November 20, 2012

Big Mac - Al MacInnis

When you think of Al MacInnis you think of his booming slap shot. His overall effective game which ranked him as one of the most complete defenders of any era is totally overlooked by his 100 mile an hour blast from the point that puts the fear of god into goalies and anyone standing in the way.

He developed his shot by spending countless winter (and summer) hours firing a puck against a barn back home in the tiny community of Port Hood, Nova Scotia. Over the years he learned to make his shot doubly effective by keeping the shot low, rarely over a foot off the ice, so that it was perfect for tip-ins and rebounds. But how did he shoot so hard?

MacInnis maximizes his upper body strength by keeping his hands high on the stick and relatively close together compared to other shooters, thus creating a larger arc on the swing. He also has a bit of a golf "wedge" blade on his stick, which gives his shots extra lift. He also uses an extremely long stick, which again creates a large arc.

Perhaps even more amazing than the strength and velocity of his shot was his accuracy. It was pretty rare to see a player block a MacInnis shot of any kind, especially the big slapper. MacInnis knew how to get puck through traffic and on to the net. It was this uncanny skill that he would pass on to many defensive partners, most especially Chris Pronger.

His shot got him into the NHL. He was always known for his shot during his playing days, and will be forever remembered for his awesome blast. But if you look past that shot, you'll notice he was a complete defenseman with an incredible career.

Read The Full Al MacInnis Biography

You may also want to read biographies on Gary Suter, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Theoren Fleury

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