On this page, we'll look at shooters on their wrong wing (or 'off-wing') using the same approach, looking at shots off of the proper foot, the wrong foot and both feet. Of course, there are many similarities with shooting from the proper wing, so a lot of things should be familiar to you. First, let's remember what a shooter on his wrong wing looks like on his proper foot, his wrong foot, and both feet (below).


 
 

Before we start, let's again look at some differences between shooting from your proper wing and your off wing. Since the puck will be sitting closer to the middle of the ice, a shooter on his off-wing has a better angle on the net. Here's another look at the comparison:

 
 
 
 
 

Here's a slightly different piece looking at puck views front proper wing to wrong wing.

 

 
 

The pic (right) shows the main problem with shooting from your wrong wing. Player A has a gradient going from his strongest shooting option (red) to his weakest (white). In this orientation, his 'wheelhouse' is to the boards, while his weakest shooting option is to the net. Player B is rotated towards the net for a better shooting angle, but his 'wheelhouse' is still over to his left. It's as if a batter always had to hit to the opposite field. All of the advantages to shooting from your wrong wing involve overcoming this problem.

 

 

If you're unsure of all this, to the left is that Flash piece on shooter orientation.

Despite the difficulties, good shooters love to get on their wrong wing, because there are some nice advantages, and if they have a good wrong-foot shot, they can really do well. With the video clips below, there is some accompanying text, in which I touch on some goaltending topics that I will have to cover in more detail on later pages.

 
 

 

 

 

Left is the release point from the clip to the right. If he were on his proper wing, this would be a great shooting position (he's near the face-off dot) but on the wrong wing, look at how awkward the shot is - and awkward means slower. The release isn't smooth, and with little body rotation, there's a lot less power. It's like a baseball hitter going way opposite field. The shooter scores, but it's likely a combination of the awkward move fooling the goalie, maybe a screen, or the goalie not getting his angle. I always, always take the far side away from a shooter on his wrong wing. Don't expose too much of the near side, but don't let them see anything far side. This is a basic wrong-wing shot without any of the frills added on that can make them so dangerous.

 

Here's a similar shot, but this time he has lowered himself nicely to get a better shot. In the clip above, the shooter stayed straighter and released a low shot - it's harder to get the puck up when you're standing straight because there's not as much forward extension of the arms. By lowering himself, the arms can go forward more and the blade will open up. The nice thing about this move is that lowering himself might imply a low shot, and the goalie might drop, but it actually makes a high shot easier.

 

He lowers himself by bending his left leg, and then leaning on the stick for added power. He's also curling into the net a bit, so he gets some added torque from the slight turn. These are wicked, strange looking shots - there's a lot of body language and when goalies see that, they panic a bit and go down. Again, I like to take away the far side because they like it so much.

 

This shot looks similar, but I don't think he leaned on the stick as much, mainly because he is sort of backing away from the net. Backing away like this make it hard to go far side, because it forces you to reach a lot. Notice how his follow through even for a near-side shot is a little awkward. The goalie's trapper is very well placed here for an excellent save. (Re: Overdrive - notice how his feet slip out)

 

Here, he's backing away and goes far side - there are always exceptions, but I would still cover near side on a player who is backing away, and if he goes far side, it will likely go up, since there is a lot of reaching (when you reach forward, the blade opens up). This clip shows how playing on your off-wing can really pay off. You're in a great position to take a pass, you're facing the pass and the net, and at this orientation, your wheelhouse is right at the net. One-timers work best when you are on your off-wing. Here, he stickhandles once or twice, but a one-timer can be one smooth, quick motion from receiving the pass to shooting. One-timers on your proper wing require you to receive the pass, then cock the arms before you can release the puck, so they are never as smooth. Here, the goalie stays on his feet - you can cover a lot, even if you are deep, but you should never get beaten so easily on your glove side - it has to be up and stay there.

 

If players on their off-wing are allowed to cut to the net, they become very dangerous - more so than players cutting from their proper wing. This player has multiple options - he can drop his leg and lean into a shot high far side, he can cut more for room on the far side, or he can unload like this with a full body rotation, swing for the fences shot, like a player on his proper wing. I still prefer to take away the far side and then deal with shots like this, because I also want to discourage any cutting across the net, which is nothing but trouble. Often, if you concentrate, you can see the full-body shot coming half-way through the release and prepare for a short-side shot. Staying on your feet and keeping your glove up helps a lot too.

