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Question for D-Men - how do I play my position?

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07-31-2011, 03:22 AM
  #1
uncleodb
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Question for D-Men - how do I play my position?

Hi guys,

Sorry if this has already been covered already. I tried searching, but couldn't find my answer. Here's my scenario: I'm a defense man near the offensive blue line. I see that the play has turned over, so I start skating backwards as they make a breakout pass to their winger. I'm now in a 1-on-1 situation skating backwards into my defensive zone. I know I should keep the winger to the outside and try to knock the puck away from him. Let's say I am able to knock the puck away into the corner or he's forced to go into the corner. Here is where I'm confused. Do I go into the corner with the winger to fight for the puck? Or do I stay with my goalie to help block a pass or a wrap around attempt from that winger? I've tried both with mixed results. I'm wondering if there is a rule of thumb I should follow? Maybe this also depends on my goalie? I've had him yell at me to stay near the front of him, and another yell to go get em.

Thanks!

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07-31-2011, 03:57 AM
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nullterm
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If it's a 2-on-1 and no support, then take the pass. Let the goalie worry about the shooter.

If you have support (d partner or center), then go into the corner.

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07-31-2011, 05:32 AM
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Noir
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^ what that guy said.

Unless you're alone on an odd man rush, always go to the corner. Your other D is supposed to cover the middle while u force the play on the corner. If your other D is at odds with the opposition, your backcheckers (usually center) should be helping him which keeps at least 2 people helping out your goalie.

Can't let the other team set up on the corner with ease. Of course, this is dependent on how good your teammates are and if they will actually cover for you, for you to be able to make the proper plays.

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07-31-2011, 09:05 AM
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Ollie Queen
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In my own experience as a d-man I've felt that, in addition to what kind of support you have, it depends on how you play him into the corner as well.

If you force him to the outside but you're a full stick length away and he's skating freely but just has no way of cutting to the middle, following him to the corner is probably going to result in you getting burned and you should probably stay above the goal line and try to keep him in the corners/behind the net with your positioning until the rest of the play develops in the zone. Once the rest of your team has gotten back and you have someone else down low to cover the front of the net, you can go pursue him in the corner if you've kept him there. Don't want to give him all the time and space to make a play from the corner, just don't want to chase him if you know you're going to lose that race either.

If you force him to the outside by getting your stick on his stick or the puck, disrupting his puck control, or maybe even making a little contact, follow him to the corner (or you might even be able to just push him to the boards) and pin him. You're on top of him, in a little closer in this situation (which makes a huge difference) and he doesn't have the space to accelerate around you, and he's probably having a tough time keeping the puck on his blade with you harassing him this tightly, so it's the perfect opportunity to pin him up and battle for the puck or wait for support.

The difference, to me, is that when you've got him to the outside but it's just by keeping your stick in his lanes and angling him, and you haven't knocked the puck off his stick or made physical contact, it's going to be easier for him to just accelerate around the net and you're going to be caught beneath the goal line. If you're making body contact and knocking the puck off his stick, he doesn't have the speed, control or separation to beat you around the net.

Usually, I find it's the faster players who you end up having to angle and the average/slower ones who you can play tighter anyways, so it makes sense that you wouldn't follow the faster player down low unless you know you can keep him pinned there.

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08-01-2011, 09:42 AM
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Jarick
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IMO, you should cover the front of the net and hope that a backchecker goes to take him. A forward in the cornet with the puck seems to beat the defenseman almost every time, and that means a one-timer into an empty net or a 2-on-0.

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08-01-2011, 10:17 AM
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Bruwinz37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
IMO, you should cover the front of the net and hope that a backchecker goes to take him. A forward in the cornet with the puck seems to beat the defenseman almost every time, and that means a one-timer into an empty net or a 2-on-0.
No, he should only protect the middle if he is alone on an odd man rush. Otherwise take the man into the corner with the intent of winning the puck or tying it up to provide time for your teammates to come back and support. If you dont take him into the corner you allow possession to the forward which is what you dont want.

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08-01-2011, 11:02 AM
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His question was what to do after the 1-on-1 if he knocks the puck into the corner. Obviously on an odd man rush you stay between the two players cheating to the side of the open man (i.e. don't just let the puck carrier walk in on net).

