Do you wonder how players like Connor McDavid and Patrick Kane consistently blow by defensemen and maintain possession of the puck? What kind of puck handling drills did they do growing up? In this post, I’m going to give you 3 tips that will drive defenders crazy. Let’s get started.
There are areas all over the ice where you’ll be in a situation where you’re confronted with having to try to beat a defenseman 1 on 1. This isn’t about doing a bunch of stickhandling drills; it’s about out thinking the defender. For this article, I’ll focus on offensive zone entries when you’re carrying the puck from the neutral zone into the offensive zone.
- Small Gap – The first thing you have to establish is the gap of the defender. If they’re close to you, they’ve got you gapped and are trying to match your speed going backwards. The advantage is to the defenseman unless you are a super fast skater. If you don’t think you can beat him, then look for a pass or chip the puck to an area deep in the zone where you think you or one of your teammates can retrieve it.
- Big Gap - If they haven’t gapped up, and there is a large space between the two of you, then this is the time for speed. If at the point in time when you get close, your speed forward is faster than his backwards, make a quick fake one way, and explode out the other way. Once you separate laterally, cross over a few times as fast as you can, gain inside position and take the puck to the net.
- Look at Defenseman’s Feet – Defensemen are exposed to defensive hockey drills, where they’re taught when covering the player with the puck, to look at the chest or stomach, so they don’t get mesmerized with a slick move and embarrassed.
Forwards on the other hand, are taught to look at the D’s skates. If you can make a move that forces the defender to step over one of his skates, you got him beat. Once you see the skate come over to the otherside, dart out the opposite way. If done properly, most defensemen will stubble a bit, transition forward and start to chase after you.
I can give you all kinds a skating tips on how to blow by d-men, but try these techniques out first and see if you can get them working for you. Thanks for reading and remember to always Work Hard and Dream Bigger than Everyone Else!!