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Thread: Coaching Tip # 59 - Rushing up on the play!

  1. #1
    IHF Member Headcoach's Avatar
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    Coaching Tip # 59 - Rushing up on the play!

    Ok, here's what I like about defensemen that "Grab the Bull by the Horn" and take the puck up on the rush.

    First, they make things happen. Second, they put a little fire under the teams...A**!

    For some reason, it always gets my offense to move a little faster, when they see that the defensemen are having to do their job.

    So, encourage your defensemen to take it up. It will work wonders for your offense. Now, just don't send any defensemen up the ice on the offensive rush. Have a defensemen go up that know how to play wing or center.

    This defensemen needs to know how to enter the attacking zone and what to do with the puck once he get there.

    I see too many defensemen get to the attacking blue line and dump the puck into the zone. What happens when the defensemen dumps the puck into the attacking zone?

    Yes you get to go in and get it....maybe!

    When you dump the puck into the zone, who's closer to it? You or the other team's defensemen? Ah, ya...the other team's defensemen! So when you dump it in, why not just give it too them. Why even make them work. You might as well hand it too them.

    As you can see, I'm not a big fan of "Dump and Chase". And guess what? Neither are the fans that come and watch you in the stands. They don't like it as well.

    The reason why rushing defensemen dump the puck into the zone is because....

    A. The coach wants them to get back to their position as quick as possible. or,
    B. The player feels that his position is not covered and he needs to get back.

    So, how do we over come these problems? Simple, when the defense moves up the wing on his side, the winger on that side falls back and plays defense and he stays at that position until he is relieved by the defensemen.

    Hope this helps
    Head coach
    Last edited by Headcoach; 07-08-2008 at 05:53.

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    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    I'm a natural forward that plays defense fairly often on my team.
    Now, despite the fact that we just play beer league, i find dump-and-chase pretty effective if you have a proper rush going.

    When I rush the puck, I make sure I hit the blue line going full-bore. At that point I'll know if I have room to make a move or if there's a man open for a pass. If not, then I dump the puck.
    So the question: why?

    I know that me skating forward full-bore is faster than the opposing defender skating backwards trying to defend me. If I dump the puck in around him, I have the advantage of speed while he still has to pivot and then accelerate to fullspeed to get to the puck ahead of me. At worst, he'll get the puck but I'll be right there to knock it off his stick, rub him out into the boards, whatever to get it back. At best, I win the race and take the puck to set up deep in the offensive zone.

    The problem I see with too many defensemen on the rush is that they either don't hit the blue line with the speed they need to get around the defender to get to the puck first, or they decide to try and dangle and then often either lose the puck or just get forced to the sideboards where they'll get pressured and often lose the puck anyway.

    What I would suggest from my own experience playing the game at both positions is to stress the dump-and-chase for a rushing defenseman, but more than that, stress to him and the opposite-side winger that you have to hit the blue line going 100% of your maximum skating speed to ensure that you DO get the puck back.


    Turning back after a soft dump IMO should only be done for one reason: you're tired and are going off on a change.

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    IHF Member leftofcenter's Avatar
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    Yep - I'm a d-man convert like Steigs and the dump-in is one of the tools I like to use with certain team mates. There are some good and quick board guys on my team and so the hard dump in along the boards wrapping around to my opposite winger is a great way to get control and shift the play to the other side, opening up ice. I like to use it sometimes with certain players. Of course they have to be able to pick up the off the boards as it's coming at them from their corner.

    After watching the University of Alberta Golden Bear's over the years I can say that they had one of the best dump and chase hard forechecks that's ever been seen in CIS hockey (and national cups to prove it). Their forwards were small-ish but very quick in getting and pressuring the other d-men. Anyone who's played D knows that the hard forecheck from behind you is a stressfull thing and without a good D partner for the outlet, can be disastrous.

    So yes, carrying the puck and controling the play is essential for D-men but the dump-and chase is not always like the phrase sounds. It can be a controlled play that works well.

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    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    I guess the key is to make sure that even if you're dumping the puck in (i.e. letting go of it temporarily), that you keep the pressure on to control the play and make sure you get it back.

    Many defensemen won't keep going on the rush to make sure they do that, and when they don't it irritates me as much as it does Headcoach.
    My team in Gatineau this year would dump and NOT chase, and it REALLY started to piss me off at the end of it. I could be the third guy across the red line and still be the first on hte puck in the offensive zone.

  5. #5
    IHF Member Headcoach's Avatar
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    Now we are getting somewhere!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steigs View Post
    When I rush the puck, I make sure I hit the blue line going full-bore. At that point I'll know if I have room to make a move or if there's a man open for a pass. If not, then I dump the puck.
    Ok, check this out. Once you cross your defending blue line on a rush, you are now the forward and you have to think like a forward, if you want to have a successful scoring opportunities. Does that mean you can't score as a defensemen. No that's not what I am saying. Hear me out!

    If you have the puck on the rush, as you know as a defensemen, as you get closer to the defensemen on the opposing team, he is going to control the gap on you.

    Now lets talk about the gap for a second. The gap is the area between you and him. If he is going to be a successful defensemen, he is going to control the gap on you so that when he reaches the blue line, not you, he poke checks the puck into your skates, causing you to slow up a little, throwing your team mate off side on the other side. You know, the guy you said that should be going full bore.

