Justin Sather’s Tips for Defensive Passes
There are a couple real basics in hockey. Like most sports, people understand the premise well: get the puck in the goal more times than your opponent. A well-played hockey game, like a well written novel, is more about the action leading up to this climax then the actual act of scoring.
Start with the defense says Justin Sather. A defenseman’s job is simple. That job is to clear the puck from his team’s offensive side. While this seems like a simple enough concept, there is a lot more to it than simply smacking the puck back in the opposite direction. If a player has managed to secure or move the puck away from the scoring area, it is dangerous to have to go back through that area in order to begin his own teams scoring run. A viable option is using the boards instead of running right back across the middle.
There are a couple of ways to use the boards effectively. Keeping the puck between you and the boards will help to keep offensive predators at bay. Mind you, it won’t keep them off your back explains Sather. Stay low when playing on the boards and keep weight on your stick. This will provides a lower center of gravity (and is one of Justin Sather’s favorite tips) and allow for quick movement if engaged in a battle for the puck.
If you do need to pass the puck, using the boards to do so can provide a secure means of staying away from the net. Bank the puck off the boards like a game of pool. This bounce can keep play away from your net and can even allow for passes where the normal lanes are blocked by your opponent.
Another good play for getting across the ice quickly is a hard rim. These are not always the safest, but if you have a wing that knows how to handle a hard rim, then this can be a great solution when you don’t have the option of a direct pass. Justin Sather says that it is important to know your teammates, what their strong suits are and ensure they know how you play the game as well.