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Watching today's hockey and reading the story on Bruin's Butch Cassidy it made me think how the game is changing. Sure to win championships you need various types of players but today the value is on 'puck moving' defensemen and 'puck rushing defenseman.'
Gone are the days of having two solid, responsible, position playing d-men holding the blue line. Today's premium is the 4 man attack, gambling, puck chasing, helter skelter o-zone flashes playing down low in the offensive zone and everyone crosses their fingers an occasional forward will help on the back check or at least get in the way of an odd man rush coming back the other way.
So what is a parent of a young defensemen to do to try to maximize the kid's skill and give him every opportunity to make teams in the future? I say, develop the kid's offensive skills and maybe the best way to do this is to move the kid upfront to wing or center once he has mastered the basic skating skills and position play required of a defensemen. Mid-Squirt or Peewee minor play the kid upfront, have him practice with the forwards, do a few summer tournaments at the wing position. The incremental improvements he will be missing at D will more than be compensated with his new skill set.
That is all and good luck!
Focus on skating, skating, and more skating
Agreed. The exceptional skating d man is a hot commodity in today's game. Also make sure his coaches teach him to play the game the right way both in his own zone and offensively. Let him take risks rushing the puck if the other team gives him ice. High off the glass isn't the way to go.
Good luck finding Daddy Coaches that understand the game and are going to let your kid develop his offense from the blue line. Most don't even teach stick on puck. Even the ones that played low level pro think the game is still the way they played it back in the 80's, or whenever it was.
Best thing to do is to go out and find a coach that understands today's game, and stick with him.
We were lucky enough to find good d coaching so they are out there. Like everyone says, pick the right coach worry less about the team or league.