Gap Control - Defending Against Fast Forwards
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02-26-2010, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Originally Posted by
Not sure I'm with you on this one. Why wouldn't you you use your stick to full advantage? I'm not talking big sweep checks or lunging pokechecks.... just a flick of that wrist and toss that stick out a little bit.
Throw that stick out a few times. You don't need to look at the puck, and you don't even need to aim at the puck. Forwards will see that pokecheck coming and make a move to avoid it. You could make a the check, which is great. Even if you miss the check, you could cause him to fumble the puck, which is great. Even if he didn't fumble it, he has to slow down as well as look down, which is great.
The vast majority of players cannot play under pressure - they panic easilty. Even a feigned pokecheck throws some people right off. Even if it only works 1 in 10 times, there's no downside.
I'm not saying to avoid using a pokecheck, I'm saying to focus on and trust your gap and wait until the forward is forced to make the puck vulnerable due to his diminishing options. When he tries to escape the gap/angle and move the puck elsewhere, you will be able to knock the puck off his stick 10 in 10 times.
It's simply not worth the sacrifice you are making mathematically/geometrically the 9 times that your tactic doesn't work.
You are making things easy on the forward if you initiate the poke check because you would be doing so
to your ideal gap being initiated, you are doing him a favor by forcing him to make a move before the odds have peaked in your favor. (once your gap is locked on, you shouldn't be in a position to poke check, the puck should be in a neutral position between your feet and his feet, or better yet he's already started protecting it/telling his angle)
Keep in mind we are talking about fundamentals in an ideal situation/basic principles/approaches to think by. Obviously there will be plenty of times throughout a game where you won't have the ideal angle and a poke check might be your best option, to diffuse the situation before it gets worse.
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