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View Full Version : PK Style: Highly passive vs. Highly aggressive?



IceIsNice
01-24-2010, 06:49 PM
The two teams that I have seen the most of in person this year are Mercyhurst and Boston College. One interesting observation I have is the dramatically different styles of penalty killing employed by each club. Mercyhurst brings a tenacious approach in which it common to see highly aggressive physical contact anywhere around the perimeter. This has resulted not just in significant penalty killing success but also in a great number of short handed goals.

BC's approach couldn't be more opposite, in that the four players in the box are extremely passive. They almost never seem to make actual contact with the perimeter players for the opposition regardless of whether the puck carrier is out on top, along the sideboards, or behind the net. In today's game, PC managed 2, maybe 3 PPG's playing against BC in this highly passive approach.

I realize that Mercyhurst may have a deeper bench and perhaps a more highly skilled set of players, but I would argue that BC could probably staff at least one PK unit that could bring a more aggressive approach. In fact, I would argue that a team like BC that seems to struggle to score goals may want to take more chances to manufacture offense in any way they possibly can.

I'm interested in hearing other thoughts in terms of the approach taken by other schools vs. their relative success, as well as our readers' thoughts regarding the differences in these two highly polarized penalty kill strategies.

freak
01-24-2010, 07:11 PM
From a UNH perspective...ie those strategies used AGAINST UNH...I've seen it work well both ways. It depends on the execution.

Harvard has often utilized an aggressive pk vs UNH to good success. They especially challenge the points and force them to make quick decisions. This has resulted in mistakes and poor choices. For a UNH team accustomed to controlling the puck, and having time move the puck around, Harvard's aggressive strategy has definitely caused problems.

On the flip side, I've seen teams content to pack it in down low and let UNH move the puck freely around the perimeter. UNH often relies on blasting away from the point and looking for tips and/or rebounds. But teams that sag in against this can have good success at blocking those shots.

In the end it comes down to execution. By the same token, I've seen aggressive pks get out of position, allowing UNH to collapse in quickly on the net for quality opportunities. Likewise, passive teams can give UNH too much room, as if they don't stay in the shooting lanes, can often screen their own goalie.

RStarr
01-24-2010, 10:31 PM
Is passive aggresive an option?

OnMAA
01-24-2010, 10:41 PM
The two teams that I have seen the most of in person this year are Mercyhurst and Boston College. One interesting observation I have is the dramatically different styles of penalty killing employed by each club. Mercyhurst brings a tenacious approach in which it common to see highly aggressive physical contact anywhere around the perimeter. This has resulted not just in significant penalty killing success but also in a great number of short handed goals.

BC's approach couldn't be more opposite, in that the four players in the box are extremely passive. They almost never seem to make actual contact with the perimeter players for the opposition regardless of whether the puck carrier is out on top, along the sideboards, or behind the net. In today's game, PC managed 2, maybe 3 PPG's playing against BC in this highly passive approach.

I realize that Mercyhurst may have a deeper bench and perhaps a more highly skilled set of players, but I would argue that BC could probably staff at least one PK unit that could bring a more aggressive approach. In fact, I would argue that a team like BC that seems to struggle to score goals may want to take more chances to manufacture offense in any way they possibly can.

I'm interested in hearing other thoughts in terms of the approach taken by other schools vs. their relative success, as well as our readers' thoughts regarding the differences in these two highly polarized penalty kill strategies.

Sometimes the type of opposition and what they present dictates the type of kill. For example, if you face a team with good point shots, you need to have an active front two. If you face a team that likes the cycle, you may be better off in a well executed box that moves with the play. There are many other variables in play, including the size and speed of the PP team you face.

mattj711
01-24-2010, 11:33 PM
I personally prefer an aggressive PK over a passive PK six days a week and 2x as much on the weekend. But to affectively run an aggressive PK, a team needs speed and a coherent plan of attack. Otherwise, they'll just end up out of position, and it will be less than affective.

OnMAA
01-25-2010, 08:28 AM
I personally prefer an aggressive PK over a passive PK six days a week and 2x as much on the weekend. But to affectively run an aggressive PK, a team needs speed and a coherent plan of attack. Otherwise, they'll just end up out of position, and it will be less than affective.

Agreed. Your PK and PP styles are dictated by the skillsets of both your own team and the opposition.

CanHockGuy
01-25-2010, 12:19 PM
I agree with the valid points made here. Women are generally better checkers as opposed to great puck movers and are prone to make mistakes, so I would tend to be more aggressive. Just watch how Mercy does it all over the ice. You must be willing to block shots. Take away the opposition's chance to get organized and exploit signs of weakness. If you are playing a team like Mercy you must give it right back or they'll eat you alive.

Just to make it clear, I do understand that there are some great hands out there. Adjustments then are necessary as pointed out in the other posts.

IceIsNice
01-27-2010, 10:05 AM
Had the chance to watch both BU and NU on the penalty kill last night; NU even in a 5 on 3 situation was still taking chances and making contact along the sideboards, aggressively sniffing out opportunities to force passes or create loose pucks. Both teams managed PPG's, but both clearly had to work for it. I would classify both PK units as somewhat aggressive, but in my humble opinion, this beats the heck out of standing still and waiting for the opposition to pound the puck at you!