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Backcheck: First forward in defensive zone

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Old
09-05-2011, 03:07 PM
  #1
Guffaw
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Backcheck: First forward in defensive zone

Hey guys. We got bounced from the playoffs last week, 8-3 score, and one thing was blatantly apparent. Defensive zone assignments were a cluster....

Here's what happens. I play wing. I'm one of the better skaters on the team and pretty responsible defensively so many times I'm high in the slot in the offensive zone and the first forward back in our zone as a result.

Let's say it's a 2 on 2 and both of our D are back. I'm the first forward back in my defensive zone. What is my responsibility? I'm a winger so I was hanging at the top of the circle to cover their point man(when he eventually got there). Unfortunately our center was nowhere to be found and most of their goals were scored from the slot. I felt like I could have stopped it.

If I'm first forward back do I just assume the centers responsibility and pick up the 3rd man or help the D out? Do we eventually switch back?

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09-05-2011, 03:11 PM
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BadHammy*
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That's for your whole team to decide. You can opt to make it a 2 on 3 and try to force a turnover, high risk, high reward. You could also play patiently, just assume your normal position and wait. It's best to talk with the Dmen on the ice about it.

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09-05-2011, 03:15 PM
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Guffaw
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Originally Posted by BadHammy View Post
That's for your whole team to decide. You can opt to make it a 2 on 3 and try to force a turnover, high risk, high reward. You could also play patiently, just assume your normal position and wait. It's best to talk with the Dmen on the ice about it.
OK thanks. Let's say I leave it a 2 on 2. At the very least I have to pick up their next forward coming into the zone correct?

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09-05-2011, 03:42 PM
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Looks like the first forward back(assume its a winger) takes the low man or centers responsibilities until if and when a switch can be made with the center.

Looks like I was part of the problem. Makes sense to me. Goals are scored from down low most of the time. It's the bigger threat.

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09-05-2011, 03:59 PM
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The way I was taught is that a normal defense is essentially a matchup zone, where you've got a responsibility to an area (as a winger, covering your point) but you've got a primary responsibility to make sure there's a body on on every player on the other team. If you're in the defensive zone, you should never be standing around defending empty space. So if you're the first forward back, you've got to pick up whoever that third player is until your center gets back into the zone.

The biggest key is communication with your teammates so that you know when to switch assignments once everyone gets back.

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09-05-2011, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritter471 View Post
The way I was taught is that a normal defense is essentially a matchup zone, where you've got a responsibility to an area (as a winger, covering your point) but you've got a primary responsibility to make sure there's a body on on every player on the other team. If you're in the defensive zone, you should never be standing around defending empty space. So if you're the first forward back, you've got to pick up whoever that third player is until your center gets back into the zone.

The biggest key is communication with your teammates so that you know when to switch assignments once everyone gets back.
Good post, this is what I would do as well. Even though positionally, as a winger you should be covering your point, once you jump into the play defensively and make it a 3 on 2 instead, your center should pick up on this and cover your assignment as you're covering his.

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09-06-2011, 02:30 AM
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As a goalie, I often make suggestions for my team's defensive efforts... We use a pretty general (and easy) zone containment strategy.

If you're the first to enter the zone, you immediately take responsibility for the entire defensive zone. Your immediate course of action is to check the puck carrier, attempt to prevent the pass and keep the puck carrier from entering the slot or (since I play non-contact beer league) work the carrier out of the slot upon the pass.

If two are in the defensive zone, they split the defensive zone in half (left and right) based on where the puck is at (the puck acts as the divider). Whichever side the puck carrier is on, that skater checks the puck, the other side defends against the pass.

After that, it should be an even rush...

For 5 on 5 defense:

Wingers: Zone from the blue line to the faceoff dots, separated down the middle. Wingers have the least defensive responsibility. They pretty much just prevent the pass and ensure the opposing d-man does not have a clean break to the slot.

Center: Given "rover" priveleges but MUST check the opposition if they break to the slot or a puck carrier is in the slot. Center generally owns the slot but can rove to the faceoff dots and behind the net.

