me know online or contact me at the Brigade e-mail and let me know! Hopefully we won’t see too many more of these this season. Go Avs!

Don’t forget to go check out our YouTube page!

Hockey 101: Defensive Systems


Hockey 101 is back after a bit of a hiatus. For our triumphant return, I’m tackling a topic that has been requested a great deal, defensive systems. In the video below, I cover some of the common NHL defensive systems so that the next time you watch your favorite team (which is the Colorado Avalanche, right?), you’ll be able to see what they are doing! Enjoy!


Colorado Avalanche: What is Wrong With the Power Play

The Colorado Avalanche power play has been bad this season. What is the issue with it? This video should help to explain a few of the differences from last season to this season.


Hockey 101: Alex Galchenyuk’s Goal vs Colorado Avalanche – Rules Review

In the second period of the Colorado Avalanche vs. Montreal Canadiens game on Saturday night, Alex Galchenyuk scored a goal after immediately coming out of the penalty box and gave the Canadiens a 2-1 lead.

It was a strong play, but it also had something that wasn’t allowed. See if you can spot the major problem with Galchenyuk’s initial play to turn the puck over while I play the popular theme “One of These Things is Not Like the Other Ones” in my head.

Galchenyuk playing the puck w/ a foot in the penalty box.

Galchenyuk playing the puck w/ a foot in the penalty box.

Hockey Night in Canada seemed to think this was a legal play, saying one foot on this ice is good enough, but the NHL rule book would disagree.

Rule 56.2 – A minor penalty shall be imposed on any identifiable player on the players’ bench or penalty bench who, by means of his stick or his body, interferes with the movements of the puck or any opponent on the ice during the progress of the play. In addition, should a player about to come onto the ice, play the puck while one or both skates are still on the players’ or penalty bench, a minor penalty for interference shall be assessed.

This is a quick play, but there is also a referee staring right down the line at this, and just plain didn’t make the call.

That being said, Jan Hejda played the ensuing 1 vs. 2 terribly, giving way too much space to Galchenyuk and giving him absolutely no pressure. Yes, the defenseman in that situation is supposed to take away the pass, but Hejda was unaware of where the other player was. Had he noticed this, it’s an easy choice to challenge the puck-carrier and force a much more difficult shot rather than allowing him to walk in on the goalie completely unchallenged.

In the end, however, the NHL is supposed to review all scoring plays no matter what, and they didn’t notice this? Pretty massive failure by the officials here on a game-changing goal.

Anatomy of a Goal – Danny Briere’s GWG vs. Boston Bruins

I took a slightly different route with this goal from Danny Briere that gave the Colorado Avalanche their first win of the regular season. Rather than just go through and do a full article with it, I recorded a video and posted it to our YouTube Channel.

So here is our new video of Danny Briere’s 300th NHL goal, first as a Colorado Avalanche, that beat the Boston Bruins in the last second of the game.


Hockey 101: Waivers and 2-Way Contracts


It’s been a while since I put anything up on the Hockey 101 part of the page, but some recent events have given me inspiration to write up another post here. Today, one of my followers on Twitter asked me these two questions about waivers and two-way contracts. I think these two particular topics are perfect for a Hockey 101 post as they are linked in what is a pretty large misconception and I will hopefully set that misconception to rest today.

Two-Way Contracts

Two-Way contracts are actually fairly simple. A two-way contract is a contract with a player in which they are paid one amount if they are playing at the NHL level, but are paid another amount if they are playing at a minor league level. Observe below.

Two-Way contract

This is a screen capture of Joey Hishon’s current contract (from with the Colorado Avalanche which, as you see, has two different amounts in the NHL Salary and AHL Salary spots. So let’s compare this with a one-way contract.

One-Way contract


This is a screen capture of Matt Duchene’s new contract (from with the Colorado Avalanche. Notice that the AHL Salary and NHL Salary have the same number. This means that if, for some reason, Matt Duchene ended up playing in Lake Erie, he would still be making the same amount of money he would have been making playing at the NHL level. Obviously, Matt Duchene will not be playing in the AHL any time soon, but this still illustrates the difference.


Thanks largely in part to the EA Sports NHL games, many people have had the misconception that a two-way contract means the player does not have to clear waivers in order to be sent down to the minor-league team. This is not true, two-way contracts have only to do with money, not about whether or not a player must pass through waivers. The two are completely separate and have nothing to do with one another other than what a player will be payed when they finally get through waivers and are assigned to the minor league team.