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08-01-2011, 11:26 AM
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Bruwinz37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
His question was what to do after the 1-on-1 if he knocks the puck into the corner. Obviously on an odd man rush you stay between the two players cheating to the side of the open man (i.e. don't just let the puck carrier walk in on net).
And I noted that the only time you stay in the middle is on an odd man rush so I am not sure what you are getting at. Your "opinion" to remain in front of the net and hope for a backchecker to pursue the puck into the corner is not the right hockey play.

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08-01-2011, 11:44 AM
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You're coming back on a 1-on-1 and knock the puck into the corner, where the forward gets the puck. Meanwhile, there's a trailer on the play (their team) that goes to the front of the net. Apparently, nobody's backchecking for your team.

Option 1: go into the corner and try to block the pass from the forward in the corner to the forward up front. Personally, every time I do this the guy just makes the pass anyways because he's got enough room to just move around me. The goalie has to hug the post which means the forward in front has an open tap-in.

Option 2: tie up the guy in front of the net, taking away the pass option and allowing the goalie to hug the post without worrying about the backdoor play. The forward in the corner can either hold the puck (giving time for reinforcements) or drive to the side of the net, which is a pretty low percentage scoring opportunity.

That's my interpretation anyway.

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08-01-2011, 10:35 PM
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uncleodb
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Thanks for all the advice guys! It gives me a lot to think about. Sometimes, I feel like I'm the only D-Man back so it turns out to be either a 1-on-1 situation, or an odd man rush, so I get confused on what the right play is. Now if I can just get my D partner to come back quicker, I'd have some backup.

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08-02-2011, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
His question was what to do after the 1-on-1 if he knocks the puck into the corner. Obviously on an odd man rush you stay between the two players cheating to the side of the open man (i.e. don't just let the puck carrier walk in on net).
The other poster is right. If you're playing your man right, and you were close enough to knock the puck into the corner in the first place, you should be right on top of him, take him into the corner and have him tied up before he even regains control of the puck. In a contact league, have him pinned. Playing defense is really all about gap control; if you keep your gap tight like you should in that situation, you should have no problem taking the forward into the corner without giving him space to make a feed out front.

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08-02-2011, 04:55 AM
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you definitely go into the corner and do not concede possession of the puck. you make sure that even if that player regains possession, he has a hell of a time doing anything with it. backing off to cover any potential threats from the middle is too passive, and not your job in this play. that would be the job of your defense partner.

if it comes back to bite you, and they get the pass through and score, then it's either your fault for not impeding the passing player enough, or it's your teammate's fault for not playing his end of the equation well... but it certainly wouldn't be your fault because you stayed with the play and contested his possession of the puck. anyone that faults you for that is either too passive or oblivious to the job of defensemen.

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08-02-2011, 09:46 AM
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Im usually on the wing..but I've been playing D alot on my summer league team, which I've never really played. What am I supposed to do if the faceoff is won to me in our own zone? I tend to throw the puck high off the glass hoping for one of the wings to beat an opposing player to it. Is this wrong? It worked a few times..however one time I chipped it off the high glass off the faceoff and went right to the other teams D man and gave up a deflection goal.

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08-02-2011, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwitz04 View Post
Im usually on the wing..but I've been playing D alot on my summer league team, which I've never really played. What am I supposed to do if the faceoff is won to me in our own zone? I tend to throw the puck high off the glass hoping for one of the wings to beat an opposing player to it. Is this wrong? It worked a few times..however one time I chipped it off the high glass off the faceoff and went right to the other teams D man and gave up a deflection goal.
All depends on the pressure, if you get it back to you in the corner see if you have the option to take it behind the net by either carrying it or just throwing it around the boards if you have a player there. Of course doing what you were doing is also an option aslong as you got a winger there and you know they can get it atleast out of the zone or close enough to breakup a play.

@uncleodb - Didnt read if you were in beer league or not, but youll find almost noone likes to play D in them. This leads to people just not caring, or not aware of what they need to do, so as a legit dman you will get hung out to dry alot, but no worries your goalie will feel that pain too so you arent alone!

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08-02-2011, 10:44 AM
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Steelhead16
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Keep it simple and don't over think it. I'm assuming that if you are having fundamental questions like this that you are not playing at a high level. (My answer would change some if you are)

If you are playing someone 1 on 1 continue playing that guy into the corner even if someone is coming open down the middle. Don't leave your guy to cover someone else's guy who has failed to do his job. 2 reasons: First, your chances are much better forcing a guy to make a perfect pass out of the corner with a defender on him or in the way than you do trying to stand in no mans land and try and intercept a pass. Second, your goalie knows what you are doing and can focus on one thing. If he knows that he only needs to play the guy driving down the middle he can be in position early for that. If you just stand in the middle he has to worry about the puck carrier keeping the puck and coming out in front from either side of the net or passing to the guy coming down the middle or you blocking the pass or it hitting you and deflecting on him. Just let him know what he needs to do.

