February 5, 2013 Leave a comment
Defensive hockey is all about two things, stick position and body position. How you position yourself and your stick will dictate what your opponent can and cannot do. The single biggest teaching point when coaching defensive hockey (whether forwards or defense) is stick on puck.
Bringing your stick to the puck applies pressure on the offensive player. It takes away his or her immediate options. It eliminates any passing lanes that may have been available. It forces the puck carrier into a puck protection situation or creates a turnover. It allows you to position your body to hit/pin the offensive player. Stick on puck effectively shuts down the puck carrier.
The timing of stick on puck is critical. One on One situations call for stick on puck. A defenseman playing a rush should not use stick on puck. A forechecker finishing his check should look to come in stick on puck. A forechecker looking to cut the ice in half should not.
Stick to puck needs to be strong and firm, it should not be a sweep. The player should attack with his/her stick out and a strong wrist. A sweep to the puck will open lanes and options as the stick moves. With the right timing and pressure, stick on puck is the most effective defensive technique for shutting down an opponent.