Defense in All Three Zones

Sept 9 Tip: Defense in All Three Zones. Be a 200 foot Defenseman.

  • Tomorrow talking forwards. Read articles on all positions. Understand all perspectives.
  • Information is power.
  • Same hockey rules apply from mite to NHL.
  • Mastering these rules and concepts takes effort ,thought and many years of practice.
  • So many times in youth hockey, I see a D make a pass D to D or a direct pass on the breakout and then watch the them skate up leisurely to the blueline. This is the number one mistake I see in youth hockey, even in many AAA club players.
  • NO. Skate like hell as as a defensive line up to meet your opponents after you get the puck out of your D zone. Your job is NOT OVER. It is just starting, your job is never over. Every second you are on the ice you have a job to do.
  • There is a reason why hockey shifts are about 45 seconds.
  • Closing the gap is the number one mindset of D.
  • Take away forwards time and space. In all zones.
  • We train for this OVER AND OVER AND OVER at our camps.
  • We push the D right up to the neutral zone to meet their opposing forward. Is it scary? Yes.
  • Can you get beat or burned? Yes.
  • Do we want the D to get beat at camp to learn? Yes. Initially. That is how you will learn.
  • After getting beaten three times in a row. Guess what happens?
  • He or she will break up the play and not get beat on the fourth time and you will learn. Grow. Gain confidence. And have a hockey “AH HAH” moment and a smile.
  • The following D coverage below may sound obvious but is it easy to master? No.
  • This season WE encourage parents to look for many unsung D moments in your D’s game that were played well, with courage and speed. Discuss those moments on the car ride home.
  • Is it helpful to discuss this Hockey IQ at an early age with your players? Yes.
  • Defenders in the neutral zone, we are still CLOSING GAPS, get closer to your opponent taking away time and space there too. Stay inside the dots and push your opponent to the outside, to the boards. Force the forwards out of the middle or dangerous areas of ice. Force the forwards wide onto the boards.
  • Stick positioning in all areas of the ice is a huge skill to learn. Your stick is a fantastic weapon to use defensively to close passing and shooting lanes. We focus on Defenseman Stick Positioning. Your stick aims at the puck, a tool to force your opponent where you want…Again out of the middle.
  • Shot blocking is mostly in the defensive zone. We train at camp with tennis balls. We practice having the D getting right into the shooting lane which is the dirty area. Yes. Making yourself BIG opening up your body parts. Just like when you see a bear in the wild they say You must get big. Nothing excites a coach more than a blocked shot in the dirty area of the ice.
  • Communicating with your teammates on the ice is essential in 200 foot play. Expressing who you have and who they should take. It is a game of reactions.
  • Defensemen need to keep wrapped pucks in with your stick, with your skate, with your body. You have to get over to the boards. join the rush as a 4th attacker, pinch at the proper times, do a high cycle with winger and hit the net-most of the time moving your feet laterally to change the shooting angle so puck does not get blocked and get the goalie moving laterally.
  • Even the best defensive defenseman who are not counted on for offense need to contribute in the 200 ft game of hockey.
  • All five players come up together like a wall.
  • All five players come back together to protect the house.
  • You can control your conditioning.
  • You can control your effort.
  • You can control your mindset of what you need to do as a D in all areas of the ice.
  • You can control your hustle in all 200 feet of ice.
  • You can control being a two direction player. Working hard in all zones.
  • One D will cover the puck carrier. The other D will cover who I believe is the most dangerous forward. The open opponent.
  • Is mastering these skills easy? No.
  • Talking about them builds hockey IQ and understanding of what your job is out there.
  • So much to talk about daily these two months of September and October.
  • Please share these articles and discuss them with your kids.
  • Information and understanding the game and your role is powerful.

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