As players across the world prepare to hone their skills in the off-season, we have put together a 3-part video series covering the basics of training stickhandling off ice. In part one we cover basic technique, dribbles, and practice drills to help you train properly.
Part two will cover additional (more advanced) drills, and part three will discuss ways to vary your training to keep things fresh and develop new skills.
Another exciting NHL season has come to a close – this year with one of the original six teams bringing home the Stanley Cup. Although the finish was a bit strange, it’s safe to say it was an exciting final game. In this week’s Learn from the Pros segment, we’ll take a look at the last two goals of the 2009-10 NHL season.
As the final four teams inch closer to their goal of playing for the Stanley Cup, the intensity level of games continues to rise. This week in our Learn from the Pros segment, we’ll take a look at a goal from the Western Confrence finals between the Hawks and Sharks. The goal we’re looking at comes from Chicago’s Dustin Byfuglin (#33) on a nice setup from Patrick Kane (#88).
What a week in the playoffs. Upsets and game sevens – it doesn’t get much more exciting than this! In this week’s Learn from the Pros segment, we take a look at a goal by Montreal’s Mike Cammalleri. Cammalleri’s goal helped hoist the Canadian’s past the Penguins in their seven game series.
Playoff hockey this year has certainly delivered excitement as expected. One series not short on rivalry is the Boston vs. Philly match-up. In this week’s Learn from the Pros posting, we’ll take a look at a Boston goal scored off a blocked shot and a big hit.
This week’s Learn from the Pros clip features Marian Hossa’s goal against Nashville on 4/24/10 to put the Blackhawks up 3 games to 2 in their first round series. Hossa, who was serving a 5-minute penalty for boarding comes out of the box, finds a break in Nashville’s coverage and puts home a rebound.
This week’s Learn from the Pros segment look at one of Alex Ovechkin’s goals against Montreal on April 21st, 2010. The goal is scored on a power play rush started by Capital’s Norris Trophy finalist Mike Green. Some subtle plays and a great shot lead to Ovechkin’s first of the night.
[0:21] -- Capitals #52 Mike Green begins this power play rush by skating with the puck. The first thing to notice is he has his head up surveying the ice. Next, he skates with the puck until he gets pressured by a Montreal forechecker. Too often on the power play breakout players panic with the puck and move it too quickly instead of having patience. By waiting for the forechecker to come to him, Green opens opens up a passing lane.
[0:26] -- Capitals #19 Nicklas Backstrom takes the outlet pass from Green and enters the zone with his head up. By being able to see the ice, he identifies Ovechkin (#8) and makes a pass slightly behind his body. By making the pass opposite his body’s momentum Backstrom is able to create space against the Montreal defense.
[0:28] -- Ovechkin (#8) receives this pass and does NOT stickhandle at all. Instead, he releases a quick (hard) snap shot across his body -- meaning the puck is going the opposite way his body is. This forces Montreal goalie #31 Carey Price to move laterally. When a shooter forces a goaltender to move laterally, it creates openings in the goaltender’s stance. Ovechkin’s hard shot finds a way past Price’s far-side.
Take a look at the Against the Grain drill for ideas on how to work on this type of shot.
This week’s Learn from the Pros video clip features a goal from Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin from brother Henrik Sedin on April 15th vs. the LA Kings.
[0:02] The play begins by Daniel Sedin (#22) carrying the puck out of the zone on the far wall with King’s forward Justin Williams (#14) defending. Sedin realizes he is going to be angled off, so he escapes and buys time with the puck, moving it to his brother Henrik Sedin (#33) in the middle of the ice. This simple escape move has changed the rush for the Canucks from a 1 on 3 rush to a 3 on 3 rush.
[0:03] This is where the entire play is made. Daniel Sedin (#22) keeps his feed moving after he has passed the puck. Williams then turns back and fails to finish his check, leaving him one-step behind Daniel Sedin in a foot-race up ice.
[0:05] Henrik Sedin looks up and exploits the large gap given by the Kings defensemen by first moving inside the attacking zone, then creates a bigger gap (as big as the “Stanley Cup Playoffs” logo in the ice!) by bringing the puck back out away from the defenders. This allows Daniel Sedin to get involved with the play now that he has beat Williams back up ice.
