Play the Body Sutes!!!

18 Jan Play the Body Sutes!!!

I know, I know we can all sit there as armchair coaches and say Ryan Suter should have played the body in stead of the puck… but honestly have you slowed Bollands second goal against the Preds a few Sundays ago down to see how impossible it was to stop?


First off, look how far he stretches the puck when he crosses the blueline. His reach is ridiculous here! If he had not done this, the puck would have been close enough to his body that Suter would have simply had to put on the breaks and go shoulder to chest… but with the stretch, now good ol’ Sutes has to start crossing over. Once you have a defenseman playing a loose gap crossing over toward you…. you got ’em! (This stretch is the hardest thig to teach a young player since it involves moving the hands away from the midline of the body, and the natural tendencey of a child from birth is to keep the hands close to this area… I don’t know evolutionary thing that has to do with protecting vital organs… go ask your DNA!)


Second, and this is where any chance Suter had went right out the window, was Bollands slight use of the backhand to pull the puck back away.  Instead of pulling straight accross with the middle of his blade which usually results in a diagonal line into the defenders skates, he pulls back with the backhand just enough to make sure suter can’t reach with a poke check. Watch the video at full speed and you’ll see it happens so fast, it’s almost hard to notice he’s doing it. Most minor hockey players don’t realize the benefit of understanding the entire blade of the stick and it’s six parts. The see it as “the blade” and are often limited by how many tools they have in the good old “offensive toolbox” that they bring to work with them everyday.


The third thing about this goal that definitely needs attention is the “Tuck”
AKA “How’s she going” on Don Cherry Rock’em Sock’em 3!  From the backhand, the puck is now back on the forehand ready to be tapped past Suter’s legs, which are now beyond any recognizeable crossover technique! Notice too the position of Bolland’s right shoulder and hip, both are rotated out so that there is no hope in Sute’s even taking the body. Be like water young grasshopper!


Finally, and this is the most overlooked part of the success on finishing such a spectacle with a sure goal, is his position in relation to the goalie at the end of the move. Bolland could have ended up smack in the middle of the slot at the end of the move like 90% of the other players that might fluke this off on a D and not score. His proximity would give Suter a chance to counter successfully (once he gets his legs untangled that is!) and help the goalie stay in the middle of the net!
Instead, Bolland taps the puck through the legs hard enough to ensure that he ends up in a full backhand stretch which ensures puck protection. Look back in the last pic above and you’ll see Bolland stated the move right where 11 is in this pic. Thats a hell of a lateral movement for one move! This puts himself far enough to the right of the crease that the tender has to move with him. (Gotta love the backcheckers in staring in awe at the puck…Trailer anyone?)

Well, we all know how this story ends…having gained the advantage on the helpless Defenceman and the goalie, Bolly cuts back in and tucks her away five hole as the tender frantically tries to buterfly slide accross… Hasek would have stopped this for sure, since there is no five hole lying on your back!

There are huge lessons to be learned for minor hockey players in this goal:

Work on your reach!

Not enough players understand how rolling the wrist and getting the top hand of the stick away from the body adds at least another foot and a half to their reach!

Aim to move east to west;

executing a move is the easy part, getting away from an angry embarrassed defenceman after is the key!

Get the Goalie to move;

Stop goin in right down the middle , pull th goalie to the side so that areas of the net open up for you. Sure, goalies can come accross perfectly cutting down the angles, but not often, especially in minor hockey!

Tune in next week when Doctor Hockey visits with a skill breakdown!

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.