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Protecting the puck

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Old
07-26-2010, 11:59 AM
  #1
GmC
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Protecting the puck

I've been playing for a few years now and sometimes noticed that there are some offensive players who are better at protecting the puck more using their body.

Are there any visual cues that a defender gives off that some of you players pick up on and then react? Like direction a player comes from, watching for defender's stick/movements?

What are some things that can help me protect the puck more when skating with the puck up ice and into the offensive zone in terms of my own body positioning, ie using my leg/leaning on opposing player?

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07-26-2010, 12:10 PM
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Jarick
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Usually when you're skating into the zone with the puck, the defender will be on the inside, so if you keep the puck wide, that would help. Just don't put the puck way out on your stick towards him.

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07-26-2010, 12:24 PM
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Kind of, yeah.

The direction/speed of the defender's momentum and his position relative to yours will affect how you choose to protect the puck.


If the defender is slightly in front of you or beside you, you'll want to use your shoulders and your legs to block the body contact and the stick respectively. If the defender is behind you, you can use your forearm to block hooks and your leg again to block whacks at the puck. If the defender is far in front of you, you'll have turn your back to him to shield him from the puck.

It's really just a matter of putting your body between the defender and the puck, while carrying it at a distance where he cannot reach it with his stick and establishing a stance that maintains good balance.

That's actually the one thing I've always been very good at... and to be honest, developed the basics by putting a chair in the middle of my garage and practicing going around it.


Remember that when you're trying to beat the defender one on one, you have options.

The puck can go to the left of him, to the right of him, or through his skates. Your body can go to the left of him or the right of him. When you want to go on the same side as the puck, you're using a puck-protect move. When you want to go in the opposite direction of the puck, you're doing more of a deke. Ideally what you want to learn how to do is fake one way and go the other. A drop of the shoulder, a quick little move with the puck, or even a headfake can throw a defender off... if even for a split second.


Last edited by noobman: 07-26-2010 at 12:31 PM.
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Old
07-30-2010, 03:11 AM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GmC View Post
I've been playing for a few years now and sometimes noticed that there are some offensive players who are better at protecting the puck more using their body.

Are there any visual cues that a defender gives off that some of you players pick up on and then react? Like direction a player comes from, watching for defender's stick/movements?

What are some things that can help me protect the puck more when skating with the puck up ice and into the offensive zone in terms of my own body positioning, ie using my leg/leaning on opposing player?
Well, thank you for asking! The best way to protect the puck and which is very easy to do is to enter the attacking zone on your off wing. Now, please don't take this the wrong way, because I do not know what level you are at. So, please don't feel like I am treating you like a novice. I just want everyone on the same page.

Now, what does off wing mean? It means that if you shoot left, you enter the attacking zone on the far right side. If you shoot right, then you enter the attacking zone on the far left side. Why?

Most defensemen will play to the inside. In fact, they should line up their outside shoulder to your inside shoulder. Why? This is to give you the illusion that there is more room to the outside against the boards.

Now, let's look at this picture below.

Now, let's look at what happens when the left winger attacks the zone on his off wing. Remember, the whole purpose for the defensemen is to make you go to the outside. The yellow area in this picture is the "Shooting Zone". This is the area with a high percentage of scoring opportunities. Where as the white areas...are not.

So as a defenseman, if he moves you into this white area, he has one the battle by placing you into a low scoring chance. Now, can you score a goal in this white zone? Yes, check out Patrick Kane in the final game when he scored the goal. Why did that go in at that bad angle? Yeah, the goalie was not square to the shooter...basic Hockey 101.

Plus, if the defensemen moves you into the white area, he is going to drive you into the boards like a nail! And if he doesn't, I will be on his a**! So for you as a forward, lets look at what happens when you come in on your "On" wing.

So if I tell you not to go on the outside, then the only way for you to go is towards the inside. Let's look at this picture below.

Here you will see that the right wing entered the attacking zone on his "On" wing, when he makes the turn towards the center, the puck will be between, the puck carrier and the defenseman. Yeah, that sucks doesn't it.

