As Mike Condon returns for his fifth Pro Reads segment, it’s probably worth reminding our new (and continuously-growing list of) readers who may have missed his earlier installments that, yes, we realize he didn’t play an NHL game this season as he continued battle back from the injuries and rehabilitation process documented during a fascinating InGoal Radio Podcast interview last summer. But his insights are still among the best we’ve received in Pro Reads to date, starting with his break down of a Winter Classic save in front of friends and family as part of the storied rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
So, we’re going back to Condon for another breakdown, his fifth overall. Condon’s body may have let him down the past two seasons, something he discussed at length during the above-mentioned podcast interview, but as we’ve already seen, there’s little doubt about his ability to process the game and the role it played in a pro career few expected to materialize.
In this sequence against the Chicago Blackhawks, Condon is looking at a rush chance that turns into a potential breakaway off the wing once his defenseman, Dion Phaneuf, stumbles at the top of the face-off circle. Seeing this freeze frame, and knowing the attacking forward is skating onto this puck and a one-on-one chance with a lot of speed, what are the factors you consider before establishing initial position? What dictates the timing and spacing on your retreat?
Condon will share his complete list of factors below. Maybe write yours down so you can compare notes after, but first let’s watch the entire sequence at full speed.
As you watch the sequence play out at full speed below, there is another factor to consider beyond that initial depth and the timing of a retreat that we considered with the freeze frame above. See if you can pick up any cues that tell you whether the attacking forward is shooting or deking as he gets closer to the net. When do you first spot them? Again, Condon does a great job of explaining all these factors, so maybe write them down and compare notes after.
Now that you’ve seen it, any other factors you’d important once it’s time to make that push across? We’ve asked a lot more questions than usual this week, but that’s because Condon is so good at explaining all the details he is considering in real time, so while it’s always a worthwhile exercise to track and compare your read to the Pro Read, that goes double here.
Now, let’s listen to Condon’s explanation, and see how it matches your own takeaways:
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This Pro-Read is the 40th we have published this year. We hope that you have had a chance to enjoy most of them already.