When a player is placed on waivers, this means that the rest of the teams in the league have 24 hours to grab this player for no compensation. A team can just say, “I want that guy” and they will be in their system. It’s essentially a free-for-all, but it isn’t a first come, first served basis. If more than one team puts in a claim on a player, the player will be awarded to the team who has the lowest percentage of possible points in the NHL standings at the time of the request for waivers (from the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement). So, based off of last year’s standings, the Boston Bruins could put in a claim on a player, but if any other team did one as well the Bruins would lose out.

Not all players, however, must be placed on waivers when being sent up and down. There are a lot of rules surrounding this, but they essentially boil down to the following:

  • 18 & 19 year old skaters are exempt from waivers for five & four seasons respectively unless they have played in 11 NHL games.
  • If an 18 or 19 year old skater has played in 11 NHL games, they are exempt from waivers for three seasons.
  • A 20 year old skater who has played 1 professional game (AHL, NHL whatever), is exempt from waivers for three seasons.
  • Once a player aged 18-20 plays a total of 160 NHL games, they immediately become eligible for waivers.
  • A Player 25 years old or older who plays in one or more Professional Games
    in any season shall be exempt from Regular Waivers for the remainder of that season.
  • 18 & 19 year old goalies are exempt from waivers for six and five years respectively unless they have played in 11 NHL games.
  • If an 18 or 19 year old goalie has played in 11 NHL games, they are exempt from waivers for four seasons.

All information taken directly from the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement.

So, Stefan Elliott recently had to clear waivers, but is only 23 years old. The reason he had to clear waivers first is because he has played more than 11 NHL games and has gone through his three-year exemption from waivers.

If you have any suggestions for more Hockey 101 posts, please let me know either in comments below, at my twitter @BrgBrigadeKevin or on our Facebook page.

Hockey 101: Unrestricted Free Agents vs. Restricted Free Agents


A while ago, I asked several of you on Twitter if there would be any interest in some “Hockey 101” blog posts, and there was a positive response for this. Several topics were suggested, many of which require waiting until the start of the new season so that I am able to get some video footage to show. There are a few things, however, that I am able to step right up and knock out and, since we are rapidly approaching the free agent frenzy, I thought it would be best to start with the difference between unrestricted and restricted free agency.

Now, like so many other things in life, there are a lot of things that go into free agency that makes it rather confusing. For example, there are several types of “groups” of free agents with different rules governing them. For the purpose of this article, I am covering restricted and unrestricted free agents at their most basic level; with the rules to which majority of free agents are subject.

Restricted Free Agents

We’ll start with the more complicated of the two. Restricted free agents are players that have fewer than seven years of accrued seasons (language used in the CBA) AND is younger than the age of 27 as of June 30th of the end of a league year. So, if a player is 26 years old, but has been playing in the NHL since they were 18, they do NOT qualify as a restricted free agent because they have more than seven years of NHL experience.

So what does this mean? What makes them restricted? The thing that makes them restricted is the Qualifying Offer. A qualifying offer is essentially an offer of a one-year contract and must be tendered by June 25th or by the first Monday following the NHL Entry Draft.

The player has four options after receiving this offer. They may sign the qualifying offer and accept it as a one-year contract; they may elect salary arbitration (something the team may do as well) where a neutral third party will hear salary requests from both the player and the team and then determine a one-year agreement; they may negotiate a new contract with the team; or they may test the market and potentially sign an offer sheet from a new team.

5of7 | Flickr

5of7 | Flickr

“Now wait!” I hear you say. “If he’s free to sign with another team, how is this a restriction?” A very astute question on your part, and here is the answer. By giving the player a qualifying offer for a one-year contract, the team is given a “Right of First-Refusal.” This means that if a player does sign an offer sheet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that player is going to a new team. Their team is then given one week to match the terms of the offer sheet, or let the player go. We saw this happen with Ryan O’Reilly and the Calgary Flames during the lockout-shortened season.

