6 ways defencemen can extend offensive zone time

John Becanic

John Becanic is the founder of Pyramid Hockey and serves as an IQ consultant to individuals, teams and organizations all over the world. A veteran coach of over 1500 games and two National Championships, John has long been known as pioneer in the implementation of video and analytics to develop both the player and coach alike. This past year, John has co-founded a 2nd company, The Prospect Exchange, a video and analytics platform for players and coaches.

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In-zone offence involves all five skaters in today's game.
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In-zone offence (IZO) in today’s NHL includes all five players moving to create scoring chances, recover pucks and extend plays. For years, coaches have worked on two- and three-man cycling and only incorporated the defencemen as an outlet off the cycle. But in today’s game we see the defencemen active in all areas and aspects of the offensive zone.

In a story I wrote earlier in the year for TCS, I studied the game in which the Tampa Bay Lightning put up 34 shots on the Chicago Blackhawks in a single period. In that game, the Lightning D were so active and often extended plays that allowed them to have sustained IZO and tire out the Blackhawks.

In reviewing every five-on-five goal from the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, I came to the conclusion that every NHL team’s defencemen did six things consistently to extend IZO.

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