Ok, let's look at this next picture.

Here you see the right winger entering the attacking zone on his off wing. Now, here's what's going to happen. As you come up the neutral zone, you want to be skating about 3/4 speed. Just before you enter the attacking zone, adjust your speed to "Full" speed. This is going to make the defenseman adjust his speed to match you or control the gap against you. (gap: the distance between you and him)

The second you adjust your speed to full and you cross the blue line, make that turn towards center. What this is going to do is throw the defenseman's gap off by three feet. What? You see, you are not connected by an Umbilical cord and he doesn't know when you are going to make this move. But, he's not stupid, he will read your body language and make the adjustment. But by the time he does that it will be about a 3 feet gap.

Once you make this turn towards center, you will have the puck on the outside and the puck will be protected. That the main benefit! However, it also comes with a second benefit! This green area within the picture is known as a "Shooting Alley." This alley allows your body to be at the perfect angle with respect to the goalie, so that the shot goes across your body, with the balance on the proper leg, getting the maximum force released in the shot across the body.

Now, the defensmen is going to hurry to get on front to help block the shot. Yes, some defenseman will lay down to block the shot. But the majority will not unless they have something to gain...aka: championship.

So, once he adjust his angle to get in front, you let the shot go so that it's just on the outside of his incoming leg or send the puck between his legs. This will help screen the goalie and it might be hard for the goalie to read or see.

Hope this helps
Head coach

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Old
07-30-2010, 03:19 AM
  #5
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Basically, you're playing keep away. This is my puck, you're not going to take it from me.

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07-30-2010, 01:47 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GmC View Post
I've been playing for a few years now and sometimes noticed that there are some offensive players who are better at protecting the puck more using their body.

Are there any visual cues that a defender gives off that some of you players pick up on and then react? Like direction a player comes from, watching for defender's stick/movements?

What are some things that can help me protect the puck more when skating with the puck up ice and into the offensive zone in terms of my own body positioning, ie using my leg/leaning on opposing player?
It's a feel thing, sometimes their body position forces you to lean into them. Other times, they're playing off you and to avoid sweep checks you kick out your leg or hold out your hand to block the sweep check. It really comes with time and practice.

The biggest thing to remember is to use your body to your advantage, make them have to go through you to get the puck... if it's a checking league, it's more difficult because they can go through you, so that's when you want to make them miss. Along the boards, stick out your ass it creates space.

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07-30-2010, 11:49 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBLfan View Post
It's a feel thing, sometimes their body position forces you to lean into them. Other times, they're playing off you and to avoid sweep checks you kick out your leg or hold out your hand to block the sweep check. It really comes with time and practice.

The biggest thing to remember is to use your body to your advantage, make them have to go through you to get the puck... if it's a checking league, it's more difficult because they can go through you, so that's when you want to make them miss. Along the boards, stick out your ass it creates space.
awesome

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07-31-2010, 12:31 AM
  #8
Jimmy Carter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Headcoach View Post
Well, thank you for asking! The best way to protect the puck and which is very easy to do is to enter the attacking zone on your off wing. Now, please don't take this the wrong way, because I do not know what level you are at. So, please don't feel like I am treating you like a novice. I just want everyone on the same page.

Now, what does off wing mean? It means that if you shoot left, you enter the attacking zone on the far right side. If you shoot right, then you enter the attacking zone on the far left side. Why?

Most defensemen will play to the inside. In fact, they should line up their outside shoulder to your inside shoulder. Why? This is to give you the illusion that there is more room to the outside against the boards.

Now, let's look at this picture below.

Now, let's look at what happens when the left winger attacks the zone on his off wing. Remember, the whole purpose for the defensemen is to make you go to the outside. The yellow area in this picture is the "Shooting Zone". This is the area with a high percentage of scoring opportunities. Where as the white areas...are not.

So as a defenseman, if he moves you into this white area, he has one the battle by placing you into a low scoring chance. Now, can you score a goal in this white zone? Yes, check out Patrick Kane in the final game when he scored the goal. Why did that go in at that bad angle? Yeah, the goalie was not square to the shooter...basic Hockey 101.