Defensemen: Everything below the faceoff dots and behind the net. When the puck comes down low, one d-man always checks the carrier, the other ALWAYS defends against the pass on his side of responsibility. Rule of thumb: Never have two d-men behind the net. Worst case scenario a d-man and a center are behind the net.

General Strategy: When the offense sets up, the puck carrier is immediately checked by the player who owns the specific zone. all other players contain their zones to defend against the pass. Players contain their zone with the ultimate goal to keep the puck out of the slot at all costs and either cause turnovers due to consistant pressure on the carriers or intercepted passes. The strategy allows the puck to cycle along the boards but is meant to prevent the puck from entering the containment zone.

Pros: Easy to learn, simple in concept. Very safe defensive strategy. Suited very well for players of all skill levels.

Cons: Is a reactive defensive style and thus, takes up a good amount of time in your own zone. Tends to screen the goalie since the strategy keeps the puck along the boards and the blue line.

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09-06-2011, 02:59 AM
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This is what should happened:

The D must step up hard and take the body of the player with the puck. You, as the first man back, must be in a position so that you can support the D. Take the puck if he takes the body, or take the player if he manage to get around the D (often the player with the puck will be easy to pickpocket after he has been forced to go around the D).

Due to the crackdown on clutching and grabbin, we however see less and less of the above in the game today. The D's opt to back down and just try to stay between the net and the puck at all costs, so that they atleast can disturb the shot/block it.

If this happend:
You job is of course to make sure to have the trailing man. Which can be very hard on the backcheck. But again, a little is always a helluva lot more than nothing. If you just are in a position to disturb the trailing player a little, if he gets the pass, it makes his job alot more tough than if he is all alone.

A wing in a centers position:
Once on defense in the defense zone, I recon that you play man-man and than you just stay with the man you get. Its often not that hard to change back to your natrual position, but you need to make sure that you are on the same page as the player you are changing with.

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09-08-2011, 01:11 PM
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Holy ****. on a 2 on 2 where each opposing player is covered by a D-man, your goalie has to be making those saves; That or your D-man aren't doing their job properly.


Anyways, regardless of any situation or which position you play, if you're the first forward back, you usually help out your defensemens by covering the "trailer" (3rd opposing player trailing), or increasing pressure on puck carrier to limit his options.


It's a team game. When your center is well behind the play, wingers should compensate and take over the role for that specific play. Just like when D'men have to pinch deep offensively, usually whoever is closest to the position takes up and covers the void defensive slot; regardless if you're a forward. Same idea with respect to wingers when you find your centerman is out of the play for whatever reasons occur in the game.


Last edited by Noir: 09-08-2011 at 01:17 PM.
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09-08-2011, 04:31 PM
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Stay high and make sure a third man doesn't get involved in the play. A lot of times those guys come "out of nowhere". For your team I'd ask the goalie if the D is screening the shots or what. I'll bet that's what's happening.

Defensive positioning has been horrid on every time I've played on or seen at the adult level. It's a simple concept that absolutely nobody understands or agrees upon. Half the guys are yelling from the bench to be aggressive and attack the puck carrier and the other half are yelling to stay in your position and cut off lanes. I typically play conservative and cover the man instead of the zone and it works well.

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09-08-2011, 05:05 PM
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Hero
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If it's a two on two you shouldn't have to worry about a goal from the slot, if the one d-man is covering the shooting lane properly and the other is on his man this should be a routine save for your goalie. But if you can do the swap, I don't see why not, your team must have enough communication that if you step into your C's spot he can see the switch, and once you regain the puck circle in your own zone, reset up and go.

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09-08-2011, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hero View Post
If it's a two on two you shouldn't have to worry about a goal from the slot, if the one d-man is covering the shooting lane properly and the other is on his man this should be a routine save for your goalie. But if you can do the swap, I don't see why not, your team must have enough communication that if you step into your C's spot he can see the switch, and once you regain the puck circle in your own zone, reset up and go.
Sorry I must not have been clear. It's a 2 on 2 initially. There are 6 other skaters on the ice. I'm asking what my defensive responsibility is as the first forward back in the zone for the duration the puck is in our zone. My concern is not the 2 on 2.

