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Why Crosby Is Better Than You, Reason #8087 – Eagle Turns



I was watching the Pens/Sens game when this goal happened, and at the time, I was blown away by it.  Y’know, the goal where Crosby rags the puck down low, then works it up to Letang for a pretty lucky seeing-eye slapper.

Spezza’s job is to keep Crosby to the outside, to drive him up the wall if possible, and the goal-of-all-goals, to not let Crosby get inside position to the net.

I watched it again today when reading Stu Hackel’s SlapShot Blog  for the NY Times, and something else caught my eye.

An eagle turn.

An effective eagle turn, in actual game play, that actually worked.

Full disclosure: I can’t do one of these, so I’m boggled by them.  I always hated them.  My hips simply don’t allow my feet to go in opposite directions from one another.  Sid’s do.

An eagle turn (or whatever your part of the world calls it) is simply a move made by pointing your toes in opposite directions, so the skate blades are on the same plane, and turning.  It’s how he separates himself from Spezza so well on his first cut-back.  The rest of us cut-back like he chooses to do on the next two times.

To my knowledge, he’s the only guy who uses this in game play, and he does it pretty much every night.  Let me know if you see anyone else using this move.  It’s incredible that he does it with such great strength and balance.


21 Responses to “Why Crosby Is Better Than You, Reason #8087 – Eagle Turns”
  1. mikeB says:

    I’ve never seen it used as a separation technique like Sid did there, but I’ve seen it with relative frequency on wrap-arounds by players that are way above my skill level while playing hockey.

  2. SDC says:

    This move was pretty well outlawed from Okanagan Hockey School’s cirriculum oh skills taught. I have a feeling that I’m going to see it in the “revised” playbook this summer.

    Crosby actually does 2 of the turns; once on turn1 and again (well, kind of a halfer) on turn 4. I myself can do the move, but I’ve rarely, if ever, encountered a circumstance where my brain thought it was the optimal maneuver to choose for effectiveness. Maybe that’s why I don’t play in the NHL, haven’t won a Cup, a Gold Medal, and my paycheque doesn’t end with 6 zeros. Damn you eagle turns, you were the key all along!

  3. PVergiliusMaro says:

    Last year the P-G gave him some attention for this, too:

  4. Trevor Beaton says:

    He’s never used them with the power or quickness that Crosby does, but Doug Weight always used to have his feet like that when he came down the left wing. He’d turn like that around the top of the circle. Seemed like he did it to get a better view of the slot and any high guys in the zone.

    Nowhere near the impressiveness of what Crosby did though.

  5. Madeleine says:

    Thanks for teaching me a new term! And for the AWESOME video. :)

  6. DarrenM says:

    He did it last night too on the goal he scored, albeit with less turn.

  7. Sherry says:

    Yep, noticed him doing it on the goal last night too. Bob Errey also pointed it out in the pre-game show yesterday (and has brought it up before as something Sid does effectively and that Bobby tries to teach his kids when he works with them on the ice). Um, why is it called an eagle turn?…

    Oh and, I know the Pens have had a skating coach at times who has a figure skating background (or something like that), so I would imagine that skill was brought up then (along with some other goofiness about skating with one foot on a puck or something odd like that – I can’t quite remember, but the guys all said it was really hard).

  8. Former ECHL guy says:

    In Minnesota we call it the Ulf Dahlen…it’s mostly used by figure skaters around here in their final performances to cap off the winter practice sessions.

    I’m still waiting for your column on the 10 best ways to pass time on a bus in the Coast. When I played in Reading it was listening to Coach Sims crack beers and plan our next “bag skate”….in late March….during a 10 game losing streak…on the way to Toledo for our last game of the season. In Baton Rouge it was me teaching my Latvian teammates the “art” of losing gracefully in cribbage.

    I’ll hang up and listen….and wait for your list!

  9. Dawn says:

    My first thought was how you see it in figure-skating, too. But the info in the PG article, linked by PVergiliusMaro, really is great background.
    You and your readers are the best, for intelligent discourse about the game. Thanks!

  10. jtbourne says:

    Thanks for the note, Dawn. The turn is used in figure skating, for sure, but it’s something they tried to teach me in hockey schools since I was wee. I don’t bend like that.

