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Positioning help

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Old
08-12-2010, 06:27 AM
  #1
NJDwoot
 
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Positioning help

What can I do to be better at positioning?

I feel lost sometimes on the ice… and am not sure if I should charge in or hang back in my area. I watch a lot of NHL and have picked up some of it. But it seems like upper level players always know were to be.

I am a beginner but feel very dedicated to improving. I go to stick time sat and sun every week and like I said, watch a lot of hockey. At stick time I am able to work on shooting, passing, puck handling, skating and so forth, but positioning and overall game flow is something that I don’t see how I can work on, as there are no games allowed during this time.

Any ideas on how I can be better at this? Basic strategies I should adopt while playing?
Anything at all will be appreciated. Anything else I should focus / work on while in game?

Oh and I prefer to play left wing but may get put on right from time to time.

Thanks in advance.

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08-12-2010, 10:02 AM
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08-12-2010, 10:14 AM
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Reading the play is something that comes with time and practice. Watching a lot of hockey and learning about some basic strategies can help.

The problem is that, in most rec leagues, everyone's interested in playing all-out-offensive scramble hockey. There isn't much emphasis on playing a system, and as such playing a position is more about being where your other teammates aren't than it is about being in a set section of the ice.

As a winger in the defensive zone, you'll want to cover the points. Depending on whether your team collapses, staggers, or plays the point hard, you'll need to be somewhere between your own blueline and the hash marks on the faceoff circle.

In the offensive zone you will probably just want to get open. I advise trying to set up a triangle with the other guys. If one guy goes behind the net, try standing off to the side of the net for a pass or a rebound. If the puck goes back to the point and everyone's waiting for a rebound or pass, skate to the front of the net and screen the goalie.

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08-12-2010, 10:45 AM
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tarheelhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
That's a really great vid. I'd show that to pretty much anyone who wanted to know how the positions work in hockey, whether they're playing or not.

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08-12-2010, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJDwoot View Post
What can I do to be better at positioning?

I feel lost sometimes on the ice… and am not sure if I should charge in or hang back in my area. I watch a lot of NHL and have picked up some of it. But it seems like upper level players always know were to be.

I am a beginner but feel very dedicated to improving. I go to stick time sat and sun every week and like I said, watch a lot of hockey. At stick time I am able to work on shooting, passing, puck handling, skating and so forth, but positioning and overall game flow is something that I don’t see how I can work on, as there are no games allowed during this time.

Any ideas on how I can be better at this? Basic strategies I should adopt while playing?
Anything at all will be appreciated. Anything else I should focus / work on while in game?

Oh and I prefer to play left wing but may get put on right from time to time.

Thanks in advance.
This is the toughest thing to do with beginner teammates, because you often feel the need to play the hero and chase the puck outside of your defensive area...don't worry, I am guiltier than most of doing this...it's up to your teammates to cover their own spots in the zone, you can't do their job without neglecting your own...so as hard as it might be to stay put when you want to help out, you have to cover your own area of the ice at all times.

Offensively, it doesn't matter as much, keep moving around, and get open for a pass. On the breakout, I'll often cross in front or behind the puck carrier to get the defensemen bunched in the middle of the ice, it often opens up the lanes to the outside to skate or dump in.

Defensively, as a winger defensively, play between the tops of the circles and the hashmarks high while the puck is outside your zone.

When the other team has the puck on the opposite side of the zone (left wing): Stay between the backside defenseman and the net, make sure you can see him out of the left side of your vision, and the net on the right side of your peripheral vision.

If you defenseman gets the puck, get to your boards in case he goes around the boards for the clear. Stop the puck, and either flip it up the boards, or pass it over to your center or opposite winger, who should be heading up the ice for the breakout. If you are the opposite winger, skate up the ice to pull the defense off the blue line and make some room for you center to skate the puck out.

If the puck is on your side of the ice, stay a couple feet away from the boards, so that you can quickly get to it if the puck comes your way, and cut off the pass to the defenseman. If your center is deep, and the puck goes back around to the winger on the opposite boards go to the middle of the ice and then turn up the ice for the breakout pass.