The big difference here is that if the team does not match the offer, depending on the terms of the contract, they will be awarded compensation in terms of draft picks, and sometimes players, in return for losing a restricted player. The terms for this season’s RFA compensation are:


$1,110,249 or below None

Over $1,110,249 to $1,682,194 Third Round

Over $1,682,194 to $3,364,391 Second Round

Over $3,364,391 to $5,046,585 First Round and Third Round

Over $5,046,585 to $6,728,781 First Round, Second Round, and Third

Over $6,728,781 to $8,410,976 Two First Rounds, Second Round, and
Third Round

Over $8,410,976 Four First Rounds

(Source: NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement)

This compensation chart adjusts every year by the same percentage of the league’s average salary.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Bridget Samuels | Flickr

Bridget Samuels | Flickr

An unrestricted free agent is defined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement as a player that has seven accrued seasons or is 27 years or older by June 30th of the end of an NHL season. These players are UNRESTRICTED free agents and have absolutely 0 restrictions on their negotiating ability. If they want to stay with their current team, they can sign a contract any time before, or after, July 1st; but once July 1st comes around, they are free to negotiate with any team they want without any repercussions.

Teams are not awarded any type of compensation for losing an unrestricted player either, which is why you see more and more teams trading a player’s negotiating rights now a days (see Dan Boyle just a couple days ago).

If a player qualifies for all of the Restricted free agent status, but is not tendered a qualifying offer, that player immediately becomes an unrestricted free agent and may negotiate with any team he wants.

There are several other ways for a player to become an unrestricted free agent, but these are the most commonly found around the league.


Anatomy of a Goal: P.A. Parenteau’s Game-Tying Goal

Another thrilling game from the Avalanche and the Wild tonight. The Avalanche, once again, manage to find a way to claw their way back into the game when everybody would count them out. The goal we will be focusing on tonight is P.A. Parenteau’s goal that tied Game 5 and sent it into overtime. Amazing play from all around, here is the clip.

Excitement all around, but let’s look at how it happens. This goal is a combination of hard work by the Avalanche, and really poor work by the Wild. First off, kudos to Andre Benoit for his work against a much bigger Charlie Coyle. Wild fans were complaining about this being holding on Benoit, but if you have two guys fighting for position and nothing blatantly obvious happens, you let it go. Benoit does a good job of keeping position, but also keeping both hands on the stick the whole time. He never clutches or grabs Coyle, and Coyle is the only person to reach in.

Now, onto the goal:

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 3.15.19 AM

MacKinnon picks up the puck at center ice, right next to Stastny. They stay close together and create a small odd-man situation vs. Ryan Suter. Note your eventual goal scorer, P.A. Parenteau coming on the ice. Also remember, Varlamov is pulled at this point.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 3.20.25 AM

Things really can’t look much better for the Wild here, as they have the numbers advantage down low. There is really no reason any meaningful attempt on goal should happen. But how do you know when you’re becoming a star in the league? Everybody on the ice is watching you, no matter how far away they are. Suter, Koivu, and Brodin are all staring directly at Nathan MacKinnon and Paul Stastny is able to go to the front of the net completely unchallenged. Position is still good, and it would take a hell of a pass to get the puck to Stastny, which Mackinnon is able to do. A perfect, backhanded saucer pass over Suter’s stick, right on to Stastny’s stick.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 3.25.34 AM

Suddenly not everything is good. Stastny has a clear shot on net, Suter overcommits to chasing him behind the net, Brodin continues in a straight line back to the net and Koivu admires MacKinnon’s pass which results in leaving the low slot, also known as the most dangerous spot on the ice, wide open. Brodin isn’t in bad position, but he could come a little farther center to cover up the wide open slot.


Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 3.31.19 AM

This is the worst part for the Wild. We have heard Mark Rycroft, on his big board, tell us about how bad it is when two guys run to cover one guy, well the Wild have three guys staring at Paul Stastny and completely ignoring the most dangerous spot on the ice. At this point, P.A. Parenteau, whose stick is just coming into the screen there, is having his eyes get really, REALLY big.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 3.36.29 AM

They realize their mistake pretty quickly, as P.A. Parenteau receives a pass from Paul Stastny in the low slot, and all three Wild defenders, who are all grossly out of position, attempt to get back. P.A. wastes no time and just one-times the shot, which beats Kuemper glove side to tie the game. Parise, once again, has a great view of this goal as he couldn’t get back, and Charlie Coyle’s controller apparently stopped working as he isn’t skating at all. Lazy play by both Coyle and Parise, coupled with really bad choices by the defenders leaves P.A. Parenteau alone in the most dangerous spot on the ice, and he buries it, and all that is left is the celly!


Solid execution by the Avalanche to take advantage of some bad defensive play and lazy back checking by the Minnesota Wild. How sweet it is!


