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Video Coach | Puck Retrieval & Evasive Skating

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 10/28/16, 2:15PM EDT

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Breaking down game action video to identify skills, tactics and strategy

By Ian Taylor - Director, Hockey Development

Game Date: September 24, 2016

Video Coach is a feature where we will review a video clip of game action and then break 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.

In our last edition of Video Coach (Video Coach #2 | OZ Entry – Kick-out, Cross & Drive), there was so much going on that we couldn’t fit it all into one article. So, this week we look at what started the play – a dump-out, leading to a puck retrieval by the defencemen and a clean zone-exit setting a 200-foot play into motion.

Now, let’s take a closer look and break it down…

  • CAN8 retrieves loose puck down boards with RUS90 forechecking
  • From the moment CAN8 picks up the puck, he is reading his options – this starts with getting the puck off the boards; performing a shoulder check to read pressure;  and creating a skating-angle that will provide multiple options
  • CAN4 reads pressure and provides outlet below the goal-line on opposite side of the net
  • CAN4 will also act as the ‘eyes & ears’ for his partner and will communicate with him throughout the play
  • RUS90 reads this option and skates hard to cut off D-to-D pass option
  • CAN8 has created space for himself by getting off the boards to perform an evasive turn away from inside pressure from RUS90
  • In addition, CAN8 shields the puck by keeping puck to the outside his skates, away from the forechecker and actually puts the puck into a ‘safe’ space where he can retrieve the puck
  • RUS86 is reading the D-to-D pass option and has to react quickly back to the middle of the ice
  • He does this for two reasons:
    1) This keeps his from crossing his hands and getting ‘jammed’ on contact and;
    2) he puts it to a space where he can get possession back first
  • Now, CAN8 is facing up ice with his ‘toes up ice” and can read entire ice surface
  • CAN87 enters the frame to provide middle-lane support
  • RUS42 jumps down looking for the loose puck but CAN8 has established control
  • CAN8 moves puck up the strong side and effectively traps all three RUS forecheckers below the hash-marks
  • CAN37 catches the puck on the wall with CAN87 skating with speed under the puck
  • RUS86 recognizes two players are now trapped below the goal line and back-checks across ice
  • The question he is faced with here is:
    a) pressure the puck or;
    b) recognize the speed of CAN87 and take him away as an option
  • He applies pressure immediately to CAN37, who maintains his composure under pressure and releases CAN87 with a nice little saucer pass
  • This picture shows two key areas of focus:
    1)    At no point in time is CAN8 facing the end boards. Prior to the turn, his shoulders are perpendicular to the boards and when he executes his tight turn and RUS90 makes contact, once again his shoulders are perpendicular to the boards and he is able to absorb the contact with the full right-side of his body (shoulder-arm-leg) and never puts himself in an unsafe situation
    2)    As mentioned earlier, CAN8 moves the puck to a space where he can regain possession quickly
  • From this angle, you can see the two options available to CAN8:
    1) CAN87 in the middle-lane and;
    2) strong-side Wing (CAN37)
  • The puck goes up the boards, and this allows CAN87 to generate speed under the puck and provide an option with speed to CAN37

Watch the video again to see the process the defencemen undertakes to read pressure, assess options and then effectively skates himself out of trouble using evasive skating and puck protection to manage the forecheck and initiate a clean zone exit.

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