When your team has the puck more then the other team, you should have a great chance to win. Players who can steal the puck or “take away” the puck from the other team are a asset on any team. Datsyuk from Detroit is discussed in the best players in the NHL in this catagory. He is slick and comes out of no-where to take the puck from players who think they have clean possession. Here are some tips to help you steal the puck off other player:
A) Track the Puck
Players should always be tracking the puck on the back check to put themselves in position to get some “take-aways.” Many players slow down when they have the puck allowing for backside pressure to catch them and eventually steal it. If you can track the puck and set up LOCATION and TIMING, you will reward yourself with lots of steals.
Many times when you are stealing the puck you are coming from slightly behind the other player. This gives you a good angle to check them and have them keep going while you turn the puck back the other way. With this you establish body position as soon as you steal the puck.
Figure out when is the best time to reach in or put pressure on the other player. When they exposed the puck to the same side as you are checking from will be the easiest. This could mean lifting their stick, or simply reaching in and stealing it (like Datsyuk did above), either way reaching in at the wrong time could lead to poor positioning or a penalty.
Come work on your ability to STEAL the puck off other players in The RINK’s Junior Pro Program or this upcoming Winter in the Performance Program.
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