We get it, hockey lingo can be confusing. Between positions, equipment, and slang it can be tough to keep up. That’s why this guide is on hand to break down what short side means in hockey. This way you won’t have to worry about smiling and nodding like you know what it means.
Shortside in hockey refers to the space between the goalie and post closest to the shooter. So if you are skating down the right side with the puck the short side is going to be the right side of the net.
This is because the right post is the one that is closer to the puck carrier.
If a player is attempting to score in the area between the goalie and the post closest to him then he is trying to go short side.
When To Go Short Side
Now that you know what the term short side means in hockey you may be wondering when this strategy should be used in a game. There are two main instances in which a player may try to go short side when shooting the puck.
The Goalie Is Off The Post
The main reason that players are going to go short side in hockey is when the goaltender is off the post. When a player comes into the offensive zone on one side of the rink the goalie will often hug that post.
If a player has an opportunity to shoot and notices that the goalie has come off the post then going short side may be his best option.
Oftentimes the choice of shooting short side will come down to the goalie’s positioning. If the goaltender has positioned himself too far away from the post the shooter will often notice the open space on the short side.
When shooting short side players will often shoot low glove or low blocker depending on which side they are on. If the goalie has left a gap there between the post it will be difficult for the goalie to get his glove or blocker down in time to save the puck.
Picking The Corner
Another reason a player may go short side is when trying to pick a corner of the net. When a goalie hugs the post there is usually a small opening just above a goalie’s shoulder just below the crossbar.
This is an incredibly tough shot to hit but for those in the NHL, this is something they aim for.
When coming down the ice on the one side of the rink the short side top corner is actually going give the player a bigger target than the far side top corner.
Just based on the angles of where the player is shooting from it is going to be a higher probability that a player can tuck the puck in over the top of the short side shoulder as opposed to the far side.
So if you are coming down on a goalie from the right or left it may be wise to try and sneak the puck to the short side if you are looking to pick a corner.
Why Is It Called Short Side?
The reason that the close side of the net is referred to as the short side is simply that it is a shorter distance to the player than the other post.
The opposite of short is far side. The far side in hockey is the area between the goalie and the far post.
By labelling them short side and far side it simply identifies if the player was shooting to the post that was further away or the post that was closer to them.