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Updated: February 7, 5:46 PM ET
NHL Rules! Glossary


There are so many phrases and words that no one hears anywhere else but at the rink. Below, is an alphabetical list of some of the essentials, from "breakaway" to "Zamboni."

Backchecking: A forward skating deep into his own zone to check an opponent off the puck or prevent him from getting a scoring chance.

Backhand: A shot or pass using the back part of the stick blade.

Between the pipes: The goaltenders's position in net.

Blocked shot: A shot prevented from reaching the net by a player other than the goaltender.

Backliner/blueliner: A defenseman.

Blocker: The padded glove in which the goaltender holds his stick.

Bodycheck: The act of using one's body to impede an opponent.

Breakaway: A play in which a puck carrier moves in alone on the opposing goalie.

Patrick Roy
Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy often plays a "butterfly" style.

Breakout: Movement of the puck by a team out of its own end.

Butterfly: A goaltending style in which the goalie keeps his knees together and feet slightly apart.

Caught up ice: A situation in which a player is in his team's offensive zone while the play has moved into his defensive zone.

Center: One of three forward positions and the player who usually takes face-offs.

Center the puck: The act of passing the puck toward the front of the net.

Change on the fly: Substitution of players while play continues.

Check: To move the skater off the puck or away from the play.

Checker (noun): A forward whose prominent skill is defensive play.

Checking line: A forward line whose primary role is defensive play.

Clear the puck: Moving the puck out of one's defensive zone.

Clutch and grab: Defensive style of play often used by slower teams to prevent faster teams from using their speed.

Coincidental penalties: Penalties assessed simultaneously to players on opposite teams during which neither team plays shorthanded.

Cutting down the angle: Goaltending technique in which the goalie skates slightly out of his crease to reduce the amount of net the shooter can see.

Cycling the puck: The movement of the puck along the boards by at least two players in the offensive zone.

Deflection/tip in: An intentional or accidental re-direction of the puck after a shot or pass has been made.

Deke: A quick fake by a puck carrier intended to trick an opponent out of position.

Delayed offside: A situation in which an attacker is offside, but play continues because the defending team has possession of the puck with a chance to move it out of their zone.

Delayed penalty: A penalty that is not called against a player until his team gains possession of the puck.

Drop pass: An offensive player who leaves the puck behind him to be picked up by a trailing teammate.

Drop the gloves: Slang for fighting.

Dump and chase: Strategy by which a team shoots the puck into the attacking zone, then aggressively tries to retrieve it.

Enforcer: A player who fights frequently to protect other players on his team.

Finish a check: To follow through on any type of forechecking with a body check.

Five hole: The area between a goalie's legs.

Forechecking: Pursuing the opposing team when they have possession of the puck.

Freeze the puck: To pin the puck against the boards, forcing the referee to stop play.

Give and go: A play in which a skater passes to a teammate, moves into open space and receives a return pass.

Grinder: A hard-working player better known for checking rather than scoring.

Hand pass: Propelling the puck to a teammate using the glove.

Hat Trick: Three goals scored by one player in a game.

Headmanning the puck: Passing the puck forward during an offensive rush.

Hip check: Using the hip to check an opponent.

Intentional off-sides: The act of intentionally creating an off-side for a stoppage in play.

Line: The group of three forwards made up of the center, right wing and left wing.

Neutral-zone trap: Checking system used in the neutral zone designed to prevent an attacking team from entering the offensive zone at top speed.

Off wing: A left wing skating down the right side of the ice and vice versa.

One-on-one: A puck carrier who skates in on goal with only one defender between him and the goalie.

One-timer: A shot taken immediately upon receiving a pass without stopping the puck.

Penalty killing: Attempt by a shorthanded team to prevent the opposition from scoring.

Poke check/stick check: Use of the stick to knock the puck off an opponent's stick.

Power forward: A big strong forward, who is equally capable of scoring or playing physical.

Power play: Situation where one team has more men on the ice than its opponent due to a penalty or penalties.

Pulling the goalie: Removal of the goalie for an extra skater.

Scratch: A player on the roster who is not dressed due to injury or a coach's decision.

Screen: Blocking the goalie's view of the play.

Shadow: A player who closely checks a skilled opponent.

Sin bin: The penalty box.

Sixth attacker: The extra skater who comes onto the ice after the goalie has been pulled.

Slap shot: The hardest shot a player can generate, requiring full windup with the stick.

Slot: The area directly in front of the net, from the crease to the top of the face-off circles.

Snap shot: A variation of the wrist shot, where the release is quick but with a subtle snap, like a compacted slap shot.

Stickhandling: Controlling the puck by shifting it from one side of the stick blade to the other.

Take the body: To check aggressively with the body rather than with the stick.

Top shelf/upstairs: Top part of the net.

Trailer: A attacking player who skates into the offensive zone behind the puck carrier.

Two-on-one: Situation in which two offensive players enter the attacking zone with only one player between them and the goalie.

Two-way player: A player who is equally adept at scoring and defensive play.

Wing: Skater who plays one of the two outside forward positions on either the right or left side.

Wraparound: A play in which the puck carrier goes behind the net, then moves the puck quickly in front in an attempt to stuff the puck into the goal.

Wrist shot: A shot that propels the puck at the goal using a fluid snapping of the wrists.

Zamboni: The ice re-surfacing machine.

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