I'm guessing a lot of people here know this but if anyone ever wondered what "gap control" means, here's a good explanation.
It nicely breaks down what it is a subtler part of playing defense and demonstrates how a seemingly harmless play can end up with the puck in the back of your net because of poor gap control.
I think one of the biggest differences between a veteran d-man and a young guy is consistent gap control. A kid can play great all game but then have one shift where he's tired and it all goes to hell and they end up blowing their coverage.
Gap control through the neutral zone is important at all levels because if you you’re backing in too fast you allow forwards to go east-west inside the blueline and create, and if you’re too tight you risk getting your doors blown off wide. It ain’t easy matching someone’s speed in a backwards-versus-forwards race.
In the NHL it’s even more important, because it isn’t too many strides inside the blueline before players are in a dangerous shooting area. And by “not too many strides” I mean like, seven feet of gliding, especially since they intend to use you as a screen. Most of these guys have bombs, which makes that area of the ice a little dangerous.
I know I've posted this guy's stuff a lot, but I think he's one of the best hockey writers out there.