Swarming the Puck a Pressure Defensive Tactic

The best teams defend with pressure on the puck as a group. Swarming the puck is also synonymous with outnumbering or overloading on the puck to create a player advantage. The tactic is used in forechecking and in puck battles to provide the best opportunity to win pucks.

Defensive Zone SWARM

How a defensive group pressures up on a corner puck is a good scenario to describe the swarming or outnumbering/overloading defensive tactical play. How defenders pressure up in their defensive zone on a low corner puck or puck below the goal line; whether it’s a D and F or two D with a low F covering the net zone or even two D with a low F with two other low F’s positioned strong side low below the hash marks in coverage. There will be variations on how the group decides to pressure up based on the situation. Every defender must know their role and how to execute that role.

SWARMING – Good Habits

  1. Win the race to the loose puck.
  2. Speed, speed, speed & physicality.
  3. Outnumber on the puck to create a player advantage.
  4. Box Out the forecheckers from accessing the puck.
  5. First player always creates puck separation while 2nd player recovers the puck.
  6. Set the edges on both sides of the puck (seal) to contain the puck battle area.
  7. Take the right approach angle.
  8. Support the puck with “structure” to secure the puck and to exit the tight space.
  9. Strong hockey position for leverage, balance and effective use of body & stick.
  10. Communicate as a group.
  11. Convert to offence quickly to exit the area and trap the opponents below the puck.
  12. Exit plan (options) on the recovery.
  13. Get into defensive position to man up into coverage should the opponent beat the SWARM.

Pressure Triggers (Read & React)

Knowing when to pressure up and how to pressure up individually and as a group is a critical part of the teaching process. Players must be taught what triggers pressure and how to effectively pressure up to gain access to the puck and box out the opponents. How to separate a player from a puck with effective use of body and stick is an art. Players should work with skilled players who have perfected the technique.

Defensive Team (Blue) Loads the Box (Five in the Box) on the Puck

The defensive team (blue) swarms the puck in the corner and sets the edges to contain the puck battle. There’s nothing more important in your defensive zone than winning pucks and exiting the zone. How a defensive team pressures up on pucks and uses their resources is a key part of defensive strategy.

The defensive group in blue has outnumbered their opponent in the corner to play 5 against 3 down low in the corner. Defenders have to posses strong technical hockey skills to win pucks consistently. Strategy and tactics are important but equally important are the players’ skill levels to use their body and stick effectively to win pucks and exit the zone.

Rod Brind’Amour Teaching the DZ SWARM – Twitter Video

CANES Defend with Speed, Speed, Speed and Pressure the Puck

Beating the DZ SWARM

The defensive group pressuring up knows the forecheckers are going to do their best to create space and move the puck outside the swarm (defenders pressuring up) to a teammate. Relocating the puck outside the swarm of defenders is necessary to escape this puck pressure tactic to one of the following areas for recovery:

  1. Dot space in the face off circle
  2. Low to high puck side
  3. Strong side to weak side


AVS DZ Failure to SWARM Win a Puck and Exit the Zone


The ability of a defensive group to contain a puck battle to a specific area of the ice and apply puck pressure to recover a puck and exit a tight space is a big part of today’s game. Players have to come back to the puck in their own zone and defend as a five player unit. Swarming the puck is a defensive pressure tactic when executed properly (good habits) will support a group’s ability to win pucks and break out of their own end of the rink.

Taking away ice & your opponent’s ability to carry the puck in zone is a critical part of defending. The goal of defending should be regaining puck possession and control and converting to the offensive game. Swarming the puck (pressuring up) to win pucks must be a big part of your team’s defensive game plan in all three zones. Swarming the puck should be practiced by puck location in the defensive zone; half-wall, corner, below the goal line and the HOUSE.

The Setter’s Role in Hockey

Setter’s Role in Volleyball

“When you think of the setter position you automatically think volleyball. The setter in volleyball is much like the quarterback in football or the point guard in basketball. They are in charge of the offence. They decide who should get the ball and when. It doesn’t matter how good a team’s hitters are if it doesn’t have a setter that can consistently deliver a good ball to hit. The setter is a critical position in volleyball.” live about.com definition

Setter’s Role in Hockey

The setter in hockey is a player (forward or defenceman) who finds an area of the ice surface (all three zones) to support the puck offensively. The role of the setter in hockey is to distribute the puck to a teammate to better position the puck for one of the following reasons:

  1. retain puck possession & control,
  2. rebuild an attack,
  3. advance the puck up ice or,
  4. advance the puck on net.

