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07-18-2010, 09:52 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: St. Louis
Country: United States
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The most important thing (to me) when playing D is being able to read the play effectively and decide what is best to do. Pinching in too far can create an odd man rush for your D partner and playing too shallow can give the opposing players more time than they should have to rush up ice out of their zone. Its a very cerebral position, a lot of thinking to be done.

The main thing is though, when someone is coming down on you, dont worry about the puck. Keep your eyes on his chest and take the body on him. You will get beat! Don't worry about it. Force the play to the outside and in case he gets around you he will have to either shoot from an angle or cut in towards the net.....all of which decreases the quality of the scoring chance.

Have an active stick and always keep it down. Keep it out in front of you and try to knock the puck away or block passes but try not to overcommit to the poke check or a forward will have an easier time skating by you. You'd be amazed what just simply having your stick on the ice doesn't in the way of disrupting the plays. It seems so elementary, but I know I have been playing D, watching the other team cycle the puck and realized my stick was off the ice.

When in doubt, clear the zone. Obviously you dont want to just keep icing the puck, but if the pressure in front of the net is too much for your goalie, just clear the puck out (if you can flip it up and out, do it) or a hard wrister off the glass should suffice. Dont get fancy at either end of the ice because you are the last man in front of your goalie in any given situation.

Have fun. Being on D is not for everyone, but if you value breaking up plays and making solid passes, it may be for you. I love giving a long stretch pass to get the play started! It feels magnificent.

Good Luck

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