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Offensive zone strategy / Hockey IQ

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Old
01-10-2013, 05:25 PM
  #1
Stickchecked
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Offensive zone strategy / Hockey IQ

Everyone always talks about how to play D but few people talk about how to play without the puck during sustained pressure in the offensive zone.

Lately I've been finding myself a little lost in the o-zone and not contributing all that much to the team's effort. Sometimes I park myself in front of the goalie for too long or fail to react appropriately to how the puck is moving around the zone. Other times I feel like I've stopped skating and just sort of pivot around, facing where the puck is.

Aside from going to the goalie to screen a shot or look for a rebound (not everyone can go to the goalie) I tend to look for open ice to receive a pass. But lately I just feel like I've been really out of sync. I do my best trying to anticipate and react to where I think the puck is going to go, but to be frank, my defensive instincts are far better than my offensive ones.

So any suggestions are appreciated. Are there any good books / sites out there for this kind of stuff? Again, I'm not asking about odd man rushes, I'm talking about strategies for how to play without the puck once your team is sustaining pressure in the offensive zone. Everything blue line in.

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01-10-2013, 09:15 PM
  #2
Shanahanigans
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Give the puck carrier options. Don't get out of position, but always stay moving and always find soft spots where you're open and the puck carrier(s) can get a pass to you.

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01-10-2013, 11:03 PM
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Leo Trollmarov
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Like the poster above me said, keep moving. I hate when players just stand there and expect me to be the one, as the puck carrier, to find a line to you. It is far easier and effective to do it the other way. Also make noise. Bang you stick, call for the puck (even if you don't want it) it will help distract some players and force them to cover your line. BUT if the carrier sees you, stay quiet and try and sneak in the back for a quick pass.

There is so much I could keep going on about, but I'll leave that to others.

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01-10-2013, 11:41 PM
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Wilch
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You need to read what your teammates are doing.

If your D is pinching in, help cover them. Fill in the empty spaces, be where your teammates aren't. If they're on the left side, go to the slot or right side. If nobody is close to the wall, be there to receive it in case they need to play the puck off the boards. Keep your feet moving at all times, otherwise you'd be too easy to cover.

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01-11-2013, 12:29 PM
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neksys
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As long as you are moving, you're a threat. As long as you're a threat, a guy has to stay on you. If a guy is on you, that guy can't be elsewhere - for example, double-teaming the puck carrier.

I'm a pretty poor player by every measure, so I just get back to basics.

If my linemates are fairly skilled and I'm the weak link (which is always), I typically just stay in constant motion, rotating between the slot, the half boards and the front of the net. Even if I don't manage to shake my guy and get wide open in the slot, for example, I might draw two guys to me, which opens up a lot of options for my linemates. Similarly, if I can't get open in front, just darting back to the wall gives my guys an option to relieve pressure - or at least draws a defender away from the front of the net.

Just keeping my feet moving keeps me in the play. If you are standing still you can't react on the fly which is, I imagine, why you feel like a spectator. Pucks find their way to you when you move your feet.

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01-11-2013, 12:41 PM
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Thanks to the earlier comments, I did much better today. I'm definitely the weak link on the line combinations but managed to contribute a bit more to the effort.

I'm still that guy that consistently fumbles the puck after it comes to me along the boards. Really frustrating and difficult to improve.

Having said that, since cutting two inches off of my stick, once I do have control of the puck, I'm a lot more head-up/have a lot more patience holding onto the puck and have started to make some really sweet passes that directly lead to scoring chances. I'm finding I'm definitely more of a pass first player and starting to have a knack for finding those seams.

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01-11-2013, 01:23 PM
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Ask someone at the rink about maintaining a triangle and keeping third Forward high.

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01-11-2013, 02:49 PM
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No solutions, just sympathy. I am completely useless in the O zone without the puck. Really doesn't matter what I do, I'm just not a factor. I can go behind the net, in front of the net, near post, far post, high slot, I still never touch the puck because at our level there just aren't any pretty plays.

About the only useful thing I can do is screen the goalie and tip the puck when someone shoots from out far, but then of course nobody's there to put in the rebound. If I go to where the rebound should be, then the pass gets cut off by their D.

Otherwise I just go park on the far boards because when the other team gets the puck they ring it around the boards and if I get their first I can get a shot on net or shovel it back in along the boards. Our defensemen couldn't hold the puck at the point if it were stopped inside the blueline so I have to do that for them.