The setter role is often used to execute the give and go tactical play in all three zones. The video clips below are shared to provide examples of situations where an offensive player has posted up in an area of the ice surface to support the puck offensively for the purpose of bettering the puck position as the setter.

Neutral Zone Setter – Opponent’s Blue Line – Give & Go Play
Neutral Zone Setter Middle Ice Between the Dots – Face-off Win
Defensive Zone Setter – DZ Exit Play
Offensive Zone Setter Designated Shooter Play
Neutral Zone Setter Opponent’s Blue Line
Offensive Zone Setter Give & Go Play
Setter on the Power Play
Tampa Bay Lightning – Middle Ice Setter Role – Tip/Deflection Breaking Winger


The setter in hockey plays an important role in support of the puck offensively. Hockey is a possession game and the setter can play an effective role in retaining puck possession and control and in creating offensive scoring chances. The setter role can help a team manage the puck in all three zones.

Grit Zone – The Area of the Ice Surface Outside the Face-off Dots

Grit Zone (GZ) – Incorporates all 3 zones (DZ,NZ & OZ) but is ONLY the area outside the face-off dots.

Accepted Zones of the Ice Surface

The 3 zones in hockey today:

  1. Defensive Zone (DZ) – Defensive Team, blue line to end boards
  2. Offensive Zone (OZ) – Offensive Team, blue line to end boards
  3. Neutral Zone (NZ) – The area from the top of the face-off circles at both ends of the ice surface
  4. *Grit Zone (GZ) – Includes all 3 zones above but ONLY the area outside the face-off dots

The Grit Zone should be added to the list of zones used to identify key areas of the ice surface.

Definition of GRIT

For a hockey player to be a strong Grit Zone Player he/she must consistently demonstrate grit in their performance of the skills and tactics in this key area of the ice surface.

A Grit Zone Player

The following are the essential qualifications of a Grit Zone Player. A Grit Zone Player must be able to demonstrate on a consistent basis, the following skills and abilities in this key area of the ice surface:

  1. Win races to retrieve loose pucks
  2. Angle and play the body to separate a player from the puck
  3. Pressure up individually and as a group to win puck recovery battles
  4. Be strong on the puck and protect the puck (with the body) to retain puck possession & control under check pressure
  5. Execute tight turns to change direction quickly with the puck & control the puck
  6. Separate a player from the puck & regain puck possession
  7. Take the puck to the net from the Grit Zone
  8. Cycle the puck low & high as a unit/group while maintaining control of the puck
  9. Relocate pucks to safe areas for retrieval to retain puck possession
  10. Advance and control the puck as an individual & a unit/group in a crowd
  11. Not take penalties (remain in control of emotions)
  12. Be in control of mind, body and stick in all situations
  13. Maintain control of the puck individually & as a unit/group
  14. Compete for ice to establish offensive & defensive position as required
  15. Hunt, recover, rebound and deflect pucks in tight space
  16. Use the boards to effectively manage and control the puck
  17. Prevent the opponent (individual & group) from carrying or advancing the puck (North-South)
  18. Win one against one player battles
  19. Take away ice of a puck carrier with stops and starts and effective angling technique
  20. Work give and go plays and make short passes to control the puck

Develop Grit Zone Players

The best hockey players are able to dominate the game inside the dots and outside the dots. The best players have grit, perseverance and the necessary courage to play the game in traffic and to execute the skills and tactics of the game, where the game is most physical and challenging, in the Grit Zone (outside the dots).

Hockey is a Possession Game and that game is generally won outside the dots in battle areas. Player development should focus on the skills required for a player to become a strong Grit Zone Player. You can never have too many strong Grit Zone Players on a team.

There’s Power in Numbers & How They’re Organized

Hard Forecheck Pressure – Defending Up Ice A Common Hockey Defensive & Offensive Tactic

Hockey Concepts Have Not Changed – Anatoli Tarasov’s Vision 1975

  • Retaining puck possession is of key importance
  • Retreating and rebuilding attacks is encouraged when appropriate
  • It’s more about the players without the puck than those with it
  • Interchange positions to create confusion & openings
  • Attack with speed & counter attack as quickly as possible
  • Pass the puck and then immediately move to make yourself available fore a return pass option
  • The puck belongs to your teammates
  • The purpose of having the puck is to return it to a teammate

In the clip below we examine how the Tampa Bay Lightning’s defensive zone break out structure beats the hard forecheck pressure by the Florida Panthers. It is common practice for teams to defend up ice with an aggressive forecheck in both the offensive zone and the neutral zone. The strategy to defend up ice is about regaining puck possession and scoring as a unit off the puck recovery.

