The NHL season has just begun. Our SENS need to find out which guys want to play and which ones don’t. We have talked about how playing defence is HARD WORK and not for everyone. The Neutral Zone (NZ) is a key area of the ice to defend. You never want to allow your opponent to carry the puck through the NZ with speed and puck control.
Coach Boucher wants to get this team playing better in the NZ and Defensive Zone (DZ). The season is early and we did see some signs of structure in these two zones but we also saw some SOFT play. These guys need some Angling Drills in these two zones with a review and reinforcement on how to play the body first then the stick and then the puck. No doubt the young rookie has a great pair of hands, good size and skills but he made it look like taking candy from a baby.
Come on boys, let’s take the extra stride or two and start skating the opponent off into the boards or maybe a shoulder to the opponent’s sternum in open ice. Stop the drivebys and the stick checking. I hope Coach Boucher shows the video below to the lads before practice and find out who wants to play man coverage and play the body. We didn’t analyze this YouTube video of Matthew’s four goals because the lack of man coverage and body checking is obvious. Nice our SENS stole one but we have to change the style of play in a hurry. The SENS have to play with pressure, the following pressure hockey plays need to become part of how this team plays every night:
- Pressure up on the opponent and take away ice and angle into the boards,
- Play the body first then stick, puck. No drivebys or swinging of sticks,
- Forwards play man coverage all the way to the net. An opponent’s stick must be off the ice in front of the net with the defender playing man-you-goal,
- Start defending the blue line and entrance into the zone,
- Provide the D pairing on the ice with good back pressure to defend with pressure.