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Tips for Defenseman...refinement

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Old
02-26-2006, 11:02 PM
  #1
sc37
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Tips for Defenseman...refinement

Ok, I'm a converted forward playing D. I've played back there all the games this session of hockey. I've gotten down the basics of positioning, etc. I just want some advice to further my play. One thing I have trouble with is how aggressive should I be in going after the puck when the other team is carrying it. And there any other fine points that I can try to work on to round out my game?

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02-27-2006, 12:57 AM
  #2
ChubarovRocks
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I was/am a converted forward playing defence and with agressiveness, it depends on the situation. One on one, don't worry about the puck, keep good body positioning and take the man, if you have a good chance to poke the puck away, by all means, but don't be poking out there wildly hoping to knock the puck away, I'm sure you were already taught this though. Work on you angling, forwards aren't going to do much if you angle them off to the boards and have good position on them. Obviously, agressiveness can lead to penalties if you're not desiplined.

With dump ins and loose pucks in the corner, how agressive you might be may all depend on your partner and where he is on the ice, obviously if an opponent has the puck behind the net, and there's another opponent out front, you're going to vary on how agressive you're going to be if your partner has the man in front of the net taken care of. (or you hope)

I don't know how much of a help this post may of been, but it's difficult to tell someone how aggressive they should play since it depends on a lot of other things. Just keep in mind, don't play outside your limits, and play your game, which should be comfortable to you.

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02-27-2006, 09:49 AM
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technophile
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You never want to leave your partner outnumbered in your own zone. If you're the only two back and there are two players carrying the puck, don't play too aggressively; if you get beat, your partner is suddenly trying to deal with a 2 on 1.

If you have a good backchecking forward or two, all of a sudden you can take that hip check (in a checking league) or try to strip the puck and start a counterattack, because even if you get beat that forward will be able to cover for you, and it will still be 2 on 2.

Same idea in the offensive zone. If you have a forward up near the point, or one who will make the heads-up play to cover the point when necessary (always a good idea to discuss this with them ), then go ahead and pinch if you think you can make the play. Basically the idea is "never leave your partner alone" if you can avoid it.

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02-27-2006, 03:24 PM
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sc37
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How close should I be to the forward when I'm defending. I'm afraid of getting too close and not being able to turn my hips and wind up getting beat. But that winds up giving too much respect. Having some issues with getting the correct spacing.

And I worked well with a couple guys on the team, but our pairings switch so much it gets kinda hard to remember everyone's tendencies.

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02-27-2006, 03:54 PM
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technophile
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Close enough that you can poke the puck away or block a shot, not so close that they can beat you.

Seriously, you want to be fairly close -- the forward should probably be right about as far as you can reach with your stick at full extension. That gives you the reach to cause him problems, but gives you the distance to react to moves.

Body positioning is key; you never want to give away the inside. Let him go around you to the outside if he really wants to; he's not going to score from the corner. But don't give him that inside lane for anything.

If he puts the puck through your legs or off the boards, just stay in front of him -- it's interference (on him!) if he runs you over. Let the puck go deep into the zone and slow him up so your partner can get it.

One tip someone gave me yesterday is to keep your arms tucked close into your side (elbows right up against your ribs) to make your reach look shorter than it is. That helps sucker the forward close in so you can poke the puck away.

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02-27-2006, 04:15 PM
  #6
Grave77digger
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good tips guys

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02-27-2006, 04:22 PM
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EazyB97
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Gap is key for a defenseman, it's really the most important and most difficult part of the game. Generally at the blueline, you want a little less than stick length away. As he gets closer to the net, the gap should shorten. Always try and have inside positioning like technopile said. A good way to set-up is shoulder to should, so your outside shoulder, is his inside shoulder (your always a step to the middle). If you get beat, remember where the player will be going. Don't chase him, skate to the post of the side he is on because thats where he'll want to be.

As for when to be aggressive, you should look for these 3 things. If you have any of these, it becomes an attack situation (go after him) if not, it's generally a contain.

1) You have support (ie 1 on 2 or 1 on 3)
2) He doesn't have full control of the puck (recieving a pass, losses the handle)
3) He turns his back on you
4) He is in a dangerous scoring position (man infront of the net open, etc)

Other than this, it's generally a contain situation where you play it like a one on one, keep him away from the net, limit his options and this should force him to make a mistake. Always keep your feet moving and try to read the play and see your oppositions traits.

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02-27-2006, 06:13 PM
  #8
Steelhead16
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There are a couple of positioning tips I can offer that seem small but they will make a big difference. When playing a guy coming into your zone try and line up your outside shoulder with his inside shoulder. I don't know how skilled the players are in your league but if it's a rec league of any kind most if not all the guys you play like that will take the puck around you to the outside because you gave that to them. Now most of your guesswork is all gone, you know where they are going and your options have been brought to just a few. Sweep check, angle him into the boards, hip check (if you can check) and also if you get beat you at least make him take the long way around and give up the worst shot you can. Also, for 2 on 1's take a guy and keep him don't switch back and forth. Let the goalie concentrate on one guy and don't make him go back and forth. A good forward will try and move towards the boards to suck you over to give his other forward more room, but just stay where you are if he moves over by the boards he's taking himself out of the play and doing your work for you. One other tip I always give my kids is when you're on the bench......watch the game. You can learn so much when you're on the bench. Watch the guys on the other team and pick up little things they do. Just like in life, Knowledge is Power!! Good Luck.