So basically, for a winger, if the puck is in the corners, be below the tops of the circles, but don't go past the hashmarks (vertically). If the puck is on your side of the ice, cover the boards, and if the puck is on the other side of the ice, cover the back of the slot (horizontally)

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08-12-2010, 12:44 PM
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The video that Jarick posted is really good at explaining positioning; what to do and what not to do. Just make sure you know what your zones are, talk amongst your line mates, trust your line mates and don't play out of your zone unless you have to (i.e. bad line change). Ask the better players on your team for some mentoring if possible and see if you can get some of your team mates out to stick/puck sessions so that you have an "informal" team practice.

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08-13-2010, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJDwoot View Post
but positioning and overall game flow is something that I don’t see how I can work on, as there are no games allowed during this time.

Any ideas on how I can be better at this? Basic strategies I should adopt while playing? Anything at all will be appreciated. Anything else I should focus / work on while in game?

Oh and I prefer to play left wing but may get put on right from time to time.

Thanks in advance.
Ok, let's talk about this. The video above will be very helpful to you. But, I would like to add just a little twist on that video. First let me say that I might have posted this in the past, so forgive me to repeating myself.

One of things players forget is that there are three different types of team on that one line while it's on the ice, a forward team, a defensive team and a goalie. As you know, goalie is a game within a game. If you don't know this, it would be a good idea for you to dawn the pads for a couple of games so you can see what your goalie is going through.

Now, in order for the line to be successful, all three teams must to work together and in harmony. (aka:timing) Now, within your post you asked for overall game flow. To do this, you will need to know what your responsibility is to the line and the overall team. Plus, it's important that you know what the other positions are as well. You never know when you will be called on to play defense.

As the video explained, all three teams have a specific zone in which they are responsible for. Now don't freak out with this. If you like it, use, if you don't like it, then don’t use it.
Look at this picture below.



Now before I explain my reasoning in this, I want you to know that I give wide latitude of freedom to my offensive team. Why? If you confine the forward line too much, they will loose the creativeness, spontaneity, and timing of the line.

As you can see, I have moved the zones on both point wingers, down just below the face off hash marks that are right next to the boards. Why? I want my wingers to set up on the breakout at the hash mark.

Now, if you are playing wing like you said. It is very important not to stand next to the man you are covering within you responsibility zone. Why? If you stand next to him and he's more aggressive then you, he will have the jump on you to get the puck and he will pinch and push the puck back deep into the pressure zone.

So, how do you over come this and still do your job? First, I recommend that you stand about 1-1/2 stick lengths away from the man you are covering out at the point. This way if he starts to pinch, you will have an equal change of interfering with him on his pinch. Which means, if you get there first, place your stick on an angle on the boards so the puck comes off your stick and into the defensive skating lane. Once your the puck in that lane, there is a 90% change that your centerman with get the puck for the breakout

Plus, If you stand next to him within your zone coverage, and your defenseman gets control of the puck, by standing next to him, it takes you out of the play. This means that if you have defenseman, with his act together, he will see this and not pass to you. Thus jeopardizing the flow of the breakout and possible a delay, giving the other team time to take the puck away from your defensive team. This is what I mean by timing.

Plus, as a winger, you just don't stand there. You have to understand the flow of the puck within your defensive zone and you need to have your head on a swivel so this way you are watching him and watching the play develops within your defensive zone. In the video you saw how the puck was deep in the pressure zone and how it went from the strong side to the weak side.

If the puck is on the strong side (where the puck is) and you can see that the puck is going to be moving behind the net towards the weak side (where the puck is not) then you have to read and react to the play within your zone and move accordingly. This means that if it's coming from strong to weak and you are on the weak side, you better keep your eye on that man that is within your coverage zone.

If you defenseman have control of the puck, then you need to make yourself open or he will not pass to you. There are two ways to get open within your defensive zone. One, move towards the puck carrier so that he can see you (aka: puck support) and two, over load the zone.

Here's a quick example of overloading the zone during a faceoff.



Now look at your position during the face off. You will see that you are just below the hash mark next to the boards. Now, trust me when I tell you that if the center wins the puck back to the defenseman on the draw, do you think that the defenseman will pass the puck to any of your guys standing around on the face off side? (strong side)

The smart play would be to move the puck behind the net to the weak side. The reason why it's called the weak side is because no one on the other team is on that side...get it.

