Defensive puck movement
When recovering the puck, the d-mans first job is to clear the “danger zone” (in red below). This is the most important part of a defenseman’s position and takes priority over everything else.
Once clear, the puck should not be passed or moved back into this zone, especially at a lower level of play. Off the boards and out is a safe play. Using the boards and glass at the half-boards will help avoid icing calls and will make it harder for attacking d-men to hold the puck in the zone.
Things to remember:
- Clear the “danger zone” (red area)
- Try to get possession
- If you can’t, get the puck to the walls
- Try to avoid up the middle unless you’re sure
- Use your hands and feet if necessary
- Gaining possession: Move your feet first
- Find the space, don’t skate to traffic
- If unsure, head to the “quiet zone” (behind the net)
- Once moving and clear of pressure, find a pass
- Don’t try to pass while standing still – move first
- without the puck re-entering the danger zone
- Do not force it
- Read about Breakout Systems (coming soon)
- If no clean pass is available, Clear the zone
- Put it high and off the boards or glass.
- Better to put it behind your own net or in the corner than up the middle blindly
- Rim it as a last resort
This is often expressed by coaches by saying:
“Look, skate, look, pass”
If you are the last man back, pass or dump the puck with any pressure. Don’t be that guy who turns the puck over with no support. Clear the zone.