Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shot Blockers

Okay, I lied (you knew I was lying right?)

I had to share one of Justin Bourne's latest articles with you, this one on shot blockers.

He's right that guys whose bread and butter is blocking shots are a different breed. From my perspective, they're fascinating, because as much as I was drawn to a job that has pucks hurtling into my body, you couldn't pay me to stand in front of hard shots in player gear.

Goalie gear, heck yeah. I'm padded within an inch of my life. Player gear? No thank you.

One of my all time favorite shot blockers is Paul Albers, who played for the Aeros for a couple of years. I think there was some frustration on his part about not being allowed to play more of an offensive-defenseman role, but oh.my.god. was that guy fearless in front of his own net. If I had a dollar for every time I said, "Ouch!" watching him play, I could take us both to a fancy dinner.

I understand the Wild's Greg Zanon is cut from the same cloth, but these guys don't translate on TV. I hear raves from people who get to watch the Wild in person, but I've rarely noticed him. That's got to account partly for why these guys are under-appreciated.

But I can tell you, the goalies know exactly who they are. There's nothing that will endear a player to me more than watching them put their body between me and the puck while still allowing me to see the puck. It's a beautiful, black-and-blue art and those guys are my heroes.


Anonymous  December 22, 2009 at 8:54 PM  

So, who of the current Aeros is like that? Who?

Ms. Conduct  December 23, 2009 at 12:59 AM  

Nobody has stood out to me in that regard on this team yet. They'll mostly all get in there and block shots, but there's no Albers replacement.

Goody  December 23, 2009 at 7:45 AM  

Last game (Avsalanche) there was a camera shot that gave a good view of Zanon's skates. Looks like he's added some armor on the tops of his feet extending around the sides a bit and up to his shins.

Nick  December 23, 2009 at 10:57 AM  

I feel obligated to point out that Brett Clark of the Colorado Avalanche is not only a stud at blocking shots, but he leads the league in blocked shots with 114 to date! The next closest is Seidenberg in FLA at 111 and then falls off to Zanon at 92. ;-)

hipchecks  December 23, 2009 at 3:55 PM  

Z! He is one of the most underrated defensemen in the league but he will put his body in front of any and all pucks. He was the leader last season. He's a little bit behind this year being out for a large chunk with an injury.

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