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Activating Defense Into Offensive Zone Entries

Activating Defense Into Offensive Zone Entries

Excerpt From: Hockey Plays and Strategies

After a successful breakout or regroup, with the puck in possession of the forwards, one defenseman should follow up as a late-wave option or as one of the three attacking players. As mentioned in the breakout chapter sometimes the center gets caught low in coverage, so it is important to have one defenseman in the rush. When a defenseman moves up to join the rash, he should read the quality of puck possession. Does your teammate have the puck under control while advancing up the ice? If so, then one defenseman must be activated into the rush. Is it risky to have an active defense? Well, the answer is no. The responsibility is in the hands of the puck carrier; he must make good decisions and pick the right options. A defenseman should join and stay in the rush from the breakout, through the neutral zone, and then read the quality of puck possession at the offensive blue line.

By joining the rush and staying in as the third or fourth attacker, the defenseman creates confusion as opponents try to figure out their coverage on the backcheck. Plus an active defenseman usually results in more odd man rushes because he can get up the ice quicker than the other team backchecks. If the quality of puck possession is good, defensemen should have the green light to go to the net, but make sure they know that they cannot stop and “hang out” in front for the puck – they have to get back to the blue line. Allowing your defense to join the rush is a good strategy, but you don’t want it to cost you the other way and give the opposition a chance to get an odd man rush.

Continue Reading: Attack Zone

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