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Marc-Andre Bergeron: the perfect shot

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

It’s no secret that Bolts defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron has one of the most lethal shots in the NHL, but what makes it so dangerous often remains unknown to those without a trained eye for hockey. Recently, head coach Guy Boucher dissected the key aspects of what makes Bergeron’s shot so successful. Here is what the Lightning bench boss had to offer:




On how significant it is to have a player on the team with such a weapon of a shot such as Bergeron’s:

Well if you’re the other team and he’s on the ice at the same time with Stamkos and Lecavalier, then you have something to worry about. We know that right now what’s so impressive about it is that it constantly hits the net. It’s easy to say, but in reality, it’s one of the hardest things to do. Teams don’t box out like they used to, and nowadays guys are 220 pounds, 230 pounds, and you’re not allowed to cross check in front of the net anymore, so really you’re left with no choice but to block shots. Before you know it, you’re going up against six goalies out there. It’s also important to get shots through with all that other stuff going on. We saw it towards the end of the playoffs last year. When someone has that ability, to get a shot like that through traffic, and it hits the net, that’s very rare.

On what factors go into making the shot so successful:

The biggest thing with him, his biggest ability, is that he can skate without looking at the puck. That’s one of the toughest, toughest skills of a hockey player. Is it something you teach? Yeah, but he’s also had it for a long, long time since he’s been a professional. So, as he’s improved his defensive game, he gets more opportunities and more ice time. All of that translates into gaining more confidence.

On if it is rare for a player of his stature to have such a booming shot:

No. He’s not tall, but the one thing he’s got is he’s fast, he’s strong, he’s first on puck and he’s willing to pay the price to make the play happen. He does that also because he’s got good vision and he can see through traffic.

On how much strength and power contribute to the shot:

It’s all technique. People always would tell me when I was younger to do chin-ups and pull-ups and to get stronger. I did those things, and I still had a horrible shot. Then I figured it out on my own. It had nothing to do with my strength. It had to do with technique. The weakest guy on your team could very much have the best shot. The reality is that it’s like golf. There’s a wrist action there, there’s a follow-through action, there’s a backswing, and so you have a perfect transfer of weight. You watch him shoot and you see that all of his weight is at the front. His technique is basically textbook.

On how crucial it is to have the proper technique:

Sometimes you see kids and you can’t believe how bad their shots are. So you go back and look at their technique and they’re missing either one, two or three different aspects of it. But he’s got it all. So, that’s why he’s so good.

On what he likes most about Bergeron’s shot:

What I like best is that he doesn’t try to kill it. He just puts it on net. Sometimes you see just how hard it is and you think, well ok he’s trying to kill it, but he’s really not. That’s just what happens when you have a perfect technique. When you have a perfect technique like he does, the puck is going to twist. When it’s twisting, the movement on the shot is helping its momentum go. Some other guys shoot and the puck stays flat. That has to do with your technique. Either they didn’t follow through or they didn’t get enough of the puck on the blade. With Bergeron it’s all there. That’s why it’s such a beauty.

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