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Video Coach

Watch McDavid Use Manipulation to Score Highlight Reel Goal

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 01/09/20, 1:30PM EST


Video Coach | Presented by Hockey Intelligym

By now, hockey fans should be well familiar with what Connor McDavid was able to pull off against the Toronto Maple Leafs just a few days ago. Even though we are just getting started in 2020, that goal is already in serious consideration for highlight of the year.

In the last edition of Video Coach, we looked at quickness and explosiveness and the effectiveness of using 3-5 Quick Strides. We will build on that concept and add the additional ingredients of deception and manipulating the defenders feet. Let's break it down.

Manipulating the Defender’s Feet

Game Date: January 6, 2020

  • After TML turns over the puck at the offensive blueline, EDM97 retrieves it and immediately executes two explosive crossovers and gets his toes up ice and his eyes and head up
  • TML44 has come onto the ice after a line change and gets inside the dot-line, however the gap between himself and EDM97 is fairly large
  • Here is where the deception begins – instead of turning on the jets, EDM97 slows down and looks back over his right shoulder to see who is joining the rush
  • EDM97 actually enters the zone gliding with feet wide outside his shoulders

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  • EDM97 continues to ‘look’ for support as he enters the zone
  • TML44 has closed the gap and is well positioned with his outside shoulder lined up the inside shoulder of EDM97
  • EDM97 performs a weight shift - from his outside leg to his inside foot with the puck outside his skates.
  • This is the set-up move for what's to come
  • This weight shift forces TML44 to defend the middle of the ice
  • The pay-off move happens as TML44 starts to cross-over…

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  • EDM97 explosively pulls the puck across his body
  • The path of the puck is close to his skates and outside the defender’s stick
  • TML44 is flat-footed as he completes his crossover as EDM97 uses an explosive crossover to drive outside the defender
  • EDM97 has now created separation from the defender – the puck is outside his skates with hands extended and shielded with his body
  • He identifies and attacks the ice behind the defender
  • The drive is complete as the explosiveness has forced the goaltender deep in his crease and pulls him across the net before putting back in the side from which he came


Watch the video clip again to see how change of pace, deception by looking off the defender, weight shift and manipulating the feet of the defender combine to create a breakdown and highlight reel goal.

WAIT! … Just a day after the McDavid goal, we were treated to another fantastic deceptive rush, this time from the Bruins' David Pastrnak - BOS88.

In a 4v4 situation, BOS88 identifies a forward, skating backwards on defence. Using the same blend of skills as in the McDavid goal, BOS88 effectively uses an explosive weight shift to the middle of the ice to freeze the defender (no crossover) creating space to drive before scoring off the rush. Not as glamourous but just as deadly.

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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