Here is an excerpt from an online article I contributed to about hockey sense. To read the entire article click here
One that I tell my players all the time is to use your speed and stay outside instead of always trying to go between defenders legs. Too many players try that same move over and over and don’t realize how much better it is to go hard to the outside and open up the ice for your teammates. Every season if I can get just one of my players to change their game away from that deke to a hard outside rush I feel like I accomplished something.
Another one I drill into their heads is on the penalty kill. Too many players are trying to score a shorthanded goal instead of just trying to prevent one against us. I tell my players to concentrate on clearing the zone first and don’t blow the zone defensively until the puck is out of the defensive zone. Too often a five on four becomes a five on three because a player blows the zone looking for the breakaway pass instead of playing his position.
Don’t be afraid to change out of the offensive zone. Too many players want to play when the puck is in the offensive zone and then are too tired to backcheck and cause the team to play against odd man rushes. I work on my guys to understand how long a shift should be and when they should exit the ice no matter what area of the ice they are in.
Don’t be shy; make sure you talk on the ice. All players need to talk while on the ice. Goaltenders need to let defenseman know what’s happening. Forwards need to talk to the defensemen when looking for a pass breaking out of the zone. Defensemen need to talk to each other and the forwards to know who to pick up on the zone entries by the opponent. Too many players are too quiet and don’t let their teammates know what’s going on behind them and around them.
Play without the puck. A good player understands open ice concepts and passing lanes. Don’t stand still when you don’t have the puck. Keep your feet moving and look for open areas on the ice where your teammate can get you the puck. Be aware of the passing lanes that your teammate needs to use to get you the puck. Don’t stand behind a defender and think you are going to get the puck. Move to open ice and keep moving until you find the right spot to receive a pass.