Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

Chimney not included.

In hockey, the amount of defensive strategy a team puts into its game dwarfs its total of offensive strategies, which is somewhere close to zero.

Offensively, you’re pretty free. There are some guidelines – always keep a forward high in the offensive zone (so you don’t get three guys trapped deep), mid-lane drive on a three-on-two, and other little things like that. But for the most part, you’re trying to create chaos, find soft spots for open looks, and generally twist the D in knots.

Unlike basketball, good defense will beat good offense in hockey every time.

Earlier today I was reminded by a Cam Charron column what every single defensive strategy coaches teach comes down to: protecting The House.

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(Note: with their being no actual hockey games over All-Star weekend, the features “The Whiteboard” and “Systems Analyst” are trading days this week - Systems Analyst will run tomorrow.)

This isn’t the most advanced topic in hockey, but it’s certainly an important one: what are the responsibilities of each defensive player off a lost faceoff in your own zone? A breakdown there often results in a quick goal.

Let’s run through every position.


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There’s more than one way to skin a neutral zone regroup, but one is quite a bit more common and effective than others.

When your team takes over possession of the puck between the blue lines, the players have two options: one is to do what your rec hockey team does, and start skating the other way with it until there’s a problem, and the second is to have a plan.

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A quick twitter exchange with @67sound (a great follow) today led to me writing this post on how to play the wing position well. I think a recurring feature has been born.

I played right wing back when I played competitive hockey (I now play “rover with d-zone allergies” in rec hockey), and I like to think I understand the position pretty well.

I like to think that, because I’m aware of this fact: wing is the easiest position in hockey, especially in the d-zone.

I mean, holy hell people, if you can’t play this position moderately well, it’s time to switch to bowling.

But still, there are certain nuances in the d-zone that can make one winger more valuable than the next (outside of raw talent), so let’s go over them. Oh, and a qualifier – it’s been said that Tiger Woods’ old swing coach Butch Harmon can’t break 90 himself, so….do as I say, not as I did (which was float).

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