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02-27-2006, 06:32 PM
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technophile
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Quote:
Also, for 2 on 1's take a guy and keep him don't switch back and forth.
On an odd-man break your job is to prevent a pass, period. On a 2 on 1, you should do anything you have to to prevent a pass across -- let your goalie handle the shooter, don't screen the goalie. Just make sure he can't pass across to the open man. (Like Steelhead says, take away as much room as you can, but you have to cover the pass first.)

Same idea on a 3 on 2 -- both defensemen should cover the passing lanes. If the guy comes down a wing with the puck and can't pass, he doesn't have much of a shot, and he won't have much room to move, either; your goalie should have a good chance to stop the puck. If you let them pass, or you screen the goalie, you're making things a lot harder.

A 3 on 1, you pretty much have to just try to cover all the passing lanes and pray like mad.

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02-27-2006, 06:51 PM
  #10
DaveyCrockett
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This is great advice. Anymore tips would be appreciated.

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02-27-2006, 06:56 PM
  #11
Jacob
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I find some of these tips useful, too. I'm a life-long forward that finds myself stuck on D in pickup games.

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02-27-2006, 07:22 PM
  #12
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Everyone's played against the guy who thinks he's Gretzky. Some of them even do have God-given talent that mystifies you.

I find that the best advice against guys like this is to just back up. Don't give him the whole ice surface, but when he goes to bust out a major deke or pass himself the ball/puck off the boards, he expects you to be sucked in. And that's what happens.

Now, you'll probably go "Oh, duh. Yeah, don't get suckered in. Just stay put. Let him come to you."

You've got to take it a step farther (err, backwards!). Just back up a couple steps. You suddenly see the developing play a whole lot better. Not only does it increase the coverage you're getting with your peripheral vision, but many nice moves rely on the increased space formed behind you when you are sucked in. Moving back takes that away, and forces the forward to actually come to you.

Get ready to block a shot when this happens, though, especially near the half-boards. Backing up gives the forward a clearer shooting lane, and he isn't pressured to get rid of the puck/ball quickly as a result. Just get yourself in the way and let your goalie take care of the rest. That, or position your stick in front of the shot. Just a quick flick of the shaft so that the blade points to your left foot (if right handed) works wonders.

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02-27-2006, 09:38 PM
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Awesome..gotta print this out or something so I don't forget.

Any suggestions on blocking shots then? I've had some decent success by pretending I'm playing soccer, cept it kills my foot when I get popped in certain areas. Had ok results with the stick..and my shaft...did a couple baseball bunts a week ago. But that probably leaves a good chance for a bad deflection. Teammates have told me to try to not leave my feet since it takes you outta the play. I dont want to screen the goalie either. Any good technique? I notice watching the NHL, guys on the PK sorta pull arms and legs in instead of spreading out. I get on one knee at times, but the puck goes five-hole on me.

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02-27-2006, 09:55 PM
  #14
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The only way to improve your shot-blocking is to have someone take a few blasts at you. You have tons of options to block a shot: your face, your gloves, your arms, your knees, your stomach, your shoulders, your stick. If you're getting beat five-hole, you're not reading the initial shot right. That's the trick. It's not just about 'getting in the way'- you've got to figure out based on stick/ball position and angle where it's going. Then you need to react and cover that portion.

I find most five-hole shots can be blocked by bending your knee across your body. Anything else, you need to read, react, and cover.

Even if you get beat, use your body to redirect it behind you somewhere else.

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02-27-2006, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacobv2
I find some of these tips useful, too. I'm a life-long forward that finds myself stuck on D in pickup games.
It's good to know how to play both ends of the ice as a forward so you can exploit D-men. Watch their positioning see what they give you and take advantage. Watch to see if they cross-over going one way so you can catch'em in the middle and break the other direction. Stuff like that comes in handy if your able to think on the ice.

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02-27-2006, 10:51 PM
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[QUOTE=technophile]On an odd-man break your job is to prevent a pass, period.

