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10-14-2009, 09:29 PM
  #84
Seth Lake
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Since the first preseason game, we have been playing a 1-2-2 NZ trap against any controlled breakout. On the ice though, the players are backing up, backing up, and then standing still as the opponent carries the puck up ice with speed. It renders our forwards useless because they are standing still and not steering the puck to the boards (into a “jump” zone) and then either pins our defensemen up at the blueline (where they are susceptible to a dump-in behind them) or backs them up (giving up the middle of the ice and allowing players to skate right in on goal).

When we have the opportunity to actively forecheck, we have one forechecker on the puck and the two forwards behind them are backing up into a position to trap. No one is taking away the strongside boards and the weakside support is either backing up so far or coming so far into the middle of the ice that they are useless and out on an island.

Defensively in the zone, we are actually playing the same system we’ve been playing for the past two seasons, just much, much more passively. The system is called “1 on box behind” and has been the most popular DZC since the lockout. It is a combination of man-to-man and zone defenses. There is always man-to-man coverage on the puck and a box zone behind them supporting.

This season we are collapsing so deep into the middle of the ice that we are unable to get out to the puck along the boards fast enough to challenge against the cycle and the wingers are so deep in the zone that the opposition’s defense is free to challenge any puck coming up the boards and take their time to make a play with any pass out to them at the point.

These systems could work, but do not fit our personnel. We have to get more aggressive in every aspect of our game.

On the forecheck we must resort back to either a rotating triangle (1-2-2) or 2-1-2 from the opening drop of the puck. To make that successful, we need communication and a lot of hustle. The forwards must be in position to and show the desire to backcheck to allow the defense to step up in transition and force turnovers if we allow the opposition to breakout in the first place.

Against controlled breakouts we can still play a trap, but we have to be more active and aggressive at angling the puck to the boards to allow the second and third lines of defense to challenge in the jump zones.

Defensively, we have to be more aggressive, keep heads on a swivel, and play with desperation whenever there is a loose puck. Wingers must play out higher and the defense as well must be more willing to come off the goal line to prevent the attacking forwards from getting open by backing away from coverage.

It is maddening to watch this team from my perspective…

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