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Video Coach

Turning an Imperfect Pass into an Offensive Opportunity

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 11/10/19, 10:15AM EST


Video Coach | Presented by Hockey Intelligym

The ability to control and catch the puck anywhere around your body is a key skill in the game today. This allows the player to protect the puck, create deception, maintain possession, change the angle of attack and to be a threat from anywhere on the ice.

Players only have the puck for a limited time during a game and as the game speeds up, less time and space to make a play. In order to increase puck-time, players not only need to be able to control the puck outside their skates but they have to be able to catch passes all around their body and in their skates. That’s the focus of this edition of Video Coach - we break it down in five different examples.

Video #1 - PIT87 Vs. CLB

  • In this clip, with the direct passing lane unavailable, the King of puck protection, Sidney Crosby, presents his stick as a target behind his body.
  • One he receives the puck, he immediately pulls the puck under his body, which moves the puck a minimum of 10-12 feet.
  • This one pull shifts him past the defender and completely changes the angle of attack and a fairly innocent attack becomes dangerous and results in a goal.

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Video #2 - PIT87 Vs. EDM

  • Similar catch and pull from PIT87, however this time he picks up the puck behind the net, off of a rim pass, pulls the puck around the official and through his legs while eluding two checkers.
  • He continues up the wall and draws third player to him before moving the puck, low to high, to the supporting player at the point.
  • Both of these clips also show incredible awareness - even before catching the puck, he is aware of the space he needs to attack and has already scanned who is in support and available for pass.

video #3 - BOS74 Vs. CHI

  • In this sequence, BOS74 halts the zone exit of the Blackhawks, chips the puck to down the wall and immediately sprints to space to provide a passing option.
  • BOS52 reads this and upon retrieval immediately returns a no-look pass back to the sprinting BOS74. The pass, however, is behind him.
  • Without breaking stride, BOS74 catches the puck with his back foot and drags it forward before making a spectacular spin-a-rama goal.

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VIDEO #4 and #5 - MODO Vs. VAS/MOR

  • From MODO of the Swedish Allsvenskan hockey league, two examples from Montreal Canadiens draft pick, Mattias Norlinder. He uses a combination of the three previous examples. First, catching a puck and pulling the puck from behind him, off his skate and onto his stick in space in front of him. The second clip, he controls a pass in his skates with the outside of his skate, up to his stick, where he makes a slick Royal Road pass for one-timer shot and goal.

While we all love clean, tape-to-tape passes, the game is full of broken and imperfect plays. The ability to catch and control pucks all around the body is a skill that can maintain possession, extend plays and create confusion. Coaches – remember to work on these skills and include these in your drills and practices.

Video Coach is a series of articles which reviews a video clip from game action and then breaks down the sequence into frames identifying key skills, individual and team tactics, strategy and hockey IQ. Video is a great teaching tool that can be used by both players and coaches.

The Hockey IntelliGym is a breakthrough cognitive training technology that hones hockey sense and has been scientifically proven to improve player safety. IntelliGym has been used by thousands of players - from OHL teams to USA Hockey to OMHA Minor Midget champions - to improve individual players' points total, heighten spatial awareness, and foster better anticipation of the play. Research from the University of Delaware suggests training with IntelliGym is a great way to reduce concussions and other on ice injuries. The software, which can be used on any computer, can be purchased here.

"What I'm noticing with IntelliGym is that it compliments my use of area games or situational pressure drills in practice. My players are recognizing and executing their options faster than they have in the past. This improvement has translated to games. They are moving to open areas to support their teammate with the puck."

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Ian Taylor is the Executive Director of the OMHA and former Director of Hockey Development. A proud hockey dad of two, Ian has over 25 years of instructional and coaching experience.

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