Don’t be soft, but play SOFT – Skate On First Touch.

Any time you receive a pass when you’re not already on the move, take a few steps towards open ice. There is a temptation to stop and think, but being motionless on the ice is a recipe for disaster. Get in the habit of moving the puck as soon as you get it, and get used to looking for options to pass or deke as you’re skating with the puck.

Consider the options the purple player has above. He doesn’t have a lot of passing options (red passes are riskier), and even the good options (like the green pass to the D in front) aren’t really improving the situation.

As time goes by, those options get worse, because the other team will move to intercept those passes or put pressure on the puck-carrier.

If the purple player moves, more passing opportunities open up as teammates move to better support positions and get open.

Get in this habit of moving as soon as you get the puck and work on looking for passing opportunities as you’re moving.