The "CYCLING", is an offense tactical circulation that allows a collective control (as a team) of the puck with the intention to progress the offense to the net.
Tactical traffic in circular movement with a goal of a collective control of the puck in the offensive zone in order to create a scoring chance. Cycling is initiated by the puck carrier. If the puck carrier moves clockwise, his partners will do the same. Then non-puck carriers need to be alert and read the play developping since they need to take the place left open by his partner in the same direction. It is a coordination exercise, action-reaction. The circular movement of the 2-3 players comes with a coordinated passing play with the intention of creating an opening to the net while moving a defenseman away from the puck.
Cycling the puck is a part of the game that needs to be learned and understood by all players. It’s not just enough to know how to cycle the puck, you also need to know why you are cycling the puck. Too many players just want to rush to the net and go through or around defensive players instead of using the open ice to create seams and space by cycling.
Twenty five years ago before cycling became such a normal part of the game players just worked to the front of the net and tried to get shots. Back then goaltenders had much smaller equipment and the butterfly barely existed. Now the game has progressed to the point where it is harder to score and thus more important to work for a good scoring chance and that is where cycling can pay big dividends.