The point in hockey refers to the area of the ice inside the oppositions blue line near the boards. Defensemen are the players that are usually going to occupy this area of the ice. When their team is in possession of the puck they will stay in this position in order to keep the puck inside the opponent’s blue line.
This area of the ice is where the defensemen will set up whenever their team has possession in their opponent’s zone.
Two players will always be set up at the point when a team is on the powerplay. Having these players near the blue line allows the offensive players to spread out the defense. A large portion of the goals scored from the point occurs when a team is on the powerplay.
On some occasions, teams may bring forwards onto the ice to play the point during a powerplay. This is usually done in order to get more offensive-minded players onto the ice.
Responsibilities Of Playing The Point In Hockey
Now that you understand what the point is in hockey it’s time to break down what a player on the point is responsible for. Below we will cover some of the main purposes of putting a defenseman on the point.
Keeping The Puck In The Zone
Arguably the most important reason that defensemen are going to line up on the point is to keep the puck in the zone. If the puck leaves the offensive zone all the players will have to leave the zone in order to avoid being called offside.
For this reason, the two defensemen will wait on both ends of the blue line close to the boards. This way when a defender attempts to clear the puck up the boards the defensemen can easily keep it inside the blue line.
This is especially true on powerplays in which the shorthanded team cannot ice the puck. Since they cannot be called for icing these players will consistently try to shoot the puck out of their zone. The defensemen at the blue line will do their best to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
Receiving And Giving Passes
Another reason that defensemen often set up on the point is to give and receive passes from the forwards. When in the offensive zone forwards are often under a lot of pressure from the opposing team.
A defenseman waiting at the point is the perfect outlet for a forward under pressure. If forwards find that they are not going to generate a scoring chance or they may lose the puck they can simply pass the puck back to the defenseman.
Once the defenseman have the puck at the point they can pass the puck to any player on the ice. Once a team is set up in the offensive zone the puck is often cycled through the defensemen waiting at the point.
On powerplays defensemen at the point will often quarterback the play. As the puck is cycled around the offensive zone the defensemen will look to find a player with an open shooting lane.
Taking Shots On Net
Another benefit of playing the point as a defenseman is that they will be able to take slapshots on net. At the point defensemen are going to have a lot more room to shoot. Almost any time they receive the puck in this position they will be able to get a shot off.
Additionally, when the defensemen are shooting from this location they will often have a player screening the goalie.
Slapshots from the point on their own will not usually go in but once a screen is involved they become much more threatening. It can be difficult for the goalie to track the puck through the sea of bodies in front of him.
On some plays, the player in front of the net will attempt to tip or redirect the puck. A redirection or tip right in front of the net is virtually impossible for the goalie to react to. This results in a lot of goals being scored via a shot from the point this is especially true on powerplays.