Nowadays there’s a lot of talk about Alex Ovechkin’s slap shot, and how incredibly hard he actually can shoot the puck. However, the Russian superstar isn’t even close to what Al MacInnis did during his playing days.
The former defenseman was best known for the power and accuracy of his slap shots, and when MacInnis unleashed his fierce weapon, the goalies could only pray they wouldn’t get hit by the puck.
”There’s hard and then there’s Al MacInnis hard. I tried to get out of the way. If it happens too often, you have to sit down and re-evaluate what you’re doing with your life”, goaltender Mike Liut once said about MacInnis.
MacInnis played 23 seasons in the NHL, and still holds the record for most wins in the NHL hardest shot competition with seven. So it’s natural that his opponents, especially during penalty kills, could be a bit scared.
Once, in the mid-1980s, MacKinnis faced Buffalo Sabres, and were on a powerplay. Towards him skated Jerry Korab, who during the penalty kill stumbled onto the ice and were left unprotected in MacInnis line of fire.
But MacInnis didn’t take the shot. Instead he pulled back, sidestepped and made a simple pass. Who knows what would’ve happened with poor Korab if MacInnis actually took the shot, and Korab made sure to show his gratitude towards the hard shooting defenseman.
As Korab later was sliding past, MacInnis could only just hear a ”thank you” from the Sabres defenseman.
The story of MacInnis choosing not to shoot has been confirmed by the main man himself.
“I’m pretty sure it was a 5-on-3 situation, and he came out on that triangle and toe-picked and stumbled. I looked up and his eyes are as big as manhole covers. You just can’t shoot there, right? So, you step aside and you’re dead on, that’s exactly how it happened. As he went sliding by, he just said, ‘thanks.’ So, absolutely that’s a true story”, he told The Athletic.