Hockey 2.0. Offensive Zone Entry: The Dump & Chase

Hockey 2.0 is a series of articles I will write throughout the season on offensive, defensive and neutral zone hockey strategies. Each article is intended to bring you a foundational understanding of the game. For those who have played hockey or still do, share your input on each topic. I miss playing. Watching, analyzing and writing about the game can be rewarding, but there is nothing like being out on the ice. For those who have never played or don’t yet know the game from a player or coach’s perspective, my goal is to enhance your game viewing experience. When you understand “why” things happen on the ice, you may find yourself absorbed in its nuances and subtleties. Steadily, the game will become more than just wins or losses or stats on a computer screen. You will begin to live and breathe hockey on an entirely different level. – Bobby Scribe.

Scoring chances. No matter what the strategy may be, the ultimate goal of any offensive zone entry is to generate one or more scoring chances. The three elements for a successful zone entry are puck possession, puck control and avoiding turnovers.

On the most basic level, an offensive zone entry will either involve an entry with the puck or a dump / chip to a place away from the goalie and defenders. If the space (called gap) between the attacking forward and defender is large enough, the forward should and often does enter the zone with the puck on his stick. If not, he sends the puck behind or away from the defender. With this “dump” comes the ever important pursuit & the intended puck possession deep in the offensive zone.

The dump and chase falls into three categories.

1. The chip;

2. The cross-ice or corner dump-in; and

3. Rimming the puck around the boards.

To make the reading easier, I will refer to the attacking forward with the puck as the F1, at all times. The supporting forwards will be F2 and F3. While coaches would not necessarily give these designations similar treatment every time, I want to make it easy reading, keep it simple and keep it consistent. The defensemen will simply be D1 and/or D2 (when necessary) or I will refer to him / them simply as the defender or defenders.

The diagram you will see after each section is divided into colors. Blue represents the forwards, green the defensemen and red the travel of the puck. Forgive the rather amateur illustrations. That is a work in progress and this tech stuff is not yet my strength.

The Chip

The chip may be the most effective offensive zone entry when executed properly, especially with the elimination of obstruction penalties. You often see the chip executed by skilled forwards who are superior skaters and stick handlers. It starts with the attacking forward (F1) drawing the defender (D1) away from the boards. This is sometimes unnecessary if the F1 is already poised for a mid ice drive and the D1 is taking away the forward’s north-south space. The F1 then chips the puck past the defender and toward the boards. The puck’s placement is critical to this chip’s success.

What does the D1 do now? Turn and go for the puck? The F1 has all the speed and by the time the D1 turns to retrieve the puck, the F1 is often on the puck and now within the zone. This forces the D1 to retreat and defend against the pass to the F2 or F3 (the trailing and lateral forwards) or check the F1 to separate him from the puck. The checking option can be a problem because, even if executed properly, there is at least one supporting forward (the F2 and/or F3) behind the F1 so even a body on the F1 doesn’t necessarily change possession.

The F1 can also (on a set play) chip the puck behind the D1 and have the F2 (who is coming without the puck and with speed) retrieve it.

Here is a diagram of the chip (click on the image for a larger view):

Hockey 2.0 - Offensive Zone Entry. Chipping.

Cross Ice / Corner Dump in

As the name suggests, this is a dump by the F1 across the ice, at an angle, away from the defensemen and the goaltender. You will see this dump-in when the F1 (a) has no time and space to chip the puck (b) is facing back checking pressure or (c) the offensive team intends a line change. The keys to the cross ice dump are getting the puck to the half boards and (when there is not a full line change) ensuring the F2 and/or F3 are driving wide on the opposite side of the ice to retrieve the puck. Here is the diagram:

Hockey 2.0. Offensive Zone Entry. Cross Ice Dump In.

