If you want to score goals…you have to get to the dirty areas.
And for each level that you go up, that statement become more and more of a factor.
Check this clip out of Erik Haula from the Canes as he cuts back on the defender and brings the puck to the net hard…eventually being rewarded with a goal on the second chance. This is such an awesome play, for a couple of reasons. Let’s break it down:
First, take a look at the “pick” that his teammate (#88) sets on the defender on Haula. This little pick allows an extra second for Haula to get to the net.
Next, watch Haula’s hands as he brings the puck from below the goaline to the front of the net. He uses full extension of his arms with his knees bent in excellent puck protection posture. This again allows him to shield the puck from the defender and get some power to the front of the net.
Finally, notice that Haula doesn’t score on the first shot…he follows it up for the rebound. When you take the puck to the front of the net, it’s very hard to score on the first try because most goalies are really big and good at taking away the lower part of the net. But when you bring it, you’re creating chaos and second chance opportunities. Haula scores here, but many times it will be a teammate that will get the goal.
Many scouts will tell you that a huge attribute of a player they look at is whether or not that player will bring the puck to “the inside.” Is that player willing to bring the puck to the areas where there is going to be physicality? If that answer is yes…that player will get a much more positive report than no. Very few scouts would take a chance on a player that is unwilling to fight to get to the dirty areas, because that is where a majority of the goals are scored.
And last time I checked, you need to score more goals than the other team to win hockey games.