Tampa Bay Lightning bring five players back deep into the defensive zone to outnumber their opponent below the hash marks. Set up a structure (five in the box) to support the puck offensively strong side to exit the zone. In the clip you see TBL players support the puck through the neutral zone on the attack rush as a unit.

Rugby Coach speaks to power in numbers and pressing the ball/puck to regain possession & score on the recovery.

Power In Numbers & How They Are Organized

The Rugby Coach is speaking to the use of resources (players) to support the ball/puck as a group and deploying tactics that support regaining possession and scoring off the ball/puck recovery (dual purpose). What we are seeing in hockey is the elite teams pressure the puck in all three zones and deploying tactics to retain puck possession and to recover the puck back as quickly as possible to counter attack and get back on offence.

The best defensive teams in their own zone are excellent at winning races to loose pucks as a five player unit, outnumbering off pressure triggers and regaining possession for the purpose of quickly attacking the opponent.

Breakdown of the Tampa Bay Lightning Goal Against the Florida Panthers

  1. TBL bring five players back deep into the defensive zone to support the puck recovery and exit play.
  2. The low F #19 Goodrow curls inside to set a passing lane for the D and receives a short pass.
  3. F#19 Goodrow runs a give and go with F#37 Gourde whose stationary on the half wall.
  4. TBL run a 3 on 2 (outnumbered) Attack Rush Play with D#81 Cernak part of the 3 player attack.
  5. TBL move puck in the o/s lane and take the puck deep for a play on net.
  6. TBL #37 Gourde has time to arrive late (Arrive on Time) skates by a defender to the net to bury the rebound.


The Tampa Bay Lightning, last years Stanley Cup Champions, get it. The have mastered the concepts referenced above and support the puck extremely well offensively and defensively. The five players on the ice are interchangeable, they defend up ice, win their share of puck battles and will bring four players down to the net zone to score a goal as demonstrated in the video.

The common problem defenders have defending the Attack Rush is they are too puck focused. As defenders you must always have your head on a swivel and expect the attacking team to have their D pairing fully engaged in the offensive game plan. Often the offensive team will take the puck deep into the offensive zone on the Attack Rush, turn back or run a delay and move the puck to players arriving late (on time) to support the puck offensively above the puck. The TBL goal scorer is F#37 who was stationary in his defensive zone to work the give & go with F#19 Goodrow. Defenders can’t allow offensive players who arrive late in the zone to skate by them uncovered for a play on net.

Athletic Posture One of the Keys to Performance

Being in a position of balance & control is critical to an athlete’s ability to execute the skills and tactics of their sport.

Balance Key to Athletic Performance

Being in a position of balance and in control of your body is essential to being able to execute every technical skill a player performs in their sport. As a hockey player, whether you are shooting or passing a puck, checking, skating or stick handling your ability to execute the skills correctly requires that you be in full control of your body.

The same holds true for baseball players, football players, rugby players, soccer players, golfers, basketball players and players in all sports, the skills of the game must be executed in a position of balance and control of the body and this cannot be over emphasized.

The Hockey Position

In the photo above a coach is demonstrating for the players the hockey position. Knees flexed, chest over his thighs, head up, feet slightly outside shoulder width apart, weight on his inside edges, backside out (butt), with forward flexion at the waist (correct spine angle) that allows for the chest to be over the thighs. The hockey position assures the correct athletic posture of the player so that they are in a position of balance and control of their body.

Correct Posture = Position of Balance and Control

When a player is learning a skill it is important to make sure they are in a good hockey position. As the player demonstrates the ability to execute the skill in a position of balance and control the speed or pace the skill is being performed can be increased. Nothing is done at the expense of balance and control of the body. Being in a strong hockey position is a good habit. The more a good habit is emphasized and reinforced with players the better, it soon will be automatic and something the player does all the time without thinking (Unconscious Competence).

NHL Player Examples

The best players in today’s game are always in a strong hockey position . You see it when they perform the skills of the game skating, shooting, passing, stick handling and checking. These 3 highly skilled players demonstrate the importance of being in a strong hockey position at all times:

  • Steven STAMKOS
  • Nathan Mackinnon
  • Connor McDavid

Watch the videos below to see how being in a strong hockey position (position of balance & control) helps these players in the execution of their technical hockey skills. Being in a strong athletic posture supports the player’s ability to perform.

