From Hockey Digest... Feb. 2003
Firepower: starting with Al MacInnis, we pick the NHL players with the best slapshotshttp://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCM/is_4_31/ai_96194014
Hockey Digest, Feb, 2003 by Chuck O'Donnell
GOALTENDING GREAT GRANT Fuhr once observed: "There's no safe place when Al MacInnis is shooting."
Just ask goalies Jocelyn Thibault (broken finger), Chris Osgood (broken hand), and teammate Rich Parent (bruised testicle), who were all hurt over the course of the same season trying to stop MacInnis slapshots.
Or Dallas Drake and Mike Sullivan, who both suffered fractured toes in the same game when their feet got in the path of MacInnis slappers.
Or Andrew Cassels, who had the big toe on his right foot broken in three places by a MacInnis slapshot.
Or you can ask Alexander Karpovtsev, who spent an entire hellish night in his bathroom after being hit in the stomach with a MacInnis bullet last season.
"I kept throwing up," Karpovtsev told reporters. "I couldn't stop. If it would have hit my ribs, it would have broken them for sure. Usually in the stomach here isn't any pain, not a big deal. I wasn't ready for this shot."
When MacInnis winds up for a slapshot, forwards flee, defensemen duck, and goalies pray the puck hits them in a well-padded place.
Not only has MacInnis won the league's hardest slapshot competition six times--sometimes at speeds topping 100 miles per hour--he is also in the top five all time in goals scored by defensemen. That means he brings the heat a la a Randy Johnson fastball, but does it with Greg Maddux-like pinpoint control. That unusual combination is why MacInnis is almost universally regarded as the possessor of the best slapshot in the NHL today.
But who else is up there in MacInnis' company?
Just as baseball fans like to debate who hits the most prodigious home runs and basketball fans like to debate about who has the smoothest jumper, hockey aficionados can go on for hours about who has the most wicked slapshot.
Are Brett Hull's laser beams tougher on a goalie than Rob Blake's brute blasts? Which of the past two winners of the hardest shot competition, Sergei Fedorov or Fredrik Modin, makes goalies tremble more? Who would you rather have winding up back on the point: Mathieu Schneider or Adrian Aucoin?
It wasn't easy, and we know we left out a few guys who can really crank it up, but we've come up with our list of the 10 best slapshooters in the game today.1. Al MacInnis, St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis defenseman won the hardest shot competition every year from 1997 to 2000. And he usually can get it on net during a game. As if that doesn't make him lethal enough, consider the fact that MacInnis' shot sometimes has some movement to it.
"It's not a shot that keeps in a direct line," says Washington Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig. "It has a gradual rise. It's from the unusual curve in his stick. You think you have it pinpointed, and it comes so fast and it rises so quickly, you can't adjust to it. It's so deceptive."
MacInnis has been asked hundreds of times for his secret to shooting. Funny thing is, it's as much a mystery to him as it is to everyone else. He admits he isn't the strongest or biggest guy on the ice, so it isn't like it's sheer muscle that makes the puck go so fast.
"It's just something I've always had since I was a kid, and I've kept working on it," he says. "It's almost like on the PGA tour. It's not always the biggest guys that hit the longest."
2. Pavel Bure, New York Rangers
3. Brett Hull, Detroit Red Wings
4. Fredrik Modin, Tampa Bay Lightning
5. Mathieu Schneider, Los Angeles Kings
6. Shawn Heins, San Jose Sharks
7. Sergei Fedorov, Detroit Red Wings
8. Rob Blake, Colorado Avalanche
9. Adrian Aucoin, New York Islanders
10. Peter Bondra, Washington Capitals
If you want to read the comments about the other guys, follow the link (I cut them out).