Colorado Avalanche Game 1: Anatomy of the Game Winning Goal

The Colorado Avalanche are currently ahead of the Minnesota Wild 2-0 in the best of seven series, thanks to a dominating performance in game two, and an inspired come back in game one that ended when Paul Stastny scored a fantastic goal with 13.4 seconds left and then again in overtime to win. In general, there would never be a reason to address anything that had already happened, but there is too much whining coming from the Minnesota side about the game wining goal from Paul Stastny.

Minnesota beat writer, Michael Russo, is convinced Tyson Barrie took out both Matt Cooke and Kyle Brodziak intentionally on the winning play. His direct quote from the recap of this game was: “I just watched this play again. Barrie skated in the slot after making the pass, undercut Cooke, knocks him to the ice, and then also bowls over Brodziak. No call by either ref on undeniable interference.” Undeniable interference, okay, well that’s where we’ll jump into this.

First off, I’m sure you Avs fans never have an issue seeing this play as many times as possible, so here it is again.

So first off, at 3 seconds in the video, Tyson Barrie has the puck knocked off of his stick by Jason Pominville.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.13.25 PM

Nothing wrong here, but here is the point where Russo’s entire argument shows up and falls apart. Russo insists that this is clear interference by Tyson Barrie. Russo is claiming that Barrie intentionally took out Matt Cooke and Brodziak, you know, the way a kid goes down a slip and slide to try and take out the feet of his friends. This argument is complete nonsense, and here is why.

Barrie, after the puck is hit off his stick, does what any offensive player trying to score a game-winning goal in overtime would do, drive to the front of the net. Matt Cooke does what any defending player trying to prevent this from happening would do, attempt to impede his path. Now, Barrie is completely unaware that Cooke is closing on him and that the two will make contact, something that is obvious to anybody who simply looks at Barrie’s head.

Here is a series of pictures just before contact is made showing exactly where Barrie is looking:

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.21.54 PM

Also notice that Cooke is slightly behind Barrie, in a blind spot.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.25.07 PM

Both Cooke and Barrie looking right at MacKinnon. At this point, the only one of them that knows for certain any contact is going to happen, is Cooke. Next will be the moment immediately preceding contact.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.28.28 PM

Again, both players looking directly at MacKinnon, Barrie has not changed his skating position at all. He’s trying to get to a scoring spot and didn’t see Cooke move in to take space away. Cooke might expect that Barrie would expect to be challenged, but his stagnant body position that never makes any noticeable brace for impact speaks otherwise. Russo is claiming that Barrie knew exactly what he was doing here, which is completely and totally ridiculous to anybody who is actually watching what is happening.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.33.40 PM

Contact, clearly initiated by Cooke that takes Barrie off his feet. Cooke is leaning in on top of Barrie, though I don’t believe Cooke expected that Barrie would go down, another point in favor of a guy who didn’t know contact was coming. If Barrie had known contact was coming, as he is driving to the net, wouldn’t he keep his feet and try to create havoc going to the net? No, he clearly had the intention of falling down and being driven into Brodziak, he’s just a really good actor. Also, I defy anybody to find me a clip where Tyson Barrie takes a dive. I’ll wait, you can find me @BrgBrigadeKevin.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.39.57 PM

The end result. Cooke’s momentum drives Barrie into Brodziak. What Wild fans, and the esteemed Mr. Russo should get cheesed about is, why was Cooke moving in to take Barrie? Brodziak had that pass lane covered, MacKinnon would have had to have made an insane pass to get the puck past both Brodin and Brodziak. Cooke’s responsibility was Paul Stastny. We all know what happens next, but let’s look at it anyways.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.42.54 PM

MacKinnon makes a nice pass past the only stick sort of challenging him, Cooke looks back at a wide open Stastny and knows what he did wrong, but it is too late. Stastny takes a quick shot, catches Bryz by surprise and wins the game. All that’s left is the celly.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.45.36 PM

Have a look at it all in real time again.

Barrie made an aggressive offensive move to the net that drew Matt Cooke out of his position because he wanted to stop Barrie from getting a quality scoring chance. Barrie didn’t see Cooke coming in and the two made contact. Barrie went down because Cooke had leverage on top of Barrie and forced him into Brodziak. This action took Cooke away from the only man he was actually responsible for, Paul Stastny. Stastny was left alone and only needed a good pass from MacKinnon, which he received in order to put the puck past Bryzgalov and win the game. Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.