CoachThem Hockey Drill of the Week: Messier/Leetch shot and retrieval

In Coaching Hockey, Drills by CoachThemLeave a Comment

Designed by coach Dave Starman, and inspired by two legendary former New York Rangers, this drill teaches players how to shoot off their front foot from the off-wing and practices good retrievals, and exiting the zone with speed and deception.

Drill description

  • Coaches can be in either corner with pucks, or both, depending how you tweak the drill. Defence line up on the blue line, on their off-side.
  • Coach passes to the D who takes off towards the dot and shoots off front foot (Messier style) from above the dot. After shot, D shoulder checks and retrieves puck on their side of the net. Use deception while retrieving — sell a fake towards the strong side and take puck behind the net.
  • After cutting the net have D sell a fake like they are going to go wide with the puck or look to pass to a wing on the wall (like a set breakout) and then head up the centre lane with the puck to “attack the next layer.”
  • Opposite side then repeats action.

Key points

  • Called the Messier/Leetch as it has an offensive element in the shot style and puck skill component for defencemen that Brian Leetch perfected.
  • Working on loading up power and balance for shooting off front foot from off wing, “The Messier.”
  • Encourages D to drive off the point and shoot if they have space. Judge what the game gives you and act on it.
  • Puck retrieval skills and cutting the net, adding deception and look-offs to your puck possession and breakout skills.
  • Mindset of attack the next layer-skate with the puck until you sense pressure and then beat a player with a good pass and stay in the attack to add layers.
  • Use net for protection; “hug the net” is your buzzword. Encourage D to use the net to open up space out of a retrieval and use centre lane.

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