Rimming the Puck

Finally, we have the sometimes used “rimming the puck” around the boards. Immediately after this dump-in, you will see the goaltender attempt to cut the puck off. Why? Because he can. That is why this version of the dump and chase is the least effective and should only be used if the chip or cross ice dump are not available (I am looking at you, Terry) and, even then, the F2 and F3 better be skating hard toward the corner and have the angle on the defensemen, while the F1 protects the near boards in the event the goaltender retrieves the puck and sends it back. Otherwise, it’s the equivalent of a turnover. Here is the diagram:

Hockey 2.0. Offensive Zone Entry. Rimming The Puck

A few things to watch out for during games: Look at the gap between our attacking forward and the defensemen when the puck is either chipped, cross iced dumped or rimmed around the boards. Could the forward have chipped the puck behind the defenseman with support from the F2 or was the F2 driving wide, thereby requiring a cross ice dump? Who got to the puck first in either scenario? The D1 or D2 or our forwards? How many of the dump-ins occurred due to a line change versus as part of a set play to get the puck deep and recover possession? So much to see and learn. This is why hockey is the greatest spectator sport.

We will stick with offensive zone entries for the next article. What will we cover? You will have to wait and read. GO KINGS!

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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12 replies

  1. Don’t forget to mention on the cross ice corner dump, this is effective because it cancels out the goalie’s involvement and forces the other team to get to the puck first in order to break out of the zone.

    For the novice hockey fan reading, that little trapezoid area behind the net is the area in which the goalie is allowed to play the puck but it hasn’t always been like that. They used to be able to come out to the corners and play the puck which would throw a serious wrench in the cross ice corner dump. Just ask our own Mr. Hextall. Goalies with skills like his would screw you in those circumstances but that’s no longer the case.

    So much to post on things like this! I for one really dig this idea, Bobby and hope you continue it, even in the face of what I’m sure will be a lot of hockey snobbery coming your way about it. It’s fresh and new and so far in that I know, there isn’t a public forum where people can go to learn about the game and ask fans with a little more knowledge of the game what the hell is going on. Kudos, my friend. Keep up the good work.

    Suggestion: offsides explained. That seems to be the first thing my hockey illiterate buds ask about when they watch a game. May as well throw icing in there too.

    • What I want to know is how it is determined which power plays are proceeded by TV timeouts…and how they are balanced through the game…

      …after which you can tell me why they have faceoffs and why guys always want to get off the ice so quick!

      • The faceoffs are determined by the home team coach, in essence. The visiting team has to put their line on the ice first and the home team can counter with whatever line they feel is best suited. A lot of times you’ll see someone take a faceoff and scramble t

        • sorry…doing this from my phone and hit the wrong button.

          …scramble to get off the ice because they need to match up the lines better. It’s usually the visiting team doing this. On an icing, whichever team iced the puck cannot change their lines and are usually tired so they take the faceoff and if they win it, usually leave their own zone and dump the puck to switch up their lines.

          Either way, that’s a huge part of the strategy of the game, a chess match, if you will, that the coaches play against one another.

    • Maybe we need a hockey 1.0 or 101 or something. I think those suggestions are beneath most of the readership here, but it’s a good idea.

  2. Thanks. I know its kind of late for this, but I hope you will talk a little about J. Lemaire’s innovations – the neutral zone trap, etc. As applied by JL, it was an amazing system of counter-attack.

    Looking forward to understanding offensive systems better.

  3. OMG! it’s really late, and I have had a few to drink (designated driver, woo!) but I look forward to reading this. It looks amazing!

  4. Excellent stuff Bobby.

    Re timeouts:

    Television timeouts are taken at the first stoppage of play after 6, 10, and 14 minutes of elapsed time unless there is a power play or the first stoppage is the result of a goal scored. In these cases, the timeout will occur at the first stoppage after the penalty expires or the next stoppage after the goal, respectively. A new rule was introduced for the 2007–08 season that if the first stoppage of play is an icing, the TV timeout does not occur. This is to prevent players from getting a break despite not being allowed to change.

    (s/t to Wiki

    Puck rimming, you make it sound so dirty!



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