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07-30-2010, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by GmC View Post
I've been playing for a few years now and sometimes noticed that there are some offensive players who are better at protecting the puck more using their body.

Are there any visual cues that a defender gives off that some of you players pick up on and then react? Like direction a player comes from, watching for defender's stick/movements?

What are some things that can help me protect the puck more when skating with the puck up ice and into the offensive zone in terms of my own body positioning, ie using my leg/leaning on opposing player?
Well, thank you for asking! The best way to protect the puck and which is very easy to do is to enter the attacking zone on your off wing. Now, please don't take this the wrong way, because I do not know what level you are at. So, please don't feel like I am treating you like a novice. I just want everyone on the same page.

Now, what does off wing mean? It means that if you shoot left, you enter the attacking zone on the far right side. If you shoot right, then you enter the attacking zone on the far left side. Why?

Most defensemen will play to the inside. In fact, they should line up their outside shoulder to your inside shoulder. Why? This is to give you the illusion that there is more room to the outside against the boards.

Now, let's look at this picture below.

Now, let's look at what happens when the left winger attacks the zone on his off wing. Remember, the whole purpose for the defensemen is to make you go to the outside. The yellow area in this picture is the "Shooting Zone". This is the area with a high percentage of scoring opportunities. Where as the white areas...are not.

So as a defenseman, if he moves you into this white area, he has one the battle by placing you into a low scoring chance. Now, can you score a goal in this white zone? Yes, check out Patrick Kane in the final game when he scored the goal. Why did that go in at that bad angle? Yeah, the goalie was not square to the shooter...basic Hockey 101.

Plus, if the defensemen moves you into the white area, he is going to drive you into the boards like a nail! And if he doesn't, I will be on his a**! So for you as a forward, lets look at what happens when you come in on your "On" wing.

So if I tell you not to go on the outside, then the only way for you to go is towards the inside. Let's look at this picture below.

Here you will see that the right wing entered the attacking zone on his "On" wing, when he makes the turn towards the center, the puck will be between, the puck carrier and the defenseman. Yeah, that sucks doesn't it.

Ok, let's look at this next picture.

Here you see the right winger entering the attacking zone on his off wing. Now, here's what's going to happen. As you come up the neutral zone, you want to be skating about 3/4 speed. Just before you enter the attacking zone, adjust your speed to "Full" speed. This is going to make the defenseman adjust his speed to match you or control the gap against you. (gap: the distance between you and him)

The second you adjust your speed to full and you cross the blue line, make that turn towards center. What this is going to do is throw the defenseman's gap off by three feet. What? You see, you are not connected by an Umbilical cord and he doesn't know when you are going to make this move. But, he's not stupid, he will read your body language and make the adjustment. But by the time he does that it will be about a 3 feet gap.

Once you make this turn towards center, you will have the puck on the outside and the puck will be protected. That the main benefit! However, it also comes with a second benefit! This green area within the picture is known as a "Shooting Alley." This alley allows your body to be at the perfect angle with respect to the goalie, so that the shot goes across your body, with the balance on the proper leg, getting the maximum force released in the shot across the body.

Now, the defensmen is going to hurry to get on front to help block the shot. Yes, some defenseman will lay down to block the shot. But the majority will not unless they have something to gain...aka: championship.

So, once he adjust his angle to get in front, you let the shot go so that it's just on the outside of his incoming leg or send the puck between his legs. This will help screen the goalie and it might be hard for the goalie to read or see.

Hope this helps
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