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Skating skills to look for

October 21, 2011 General No Comments

Skating skills to look for
By 1994
Nov 5, 2001, 20:01


From time to time we like to discuss the skating strengths of current NHL players. We do this to give you a different perspective while watching these players perform, one that will help you improve your own skating by better understanding what makes these players move so fluidly on the ice. With the NHL playoffs currently underway, this is an excellent time to discuss the skating skills of some of the participants.



The Boston Bruin star is one of the greatest defenseman in NHL history and, not coincidentally, his skating skills are superb. He has incredible strength in his lower body and legs, which is the key to being a strong skater. What to look for: Bourque harnesses that lower body strength in all aspects of his game. Notice how he puts all of his body weight over his inside edge, pushing one foot at a time in the forward stride. Also, he can deliver a hard and accurate shot, even from a standstill, because of his ability to sit down into his skates while driving from inside edge to inside edge.



Blinding speed is what comes to mind when you think of the young star of the Washington Capitals. However, he has the turning and stop-on-a-dime ability to go along with his speed, and that keeps opponents back on their heels. What to look for: Juneau has such an impressive kneebend. His knees are bent at the perfect 90Ó angle in all the maneuvers he performs in a game. Focus on his ability to keep his body position low and his weight centered directly over his skates. In the forward stride, he has the great ability to thrust his entire edge against the ice, rolling from the back of the blade to the front, to attain his explosive speed.



Had Makarov played in the NHL during his prime he would definitely have been considered one of the leagueÕs all-time greats. But even today, his excellent skating and play-making skills are quite evident as he continues to be a leader on the upstart San Jose Sharks. What to look for: Makarov is a smaller player who uses his size to his advantage. He has a tremendously low center of gravity and superb balance, which makes him difficult to knock off of his feet. Notice how Makarov skates with a bowlegged style. Keeping the knees turned outward is vital for being able to push your legs in the proper direction when skating. Also, he keeps a very wide base when making lateral (side to side) moves, which keeps defenseman guessing as to which direction he will be going.



Modano is a player who has really come into his own recently, and is the marquee attraction for the Dallas Stars. He is one of those players who plays the game and skates so smoothly that he appears to be moving effortlessly. However, it is excellent technique and fundamentals, combined with hard work, that are behind his great skills. What to look for: Modano is a taller player who uses his long stride to full advantage. By fully extending his leg on every stride, he is able to cover more distance and gain speed without having to use as many pushes as the average player. Modano also has a great ability to explode wide on an opponent because of his excellent crossover technique. Notice how he remains square to the ice with his upper body even (keeping his inside shoulder up) while on an extreme angle with his lower body. This balance is what gives him the ability to perform such fast crossovers.

Watch these playoff performers skate toward the Stanley Cup, and improve your own skating techniques along the way.

Robby Glantz is an internationally certified Laura Stamm instructor. He is a power skating coach for the Los Angeles Kings, European champion Malms, Sweden and the German National Teams. He conducts Power Skating schools for all levels throughout the U.S.


This first appeared in the 06/1994 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
© Copyright 1991-2001 Hockey Player® and Hockey Player Magazine®

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