For as long as I can remember, the Blues have often relied on the dump in to gain the offensive zone. However, I noticed alot since the lockout and especially this season that the Blues seem to overuse the dump and chase, often to our disadvantage. I'll present my thoughts about and qualms with the dump first and then pose some questions to hopefully further the discussion.
I really noticed this tendency to shit dump and subsequently pursue the black poo puck when my Dad pointed it out to me during the game against the Thrashers we went to last month. With an exasperated, "Aw man", he told me how he sees them do that every game, ever since we started going to games in St. Louis back in the mid 90's. Perhaps my Dad's comment has made me overly aware of when the dump happens, but I have seen it a ton over the last month.
The dump and chase is not a useless strategy. When a forward or skater has possession and no open players to pass to, the dump is useful for finding space and creating a chance to battle for the puck in deep which, all coaching/intermission interview cliches aside, is a good thing. Now, granted we are lacking in some of our more creative players right now such as Happy meal, Osh, and DP, making the dump perhaps more necessary. What I notice more often than I'd like is the Blues looking for the dump first, which I wouldn't mind if he were winning more battles down low and generating good chances down there or at the point as a result. Several times, even in the pretty solid game we won last night, we had open players for a drop pass not far behind the leading forward, which he could have left after gaining the O-zone as well as some 1-line-length passes available between the skating lanes. I would like to see more emphasis on look for a pass or carry-in to the zone first, then dump.
Beyond the missed opportunities for a higher quality chance in the O-zone, the overuse of the dump creates a predictable offense, making it easy for other teams to adjust. I'd personally appreciate more variety, not just because it keeps the opposing D on their toes, guessing, but also makes the game more exciting for fans.
Now, for me, this starts with coaching. Payne, Mellanby, and Co. have to emphasize a strategy change here because it seems to have been drilled into our grinding style of play, rather fittingly I'll admit. Does anyone have any insight as to the extent that our reliance (according to my opinion & observation) on the dump an chase is due to coaching/strategy? Is it the players we have on the ice now and the lack of more creative forwards? Again, dumping aint always bad, but it's only good when you've got shit as far as an open pass.