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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/02/2015 (3026 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
JETS ON THE FORECHECK
19 – Jim Slater, C
14 – Anthony Peluso, RW
22 – Chris Thorburn, LW
8 – Jacob Trouba, D
5 – Mark Stuart, D
51 – Anton Lander, C
67 – Benoit Pouliot, LW
62 – Iiro Pakarinen, RW
5 – Mark Fayne, D
22 – Keith Aulie, D
35 – Viktor Fasth, G
HOW THE FORECHECK WORKED
This is a set play on a face-off just outside the Oilers defensive zone. Jim Slater (19) wins the draw, pulling the puck back to Jacob Trouba (8), who quickly passes across to his defensive partner, Mark Stuart (5).
With Chris Thorburn (22) running a little interference on Oiler right winger Iiro Pakarinen, Stuart is able to rim the puck hard along the boards and past Oiler netminder Viktor Fasth (35).
Jets right winger Anthony Peluso (14) moves down the wall to pressure and once he gets on top of Oiler defenceman Keith Aulie (22), Slater and Thorburn move in as part of the support.
The pressure led to the Oilers simply flipping the puck up in an effort to get it out of their zone, but the attempt was intercepted at the blueline by Stuart and the Jets forecheck had done its job.
J.P.’S KEYS TO A GOOD FORECHECK
This is critical to any solid forecheck — where the puck goes upon entry.
You don’t want the puck to stop behind the net. We want to make sure you can get to the puck and you do that, in part, by keeping it away from the goalie. Today’s NHL goalies are so adept at handling and playing the puck, they are like a third defenceman. Keeping the puck away from them allows a team to get on the forecheck more effectively and keep the pressure on their opponent.
Putting the puck in the corners puts pressure on the defencemen. Any time a defenceman can grab a puck behind the net and skate he can use the net as a shield and the forecheckers can’t chase him. But if the puck is in the corner he’s got nowhere to go with a guy coming full speed trying to take his head off.
HARD RIM OR SOFT CHIP
The forecheck diagrammed here is a set play that requires a hard rim along the boards by Stuart. If he was to soft chip or flip the puck into the corner on his side, the Oilers would have more time to hustle back and set up their break out because Slater, Peluso and Trouba are all on the opposite side after the draw. By rimming it around the boards into the other corner, the Jets can get in on top of the Oilers much more quickly.
THE DANGERS OF BEING TOO AGGRESSIVE
The purpose of any forecheck is to create a turnover and apply pressure in the offensive zone. But if a team is too aggressive on the forecheck, you get too many men chasing the game and that opens gaps in the neutral zone because the defence can’t step up.
If you have three guys below the tops of the face-off circles it’s a little bit easier for a team to break out because one pass beats three guys and then there’s a big gap in the middle.
If the goalie was to stop the puck behind the net or the Oilers made a quick recovery the pressure on the forecheck would change. Peluso would still apply pressure, but Slater and Thorburn would each take a side of the ice to keep the gap from becoming too large.
J.P. Vigier, who grew up in Notre Dame de Lourdes, Man., is a former NHL winger (Atlanta Thrashers, 2000-07) who finished his career in the Swiss league. He does Jets analysis for both TSN 1290 and Radio Canada and teaches power skating and skill development for kids of all ages (email@example.com).