Timing And Toughness Help In Front Of The Net

With Adam Hall of the New York Rangers

Win the battles for the puck and there’s a strong chance you’ll win every hockey game. Nowhere is that battle more intense than in front of the net. Whether it’s setting a screen, redirecting a shot or picking up a rebound, the front of the net is a great place to score goals.

Tip #1

I like to time my arrival to the front of the net so I’m not a stationary target for a defenseman to tie me up. When I see the shot coming I’m heading for the net. It’s nice to get there while the goalie’s making the save so you can get a rebound before the defenseman has a chance to put a body or a stick on you.

 

Tip #2

You don’t need to plant yourself in front of the net to be effective. Learn to pick your spots and keep moving. It’s a lot tougher to tie a player up who’s not standing still. Don’t let the defenseman grab your stick. Keep it in front of you and out of his reach. I try to position myself in front of the net with my back to the defenseman so if there’s a rebound I can jump ahead of him and get to it.

Tip #3

Timing has a lot to do with scoring goals. So does luck. You have to guess where that shot’s coming from and where the rebound might go. Take a chance that you’ll be right and get body position on that defenseman so you can get to the puck before he can. If you grab a rebound, it’s a good idea to try to hold on to the puck and try to walk around the goalie because he or she is out there challenging the shot.

Remember This …

You can learn a lot from watching other players, and the NHL is not a bad place to start. Most skills come with time and practice. You learn a lot as you get older and learn from your mistakes. If you spend a lot of time in front of the net you learn little tricks of the trade to get position. Things can get pretty hectic in front of the net, but it’s a great place to light the lamp.

Some people call goals off deflections or rebounds “garbage goals.” Just remember, there’s nothing trashy about putting the puck in the net.

 

photo by Getty Images • Illustrations by Mike Curti
Issue: 
2009-01

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