Something interesting happens about halfway through Todd Woodcroft’s presentation on the habits and tactics the Winnipeg Jets use to generate offense from zone entires. Andrew Copp, a speedy, average-sized left handed forward kicks a puck out right to a teammate in the wide right-wing lane after skating it over the blue line against the Nashville Predators. He’s angled towards the left wide lane, but instead of taking that ice, he head fakes and drives the middle lane toward the net, backing off the Nashville defensemen.
Creating offense off zone entries isn’t necessarily about the puck carrier.
Watch for habits, player and puck speed, north attitude, pucks dying in the o-zone, role of the tracking forward, speed, middle drive and width, making contact with the D, role playing and changing, and so on.
Todd’s presentation at this past summer’s hockey coaches conference is a breath of fresh air for any coach out there looking for ways to increase 5on5 offense. It’s not just the main cast of characters in Winnipeg driving those results, it’s the entire roster, players like Copp, Adam Lowry, and the under-rated Ben Chiarot who are committed to the habits delivered by Woodcroft, Maurice, and the rest of the coaching staff.
Having a plan to get the puck to the net as quick as you can and then a plan for recovery.
These are the types of conversations that make learning our game fun, informative, and ultimately lead to increased wins and more glory for the coach. And a little bit for the players.
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