Hockey Talk

Keeping it Fun & Playing Smart Offense

Shannon Miller & Tiina Karinen
Shannon Miller & Tiina Karinen

Coach Shannon Miller shares more strategic moves with the emphasis on having fun and a playing smart offense game and she catches up with a long-time friend Finland’s Team Manager Tiina Karinen

Hockey Talk, hosted by Shannon Miller, is sponsored by IN STAT.

Podcast length: 29′ 51″

On this week’s episode Coach Shannon Miller shares her philosophy for creating a spirit that while taking the sport seriously the team must have fun and remember why they love the game.  She also talks tactics and explains her thoughts on a smart offensive attack. We learn about some of the many variations to this strategy as well as the options versus a poor gap from give and go to delay. Plus Shannon caught up with her friend Tiina Karinen who was in Saskatoon last week for the Four Nations Tournament.  Tiia tells us about her career in the sport and we hear about the venue for the 2019 World Championships.


The Drill of the Week is on Shannon’s Facebook page @coachshannonmiller 

Shannon’s website

Shannon on Twitter  |  Instagram

Tiina on Twitter

Calgary Inferno on   Facebook  |   Twitter 

Calgary Inferno website

LISTEN TO MORE EPISODES HERE or look for the HOCKEY TALK logo on WiSP Sports wherever you listen to podcasts.



Shannon’s Notes:

  • Keeping the fun in practice and competition
  • Playing smart and having fun on offense

In today’s episode I will discuss:

  • Keeping the fun in practice and competition
  • Playing smart and having fun on offense

My guest this week is the GM of the Finnish Women’s National Team – Tiina Karinen. Team Finland is in Saskatoon competing with Team USA, Team Canada and Team Sweden at the Four Nations Cup.

Today’s Side Bar will be about the European influence on my coaching style and the game of hockey globally.

AND this weeks  drill of the week is “OZ Entry – Read & React” – this drill will allow you to teach the concepts that I am sharing today in this podcast – the drill of  the week will be posted on my FB page @coachshannonmiller, on Thursdays.

Welcome listeners. I’m honored to have my own hockey podcast show on WiSP Sports, and to be part of the most popular and influential podcast organization for women in sports globally.

Today’s podcast is titled: Keeping it Fun & Playing Smart Offense!

Keeping it Fun

  • During my podcasts I’ve talked about coaches putting fewer limitations on players, giving them more freedom to be creative, make mistakes, and have fun on offense!
  • I’ve talked a lot about keeping the offensive part of the game fluid and fun – allowing creative and courageous offense.
  • But, I have also talked about having high expectations, holding athletes accountable , and pushing athletes outside their comfort zone. All of it is important and necessary to win….but so is having fun.
  • Coaches – let’s remember that our athletes have school all day if they are high school or college players – and in my case – many of the athletes work – so let’s do our best to keep it fun when we can!
  • The letters I have gotten from alumni talk about how much fun we had together – and now when we talk about our past together, we laugh hard at the good times and the bad.
  • Coaches – let’s commit to doing our very best to making sure that when our athletes come to the rink for practice and games, we do our part to help it be the best part of their day.
  • It’s not an easy balancing act for coaches – there is a lot of pressure to win – but having fun IS an important ingredient to winning!

SIDE BAR – European influence on my coaching style – HYBRID HOCKEY…

My philosophy is simply, “grow with the game and help grow the game – it’s a two way street”.

Today’s guest is Tiina Karinen – the GM of the Finnish Women’s National Team – here in Saskatoon for the Four Nations Cup. Tiina is a veteran of the global women’s hockey game, having been involved at the WC and Olympic level since 1992.

Conversation and Questions for Tiina……

Being on offense is fun – so let’s be smart on our offensive attack – score more goals, win more games and have more fun!

My in depth thoughts on a Smart Offensive Attack!

  • It’s no secret that for a majority of the game I love 4 attackers and I encourage players to take calculated risks and join the rush.
  • I also encourage players to be interchangeable in the OZ, which encourages creativity and makes playing the game more fun.
  • The 4th attacker joins the rush, jumping up into the open space and “expecting the puck” – a pass or a rebound – stick on the ice, and ready for action.
  • Important for the 4th attacker not to continue below the dots – stop and be available for higher rebounds kicked out – and be in a good position to back check.
  • IF there’s a loose puck that initiates a 2 v 1 against, the 4th attacker works hard to get back, creating back pressure and works to turn the 2 v 1 into a 2 v 2 by the far blue line or tops of the circles.
  • Think 1-2-3-4-5 for players.
  • 1 is the puck carrier, driving into the zone with speed, feet moving and is a triple threat – skate puck to net, make a pass or shoot.
  • 2 drives the net (“net drive”) to drive the Def back, drive the G back and to create space in behind for a pass to 3 or 4.
  • The net drive player (2) can also screen the G, by driving straight in and stopping eye to eye with the G at the edge of the crease.
  • 1 can feed 2 for a re-direct and both hunt for rebounds. 1 can shoot and 2 expect the rebound.
  • 3 drives to the net area, looking for a pass through the space that 2 just created – if in position to drive to far post – do it – stick on the ice, expecting the puck (a direct pass or a rebound)
  • 1,2,3 are in good position to race for loose pucks and maintain possession.
  • Good decisions must be made at the offensive blue line. Turnovers at the offensive blue line create the most GA…far more than TO in any other area of the ice. These decisions most often are the difference maker in the game – a win or a loss.
  • Size of the GAP determines your strategy.

Options versus a POOR GAP (lots of space in between puck carrier and defender):

  1. Give and Go – a basic tactic. 1 passes to 2, skates to open ice w speed as defenders key in on 2. 1 gets puck back and is better positioned to attack. *Pass must be made before the defenders stick becomes a factor.
  2. Delay – if a player doesn’t have great speed for an outside drive, but has gained the blue line – a delay is a good tactic – allows line mates to skate at the defenders opening up more options:
  1. coming out of the delay, keep your feet moving so you can attack…skate to the middle of the ice and shoot using the defenders and net front traffic as a screen (teammates crashing the net)

b) Pass to a teammate skating between the defenders – direct pass or an indirect pass off the backboards.

c) Pass to a teammate arriving into the high slot area – 4th attacker – second wave of the attack.

  1. Double Drive/Triple Drive – puck carrier and 2 and 3 all go to the net. Take the ice they’ve given you, go hard to the net, and create space in behind for the 4th attacker. This attack with speed really pressures the defenders and the goalie.
  2. Overload Tactic – 1,2,3 all overload one half of the ice, pulling defenders over, and creating space on the weak side for the 4th attacker.

On next week’s podcast I will continue this topic, taking it next to Entry Options vs a Good Gap, and points for entry when protecting a lead late in the game.


Tiina Karinen Bio

Team Final Manager since 2016





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