Pet Peeve – Offsides

Is there anything more controllable for a team on the ice than staying onside? Smart, simple plays at the offensive blue line will ensure that a team never goes offsides and is able to attack the opponent effectively.

Teams and players with high hockey IQ rarely, if ever, go offside. They read and recognize plays as they develop and they make the appropriate move with or without the puck to prevent an offside call and maintain their attacking momentum.

Plays that I frequently see resulting in an offside call include the following:

  • Not headmanning the puck – a player may be open up ice but a player doesn’t see or refuses to pass
  • Overhandling the puck – players will try to make an extra move at or near the blue line, not realizing that their teammates are attempting to judge their speed and hit the line at the same time
  • Flat passes – rather than placing a pass up ice, players will make a lateral pass to their teammate at the blue line and their resulting momentum will carry them offside
  • Refusal to chip into space – often, defensemen will attempt to use the blue line to their advantage and hold a tight gap. Forwards need to recognize this and chip the puck into space behind them, rather than trying to stickhandle or skate past the defenseman

Staying onside allows you to attack your opponent with speed – the momentum you have gathered moving up ice can be continued into the offensive zone. Getting the puck over the blue line with smart, effective plays can create a good forechecking opportunity or a great offensive chance off the rush.