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The Job of a Defenseman

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01-05-2014, 10:59 PM
  #1
Egblad
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The Job of a Defenseman

Hey guys,

I've been thinking about an interesting situation that occurs during the course of a hockey game in regards to a defenseman.

Suppose that an opposing forward had the puck and is rushing into the defensive zone where you have good positioning on the forward with the puck. So you are In between the goalie and the forward. How do you play this situation so that you don't screen the goalie in case of a potential shot, but also that the forward doesn't blow by as a result of not trying to screen? Is there enough time to read whether or not the player will shoot? Is this a no win situation?

I figured I'd ask actual players of the sport. We all hear from time to time how defenders screen their goalies which leads to a goal, figured this would be an interesting topic. Thanks.

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01-05-2014, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by I May Be Wrong View Post
Hey guys,

I've been thinking about an interesting situation that occurs during the course of a hockey game in regards to a defenseman.

Suppose that an opposing forward had the puck and is rushing into the defensive zone where you have good positioning on the forward with the puck. So you are In between the goalie and the forward. How do you play this situation so that you don't screen the goalie in case of a potential shot, but also that the forward doesn't blow by as a result of not trying to screen? Is there enough time to read whether or not the player will shoot? Is this a no win situation?

I figured I'd ask actual players of the sport. We all hear from time to time how defenders screen their goalies which leads to a goal, figured this would be an interesting topic. Thanks.
If you have good positioning, there are no reasons to move. When you have proper positioning, you maintain the forward at a stick length roughly, close enough that he can't shoot through your legs , and far enough that he can't deke past you.
Even if he somehow manages to pull the trigger, you can close your legs and try to get your stick in the way to deflect the puck off target.

When we say that a goalie is screened by his own defenseman, usually it's when the opposing forward goes in front of the net to try to deflect it, and he battles against the defenseman, thus creating a screen. When the slot area is crowded and a point shot is coming, it can be difficult for the goalie to locate the puck.

Source : Played goalie in a ball hockey league for a year

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01-05-2014, 11:21 PM
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Branden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onetimersniper28 View Post
If you have good positioning, there are no reasons to move. When you have proper positioning, you maintain the forward at a stick length roughly, close enough that he can't shoot through your legs , and far enough that he can't deke past you.
Even if he somehow manages to pull the trigger, you can close your legs and try to get your stick in the way to deflect the puck off target.

When we say that a goalie is screened by his own defenseman, usually it's when the opposing forward goes in front of the net to try to deflect it, and he battles against the defenseman, thus creating a screen. When the slot area is crowded and a point shot is coming, it can be difficult for the goalie to locate the puck.

Source : Played goalie in a ball hockey league for a year
This

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01-06-2014, 12:31 AM
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You gotta keep a good gap on him, cause if your right up on him then he won't shoot. And if he does, it'll be easy for you to step into it.

If I'm the forward coming down and the defenseman is halfway between me and the net I shoot and use him as a screen. Unless it's just pick up of course.

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01-06-2014, 12:29 PM
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tarheelhockey
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As stated above, proper gap control is the key. If you and your stick are in the right places, it should be relatively easy to just deflect his shot harmlessly away, or let the goalie handle it while closing the forward's lane to the net.

If a defenseman is being used as a screen in the manner you describe, it's usually because he's giving the forward too much room. By backing up too far, he takes away the rush but also gives the forward plenty of space to exploit the natural screen, while also becoming larger and larger in the goalie's view. That wouldn't be an issue if he were maintaining the correct gap.

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01-06-2014, 12:53 PM
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Marotte Marauder
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It definitely boils down to gap control.

A tip that will give you the advantage, have the gap slightly (3-4") less than a stick length.

This is down by bending you top arm slightly. The forward will not likely be aware of the crook in your elbow. This gives you the opportunity to fully extend you arm and easily break up the play.

Good luck and have fun!!

