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Session #7: Power Play Coverage

Power Play Coverage: Overload system The Overload is the mainly used by more skilled (aka “finesse”) teams. This formation was popular a few years ago, but has become less used in recent years. As you can see from the image, the Overload aims to outnumber the other team along the half boards, thus creating a lot of three on two scenarios. The idea is to constantly cycle the puck and create a lot of movement down low, which causes defensive breakdowns.The play usually starts along the half boards. One forward supports from below the goal line on the strong side and the other forward gets open in the mid slot on the weak side. The defensemen support from the blue line and are looking to drop in behind coverage.The problem with this setup, is that the emphasis is to create quality scoring chances and not as many shots on net as possible. If you can’t get that flow going, the result is fewer shots and players cycling just for the sake of cycling.

Overload system

Coach Weiss Power Play: Overload system


The most common used PP strategy is the Umbrella, which sets up three players near the blueline forming a high triangle and two players low in the slot parallel to the goal line – please note, some coaches stack those two low forwards.The idea here is to get the puck to the middle of the ice for hard blasts from the point. Secondary objectives include passing options at the half-boards, or to one of the other point players for shots. The responsibilities of the low players are to set up screens/deflections and to get to the net for rebounds.What I like about this strategy is that it aims to outnumber penalty killers in the high slot. This theoretically should give our defensemen and the high forward a chance to keep the puck in the zone for extended zone time. It also helps to prevent shorthanded breaks. When this power play is firing on all cylinders, the low forwards will often criss-cross each other just as the shots are coming from the points. Also, the three high players will often rotate spots to pull apart the PK coverage. It’s critical that those high players get pucks to the net.

Umbrella system

Coach Weiss Power Play: Umbrella


The 1-3-1 power play is a strategy that started in Europe, but is going to become the next big thing in the NHL real soon.

This strategy creates four triangles to pass around and take one-timer shots. You can also QB this setup from four different areas (either half boards, the point, or below the goal line). This system forces the defense to focus on the middle players causing the PK to shrink. As a result, it can be very, very effective.

The problem with the 1-3-1 is that every player must be extremely skilled with the puck. With only one player at the blue line, you’re also leaving the defense completely exposed. The Lightning are able to pull it off because they have a bevy of elite attackers who can pressure the puck, take one-timers, and can back check like hell if there is a turnover on the blue line.

1-3-1 system

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