 

To compare, here's a shooter going far side. By now, you should notice some differences in the motion - notice it's a full follow through, but the arms are out more, there's more reaching to go far side. If you have a reputation for going down, shooters will just fire away without even looking. It's important to establish a reputation for staying up, so shooters are forced to look for a hole - they only have a split-second to look - so make them waste their time, and they'll become sitting ducks for your D. It will also discourage them from even trying shots like this. Sometimes, the best goaltending is when they choose not to shoot. Martin Brodeur had tons of low shot games, but his superior positioning often dissuaded a lot of shooters.

 

This is a very common play and you must memorize it. The moment right after a player on his wrong wing cuts in is very dangerous and you have to be ready for an immediate shot. I call it a 'shooting node' and I'll cover them later. Players coming in on their wrong wing want only one thing out of life, and that is to cut in (because if they don't, they quickly run out of shooting angle). Defensemen should never allow this, but if it happens, the time is perfect for a shot because of the way the puck is sitting on the stick, and the D is usually screening the goalie as well. On the cut, there is a lot of torque wound up in the shooter's body, so it's hard to keep the puck down. This goal is awful. It's a standard play, everyone should know it, it's easily stoppable, even if the D gets his stick in the way.

Here's another one, with a screen from the D a well. Try to cover the far side, because it's harder for shooters to go near side on these (unless the D really gets fooled) : the puck has more of the D to get through, and the shooter's follow-through can also run into the D. Again, the trapper is down low; every goalie's problem.

 

If a shooter on his wrong wing fakes far side by reaching out like this, it's not going to be easy for him to go there, because he needs even more reach to get that shot off. Here, the goalie has the far side covered, and the shooter is trying to freeze him there to get to the short side. I know that covering the 5-hole is important, but if you can delay going down just slightly, you can often force the shot over the net, and if your hands stay up, you can often look like a genius by having a lot of pucks hit them. (Also, again it's a full follow-through shot that is pulled)

 

We've seen a lot of shots to either side, so here's one where the shooter goes five-hole. He uses the same motion we have seen others use to go high far side - he bends the back leg to get low and leans on the stick. Very difficult, but you just have to be patient, and not go down early. The five-hole is harder to hit than you would think. (more later)

I don't like too much backing in or moving out or wiggling of the knees. Shooters are encouraged when they see it; they think you are jumpy and can be pushed around with a deke. For a shot like this, get your proper foot width and lock in at the top of the crease - it really bothers shooters if you are solid and immobile, ready and waiting. Besides, you'll see the puck better and react quicker. Watch his trapper to see the problem that everyone has: a glove that mysteriously drops milliseconds before the shot. A friend of mine (John Walker) started playing nets a few years ago after playing D all his life, and he doesn't have this problem at all. He makes a lot of nice saves as a result, while I struggle to keep my glove up. Where's the justice? Actually, for years he was a high-level boxer, where dropping your hands brought a painful reminder.

After the shot, the goalie makes a nice move while down, powered by a push from the toe at a very low angle. I know I can do that with Overdrive, but..hmmmm.

And finally, here's a nice profile of a shooter. Note the forward release + high shot, and the full follow-through + pull shot.

 

 

 

Shooting from the wrong foot on the wrong wing is a great shot that can really pay off. On proper wing shots, we looked at the mechanics of shooting off of your wrong foot, and they are the same here. The shooter lifts his leg, shifts his weight onto the stick and leans into it, getting a quick, snappy shot off. It's not an easy shot to learn and requires good balance to get any kind of extension and reach. Because this shot uses a lot of reach, there is a tendency to go far side, and also to go high (from intro to wrist shots: when you reach forward, the stick blade opens up). The shooter goes low here, see if you can figure out why (release point - he's cutting in). There are always exceptions, but I find it's best to play the averages, especially with these shots, so I make sure the far side is covered.

This is a quick one so you'll want to click through it. On your off wing, if you have the room, you can reach and lean quite a bit to create a better angle on the net. This is an excellent shot, one you'll only see from a high level shooter. He's scrambling and stickhandling, then gets his leg up very quickly and very high, and has a lot of extra reach. When you see a player setting up for one of these shots, you have to get your hands up or he will blow it right by you

A shooter on his proper wing releases the puck on the other side of his body, closer to the boards, so he doesn't have as good an angle on the net. On your wrong wing, reaching over can open up the far side, and shooters can reach over very quickly, so it's a difficult shot for goalies to react to. If the goalie leaves a bit of room on the far side, a forward can reach over and very quickly make it a gaping hole. And if a goalie gets nervous and goes down early, there will be all kinds of room over there. Again, I don't like leaving much room on the far side for these shooters.