Plus, if the defensemen moves you into the white area, he is going to drive you into the boards like a nail! And if he doesn't, I will be on his a**! So for you as a forward, lets look at what happens when you come in on your "On" wing.

So if I tell you not to go on the outside, then the only way for you to go is towards the inside. Let's look at this picture below.

Here you will see that the right wing entered the attacking zone on his "On" wing, when he makes the turn towards the center, the puck will be between, the puck carrier and the defenseman. Yeah, that sucks doesn't it.

Ok, let's look at this next picture.

Here you see the right winger entering the attacking zone on his off wing. Now, here's what's going to happen. As you come up the neutral zone, you want to be skating about 3/4 speed. Just before you enter the attacking zone, adjust your speed to "Full" speed. This is going to make the defenseman adjust his speed to match you or control the gap against you. (gap: the distance between you and him)

The second you adjust your speed to full and you cross the blue line, make that turn towards center. What this is going to do is throw the defenseman's gap off by three feet. What? You see, you are not connected by an Umbilical cord and he doesn't know when you are going to make this move. But, he's not stupid, he will read your body language and make the adjustment. But by the time he does that it will be about a 3 feet gap.

Once you make this turn towards center, you will have the puck on the outside and the puck will be protected. That the main benefit! However, it also comes with a second benefit! This green area within the picture is known as a "Shooting Alley." This alley allows your body to be at the perfect angle with respect to the goalie, so that the shot goes across your body, with the balance on the proper leg, getting the maximum force released in the shot across the body.

Now, the defensmen is going to hurry to get on front to help block the shot. Yes, some defenseman will lay down to block the shot. But the majority will not unless they have something to gain...aka: championship.

So, once he adjust his angle to get in front, you let the shot go so that it's just on the outside of his incoming leg or send the puck between his legs. This will help screen the goalie and it might be hard for the goalie to read or see.

Hope this helps
Head coach
Man, they should just make a thread containing only Head coach replies. Every time I read one I learn a little something I didn't know before. Never thought about how the off wing naturally puts your body between the defender and the puck. Thanks!

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07-31-2010, 12:40 AM
  #9
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Yes! Fantastic post. It can help all players a like.

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07-31-2010, 01:17 AM
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Learn how to control the puck with one hand on the stick and the other helping to ward off defenders sticks. Also stick out your ass, thats what I do to seperate a defenseman on me from the puck as much as possible. Simple little tips.

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07-31-2010, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJimmyCarterC View Post
Man, they should just make a thread containing only Head coach replies. Every time I read one I learn a little something I didn't know before. Never thought about how the off wing naturally puts your body between the defender and the puck. Thanks!

they did! http://www.passthepuck.net/

his website where that diagram is from.

join the free mailing list and you get access to tons of drills and emails and stuff, and you can always ask him questions

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07-31-2010, 05:57 PM
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Just think...If you were the guy defending against you, where would you want the puck for easy access? Then...don't put it there.


Just get a buddy and play keep-away. Practice in tight, practice approaching from different directions and at different speeds. Even just set up a bunch of cones and practice moving around them in different patterns, while keeping yourself between the puck and the cones.

After awhile, it will all just start to become second nature and you'll just instinctively do it.

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07-31-2010, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wearethegreek View Post
they did! http://www.passthepuck.net/

his website where that diagram is from.

join the free mailing list and you get access to tons of drills and emails and stuff, and you can always ask him questions
SICK! Just signed up and looking around... place is awesome! Definitely gonna be using this stuff

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08-01-2010, 06:35 AM
  #14
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Like coach said, off-wing is key. I shoot LH, so I prefer to enter the zone on the right side near the boards. I carry with one hand on the stick and use the left arm to protect. Then when I have space, I try to make the pass, shot or cut-across into the slot.

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08-01-2010, 12:05 PM
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Am I the only person that failed to see how "headcoach" responded to the original post-ers question? All I'm reading there is him telling you to come in on the off wing, turn in and shoot on your forehand.

