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Posted at 08:30 AM ET, 02/03/2012

Capitals’ John Carlson is bringing the slapper back


STATISTICAL ANALYSIS | Bernie “Boom Boom“ Geoffrion claims to have invented it, and it was surely perfected by “The Golden Jet” Bobby Hull, but like the 8-track tape and the Macarena before it, hockey's slap shot is becoming a thing of the past.

The reasons for its decline are mostly evolutionary. In today's NHL, which emphasizes speed and agility, players simply do not have the time and space to wind up like they did before the lockout. And when they do, better equipment, such as lighter, composite sticks, make it more effective to opt for a wrister or snap shot.

More effective for most, I should say, because John Carlson's goal in Wednesday night's 4-2 loss to Florida continues to show that the Capitals defenseman is bringing the slapper back.

Since he entered the league during the 2009-10 season, almost half of Carlson's shots on goal have been slap shots, and he has become more reliant on them each year.


Slap shots are also Carlson's most accurate shot, hitting the net more than two-thirds of the time and lighting the lamp once out of every 10 – quite a bit better than the league average of 5.4 percent.

“It's deceptively fast,” said fellow blueliner Karl Alzner. "Carly looks like he is barely even shooting it but it just flies.”

Some coaches discourage the slapper because the current butterfly blocking techniques used by goalies make it easier to stop, and if not, the quality of rebounds from them is poor. But anytime you can put pucks on net it's a positive for your team, and if you can convert them like Carlson does, the slap shot becomes dangerous once again.

Follow Neil on Twitter: @ngreenberg

By Neil Greenberg  |  08:30 AM ET, 02/03/2012

Tags:  Statistical analysis

 
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