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Defensively Helpless. Forward to D

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Old
02-12-2008, 03:45 PM
  #1
Waterboy
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Defensively Helpless. Forward to D

I've been playing hockey for a long time 20+ yrs now and have always played forward. Now I find myself a defenseman (A - nobody else wants to play there and B - I'm surprisingly not horrible).

I'm having a hell of a time with my positioning though, I always feel like I'm in the wrong place or covering the wrong guy, especially when the play comes down low or we get running around. The # of goals I've been on for would seem to support this (I can only blame everyone else and the ice, my stick, the weather and that hot chick in the 3rd row for so long before they figure it out).

I'm wondering if there are any websites or books (free websites are best! ) that give some decent positioning tips to read up on.

Even some tips from guys that know what they are doing would be great.

I was only coached up to Midget and that was as a forward who never paid much attention to what the D were doing.

I have the basics down, stay between the offensive player and the net, keep him wide and angled to the corner/boards on a rush. Give up the shot and take the pass on a 2 on 1 (right??) but positionally I'm feeling hopeless.

Any ideas??

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02-12-2008, 04:56 PM
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BringBackStevens
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I also was a forward for most of my life, but during 2 seasons, one of which competing in a national tournament, i was asked to switch to defense. It takes a certain type of player to be able to handle the switch. I don't want to talk down to any forwards (as i still consider myself one as well), but the job is much simpler for the average player (especially at wing).

I'm not sure exactly what to say that will help, because it seems like you are on the right track. For me, to start off i almost completely forgot about the physical aspect of the game. Until you get the positioning and poise, theres no need to run around looking to rub people out like you might normally do.

To play good defense, it's all about the player's ability to read the play. Positioning is a part of it, but you will pick that up fast enough. It's the ability to read what is happening and what will unfold that is the toughest part about playing defense. I think for forward transitioning to defense, a general rule of thumb is less is more. You don't need to run around as much as your instincts might tell you to. Protect your area of the ice and as you get better at reading plays you will be able to make some checks and jump on loose pucks.

As for books, i'm not sure. Hopefully someone else can help because i would be interested to read more as well

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02-12-2008, 07:55 PM
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sc37
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This type of thread is almost as popular as the what's the best stick threads

I got a suggestion that works well for me....find yourself a good partner who can bail you out

Positioning comes with communication too. You just be sure to talk to your partner, goalie, and center to find out who is doing what and that'll help a lot. Don't go chasing the same guy and don't go chasing behind the net...talk and switch up and just make sure there's enough coverage in the slot and backdoor areas. Stay close to your man, but don't get too far away as you'll want to be able to read a play and make a move if needed. The length of your reach is the limit obviously.

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02-12-2008, 08:02 PM
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Gunnar Stahl 30
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talk to your d-partner on and off the ice. what i do with mine is when the player with the puck is on my side and down low i go after the player and my partner stays in fron of the net and when it is on his side he goes after the player and i cover the front of the net. dont forget to rough people up in front of the net

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02-12-2008, 08:44 PM
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Henrique Iglesias
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Communication with your teammates, more importantly your goalie is vital. Hes the eyes in the back of your head.

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02-12-2008, 09:45 PM
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WhipNash27
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If you aren't a really good skater then you're already at a disadvantage. If you can't skate backwards well and you you aren't that fast it makes it that much harder.

I usually play wing, but I've tried D a few times, not too crazy about it. I'll have one good game then the next I'll get rocked for a bunch of goals and call it quits.

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02-13-2008, 11:25 AM
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Waterboy
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Thanks for the tips guys, sounds like I have the basics and now its trial by fire!

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02-13-2008, 12:55 PM
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A couple of basic things are to try to turn off your offensive instincts and resist the urge to pinch and in your zone don't get mesmerized by watching the puck and keep an eye out for the opposing players and where they are, those are the biggest causes of being in bad position by my experience.

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02-13-2008, 01:51 PM
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FiveHole23
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Try..
http://www.sportskool.com

I watched it for Faceoffs helped alot not sure how much/if any it has for defense.

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02-13-2008, 02:49 PM
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WhipNash27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBJrumble View Post
Try..
http://www.sportskool.com

I watched it for Faceoffs helped alot not sure how much/if any it has for defense.
Cool site, has a few nice videos. I checked out the faceoff one, gave some good info that I should try.

I should check out some of the basketball videos too, I'm so bad at basketball, haha.