STAMKOS – Nothing at the expense of balance. These Steven STAMKOS highlights are a must watch.
Nathan MacKinnon demonstrates how being in a strong hockey position supports his ability to execute.
Connor McDavid – always in a position of balance and control.


Being in a strong hockey position is necessary to learn and develop technical hockey skills but it is also important for a player’s safety. The game of hockey at higher levels is played with speed and physicality. Being in a position of balance and control of the body is important for a player’s safety.

No Surprises In Flames 4-3 Win Over Leafs

No Surprises from the Flames

The LEAFS lost a tough one last night to the Calgary Flames 4-3. One would expect a Daryl Sutter coached team would show up and try to establish the pace of the game. One would expect a Daryl Sutter coach team would be physical and establish the forecheck in the offensive zone and try to create offence by being first to loose pucks in the offensive zone and forcing puck turnovers. The Flames worked the puck low-high often in the o-zone, set screens and established a strong net presence.

The LEAFS have made significant improvements in their defensive game this season by playing with structure to support the puck better defensively and offensively. The LEAFS defensive zone exit play has improved as the result of bringing five guys back deep in the zone to support puck recovery and exit play. Any time you are getting beat to loose pucks in your defensive zone, struggling to regain puck possession and struggling to make quality passes to exit the zone you know its going to be a tough night. Last night the LEAFS were not as sharp as they usually are in the defensive zone and it cost them the game.

The LEAFS had shown a commitment as a group to play a 200′ game this season. Last night, the group needed to be better in their defensive zone for sure and as a result they gave up four goals. Your goalie has to see pucks on net, you have to box out and defend the net/slot zones between the dots. You have to win races to loose pucks in your defensive zone to regain possession and shut down your opponent’s offensive game and time of possession in your zone.

Below are a few clips that reveal how the FLAMES generated their four goals against a LEAF team that has seldom given up more than 2.5 goals a game against this season.

Flames work the puck low-high and set the net presence to block the goalie’s view and set up the deflection/rebound plays.
Bad 1st pass on the puck recovery results in a turnover and the Flames getting the puck to an uncovered player in middle ice.
LEAFS turn the puck over in the defensive zone on the exit play and the puck ends up in their net.
Flames PP goal -win the draw and move the puck low-high and the point shot goes in off Muzzin’s back side.
Flames win the race to a loose puck off a SOG and regain puck possession on the forecheck to get a quality puck on net.


The LEAFS have demonstrated the ability to improve defensively this season as evidenced by the GA/GP metric. The game last night showed there is room for improvement in the consistency of their defensive game. The LEAFS have to pay attention to details in their execution. In the stretch to the playoffs they will be tested by teams physically and they will have to be a lot better boxing out in the defensive zone (net/slot zones), protecting middle ice, winning races to loose pucks, forcing turnovers and exiting their defensive zone. The LEAFS have a lot of offensively talented players but the key to a playoff run will be whether there’s enough grit and character in the dressing room to get the job done defensively and consistently play a 200′ game. Time will tell.

The Concept of Defending Middle Ice (Between the Dots)

Defensive Concept – Defending Middle Ice (Between the Dots)
The concept of defending the area between the face-off dots (middle ice) in all three zones of the ice surface has been a well established defensive concept in the game of hockey. The concept should be taught to players early in their development so good defensive habits can be ingrained in the player’s game from an early age. You want good habits to be part of every player’s game so they don’t have to think about what to do in different situations, they will know what to do.

Defending Middle Ice

  • Net and Slot Zone (Prime Scoring Areas) – Key areas of the ice where defenders are taught to not allow offensive players to get in behind them or get in between them and their goalie/net. Defenders are taught to box out the offensive players and keep themselves between the offensive players and their net and not allow any stick on puck rebound or deflection opportunities.
  • Angling – Checking with a purpose to force a puck carrier outside the dots to the boards (wall). Defenders are taught to exercise inside out control, take an approach angle that protects middle ice, and force the puck carrier wide to the outside of the ice to either force a puck turnover or make the puck carrier make a play with the puck from the perimeter of the ice surface.
  • Back Checking – Providing back pressure support for the defensive pairing when defending against an Attack Rush Play by the opponent. Players back checking are taught to come back between the dots (the shortest route to their net) and not allow any player without the puck to skate to the net uncovered. The concept of a Swivel Head is taught to defenders so they make shoulder checks to identify their coverage assignment between the dots when back checking. Back checkers are taught to get on their opponent’s inside shoulder (box out) and take the offensive player to the net while defending the stick and preventing any stick on puck rebound or deflection opportunity.

