aqualizard

What Separates As from the Bs?

Recommended Posts

A comment Brutus made in another thread got me thinking: "What is the biggest difference between an A player and a B player"?

My guess, which Brutus mentioned, is goaltending. Mastering goaltending is probably the best way to go from being a B player to becoming an A player. Do you agree?

Another big difference is capitalizing on your scoring chances, especially one on one against the goalie. I am definitely a B player (lower end, even) but sometimes I feel like I have just as many scoring chances as my opponent, but they score on most of theirs and I miss on most of mine. (On rethink, this could actually be "they are better at goalie control" again! They save my dekes and shots, while my goalie control on them is not unlike Swiss cheese.)

What do you think the biggest or some of the biggest differences between As and Bs are?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good players figure out their opponents and have many options to chose from as far as styles of play to deploy against what they see in the other player's strengths and weaknesses. having good defense is key. capitalizing on your chances is key. mastering the goalie control is key (in SNES, it's switching and stacking the pads in like an eighth of a second). in SNES, defense control and standing back up after hits are nice options to employ. in Genesis, knowing how long it takes to switch to the goalie and when to do it are key, as are knowing the pass shot option (even if it's just to defend against it) and the C-B check option. knowing when to stickcheck and when to crosscheck are key, and some elite players pay close attention to who, exactly, they are trying to check and quickly recall that player's ratings and tendencies to make the better choice. there's plenty more, but I'll stop there, for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In order here's what I think separates A&B players

  1. Defense - limiting shots, limiting uncontested 1 on 1 with the goalie consistently
  2. Goaltending - knowing when to grab control, not overreacting, reading the play and where the shot will likely come from.
  3. Offense - having a diverse offense, able to adjust when facing a trapping coach to and aggressive psycho checking coach

When I play a B level player I tend to know I can get away with aggressive checking and more 1 on 1 offense. When I face top A players in general I know I need to pass more, move the puck and make smart outlet passes when exiting the zone.

Zone exits is another key component to work on if you're a B level player. An aggressive A coach can hem you in and create quick turnovers and goals, that's when things can go south in a hurry. Try to be less predictable in your zone exits. Take the easy play, short passes to be safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ice is right, but you can break down "Offense" and "Defense" into a bunch of other categories. Here's my two cents, following up on Ice's list...

Offense -- when I play someone like IceStorm or Plabax, I am trying to defend against quick one-timers, dekes, pass shots, rebound goals, slapshots, slap-dekes, etc. because I know those guys can utilize any/all of the various scoring methods. AND, they use them effectively, meaning, they will score more often than not. Learn your dekes! If I play a B level player, the options are usually limited, and likely telegraphed, making it easier to defend.

Defense -- "A" guys do not chase me around, unless they are quite sure of what they are doing. It's all about positioning. Lanes are harder to find, shots are harder to come by, fewer opportunities.

We can lay all of these techniques and strategies out over and over again, but ultimately the difference from A&B comes down to vision, anticipation and reaction time. Vision means knowing where all 10 guys are on the ice when you are playing, where they should go when controlled by AI, what kind of players they are, and how to position yourself for offense and defense. Anticipation is mainly a defensive skill, but it means anticipating what your opponent is going to do. For example, if I can anticipate an outlet pass to the LW by my opponent, I will grab my dman or winger (vision!), and know that I can check/CB check my opponent with that player before/right when the puck gets there, and if it's a dman I should get the puck and pass to my winger for the counter, or if it's my winger I try to rush up right away on the counter. If I miss, I have my backup defender to come over and finish the job. That kind of thinking over and over every play.

Finally, reaction time. The "A" guys just react faster. They see a one-timer opportunity and BANG! it's done. B guys are playing at a slower reaction time (or also missing that vision), making it easier to defend or score on them.

It's probably best to record one of your games and have an "A" guy comment on the replay of the game. TK proposed this a while back, and I'm also willing to do a commentary on a replay. I think showing by example of what happens/should have happened is more effective than typing it out. Hope that makes sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

vision, anticipation and reaction time.

Exactly!

All the other stuff is secondary.

Nice to have but, secondary.

Same in real life.

It is why Gretzky and Brady are great.

Now I wish Smoz could hack those attributes into 94 players.

I think AW and DW were supposed to do this, but I wish they made a bigger impact on 94 players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Playing online also has it's effects, there tends to be one player with slightly worse lag who will miss the one-timer or get his goalie a split-second too late. Some of that is skill obviously, but connection speed has it's effect IMO.

Defence and goalie control are great things to work on, but if you can't score you won't win much. Looking at the A players, those guys aren't winning games 2-0, there are usually 10+ goals scored in the game. Dekes are the bread and butter of winning, one-timers are sweet, but you need to score on breakaways and penalty shots if you want to win.

I also think that there is a in-game momentum that will effect the play of your team for better or for worse. As an example, if you are losing by 3+ goals (as I often am.. hehe), I find that your team starts to struggle with accepting passes, or seems to react differently (more defensively?) on AI. Against an A player this usually means that you are going to let in a lot more goals. Time-outs, and roster adjustments are critical if you are to make any type of come-back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

....AW and DW....

you mean OA and DA, offensive awareness and defensive awareness, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a lot of B guys have the obvious potential to be A guys. Sometimes it just clicks and sometimes it doesnt.