People make defense a lot harder than it needs to be. The fundamental job of a defenseman is to limit options. As much as you might want to you can't stop every shot or every pass or every goal so don't kill yourself trying to. I coach all my defenseman (in high school) to let your goalie know what he needs to do with as much time as possible to do it. Don't go back and forth and be wishy washy and make him have to play the opponent and play you.

I have fundamental rules for my defensemen in different situations and my goalies know what they are. They know what the defenseman will do and they know what their job is as well. You can't do more than that and you shouldn't be asked to.

I realize that in lower level mens leagues you have a wide range of hockey knowledge and a lot guys just point fingers and yell a lot. And most of the time they are the guys with the least amount of real hockey knowledge. My advice to you is to do YOUR job well and get better at that. If you do that you will move up and play with better players and the yellers will keep yelling at guys at the same level forever.

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08-02-2011, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwitz04 View Post
Im usually on the wing..but I've been playing D alot on my summer league team, which I've never really played. What am I supposed to do if the faceoff is won to me in our own zone? I tend to throw the puck high off the glass hoping for one of the wings to beat an opposing player to it. Is this wrong? It worked a few times..however one time I chipped it off the high glass off the faceoff and went right to the other teams D man and gave up a deflection goal.
Yeah chipping the puck up the glass withouht a purpose is wrong. You're just giving it away.

First thing to do it move your feet. The more you stay in your corner, the easier you are to take the puck from. The easy option to to skate behind your own net for some seperation and to give time to your forwards to move.

Alternatively you can pass it to your D partner who should give you an outlet pass behind the net. That make for a much faster break out.

Anothereasy play that I try once in a while, is I just chip the puck right away to the open winger. If a forward presses you, then one of your forward has to be open, just a quick chip should give him the puck. It usually works good with the center, because very often if the other center charges you, your center just hobbles around the faceoff circle happy that he won the faceoff and the defenseman are near the blue line, so there is room. You have to have confidence in yourself though.

It also works with the winger, but in that case try to bounce it off the board so the puck comes back on his blade instead of having him fight the puck on the board. (actually try that too for your d passes since if your partner has to get the puck off the board, then he's not facing the play anymore. Try to bounce it at an angle behind the net so he gets it on his front side)

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08-02-2011, 12:59 PM
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jwitz04
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Originally Posted by jacklours View Post
Yeah chipping the puck up the glass withouht a purpose is wrong. You're just giving it away.

First thing to do it move your feet. The more you stay in your corner, the easier you are to take the puck from. The easy option to to skate behind your own net for some seperation and to give time to your forwards to move.

Alternatively you can pass it to your D partner who should give you an outlet pass behind the net. That make for a much faster break out.

Anothereasy play that I try once in a while, is I just chip the puck right away to the open winger. If a forward presses you, then one of your forward has to be open, just a quick chip should give him the puck. It usually works good with the center, because very often if the other center charges you, your center just hobbles around the faceoff circle happy that he won the faceoff and the defenseman are near the blue line, so there is room. You have to have confidence in yourself though.

It also works with the winger, but in that case try to bounce it off the board so the puck comes back on his blade instead of having him fight the puck on the board. (actually try that too for your d passes since if your partner has to get the puck off the board, then he's not facing the play anymore. Try to bounce it at an angle behind the net so he gets it on his front side)
Thanks alot for the advice that's very helpful, definitely gonna put it to use next game.

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08-03-2011, 05:00 PM
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uncleodb
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All depends on the pressure, if you get it back to you in the corner see if you have the option to take it behind the net by either carrying it or just throwing it around the boards if you have a player there. Of course doing what you were doing is also an option aslong as you got a winger there and you know they can get it atleast out of the zone or close enough to breakup a play.

@uncleodb - Didnt read if you were in beer league or not, but youll find almost noone likes to play D in them. This leads to people just not caring, or not aware of what they need to do, so as a legit dman you will get hung out to dry alot, but no worries your goalie will feel that pain too so you arent alone!
I started playing hockey when i was in college, so I have only played non-competitive recreational hockey for 10+ years now. I have joined a low level league starting in the fall (first time for me). You're right on; since I've been playing non-competitively, I'm hung out to dry alot. I'm hoping this will change though with the league.

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