Wasn't the original question about protecting the puck with your body? Assuming that he meant protecting the puck in more than one, rather rare scenario, isn't that post a rather wordy, barely helpful post? How often can you cut in on a defender and not have a backchecker or the other defenseman there to block you off? In which case, you'd need to either do something else or protect the puck with your body... as the original question asked and headcoach ignored.

Am I missing something here?

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08-01-2010, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBLfan View Post
Am I the only person that failed to see how "headcoach" responded to the original post-ers question? All I'm reading there is him telling you to come in on the off wing, turn in and shoot on your forehand.

Wasn't the original question about protecting the puck with your body? Assuming that he meant protecting the puck in more than one, rather rare scenario, isn't that post a rather wordy, barely helpful post? How often can you cut in on a defender and not have a backchecker or the other defenseman there to block you off? In which case, you'd need to either do something else or protect the puck with your body... as the original question asked and headcoach ignored.

Am I missing something here?
Well...no! It just that, the more you come towards center , coming up the neutral zone from you off wing towards your on wing, you reduce the puck protect opportunity.

Once you come across the blueline at center, in order for you to protect the puck, you will be forced to move into your on wing which will force you into the low goal scoring percentage area...the white zone. Oh, do get me wrong, you can go there, it just that it is taking you out of the high scoring area. and away from the shooting alley.

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08-01-2010, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Headcoach View Post
Well...no! It just that, the more you come towards center , coming up the neutral zone from you off wing towards your on wing, you reduce the puck protect opportunity.

Once you come across the blueline at center, in order for you to protect the puck, you will be forced to move into your on wing which will force you into the low goal scoring percentage area...the white zone. Oh, do get me wrong, you can go there, it just that it is taking you out of the high scoring area. and away from the shooting alley.

Head coach
See this is where I think the problem with your post is. BTW, I'm glad you didn't take it as me slamming you.

You're giving him the obvious(to us at least, I'm a coach also) easiest way to protect the puck, which isn't ideal in nearly all situations. I'm thinking he meant protecting the puck in less ideal situations.

Like if he was coming in on his "correct" wing(RH player, RW), obviously he couldn't use the advice BUT he could protect the puck with his body to maintain possession and wait for help or to make an aggressive play. For example, he could do the Gretzky curl and look for a trailer. Or he could cut to the middle and shield off the defender with his back, with the puck on the backhand. If you have more speed, then go around the defender with the puck on the backhand and right arm extended to block his sweep check.... etc..

Do you follow what I'm talking about HC?

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08-01-2010, 02:20 PM
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Coming in on your natural wing, the curl and drag idea is a great plan. I do it all the time and usually go back to the point if there isn't someone open in the slot.

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08-01-2010, 02:56 PM
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There are a lot of ways to protect the puck.
  1. Move the puck to the furthest side of the defender and use your free hand (your holding the stick with one hand) to block the poke check / sweep.
  2. Stick your ass out, and keep the player behind you to keep the player from getting close to your puck
  3. Widen your stance, get low, and keep your elbows up, by doing this you block the defender from getting into a good position to get the puck
  4. Use your body to block access to the puck, bring the puck in close to your skates so the defender can't knock it away, but not for too long because he can still knock you on your ass
  5. Use your stick to block access / protect to the puck

Those are ways that work for me.

Here is a video of datsyuk using his stick to block access to the puck, linked to the exact moment






playing off head coaches post here is a video explaining what he was talking about with cutting to the center and having your body set up for the perfect shot. This is from my video the two types of wrist shots. One being the most powerful, the other is good for a quick release



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08-01-2010, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBLfan View Post
See this is where I think the problem with your post is. BTW, I'm glad you didn't take it as me slamming you.
Nope! After 30 plus years of coaching it doesn't bother me any more. One of the things that I learned about coaching is that everyone feels that their way of coaching is the right way. That's what coaching is all about. Do I know everything...nope! All the stuff you mentioned I knew. But, for me, (IMHO) hockey as you know is not a "me" game...it's a "we" game. I'm not telling you something new. In fact, the way I look at it is there are three seperate teams on one line. A forward team, a defensive pair (team) and a goalie (self team) Each team have seperate things or parts too do into order for the line to be sucessful.