Self discipline is a big thing trying to eliminate your own little quirks. But I think most importantly most guys find their own style and stick with it, most A players have 1 specific trait/contribution. I think most people who try to imitate others end up failing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are the reasons I lose and always remained a bottom A player:

  • My goalie control is not second-nature. I had a shot at beating TomKabs in Toronto, but he scored probably 3-4 breakaway deke goals. If I'd stopped 2 of those, instead of continuing to chase with my D, it's a tie game, going to OT, but I just let him do the deke, and since he's a top player, he doesn't miss those.
  • Bad one-timer attempts. When I just throw a pass into the slot with a very very low percentage chance anyone can get it. It's a wasted possession.
  • Blown dekes. I'm not very good at deking, so I blow easy breakaway chances even on AI goalies.

That's just me, but summarizing that, it comes down to:

  • Be good at goalie control - top players can score on the AI goalie at will. Each save you make that the AI wouldn't have made brings you closer to winning.
  • Don't throw the puck/possession away - you're going to need shots on net to win. A good player will score on about 30%+ of their shots, so if you throw away 3 pucks trying to force a play that isn't there, you've lost a goal.
  • Don't waste your chances/shots - your shooting % needs to be 30%+, or you are wasting chances. Identify which chances you are getting the most and blowing, and work on burying those.

I think offense wins this game more than defense. You don't really see lots of tight, low scoring games among the top players. You need to be able to score 5 goals while only letting in 4.

kgman in the final 16: GFA 5.38, GAA 3.63

raph in the final 16: GFA 6.00, GAA 4.89

AJ's GFA & GAA were pretty low, though. But AJ can light up lower players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are the just the game skills, though.

On defense, experience is very helpful. You need to have been scored on a lot of different ways in the past in order to know what to defend in the present. So you really need to learn from your "mistakes" (it's not always a mistake, sometimes you just get beat by something new!).

Creativity will help on offense, because if you're predictable, even if you have a lot of techniques, you can be shut down.

Another of my weaknesses is that I skate too close to opponents, so I get checked a lot. Maybe I should look into this toddling thing, that might help me out :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The great thing is we're going to find out everything a year from now....straight from the source!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Source, you say?

DON'T TEASE US HALI

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of great points here but if I may add one its the ability to play the meta game can make a B player an A player and a lower end A player a top tier A player.

what i mean by meta is that you gain the understanding of how another persons brain works and how to use it against them.

Often times, I like to create scoring chances where I'm either forking people (creating two possible chances at a goal simultaneously) or I have a single chance that I can convert in multiple ways (breakaways mainly). A lot of the time in these situations you dont necessarily have time to react, you just have to know how someone will react to a situation and take advantage of it. Some guys take away whats obvious, some guys take away whats cute, while others vary their tactics.

Where the real trick lies is in what happens when someone figures out what you want to do. How do you use that information against them? Depending on who I'm playing, I'll either just keep doing the same thing, change up constantly, or literally do nothing and have the other person just give me what I want for free.

You can have all the offensive/defensive systems, amazing reactions, great players, amd fantastic GC. But when someone can get in your head and always be a step ahead mentally, you can throw all that other stuff out the window because while you second guess what you want to do, their decision was made before the situation was presented and that red light is going off behind your goalie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a B player first needs to be able to do 2 things to get to B+ / A-.

Have the ability to skate/pass under pressure so the A player can't smother you , like Ice mentioned. Facing 20 plus shots from guys who score at 30%++, well, is going to be a recipe for disaster.

Be able to not panic when down 3-0 in the first & stick to how you know to score. Often, the game goes through mood swings, & you gotta ride it out/wait for your turn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then, to get above B+, you gotta be able to stop all the obvious goals with manual.

So, vs B players, B+ players & even A-, you should have games where you hold them under 3 at least half the time.

To get above A-, I believe you have to first do as smoz states, and that's to be able to score at a high frequency.

Once you've mastered how to score multiple ways && at a higher percentage, THEN you enter AJ's realm of chess. Cause if I'm crease cutting for a goal & guess you are manually stopping it with the goalie, it does leave a back door one timer wide open. This combo was best played by plabax, as he'd often skate across your goalie with his high stick control players forcing you to decide which way to die.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then, to get above B+, you gotta be able to stop all the obvious goals with manual.

So, vs B players, B+ players & even A-, you should have games where you hold them under 3 at least half the time.

To get above A-, I believe you have to first do as smoz states, and that's to be able to score at a high frequency.

Once you've mastered how to score multiple ways && at a higher percentage, THEN you enter AJ's realm of chess. Cause if I'm crease cutting for a goal & guess you are manually stopping it with the goalie, it does leave a back door one timer wide open. This combo was best played by plabax, as he'd often skate across your goalie with his high stick control players forcing you to decide which way to die.

Yeah AJ's right. I think a lot of times I get ''surprised'' by B guys because I keep trying counter-dekes and they just won't work for s**t when i should just cross crease and score.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thirded. you almost never have to do the extra deke on non-elite players. being unpredictable in your moves is key against those with experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely would say the following are the biggest factors that separate As and Bs

1. Anticipation. In all stages of the game, on defence reading passes, reading dekes. On offence, knowing if the defence is playing aggressive or traponing. Also goalie control as anticipation is the biggest part of GC.

2. The ability to finish. Being able to capitalize on scoring chances is huge. Finishing on breakaways, positioning properly for onetimers are all important.

3. Adaptability. As others have mentioned above, A players generally have more than one playing style and can adapt and counter other playing styles to keep one step ahead of the opponent.

IMO these three things are the difference between any level of play in 94.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 16 Guests (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online