It was just a matter of time until I started ranking Red Wings. This one just happened to be the first. Now, before you jump into the list, lets explain exactly what it means. This is a list of the top 10 SNIPERS the Red Wings have had since 2000. Not the top 10 goal scorers or shootout extraordinaires (i.e. Jiri Hudler).
For those who don’t understand the difference between a goal scorer and a sniper, here you go. A goal scorer is someone who manages to find ways to put the puck in the back of the net.Some examples include Tomas Holmstrom and Luc Robitaille. A sniper is someone who has a powerful shot with pinpoint accuracy and swagger. Still unsure about the difference? Don’t worry, because you’re about to find out. Without further ado, I present my version of the Top Five Snipers the Red Wings have had set foot on Joe Louis’ ice surface since 2000.
At #5 is Henrik Zetterberg. This was as tough a decision as standing or sitting when wiping. Hank can snipe on his forehand or backhand as we’ve seen the past few years. The super Swede is also a very clutch player, ranking fourth all-time for the Red Wings, with 43 career game winning goals, despite having played considerably less games then the others surrounding him on the list. His smooth hands complement his gritty style of play. Hopefully Hank can move up my list in the years to come. Henrik is only 29-years-old and having already won a Conn Smythe Trophy in 2008, his ability to play on both sides of the puck and finish with ease has qualified him as a sniper-specialist. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tFd5XjVsOU
At #4 is Brendan Shanahan. During his career as a Red Wing (1996-06), Shanny certainly filled the role of power forward, and then some. His size and strength helped him really bare down on shots. His ability to open space for himself, like Hull, allowed him the necessary time to position himself for a snipe. His wrist-shot was spectacular, not to mention his hockey IQ was what really set him apart from most other players. I can recall numerous times where Shanny would shoot the puck off the back of a goaltenders back or pad from an acute angle in front or behind the goal line. Quick Stat: Shanahan is the only player in the history of the NHL to score more than 600 goals and accumulate over 2,000 penalty minutes. Shanny also won what are considered the three most prominent team titles in ice hockey, an Olympic gold medal, a World Championship and a Stanley Cup. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-lywxDT7_w
At #3 is Mr. White Nike Skates, Sergei Fedorov. It’s tough to have this legend at number three and not number one, but in some respects Sergei epitomizes the term sniper. His blazing speed and quick release were always spectacular to watch. Whether he was rolling around totaling Ferrari’s or hooking up with Anna Kournikova during her prime, he was always sniping. Quick Stat: Fedorov had 163 points in 162 career playoff games with the Wings. That’s just plain dirty. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVOa62w3Fwk
Coming in at #2 is Brett Hull. The Golden Brett was the old goat on the famous two kids and an old goat line during the famous ‘02 Stanley Cup run Detroit had. While the two kids (Pavel Datsyuk and Boyd Deveraux) chased down loose pucks and fed the goat one timers in which Hull consistently blasted home. Hull’s trademark shot was from about 20 to 25 feet in front of the net. He would re-arrange his body and stick and lower down one knee to the ice, before blasting the puck past goaltenders. We really could have used him this year. Quick stat: In three full seasons with Detroit, Hull scored over 25 goals each season totaling 92 goals during the regular season and chipping in 13 playoff goals, including 10 during the 2002 playoffs. Almost forgot, but Hull is third all-time in the NHL on the goal scoring list. Pretty big deal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrkTs4Ub8zI
My #1 sniper. Mr. Johan Franzen. The Mule takes the cake with his extremely quick release and straight up insane amount of power he gets behind his shots. If I had a dime for every time I have seen this guy glide into the offensive zone and skate right between the top of the circles and send a laser top shelf, I would probably have half the money required to buy a slice of Little Caesars pizza at the Joe (around $4.). Quick stat: Franzen holds the wings playoff record with 13 goals in one playoff season. He also holds the record for most goals during one series (nine) against the Colorado Avalanche during the 2008 series in which we swept them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coD-_H16lhM
Here are those who hit the post and came ever so close to making my list:
Steve Yzerman- I’m sorry but Stevie didn’t make my Top Five, mainly because he was past his prime coming into the 2000’s. Although, he was still a great player even with the knee problems. And how can one forget his Game six slap-shot snipe in double-overtime against the Gretzky/Hull Blues in 1996. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAOYjVxP2wc
Slava Kozlov- Slava was apart of the Russian Five and on numerous occasions had snipes in big situations. He is tied with Stevie Y for the most game-winning playoff goals in franchise history with 12. He and the Professor (Igor Larinov) were spectacular together when they played on the same line. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHbxBJqKQF4
Pavel Datsyuk- Not much to say here about a guy who can stick handle in a phone booth. His hands are godly and his ability to score and create time and space for he and his teammates is fun to watch. We all know his vision is as good as it gets, due to his Dr. Rahmani eye surgery a few years back. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAmP3yVHbPo
Nicklas Lidstrom- Arguably one of the best defensemen of all-time. In my opinion, he is the most talented and consistent defensemen in my generation. His consistent hard and low shot from the point is always on net, and on occasion, he has surprised many with his sniping ability. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHiWFwUGnAY
Marian Hossa- Hossa would have been higher on my list, had he played more than one season with the Wings. As a 40-goal scorer he was not only an elite 2-way player but he could also put the biscuit in the basket. He has a ridiculously quick release, with a wrist-shot as good as I’ve seen. His body positioning when maintaining and controlling the puck is e.p.i.c to watch. I’m actually happy for Hossa when he won his first Cup this year. It is wild that he was able to make it to the Stanley Cup three consecutive years with three different franchises. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ3tJRzatG4
Special thanks to Louis Foltz for his awesome memory.
Information was retrieved from espn.com and nhl.com.