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Friday, June 24, 2011

“Take That, Great One”

Hockey body checks provide great picture opportunities with players being knocked off their feet and into the air.

Boston Bruins forward Steve Kasper (11, left) checks Edmonton superstar Wayne Gretzky into the air, but Gretzky’s Oilers inflicted the biggest hurt by defeating the Bruins (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
Body checks can often provide outstanding hockey photos as one player gets knocked in the air or to the ice. Boston Bruins forward Steve Kasper made his career out of being a strong defensive forward, and he was renowned for his ability to shadow and control Edmonton Oiler superstar Wayne Gretzky, who scored very few points in his career when facing Kasper. Shooting from above ice level, I watched Kasper and Gretzky throughout this game, but shadowing a superstar does not typically make great photographs, for Gretzky usually was too fast and agile to be body-checked. On this play, Gretzky was racing down ice after a loose puck, no doubt hoping to break in quickly and put the puck into the Boston net. However, Kasper saw him coming and stuck out his hip, while Gretzky was still looking elsewhere. When they made contact, Gretzky was knocked into the air, and I timed my photo perfectly. Had I been at ice level, the photo would have been stronger because Gretzky would have seemed to be higher in the air off the ice surface.

3 Tips:
1) Body checks provide strong photos of players being knocked into the air or to the ice.
2) Follow the players who have consistently been tough checkers.
3) Also watch the fastest skaters, who are frequently the target for opponents looking to check and slow them down.

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