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Playing "D"

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Old
05-20-2010, 01:52 AM
  #1
gogio57
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Playing "D"

So Im starting my first organized hockey leauge this weekend, I met with some of the guys at our local adult clinic and it seems nobody wanted to play defense so I volunteered since I figured Im too big to play Forward. So any tips for a beginner on how to play Defense, this is my first time playing organized hockey.

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05-20-2010, 02:08 AM
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Axxion89
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If you're a beginner, do you know how to skate backwards good? Because if you can't, tell one of the guys who can to suck it up and play it otherwise a forward will zoom by you easy. If you can skate backwards wit good lateral movement, just stay behind the play, pinch appropriately and play smart.

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05-20-2010, 02:49 AM
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TheHMan
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Playing Defense as a beginner is hard... being able to skate backwards and pivoting quickly is going to be essential to playing the position. If you want to play, you should at least be able to do these things well, otherwise you might be better off coaxing someone else into handling it until you're comfortable.

Keep your head on a swivel, is going to be one of the most important things to remember when playing in zone defense. Pay attention to what your partner is doing, as well as who is around you... if you get fixated on the play, you'll find people slipping coverage or perhaps leaving your goalie all alone in front of the net.

If you don't mind, you can even look at this article on NHL kids which basically covers all the basics of playing Defense: http://www2.nhl.com/kids/subpage/learn_defense.html

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05-20-2010, 03:58 AM
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Giroux tha Damaja
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogio57 View Post
So Im starting my first organized hockey leauge this weekend, I met with some of the guys at our local adult clinic and it seems nobody wanted to play defense so I volunteered since I figured Im too big to play Forward. So any tips for a beginner on how to play Defense, this is my first time playing organized hockey.
Don't get frustrated or embarrassed as you move along the learning curve and make mistakes, and don't let any struggles or pressure to learn quickly from others take the fun out of it for you.You play the game for your team, but for you too.

Good luck!

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05-20-2010, 06:32 AM
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Skraut
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First make sure you can skate backwards


The big thing to be constantly looking around and knowing where the forwards are on the ice, so that you have an idea what the situation is at all time. Let the goalie see the shot, and make sure you do what you can to take away the passing lanes.

Don't be afraid to move a guy out from the front of the net. You're probably playing in a non-checking league, but it took me a while playing D to realize "Non-Checking" doesn't mean "non-contact" you mention you're a big guy (like me) use it, get some leverage and push.

Stick battles are another big important thing. If the forward can't get his stick on the puck, he can't shoot on the goalie. So again, if he's in front of the net, the entire time I'm battling with him to relocate him to a different piece of ice, I'm also knocking his stick around, lifting it, swatting it to the side, just basically being the biggest annoyance I can. You know you're in a forwards head, when they start chirping at you in the 2nd period, and then spend the 3rd looking to play in more open ice.

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05-20-2010, 08:11 AM
  #6
SoundwaveIsCharisma
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As a defenseman your job is basically to keep everything to the outside, if you manage to keep the forwards to the boards you've eliminated a large chunk of the threat. Another thing is make sure you don't get over ambitious chasing attacking players around.

One of the better tips I've heard is in regards to stick checking, instead of being fully extended right away, keep your stick arm (the arm holding the top of your stick) tucked in until you decide to use the poke check. This gives attacking players a false sense of security as they think your reach is less then it actually is.

Also, I totally agree with the above user in regards to leaning on your opponent. If it is a non-checking league, you can still pin opposing players to the boards, if you are a big strong guy this will annoy the crap out of them.

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05-20-2010, 06:23 PM
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Steelhead16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClericMercenaryAgent View Post
As a defenseman your job is basically to keep everything to the outside, if you manage to keep the forwards to the boards you've eliminated a large chunk of the threat. Another thing is make sure you don't get over ambitious chasing attacking players around.

One of the better tips I've heard is in regards to stick checking, instead of being fully extended right away, keep your stick arm (the arm holding the top of your stick) tucked in until you decide to use the poke check. This gives attacking players a false sense of security as they think your reach is less then it actually is.

Also, I totally agree with the above user in regards to leaning on your opponent. If it is a non-checking league, you can still pin opposing players to the boards, if you are a big strong guy this will annoy the crap out of them.
Awesome advice from CMA for a beginner. Saved me from typing all that. Just want to add that in 2 on 1 situations don't jump back and forth if the puck goes back and forth between the 2 forwards. One guy is your's and one is the goalie's. Your job is to keep a late pass between the 2 forwards from forcing your goalie to have to go from one side to the other. You want to try and take the guy closer to the middle of the ice and make the outside guy shoot. Also always clear the puck and start your breakouts toward the boards, never up the middle.

