Unlocking the Secrets of the Hockey Greats: The Power of Natural ScorersJun 08, 2022
Isn't there an undeniable thrill in scoring goals, exuding excellence on the ice, and sharing triumphant moments with teammates? Goals in a hockey game, though infrequent, are the pulsating heart of every match. While every player celebrates these milestones, some maestros of the game seem to have an innate talent for it. This leads us to an ever-debated topic: Are these "natural scorers" born, or are they crafted meticulously over time?
It's no secret that a few hockey players possess an exceptional flair for the game. Evidence? Just look around. Alex Ovechkin's striking consistency in outpacing his contemporaries is baffling. Then there's the sheer genius of Mike Bossy, whose goal record for the New York Islanders still stands tall. Auston Matthews made a staggering debut by netting four goals in his maiden NHL appearance. The questions keep pouring in: Why haven't more than 50 players crossed the 500-goal threshold? What makes some players etch their names as legends while others remain in their shadows?
Bryan Trottier, an NHL legend with 524 goals to his name across an illustrious 18-year career, offers some insight. Having shared the ice with stalwarts like Bossy, Pat LaFontaine, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and having a mentorship role with Joe Sakic, Trottier asserts, "There are players who aren't born scorers, but their sheer determination and practice transform them into one." In the words of seasoned NHL coach Barry Trotz, while some players are naturally attuned to the game's rhythm, there isn’t a universal formula to success.
Today's hockey realm witnesses a spike in goals despite more aggressive defenses and larger goalie equipment. Modern players are adept, flexible, and leave no stone unturned in their quest for perfection. Hungry to evolve, they harness both the conventional wisdom of hockey and new-age training techniques. For inspiration, one merely needs to look up training sessions of Matthews or McDavid and observe the dedication and tenacity they bring.
As Trottier poignantly remarks, "Success in hockey, especially scoring, is about thinking big, assimilating traditional knowledge, and crafting a personal plan of excellence. Whether it's legends like Mario and Bossy or the current titans like McDavid, Matthews, and Ovechkin, they all immerse themselves in the nuances of the game, striving for constant enhancement."
Evolution of Goal Scoring Techniques:
Below, we spotlight how goal-scoring has undergone a metamorphosis. Icons of yesteryears like Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, and Bobby Hull had their unique styles, yet some of today’s goals are unlike anything witnessed before such as Jack Hughes and Connor McDavid..
For natural goal scorers, their unwavering passion drives them to incessantly push their skills' envelope.
A survey conducted by USA Hockey Magazine with premier hockey scouts from junior leagues revealed insights into the upcoming sensations like Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky, and Logan Cooley. The two predominant characteristics that stood out among natural scorers were:
- Innate Game Sense: These players have an uncanny ability to predict the flow of the game. They don’t chase the puck; they position themselves where the puck is headed.
- Relentless Practice: Talent might be innate, but excellence demands sweat. Continuous refinement of their techniques sets them apart.
"Any time you can spend working on your shot, your release, your power, your accuracy... ...anything you can spend on priding yourself on execution, quickness, those things help you in a game." When it comes to scoring goals, one thing never goes out of style: confidence.