Over the past few years you’ve no doubt taken notice of NHL players using what appears to be a massive hook! Most noticeably stars like Ovechkin, Doughty or Getzlaf are using what has become known as the Open Toe (P28 in most brands) pattern.
Just like everything else in hockey when people see success they try to emulate it, and elite players have flocked to the open toe.
We are now seeing an average of 5-6 players on all teams using this pattern. So other than the fact that illegal curves are a thing of the past, why are players switching over and how can it improve your shot/game? We asked this question to a number of different pros, equipment managers, and reps and here are the four main advantages:
# 1 – Quick Release
The open toe is built for a quick release. Players can load their blade and shaft with power and snap a shot off the middle of the blade.
# 2 – Drag and Release
You’ll hear people say that the open toe is great for handling the puck, specifically toe drags, and yes when used properly it can help perform some dirty dangles. But more importantly, it gives a sniper the ability to drag the puck quickly around shin pads and out of the way of stick checks and then release the shot on net all in one fluid motion.
# 3 - Going Shelf
A lot of goals are scored around the net. The open toe gives you the ability to be able to get the puck up high in a hurry.
# 4 – Pinpoint Accuracy
This might not be the case for everyone, but with work, the open toe is popular for being deadly accurate.
The open toe is a product of the evolution of the game of hockey. With so little time and space players are doing more with the toe of their blade, and many have found it effective!
Now clearly the pattern isn’t for everyone. Some claim that it’s an elite shooters pattern and that the average player won’t be able to control the puck with the bigger hook. While there may be some truth to that sentiment, I also believe lesser skilled players would be keen on trying it and many will find it helps their game as well.
Personally, I’ve been using the Sakic style pattern almost exclusively for the past 15 years. But I had to see what the fuss was all about. After a few skates part of me wanted to reach back for the Sakic, but the memory of a couple beauty shots kept me with it a little longer.
Lets hear your thoughts below....