If you go back to NHL 14 or earlier you will notice how much easier it was to fire passes through players as if they weren’t even there. You had very little hope of ever defending a cross crease pass.
Right now are you saying something to yourself along the lines of … “what the hell is this guy talking about – my players never intercept anything!”? If so, then read on and let’s change that for ya 🙂
How to: Hold LT(L2)
Tip: Turn OFF Auto Back-Skate. This will allow you to have full control over whether your player is skating backwards or forwards using Vision Control. You can do this from the NHL 17 customize options via:
Customize > Settings > Controller Settings.
Vision Control is extremely important when it comes to intercepting passes. Not only do you need to be in a good position but you must be facing the puck as well, which is what Vision Control will do for you.
Check out this video:
Read more about using Vision Control in my NHL 17 Skating Guide.
Now for the most important part of intercepting a pass and one I’m sure we are all very aware of… Get your player in the passing lane!
Often easier said than done since that means knowing where your opponent is going to pass. This is where learning your players tendencies will come in handy. In the majority of cases, players tend to pass up the boards when breaking out so that is always a good place to start – get along the boards while holding vision control.
If they start passing up the middle, then start blocking that lane.
I find it infinitely easier to intercept passes in the EASHL when compared to a mode like Online Versus. The main reason being is that players are easier to read.
How often do players in the EASHL pass to AI? Rarely ever. You will see them forcing passes through blocked lanes all the time to try and get it to one of their buddies.
Now, assuming you have the same number of human players as your opponent, ensure all the passing lanes are covered. Force the puck carrier to try and carry it out or give it away.
Tip: When you are on offense If you do have AI on the ice, use them! Your opponents won’t expect it. You can do give and go’s with the AI very easily and open up space for yourself and your team mates.
Short montage of EASHL interceptions:
Online versus is a little trickier when it comes to interceptions since the human player is always the one with the puck so they are more likely to pass to anyone they think is open. Unless you are one of those psycho’s who position lock themselves in an online versus match… Those people can’t be trusted.
Online Versus or HUT is where learning your opponents tendencies will be a big advantage. Most Versus players will do the same thing almost every time they breakout – or they may have a couple different tactics they frequently use. Either way, watch for them and adapt.
In the below video, you can see that far left winger with an open passing lane and as the puck carrier starts carrying it towards the middle it becomes clear that they aren’t going to skate it down their own wing so make the quick player swap and get in the passing lane.
The defensive attributes of the player you are using come into play here as well. In past NHL’s, the “Defensive Awareness” attribute involved the likelihood of intercepting passes – I’m assuming that is still the same today. So EASHL players with a higher defensive attribute are likely going to be better at intercepting passes.
I use the Grinder which is tied with the Two-Way Forward for the highest defensive rating of any forward player type at 70, it’s been very effective for intercepting passes. Check out the NHL 17 EASHL Player Class Guide for complete player class ratings.
For anyone interested, here is few more examples of interceptions that I got last night. They are better examples than the first video above but I had already added the troll meme and uploaded that one – didn’t feel like doing it again. Adding that troll face took a lot longer than it looks… There is a reason I created a website instead of a YouTube channel 😀 So yeah if anyone wants more examples then watch this too:
See ya in the passing lanes!