Hockey is able to excite fans through the rare combination of power and speed. There are many aspects of the game that showcase this blend of skill, but none more so than the slap shot. The average NHL player can and often does possess many different skills. He may be a great skater or a great body checker, but none of those skills strike as much fear in an opposing team like the prospect of having to face a player who can really fire the puck.
Only a goalie can truly tell you what goes on in their mind when they see someone wind up who is known to have a blistering slap shot. They crouch down a little tighter, they try and focus on the puck just a little more, but most of all, they have to fight that voice in their head that says, “this could really hurt”. When a player releases a soft wrist shot or backhand they are completely focused on stopping the puck, but when a heavy shooter releases a slap shot they have to trust that their equipment will be able to withstand the impact. Making saves is done in a fraction of a second and any distraction or second thought could be the difference between a goal and a save and subsequently a win or a loss.
Coaches give warnings about certain players who are known to have big slap shots and instruct their own players to stop them from shooting or somehow summon the superhuman courage to block the shot. With the players in the NHL today being bigger and stronger then ever before and the technological advances that have been made to hockey sticks, the slap shot is more deadly then ever before. When a player with a hard shot pulls back on his stick you can hear the crowd hold its breath in anticipation of the rocket they are about to see and few other plays in all of sports can illicit such a reaction.
Here are the top 10 hardest slapshots in NHL history
10 Brett Hull
9 Steven Stamkos
8 Al Iafrate
7 Sheldon Souray
6 Alex Ovechkin
5 Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion
4 Shea Weber
3 Bobby Hull
2 Al MacInnis
1 Zdeno Chara
Chara must seem like a monster out of a child's fairy tale to opposing teams and goalies. He is listed at 6-feet-9 (but probably closer to seven feet on skates) and 260 pounds. He is the son of an Olympic wrestler and Chara is notorious for his exercise regime that helps amplify his herculean like strength. All of these elements translate into winning the NHL's hardest shot competition the last five years as well as holding the NHL record for the hardest slap shot at a whopping 108.8 mph.
Early in his career because of Chara's imposing size, he was put in front of the net on the power play to screen goalies and dare opposing defencemen to try and move him from the front of the crease. That was seen as a prudent strategy and worked to some success, but then someone said maybe we should just let the big fella shoot and now the Bruins only put Chara in front of the net when they're trying to break a long power play drought. Otherwise you'd be insane to take away Chara's big blast.
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