washingtonpost.com

  >  

Sports

  >  

Capitals

Ovechkin shoots ... and scores! But how?

Video A.J. Chavar/The Washington Post; Graphic by Bonnie Berkowitz and Todd Lindeman/The Washington Post

The slap shot

Ovechkin is a big (6-feet-2, 234 lbs.), speedy skater who accelerates quickly, so all that force adds to the velocity of the puck when he shoots. His slap shot hovers around 100 mph and is a go-to shot for power plays when one fewer player is between him and net; seven of his 11 slap shot goals came on power plays. In addition, he scored 10 goals last season with a "slap-wrist" or "snapshot" -- a hybrid with less windup and more wrist action than a true slap shot.

Action and reaction

Even if he sees the windup, a goalie cannot react to a 100-mph slap shot from 25 feet or less. All the goaltender can do is try to obstruct as much of the goal as possible using the butterfly stance.

For some perspective, a batter facing a 100-mph pitch released from 60 feet, 6 inches away has an eternity to respond -- .37 of a second -- compared to a goalie facing a 100-mph slap shot from 25 feet (.17 of a second).

The wrist shot

Ovechkin's wrist shot is his most effective shot, because he combines a lightning-quick release with a dose of trickery. He will fake a shot to get the goalie to commit to one direction before he fires the shot in another. He also has the patience and skill to wait until a defender skates into the goalie's line of vision, using the goaltender's teammate to screen the shot for him.

Action and reaction

Because human reaction time is, at best, .10 to .20 of a second, a goaltender will be unable to react to a 60-mph wrist shot fired from 15 feet or less.

© The Washington Post Company