When we start playing hockey, one of the first skills we are taught is to pass the puck tape-to-tape.
I personally always love that sound of snapping a crisp and hard pass to a teammate or getting that pass right on my stick without breaking stride. Getting the puck to a teammate is such a crucial part of playing hockey and there are some indirect ways to move the puck in between teammates without going tape to tape.
The three creative concepts we are going to discuss are flip passes, puck placement, and self chips. All three of these passes can maintain attacking speeds, will force your opponents to pivot and therefore reduce their speed as well as keep them guessing. The goal of all three of these concepts is to raise the odds of completing passes and create more scoring chances for your team.
1. Flip pass
The benefit of the flip pass is that the puck is elevated into the air. This can limit the chance of an opposition player intercepting a pass and can increase the chance of your teammate receiving the puck in full speed. This type of pass would be more effective at even strength and on the penalty kill to get a jump on your opponents.
Here we have two different examples of how the pass can be executed.
First, you will see Adam Henrique flipping the puck to himself to maintain speed and it forces the defensemen to pivot and lose speed along with sight of the puck. The defender is more focused on not letting Henrique get to the net than the puck and this could lead to an obstruction penalty.
The second clip shows Anze Kopitar flipping the puck behind the two defenders to create an opportunity for Dustin Brown. By flipping the puck in the air, Kopitar gets the puck behind the defenders and this avoids a situation where Brown would have to slow down as to not go offside since he is way ahead of Kopitar.
2. Puck placement
I’ve always loved those passes in football where the quarterback throws the ball to the sideline in a location that only his receiver can catch the ball. That concept can be applied to hockey by placing pucks in areas that put the odds greatly in favour of the pass receiver.