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05-20-2010, 08:11 PM
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I too just started a summer beer league (EEEE division) and was appointed to play defense. Although I'm new to hockey, I was literally stoked on playing defense and embraced the challenge. I'm still learning how to play hockey, as well as learning the basics of defense 101; but I'm having a lot of fun with it. Here's a list of mistakes that I made in the first few games:

1. Sometimes being out of position
2. Losing sense of where my defense partner is on the ice
3. Not keeping my head on a swivel as much as I need to
4. Sometimes not getting my stick into the passing lanes
5. At times not pushing the forwards to the outside
6. Going for the puck on a 2 on 1 situation and not taking away the pass.


If you can, listen to your goalie (hopefully he/she will be pretty vocal), because they will tell you if you are blocking their vision or to cover a forward that has gotten into your zone undetected. I'm hoping that I'll eventually get better and not make as many of the aforementioned mistakes, as well as improving my skating and stick handling. I'd like to stick with being on defense for the season, even if it means a lesser chance of scoring goals. Hope that you have a great season and have a lot fun doing so.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gogio57 View Post
So Im starting my first organized hockey leauge this weekend, I met with some of the guys at our local adult clinic and it seems nobody wanted to play defense so I volunteered since I figured Im too big to play Forward. So any tips for a beginner on how to play Defense, this is my first time playing organized hockey.

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05-20-2010, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogio57 View Post
So Im starting my first organized hockey leauge this weekend, I met with some of the guys at our local adult clinic and it seems nobody wanted to play defense so I volunteered since I figured Im too big to play Forward. So any tips for a beginner on how to play Defense, this is my first time playing organized hockey.
Huh?

Just curious. What do you mean by this?

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05-20-2010, 08:56 PM
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Work on your backwards skating every chance you get, as well as your lateral movement. You should also be willing to jump up into the rush occasionally, or dump it in and chase it down yourself, but you must pick your spots carefully. Just keep it simple and when in doubt, make the safe play.

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05-21-2010, 06:22 AM
  #11
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Talk to your goalie. Everybody has lots of advice but if you are constantly in your goalies way, it's gonna piss him off and he's going to miss shots. Work with him and he'll help you play a game that works for him.

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05-21-2010, 08:52 AM
  #12
Jarick
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Try these:

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t...hlight=defense

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t...hlight=defense

There's a bunch more threads too, try searching for it, good info.

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05-21-2010, 12:20 PM
  #13
Razzmatazz
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Too big to play forward!!!

Haven't you seen that Dustin Byfuglien kid out there for the Blackhawks?! Go plant yourself in front of that goalie and work on your lateral footwork until you start getting whacked by the stick, shoved, punched, and hear lots of cursing behind you. Then you know you are doing your job . I usually play with people way out of my league in scrimmages, so it's a role I've been trying to work on...which leads me to a question for the vets...new thread time!

But yeah, backwards skating control is a must. Also, always be aware of where everybody is on the ice. I am a center in my beginner hockey league, but I spend a lot of time at the point when the defensemen pinch in. Don't stop moving your feet when the other team comes up the ice, for me it usually ends up in my legs getting tangled up and swandive when I try to transition to forward skating back to gain momentum and many a breakaways. Happy feet, watch Duncan Keith, Brian Campbell, and Dan Boyle tonight, their feet never stop moving.

For a beginner, I don't think it's a bad thing to gain backwards momentum doing forward skating and then turning to face the attacker, the only problem with that strategy is that they can cut behind you and get the feet tangling if you have your back to them. When the opposition gains control of the puck and is ready to head up ice, I will usually forward skate so that I can have some momentum, and then turn to face the opponent at the red line and drift to the blue line. Force him to pick the outside lane, and when he takes it and is outside of you, turn back to forward skating and pinch him to the boards between himself and the net and slot. Since he can't make a quick play, he either has to go behind the net or stop, so work on those, but that should be time to buy you help from back checking forwards if he gets loose. This is just from a newer player's perspective and what I do to overcompensate inexperience, so if I'm wrong on something, please let me know.


Last edited by Razzmatazz: 05-21-2010 at 12:39 PM.
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05-21-2010, 01:22 PM
  #14
Ozolinsh_27
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If you're skating backwards and the forward is attacking your side of the ice, if your backwards skating lateral movement is decent, line up their inside shoulder with your outside shoulder and try keeping it at that alignment. Gap control off the rush, you would want to average a stick length in space between you and the onrushing forward. Too close and you risk getting burned with burst of speed, if you're too far apart it gives the forward too much time to let the play develop.

Play hard along the boards, there is probably no contact - some high skilled opposing forwards in non contact leagues completely disappear after you initiate some legal physical play. Work on angling people off , very important in lower level non contact leagues as some players creativity is low and it restricts how they think the play should develop in that case the play will die there. Pinning along the boards from another poster was a good tip, don't let people spin away on you but don't hold them there an extra 5-10 seconds after the puck moves away from that area.

If you look at the defensive zone from an overhead type view, chop it into 4 parts - from a general team zone defense theory, the two top parts are each wingers responsibility and the bottom two are the defenseman's responsibility - one on each side. A responsible defensive center will rove around and be each position's back up in all 4 corners of the defensive zone trying to negate the potential of an outnumbered situation - communicate with the centre on the ice.


