Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Neutral zone trap
The Neutral zone trap is a defensive ice hockey strategy used by a team to deter an opposing team from proceeding through the neutral zone (the area between both blue lines). The strategy is generally used to level the playing field for teams that are not as offensively talented as their opponent. However, the trap is used on occasion by teams simply looking to protect a lead near the end of the game.
The neutral zone trap consists of a team having four of their forward players in the neutral zone, and one forechecking in the offensive zone. As the offensive team starts to move up the ice, the forechecker (generally the center) will cut off passing lanes to other offensive players by staying in the middle of the ice, which forces the puck carrier to either sideboard.
The defensive wingers--who are typically placed on or near the red line--will be positioned by the boards to take the puck carrier, prevent passing, or even other players from moving through. The two defensemen who are positioned on or near the blue line are the last defense should the play move past the wingers and the center.
The trap has been widely criticized for lowering scoring and making the game less exciting for fans, but it has proven to be very successful, especially in the playoffs. A number of proposals to ban the trap have been proposed, but none have been taken seriously.
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