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01-11-2013, 05:39 PM
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do0glas
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Timing is important, as is communication.

Depending on who has the puck i try to be an easy cover for the D, just to move them out of the way...think like a decoy.

during sustained pressure, if you are a winger you really want to be good at those half boards. your center should consistently head behind the net to give you an option.

my main goal is to always be a board option. typically everyone wants to slide into the slot to get that nice shot off, but i find that giving them the option of putting it on the boards will help open people up in dangerous positions.

You have to really want to puck to, you cant be timid.

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01-13-2013, 09:57 AM
  #10
tarheelhockey
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If nothing else, move in a triangle between the half-boards, the slot, and the lower boards. Just keep moving around like that, using some hockey-sense as to when you change positions (ie, don't go to the slot at the same time someone else is driving the slot).

It's surprising how many times you can get the puck on the boards.

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01-13-2013, 02:42 PM
  #11
Devil Dancer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by do0glas View Post
Timing is important, as is communication.
This is important. At lower levels guys often skate with their heads down, and don't have the vision to find you no matter where you are, so you have to talk if you want the puck. So don't be afraid to call for the pass, because your linemates may not know that you're wide open at the back door.

Also, don't be offended if your linemate decides not to pass it to you. He may think he has a good shot from his position, he might see someone else on your team as a better option, or he might just not like you.

I'm usually a pass-first guy, and it's extremely helpful when my linemates yell at me to let me know where they are, especially when I dig a puck out of the corner and need a pass option immediately.

In short: Talk, talk, talk!

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01-13-2013, 03:56 PM
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Steelhead16
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You can make a big contribution without the puck in the offensive zone. You talked about parking in front of the net so I am assuming that you are a forward????
A lot of people are saying to keep moving. I don't really coach kids to move for the sake of moving. Move, but move for a reason. Move to a good spot for receiving a pass and taking a quality shot. Move to set a screen for the puck carrier. Move to screen the goalie. Or you can move to a place that will do nothing except take a defender with you to open up ice for a teammate. A common setup in the offensive zone is a guy in the high slot and a guy on the far post from the puck carrier. I like to rotate out of that position with my two forwards. I have my high guy back down to the far post which usually brings his defender with him and opens up the slot. Then my guy who was low reads the puck carrier and either stays put to leave the puck carrier room to move into the open slot or rotates up real quick to receive a pass and shoot.
If you play with the same line most of the time talk to them and try and work as a group so no matter who "A", "B or "C" are you know what to do and what the others will do.
Moving just for the sake of moving or moving to an open spot is a waste of time and energy. I had a kid last year (High School Varsity) whine all the time about being open and nobody would ever pass to him. I explained to him 100 times that he is open because he is in a place that nobody needs to cover him like the half wall on the opposite side of the puck, or above the faceoff circles.
So come up with a plan with your teammates and work as a unit. Not sure of your skill level so I won't get into cycling the puck, but that is another option as well.

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01-13-2013, 08:57 PM
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RandV
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This is the one thing I'm actually quite good at in hockey, but it all comes naturally to me so it's hard to say how you can teach it. Certainly it should be something you can improve though if you study and put work into it can be improved.

The best suggestion I could make to start, in addition to what others have said here, is to first make sure you understand the different positions you can take, then make sure you know how your linemates play and what they can/can't do.

For example, in front of the net I take a different position for screening the goalie, receiving a tap-in pass, and catching a rebound. You can slide behind the net to give a team mate an easy pass, into the slot for a scoring chance if the pucks behind the net, or towards the board to fight for a loose puck or cut off a defender from clearing. If all else fails it always helps if you can create space for the puck carrier by taking a defender with you.

As for your line mates, if you're playing with another winger that likes to screen as well make sure you're not trying to do the same thing at the same time, if he has the screen slide into the rebound slot or behind the net. If the puck carrier isn't much of a passer and can't find the seems there's no point lining up for the cross crease tap in pass. If he can dangle and has a good shot, then you're better off focusing on taking a defender with you than getting open for a pass. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the best way you do that is by sticking close enough to the other go so they can see and are aware of you, so when you back off a little it divides their attention.

That's the best I can think of, hope it helps.

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01-14-2013, 07:30 AM
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After sparing for a much lower skilled pickup, I've come to the conclusion that constantly playing above my ability is stunting my growth. I can skate with my normal group no problem but my stick handling ability is weak. I have limited time and space to do anything, when I get the puck I often flub it and I'm now finding that I get passed to less and less often which affords me even less opportunity to improve.