But, I'm not here to tell you how to coach. Generally what I do is offer you and other, a different perspective on on what I feel works for me. Some stuff might be good...and some stuff you might feel is crap. Which is fine, that's what makes coaching fun. If everyone coached the same way, it would kind of be...a snoozer.

So here's some more stuff that you can take with you...or not. Generally, I like my right wing guy (during the defensive zone break-out) to over load the zone toward the neutral zone break-out. Example: Look at this picture below.

Here you will see the defenseman moving the puck over from the strong side to the weak side. As you know, the strong side is where the puck is. They call it the strong side because everyone in the free world is on that side where the puck is.

So, I teach my guy never to come up the defensive zone on the strong...too many legs to pass through. Plus, I also teach them never to carry the puck out of the zone, they must pass it out of the zone.

Yes, I know this is going off the main subject, but it will all fall into place in just a few minutes.

Now, as you probably also do, I teach my center to watch which corner the puck goes into. This way, he knows at he will be circling towards the weak side to support the "D to D" pass.

Then, I have my winger on that side cross in front of the center guy who's passing below. This is going to give the Defenseman a choice on who to pass to. If you just use the defensemen to pass to the board side, it kind of limits your breakout choices.

Yes, never pass up center ice, it leads to problems. But to eliminate some of the problems, I have my right winger over load the zone to the strong side, just in front of the defense men that should be on his side. Why?

Once he passes in front of the defenseman, it's going to force that defenseman off the blueline. This will help in the breakout. If you have the player go straight up the ice on his wing, the pass becomes too long (sometimes) and it can be intercepted...always remember puck support.

But by overloading the zone, it gives the breakout winger and the breakout center on that strong side the ability to pass out of the zone between the two defensemen. If the pass doesn't hit his stick, at least it out of the zone. This is what is know as a pattern play. Yes, I know you know this. But someone might not.

Now, once the puck hit the over loading winger, he is now on his off wing ready to enter the attacking zone. But, I also teach my players to make that puck protection turn just as they cross the blue line.

Making that quick stop turn will allow the puck carrier to change skating lanes again. Plus, as you know, if one player with the puck crosses over from his skating lane into someone else's skating lane, that the player without the puck crosses over behind the puck carrier (rule: so they don't hit each other) to the lane the puck carrier just left.

Once that puck carrier crosses the blueline, I teach my other non-carrying puck forwards to crash the net. If, that one defenseman on the side of the puck entry, moves toward the puck carrier, the crashing forward is open for the pass.

If the defenseman move to cover the crashing winger, this give a little time for the puck carrier to get a better shot of in the slot, then on the sides.

Now, that whole breakout thing has to be practiced all the time. It have everything to do with timing. The timing had to be perfect! Well, just like all pattern plays need to be timed as well.

The crossing the blueline is also a pattern play and can be used on both side. That's, just two pattern plays that I have given you. Are there more....yes! But maybe it should go under a different thread. I think I have already taken this train off this track a bit.


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08-02-2010, 06:57 PM
  #21
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What does any of that have to do with the topic?

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08-03-2010, 09:41 AM
  #22
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What does any of that have to do with the topic?

lol. In a word?


Nothing.


Would be a good post in a thread about breakouts. But in this thread it just comes off as a 'shill' for his subscription website.


To the OP:

Protect the puck with your body, your feet, always be strong on your stick in traffic and whenever possible use speed. Think about situations where you are getting your pocket picked and visualize ways to combat it. Be creative.

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08-09-2010, 06:55 PM
  #23
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Good question, good answers!

I'm pretty new to hockey and Coach's first response seems dead-on for the OP's question on entering the offensive zone. Very helpful for me, as the D tends to look like a wall when I try to enter the zone with the puck.

Thanks Coach!

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08-09-2010, 08:31 PM
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The best way to protect the puck is to become a better stickhandler , and stickhandling isn't doing the left-right stuff the quickest you can , stickhandling is using every angle possible and knowing when to make the move.

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