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03-06-2010, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by TheSandman View Post
So I play defense in a beer league, never had serious coaching or been to camps etc, although I have been playing for a long time. Since my biggest weakness is lack of footspeed, gap control becomes very important when defending against some of the faster forwards out there.

Any tips when it comes to gap control? Perhaps those of you who have had coaching on defense, or have been playing for a while can enlighten me. The concept is simple enough, but I'm just wondering if there are fundamental concepts that are taught to defenders, rules of thumb, etc.

I'm pretty good defending against 1v1s and 2v1s, but once in a while I find myself giving a fast forward too much room to move in. And yes, I can skate forwards and backwards well, I'm strong on my skates, just not quick.
Ok, so here's a couple of things that you might want to add to your game for gap control...

First, lets look at this picture below.

here you will see that in order to have good gap control you must line up your outside shoulder to his inside shoulder. This alignment is important to force the puck carrier towards the out side. What you are really doing is giving him the Illusion that going to the outside would be better for him to go.

If you place your body directly in front, then you give him two options on which way to go. The last thing you want is to give him a choice. You direct him to where you want him to go. And, the best way is around and towards the boards to the out side.

Second, If you shoot left, with the butt end of the stick in your right hand, place the stick off to your right as you skate backwards. This also make the area towards the center...closed.

Third, as you get closer to blue line as you skate backwards, never place your stick in front of you as you skate backwards. This acts like a measurement stick and tells the puck carrier how much room he has left before the gap control starts.

So place the stick off to the side and just when he is with stick length, you do a sweep check with your stick and the puck will go in his feet or off to the side while he crosses the blue line, causing his team mate to go off side on the other end of the blue line.

Third, Look at this next picture...

This yellow zone is called the Shooting Zone. If the defenseman moves the winger out this area in the white area, he has completed 90% of his job. Why? He has placed the puck carrier into a low scoring percentage.

Hope this helps.
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