So, if the center wins the draw back, the right winger need to understand NOT to stand there like a chicken with his head cut off. (see this too many times) If the puck goes back to the defenseman, the right winger knows that he must puck support the defenseman on the breakout.

This can be done in two ways. The winger on that side move to his breakout position on the boards, or allow the defenseman to take the puck up on the "Rush" and the winger on that side falls back and cover the defensive position. This is why it important to know everyone's job or responsibility within the defensive zone...get it.


Hope this helps
Head coach

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Last edited by Headcoach: 08-16-2010 at 06:19 PM.
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08-13-2010, 06:09 AM
  #8
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This is great information guys, Thanks...

This leads me to my next question.... Like noobman said.. its a beginner league and people will sometimes play all out scramble hockey...

Say I'm left wing and we are in our D zone. The oposing teams D man is who I need to cover at the point.... what if he doesnt play his zone properly and is all over. Do I hang out in my zone and cover whoever comes in ?

Example : Head coach talks about strong sides and weak sides. Say the D man I need to cover moves over to the strong side (like to the boards or behind the net or somthing) and im left standing in my zone on the weak side... do i try to cover more into the slot? I guess what im saying is I will feel really useless if im standing around not covering anyone.

The imformation provided is perfect and I will re read it many of times to get it down, however it seems to apply best aslong as the oposing team plays there zones properly also.....?

Thanks again.

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08-13-2010, 10:19 AM
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Jarick
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Head coaches info is like an "intermediate" class for that video I posted. Great info, and that's exactly what I do as a wing. Don't stand right next to the D-man, but between him and the play, but never getting more than a couple stick lengths away. FWIW, VERY RARELY does my guy get the puck because he's covered.

When the D-man pinches in, I would follow him up until he gets into the high slot. At that point you are just overcrowding an area because you should have the center and a defenseman watching anyway. Keep your feet moving and get open and hopefully your D will get the puck and notice you are wide open and spring you for a breakaway.

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08-13-2010, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJDwoot View Post
Say I'm left wing and we are in our D zone. The oposing teams D man is who I need to cover at the point.... what if he doesnt play his zone properly and is all over. Do I hang out in my zone and cover whoever comes in ?

Example : Head coach talks about strong sides and weak sides. Say the D man I need to cover moves over to the strong side (like to the boards or behind the net or somthing) and im left standing in my zone on the weak side... do i try to cover more into the slot? I guess what im saying is I will feel really useless if im standing around not covering anyone.
Well, 9 times out of 10, you won't really have this problem full strength. Now I do see this cycling when a team is down by one man and the attacking team moves players around to interupt or break the defensive box.

But you have to remember, that zone you are covering is pretty big. It might look like he going all over the place (which he is) because he is trying to position himself so that he will be added to the play. If he doesn't move to get open, it would be like playing 4 on 4. But if he finds a way to add himself into the play by getting open, then he's made his team a 5 on 4 for about 5 to 10 second. Maybe you might not know this, but 10 second is like an eternity for a goalie that's trying to protect a one goal lead. Now, he has to worry about a 6th attacker. (yeah, different thread)

To he honest, I would like for you to follow the man to the edge of your zone and no further. Some coaches are pretty smart having their player switch sides or over load zones while in the attacking zone. (kind of like I do when breaking out).

But, when you follow your assignment and some one else cycles back into his slot, then now they have an open man on their line to work with into the play because he's open and you are caught up in someone elses zone. Yeah, that's right, hockey is not as easy as it looks, it's a thinking man's game...like chess, but you get to move all of the pieces on the board all at the same time.

However, if you assignment has time to move into the slot area, this means thats someone within your line is not doing their job and is allowing the puck carrier on the other team to stand there with the puck, under no pressure.

Here's a good rule to remember when adding pressure on the other team, both in and out of your zone in which you are in...

"If you can't see the chest logo on the man you are covering, then you know he is not set up to pass and you better be on him like a fat kid on a donut." Sorry, like white on rice. "If you can see this logo on his chest, he is set up to pass, pressure is good, but don't find yourself caught up or you are going to be let behind out of the play and then they might have an "odd man rush". That's like really playing shorthanded. You might as well come to the bench. Or back check like a son of a...well you get the point.