Techno is right, I should have added that but I didn't want to get long winded. If you can keep the pass from happening then the goalie knows who the shooter is and can handle him, just give him a clean look and don't let a last second pass go across the crease.
Defense is a lot about timing and feel. I think it's actually easier to play defense after you've been a forward for a while. The easiest way to prevent something from happening is to know what is going to happen. If you've been a wing or a center then you know what a wing and a center want to do and what they want their linemates to do. I would recommend that everyone play all positions if possible. Same holds true for a defenseman when his team is on offense. When you carry the puck around the net you know where the wing is supposed to be if you used to be the wing who was waiting in the right spot or the center who was circling out of the zone waiting for an outlet pass.
Like I said in my previous post, use your bench time to learn. If you are on a team with 3 lines then 2/3 of your game is spent on the bench. Use that time wisely and learn. Learn what you are supposed to do and learn what others are supposed to do. Hockey moves quickly, and the faster your brain can process all the information thrown at it the quicker you can make the moves that will make your game better. Take the guess work out of your game and KNOW what you want to do.

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02-28-2006, 12:33 AM
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technophile
Close enough that you can poke the puck away or block a shot, not so close that they can beat you.

Seriously, you want to be fairly close -- the forward should probably be right about as far as you can reach with your stick at full extension. That gives you the reach to cause him problems, but gives you the distance to react to moves.

Body positioning is key; you never want to give away the inside. Let him go around you to the outside if he really wants to; he's not going to score from the corner. But don't give him that inside lane for anything.

If he puts the puck through your legs or off the boards, just stay in front of him -- it's interference (on him!) if he runs you over. Let the puck go deep into the zone and slow him up so your partner can get it.

One tip someone gave me yesterday is to keep your arms tucked close into your side (elbows right up against your ribs) to make your reach look shorter than it is. That helps sucker the forward close in so you can poke the puck away.
great, great tip. I play forward and a lot of the good d-men in my league do this, and it works very often.

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02-28-2006, 08:10 AM
  #18
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u shoud always stay between the net and the guy u r covering , whether he has the puck or not.whether u r forward or defense when fightin for the puck along the boards always have your back towards your net .so if the opposition gets the puck past u , u cant still take the man and if he wants to bring it back u r still in between him or the net.so if u lose the battle or not u still r in positon .and keep an active stick , keep it in passin lanes .

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03-14-2006, 03:40 AM
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what most people forget is to LIFT THEIR STICK! you can't puckhandle if your stick isn't on the ice.

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03-17-2006, 03:35 PM
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a related question... when playing defense, there's the forward who tries to get in front of the net to screen the goalie. at the same time, i intentionally avoid standing in front of my goalie... but if my opponent does, then i should try to get him out, or at least make it uncomfortable for him, which requires me to "screen" my goalie in doing so... what's the best way to handle this? there's no way to completely free up the space in front, right?

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03-17-2006, 03:37 PM
  #21
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want a tip? Don't do a huge pokecheck like Aki Berg did last night against Mike Grier, as you can see you get burned. If you miss the puck (which happens, what, 50% of the time?) that forwards gona burn you, bad.

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03-17-2006, 06:41 PM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ginblossoms
a related question... when playing defense, there's the forward who tries to get in front of the net to screen the goalie. at the same time, i intentionally avoid standing in front of my goalie... but if my opponent does, then i should try to get him out, or at least make it uncomfortable for him, which requires me to "screen" my goalie in doing so... what's the best way to handle this? there's no way to completely free up the space in front, right?
Get postioning and try to keep him on the side of the net. If you aren't strong enough to physically move him use weak points on his body to get'em out. Little stuff like

- Stick on the back of his knee will weaken stance so you can push'em out
- put your stick (holding in a cross check position) under his pants lift him up and push'em out
- push down on his back where is pants start, this'll make'em fall
- Stick between his legs and twist to move'em out (careful not to completely twist)

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03-18-2006, 08:08 PM
  #23
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On 2 on 1, stay in the middle and slowly lean towards the guy with the puck as you get closer to the goal. When it gets to a point where the passer has to either shoot or pass, go down flat and take away the pass with your body. This way the shooter has to make an aerial pass over your body or take a bad angled shot.

It takes some practice in terms of timing and angling, but is a real effective move if you used right.

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03-19-2006, 01:18 PM
  #24
technophile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afterhours
It takes some practice in terms of timing and angling, but is a real effective move if you used right.
And manage not to slide into your goalie.


Another good tip is talk talk talk. Talk to your goalie -- tell him where the puck is. We had a goal against yesterday where he stopped a high shot, the rebound went straight up and dropped about 4 inches off the goal line just to the goalie's left. He had no idea where it was, so it was an easy tap-in for their side instead of him falling on it.

Talk to your partner -- let them know if it's icing or not, if there's anyone coming, if you're open or where the good breakout pass is. Especially if one D-man is chasing the puck into their own zone (facing away from the other team's zone) you need to tell them what's going on so they can make the right move.

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03-19-2006, 04:19 PM
  #25
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if a guy is driving across the middle looking to get that shot off and he has a step on you, i find putting my stick across his hands and pushing and putting pressure back on them at least will mess up the shot. im not saying a hook or a slash, just lay it across and put pressure on his hands/top of his stick. if you must tug from behind, go for the elbow of the top hand on his stick. if you actually push it forward you can often avoid the hooking call as you arent pulling him back.

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