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09-10-2011, 08:44 PM
  #1
Maximum Cheddar
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Suggestions?

Do to line-up difficulties I have a question. I have a defence partner who is a new player. He is small but absolutely tenacious. I do not want to trade him for another player as he has a strong work ethic and is willing to learn. There is 1 catch, he can't skate backwards. So I was wondering if anyone else out there has this issue or if someone has an opinion on the best way to defend together. Thanks in advance.

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09-11-2011, 03:29 AM
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madmutter
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Play him at forward or teach him to skate backwards. There is no such thing as playing D without skating backwards.

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09-11-2011, 11:36 AM
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mbeam
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Originally Posted by madmutter View Post
Play him at forward or teach him to skate backwards. There is no such thing as playing D without skating backwards.
Normally I would total agree with this except I've played on teams with some great (relative to the level) defenseman who can hardly skate backwards. They just match the forwards speed going forward and then pivot to glide backwards. It tends to work alright at lower levels until they learn to actually skate backwards.

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09-11-2011, 11:51 AM
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1Knee1T
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximum Cheddar View Post
Do to line-up difficulties I have a question. I have a defence partner who is a new player. He is small but absolutely tenacious. I do not want to trade him for another player as he has a strong work ethic and is willing to learn. There is 1 catch, he can't skate backwards. So I was wondering if anyone else out there has this issue or if someone has an opinion on the best way to defend together. Thanks in advance.
Move him to wing until he learns to go backwards.

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09-11-2011, 02:05 PM
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Teach him the ways of the backwards skating.

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09-11-2011, 02:56 PM
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Maximum Cheddar
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I intend to teach him how to skate backwards, but I can't do that until the outdoor rinks have ice. Many of our forwards can't skate backwards so they are out of the running to move back, and our forwards are to thin to move back a more talented player. So hence the question, what's the best way for us to defend if my partner can't skate backwards.

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09-11-2011, 03:05 PM
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Get him practicing on rollerblades in the meantime

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09-11-2011, 05:33 PM
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1Knee1T
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximum Cheddar View Post
I intend to teach him how to skate backwards, but I can't do that until the outdoor rinks have ice. Many of our forwards can't skate backwards so they are out of the running to move back, and our forwards are to thin to move back a more talented player. So hence the question, what's the best way for us to defend if my partner can't skate backwards.
At low levels, defenseman are often the best players out there. If they can carve through the ice, they might be better off playing D and starting from behind their own net. They'll gain more speed and have a better view of the play in front of them. Then they can return to the point if they don't score off the rush.

It might not be a bad idea to stick one of your better players on D.

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09-12-2011, 11:13 PM
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TheOtter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximum Cheddar View Post
Do to line-up difficulties I have a question. I have a defence partner who is a new player. He is small but absolutely tenacious. I do not want to trade him for another player as he has a strong work ethic and is willing to learn. There is 1 catch, he can't skate backwards. So I was wondering if anyone else out there has this issue or if someone has an opinion on the best way to defend together. Thanks in advance.
At lower levels, you can definitely play defense without skating backwards. You just turn and skate forwards - pestering the other player like a hard back-checking forward would.

Against a rush, I'd say have him cheat slightly towards the middle of the ice, encouraging the puck carrier to go around him. That makes it predictable for you to cut the guy off as he comes around your partner, or if your partner has good forward speed, you're there to defend the cutback. My wife and I do that in our coed league all the time - she stays to the middle, I pick the guy up coming 'round the outside, and hopefully a forward is hustling back to help take care of center.

The other general advice is to make sure he doesn't back all the way in and wait. It's better to stay up in the neutral zone, turn, and pester the puck carrier (or whoever) while skating forward. If he backs in and waits (which is what a lot of beginners do, because they're afraid of getting beat by speed), then he's just a pylon, and will indeed get beat by speed.

Another general idea is to make sure he understands how to stay on the defensive side of the puck or his check in your zone, and all of that. Never too soon to start learning, and if he can get that, it will go a long way to overcome his weaknesses as he learns to skate.

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09-13-2011, 12:12 AM
  #10
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It's certainly possible, in lower level hockey to have a d-man who can't skate backwards and still do alright. When it's just hockey for fun (I understand, you always want to win and do well, but you are playing for fun and the love of the sport) and it's at a lower level, which I'm assuming it is since he's a new player, it's not such a big deal that he can't skate backwards right now, but it's certainly something he's going to want to address whether he intends to progress to a higher level or not, so I would suggest working on it with him in the warm-ups and asking if he has a pair of rollerblades he could practice with off-ice a little bit, as another poster suggested.

Not that you gave any indication that he'd be sensitive to you suggesting he needs to learn to skate backwards, but if you feel he'd be a little insulted or abrasive, just compliment him on his work ethic and tell him he'd be even better if he polished that skill. It's nice to have a good d partner. I played defense in college, and even though it's a totally different ball game at that level, one thing that I think was underrated by some of my teammates and buddies (and maybe is underrated in hockey in general) is the chemistry and communication that a defensive pairing can develop. If you like the way he plays and can compliment him on his game and give him constructive feedback that will help him improve, you guys can enjoy playing together, make both of each other's lives easier and have a great time on the ice by communicating and forming that d-man bond. I swear, I was only able to be half the player I was in college (which was only 1/4 the player a lot of the guys I was playing with was, but still) because my partner and I became really good buddies on and off the ice and learned one another's strengths and weaknesses inside and out. It sounds like you really appreciate his tenacity and enthusiasm, so maybe you guys can develop that kind of on ice bond. Unless you were just praising his tenacity because you didn't want to be a dick about saying he couldn't skate lol.

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