Hockey Sense: What's the best tip a coach or player has given you?
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01-20-2013, 08:59 AM
Not so fast,
Join Date: Dec 2011
I've only been playing since April, so I don't have a lot of expert tips. But being a newish player, I remember more of the things that have really made a difference.
Don't panic when you get the puck, you usually have time to at least look around to see who you can pass to. Although, it's always fun to take a blind backhand pass, just for the sheer thrill of turning around and finding out if you won the jackpot - but more likely, you've passed it to the other team.
Don't pass in front of your own net, unless there is absolutely NO chance of a turnover. And if you're a new player, there is probably never going to be a situation where there is NO chance of a turnover, so just assume that the rule is don't pass in front of your own net.
Watch out for your teammates, see where they are and where they are heading. Lots of times, they won't be where they are supposed to be for the position that they are playing. Sometimes it's a good thing, but often it will be because they just weren't paying attention or don't realize that the D isn't supposed to go after the puck in the offensive zone corners. Don't wait for a breakaway to go bad and then just shrug and say "not my fault, why was D in the corner anyway?" Instead, hang back to be the guy who can at least attempt to stop the breakaway and then either stop the guy (and get accolades from your teammates for doing D's job) or don't stop him (at which point you can THEN say "not my fault, why was D in the corner anyway?").
Just because you're new and/or slow and/or hockey stupid doesn't mean that you don't have the right to get the puck. I probably spent my first 3-4 months working under the assumption that other players were better and faster than me, therefore racing them to the puck was kind of a waste of time and effort. One coach tells us every few weeks that even if you're the slowest and newest guy on the ice, you have just as much right to the puck as the best player, so go after it! Even if they beat you to the puck most times, sometimes they won't. Or they'll get there and not be able to control it. Or they'll get there and control it, but then have to get rid of it because you're pressuring them. I played one game a couple of weeks ago where TWICE I was beat to the puck by the same guy - and TWICE I was able to get it away from him, just by fighting along the boards. Both times I was able to make a centering pass and if the goalie hadn't blocked the shots, those would have been very nice assists.
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