I don't blame the other guys, I get how one might not want to make a pass to someone who is just going to turn it over. I just need to incorporate more ice time where I'm on the higher end of skill level.

And before anyone mentions hockey classes, I've done many and they've become really remedial for me. If I could find a straight up drill session, something where they aren't going to go through the mechanics of a wrist shot or tight turns AGAIN, where they just run it like a practice, I'd sign up in a jiffy.

Having said all of this, I just tweaked my knee last week, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to get onto the ice next.

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01-14-2013, 10:39 AM
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Jarick
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Good stuff in here guys.

I just started watching basketball this year (thanks NHL) and learned about the pick and roll. I wonder if it could be useful, especially at the lower levels, to set small picks (not enough contact to draw interference) to make room for the puck carrier, or when working in front of the net (screen, a little bump and turn to go for the rebound).

Stick, maybe you can find or organize a little 3-on-3 or 4-on-4 small area work? That is so much fun and helpful for the hands and offensive creativity. Instead of trying to skate 200 ft and guys able to use superior breakaway speed, it's all about positioning and puck movement.

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01-14-2013, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Good stuff in here guys.

I just started watching basketball this year (thanks NHL) and learned about the pick and roll. I wonder if it could be useful, especially at the lower levels, to set small picks (not enough contact to draw interference) to make room for the puck carrier, or when working in front of the net (screen, a little bump and turn to go for the rebound).
When I played Highschool in grade 12, our coach had a power play play that was designed like that. It was really hard for any referee to call, it was also before the rule ''changes''. It was mostly designed as a box lacrosse pick where a guy on top would make a pick to one of the D-Man clearing the winger to cut open to the net.

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01-15-2013, 03:19 AM
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Lonny Bohonos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Good stuff in here guys.

I just started watching basketball this year (thanks NHL) and learned about the pick and roll. I wonder if it could be useful, especially at the lower levels, to set small picks (not enough contact to draw interference) to make room for the puck carrier, or when working in front of the net (screen, a little bump and turn to go for the rebound).

Stick, maybe you can find or organize a little 3-on-3 or 4-on-4 small area work? That is so much fun and helpful for the hands and offensive creativity. Instead of trying to skate 200 ft and guys able to use superior breakaway speed, it's all about positioning and puck movement.
Pick and roll is hard to get away with since its not allowed.

I used to play lacrosse and even back in the day the pick and roll was a no no in hockey.

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01-15-2013, 11:53 AM
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Missionhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stickchecked View Post
Everyone always talks about how to play D but few people talk about how to play without the puck during sustained pressure in the offensive zone.

Lately I've been finding myself a little lost in the o-zone and not contributing all that much to the team's effort. Sometimes I park myself in front of the goalie for too long or fail to react appropriately to how the puck is moving around the zone. Other times I feel like I've stopped skating and just sort of pivot around, facing where the puck is.

Aside from going to the goalie to screen a shot or look for a rebound (not everyone can go to the goalie) I tend to look for open ice to receive a pass. But lately I just feel like I've been really out of sync. I do my best trying to anticipate and react to where I think the puck is going to go, but to be frank, my defensive instincts are far better than my offensive ones.

So any suggestions are appreciated. Are there any good books / sites out there for this kind of stuff? Again, I'm not asking about odd man rushes, I'm talking about strategies for how to play without the puck once your team is sustaining pressure in the offensive zone. Everything blue line in.
Try to read off of where your other linemates are. If two of them are forechecking low, you want to stay high to either 1. receive a pass or 2. be in a defensive position if the puck gets turned over. A lot of it has to do with forecheck strategy to.

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01-18-2013, 01:40 PM
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SkyKushryd
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If there's nobody in front of the net, don't be afraid to go there.

Having a forward in front of the net is incredibly useful.

I'm not a very skilled forward amongst the group of guys I play with, but I'm pretty much the only guy who goes to the net and has a presence there.

Even if I don't tip it, or bang in a rebound, I usually have both defenders on me because I'm hard to move out of the way, which is fine by me because it creates a distraction for the goalie, and more space for my teammates.

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01-18-2013, 02:15 PM
  #20
CoopALoop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonny Bohonos View Post
Pick and roll is hard to get away with since its not allowed.

I used to play lacrosse and even back in the day the pick and roll was a no no in hockey.
Yea, setting up a pick in hockey is a sure fire way to get a 2:00 minute extended break by yourself.

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