Pervasive Problem in Today’s Game

A common problem in today’s game is the tendency of players defending to over defend the puck carrier. It is a significant problem when players back checking become too focused on the puck carrier. Back checking players must come back between the face-off dots to provide back pressure support for the defensive pairing. What happens all too frequently is multiple defenders defend the puck carrier and allow offensive players without the puck to skate by them uncovered to their net to receive a pass or make a play on net for a deflection or rebound opportunity. No offensive player without the puck should be allowed to skate to the net uncovered when you are defending against the Attack Rush Play as a defensive player back checking.

What happens when defenders allow a player without the puck to skate by them to the net uncovered on an Attack Rush Play


Players should be taught the concept of defending middle ice (between the face-off dots) in all three zones. No back checker should allow an offensive player without the puck joining the Attack Rush Play to skate to the net uncovered between the dots. When young players learn key concepts of the game they will develop good habits which will allow them to read and react without having to think what to do, they will know what to do. How to defend middle ice is an important defensive concept which players must learn at an early stage in their development.

Forechecking Principles

Forechecking Systems

The purpose of deploying a forechecking system is to regain puck possession. Hockey is a Possession Game and that fact should never be lost on players. Whether you’re forechecking in the offensive zone or the neutral zone, the objective is to regain puck possession. Regardless of the defensive structure or system deployed the objective never changes, regain puck possession.There are lots of different structures and systems in the game to forecheck but what matters the most is making sure players understand the style of game you want to play and that the players adhere to the guiding principles of play. Keep it simple. Hockey sense makes sense.

Key Principles of the Forecheck

  • Speed and Physicality – Defenders must be able to match the speed of their opponent. Defenders must be able to separate the Puck Carrier from the puck and be able to win puck recovery battles on the wall.
  • Protect Middle Ice (Between the Dots) – Defenders must protect middle ice (between the dots) and exercise inside out control checking. The puck must be forced outside the dots to the wall. The shortest distance to your net is between the dots so defend middle ice. Forwards and Defensemen must utilize proper angling fundamentals when forcing the play outside the dots to the wall.
  • Pressure the Puck – Defenders must apply pressure on the puck at all times. The objective is to regain puck possession so as a group apply pressure on the puck at all times to eliminate the opponent’s time & space with the puck.
  • Spacing – Critical to defending is the ability to “Arrive On Time” to support the puck defensively and apply pressure on the puck, wherever the puck goes on the ice surface. The spacing between players defending is important to be able to support the ability to defend. Defensemen and forwards must control their gaps so that they can arrive on time individually and as a group to defend.
  • Defend in Layers – Defenders must support each other as a group to achieve the task at hand. The offensive team will be forced to relocate (move) the puck so it’s imperative the defending group spaces themselves to eliminate their opponent’s ability to support the puck offensively. Should the Puck Carrier escape a defender there must be 2nd and 3rd levels of defensive puck support to pressure the puck and defend.
  • Eliminate the Carry Option – The Puck Carrier must be forced to pass the puck. As a group eliminate the opponent’s ability to carry the puck North-South – it isn’t an option. Key to forcing a puck turnover is not allowing the opponent the ability to carry the puck while removing passing lane options.
  • Contract & Expand the Ice Surface as a Group – Collapse and expand the ice as a group to force a puck turnover and recover the puck. The group should outnumber defensively to support the puck & create the player advantage when possible.
  • Read off Each Other and the Opponent – Support the puck defensively you must read & react to the situation. The defending group’s structure changes based on the situation. Focus efforts on creating a puck turnover and chance to regain puck possession.
  • Take Away Time & Space – Defenders must take away the opponent’s ice and time in possession of the puck to make a good play with the puck.
  • Take Away Puck Support – Defenders must take away passing lanes; sticks and bodies must obstruct passing lanes.
  • Be Tough to Play Against – Hunt the puck and be strong on pucks to regain possession.
  • Counter attack as a Group – On recovery of the puck counter attack quickly before the opponent is in position to defend.

Video Clip – BRUINS Neutral Zone 2-1-2 Forecheck Principles

  • Pressure the puck,
  • Take away puck support by blocking passing lanes,
  • Protect middle ice and force the puck to the wall,
  • Defend in layers and close gaps,
  • Counter attack quickly on regaining possession.
Purpose: We forecheck to regain puck possession and counter attack, it’s that simple.

Keep it Simple
We forecheck to regain puck possession. Defenders should use defensive principles to guide them in getting the puck back.

