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Kukla's Korner Hockey

The New-School Way In The NHL

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Some strategies had been around the NHL for a long time. Coaches instructed their wings to challenge the points. When a defenseman retrieved the puck in his end, his partner was taught to retreat and make himself available for a D-to-D pass. Goalies were supposed to scramble back to their feet after they dropped into the butterfly.

Evolution prompted coaches to scrub these time-tested tactics. Wingers collapse into the slot instead of marking shots from the point. One defenseman holds his ground or protects the net-front area while his partner wheels with the puck around the net to start the breakout. Goalies are taught to stay down on their pads and use tight, controlled pushes to patrol the crease instead of standing up, creating holes, and disrupting the angles of their sightlines.

The old mantra of not exiting the defensive zone up the middle may be the next casualty.

In some ways, it is a traditional rule worth following. A turnover in the middle of defensive zone is usually far costlier than a cough-up on the outside. The best scoring chances take place between the circles. Every defensive-minded coach emphasizes the net-front area as the real estate he wants to gum up with bodies and sticks. Benchings and healthy scratches await the player who commits a lazy turnover in the middle of his end.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink


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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com