In this video, we review four clips from NHL action where the teams on the forecheck create turnovers and turn them into prime scoring chances.
When trying to create offense, it’s always good to look at the game from a defensive point of view. What are the parts of the game that get us into the most trouble? Where are we giving up our scoring chances and goals? What’s causing our coaching staff to lose sleep at night?
All teams at the higher levels sitting near the top of statistical rankings defensively buy into a structure. The players are invested into playing as a unit defensively, they compete, and can suffocate you in being hard to play against.
So offensively, how do we break that cycle? We try and attack before the other team is in their structure.
It’s the beauty of transition hockey and catching the defensive team when they’re the most vulnerable. And it can happen all over the ice, typically after turnovers, shot retrievals, bad line changes, or won 50/50 races.
For this specific post, we are going to talk about creating turnovers on the forecheck.
As shown in the video clips, when you can create turnovers on the forecheck, typically your opponents are in their breakout positions. And a lot of times, those positions vacate some the middle of the ice. Players can be late getting back to their positions as well.
On a typical forecheck, you’ll have your F1 hound the puck, F2 make a read based on pressure, and then F3 making a read as well.
On the clips shown, each forecheck had an F1 hound to create a turnover…F2 grab the puck…and fire it to the slot for either F3 or a defenseman for the goal. And it all happens REALLY fast after the turnover.
The mark of a really good player offensively is the ability to make plays.
You see the F2 player, rather than be content with possession, make a play during a chaotic situation when the defensive team is not in their structure. And the support F3 or D have sniffed it out and gotten to a spot of support where they can get the puck and fire it.
We’ve seen teams be really successful in the playoffs by creating havoc on the forecheck. That’s step 1. But the ones that can produce offense from it…those are the teams that really have an advantage.
And that advantage can come through an attack quickly off those broken plays when the opposing team is most vulnerable out of their defensive structure.