In EASHL, One of the biggest skills a team needs is defending the blue line. It is difficult for a top team to enter the offensive zone and the game can win or lose in the neutral zone. This is a very simple thinking process. And blue line defense reduce scoring opportunities.
All 5 skaters play a role in defending the blue line. Top Clubs have very good forechecks but when they realize it won’t work in some situations, they’ll usually drop to the 1-4, where 1 player challenges the puck carrier and the rest protect the blue line. Even when you’re on the Penalty Kill it’s still very possible to protect the blue line.
The backbone of the Blue Line Defense is the defenseman. They have to read the opposing skaters AND see where their teammates are to figure out where the gaps are and close them.
If you notice your defensive partner step-up to make a play on the blue line, its important for the weak side defenseman to move towards the middle of the ice. This will put them in good position to defend a 2 on 1 should your defensive partner miss AND you’ll have a head start if the other teams tries a dump and chase.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO FOR THE BIG HIT!! A defenseman’s job is to ‘get in their way’. If you can’t take the puck away in your 1 on 1 battle don’t worry. Stay close and slow them down until a forward can help on the backcheck. Slowing the puck carrier down can also be enough to force a teammate of theirs offside.
Adapt to your teammates. In a club you should get used to what your defensive partner likes to do. If you play with help, it will be more difficult. Depending on what they are doing, you may need to adjust your style. If they like to attack, you will want to back more. If they are willing to back down, you have to be more aggressive than traditional against your hockey player.
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