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01-06-2014, 05:37 PM
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Good positioning and gap control is fine to a point. That point being the top of the faceoff circle. Too many guys get good positioning and gap control and then back all the way into the crease and give up a good shot and also screen the goalie or deflect the shot from a distance too close for the goalie's liking.
If you truly have good positioning you will force the puck carrier into a no win situation. Best way to play defense in your defensive zone is to play it offensively. Your job is not to keep the other team from shooting (you can't possibly do that for an entire game) your job is to give up the worst shot possible. If you give up a shot anywhere between the blue line and the goal line and between the faceoff dot and the boards and it goes in.......not remotely your fault. That shot should be stopped 100% of the time. If you deflect the shot, itis far enough out for your goalie to be able to react to it. So you can try and block the shot or just let the puck carrier shoot and just ride him into the corner so there is no rebound shot.
If you are positioned correctly the path to that area should be the easiest path for the puck carrier. Unless you are playing at a higher level hockey almost every puck carrier will take the easiest path. Line your outside shoulder up with the puck carrier's inside shoulder and keep enough of a gap that he can't just blow by you. If you get to the top of the circle, tighten your gap and force the puck carrier to move to the outside. Use the faceoff dot as an aiming point. If you skate to the dot you will force the puck carrier wide of that point and they will either shoot from the top of the circle, or way wide, or just keep the puck and try and take it behind the net. If the puck carrier keeps the puck, change your aim point to the near post and don't let him come out the front side of the net. Just make sure not to follow the puck carrier around the net. Cut across the crease and pick him back up on the other side. if he can make a pass from there to a wide open teammate driving down the slot.....(again, not your job, you have teammates).
This technique is obviously for a non-checking situation. If you are in a checking league you can play it even more offensively and really direct the play.

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01-06-2014, 05:58 PM
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I can't skate backwards fast enough yet, so I am really in a rock and a hard place, I can either make a strong stand at the dots and he might blow by me or back too far in. I'm working a lot on my backwards skating but I'm not up to the task yet against 1st. line forwards.

Does anyone have a reccomendations about that?

BTW: I play non-checking adult league.

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01-06-2014, 06:05 PM
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Marotte Marauder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzykat View Post
I can't skate backwards fast enough yet, so I am really in a rock and a hard place, I can either make a strong stand at the dots and he might blow by me or back too far in. I'm working a lot on my backwards skating but I'm not up to the task yet against 1st. line forwards.

Does anyone have a reccomendations about that?

BTW: I play non-checking adult league.

You could cheat, legally of course. Make your Mohawk turn early on and decide which part of the ice YOU are willing to give your opponent. If you can keep forcing your man wide as you deeper and deeper into your zone, you've done your job. Poor angle shot at best.

It is typically easier to cut to open ice on the backhand side for the forward, so take into consideration which wing the shooter is coming down.

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01-06-2014, 06:15 PM
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jazzykat
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Originally Posted by Marotte Marauder View Post
You could cheat, legally of course. Make your Mohawk turn early on and decide which part of the ice YOU are willing to give your opponent. If you can keep forcing your man wide as you deeper and deeper into your zone, you've done your job. Poor angle shot at best.

It is typically easier to cut to open ice on the backhand side for the forward, so take into consideration which wing the shooter is coming down.
I think I know what you're saying so let me give you an example.

I'm RH and usually play RD. So the LW is coming down on me and I'm angling him towards the outside instead of transitioning (mohawk turn from back to front) when he is on my 3'o clock I make the turn when he is at 1'o clock and hope he's not a really good skater who can someo how angle towards the middle.

Is that what you mean?

A youtube clip would be great if something like this exists. So would our team paying for a coach but it's beer league so I don't think that is in the cards.

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01-06-2014, 06:16 PM
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Don't let him cut into the middle of the ice, especially if he's on the off wing, that is the point that you can become a screen on your own goalie. Force him to go around you to the outside into the corner and close the gap when he commits. The lower the angle he's shooting from, the less likely he'll score a goal. If he misses, the puck may rattle around and back out giving your team a chance for an odd-man rush (I call this the Brad Richards Shooting Angle). Plus, if the only look you give him is to your outside, you are likely to block any shots into the corner or behind the net rather than out into the middle of the ice where an opponent could capitalize on a juicy loose puck on the slot. And besides, forcing him into the corner will give your back checkers more time to get back and help out.

*he or she

EDIT:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzykat View Post
I can't skate backwards fast enough yet, so I am really in a rock and a hard place, I can either make a strong stand at the dots and he might blow by me or back too far in. I'm working a lot on my backwards skating but I'm not up to the task yet against 1st. line forwards.

Does anyone have a reccomendations about that?

BTW: I play non-checking adult league.
I had this problem when I was first moved back to play defense, if you are caught in between, it's better to have him try to turn the corner on you, because you have more time to recover and poke the puck into a less dangerous situation, i.e. the corner or behind the net, and have time to gain some support. If he gets inside, there is a greater chance for a goal.


Last edited by Razzmatazz: 01-06-2014 at 06:28 PM.
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01-06-2014, 07:39 PM
  #12
Marotte Marauder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzykat View Post
I think I know what you're saying so let me give you an example.

I'm RH and usually play RD. So the LW is coming down on me and I'm angling him towards the outside instead of transitioning (mohawk turn from back to front) when he is on my 3'o clock I make the turn when he is at 1'o clock and hope he's not a really good skater who can someo how angle towards the middle.

