When youíre working the wall, you canít stop working. Youíve got to get the puck. If youíre at your blue line, get the puck up and out into the neutral zone. At their blue line, make sure you get the puck down deep. When youíre down deep in their zone, in the corner or behind the net, you must position your body between the player and the puck, and hopefully find someone open near the net and get the puck to him.
Some players at certain areas of the rink get a little too fancy. They pass the puck to the middle when itís not there. Or they throw the puck out in front of their own net to try to get it to their guys for a break down the other way. Not in the playoffs. This is a war of attrition. Youíve got to keep it safe until you get your opening.
The best kind of board work is the simplest. Chip the puck in a safe zone, and when you get the opportunity, jump on it. And youíve got to be patient. If itís not there, donít do it.
I remember watching Dave Reid. He was one of the guys I learned from. He would never make the big play or the big hit, but he always did the little things right. In the playoffs, little things add up to the big difference.
Shjon Podein is a left winger on the St. Louis Blues. This article appears in the May 13 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
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