Learning from Brad Marchand’s Elite Puck Protection

Learning from Brad Marchand's Elite Puck Protection
NHL Network's Mike Rupp and Thomas Hickey discuss Brad Marchand’s ability to create a wall between the puck and the defender.

In this video clip from the NHL Network, Mike Rupp and Thomas Hickey (ex-NHL defensemen) discuss Brad Marchand’s ability to create a wall between the puck and the defender. We call this puck protection. Puck protection allows your team to keep possession of the puck until there is an opportunity to attack the net or make a pass to a teammate. Puck protection is an essential skill for players of all levels to master. Marchand uses his puck protection, ability to handle the puck in close and his hockey IQ to create scoring opportunities out of nothing. 

Marchand is a smaller player in stature and can fend off bigger defenders by keeping a deep knee bend and using his knee and off-arm to protect the puck. He has an exceptional ability to handle the puck close to his body and the ability to read when to attack the net, when to pass and when to keep possession of the puck by protecting it.

Here are some detailed key points for you to improve your puck protection skills:

  • Use your body to shield the puck.
  • Have an exaggerated stance – deep knee bend – feet wide apart – to maximize your balance.
  • Keeping your knee out and using your off-hand arm will help create a wall between you and the defender.
  • Having your rear end stuck out will create more distance between the puck and the defender.
  • Extend your arms so the defender cannot reach around your body to poke the puck away.
  • Use read and react skills (hockey IQ) to judge when to move laterally or make tight turns to evade the checker.
  • Keep your eyes up to read situations to know when you can attack the net or use a passing option to pass to a teammate.

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Enio Sacilotto

Enio Sacilotto is President of International Hockey Camps and operates the Mental Edge High Performance Training. Enio has 39 years of coaching experience (professional hockey in Europe and the WHL's Victoria Royals). Currently, he coaches at the Burnaby Winter Club Hockey Academy and the Croatian National Men's team. If you have questions or are interested in his services, contact Enio at [email protected] or call 604-255-4747

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