Is that what you mean?

A youtube clip would be great if something like this exists. So would our team paying for a coach but it's beer league so I don't think that is in the cards.
Kind of, but it's also dependent on where in the zone you are.

Razzmatazz has great pointers as well.

In short, steer him where you feel most comfortable. If he makes a great play on you, oh well. Try again.

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01-06-2014, 08:29 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelhead16 View Post
Good positioning and gap control is fine to a point. That point being the top of the faceoff circle. Too many guys get good positioning and gap control and then back all the way into the crease and give up a good shot and also screen the goalie or deflect the shot from a distance too close for the goalie's liking.
If you truly have good positioning you will force the puck carrier into a no win situation. Best way to play defense in your defensive zone is to play it offensively. Your job is not to keep the other team from shooting (you can't possibly do that for an entire game) your job is to give up the worst shot possible. If you give up a shot anywhere between the blue line and the goal line and between the faceoff dot and the boards and it goes in.......not remotely your fault. That shot should be stopped 100% of the time. If you deflect the shot, itis far enough out for your goalie to be able to react to it. So you can try and block the shot or just let the puck carrier shoot and just ride him into the corner so there is no rebound shot.
If you are positioned correctly the path to that area should be the easiest path for the puck carrier. Unless you are playing at a higher level hockey almost every puck carrier will take the easiest path. Line your outside shoulder up with the puck carrier's inside shoulder and keep enough of a gap that he can't just blow by you. If you get to the top of the circle, tighten your gap and force the puck carrier to move to the outside. Use the faceoff dot as an aiming point. If you skate to the dot you will force the puck carrier wide of that point and they will either shoot from the top of the circle, or way wide, or just keep the puck and try and take it behind the net. If the puck carrier keeps the puck, change your aim point to the near post and don't let him come out the front side of the net. Just make sure not to follow the puck carrier around the net. Cut across the crease and pick him back up on the other side. if he can make a pass from there to a wide open teammate driving down the slot.....(again, not your job, you have teammates).
This technique is obviously for a non-checking situation. If you are in a checking league you can play it even more offensively and really direct the play.
First and foremost. Ensuring that he isn't going to cut inward and burn you for a great scoring chance is key. Stopping him is a great option, but you also run the risk of being turned inside-out. Forcing him to the outside, while he may go by you, also keeps him from a primo spot from which to shoot.

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01-06-2014, 08:46 PM
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Protect the Inside

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzykat View Post
I think I know what you're saying so let me give you an example.

I'm RH and usually play RD. So the LW is coming down on me and I'm angling him towards the outside instead of transitioning (mohawk turn from back to front) when he is on my 3'o clock I make the turn when he is at 1'o clock and hope he's not a really good skater who can someo how angle towards the middle.

Is that what you mean?

A youtube clip would be great if something like this exists. So would our team paying for a coach but it's beer league so I don't think that is in the cards.
You have to protect the inside and give him the outside. You should be moving your feet, skating backwards until the LW is at app. 3 o'clock then quickly turn to the inside ready to protect the net at between 7 and 8 o'clock as he tries to come out from the corner. Never chase him into the corner since you will not catch him.

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01-06-2014, 10:47 PM
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Steelhead16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozz View Post
First and foremost. Ensuring that he isn't going to cut inward and burn you for a great scoring chance is key. Stopping him is a great option, but you also run the risk of being turned inside-out. Forcing him to the outside, while he may go by you, also keeps him from a primo spot from which to shoot.
If you are playing him with your outside shoulder to his inside shoulder tightening the gap makes it even harder to cut to the inside.

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01-07-2014, 06:19 AM
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This thread has been really helpful so let's keep going. Sometimes a F is breaking up the middle, this is during a 2 v 2 or 3 v 2 scenario. How can we steer him out of the middle

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01-07-2014, 09:07 AM
  #17
Canadiens1958
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Recognition

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Originally Posted by jazzykat View Post
This thread has been really helpful so let's keep going. Sometimes a F is breaking up the middle, this is during a 2 v 2 or 3 v 2 scenario. How can we steer him out of the middle
General outline that will move along.

Recognition and communicating with your partner is the key. Also the handedness of the forwards and the defense pairing have to be considered. Also build a data bank on forwards - define wingers as lead, trailer, both. Centers shoot first, pass first, both.

There are situations where you want the rushing forwards - wingers cheating to the inside since wingers without the puck cheating to the inside reduce offensive space and turn a 3 on 2 into a 2 on 2 since at various points the center or winger can no longer get the puck to the cheating winger.

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