The Washington Post

Capitals’ John Carlson is bringing the slapper back

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.

“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

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.


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