Breaking Down the Defenseman’s Role in Extending Zone Time

In Coaching Hockey, Tactics by John BecanicLeave a Comment

IZO in today’s NHL includes all five players moving to create offense, recover pucks and extend plays. For years, coaches have worked on 2 and 3 man cycling and only incorporated the D as an outlet off the cycle. But in today’s game we see the D 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 the 2nd 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 5 on 5 goal from this years Stanley Cup Playoffs, I came to the conclusion that every NHL team’s D did 6 things consistently to extend IZO. The 6 were as follows:


  1. D coming down the wall and beating opposition to the rim.
  2. D coming down the wall and pinching.
  3. D putting the puck to space for the F’s to recover.



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About the Author
John Becanic

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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