Now, how to defend a 5 on 4? Well, that's a whole different game, one that needs to be on a different thread.

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08-13-2010, 12:24 PM
  #11
Jarick
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Hmm...are you saying you should be facing your point man with your back to the play?

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08-13-2010, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Hmm...are you saying you should be facing your point man with your back to the play?
Nope! Only when You are adding pressure.

Quote:
Here's a good rule to remember when adding pressure on the other team, both in and out of your zone in which you are in...
Pressure is only done when approaching the puck carrier. If you add pressure to a player without the puck, then it becomes interference.

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08-13-2010, 01:30 PM
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Exelent information guys. Thanks . I asked a goalie friend of mine if the "hockey sense" is somthing learned or it just happends. He said that it's a little of both. The higher level I play the more the players will play in their zones and I will be able to read the play eaiser.

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08-14-2010, 03:59 PM
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Another good resource

weisstechhockey.com has some great beginner hockey videos pertaining to positioning.

Also check out coachnielsen.wordpress.com for good drills and theory.

Those have been my resources.

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08-14-2010, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
That's a really great vid. I'd show that to pretty much anyone who wanted to know how the positions work in hockey, whether they're playing or not.

I agree! I still review it sometimes!

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08-15-2010, 08:35 PM
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Great video and write up from both of you (Jarrick and Headcoach). I just started playing ice this year and this information is a good starting point.

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08-16-2010, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJDwoot View Post
Exelent information guys. Thanks . I asked a goalie friend of mine if the "hockey sense" is somthing learned or it just happends. He said that it's a little of both. The higher level I play the more the players will play in their zones and I will be able to read the play eaiser.
I definitely think hockey sense is something that is learned. Like anything else, some people learn quicker than others. But "knowing" when plays develop and where players will be is just the brain recognizing patterns.

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08-16-2010, 11:55 AM
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I see NJD in your name and kind of assume your in NJ?

If so, and you can afford it, try coming out on Tuesdays to the Rock Ice Center in Dunellen NJ. There is all skills adult clinic, which is almost always a C/D level skate. There's a lot of coaching happening during the clinic and a game that follows. It's a very good place to learn positional play with an instructor, and without the pressures of league games.

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08-16-2010, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJDwoot View Post
Exelent information guys. Thanks . I asked a goalie friend of mine if the "hockey sense" is somthing learned or it just happends. He said that it's a little of both. The higher level I play the more the players will play in their zones and I will be able to read the play eaiser.
Believe it or not, the foundation for good Hockey Sense starts with knowing this simple rule that I talked about above. Example: If you know this rule..."Puck must move from Strong Side to Weak Side." then you will not have problems.

Why? If everyone on the team knows this basic rule, then they have a starting point into which they can start to read and react. It's really quite simple. If you know the puck is within your defensive corner, then you know that if the rule holds true, then you know that puck is going to go to the other side of the defensive zone. So by knowing this, you can start to adjust your play to accommodate that rule...get it!

Ok, I know what you are going to ask next..."What if the puck is within the neutral zone...how what"? Answer: Let’s say you are at the face off dot at the start of the game and the puck goes back to one of the defenseman. Then you know that if the rule hold true, it will be passed to the other defenseman with a "D to D" pass...get it?

Now, there is one more rule that you need to follow and it goes like this..."The player without the puck goes behind!"

This second rule hold true in whatever zone you are in and it is with respect to the attacking goal. Example: If the puck goes to your defenseman and someone on the other team is chasing him (which sometimes happens). If the defenseman starts to move or skate, from the Strong side over to the Weak side with the puck, then the defenseman on the weak side must cross behind him to go and cover the other side...get it!

You see, zoning is one of the must important things to know when playing at a higher level. If you have control over the puck and you move into someone else’s zone, then they have to leave that zone and go into your zone to cover that zone in which you just left. But on their way over there into that new position, they will have to skate or cross over into that zone from behind you into that new zone. Why? Have you ever seen to defensemen cross behind the net? How do they keep from hitting each other...player without the puck goes behind!

