Hey… this systems stuff actually works! We talk a lot of theory here on the blog, but I also like to show what our systems look like in action from time to time, and the Leafs had a text-book execution of our Post-Up Regroup, which led to a goal by Kadri. Let’s take a look at some of the key points of the Post-Up Regroup:
1. Defensemen pick up the puck in the NZ and drag skate to open ice
2. Both wingers position themselves on the boards at the far blue line for an outlet pass
3. Center reads the puck movement, and provides middle support to whichever winger receives the pass
4. If the opposing Defenseman “bites” on the winger, he can touch pass to the center swinging through
5. Center enters the zone wide, far-side winger drives the net, close winger becomes the trailer
A few years ago, I did a quick video dissection of Joe Pavelski’s over time goal against the LA Kings. This video shows perfect execution of one of the Attack Triangle options we outline in the Coaches’ Training Course and in the Playbook. Here’s a quick summary of how it works on this play:
How the Sharks used the Attack Triangle on this Play
1. F1 drives the puck wide, while reading the gap of the strong-side defenseman
2. F2 realizes he has an inside lane to the net, and drives straight through the middle, pulling the weak-side defenseman with him, and opening up space in the high slot
3. F3 (Joe Pavelski) reads that the weak-side defenseman has been driven low, and that there will be space in the high slot, so he fills that space
4. F1 reads loose gap from the strong-side defenseman, and sees that the weak-side defenseman has been driven deep, then feathers an “area pass” to the open ice in the high slot
5. F3 walks in, picks up the pass, and snipes the game winner!
Some Frequently Asked Questions on the Swing Regroup
In our Coaches’ Training Course we outline the fundamentals of the Swing Regroup, which is one of my favorite regroup set-ups. Over the past few weeks, I’ve received a number of emails with questions on the Swing Regroup. So I figured it was time to put together an FAQ video.
The problem many coaches were having, was differentiating between the “textbook version” and the “read and react version.” In other words… in a perfect world, we draw up the play, and the players perform it exactly as diagrammed, AKA textbook execution. However, in the actual game, sometimes it happens as planned, but many times it doesn’t. In these cases there’s a degree of improvisation that needs to be accounted for… this is where the read and react comes into play.
So, let’s start with our ideal, textbook diagram, then we’ll go from there:
1. Defensemen drag skate puck back and toward the middle, passing D to D as needed
2. Forwards swing through the receiving zones, presenting themselves as options
3. Defensemen read pressure, and pass up-ice to one of the forwards
4. Forwards attack the offensive zone under control
Obviously, players must understand the textbook version in order to make proper decisions in the game. This idea holds true with any system you’re looking to implement. I recommend teaching and practicing the textbook version of your set-up, then also going through some of the possible variations in chalk-talk. Make sure your players understand that they’re allowed to adapt to the game situation! Your objective should be to provide them with the system framework, then to encourage creativity within it.
Beat teams that are better than you with the Neutral Zone Trap!
The Neutral Zone Trap is a super effective forechecking set-up. In fact, it is almost too good. The reason I say that is because it allows players to “get by” on very little raw skill and ability. Because of this characteristic, I don’t recommend teaching it to younger age groups. So, if you coach an older team, add this to your team’s tool belt!
When I first moved to the states, the team I ended up on was horrible. We spent the first half of the season in last place, and double-diget losses were common place against the top teams in the league. However, half-way through the season we learned the trap. All of a sudden we began winning games… in fact, we even beat the first place team once, then tied them another time!!
Our team didn’t win the championship or anything (there was just too much lack of talent to overcome), but we did make a respectable playoff push at the end of the season, largely due to good execution of the trap.