Help on getting puck off boards in defensive zone: Winger
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09-02-2011, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
It sounds like you're on the right track. What you will want to do is anchor your butt against the boards with the leg closest to the blueline angled towards the blueline (45 degrees away from the boards as opposed to flush against the boards). At best the puck will bounce right up to your stick, and at worst it will get caught up in your feet, but you should be able to easily recover it. This is a good default position to be in. However, it certainly doesn't mean that you *have* to sit along the boards like this regardless of what's happening.
A big part of a successful breakout is being able to read the play. What you do and where you go will largely depend on your defenseman's situation with the puck and the location of your other winger and the center. I usually only anchor myself in that default position when I see both the other winger and the center streaking up the ice. It gives the D-man a shorter, safer pass option. You can then move the puck to your center from there.
If you feel like there's a lane for a pass you can start streaking up the ice early, or if there's a lot of pressure down low and the pass looks like it's soft, you can skate back into the zone towards it. The key to being able to do this well, IMO, is the crossover start. That way you can face the action and see everything while still being able to get moving quickly in either direction when necessary.
Receiving a pass while in motion gives you many more options. If you're anchored along the boards, for example, and a picture perfect pass comes your way, it's often better to take a quick stride or two before receiving the pass than it is to stand still, receive the pass, and then start moving.
The *worst* thing you can do as a winger trying to receive the puck is to turn facing the boards and try to get the puck with just your stick. First of all, it's dangerous. You never know when a newbie player will come steam-rolling into you from behind. Secondly, it's not very effective. If it's a hard pass you might lose control of it, and if it's not flat along the ice you might miss it entirely. Thirdly, when you do receive the puck you can't see where anyone else is, and by the time you turn around to see the play in a stationary position you will be under pressure from the opposition.
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