Ah, this is the second rule or foundation in learning how to read and react. If you know or see someone that is heading into your skating lane as you are going up the ice, or within your defensive zone and he hasn't head manned the puck to you, chances are that the knucklehead will not pass the puck to you. But that doesn't mean that you are not responsible for positioning on the line, as you attack.

If the knucklehead crosses over into your zone, then you must cross into his zone by crossing over behind him. Why? Because that's the rule, if everyone on the team will follow this rule, then everyone on your team that is on the ice will be able to read and react, and follow the natural progression of the play. This is like a silent communicator.

Plus, on the attack, it better to place doubt in the mind of the defender. By weaving in the neutral zone (player without the puck goes behind) you send a message to the defender that you will keep the puck, or...you might pass it to the guy crossing over behind. But if you go up the ice into someone else’s zone, and they don't cross over into the zone that you just left, then the defender will be able read the play and that both of you at the same time.


Nope this helps
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08-20-2010, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Cowbell232 View Post
I see NJD in your name and kind of assume your in NJ?

If so, and you can afford it, try coming out on Tuesdays to the Rock Ice Center in Dunellen NJ. There is all skills adult clinic, which is almost always a C/D level skate. There's a lot of coaching happening during the clinic and a game that follows. It's a very good place to learn positional play with an instructor, and without the pressures of league games.
unfortunatly I'm not. I live in Oregon. All my relatives are from NJ. I am a Devils fan because of it.

I have posted this thread on my teams facebook page.. so hopefully they will go over it and learn a little about thier jobs and such. I can only account for my self in that I am willing to learn and want to get as high (skill level) as possible.

Thanks again for all the help and information. I've been waiting for next weeks game to focus more on positioning and switching zones and such.

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08-21-2010, 04:25 AM
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I got a question about playing a 3 on 2 as a Dman.

So the bad guys are coming down three on two, winger (LW) carrying it over the blue line close to the boards, say about 10 feet from the boards.

Dman(1) tries to keep him to the outside, but then when he hits the top of the circle, he drops the puck back for the center who is just crossing the blue line.

So, other winger(RW) is going to the net with the other Dman(2) covering him, and then winger(LW) who carried the puck in drops it off at the top of the circle for the C to grab.

So now the C has the puck at the top of the circle, the D(1) guy is say standing on the faceoff dot, and LW is breaking for the net.

What does D1 do? Does he challenge the C with the puck and leave the LW open for a return pass which opens up the 2 on 1 down low in the slot? Does he cover the LW and let the C walk right in on goal? I know the backchecking C on the defending team should be taking the C, but that doesn't always happen when guys are tired or lazy.

I (as D1) generally try to challenge the C while staying in the passing lane to the LW, but it's generally impossible to avoid giving up a high quality chance there.


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08-23-2010, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Headcoach View Post
Ah, this is the second rule or foundation in learning how to read and react. If you know or see someone that is heading into your skating lane as you are going up the ice, or within your defensive zone and he hasn't head manned the puck to you
You said head manned so I am assuming I am AHEAD of the knucklehead that is not passing to me? Yes, happens all the time. But usually he is not crossing, he is just skating in his lane, such as center lane. So as a winger, I have no choice but to stop hard at the blue line not offside him. Even if he starts crossing, it is too late for me to do the same and cross into his lane -- I will bump into him.

Quote:
, chances are that the knucklehead will not pass the puck to you. But that doesn't mean that you are not responsible for positioning on the line, as you attack.

If the knucklehead crosses over into your zone, then you must cross into his zone by crossing over behind him.
So how do I cross behind him if I am ahead of him? Do I stop and wait?

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Old
08-24-2010, 03:42 PM
  #23
Jarick
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Originally Posted by Injektilo View Post
I got a question about playing a 3 on 2 as a Dman.
I would pick up the guy WITHOUT the puck and let the goalie take care of the shooter.

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Old
08-27-2010, 08:13 AM
  #24
Crosbyfan
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Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
I would pick up the guy WITHOUT the puck and let the goalie take care of the shooter.
As long as the OTHER TWO are fighting each other for the puck that just might work.

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Old
08-28-2010, 01:59 AM
  #25
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Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
You know I've played from 6-19, took an 8 year break from competitive hockey in which I forgot alot of the basics, but this video has helped me out alot since I've returned to playing regularly.

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