Goodbye to the Slap Shot

It was once the most thrilling—and for goalies the most menacing—play in the game. But in today’s high-octane NHL, there’s rarely enough time or space for the ballyhooed blast from the past.

  1. The computer in his brain whirs as Flames winger Jarome Iginla crosses the blue line and gathers a pass from linemate Alex Tanguay early in an October game against the Canadiens. The data: 50 feet from the net, maybe 10 feet between him and Canadiens defenseman Hal Gill, who is 6'7" and has the reach of a 50,000-watt radio station after sundown. The decision: slap shot or snap shot?

    In the way men generally regard themselves as excellent drivers, most NHL players believe they have terrific slap shots. In Iginla's case, this happens to be true. He has a full-blown Hammer of Thor that hisses through the offensive zone at close to 100 miles per hour. As a boy he ordered an instructional video in which Ray Bourque and other NHL stars taught the art of shooting—the wrister; its better-looking fraternal twin, the snapper (which, unlike the wrist shot, is accomplished with a short pull-back of the stick); and the slapper—and he would wind up in his Edmonton driveway or on the ice at Braeside...

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