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Techniques used by 5 great faceoff-winning centres (VIDEOS)

In Coaching Hockey, Premium Articles, Tactics by Mitch GiguereLeave a Comment

How important are faceoffs in today’s game? We could talk about that for a long time.

The game has evolved, but faceoffs are still extremely important in key moments of the game, particularly on the PP/PK, 6v5/5v6 and more.

Let’s start with this video which had a lot of views on social media. Kids, if you want to get better, you have to practice, but you have to be open and talk about how and learn from others.

Here’s an example of “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” We hear this a lot when talking about faceoffs, and Montreal Canadiens centre Phillip Danault shows a textbook example of how you can cheat and win at the faceoff dot.

At the end of the day, they don’t ask how, they ask how many draws you won.

Having a strong base, working on your rotation, timing the drop of the puck, and having a plan with where you are trying to win the draw before going into the faceoff circle, are just some things to keep in mind when practicing taking faceoffs. Also, if during the game you find yourself struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your wingers to jump in and help battle for 50/50 pucks.

Here’s a look at five of the best players in the world at winning faceoffs, with their winning percentages listed in parentheses.

Patrice Bergeron (61.5%)

When we talk about consistency, Patrice Bergeron is the first name that comes up. How can you take over 1,000 faceoffs in a season and still be above 60%?

For starters let’s take a look at how he is taking the faceoff. A wide stance, upper body leaning forward, but look at his hips and legs, he starts by rotating his hips and the left leg. By using this rotation, it allows him to be more efficient and gain an advantage over the opponent. And right after, he doesn’t move, making everything more complicated for the other centre.

Sidney Crosby (53.2%)

Strength, power, IQ are just some of the words that come up when we talk about Sidney Crosby.

Using your strength/power is one thing, but knowing exactly how to use it is a little more difficult. On the forehand side, Crosby and his teammates know where he is trying to win the puck to. He has a strong stance and is always looking at the referee’s hand. He attacks the puck so hard at times that the puck will bounce off the wall. From there, the winger pushes the opponent, and Crosby retrieves the puck.

On his backhand, he too uses a slight rotation from the lower body, and also notice how far he is going away from the dot before coming back with full power to swipe the puck behind. Lastly, look at his skates, they are not always outside the lines…

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About the Author

Mitch Giguere

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Mitch Giguere ChPC, is the father of four children and a passionate hockey coach. He is the video coach for the Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL). Mitch has his High Performance 2 from Hockey Canada and has an Advanced Coaching Diploma (NCCP4) from the Canadian Sports Institute. See All Posts By Mitch

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