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02-13-2008, 05:07 PM
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http://www.jes-hockey.com/animated/p...sitioning.html

Interesting site -- the animation shows where each player is supposed to go in a set situation and there's an explanation to the right of what happens. Anyway, I float between wing and defense and might be able to give you a few pointers.

When the puck's in the offensive zone:
Try to hold the puck in at the blueline. You and your defensive partner should be at about 1/3 of the way from one of the side boards. Wingers are responsible for the boards, defensemen for the center slot. Make sure if an opposing player leaves the zone looking for a breakout pass that one defenseman is covering him, even if he has to leave the zone. If that happens, the second defenseman should move to the center of the blueline. Pinch in (offensively) only if a forward rotates back to cover your position.

When the puck's in the neutral zone, other team carrying the puck:
Make sure you're closer to your goal than anyone on the other team and keep moving. The last thing you want is to get caught flat footed with a player skating by you. Try to stay on the inside of the ice forcing him to skate along the boards and cutting off his options. You can go for a poke check (or a hip check) so long as it doesn't put your out of position.

I'll add more later. (Leaving work in a minute)

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02-13-2008, 06:06 PM
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mm6492
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always stay positioned in between your man and the puick. if it is in your side corner go for it. force offense to outside on the break, let them shoot from out there. let your goalie cover it, u clear anyone coming in

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02-14-2008, 10:50 AM
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Waterboy
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I'm only play rec hockey but have been lucky enough to play with the same d partner for most of my games on D. Huge difference - especially when you learn the other guys tendancies.

Confidence is my biggest issue and all the tips help a lot. Some make me bang my head on the wall and others prove that I'm doing the right thing.

Some quick questons.

When do you make a smart pinch vs. a stupid pinch? When you are down or up on the scoreboard? ONLY when you know you'll win the race? Only when you have someone covering? When the hot puck in the 5th row is watching? All the above??

When the play is downlow I always find myself covering one guy and a second is left open or beats his guy to the net and is open for a crosscrease pass...If I'm alone infront with two guys do I try to cover both (stay between them) or do I just take my man and hope the centre of other guy figures it out?

Is it best to tie up a guy infront or stay between him and the net? I'm not the biggest guy but I can move guys out pretty easily.

Finallly...is there any point to chasing a guy from behind the net or just stay on my post? I see a lot of guys that come down around the boards, behind the net and stop in the corner or at the hash marks looking for a pass. Its a low percentage shot and if they are standing still, do you challenge them or stay between them and the net (assuming the other D man has the guy in front covered)?

See...little things. A lot of them probably just preference based on the player's abilities I imagine but any tips would be great.

Thanks for humoring me guys!

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02-14-2008, 12:50 PM
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Henrique Iglesias
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterboy View Post
I'm only play rec hockey but have been lucky enough to play with the same d partner for most of my games on D. Huge difference - especially when you learn the other guys tendancies.

Confidence is my biggest issue and all the tips help a lot. Some make me bang my head on the wall and others prove that I'm doing the right thing.

Some quick questons.

When do you make a smart pinch vs. a stupid pinch? When you are down or up on the scoreboard? ONLY when you know you'll win the race? Only when you have someone covering? When the hot puck in the 5th row is watching? All the above??

When the play is downlow I always find myself covering one guy and a second is left open or beats his guy to the net and is open for a crosscrease pass...If I'm alone infront with two guys do I try to cover both (stay between them) or do I just take my man and hope the centre of other guy figures it out?

Is it best to tie up a guy infront or stay between him and the net? I'm not the biggest guy but I can move guys out pretty easily.

Finallly...is there any point to chasing a guy from behind the net or just stay on my post? I see a lot of guys that come down around the boards, behind the net and stop in the corner or at the hash marks looking for a pass. Its a low percentage shot and if they are standing still, do you challenge them or stay between them and the net (assuming the other D man has the guy in front covered)?

See...little things. A lot of them probably just preference based on the player's abilities I imagine but any tips would be great.

Thanks for humoring me guys!
Pinching: IMO you should only pinch under 2 (separate) conditions: only when you are absolutely sure youre gonna get a chance and have enough time to get back to your position OR when your teammate knows to fill in your spot when u pinch.

Down low: dont chase the guy with the puck, stay in between him and the shooter and cut off his passing lane. And for the 2 guys down low your gonna have to do your best by handling the both of them, whoever you think is in the better scoring position. Just keep your body on him and tie his stick up.As for the guy behind the net, its really your call (depends on if hes just gonna fly the other way when u chase or you know where hes gonna go and take him), but chase ONLY if your D partner has the front covered.

