1) Stay between the forward and the net.
When playing defense in Hockey, you can never go wrong with the basic principle of staying between the opposing player and the net. One-on-one is a perfect example.
Keep it outside
When a hockey player from the other team walks into your area with the puck, your goal is to keep it off the tables. His chances of scoring from the outside are much lower than if he beats you from the inside. The best way to do this is with your body position. If the player is entering through the middle of the ice, stand directly in front of him.
It has the center lane
If coming on the wing, align slightly towards the center of the ice. Your outer shoulder should be roughly in line with your inner shoulder. This encourages him to try to hit you on the outside, where it is least threatening. Imagine a wide imaginary lane in the middle of the ice and keep the other player out of that lane. The tricky part is controlling the amount of space, or the gap, between you and the other player.
2) Control the gap
Too wide a gap will allow the striker to cut inward. Or it can give you enough room to get close to the goalie for a shot, using you as a screen. You don’t want the gap to be much wider than about two lengths of a hockey stick.
Too narrow a space, and you risk letting him move if you can’t control it.
The Canucks’ Willie Mitchell uses a much more deceptive approach. In an interview with the Vancouver Sun, Willie explains how he lures the forward to “take the candy.”
“I call it taking the candy,” Mitchell said Monday, explaining his ability to fatten up opposing forwards. “The game of hockey is about putting someone in a position where they react, so they can take the candy.
“When I have my hole [defending an opposing forward], I hold my cane very close to my body, so it seems like there is a lot of ice in front of me. The forward wants to make his move as close to the defender as possible because he wants the defender to bite like that [the forward] can surround it. They come to make a move, they take the candy, but then I take out my stick and push the puck. We’re in a hurry, that’s how I play it.
“It’s the same in the defensive zone. I give them the pass and they think: Oh, I’m going to pass through the back door. But I gave them that space. Now they pass, they take the candy.” And I’ll put my stick in there and break it.
“You want to put them in an awkward position. Instead of taking the candy, you want them to take it.”
Even after the forward makes his move, try to stay between him and the net. It won’t stop them all, but it will make it as difficult for them as possible.
3) Take care of your hips
One-on-one in hockey can be tricky against an experienced disc carrier. These guys are dying to attack you and score that standout reel goal. Observing his hips will help you avoid fighting in your own zone.
Once you have correctly positioned yourself between the opposing hockey player and the net, Mr deke He will try to deceive you in any way that he can. As you know, Mr. Deke has a hockey bag full of tricks. My shorts have been taken off me way too many times by guys like this. The infamous toe drag usually gets me. Mr. Deke lures me in with the puck by strategically placing it just within my reach, sucking me in to try a poke-check. But it is way ahead of me. As soon as I reach the puck, he performs his patented toe-drag maneuver and runs right through me. The next thing I think I know he’s after me, fooling the goalkeeper too. I hate it when these guys undress me.
Don’t look at the record
The best hockey advice I’ve been given on this is to watch her hips when she gets close to you. An experienced striker will try to fool you with the puck, head, shoulders, a gear change, or whatever else he has up his sleeve. If you focus on his chest or the ridge of his shirt, he may even hit you with his entire upper body. The worst thing you can do is look at the record. Keep the disc in your peripheral vision, but do not stare at it.
Hips do not lie
She won’t go anywhere without her hips, so keep your eyes on them. A hip cannot be dropped like a shoulder, or turned quickly like a false head. With your eyes at waist level, it also makes it a bit easier to keep the disc within your peripheral vision. Look at your hips, not the puck.
4) Keep your stick out front
Keep your stick on the ice in front of you, with one hand on the stick. Not in the air, not off to the side. Aiming the stick at the incoming hockey player allows you the flexibility to swing him to whatever side you try to go around him.
Let the forward make the first move and then react. If you pounce on the puck and miss, you could be out of the game.
I used to sweep my cane from side to side. Against slower hockey players, I could sometimes put my stick on the puck and slow them down, or even hit the puck against the boards. But it doesn’t always work. Hot Shots often timed their movement right after one of my stellar sweeping attempts. My cane would be to one side and they would surround me from the opposite side. Burned again.
If you notice that the striker is having puck problems, it’s time to try a poke-check. Otherwise, keep the stick in front and be ready when he makes his move.