What area of the ice do you think the puck spends the most time in a hockey game? Watch the first video!
“In an NHL hockey game, 80% of puck time is within three feet from the wall.” – Dallas Eakins, NHL Coach
If 80% of the time the puck is three feet from the boards, then it is essential to learn to play along the boards and be a good “wall player.” A good wall player in the offensive zone wins puck battles and can get the puck to the good ice, inside the dots and into the prime scoring area, either by passing or carrying the puck and attacking the net.
In breakout situations, defensemen need to have good one-on-one skills to gain possession of the puck to either skate the puck or make the first pass to the winger on the boards or the centre in the middle. Many teams in hockey today like to pinch their D on the boards to keep the puck alive in the offensive zone. The break-out forward on the wall has to protect the puck, get off the wall (if they can), make a short pass to the supporting forward, and chip it past the defending defensemen or back to their defensemen.
No matter the situation, if you do not have the puck, you must work to get it back. If you have the puck, you must get it to your opponent’s net to score goals.
Here are some essential skills that will improve your play along the boards or your wall play:
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