The Triangle Offence a Multi-Sport Strategy


The Triangle Offence has been a strategy used in sports like basketball, soccer and hockey for many years. The Triangle accomplishes a number of useful purposes as an offensive strategy:

  • It gets everyone involved.
  • It emphasizes spacing and creates passing and shooting lanes.
  • It allows offensive players to isolate on defenders to create mismatches and outnumbered advantages in space.
  • It provides structured puck/ball support in a framework that allows offensive players read options to make plays.
  • It provides a framework or structure that is flexible to contract or expand in zone to support possession and control of the puck/ball.
  • It provides continuity and there is always a way out or another option.

The triangle offence in hockey is used in all three zones of the rink in the following tactics and systems play:

  • DZ Exit Play,
  • Attack Rush Play (3 on 2, 4 on 2(3) etc),
  • NZ Regroup,
  • OZ Cycle,
  • OZ Constant Player & Puck Movement Play – above and below the hash marks,
  • Power Play (1-3-1 and other structures).

Video of the Pittsburgh Penguins Power Play 1-3-1

A review of the PENS in zone PP play reveals how the Triangle Offence is used to support the puck to retain possession and control and advance the puck on net to create scoring chances.

Triangle Offence Soccer – TW from TLPF_Hockey

Hockey Sense

The Triangle Offence is a big part of the strategy and tactics used in hockey. It is important that young players understand how this geometric shape can be used to support the puck offensively to create scoring chances, retain puck possession and control and advance the puck in all three zones of the rink. The strategy allows players to use their creativity to make reads and create plays in all three zones.

Constant Player & Puck Movement in the Offensive Zone

Key Principles – Constant Player & Puck Movement

Constant Player & Puck Movement In Zone

Constant player and puck movement in the offensive zone is something that is catching on in the NHL and other professional leagues around the world. The video clip below is a highlight goal scored from a recent Pittsburgh Penguins game against the Washington Capitals which provides a break down of the principles for the movement of the puck and the players in zone. There are good reasons for deploying this tactic in zone. The movements of the players and the puck are timed and executed based on key principles.

Reasons for Constant Player & Puck Movement in Zone

  1. Support the offensive team’s ability to retain puck possession and control in zone.
  2. Create chaos in zone for defenders and make defending more challenging.
  3. Increase the defenders work rate in zone to defend.
  4. Exploit zone and man coverage schemes.
  5. Take advantage of the ice surface in zone (width & depth) to create time and space to make plays.
  6. Support the puck offensively so the puck carrier always has at least two passing options in zone.
  7. Advance the puck on net to create quality scoring chances.
  8. Outnumber defenders in space to work 2 on 1’s, 3 on 2’s, Give & Goes, and other outnumbered advantages.
  9. Create quality passing and shooting lanes in zone.
  10. Take advantage of what defenders give the offensive players in zone as a result of the movement.

Video Breakdown

  1. Puck recovery down low behind the net – PENS outnumber on the puck 2 against 1 to gain possession & control.
  2. Crosby F2 moves the puck low to high – outnumbered defensively and no play option for F3 in the slot.
  3. PENS F1 establishes net zone presence with puck moved up top to the D.
  4. PENS move the puck up top D to D.
  5. Crosby and Rust move low – high to outnumber with their D pairing above the hash marks on both sides of the ice.
  6. Crosby and SSD work a Give & Go Play strong side – Crosby remains up top to cover for D dropping down.
  7. PENS Rust drives the middle lane to support the puck (PENS D#5) & receives a pass to score on the play.
  8. PENS Give & Go Play with Rust driving the net creates a 3 on 2 below the hash marks to create the advantage.

Principles of Constant Player & Puck Movement in the Offensive Zone

  • Offensive Puck Support – players without the puck must support the puck carrier and provide a minimum of two passing options at all times so the offensive team can retain puck possession & control and advance the puck on net.
  • Outnumbering – an offensive and defensive tactic deployed to provide a player advantage in space.
  • Use of the Ice Surface (width & depth) – to create offence you need time and space to make plays.
  • Player and Puck Movement – the timing of player and puck movement to advance the puck and create time and space to make plays.
  • Structured Puck Support – triangulating to support the puck in moving and static situations.

Hockey Sense

Constant player and puck movement in the offensive zone is part of the strategy and tactics of the game. The players have to understand the thinking behind the tactic to properly execute. The tactic requires players to have strong technical hockey skills and the ability to read and react and be creative to take advantage of what defenders give them.