Professional hockey players can shoot the puck at a level most of us can’t even dream about.
I remember being perplexed by it as a little kid every time I went to an NHL game and watched warm-ups – guys barely flinch and the puck comes rocketing off their blades at speeds I couldn’t fathom. If you’ve seen Jarome Iginla or Dany Heatley casually snap a puck and hit the glass, you know what I’m talking about.
How did that not shatter?
On the other hand, you see kids and rec players pouring their whole bodies into wrist shots, taking five seconds to release them after pulling the puck from wayyy behind their bodies (using the full heel to toe, of course), only to flutter one goal.
But the pros? Snap. Bar down.
…Well, not all the pros.
Playing in the NHL with a weak shot is a rarity for obvious reasons, but there are a few players in the NHL that make you go “…..hm. Well that wasn’t very impressive” after watching them shoot.
Yes, their shots are still better than the rest of ours. And yes, they’re so talented and good at so many other things that they’re worthy of our praise. But hey, it’s okay to admit that not every NHLer is phenomenal at everything.
I threw this out there on twitter the other day and got a lot of interesting responses. Here are the names that came up the most – I can’t vouch for all the names on the list, but most make some sense to me.
Below, I take a look at two names in particular, and explain how the two “worst” shooters survive in the NHL.
7) Jay Pandolfo
6) Dan Paille
5) Tomas Kaberle
4) Jason Blake
3) Brendan Morrison
Kaberle and Blake, I can see for sure (when judged against NHL standards).
And now, here are the two men who I think have the least dangerous shots in the NHL, with explanation on how they survive.
2) Scott Gomez
Gomez has an accurate shot, so he’s not “bad” per se, but sometimes it looks like he’s using a nerf stick. And, he seems to know he doesn’t have a bomb, which he demonstrates by being hesitant to pull the trigger.
He survives with two main skills: he’s got insane vision/playmaking abilities. If you knew your shot wasn’t beating anyone clean, you’d have been looking to dish your whole life too.
Second, he’s elusive as all hell and skates like a waterbug – few people can change direction like him or creep around the ice with so much stealth.
He’s a good player. But a bomb, he does not have.
1) And last, all around terrific player, worthy of much respect and honour….Ryan Smyth. Everytime he shoots I can’t help but wonder what flex stick he uses – 300,000, maybe? XXXXXXXXstiff?
Smyth survives by scoring 101% of his goals from within ten feet of the net, banging in rebounds, tipping in pucks and just generally playing how we think “a good ‘ol Canadian boy” should. He also uses no curve (seriously, like, no curve), so that explains a lot.
Any team would be glad to have Smyth. But would a coach set him up on the half-wall? C’mon. Not one that wants to keep his job.