|The above figure shows an offensive zone|
where a drop pass would be appropriate (red)
Friday, March 30, 2012
The Drop Pass
I'm no expert to how the game of hockey should be played nor will I claim to be, but I do watch plenty of hockey and an observation I have made over the years is how rarely a drop pass is used. Given the situation of play, a drop pass is one of the most effective plays in the offensive zone. Playing defense almost my entire life, I can tell you that a defenseman is defenseless against a drop pass. Many players take the puck into the offensive zone and look to shoot when they get to the tops of the cirlces or closer. While this is the area where you ultimately want to shoot, often times there is a defenseman standing right in front of you. The drop pass is effective in the way that setting picks in basketball is effective. If a player is skating into the offensive zone against an opposing defenseman, the defenseman is taught to step up as early as possible to eliminate the chance of getting beat or giving up a shot. The defender is focused on the player right in front of them, and a drop pass to a player behind the puck carrier leaves the defender flat footed on his heels. If the puck carrier drops the puck to a teammate and continues into the path of the defender (getting in his way, not taking him out for an interference penalty), the player who receives the drop pass should have a decent opening for a shot, or at least a lane to go around the defender and get closer to the net. Now this play isn't for every rush, but while playing a team who's defenseman step up, it is effective in opening lanes for other players to create space for themselves. Watching Hill-Murray a few times this past season, they were very good at utilizing the drop pass to allow players to pick up the puck at full speed and go wide around the defender and to the net, creating more high percentage scoring chances. The play may not fit every team's style of play, but it is a small play that I have noticed is extremely effective, and often overlooked.