My Top 5 | Steve Duchesne

Steve Duchesne carved out a reputation as a highly effective offensive defenceman over 1,113 NHL regular season and 121 playoff games. In this edition of My Top 5, the undrafted blueliner serves up his views on what a defenceman can do to boost their team’s post-season fortunes.

A three-time All-Star, a World Championship gold medalist and a Stanley Cup champion (2002, Detroit), Steve Duchesne carved out a reputation as a highly effective offensive defenceman over 1,113 NHL regular season and 121 playoff games.

In this edition of My Top 5, the undrafted blueliner serves up his views on what a defenceman can do to boost their team’s post-season fortunes.

Steve Duchesne's Top 5 Tips for Defencemen

1. No puck, no problem

“There are a lot of obvious things, but the first thing that comes to mind is what you are able to do without the puck, how you can anticipate plays in all three zones. What can you do effectively when you don’t have the puck? I look at a guy like Erik Karlsson. Everybody knows he’s so good with the puck and the way he skates. But, I also think he’s very talented in the way he can get himself open, get himself in the right lane to receive the puck. His neutral zone play is so good.”

2. First and foremost

“Another thing that’s key is getting out of your own zone as quickly as possible and that first pass you make. That first pass will really start something or it can kill the play. If a defenceman is able to make a solid pass quickly to get the momentum started, it’s a huge thing.”

3. Move it

“Being an offensive defenceman, it’s how in the offensive zone he is able to move around. Being able to quarterback the power play, get that puck moving around and taking control of it, that’s huge in the playoffs. It’s also the same for killing a power play. The more you are able to be active, to keep your feet moving, it can really help you when you are a man down.”

4. Clear path

“Obviously, blocking shots is a big part of the game these days. When you look at the playoffs now, it’s so hard to get a shot to the net. There are so many big bodies out there. So, it’s very important to be good on the rebounds in front of your net. Most of the time the goalie will make the first save, so it’s up to you to be in position to clear the puck out quickly.”

5. Finish it

“Another thing is to just be physical. Finish your checks. Even if you’re not expected to be a hitter, the playoffs are different. Having a physical presence out there, you’ll make your mark. It’s grinding. The playoffs are a long haul. The more you are able to use your body, the better it will be for your game and for your team.”