Dumping the Puck In--And Recovering It
(Originally submitted as an article by Greg Siller for Hockey Player Magazine - www.hockeyplayer.com)
One of my roles as a defenseman, bringing the puck up the ice, was to get it to a speeding forward that could move with it into our offensive zone and set up a scoring opportunity. Sometimes, I could not find that open forward due to coverage or because I wasnâ€™t keeping my head up; so I would skate with the puck and try to bring it into our offensive zone myself. Although I had good intentions, what I was really doing was slowing down our offensive play and giving our opponents time to defend. I believed that it was better to keep possession of the puck at all cost because dumping the puck into our offensive end was just giving up control of it. In some cases that is true, but for a team with a planned (strategic) offensive attack, itâ€™s all part of the game.
There are basically three ways to move the puck into your offensive zone, they include passing the puck in, skating with it, or dumping it in (regrouping eventually requires you to pass/skate/dump the puck in). To vary your offensive attacks, use your teamâ€™s speed, avoid an immediate turnover, or to catch the opposing defensemen off-guard, dump the puck into your offensive zone--and recover it.
Dumping the puck into your offensive zone can be done haphazardly or with the intent of recovering it. If you dump the puck in, have a plan! Three tactics that you can use to dump-and-recover include the: around the boards dump, strong-side dump, and weak-side dump (you could also shoot the puck on net and go for the rebound).
Around the boards
A simple dump-and-recover approach is to have the puck carrier cross the center red line and slap the puck around the boards so that it comes around to the other side of the rink--to an awaiting teammate. In Figure 1, the left defenseman (LD) slaps the puck around the boards to a swift skating right forward (RF). RF can then pick up the puck and proceed with an offensive attack. A variation to this approach is when RF is being closely covered by an opponent. RF can fake that he is going to retrieve the puck but just let it go past him to his awaiting teammate RD.
A second dump-and-recover approach is to have the puck carrier cross the center red line and slap the puck to a point about 10 feet (3 meters) from the strong-side corner so that it rebounds directly to an awaiting teammate. The strong-side corner is the side of the rink that the puck is on--in this case, the left side is the strong side. In Figure 2, LD slaps the puck so that it rebounds directly to the strong-side forward, LF. LF can then pick up the puck and continue with an offensive attack.
A third dump-and-recover approach is to have the puck carrier cross the center red line and slap the puck directly into the weak-side corner so that it rebounds to an awaiting teammate. The weak-side corner is the side of the rink that the puck is not currently on--in this case, the right side is the weak side. In Figure 3, LD slaps the puck so that it rebounds directly to the weak-side forward, RF. This dump-in requires practice to get the puck to come out precisely to your teammate. Once retrieved, RF can then pick up the puck and continue with an offensive attack.
By practicing these three plays, your team will be able to temporarily give up the puck to continue your offensive attack. Make sure that once you dump it--you recover it!
Greg Siller, founder of Pro Learning Systems (www.ProLearning.com), has put his 25 years of ice and roller hockey experience into authoring several hockey articles as well as two highly acclaimed hockey books;