Here is a half ice drill that focuses on several defensive skills and works well when practice is split up into forwards and defense. Four cones or tires are helpful although not required. Pucks should be set out along the boards at center ice and in each corner. The two lines of defense line up as shown in the diagram and one player will start in the corner on the same side as the player who will go first.
The first skill is the ability to receive a pass in transition, maintain possession of the puck, and make a good outlet pass to the boards. After the pass, the defense skates up ice as if to receive a return pass. Instead, they tranistion backwards and receive another pass in transition. Again they maintain possession and make another outlet pass to the other side.
Fast backwards skating is the next skill they work on. They transition between the cones again and skate as fast as they can backwards to the blue line. At the blue line they open up (without crossing over) and skate forwards to the cone where they transition backwards up the wall. Once they are going backwards they will receive a pass from the player in the corner. This foces the player to work on another important skill, the ability to get off the wall into the middle of the ice for a shot on net. After the shot, the player continues into the other corner where they will provide the pass for the next player.