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Hockey School
the professorShots

What is a slap shot?:
The fastest, most difficult shot, which occurs when a player swings his stick back to shoulder level and then quickly thrusts it forward. The result is a forehand slap at the puck. Some shooters can propel the puck between 90-100 mph. Speeds up to 120 mph have been recorded. Depending upon the angles of the skater, his stick and the puck at the time of the shot, it can often curve in flight, like a baseball.

What is a wrist shot?: More strategic yet less lethal than slap shots, this occurs when a player settles the puck on the stick's blade and thrusts it into the air by flicking his wrist. Players have more control and accuracy using wristers. But the drawbacks are many: 1. Settling the puck takes time, which there isn’t much of in the NHL. Defensemen snuff out wrist shots rather easily if you give them a few seconds to figure it out; 2. Wristers are often slow, which means the goaltender has more time to track it down.

[Times photo: Dan McDuffie]
Lightning Martin St. Louis (#26) has his breakaway shot blocked by Philadelphia Flyers goalie Robert Esche (#42) during third period action in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia Saturday.

What is a snap shot?: The middle level of shots – not too fast, not too slow. Forwards who park in front of the net usually elect snap shots, which occur with a shortened backswing and a quick follow-through. Snap shots rely less on a player’s wrist and more on the flexibility of his stick. A shorter stick with some good bend to it is the product of choice in this scenario.

What is a one-timer?: A feature often seen in power plays, this occurs when a player passes to a teammate in the offensive zone. The pass is soft yet accurate. The receiver, while waiting for it, begins his backswing and times it so when the puck reaches his area, his stick will hit it. Combine the motion of the pass with the velocity of the follow-through, and you have one of the most dangerous shots to stop.

Where do you want this?:
In the NHL, where the best goaltenders in the world play, it's tough to find a region they have trouble with. But in general, the most difficult shot is low, a few inches off the crease, to the stick side. In watching games on television, you'll often hear the term: “If he sees it, then he can stop it.” The lower it is, the more difficult it is to see.

– Compiled by Tim Sullivan

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