Why Practice Slip Unders? Reason #3 - Aggressive

Why Practice Slip Unders? Reason #3 - Aggressive

In poker, when you have reason to think that the opponents are not in love with their hands, you can ignore any lack of strength in your own hand and make a bet to try to win the pot right there. You can win it without depending on your cards being better than theirs. If your hand is particularly weak, this may be a "bluff". But, it need not be entirely a bluff. You may not really know how likely your hand may be to be the best among the players, especially if there are more cards to come. Betting to try to take the pot there can be a good play regardless. Either way, in poker this is seen as an example of being "aggressive".

In the last blog post we looked at how slip under moves may help you to improvise your way out of sticky situations. This is not an "aggressive" way to use a slip under, but instead a "reactive" way. But, if you watch hockey highlights you have probably seen a fair number of slip under moves used proactively. Instead of waiting to pull the move out when in a bind, in these highlights, players recognize the opportunity to gain a territorial advantage and attack the defender to gain that territory (access to a dangerous scoring area) using a slip under move.

As in betting in poker when your hand doesn't fully warrant it, taking on the risk of entering the defender's stick zone in service of hopefully beating that defender is an aggressive play. It is somewhat rarely seen in the game, but skaters who get good enough at slip-under type moves can absolutely give defenders nightmares and gain access to the dangerous areas of the offensive zone.

Lets look at a few recent highlights. These guys are so capable with slip unders they don't stop at only one slip under move to make defenders look silly!

Note that these first two are set to play at the time marker within the video at which the highlight I want to draw your attention to starts. Feel free to watch the entire video in each case if you want, but note that the intent is to just watch about ten seconds after it starts playing and then come back to this page to watch the next one.

This clip features Connor McDavid burning the Rangers, and in particular, one one defender, with a double slip under (note that the embed code didn't work for the first two clips, so I am just linking to the youtube videos)!

And, this one has Evgeny Kuznetzov doing a triple slip under out of the corner!

Finally, the clip below features Rhett Pitlick's goal from spring of 2023. He was not satisfied with just three slip unders!


As with any great (and trendy) puckhandling maneuver, overuse leads to taking on too much risk in situations where it's not warranted and to becoming predictable. Still, aggressive use of slip unders can break down the opponents' structure and create offense for your team. The potential for that absolutely is a good reason to develop slip under skill!

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