DINOSAURS ARE ALIVE, WELL AND COACHING THE LA KINGS
On January 21, 2011, 3:01 p.m., I posted this article about the Jurassic offensive theory our coach calls “shot mentality”
On January 21, 2011, 5:45 pm, Rich Hammond gave us this beauty from Terryosaurus.
Following the “shot mentality” theme of the day, Terry Murray talked today about his per-game goal of having at least 65 pucks put to the net in every game. That can include shots on goal, blocked shots and shots that go wide, the theory being that you can’t always control the number of pucks that go into the net, but you can control the number of times you try. Last night against Phoenix, the Kings had 36 shots on goal, 16 shots blocked and 20 missed shots, for a total of 72 attempts. (The Coyotes, meanwhile, had 39 total attempts.) After practice today, Murray went into great detail about his shot philosophy…
MURRAY: “You’re going to have shots blocked. Teams are playing such a structured, home-plate attitude right now. It’s hard to get the puck through to the net sometimes, but the most important thing is, if you’re defenseman up high or you’re an F3 shooting the puck, you want to miss that first layer, you want to miss that first guy that is coming out at you. If you can miss that first man, then you take the odds, you play the percentages. When you go back through the game last night, all of our chances, the real good offensive-zone time comes from just a shot mentality. You’re just putting pucks back at the net right away. That’s something that has been time-proven, where you keep putting pucks back to the net, and especially (against) goalies that are on a roll, top goaltenders in the league. You want to get them scrambling. You want to get the defensemen out of position and trying to find pucks. You just keep getting pucks back to the net, and the percentages are on your side, that it will find the back of the net.
“You break down, not the original shot, but you recover the puck and put that puck back at the net, and the percentages of pucks that go in… You (start) from that half-second after you recover the original shot, and the further out you go, to five seconds, the percentage of scoring a goal drops right off the table. If you get it in the first two seconds, three seconds, and you’re putting pucks back at the net, the percentage of pucks going in is incredibly high. I don’t have that percentage right now, I don’t remember it, but I’ve looked at this and studied this. That’s the whole (thing with) pucks to the net, no hesitation, rebounds. The fastest that rebound goes back to the net, the higher the percentage of it going in. People are out of position. Goalies are out of position. It finds the five-hole. I thought we did a real good job of that in some shifts last night, putting pucks to the net right after that original shot, and getting back to it. The goalie, give him credit, he made some very big stops. On the other side of it, we just didn’t have, in some cases, enough traffic.”
It’s incredible isn’t it? This is a professional NHL coach. He’s not some parent that is coaching a midget team, trying to teach them the most basic and fundamental aspects of hockey. He is heading our Kings, a talented group of forwards and defensemen, and his answer to our slow demise is throwing more pucks at the net.
I hope you paid particular attention to the areas I bolded. Terryosaurus is apparently of the belief that shots which go wide and are blocked increase the odds of shots going into the net. Think about this for a moment. In baseball, it would be akin to a pitcher believing that throwing balls at home plate would increase the odds of strikes. In football, it would be the same as a quarterback believing throwing passes would increase the odds of touchdowns. In basketball, it would be a team’s offensive strategy of launching balls at the hoop to increase baskets.
Can you imagine a pitching coach telling reporters that his new strategy is “just throwing balls at the catcher. We’re not going to focus on the type of pitch or the circumstances before us in an inning. We’re just tossing balls. I have studied the percentages and the more pitches we throw, the better the odds of getting strikes.” How about Lakers’ head coach Phil Jackson declaring, “we’ve told our players to just launch balls at the basket. The new Lakers’ strategy is not based on good passing, finding the open man and high percentage shots, but just shots for the sake of shots. We’re playing the odds.” And Brett Favre when he came out of retirement telling everyone, “I’m not going to try to hit the receiver anymore. After I get the ball, I’m sending it in the receiver’s general direction. Odds are the pig skin will hit him.”
This is lunacy. This isn’t a strategy. It’s a lack of one. Throwing pucks at the net, even if they go wide or are blocked tells the shooter to stop using his God given skill set and years of developing it and suppress it. Screw skill. Toss talent. Neither are necessary. Just get the puck and shoot it. Whatever happens, happens. Play the odds, not the opponent. Shoot to increase the shot total, not to score.
I suffered through the Andy Murray era with gritty, no talent dump and chase hockey that tried to turn every player into Jeff Giuliano. I thought that maddening period was behind us but it seems we have replaced that with Murray’s Cretaceous period of Kings’ hockey. I pray for evolution.