watch your step
by Michael Davies
The Mighty Ducks franchise had one of the greatest hockey dynasties ever during the 90’s. Some credit can be given to fantastic defense, great puck handling, and overall great teamwork. Most importantly, the Ducks relied on one play to secure their greatness into the Hockey Hall of Fame: The Flying V. The play was created by coaching mastermind Gordon Bombay and defined his legacy.
The Flying V is an offensive attack that starts all the way back behind the Duck’s net. Five players (three forwards, two defenders) meet with the puck behind the goalie. The players form the shape of a “V” and begin their advance to the opposing net. After a series of passes, the opposing team’s defense spreads out to cover the Ducks, leaving an open shot opportunity.
Although it is an effective play, it shouldn’t be. Defenses should not be giving the Ducks an easy chance goal. In fact, they should be playing the Ducks the same way every time. Before I get any further, here is a replay of “The Flying V”.
Now that we have seen the infamous play, here are the best ways to turn the ducks into toast (ideally in this order):
Start Playing Defense at Mid-Ice If you are playing the Ducks, you should anticipate The Flying V at all times. Don’t retreat to your zone, stay right in the middle of the ice and disrupt the play!
Match Up Its pretty simple. Find your man and cover him! The defense should be aware that the first player of The Flying V will eventually end up with the puck again. If he doesn’t then the Ducks are offside. So keep the defenders on the defenders, the forwards on the forwards, and prevent any passes.
Poke Checks The most effective way to stop a player with the puck is to get your stick in their way. Knock the puck out and prevent The Flying V momentum. As long as your close to your matchup, the defense should have an easy time blocking the play.
Sacrifice Your Body If none of the previous strategies worked, the defense should throw their bodies to the ice and deflect the shot on goal by any means. Its not pretty, but that’s the way to stop the Ducks.
The play is easy to stop with the proper defense. If any of these defensive strategies are not used, it is nearly impossible to stop the high flying Ducks. If you want to be a champion, take my advice and stop the Ducks at all costs.