Felicia’s School for Wayward Hockey Girls

I wanted to jot down a few of the tips that Felicia gave me last night before my muddled brain lost them forever. šŸ˜‰

For the most part, I had the defense positioning understood (good thing, since I've been playing D for almost 3 years now).

The main thing that I need to keep remembering as a D is that the puck is not my problem; the puck is the goalie's problem.  My
problem is the forward and her passing lanes.  If I have the choice of
trying to poke away the puck or getting in the way of a pass to another
forward, I should choose the latter.

Center is all about circles and figure 8s.  If I'm just skating up and down the middle of the ice, back and forth, straight up and straight down, I'm doing something wrong.

If I've got the puck, I should come over to the boards and enter the offensive zone from the side.  This will force one of the D to come over to try and keep me to the side, leaving both of my other forwards with only one D to cover them.  Ideally, I can deke around and maintain puck control along the side of the rink until one of my forwards gets open.  Then I can pass to her and haul ass to the net myself for the rebound.

This whole notion of setting up a 2-on-1 situation is new to me.  Must remember that, especially when playing center.

Another new idea: Dekeing around in the offensive corner is OK. The more I try to maintain puck control in the corner, the more of their D will eventually wander over and try to get the puck, leaving my girls wide open in front of the net.  Hopefully.

Wing is all about triangles and lines.  As a wing, I want to stay in triangles in both the offensive and defensive zones.  Edge of my third of the rink over to the boards, forward to the net (if offensive) or the hash marks (if defensive), and then back to the edge of my third of the rink.

If I have the puck, the same rule applies as it did for center.  Come in from the side.

If the center does the above, I need to move over and effectively take over as the center until she returns.  If I'm the second person in, I generally want to get to the back post.  If I'm the third in, I generally want to take the high slot. 

If we're in our defensive zone, "covering the point" doesn't mean that I have to sit on the point like I would a forward when I'm playing D.  I just have to be within a stick's reach.  That way I can intercept a pass (or receive a pass if we get possession) and easily deke around the point. 

If I get stuck right on top of the point and I get the puck, I can either hope my center is hauling ass up the zone and is ready to get a pass from the side, or I can bank the puck against the boards back behind the point.  Felicia showed me how to do that on my backhand side and then spin around to go around the point and collect my own pass…right. šŸ˜‰

Wrist Shot
The bane of my existence when I play forward!

Always keep the eyes up at the goal.  Like motorcycling: look where you want to go.

Pull forward with the top hand instead of pushing forward with the bottom hand.

Tuck my butt in/rotate my hips forward so that my weight transfer from the back to front foot is smoother.  Right now my butt is out and my back is arched, making the weight transfer very jerky.

Keep the puck cupped near the heel of the blade and, when the stick is almost perpendicular to my body, start rotating my top hand back (same motion as rolling on the throttle).  Follow through and keep the heel of the stick pointed where I want the puck to go.

Snap Shot
Same basic idea as the wrist shot but quicker.  We didn't really practice this one that much since I need so much work on the wrist shot.

Slap Shot
Finally, I can tense up and look down at the puck! šŸ˜‰

Whereas the wrist shot was about soft hands and finesse, the slap shot is about power.  Put the bottom hand about where it would be for a face-off (maybe a little bit higher?) and have a good strong grip.

Look down at the puck and aim to hit the ice just before the puck.

Every ref has a "tell" — something that she always does just before dropping the puck.  Watch carefully and you can figure out the ref's tell.

Watch the puck as it falls (easier said than done!!).  As it's falling, push the stick forward to knock the other center's stick back.  Pull the stick back, catching the puck on the way, and pull the puck back to the waiting D.

Any other position rather than center is pretty much tasked with tying up the corresponding opponent so they can't go anywhere useful after the face-off.

(Edited to add: April sent me this link on hockey positioning that I didn't want to lose.  So I'll stick it here! )

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