[0:06] Henrik Sedin quickly slows up and lays a beautiful pass out to his brother Daniel in prime scoring area. It should be noted that the Kings weakside defenseman (#6 -- Sean O’Donnell) is in relatively good position covering Vancouver’s weak-side forward (#14 -- Alex Burrows), however Vancouver has turned this rush into a 4 on 3 with a trailer jumping in on the play -- this gives Vancouver lots of options and is very difficult to defend with Daniel Sedin having gotten in front of Justin Williams.
[0:08] Instead of simply shooting the puck, Daniel Sedin changes the puck location to the inside, forcing Kings goalie (#32 -- Jonathan Quick) to shift his weight and square-up to the puck. Sedin finishes with an amazing backhander top-shelf high glove-side. There is a great replay at the [0:54] mark as well.
I’ve decided to start a new weekly section called “Learn from the Pros” which will feature plays from professional hockey. The idea is to take small pieces of the game and break them down so they can be used as learning tools for coaches and players. This week, we’ll look at two goals -- the first from Andrew Ladd against the St. Louis Blues, and the second from Justin Williams against the Anaheim Ducks.
Each teaching keypoint will also include the time on the YouTube video to pause the clip so you’ve got a freeze-frame of the the play developing. So, for example, if the intended freeze-frame is at the 8 second mark, it will be denoted before the breakdown in the following format: [0:08]. To scroll to that portion of the video, simply drag the scrubber on the timeline to the desired time sequence. Note: the times are not always exact, as sometimes you’ll get slightly different frames when you “scrub” to the time you want. Use the time-markers as approximate spots where you can start-and-stop the video to get a quality freeze-frame.
Andrew Ladd -- 4/7/10
[0:06] This play starts out with Kris Versteeg getting up the ice ahead of his teammates. Instead of attempting to drive the St. Louis defenseman to get a scoring opportunity, he wisely buys time and space by stopping and using his body to protect the puck from the defending player.
[0:07] The next Blackhawk into the zone is John Madden who drives in strong-side, giving Versteeg an option to throw the puck down the wall. After Versteeg passes to the trailer, Andrew Ladd, Madden drives to the net and is in great position to tip the puck or play a rebound.
[0:08] Now, Versteeg makes an incredible pass (not one I’d recommend many players try in anything other than pick-up hockey) to Andrew Ladd -- BUT, the backchecking defenseman (Mike Weaver) for St. Louis makes two critical mistakes: 1) he fails to identify Ladd as a scoring threat 2) he turns his back on the puck in favor of looking at Byfuglien to cover.
[0:10] This creates a ton of space for Ladd to shoot. Weaver is now forced to play the 2 on 1 rush from the weak-side post.
[0:36] Ladd releases a quick snap-shot off one foot. The key here is the quick release, there is no big wind-up, and only a single stickhandle to release the puck. In this freeze-frame, you can clearly see he has his head up the entire way and is looking for open parts of the net to shoot at.
Justin Williams -- 4/6/10
[0:06] Williams enters the zone on a 2 on 2 rush with a backchecker. Technically, LA is out-manned in this rush. The opportunity begins by Ducks Defenseman Steve Eminger having given Williams a bit too much space as he crossed the blue line. Eminger needed to have a tighter gap when the rush entered the zone. Instead, he’s still about two stick-lengths away from Williams as he gains the blue line. This allows the forwards to criss-cross and open up space.
[0:08] The Ducks backchecker, Saku Koivu, gets caught reaching for the puck. At this point, Williams now has body position established on Eminger, and the Anze Kopitar is driving toward the net, bringing his defenseman with him.
[0:10] Eminger is forced to make a dive in desperation. Kopitar drove the net going to the far post, bringing his defender with him, which opens up ice in front of the goaltender.
[0:34] Ducks goalie Curtis McElhinney plays the shot, but is still outside the crease, leaving Williams with room on the short-side to reach around him and stuff the puck in.
I hope you enjoy this new section. If you have plays you’d like to see broken down, find me a clip on YouTube and leave them in the comments.