Blocking shots is one of the worst parts of playing hockey. Sure, it’s hugely beneficial to your team, but unless you get it flush in the shin pads, it’s going to hurt.
On top of that, it’s just a very difficult skill to master – even when I actually wanted to block a shot I wasn’t very good at it.
Below is a video compilation of blocked shots, interspersed with interviews with some of the NHL’s best shot blockers such as Josh Gorges, Andrew MacDonald, Travis Hamonic and Carl Gunnarsson (all those guys are top 20 in the NHL – Gorges is first). Nick Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Jim Slater, Tanner Glass and a few others weigh in as well.
There are a few great quotes in the mix - Lidstrom talks about going down on just one knee (you’re taught that in college because there are so many shifty defensemen. You don’t want to be over-committed if the shooter fakes), Jonas Gustavsson complains that Gunnarsson is messing up his save percentage, and James Reimer says “To do that, you gotta be courageous or crazy – I’m scared to get in front of it and I got all this gear.” ….We know your joking, James, but now may not be the time for that comment.
Enjoy these rational explanations from clearly crazy people. Here’s the art of shot blocking:
The Travis Hamonic face jokes followed by the “four days later” clip is just a brutal coincidence, isn’t it?