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02-14-2008, 02:05 PM
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frito
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In the offensive zone, while one D tries to hold the blue line it is the other D's responsibility to prevent a break away.

In the defensive zone - DON"T GET SUCKED IN BY THE THE PUCK. Think about your offensive instincts and how you would go about trying to score a goal or set up a player. no reverse that and defend aginst it. Remember, the most dangerous player on the ice is the player without the puck. It's the coniving weasel who is floating around behind the defense looking for that quick setup while everybody watches the corner where the puck is. The D who is not fighting for the puck in the corners needs to pick this player up and take away his scroing chances. Remember, if you are not on somebody in your defensive zone you should be nervous.

This may sound simplistic but just keep telling yourself "Weasel" and look around for the open player. I coach a peewee team and it's to the point that if we yell "Weasel" our D's heads are turning all over looking for the player trying to make a back door play. In fact, our kids themselves were yelling it on the ice whenever a player was circling the back door.

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02-14-2008, 02:55 PM
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I was switched from forward to D last year in my mens league.
I was clueless for a while too. And while I'll never be mistaken for Nick Lidstrom I got better as the season rolled along only because I had no choice.

I tried to keep things as simple as possible. And one thing I always tried to remember is to keep my outside shoulder lined up with their inside shoulder.

Good luck! Not everyone can play D as I feel the position takes a LOT more brains and thinking. I'm back to playing wing this season and while I miss playing D at times, it's certainly a lot easier.

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Old
02-15-2008, 03:26 PM
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EmptyNetter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frito View Post
This may sound simplistic but just keep telling yourself "Weasel" and look around for the open player. I coach a peewee team and it's to the point that if we yell "Weasel" our D's heads are turning all over looking for the player trying to make a back door play. In fact, our kids themselves were yelling it on the ice whenever a player was circling the back door.
That's awesome! Good way to get them to remember, and it must be a riot to see 5 players skating around pointing at the other team yelling "WEASEL"!

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02-15-2008, 05:05 PM
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1. Don't screen your own goalie.
Doesn't matter if you're trying to block a shot or clear the crease. Make sure your goaltender has a clear line of sight to the puck.
2. Communicate with your d-partner and listen to your goalie
Your goalie has the best view of the ice. If he starts yelling something, be sure you listen! If you're in the corner retrieving a puck he may call out that you have an opponent coming on hard to steal it. If he's covering one post then one of the defenseman needs to cover the weak side. Likewise, you should talk to the other defenseman and tell him which player you will cover, who should go into the corner and who should cover the net, etc.
3. The boards are your friend, the slot is your enemy
When the puck's in your end the #1 priority is getting it under control and out of the zone. Keep it, and opponents, out of the slot because it offers the best chance for goal scoring. If you can knock the puck away from an opponent, at least push it toward the boards and out of danger. Clear the puck along the boards -- your wingers should know to be there waiting for a breakout pass. And try to avoid making a lateral pass in your own end -- it's easy for an opponent to pick it off and take a quick shot on goal.

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02-15-2008, 05:15 PM
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EmptyNetter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterboy View Post

Some quick questons.

When do you make a smart pinch vs. a stupid pinch? When you are down or up on the scoreboard? ONLY when you know you'll win the race? Only when you have someone covering? When the hot puck in the 5th row is watching? All the above??
If you've got a capable D partner behind you you can afford to pinch. Also if you're leading the other team by a wide margin. I guess it all depends on your team's attitude and whether they like to goof off or if they hate to give up bad goals.

Quote:
When the play is downlow I always find myself covering one guy and a second is left open or beats his guy to the net and is open for a crosscrease pass...If I'm alone infront with two guys do I try to cover both (stay between them) or do I just take my man and hope the centre of other guy figures it out?
If there's a lot of traffic in front of the net you should play a zone rather than a man-to-man defense. If you know your opponents, try to focus on the top player who's looking to get open but otherwise anticipate the pass and try to keep the target from receiving it.

Quote:
Finallly...is there any point to chasing a guy from behind the net or just stay on my post? I see a lot of guys that come down around the boards, behind the net and stop in the corner or at the hash marks looking for a pass. Its a low percentage shot and if they are standing still, do you challenge them or stay between them and the net (assuming the other D man has the guy in front covered)?
Try to wait him out if possible. He can't score from behind the net so the first priority is to cover the front. You can try to pressure him to come out but only if your partner (and possibly the center) are there to cover for you.

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