Gap Control - Defending Against Fast Forwards
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02-19-2010, 01:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Keep enough gap control to force them wide, but be able to pokecheck the puck away if they cut inside. I play pickup with a couple college players and some guys who made it to the ECHL, and I've noticed that they're mostly content to go wide and aim far corner.
Try to think of it in stick lengths. At the blue line, you want to be no more than 2.5 stick lengths apart. This way, you have enough time to react if they cut. Like I said, though, if you shade to the inside and make them go outside, they probably won't try to cut under to the net. They start to run out of room and then have to force a shot wide-side, and if they miss the net, it starts an odd-man rush the other way.
If you want, against the better players, grab the stick lower on the handle and camouflage how long it actually is. Then, if they make the cut, you can pokecheck the same way goalies do by sliding the stick down.
I'm slow of foot too. I didn't start skating til I was 14, and then wound up spending most of my HS years on the JV team. I was a forward then, and I play D now. I'm 23, so I've gotten much better, but never did any clinics or skating classes or any of those things.
Since the topic has shifted to skating backwards, try backing out of the offensive zone a little bit quicker. That way, you have time to compensate for the rush. I know you want to hold the blue line, but preventing a 2 or 3 on 1 is more important.
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