NHL 17 has introduced two more tools that players, especially defense, can take advantage of: Net-front tie ups, and extended stick lifts.
Both are very similar in how they function, but do have some key differences that we’ll cover below. Here’s a short video just to illustrate what both of these actions look like in-case you’ve never seen them before. It will start with net-front tie ups from several angles then same for the extended stick lift:
Net-front Battle Tie Up
First off, it’s important to note that net-front tie ups are limited to a specific zone in front of the net. I’ve tested out the boundaries and the below picture illustrates where the net-front tie up will be possible. You can tie up in both the offensive and defensive net-front zones.
If you try to tie up a player outside of the above square, nothing will happen. Unless of course you are against the boards in which case it will go into a board play tie up(opens in new tab).
How to initiate: When in front of the net, point the left analog stick towards the player you want to tie up and then Hold “Y”(Triangle on PS4). Continue holding Y(triangle) and you can move the left analog stick to slightly change angle or slowly push the opposing player by pointing the left analog in their direction. ie. tie them up from the inside and push them out of the slot/shooting lane.
If you let go of “Y” and point the left analog in any direction away from the opposing player then you will disengage and skate away.
*If the player you are trying to tie up is skating then you won’t be able to tie them up. They will need to be stationary or moving slow.
How to evade: It is very easy to get out of a net-front tie up. You can point the left analog in any direction away from the player that is tying you up and you will just skate away, or you can press “LT”(L2) which will do a partial spin to get yourself out. It’s all about battling for position so while it’s easy to get out of, it takes you out of the play for a second and forces you away from the position you wanted to be in.
When to use: If an opponent has planted themselves in front of the net for a tip then this a good tool for a defensemen to make it difficult on them, just like real hockey. You likely won’t push them out of the net-front but you will start a battle that will take their focus off the play.
I really only see this being used in 4v4+ EASHL/OTP where it will be almost always human on human battles. Even then, I’m finding the extended stick lift to be more useful and effective than the net-front tie up, which we’ll cover now.
***Make sure you don’t double tap “Y”(triangle) when trying to tie someone up! You likely already know, but that’s to instigate a fight. I foresee many accidental fights and instigator penalties happening if net-front tie ups become popular 😀
“Sorry, just tryin’ to tie ya up bro!”
Extended Stick Lift
The first major difference between this and the net-front battle is the extended stick lift can be used anywhere on the ice. It has no usage boundaries.
How to initiate: Similar to the tie up, except hold “A”(X on PS4). Another difference, extended stick lifts have a specific duration, which is about 1.5 seconds. The player you are stick lifting can’t do anything during that time. There is a short 1.5-2 second buffer period when the stick lift ends so you can’t immediately go back into another extended stick lift.
You can see in the first video this is quite different than the regular stick lift(opens new tab) as well where you would just tap “A”(X). As of writing this post, the regular stick lift is broken – at least I hope it is because it sure aint doing anything! I’d expect a fix for that in the next tuner.
How to evade: Unlike tie ups, there is no way to evade it once it’s been initiated; however, if you keep moving then your opponent won’t be able to initiate it in the first place.
When to use: If you see a player winding up for a one-timer or in position for a tap-in/rebound beside the net then use the extended stick lift. Keep in mind that it only lasts about 1.5 seconds. That should be enough time to take that option away and force the puck carrier to try something else or give your teammates time to pick up the rebound.
Will I Get a Penalty?
At the moment, it looks like
net-front tie ups and extended stick lifts will NOT result in a penalty no matter how you use them. I was extended stick lifting far away from the play and still nothing. This could very well change in a tuner update.
**Update: Net-front tie ups CAN result in an interference or holding penalty if you continue to tie up while the play is leaving or has left the zone, similar to board tie up penalties. Credit to IamMak on reddit for reporting that 🙂 thanks!
Still have not received or seen any extended stick lift penalties reported.
**Update: Thanks to Brandon’s comment below – we can confirm that extended stick lift can result in a penalty as well. Off the faceoff. It’s likely you can get it elsewhere as well but appears to be very rare if so.
How to Practice
I’d recommend going into practice mode and doing a 1v1 in the offensive zone to get a feel for both tie ups and extended stick lifts. Add a controller for the second player so you’re not chasing the AI around, no friends required!(who needs ’em) You can see this is what I did in that first video above.
I found quickly that it’s quite difficult to practice it and get a good clip in a Play Now match with only AI – I did get a couple though. I hope you appreciate the fact I spent time doing an offline Play Now match for this… position locked no less!