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11-28-2012, 04:51 PM
Clarkington III
Rebuild? Refresh?
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: San Diego
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Originally Posted by Tikkanen View Post
To be a good dman you have to be great without the puck. That gets lost on most players in rec leagues, when they don't have the puck on their stick they are useless. I started out playing defense and 19 years later I think it's the easiest out of the 5 positions because I can dictate where the guy with the puck is going to go. I put them wide, I put them on their back hand and if they try to put it between my skates I put them down. And if you can see plays developing you can cover guys before they get the puck denying outlet passes. It can be a lot of fun when you play with good players and it can be torture when you play with bad players who don't know the first thing about positioning. And the last key to being a good dman is you have to want to play defense. If you're heart is at playing forward you won't do the little stuff it takes to play good defense. In the end though it's rec league and you need to play where you want.
This is so true. I started out as a forward but now predominantly play d in beer league and pickup. In beer league, it started as an emergency thing and just continued as one guy was always missing. I used to think that I contributed more as a forward because of my speed and motor, but learned to play the position because I saw it would be a growing need for my team.

In pickup, I started to practice or pay more attention to things like positioning and making a smart simple play in order to see how effective the various outcomes were. I almost always play d now because there is nothing worst than playing and not having any defenseman that can give a breakout pass. I've gotten to the point where I can actually see flow changes when I am on the ice versus when I am off and how the little things like shadowing to a certain area on the other teams breakouts or little smart plays in the defensive zone can really dictate the flow of the skate.

My skating is easily my best attribute and once I figured out how to effectively use my skating, the rest started to come really easy. I could take more risks and use speed to recover. I also started jumping into plays more and actually leading rushes while playing D because I could read plays better which helped me get a better feel for when to go and when to stay.

Of course, as you said, you have to want to do it. There was an adjustment period where if I gave up a goal or had a bad game, I didn't want to play D anymore. Now, I give my goalie a tap on the pads, tell him that was on me, and figure out how I'm going to help get that one back or to just be better the next shift. Then after that shift, I tell myself that I want to make the next shift better than that and so forth.

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