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Video Coach

How Three NHL Stars Use Deception When Shooting the Puck

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 10/17/18, 2:45PM EDT


Video Coach | Presented by Hockey Intelligym

Today’s players are shooting the puck in ways that we’ve never seen before – and it’s the young players that are leading the way when executing deceptive shooting techniques. Quickly changing the shooting angle creates challenges for goalies and shot blocking defencemen.

The young players in today’s game have an enhanced awareness on the ice and are quick to make split second decisions with the puck. Players skating and edge control skills combined with their ability to control the puck outside their skates allow them to explore new and creative ways to shoot. Pair that with the latest stick technology, it’s easy to see why the past few season have revolutionized the way players can launch pucks.

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The three shooting scenarios are from three of the games young stars: Auston Matthews, Brady Tkachuk and Elias Pettersson.

Auston Matthews

Auston Matthews’s ability to change his angle of release has made him a threat to score from anywhere in the offensive zone.

  • TML34 catches the puck outside his skates and is immediately reading the position of both the defender and the goaltender
  • The defender is directly in the shooting lane
  • TML34 has his weight on his outside foot and inside edge which sets up the pull across his body and a change in the shooting angle
  • TML34 pulls the puck across his body with a string weight shift from his outside skate to inside skate completely changing the shooting angle & release point
  • Both are in front and off the body, allowing the ‘pull’ inside with the lower hand at the mid-line of his body
  • The hands are fairly close and have not slid up or down the stick – this would take away for the quickness and deceptiveness of the ‘pull’
  • The eyes remain up reading the shooting lane and position of the goaltender
  • Here the full explosiveness of the shot is realized –
  • The weight shift drives through the outside foot with the toe of his skate pointed at the target
  • The elbow of his top-hand is up and his the top-hand is outside his body for maximum pull
  • The bottom hand pushes out and the follow-through is powerful
  • The head & eyes remain up throughout

Brady Tkachuk

Brady Tkachuk uses his speed and threat to go to the net to manipulate the defender and change the angle of his shot for his first NHL goal.

  • OTT7 drives towards the middle of the ice with strong push off inside edge of outside foot
  • PHI6 moves to close gap and establish ‘stick on puck’
  • OTT7 identifies this and pushes the puck to space outside his body
  • OTT7’s head & eyes are up reading the play
  • OTT7 shifts weight to inside foot and pushes the puck outside his body
  • His hands are off his body allowing him to hold this ‘loaded’ position - this is the ‘set-up’ move…
  • PHI6 shifts his weight inside with a strong push with his outside foot and moves his stick into the new shooting lane
  • OTT7 now ‘pulls’ the puck inside and created a new shooting angle between the stick and body of the defender - this is the ‘pay-off’ move…
  • He shifts his weight back to his outside foot with toe pointing at the net
  • Hands are in front of the body – the top hand pulls back hard and the bottom hand pushes out and extends
  • Eyes are up on the target

Elias Pettersson

Elias Pettersson uses his ability to control the puck outside his skates and hides his lightning quick release inside his stride.

  • VAN40 enters the zone with speed and carries the puck in a ‘triple-threat’ position – he can skate, pass or shoot from here – between
  • His weight is balanced in the inside edges of both skates in a wide stance
  • Head and eyes are up scanning reading pressure & support
  • VAN40 carries the puck outside his skates and drops the puck into  the ‘loaded’ position
  • His hands are off his body with the top-hand in front and bottom hand pushing through the stick, downward
  • He shifts his weight to his inside foot but his remains a threat to pass of shoot – this freezes CAL26 who is playing the 2V1
  • His eyes continue to scan and he continues to ‘sell’ the pass to the defender & goaltender
  • This pulls the goaltender over – changing the shooting angle for the goaltender
  • With the ‘sell’ complete and the shooting lane available, the weight shift from outside foot to inside foot is explosive with the toe facing the net
  • Both hands are in front of the body and the top hands and elbow pull back and the front hand pushes through whipping the kick-point of the stick and the puck explodes off his stick.

Watch all three video clips again to see the importance of controlling the puck outside your skates, using a ‘set-up’ move to create deception, keeping the head and eyes up and getting the hands off your body and using the Top-hand Pull / Bottom-hand Push to change your shooting angle and shoot the puck more explosively.

Video Coach is a series of articles which reviews a video clip from game action and then breaks down the sequence into frames identifying key skills, individual and team tactics, strategy and hockey IQ. Video is a great teaching tool that can be used by both players and coaches.

The Hockey IntelliGym is a breakthrough cognitive training technology that hones hockey sense and has been scientifically proven to improve player safety. IntelliGym has been used by thousands of players - from OHL teams to USA Hockey to OMHA Minor Midget champions - to improve individual players' points total, heighten spatial awareness, and foster better anticipation of the play. Recent research from the University of Delaware suggests training with IntelliGym is a great way to reduce concussions and other on ice injuries. The software, which can be used on any computer, can be purchased here.

"What I'm noticing with IntelliGym is that it compliments my use of area games or situational pressure drills in practice. My players are recognizing and executing their options faster than they have in the past.  This improvement has translated to games. They are moving to open areas to support their teammate with the puck."

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Ian Taylor is the Executive Director of the OMHA and former Director of Hockey Development. A proud hockey dad of two, Ian has over 25 years of instructional and coaching experience.

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