I agree on the adult level comment. The teams that talk about this stuff and get it sorted dominate the teams that don't even when the skill level is the same on both teams.

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09-08-2011, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Guffaw View Post
Hey guys. We got bounced from the playoffs last week, 8-3 score, and one thing was blatantly apparent. Defensive zone assignments were a cluster....

Here's what happens. I play wing. I'm one of the better skaters on the team and pretty responsible defensively so many times I'm high in the slot in the offensive zone and the first forward back in our zone as a result.

Let's say it's a 2 on 2 and both of our D are back. I'm the first forward back in my defensive zone. What is my responsibility? I'm a winger so I was hanging at the top of the circle to cover their point man(when he eventually got there). Unfortunately our center was nowhere to be found and most of their goals were scored from the slot. I felt like I could have stopped it.

If I'm first forward back do I just assume the centers responsibility and pick up the 3rd man or help the D out? Do we eventually switch back?
As first forward back you are F1. Your job is to pressure the puck carrier, defend the primary scoring areas, and help out the D, not to cover the point man who is not even there yet.

Your centres job if caught up ice is to cover the weak side point (mid blue line) as F2 or strong side point (near the boards) as F3 until he can safely initiate a switch with you.

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09-09-2011, 10:19 AM
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An important point, if you go after the puck carrier, it is the way you approach him. In my rec. league I see a lot of chasing and back pressure on the forward which is not the best way to cut-down on the opportunities. It does little to prevent him from passing, especially since you left the middle ice open, and it's much harder to challenge for the puck when you're behind him.
Your D should have his shot covered and prevent him from going on the outside, if you come slightly down the middle between the two forwards and towards the puck carrier you prevent the pass option, and you also prevent the dangerous inside cut-in where he can take the shot from the slot.hockey.jpg

Also follows the basic rule from Lemieux, go where the puck is going to be; anticipate a pass, or cut-in, instead of just chasing the man from behind.


Last edited by Fulcrum: 09-09-2011 at 10:24 AM.
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09-10-2011, 04:01 PM
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An important point, if you go after the puck carrier, it is the way you approach him. In my rec. league I see a lot of chasing and back pressure on the forward which is not the best way to cut-down on the opportunities. It does little to prevent him from passing, especially since you left the middle ice open, and it's much harder to challenge for the puck when you're behind him.
Your D should have his shot covered and prevent him from going on the outside, if you come slightly down the middle between the two forwards and towards the puck carrier you prevent the pass option, and you also prevent the dangerous inside cut-in where he can take the shot from the slot.Attachment 48099

Also follows the basic rule from Lemieux, go where the puck is going to be; anticipate a pass, or cut-in, instead of just chasing the man from behind.
Your idea seems fine, but what about the other 3 players on the opposing team coming into my zone? If I commit to the puck carrier as you say, who gets their 3rd man if my center or other winger dont?

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09-14-2011, 10:09 AM
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I agree, your 1st responsibility as a forward should be the the trailing 3rd attacker on their team, but if he is far back enough (behind the centerline..) and you feel that you can steal the puck from the forward by adding pressure than it's just a matter of what angle you choose to cut him off.

As a winger, I always look back to see where their 3rd is and where the defensman are to cutoff a pinch. Even being the first forward back.

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09-14-2011, 11:50 AM
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Uh if they're going down 2 on 2 and you're the first forward back, you're picking up their 3rd forward who should be trailing high..

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09-15-2011, 09:21 PM
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Uh if they're going down 2 on 2 and you're the first forward back, you're picking up their 3rd forward who should be trailing high..
Gotcha and I agree. However it's not always that clear. If there's an obvious 3rd man that's got our other 2 forwards beat then I take him for sure. I just need to know what my general assignment is in case it's not clear cut ie. there's a grouping of players coming into the zone etc. If it's not clear cut I would rather come down into the slot to help out my D in case they get beat or be able to pick up the 3rd man.

