Playing with pressure in the defensive zone (DZ) is something you can see. What you can expect to see in the DZ by a well coached pressure defensive team:
- Five in the box (team defence) play and defending by puck location; strong side corner puck, hash mark puck, point puck, behind the net puck, slot or net zone puck,
- Expanding and collapsing of the box based on puck location,
- Point puck location pressure with two forwards getting out to the points at full speed and taking away the D to D pass up top,
- The defensive team’s Centre and D pairing out play the opponent’s forwards down low below the hash marks because of good puck support by the defensive forwards coming down low to the hash marks to play five against three as much as possible,
- Pressure applied based on triggers; loose puck, puck carrier bobbles puck or having puck control issues, puck carrier turns back on the play, puck carrier runs out of ice with no offensive puck support (support from teammates),
- Defence of the blue line (one stick length gap control by strong side D) with forwards supporting the puck with good back pressure and puck pressure support of the D pairing,
- Defensive team wins races to loose pucks,
- 2-3 defenders on the puck in the zone at all times,
- More Man Coverage than Zone Coverage in effect,
- Defensive team plays faster than the offensive team with quality defensive and offensive puck support in the zone,
- The defensive team demonstrates the ability to force turnovers and wins the puck possession and control game in the DZ,
- The defensive team plays with speed and physicality and wins the puck battles in the zone with evidence of outnumbering or overloading on the puck side defensively,
- The defensive team exits the zone strong side with five in the box or weak side using the width and depth of the ice surface under pressure,
- The defensive team is never outnumbered on the puck,
- The defensive team knows how to play body-stick-puck and stick-body-puck,
- The defensive team takes away the opponents time and space in the zone by playing faster,
- The defensive team never leaves a player alone in the slot or net zones and NEVER lets a player drive a seam to the net without being covered.
Well coached defensive teams out hustle and out play their opponent in the DZ and it is visible. You can tell by watching the game. The defensive team recovers loose pucks and forces turnovers with good defensive puck support and limits the opponents shots on goal from the HOUSE, points and perimeter.
Good defensive teams don’t play much hockey in their own zone. Well coached defensive teams play TEAM defence and it is clear every player on the ice knows their role and can execute their role. There is too much stationary defending in todays game in a passive five in the box structure.
Teach-Coach-Play with Pressure!