Premium Articles


How coaches deal with a shorter bench in the NWHL

March 6, 2020

Women's hockey is filled with challenges.

Breaking down 5 pressure points when on the penalty kill (VIDEOS)

February 16, 2020

It's important to recognize when to pressure the puck.

3 innovative ways for hockey coaches to create offence

February 3, 2020

Here are some unconventional tactics.

How NHL coaches distribute ice time during 3-on-3 overtime

January 26, 2020

A look at some trends from the 178 overtime games played this season.

Breaking down 5 different power play strategies (VIDEOS)

January 19, 2020

The power play is always a popular topic of conversation among hockey coaches.

Why dump-in plays are on the rise again in hockey

December 29, 2019

The game has evolved and coaches are adapting.

How translatable skills development can be achieved through small area games

December 5, 2019

To get to the next level, players have to adapt their skillset to the pace of play.

Using data to better understand backchecking in hockey

October 28, 2019

Positioning matters.

Using data to define good gap control for defencemen

October 18, 2019

Measuring the risk/reward scenario.

Why coaches should seek a balanced lineup instead of ‘loading up’ the top line

September 29, 2019

Here's how to get the most out of your roster.

Dictating Shot Quality & Defensive Zone Coverage on the Powerplay

July 17, 2019

Last time, we talked about how special teams play in hockey is often matchup based due to coaching choices and so we should analyze it that way to gain an edge. The previous piece I wrote was focused on breakout plays and the corresponding forecheck. Today, we're going to talk about puck movement in the offensive zone once the PP ...

6 ways defencemen can extend offensive zone time

July 10, 2019

In-zone offence involves all five skaters in today's game.

How to Use Data to Find the Best Power Play Matchup

July 3, 2019

The Power Play can be a team's greatest weapon. It is one of the only times during a hockey game that the dynamics change to allow more structured set plays for a team to attempt. Both the team on the power play and the one trying to kill off the penalty adopt a specific formation to accomplish specific goals. Hockey ...

Becanic: How the St. Louis Blues Beat the Boston Bruins with Quick Puck Movement

June 26, 2019

First of all, let’s not expect every team in western hemisphere to start playing a style similar to that of our Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. We are a copycat sport, and yes what the Blues did from February on was nothing short of spectacular. But to assume every team could play the rugged style that made them so ...

Measuring a Coach’s Impact on Breakouts

June 19, 2019

After Mike Yeo was dismissed on November 20th, Craig Berube took over and the rest, as they say, was history. We've seen changes like this before, most recently when Mike Johnston was let go so Mike Sullivan could take over, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to two straight Stanley Cups. From the outside, it's easy to point to the coaching change as the ...

Systems vs Energy & How to Properly Read the Forecheck

June 5, 2019

As a coach I always prided myself on the structure my teams played with, especially on the FC. I spent countless hours watching video and over coaching my players in hopes of stifling opposition. What I didn’t realize was, that in an effort to be in the right position, my players didn’t get on pucks with the energy required to ...

Bruce Cassidy and the Analytics Kid

May 29, 2019

The best coaches are natural analysts. They pore over the video to find an edge ahead of their next game. Information is brought to the coach on line matching, face offs, power play and penalty kill tendencies, and the coach consumes all of it, trying to retain it all so he can recall a key piece of data while behind ...

Becanic: The Important Details of Defending a 5on6 Assault

May 22, 2019

In the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs there were a total of 70 games played. In 39 of those games, the team trailing pulled their G in favour of the extra attacker late in the 3rd. There has been much discussion and debate over how passive the defending teams appear to be. But that couldn’t be any ...

Profiling the New York Islanders: Breakouts, Support, & Sustainability in Defense

May 8, 2019

The New York Islanders were a surprise participant in this year's playoffs to say the least. Without John Tavares, how was the team going to compete? Many pegged them for a bottom-of-the-conference finish despite hiring Barry Trotz, fresh off winning the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals. They didn't look like a team that could score or keep the puck ...

5 skills required for the bumper role on the 1-3-1 power play setup

May 1, 2019

High hockey IQ is required to play the bumper position.

How Should We Forecheck? Let us Count the Ways

April 24, 2019

With more detailed data in hockey analytics, there are often more answers to existing questions like "How often does this team exit their zone with possession?" This has been good and we have learned more about each phase of the game and how to weight them appropriately. However, as we learn more about the game and how to measure it, ...

Why every hockey player is just 5 feet away from being a defensive saviour

April 17, 2019

There are three key components required in defending the radius around you.