I think it's whatever your team agrees on. Unfortunately my centers respond "Oh no I've got the slot, just take your point man" and then we give up 6-8 goals a game, 90% of which are from the slot.

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09-19-2011, 02:05 PM
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Stay high and make sure a third man doesn't get involved in the play. A lot of times those guys come "out of nowhere". For your team I'd ask the goalie if the D is screening the shots or what. I'll bet that's what's happening.

Defensive positioning has been horrid on every time I've played on or seen at the adult level. It's a simple concept that absolutely nobody understands or agrees upon. Half the guys are yelling from the bench to be aggressive and attack the puck carrier and the other half are yelling to stay in your position and cut off lanes. I typically play conservative and cover the man instead of the zone and it works well.
Agree with this. First forward gets the trailer which is most likely their 3rd F.

*Once the opposing team passes the red line.

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09-25-2011, 10:45 PM
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TwInS1095
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. I was like 1000 words in and my thing X'ed out. Let me try again. AHHH I'd been typing for like 20 minutes. It's not going to be as detailed (sorry)

Alright 2nd times a charm.

To know where to be defensively you have to know what the offense is trying to do...

F1-Will be driving hard to the outside with speed in attempt to either draw the defense with him and open up passing lanes or drive the net hard in an attempt to get a garbage goal. His passing options are to escape and drop the puck to the point or the trailer
(f3). Or slide try to hit F2 backdoor on the far post. Shootin options: He can also drive to the nearpost in attempt to create chaos in front of the net and some type of garbage goal. Or a shot from a wide angle in an attempt to create a rebound goal.

F2-Will be busting his @$$ to the far post. His job is to screen the goalie or redirect a rebound or a back door pass.



F3-Will be timing the first forward and trailing the play. He is the optimal target for the attacking team. Hitting him in the high slot is a great scoring chance as F1 will be driving to the net and F3 will be there screening.


The defense will just be supporting the play like always.

Knowing that here's the defensive side of it...

On a 2-2 your goalie and defense should be alright as long as one of them doesn't get beat...

D1 (Covering the puckcarrier)-His job should be to not worry about the puck and step up near the blue line and stop F1's forward momentum and seperate him from the puck.

D2 (covering F2) should be on his man breaking up any passes and clearing him away from the net once the F2 gets there.

F1-The first forward back will be reading the play. He should sort of be in a trail position following the play. (It's never a bad play in this situation to just go after F2. The man without the puck is the most dangerous) But if D1 steps up and disrupts F1 then the DF1 should go regain possesion of that loose puck. However, if D1 gets beat. D2 has to step up and fill that gap so F1 can't walk in all alone. So, than you as the first forward back have to make sure to be covering there F2 who is driving the net to break up any passes and clear him out so your goalie can see. (Which is why it's never bad to just help your D out with F2)

F2-F2 is probably picking up the trailing offensive F3. And breaking up any passes to him. However, If F3 is nowhere to be found than he can follow to the hashmarks to help support the play. Meaning go after the puck assuming it's probably tied down in the corner or on the halfway by this point. (while making sure F3 isn't sneaking in somewhere)

F3-Should be picking up the remaining trailers ie. point man or F3.

Hockey is all read and react. Set positions are only for the face off. You have to make sure the whole team knows everyone else's defensive assignments as they will probably be forced to cover every situation at some point during the game. You can switch back to your set defensive situation when things calm down. But you should never just be covering empty space


I'm really sorry I had this whole like freakin' essay typed up and I was really proud of myself, but my window decided to close. I hope this helps anyway!! This is just hockey in it's most basic form. No big twists or anything.

EDIT: Obviously you pick up the 3rd trailer if he is coming into the zone at the same time you (F1) are....


Last edited by TwInS1095: 09-27-2011 at 05:06 PM.
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