Excerpt From: Hockey Plays and Strategies
The difference with motion regroups is that the center now has the ability to exchange positions with the wingers. Once again, the sequence of option for defensemen in the neutral zone depends on how the opponents forecheck. The advantage of using motion regroups is that the players have more speed when getting the pass and often catch the opposition flat footed. The disadvantage is that the positioning of the forwards is not as predictable and as a result the defensemen can’t always anticipate where they will be. At times the forwards are so focused on moving and building up speed that they lose eye contact with the passer. The forwards must remember to keep their eyes on the puck. With motion regroups, the center always changes lanes with one of the wingers, and then that winger moves into center ice. If the player in the middle moves to support a pass and it is not made, an exchange occurs with the winger on that side (figure 2.19a). The player in the center may also swing away to build up speed on the wide side (figure 2.19b).
With motion regroups, if teams check center on center in the neutral zone, having the center move into an outside lane often results in coverage confusion.
Figure 2.19 (a) strong-side motion regroup and (b) the wide-side motion regroup.
Using the same options presented for lane regroups, we now look at how the passing options change with the center leaving the mid-ice lane.
In this situation, D1 gets the puck just inside the blue line and turns It up quickly by passing to LW or RW, who has moved off the wide boards as C swings to that side (figure 2.20). The exchange between the center and RW must be made quickly in order to provide immediate support for D1.
When D1 gets the puck and the strong-side options are taken away, he then passes to his partner (figure 2.21). C once again swings away to the wide side. Once the pass is made, D1 should sink back to mid-ice to protect his partner in case of a turnover and also to provide an option for D2. D2 passes up to RW or to LW who has moved off the boards and is available in the middle of the ice.
D-to-D FLAT PASS
D1 passes to D2, and now because of how the opponents are forechecking, the main option is to make a flat pass to C with speed in the wide lane (figure 2.22). This is one of the more effective options in the motion regroup sequence because the center tends to build up a lot of speed in the wide lane and can often enter the zone easily. This option is usually available when the opponents forecheck in a 1-2-2 formation and lock the center of the ice, leaving the back side open.
D1 passes D2 and then slides back to mid-ice to support his partner. D2 moves up ice and looks to make a pass. With no option available, he passes back to D1, who is behind and in mid-ice. D1 then moves the puck quickly to C, who once again has a lot of speed built in the outside land (figure 2.22). LW may also be available in the middle of the ice. D1 may perform a skating hinge and accelerate up the middle of the ice while looking for options.
When a D1-to-D2 pass is made in the neutral zone, C exchanges with the wing, and now RW has the option of moving out higher in behind the opposing defense (figure 2.24). Because the center swings lower, this proves the defense with an alternative safer option if the stretch pay is not there. The RW must time it to hit the open space behind the opposition defense when D2 is ready to pass.
Continue Reading: Offensive Zone Entries