Team USA is playing some great hockey right now in the 2014 Winter Olympics. A lot of their systems look just like the stuff we’ve laid out in the Coaches’ Training Course, especially their offensive attack structure.
In this play you see a textbook Attack Triangle, with F1 driving wide, and pulling the opposing defenseman deep; F2 driving wide to the far post, pulling his defenseman deep, and F3 filling in the vacated space in the high slot. From there, it’s a drop pass, and a one-time snipe. Beautiful setup, beautiful goal!
Have you ever noticed how often Kronwall lines himself up to lay a big hit? Have you ever wondered how he does it? Setting up a big hit takes more skill than many folks realize; it takes skating ability, timing, size, and strength. But in Kronwall’s case, there’s even more to it than that.
Believe it or not, Detroit’s systems are actually playing a huge role in setting up these “Kronwallian” hits, as we call them. In the video above, you’ll notice that Detroit often runs a 1-2-2 forecheck. The way they set it up creates what I call a “kill zone.” I talked a bit about the Kill Zone in my NZ Trap Clarification post. Basically, the first forward in pressures, then the second two forwards angle back in a way that funnels the puck carrier to the boards. They create a “channel” that looks like open ice, but really, they’re just angling him into the area where they know Kronwall will be stepping up to make that big hit.
Since both forwards are already funneling back, it’s 100% safe for Kronwall to make that pinch. Even if he misses, you’ve got the second defenseman, and two forwards already back. In these examples though, usually what happens is the forwards funnel back, Kronwall makes the hit, the puck squirts through, then the back checking forwards pick it up, initiate the regroup, and quickly re-enter the offensive zone.
Use the 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck to trap your opponent in his zone
The 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck is a great forecheck to add to your hockey systems repertoire. When executed correctly, it is effective at all levels of play, from youth all the way up through Junior and College level hockey.
The key to making this forechecking system work is to have everybody know, understand, and execute their roles properly. When this happens, the 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck works similarly to a neutral zone trap – except that it happens in the offensive zone!
CLICK HERE to check out our “FAQ” on the 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck (expanded discussion).
Tactical discussion on initiating a hockey breakout and hockey systems.
Initiating a proper hockey breakout is a very important aspect of hockey systems. All to often you see young players who are coached to do nothing more than “dump it in” or “dump it out.” While I agree that there is a time and place for “dump and chase” hockey, I believe we do our players a disservice by teaching those tactics at too young an age.
Teach possession hockey first, then implement “dump and chase” for specific situations as players develop and mature.