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10-17-2011, 04:26 PM
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I've played defense my whole life and have only seen the game from the blue line so I may say some things you already know but just in case you don't, Ill try to help.

When an opponent is skating in on you on the wings, always stare at the chest and never look down at the puck. Try to keep the gap within stick length. When they're coming down the wings, lining up the shoulders is crucial for gap control. From your point of view, if he is trying to beat you wide coming down the LW, line up your left shoulder with his (will look like his right shoulder from your view) and if it's the RW, line up your right shoulder with his.

This will eliminate any opportunity from him beating you down the middle thus forcing him to continue to go wide to the corners. The shoulder lining I mentioned will also help you not get smoked when you decide to pivot and step up. Always pivot facing your opponent when you decide to step up if he takes it wide.

For pinching; never pinch if one of your forwards is behind the net on the weak side of the play. If one of your forwards isn't in the high slot, don't pinch. If 2/3 of the forwards are between the lower side of the hashmarks and goal line don't pinch.

The art of pinching relies on chemistry with the the rest of your line. Chemistry with your D partner is crucial. If you decide to pinch, trust that your partner is prepared to back out and remain in the middle of the ice and vice versa if he decides to pinch. Imagine there's a rope between you and your partner and always try to keep it taunt. If you know your forwards will back check incase your pinch doesn't work, take the gamble but be aware of where the forwards are at and if it is near the end of a shift.

When in your own zone, if the puck is in the corner on your side, don't leave the front of the net until you know your partner has the net covered. If the puck is on your side of the rink, never chase above the top of the faceoff circle and say if it's in the corner, stick with him until he skates behind the net to the other side in which you then go to cover the net and your partner attacks him in the other corner. When covering the front of the net, always keep your head on a swivel and stick on stick to block passing lanes. I always like to be constantly stick checking the person in front of the net (even if the puck is no where near them), it's annoying to them and takes their focus off of shifting around to get in an open passing lane.

I know this was very long but I hope this helps, this is my preference of playing so it's not the exact way but I feel like majority of fellow defenders will agree. However I consider myself more of a puck moving offensive d-man so stay at home shut down defenders may have different opinions.

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