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.
In our last post, we talked about beating a 2-1-2 with a D to D pass. In the footage, we saw the NJ Devils using an aggressive 2-1-2 “Stack” against the Rangers. In this post, we’ll show you the LA Kings using another variation of the 2-1-2, the 2-1-2 “Spread.”
2-1-2 Stack vs Spread
There are two types of 2-1-2 set-ups; the “stack,” where the first two players enter the zone on the same side of the ice, the first player hits and pins, the second player takes the puck; and the “spread,” where the first player attacks the puck carrier, and the second player eliminates the D to D pass (this is what the Kings are using in this clip).
2-1-2 “Spread” Explained
The key to an effectice 2-1-2 “Spread” is for F1 (the first forward on the attack) come in aggressive. If F1 is lazy geting in, the play won’t work. F2 must also get in hard and take away the D to D pass. F3 reads F1’s forechecking angle, and takes away the strong side breakout. If done properly, there’s nothing the opposing defenseman can do except try to force a pass up the strong side, or dump it out of the zone.
The 2-1-2 is a great forecheck to set an aggressive tone at the beginning of a game. If your players are in good enough shape, and can execute it consistently, you can stick with it for an entire game. But I recommend having another forecheck to fall back on if the 2-1-2 starts getting sloppy.
During the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, I did a video dissection of Ryan Carter’s game-winning goal against the New York Rangers. The video got quite a few hits that night, and I had a number of requests to dissect the play from the defensive point of view. People wanted to know what went wrong, and what the Rangers could have done differently to prevent the goal. So I put together a follow up video, showing how I would have beaten the 2-1-2 Forecheck the Devils were using. Since we’re ramping up for the new season, I thought it would be a good idea to brush up on beating the most commonly run forechecking system, the 2-1-2.
2-1-2 Stack vs Spread
There are two types of 2-1-2 set-ups; the “stack,” where the first two players enter the zone on the same side of the ice, the first player hits and pins, the second player takes the puck (this is the set-up the Devils use in this clip). In the “spread,” the first player attacks the puck carrier, and the second player eliminates the D to D pass.
How to Beat the 2-1-2
The first step to beating the 2-1-2 is for the puck-side defenseman to determine whether the opponent is using a stack or a spread. If he reads stack, he MUST get the puck to his weak-side partner, no matter what it takes! That’s where the open ice is, and that’s where the highest likelihood of a successful breakout lies. If he reads spread, he’ll need to beat his strong-side attacker, either with a misdirection or a reverse pass to the centerman, then break out the strong side.
What went Wrong?
In this clip, you’ll see the Rangers defenseman was more worried about jockeying with the Devils’ first man in, than he was about getting the puck to the weak side. Because of this, he ended up with poor body positioning, and got bombarded by the Devils’ aggressive forecheck. The 2-1-2 worked out in text-book fashion for the Devils, first man hit and pinned, second man picked up the puck and hit the third man coming into the slot for the game-winning goal.
This Face-Off Sequence is a great way to nail down your face-off set-ups, no matter which zone you’re in. Here’s the diagram and explanation:
Run this drill to work on any type of face-off
1. Run a set face-off play with no defenders
2. Run a set face-off play with defenders’ sticks turned upside down
3. Run a set face-off play with defenders’ sticks turned the right way. 5 on 5 controlled scrimmage.
The Simple Box is strategically very similar to the Box +1 d-zone coverage
Our penalty kill set-ups closely mirror the characteristics of each of our defensive zone coverage systems. In this case, our Simple Box is very similar to the Box +1. It is great for covering the front of your net, but it is not very aggressive. So don’t expect to get the puck back very quickly.
This can be a great “starter pk” for youngsters or inexperienced players. However, you should quickly work toward implementing one of the more advanced penalty kill set-ups such as the Wedge +1 or Expanded Wedge +1.