    I get embarrassed when someone compliments this blog’s “intelligent discourse”, and I remember writing this at 10 a.m. today: “This is one of those f**k-ups that’s so exceptionally f**ked-up that it doesn’t even affect you as a player, if that makes any sense”, and I have a kitten video ready to run tomorrow. Haha…. I hope it’s a happy medium.

  11. Lizzie says:

    At the risk of sounding cheesy, it is such a joy to watch that guy every night. Probably half of the text messages between my brothers and me are something along the lines of “DID YOU SEE WHAT SID JUST DID?!” I always joke that I should invoice the Pens when I go over my text limit because they’re usually responsible. In this case, I was out at a couldn’t-miss work thing for the evening, so I had to get the texts and then run home to try and find highlights. Wow.

    The #1 reason I’m glad Sid’s on our team is obvious. The #2 reason is because I would probably still want to watch him every game even if he wasn’t, and man, I just don’t have time to follow TWO teams that closely. ha.

  12. Pat says:

    Hey Former ECHL Guy – If you played in Baton Rouge, what are your thoughts on the Gator Bar? When I reffed in the league it was one of the only highlights of spending time in Louisiana. It’s in my top 10 bars ever simply because I’ll never see another one like it.

    As for Crosby’s skating, I remember hearing about his extensive work with the Pens skating coach and developing that move specifically. He’s only 22. Just ridiculous…….

  13. Meg Jarrell says:

    I’m reasonably sure Drew Doughty could nail that….talk amongst yourselves….

  14. moose says:

    maybe he does work with figure skaters to learn that? something like Lynn Swann used to work with ballet teachers and became more graceful? the most disgusting thing to me, is how you know he doesnt think about it, he is seeing whats gonna happen in 5 seconds BEFORE it happens, and his body just does it for him. Something very similar to Nick Cage’s character in “Next” where he sees the future (but only 2 minutes ahead).

  15. Former ECHL guy says:

    Pat….Gator Bar is in my Top 5…anywhere you can purchase chickens to feed the gators in the “moat” around the bar has to be high on anyone’s list. Not to mention the “treasure map” to even get to the place!

  16. jtbourne says:

    Former ECHLer – Wait… ….chicke…..gat……feed… what? Where. I must go now. I never played in the Eastern conference (save for a couple games) and never made the trek out that way. WOW for that bar.

    And I will get to that top ten list. You can pencil “muscle relaxers” in towards the top end though, that’s for sure.

  17. WWPKD says:

    In Nodak we always called it a Mohawk, i have no idea why. I feel like stoping Crosby or taking the puck from him is nearly impossible in the corners, so I think Spezza did a relatively good job of containing him. He never really got beat to the front of the net except when Crosby fell, and as you can see, after Crosby dishes the puck Spezza keeps an eye on him and stays between him and the net. If someone blocks that shot / it goes wide/ gets saved, Spezza gets a pat on the back for doing a good job in the d zone against arguably the hardest player to play against…..Agree? Disagree?

  18. jtbourne says:

    Tooooooooootally agree. That’s why I went out of my way to mention it was a “lucky, seeing eye shot”. Crosby, on that particular play, didn’t manage to generate a great scoring chance. That shot goes in 1 outta 20+ times.

    As for the mohawk turn, that’s a term used to describe a smooth pivot (or at least that’s what I know it to be) from backwards-to-forwards that defenseman use to turn and catch a forward or go back on a puck. You’re right in that it involves the same heel to heel motion, the only difference is that the eagle turn is used to continue skating forward, not transition from backwards to forwards.

    Wow I’ve worked at waaaay too many hockey schools.

  19. minnesotagirl71 says:

    I’m not absolutely positive – but I think Brent Burns does that eagle turn. His seems like a smaller circle and a lot faster.

  20. DC_Mike says:

    Second the Ulf Dahlen, when he played in DC he did it all the time. It left the opponents (and moreso the fans) scratching their heads for sure. He would use it coming from behind the net for wrap attempts or close in shots. It was much better at making him look awkward on skates than actually scoring goals. I would imitate it with much the same result.

  21. Pat says:

    ECHLer – I did the late night feeding the gators thing, too. Just your average bar on the bayou, right?! I think a big part of what made that bar so special was that you’d never find it without knowing what dirt roads to follow. I am thinking you and I were probably there on some of the same nights………was Cam your coach in BR?

    JB – You missed out. The Gator Bar would’ve provided you with a ton of great material. Alligator farm by day, hick bar by night that catered to hockey people. I couldn’t make this stuff up……

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