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Offensive Blue Line Skills. Joel Johnson University of Minnesota. Offensive Blue Line Skills . Identification of what elite players do instinctually – create practice environments to develop those skills and situations: Know the difference between puck retrieve and/or receive

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Offensive blue line skills

Offensive Blue Line Skills

Joel Johnson

University of Minnesota


Offensive blue line skills1
Offensive Blue Line Skills

  • Identification of what elite players do instinctually – create practice environments to develop those skills and situations:

    • Know the difference between puck retrieve and/or receive

      • Based on quality of pass from teammate / ring

      • Based on positioning of nearest defender

      • Based on game situation

        • Faceoff play, end of period, 5v6, 6v5, PP, PK, etc…

      • Based on team fore-check (F3 help)

      • Lateral movement almost always key

      • One-time shots typically create chaos


Offensive blue line skills2
Offensive Blue Line Skills

  • Identification of what elite players do instinctually – continued…

    • Understanding of potentially dangerous areas

      • High cycle areas

      • Wall battles

    • Get the puck to their forehand efficiantly

      • Feet first, hands second

      • Head up

    • Special Teams / Situations

      • D and F need to understand concepts for PP situations

      • High cycle / blue line carry / F3 coverage proves forwards need for skills

      • Broken plays showcase blue line skills (or lack thereof)


Offensive blue line skills3
Offensive Blue Line Skills

  • Offensive Blue Line Drill Points of Emphasis (for all drills):

    • Forehand vs Backhand vs Skates vs Hands (awareness of different body positions)

    • Direct pass / Indirect Pass / Ring

    • Add “blocking” defender pressure, “aggressive” defender pressure, etc…

    • Backhand carry vs Forehand protect

    • Skating momentum on unpredictable pucks

    • Knowledge of outlets (D-D, Half-Wall, Near Post Wall, SS corner, WS corner)

    • Shots height expectation

    • Lateral movement always an emphasis

    • Change environment often: blocker, tires, high tip, backwall, screen, etc…


Puck retrieval drill 1 retrieve w lateral carry
Puck Retrieval – Drill 1: Retrieve w/ Lateral Carry

Coach passes / rings puck to D, D retrieves/receives and passes back to Coach

Pinch on ring using skates only

Pinch on ring with forehand / backhand

Receive direct / indirect pass and carry blue

Based on defender, but almost always feet outside blue (create offensive gap)

Shoulders square (opens up the entire ice), Head up on carry


Puck receive 2 fake shot drag slide and shoot
Puck Receive 2: Fake Shot – Drag/Slide and Shoot

D receives direct pass from coach, lateral movement

Once fake/drag complete, head up looking for redirect / tip / screen / etc…

Based on defender, trying to freeze in block position and change point of shot


Puck receive 3 middle point receive and shoot
Puck Receive 3: Middle Point Receive and Shoot

D receives direct pass from coach on FH or BH, drag and shoot

Focus on footwork and lateral drag (one hand / two hands)

Shoulders square vs. Drag/Push and shoot


Figure 8 shooting
Figure 8 Shooting

Simple figure 8 skate around tires (start outside of either tire) and receive one-timer / catch-stride-shoot

See the puck/passer the entire time

On forehand, carry and see options

On one-timer, passer just as important as shooter


D d one time shooting
D-D One-Time Shooting

D1 passes to D2. D2 moves laterally from middle toward wall as D1 skates underneath opening up to receive pass on FH or one-timer

Option on FH receive to take ice laterally each direction or diagonal toward circle

D2 then retrieves puck, backs up and moves laterally, shooting from blue line

Option on 2nd shot for D2 to skate down wall (high cycle) and attack net

Option on 2nd shot for D2 to retrieve puck and then pass to D1 cross ice for shot


D d 4 shot
D-D 4 Shot

Coach passes/rings to D1, who moves laterally then passes to D2 for shot / one-timer from blue

Coach passes/rings 2nd puck to D1, who moves laterally and shoots

Coach passes/rings 3rd puck to D1, who moves laterally while D2 spreads zone wide…D1 passes to D2 who shoots.

Option for D2 to attack down the wall, pass back to D1, etc…

Coach passes/rings 4th puck to D1, who moves laterally while D2 spreads zone. D1 continues to carry across blue while D2 switches/overlaps behind D1. D1 passes to D2 for shot.


High tip 2v1 2v2
High Tip 2v1 / 2v2

F1 passes to D1, goes to net. D1 slides and shoots / F1 screens…

F2 passes/rings a new puck back to D1 and skates a timing pattern around top of circle into the mid-slot

D1 slides and passes to D2, D2 carries and looks for shot / screen from F1 or high redirect from F2.

F1 and F2 then get a new puck and go 2v1 or 2v2 full ice

Options / Add-ons

2nd puck shot off of back-wall for F1 to gather and quick-pass to F2 in slot

2nd puck goes F2 to D1, but then quickly back to F2 who gathers and hits cross ice weak-side pass to D2 for shot / redirect

2v1 chase option = after two shots, F1 and F2 receive a new puck attack either of the D-man full ice, the other D-man swings underneath forwards and chases full ice 2v1 to apply back pressure and force decision making


3 4 5 dz oz
3-4-5 DZ/OZ

Players line up according to diagram, X1, X2, and X3 each have a puck

On first whistle, X1 carries/passes puck up wall, O1 defends. X4 and X5 are both active, along with O4 and O5 defending. Play puck for 5-10 seconds 3v3 while other players are stationary.

On second whistle, first puck is dead but players stay involved as X2 and O2 now join others in drill with X2 carrying/passing puck up wall and play 5-10 seconds of 4v4.

On third whistle, 2nd puck is dead and X3 and O3 now join adding their puck playing 5v5.

Drill Options / Points of Emphasis:

With each puck, intent is to challenge OZ defenseman to be involved either on blue line, cycling down wall, or sneaking to slot / back door. Defensive team has to read and react accordingly.

Coach can mandate that each puck is passed / skated for 2 strides, etc…

Coach can switch the starting position of the defensive players, especially the wings

Coach can encourage D to cycle immediately, break to back door, etc…forcing different offensive opportunities and defensive coverage situations.


Offensive blue line skills4

Offensive Blue Line Skills

Questions / Comments?


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