Zone Clearance: So Very Tired

Jacques, I’m begging you. On bended knee (without a ring). You might want to let our defensemen know that not every zone clearance has to go around the boards, because when you do it every single time, in tedious, monotonous lockstep, your opponents, unless they’re troglodytes, are going to jam the boards and take away that pass, leading to turnovers, penalties, goals, and the baby Jesus crying.

There’s a lovely little stretch of ice called the slot. I know, I know, it is a barren wasteland, filled with dust and ash.

Sorry, my mistake. It only looks like Mordor when Hal Gill is doing interpretive dance at the net as the enemy forward du jour puts in his fourth rebound and the media talks about how our goalie has to step up his game.

Believe it or not, the slot has other uses that don’t make us sick and kill us. If the centre is being responsible (i.e. not cherry-picking at the red line), he’s right there to receive what will hopefully be a short, crisp outlet pass that starts the attack with speed. You bring the centre of the ice in as a clearing option and you put the forecheckers in a bind, because they can’t automatically take away your first clearing attempt by doing the same thing over and over.

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