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
In this post we’re dissecting Pavel Datsyuk’s end-to-end goal against Nashville. As great as the individual effort was, there are quite a few team details that really made this play possible.
It starts with Datsyuk providing proper support for his defenseman in the defensive zone. He picks up the puck and initiates the breakout to the right winger. After making the breakout pass, he follows up the play, providing mid-lane support on the breakout. As the breakout is happening, the weak-side winger blows out of the zone, pushing the opposing defenseman back, which opens up space for Datsyuk to wheel. The play finishes with the opposing defenseman reaching for the puck, and Datsyuk eats him alive.
Great individual effort, made possible by well-structured positional play.
Here’s a great example of the 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck in action
The 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck can be a great set-up if you have the right type of team for it. This forecheck requires speed and discipline. If you lack either of those attributes, it’ll probably fall apart for you. Here are the main key points on this set-up:
1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck
1. F1 “flushes” outside in, and chases the puck no matter where it goes
2. F2 and F3 set up at about the tops of the circles, slightly narrower than the dots
3. D-men set up the same distance apart as F1 and F2, but they’re at the blue line
4. As the play moves up the boards, the strong-side forward hits the receiver, strong side d-man seals the boards at the blue line
5. Weak-side forward and d-man slide across and protect the middle passing lanes
6. F1 funnels back to provide support
CHECK OUT THE FULL EXPLANATIONS OF THE 1-2-2 “FOOSBALL” FORECHECK HERE:
Perpetual Breakout Drill Mimics Passing Patterns Often Encountered in Games
The Perpetual Breakout is a great drill to develop hockey breakout abilities in a high-tempo, flow and timing setting. Here’s what the drill looks like:
Perpetual Breakout Explanation:
1. “Ghost man” passers start the drill by shooting then picking up a puck behind the net to initiate the breakout
2. Low forward simulates winger, and swings in to pick up board-side breakout pass
3. High forward swings through and acts as the centerman providing middle support
4. winger one-touches to center, who attacks and shoots, then initiates breakout in far zone
5. winger moves to middle line.
NOTE: winger can swing from top down, or from bottom up, depending on your team’s breakout set up.
When I was a kid, my first coach (NOT MY DAD) took me a side one day, and drew two lines down the middle of a rink diagram. He then taught me that “the right winger stays on the right side, the left winger stays on the left side, and that the centerman mostly stays in the middle, but can help out if a winger needs him…”
HOW FAR THE GAME HAS COME SINCE THEN!!!
Today’s hockey is much more dynamic, with players interchanging positions constantly––especially in the offensive zone. I like this more “European” style of play, and I think it is much more effective at opening up passing options and scoring chances.
My general philosophy is to let structured, positional assignments govern defensive zone play, and concepts such as timing, support, and triangulation govern neutral and offensive zone play. This allows forwards to be creative within a framework in the offensive zone.