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7 Traits Every Pure Goal Scorer Possesses

Throughout the history of the NHL there have been many pure goal scorers. From Maurice “Rocket” Richard to Alexander Ovechkin and everyone in between, all of these goal scorers have striking similarities that you can practice and implement on the ice. Even players who are naturally gifted with the ability to score goals still have to practice and train to be a true great goal scorer. Below I have listed six traits that every pure goal scorer possesses. By learning these traits you can practice at home and hopefully score more goals!
Yes there are more than 7 traits, some common traits would be speed, power, agility, shooting the puck and accuracy which every player should strive to achieve. This list details traits that really set goal scorers apart from others.

  • Quick Release
    • A quick release is very important if you want to score a lot of goals.  Pavel Bure and many other goal scorers were famous for having a quick release. Many great goal scorers were able to streak down the ice and put the puck in the back of the net in the blink of an eye. The longer you take to shoot the puck the more time the goalie has to prepare and stop your shot. If you can hammer off a one timer, or shoot the puck from an awkward angle when the goalie is not expecting it you will definitely increase the amount of goals you score.
    • A great way to practice a quick release is to practice shooting the puck mid stride. Many players break their stride, pull the puck back, and then shoot. If you can fire a shot as you come full speed towards the net, many times the goalie will be wondering what that black streak was that went right by him into the net.
    • Another great skill to practice is your forehand to backhand transition. If you can quickly move the puck from your forehand to your backhand (faster than the goalie can move from one side of the net to the other) you will be able to net a lot more goals.
  • Great Goal Scorers go to the Net
    • I can not count how many goals I scored hustling to the net (when a team mate had the puck) on two on ones. If you can come across the blue line with speed and hustle to the net, the defensemen has less time to think. If he lets you go then your team mate can pass you the puck and you crank it in the net. If the defensemen does cover you, it gives your team mate an open shot and you have a chance to get the rebound. Teemu Selanne was known for going to the net hard and almost always popping in the perfect saucer pass that Paul Kariya would send his way. If you have the time you can watch a video that I attached to the bottom of this post. The video show’s Selanne and Kariya highlights, and a few examples of Selanne going to the net, and Kariya setting him up.
    • Once you are in front of the net, stay there. I used to love to cause mayhem in front of the net. It would distract the goalie and keep the defensemen busy. When you are in front of the net you can deflect shots, screen shots for your team mates, and pick up rebounds. Tim Kerr was well known for his play in front of the net and managed to bank four 50+ goal seasons in a row in the NHL back in the 80’s
  • Get Open
    • It is going to be hard to get a pass if you are covered. Don’t stand still – When you are in front of the net or anywhere on the ice do not let the defencemen tie you up, move around, try to get open. In fact try to never stand still while you are on the ice, it is harder to get to full speed if you are stopped.
    • Hustle – This is part of getting open, in hockey you have to hustle, never give up on the puck and work for every goal. Some of the best goals ever scored are desperate acts or players that never gave up. If you take a shot on goal, drive to the net and get your own rebound.
  • Hockey Sense
    • Great Hockey players have “hockey sense” Hockey sense is the ability to read plays and create plays. Do not turn your brain off when you are on the ice. If you are always chasing the puck you will just get tired, instead you should be thinking where is the puck going. This allows you to be one step ahead of the other team, and also in the right spot to get that sought after break away pass!
    • Wayne Gretzky was well known for his hockey sense, he had a feel for a game, he knew where every player was and where they were going. This not only helps you get goals by being in the right spot to get a pass, but also makes you a great playmaker.
  • Pass
    • Nobody likes a puck hog! While great goal scorers do have great hands there are always great passing opportunities and many great goal scorers are also great play makers. If you pass the puck to your players you are likely to get a pass back (As long as you get open and in position) Passing allows the game to move faster and you can create more opportunities for yourself, and your team mates to score. If you are covered by another player, you can pass to your team mate, shake the opposition and get into position for a pass.
    • Give and goes are great ways to score goals, just watch some rock’em sock’em hockey videos and you will see all kinds of amazing give and goes and tic tac toe plays
  • Creativity
    • Being creative on the ice is very important if you want to be a great goal scorer. If you pull the same moves over and over than you will be an easy nut to crack. The best goal scorers can beat the defense and goalies repeatedly with new moves.
    • Think of the first time Bure came in on the goalie from the left side, dropped the puck back to his skates, kicked it back up to his stick and then popped it in the net. Sure he could have just shot the puck, but being creative is what makes great goal scorers score great goals.
    • What about the first time Jagr dropped the puck and his stick backwards between his legs and shot the puck top shelf, this is a creative move that allowed him to score in what most would think is an impossible scoring situation.
    • What about the first time when a Boston university player went behind the net, scooped the puck up on the blade of his stick, and then lacrosse style put the puck top shelf (latter repeated by Crosby in the QMJHL)
    • These are the types of plays you can practice on the ice, maybe you will not do them in a game, but if you practice all sorts of ways to manipulate the puck than you will be that much better at stickhandling the puck normaly.
  • Good Goal Scorers Can Get in The Goalies Head
    • Good goal scorers are able to predict the actions of the defense and goal tenders. Knowing what a goalie is going to do, or how a goalie is going to react is key in scoring more goals.
    • Joe Sakic demonstrated this a number of times when he would be at a bad angle, move to the center, and then shoot for the post on the side he just came from. Sakic knows that goalies must cover their angles, on a bad angle shot the goalie will hug the post so Sakic would move towards the center to pull the goalie off the post, and then shoot for the opening that was just created. Getting in the goalies head, and knowing how goalies are trained and think is a great way to score more goals.


Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya Highlights

Bonus point – PRACTICE, nobody ever made it to the NHL or beacame a great player by wishing it would happen. In order to score goals you must practice your shot in order to improve your power and accuracy.

I am also including a few tips from a coach on the OMHA forum that I am a member of.

  • Practice shooting alot, better shooters score more.
  • Take the puck as close to the net as possible, your odds are greater the closer you are to the goal line.
  • Shoot when you have high percentage ranges and angles, pass when your teammates have them. Players who shoot from inpossible angles get the occasional goal, players who pass when at impossible angles get lots of assists (and often more goals as their linemates will reciprocate).
  • Battle to win your position in the slot. Rebounds are the best source of goals for those tough enough to get them.

I hope these tips will help you score more goals through out your life. Learning tips like these helped me improve my game quite a bit and I want to help others improve as well. If you have any tips of your own then feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Coach Jeremy

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