Last edited by Ozolinsh_27: 05-21-2010 at 01:28 PM.
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05-21-2010, 04:23 PM
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Work with your defensive partner too. My partner I usually play with and I have an 'invisible rope' system; One of us goes into the corner and the other watches the front of the net. The ultimate goal is to keep about the same amount of distance between us.

This video helped us as well:

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05-21-2010, 04:37 PM
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Skraut
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Work with your defensive partner too. My partner I usually play with and I have an 'invisible rope' system; One of us goes into the corner and the other watches the front of the net. The ultimate goal is to keep about the same amount of distance between us.

This is good advice, the one thing I will comment on though that I experienced as a new player, if you're skating level is below that of the other people you're playing against, leave the corners alone. They're too far away from a real scoring area, and if you chase the play there, and it takes you too long to get back, you're going to leave someone wide open.

Our entire team is new players, and we started in a league were we were playing against other teams which had been playing together for a few years. What really helped us was dropping essentially to a penalty kill mentality when the puck was in our end. If they wanted to have the puck in the corner, that was fine, we would just make sure they didn't have anybody open to pass to, and if they started coming towards the net, the free guy took them immediately, otherwise he was double covering the passing lanes.

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05-23-2010, 12:02 PM
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Some advice: don't let the forwards get the middle of the ice in your defensive zone and don't chase them around low in the zone. If you tired stand to the left or right of the goalie and have an active stick by poke checking and keep a close eye on all the forwards. When your leaving the offensive zone don't be afraid to skate forward to get some speed then switch to backwards and never stop. If you stop and try to poke check they will skate right around you so always keep skating and stay in the middle to prevent them from getting there. Just go out and play your first game then come back and read some of these replies it should help a lot.

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05-23-2010, 12:12 PM
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Renbarg
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The only tip I could offer that hasn't really been covered is when you are defending an oncoming player 1 on 1 don't look at the puck. Basically play against his torso.

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05-23-2010, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClericMercenaryAgent View Post
As a defenseman your job is basically to keep everything to the outside, if you manage to keep the forwards to the boards you've eliminated a large chunk of the threat. Another thing is make sure you don't get over ambitious chasing attacking players around.

One of the better tips I've heard is in regards to stick checking, instead of being fully extended right away, keep your stick arm (the arm holding the top of your stick) tucked in until you decide to use the poke check. This gives attacking players a false sense of security as they think your reach is less then it actually is.

Also, I totally agree with the above user in regards to leaning on your opponent. If it is a non-checking league, you can still pin opposing players to the boards, if you are a big strong guy this will annoy the crap out of them.
This is basically what I came to say. Force the forwards to the outside as much as possible and don't get too focused on one player. Even if you're in no hit leagues, you can still make some contact. Don't get mesmerized by a flashy puck handler, if he tries to go in between your legs or something, just kind of push him off to the side. You can play the body without getting physical. I don't play defense too often but when I do, I usually just play the body since some of the guys I play with are too good with the puck.

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05-23-2010, 12:56 PM
  #20
Razzmatazz
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If it's a no hit league, particularly one with people who are learning the game, the refs will usually give you a heads up and let you know beforehand if you are making too much contact before sending you to the box. So as long as you aren't stepping into them to make contact, you should be okay.

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05-23-2010, 01:55 PM
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The only tip I could offer that hasn't really been covered is when you are defending an oncoming player 1 on 1 don't look at the puck. Basically play against his torso.
As long as you can keep up with your opponents, this is more than half the battle. Yes, know you can be physical at times - no hitting doesn't mean no touch - and make sure not to screen your goalie, to communicate with your defensive partner, to try to keep the play to the outside, etc., etc. but really... if you can truly keep up with your opponent, just watch the torso. You can step into a guy when he tries to make a move without "hitting" him. I don't mean throwing your weight into him... more like a pick in basketball; step into his lane and plant your feet. In a no checking league, especially if you're a big guy like you say, you will INFURIATE all the wannabe danglers by not following the puck and just planting your feet when they try to dance around you. Just keep your eyes on the torso.

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05-23-2010, 05:24 PM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lososaurus View Post
Work with your defensive partner too. My partner I usually play with and I have an 'invisible rope' system; One of us goes into the corner and the other watches the front of the net. The ultimate goal is to keep about the same amount of distance between us.

This video helped us as well:
Some bad ass music in that video man, kinda pumps you up while you watch! Good job on the film!

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05-24-2010, 03:19 PM
  #23
OkimLom
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Some bad ass music in that video man, kinda pumps you up while you watch! Good job on the film!
Right on! Great video to learn your mistakes from. I envisioned myself in those videos when I first started playing hockey. Now seeing what needs to be done and comparing with what I do now, makes me pretty confident in what I do.

However, watching your video it reminds me of playing zone. And we know that there are other ways of playing D. Though for the beginner, good examples.

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