Supporting The Puck Carrier Keeps The Numbers In Your Favor

With Brian Gionta of the New Jersey Devils

Being a good teammate can take on many forms, whether it’s in the locker room or on the bench. Perhaps the best way to be a good teammate is to support one another on the ice. This means helping the puck carrier to create numerical advantages (2-on-1) and providing him with options as he skates up the ice or plays along the boards.

Tip #1

If you’re going to support the puck carrier you want to skate toward him and into an open area on the ice and put yourself in a position to receive a direct or indirect pass. By shortening the distance between you and the puck carrier, you’re improving your chances of connecting on the pass.

 

Tip #2

Keep your eyes on the puck carrier and your stick on the ice to give him a good target to make a pass.

Tip #3

Another tactic of supporting the puck carrier is by helping him create time and space to make a play, whether that’s making a pass, skating around the defender or taking a shot on goal. While creating a physical pick is against the rules, you can still create confusion by crisscrossing with the puck carrier in front of the opposition.

Tip #4

Cycling is support with movement. It’s creating a 2-on-1 advantage in the corner in the offensive zone using direct or indirect (off the boards) passes while moving toward the net to create a good scoring chance.

Tip #5

In the defensive zone, rather than allowing the opposition to create a 2-on-1 advantage or cycle the puck down low, the forward collapses down to help his defensemen. Once the turnover is created, the forward/defenseman is in position to pick up the loose puck and make a breakout pass to teammate who is now supporting the puck.

Remember This …

If you’re not supporting the puck carrier, you’re asking him to make long, dangerous passes or trying to beat an opponent 1-on-1. The key to playing smart team hockey is to create 2-on-1s all over the ice. If you’re not supporting the puck carrier, the numbers are not in your favor.

Photo by Getty Images, Illustrations by Mike Curti

 

Issue: 
2010-04

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