"We don't have a lot of skill, so we need to dump it in every time we hit the red line and hit their d-man. We will wear them down and then they will start coughing up the puck."
This is usually followed up with:
"That's what they do in the NHL."
Now let's take a look at the statement and examine what they are saying from a kid's perspective.
"OK coach you want me to pass the puck to the other team so I can lay a body check on them and eventually they will start either giving me the puck back or just let me go in the corner and get it myself."
"That's what they do in the NHL??? Didn't you tell us that we don't have a lot of skill. So either NHLers don't have skill or we should do stuff that skilled players do since we do not have skilled players. And I thought girls were tough to figure out."
You can see how the poor kid is not sure what to think. Mixed messages are the death of productivity.
Here is my view of dump and chase.
When to use it:
- Player is tired and just wants to change.
- Player has no open ice and is out manned and the other 2 players are changing.
- Player has hit the red line and another player is close to the blue line with no lane to pass it to them.
- Set play. Now this is what they see on TV and marvel how great a strategy this is.
- Change of pace. Sometimes you need to back up the defense man to give you room to gain the zone. This gets more important as more kids learn gap control.
When not to use it:
- When a player hits the red line and the defenseman is already backed up on the blueline.
- When a player has room and there is no one ahead of him.
- When a player is on a 3 on 2.
- When you have done it the last 20 times.
So here is some explanation a little more in depth than the bullet points:
When a player has the puck and it carrying it over the red line, he has many choices. If a player has room he should carry the puck and gain the zone. If there is a player on his team that has speed and is cutting in on him, he should pass if the player is positioned to gain the zone better than him. How does he know if he should pass? The answer is not a blanket statement, but rather more of a read and react. Teach your players to take chances and this is no exception. However the player giving this pass must follow the pass to ensure he is in a good defensive position in case of a neutral zone turn over. So for instance if he passes cross ice, he should cut in to center to cover the dreaded neutral zone turn over.
All to many times the dump in chase does not wear down the other team, usually it goes like this: Billy gets over the red line and dumps it in, he is heard to cross ice dump it so he does. The far defenseman goes back grabs the puck and passes to either his defense partner or to a forward to break out. Meanwhile Billy has been giving all he has to end up being to late to perform a check or have any chance at the puck. Then usually the coach yells at him "to skate hard and dump the puck in with authority", so he does and the far defenseman has to skate less since the put comes out to him from the corner quicker, so he has more time. Ever so often the far defenseman messes up and coughs up the puck. The coach says "See kid, it works!!!" completely ignoring the endless possibilities that could have happened had he gained the zone first with his forwards having forward momentum on their side, rather than them being caught flat footed or going the wrong way as the opposing d-man makes an outlet pass.
What about soft dumps when the player is 1 on 2? Good point.
In this instance this may be a good choice providing the following:
- the player can get to the puck before or at the same time as the d-man, this gives him an opportunity for them to turn it into a 1 on 1 rather than having to try and pull one d man over to create a one on one using angles.
- the player is quickly running out of room and cannot gain the blue line to setup a play.
In this instance the player should try to have an idea of where the other teams players are and were his d-men are.
If the opposing teams have started to all come back, the possibility of giving the puck back to the defenseman exists and every second you have the puck is a second that they will never score.
Obvious guys says " if you do dump and chase on penalty kill be 99% sure you will get to the puck first otherwise you just put yourself out of position and created a 4 on 3 which is a powerplay with more space"
I know I could get more in depth, but this is getting as long as a twilight novel and my target audience is not the same.
Moral of this posting:
Controlling the puck is the name of the game, so don't give it up unless you have a way to get it back. This is not about never dumping it in, but rather to have your players understand when to use it effectively.