Playoff Bound: Calgary Flames Transition Game is Second-to-None

April 10, 2019

Last time, I used detailed event data to to illustrate one way in which the Tampa Bay Lightning break down their opponents through their passing. Today, we're going to look at another trait of a playoff-bound team and how it drove them to success: the transition game of the Calgary Flames. How are we going to do this? By using ...

How the Tampa Bay Lightning Pass Teams to Death in the Offensive Zone

March 27, 2019

With the playoffs around the corner, I thought it would be fun to take a look under the hood of the the Tampa Bay Lightning and find out what it is they do so well in the offensive zone. This team simply destroys the opposition on a nightly basis and are the overwhelming favorite to come out of the Eastern ...

33 Shots in a Period: Breaking Down Tampa Bay’s Historic Offensive Night

November 7, 2018

Let me first off thank everyone for such positive feedback from last year working with the Coaches Site. Having the opportunity to speak at the Team Snap Coaches Conference was certainly an informative and enjoyable experience. I look forward to continuing with the site and offering my thoughts on various topics relating to hockey IQ. I was asked earlier in ...

Defense Away From the Puck: Angle Gapping

June 13, 2018

The best way to describe today’s game is FAST, FAST, FAST. Combine the individual speed of the player and the overall speed of the game and you have a very fast sport. This abundance of speed is now making it increasingly difficult to defend in the old traditional standard. No longer can teams just retreat through the neutral zone and ...

A behind-the-net power play formation driven by analytics

May 20, 2018

You often hear people describe the NHL as a "copycat" league. Whenever a team does something different, the rest of the league is quick to adopt their own version of it. Over the last several years, NHL teams have largely adopted the 1-3-1 as their default power play formation. While this is certainly dangerous due to the multitude of passing ...

Creating Offense: D Shots & Funnelling the Puck

April 25, 2018

At this time of year while teams are grinding through the playoffs it becomes increasingly more difficult for the D to get pucks on net. With a greater commitment to blocking shots and overall team defense, the D are challenged and forced to be creative to avoid killing offense zone possession. For those of you not familiar with the term ...

Creating Offense: Putting Pucks Behind the Opposition’s D

April 4, 2018

"We need to do a better job of managing the puck." So often after a loss we hear NHL head coaches angrily utter this statement. This is a something that is important in all three zones, but today we are going to discuss puck management on entry to the offensive zone. A few weeks back we spoke about possession options ...

Offense Via Puck Possession: Zone Entry Delays

March 21, 2018

Coaches want to play a possession game. We hear that in just about every coach’s pre-game presser. Here is the simplicity of attack hockey: take what's given. Meaning, if opposition gives you entry to the offensive zone without having to beat anyone 1x1, then we want you to skate it in and keep possession. If at any point on entry ...

DEFENSE AT THE PUCK – TRANSITIONAL THINKING

February 21, 2018

TRANSITION! The game of hockey like all other sports has a language that catches on and is used over and over. You often hear coaches demand of their players that, “we want to play fast in transition.” As coaches, we create all kinds of drills to work on the offensive component of transition. Meaning, once you have created the turnover ...

HOCKEY IQ – The 4 Components of Ice Hockey

February 6, 2018

"He has tremendous talent but he just doesn't know how to play away from the puck". This is becoming more and more prevalent as we hear coaches talk about a player's "Hockey IQ" or lack there of. With such parity at every level of hockey, it has become increasingly important for players to have a good "200' game". No longer ...

Simplifying the Game of Ice Hockey

September 1, 2017

You often hear coaches talk about “working an opening” in many fluid sports. Soccer teams will probe down the right, through the middle, on the left, or through half-spaces in order to create advantageous situations for an attack. Basketball teams will run screens, pick-and-rolls, weaves, and other plays to get an open look for a teammate. Hockey teams will cycle ...

High to Low in the Offensive Zone

July 7, 2017

Recently, the Los Angeles Kings made a point to reference the fact that their team needs to generate better chances. This topic was revisited in a recent piece on pursuing Joe Thornton. In both pieces, the Kings are discussed as needing to generate higher quality chances to the slot area, whether that’s through passing or skating. A little backstory: I ...

Forecheck Data Analysis

June 19, 2017

Hockey analytics has long been about what happens in the front office. How are players evaluated? What trades should be made? What players should be drafted? The game itself proves more difficult to analyze due to a lack of data. While some strides have been made in the public sphere related to zone entries, exits, and passing, there is still ...