I love this clip because it shows you why the best players in the game are that way. Wrong wing, wrong foot and look at the power he gets into the shot, watch the back leg and see how much he uses it to add force to the shot. And then he gets it low and hard, which is not easy with these shots. It goes wide, but I think young shooters would do well to study this one very closely.

Here's another clip showing a great leg kick. Look at how far the goalie is out and it still goes in, high, far side. Again, you simply have to cover that area, and going down will not do it. If the shooter sees room, he will fire a bullet. If he has to thread the needle, he will soften his shot, and likely lose accuracy as well. Good off wing shooters live for this shot, so stand in there and take it away.

So here's what can happen if you follow my advice - he gets beat short side. Yes, that will happen, but you have to play the averages, and later, on another page I'll look at various ways of taking away the far side without weakening the short side. Notice how the movement of the shooter is not so exaggerated; his body doesn't get nearly as wide, and the movement is not as forceful. In time and with practice, you should be able to spot the diff between a near and a far side shot.

Here's another short side shot, and again, it doesn't have the violent action of the far side shots. A lot of goalies pin their arms to their side for seamless coverage, but I'm not a big fan. I think it's important to loosen your arms, and keep them up and even out when you drop - they can't be directly connected to your legs. Some blocker movement here would have been nice. Also, a perfect butterfly form can kill you if you drop on everything. There was no need to go down - wrong wing shots are high until proven to be low.

We'll look at a few more far side shots because they can be so dangerous. Here, the D is running the shooter nicely into the corner, but he gets off a last, snappy effort that fools the goalie, who had the far side well covered. These shots have an inside-out movement and a lot of body language that can boggle a goalie. Often, goalies get handcuffed because they think the puck could go anywhere and their mind blanks out so that they don't really see the puck. The puck isn't traveling all that fast, certainly not faster than a slap shot that this goalie could easily handle from here, but the awkwardness of the release can be confusing unless you identify the move and know what to expect from it.

Defensmen have to line up with the attacking player's body, so if a shooter coming down his wrong wing wants to fire the puck, it is easier to shoot to the inside of the D, like here. That way, the shot has less chance of being blocked. Keep in mind though, that sometimes the D overcompensates and there's more room to the outside - we'll look at these moves more later. Re: Overdrive - the goalie slips out on the shot, particularly the right foot, and widens out excessively.

He reaches around the goalie for a better angle, and with a nice leg kick he gets it over the glove. The temptation to go down on a shot like this is irresistible. Try to delay it as long as you can and try to get your glove up and out.

When I first set up for these shots, I try to set my feet at a width so they are covering almost from post to post (check the 'angle finder' on the database page). That way, I don't have to bother with kicking the feet out to cover low shots. The shot is low far side, and the shooter's motion is not so big as on other shots we've seen.

Finally, here is one just to show that shooters can go low far side.

 

And here is one last clip showing a shot from both feet. I like this clip. This is not an easy shot to take. He's very wide, and still gets it to the far side - not many shooters can take a wide stance like this and get a good shot off, especially to the far side. Also, the goalie plays it very well. His feet aren't moving, he's ready and waiting in a good stance and in the right spot, and he gets his blocker moving, something a lot of goalies have trouble with. And he doesn't go down.

 

WRISTSHOTS CONCLUSION

So there's a look at wrist shots. It's quite a complicated subject, so there is no way I can cover every aspect. If some of the subject matter raises questions, hopefully they will be answered later, because this is not the last we will see of wrists shots - it's just an introduction that should provide a good base to work from when we start looking at closer at plays. From a goaltending point of view, the main thing that I think is worth remembering here is how important it is to stay on your feet. Shooters love going high, and they love butterfly goalies who go down too much. Without ignoring the possibility of low shots, the best thing you can do in most of the situations we looked at is to take a wide stance to cover the low posts, get your hands up, try to get them out a bit, and wait. If a shot is going five hole, you'll react to it and go down in time, but the danger of high shots is much, much greater. Staying on your feet and waiting to go down until the last possible millisecond is very, very difficult, but if you can train yourself to do it, even if it costs you some goals through the five hole, it will save you a ton of trouble.

Finally, do not take the information from these pages and go out on the ice and start looking at players legs to see if they lift, or what their hands are doing. If you start doing that, you'll destroy your game. You can run into some horrible mental processing problems if you start adding this stuff to your game in the wrong way, and you will never see the puck. All of this info on how shooters shoot will be useful, but for now, we should just leave it as a study of the sport until we find an easy way to integrate it into our game.