An exclusive list of players in the NHL are considered true snipers. Their elite shots are feared and respected from all angles and distances, setting them apart from the rest of the offensively gifted. Opponents do everything they can to diminish their time and space understanding it only takes a sniper a quick flex of their twig and snap of their wrists to change the complexion of any game. While they’re hated by goalies and defencemen alike, the sniper is essentially the 007 of all the forwards — everyone wants to be that guy.
Right winger of the Nashville Predators, James Neal is a bonafide sniper. An early second round pick of the Dallas Stars, Neal quickly showcased his ability to score goals in the best league in the world. He recorded 24 goals his rookie season and hasn’t looked back, once sniping 40 playing alongside Pittsburgh Penguins star center Evgeni Malkin.
This past September Neal shared an insightful Players’ Tribune regarding the life of an NHL sniper. In it he shares some tricks of the trade and first hand perspective of having one of the most difficult and demanding jobs in the NHL. Going a step further he even elaborates on his affinity for a “whippy” stick and precise wide-white tape job. And while this info was great, we wanted more…
So the day after scoring an empty-netter and taking a high stick to the face against the Coyotes, Mr. Neal graciously shared with us his stick and tape job specs. Realizing most hockey players would appreciate this “behind the scenes” footage we felt compelled to share. Here is James Neal’s Tale of the Twig:
What do you think about his twig selection? Or his tape job? Comment below.