    I know that me skating forward full-bore is faster than the opposing defender skating backwards trying to defend me. If I dump the puck in around him, I have the advantage of speed while he still has to pivot and then accelerate to fullspeed to get to the puck ahead of me. At worst, he'll get the puck but I'll be right there to knock it off his stick, rub him out into the boards, whatever to get it back. At best, I win the race and take the puck to set up deep in the offensive zone.
    Ok, next! If you approach the defensemen at 3/4 speed in stead of at "Full-bore", this is going to give you a little better advantage! Why? As you know as a defensemen, he is controlling the gap and part of that control is trying to determine your speed. So as you approach the defensemen, come in at 3/4 spreed and just when you are about two stick lengths away from him (1 1/2) you turn on the speed to full speed and go around with the puck instead of dumping. Remembers, the defensemen will always adjust he speed in direct relation to yours. So don't show him what you got until he is about to control the gap on you, then turn it on and you will leave him standing on the turn.

    The problem I see with too many defensemen on the rush is that they either don't hit the blue line with the speed they need to get around the defender to get to the puck first, or they decide to try and dangle and then often either lose the puck or just get forced to the sideboards where they'll get pressured and often lose the puck anyway.
    Ah, this statement is true! However, if you enter the attacking zone on your off wing, then you don't have to go down the boards. You can turn at the blue line to protect the puck, once you cross the blue line, and make the pass to your man rushing the net.

    What I would suggest from my own experience playing the game at both positions is to stress the dump-and-chase for a rushing defenseman, but more than that, stress to him and the opposite-side winger that you have to hit the blue line going 100% of your maximum skating speed to ensure that you DO get the puck back.
    If the other team has a goalie that has his S**t together, as you send it around the board, the goalie will come out and stop the puck behind the net and set it up for his defensemen. Thus, blocking the pass to your attacking winger on the far side.


    Turning back after a soft dump IMO should only be done for one reason: you're tired and are going off on a change.
    Thank god, you are right on with this one! This is where I like to see the dump...to change!

    Head coach

  6. #6
    IHF Member Headcoach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leftofcenter View Post
    Yep - I'm a d-man convert like Steigs and the dump-in is one of the tools I like to use with certain team mates. There are some good and quick board guys on my team and so the hard dump in along the boards wrapping around to my opposite winger is a great way to get control and shift the play to the other side, opening up ice. I like to use it sometimes with certain players. Of course they have to be able to pick up the off the boards as it's coming at them from their corner.
    As I mentioned in Steigs feedback, sending the puck around the board can get stopped by the goalie and set up behind the net for the defensemen. Well, not all of the time, you really have to blast it around in order to keep him from stopping it.



    After watching the University of Alberta Golden Bear's over the years I can say that they had one of the best dump and chase hard forechecks that's ever been seen in CIS hockey (and national cups to prove it). Their forwards were small-ish but very quick in getting and pressuring the other d-men. Anyone who's played D knows that the hard forecheck from behind you is a stressfull thing and without a good D partner for the outlet, can be disastrous.
    Ah, this is the key. As you know, when you get a guy dumping the puck on you as a defensemen, you want to kind of slow his progress by kind of angling him towards the boards. This is going to give your defensive partner the time to go pick up the puck while NOT under pressure.

    The key to over coming an aggressive "Dump and Chase" is the Transition. This is the area between the pass from the defensemen to the forward. Here is where you need excellent "Tape to Tape" passing. Once it gets on that wingers stick, the first thing that should go through the mind of the winger is protection of the puck.

    At this point, the defensemen should be ready for a back pass from the winger who is getting ready to get his a** kicked. I always teach my wingers that if they get the puck from the defensemen and they starting to breakout, and they are about to get hit, back pass back to the defensemen, take the hit, let the defensemen, rush up and fall back to play "D".

    What has happened, the defensemen now has the puck and the attacking winger has taken himself out of the play. The key to a successful breakout is the off winger on the other side. If he overloads the zone towards you as you breakout the puck out as a defensemen, By the time you get to the top of the face off circle, he should be in the neutral zone between the two defending defensemen and you can hit him with the pass between the two "D" and away he goes. All of this will take roughly about 8 to 9 seconds, from dump in to breakout.

    So yes, carrying the puck and controling the play is essential for D-men but the dump-and chase is not always like the phrase sounds. It can be a controlled play that works well.
    The problem with a lot of breakouts is that the defensive pair don't know how to work well together. Example: If you have the puck and you cross over into his lane, most of the time I see that defensemen just stand there. What he should have done was to mirror you.

    If you cross, he crosses! If you back up, he backs up! If you skate forward, pivot and skate backwards, he skates forward, pivots and skates backwards.

    If you go into the corner to retrieve the puck behind the goalie line, he needs to come behind his goal line on his side to help you when you are under pressure.

    But most of the time, I see him still in front of the net, helping the goalie. When he needs to help his defensive partner, not the goalie. It have every thing to do with "read and react" If he see that you are going to loose the puck to the other team, then stay in front.

    However, if he sees that you are going to get to the puck first, then make the move to assist you in the breakout behind the goalie on his side...not in front.

    Hope this helps
    Head coach

  7. #7
    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    Headcoach, you makes some good points on your reply.
    I guess all i can really say is that my comments were made only from my own perspective as a player: I play in non-contact beer leagues where I generally have the ability to go full-out and the defenseman will more often than not be lacking the hockey sense to try and stop me at the blue line when i come at him with that kind of speed.
    If I'm closing on an opposing defender at a good clip because he's just not that fast, at the level I play the defender can be pushed back into his zone, giving me room and time for the play as I described it.
    Obviously in a higher-caliber league that probably won't work quite so well, and I realise that too.

    that being said, my league includes many guys with Junior "A" experience, OUA (ontario university hockey), and one or two former major-junior guys who are now in their late 30s. When they can't just stop dead and level you open-ice it changes the game.

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