Mathew Barzal is one of the NHL’s best stickhandlers and shiftiest players. And in the video above, he gives us a look into one of the drills that helped give him those ridiculous hands.
As part of NHL Network Ice Time, a kid-focused show on the league’s flagship television station, Barzal walked analyst and former NHLer Mike Johnson through a five puck drill he uses to practice a number of sweet moves. Barzal will be included in a special “Award Winners” episode of the show airing this weekend, alongside a few other guys we don’t care about.
“You see a lot of kids with the pucks all lined up just going through them slow, but the game is quick and you’ve got to get the defenders moving,” Barzal said of the popular drill. “So I think, spread them out a little bit and get a little more head fake in there. Drop the shoulders a little bit, sell it a little more.”
Unsurprisingly, he’s been working on this stuff for... a while. “When I was younger, just all the time on the ice just going through cones or working down in my basement, stick-handling outside on the concrete. Literally stick in my hand all day. Stick-handling whether it was a ball, a puck, on the ice, off the ice.”
So, there you go, kids. Just drop some pucks on the floor, and start weaving in between them. Throw some head fakes and shoulder dips in there, too. Then, maybe one day, if you work and wish and pray hard enough for years and years and years, you’ll be one-one hundredth as good as our special boy is.
NHL Network Ice Time, starring Mathew Barzal and Absolutely Nobody Else airs this Saturday at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. (all ET) on NHL Network.