“Shot mentality”. If you pay attention to Terry Murray’s quotes, this little gem pervades even the most benign discussion about the difference between winning and losing. “You have to have that shot mentality” he preaches tried and true to his philosophy that has led players to parrot the same tune.
I have written my share of articles about its fallacy. I am not the only one, as Justin Bourne has chimed in and called this out-dated method of offense “a horrible idea.”
If you are not clear about what shot mentality is or means, it goes something like this: the more shots you get on net in any particular game, the more goals you score and the higher chance you have of winning the game.
At first blush, it seems simple enough right? Get shots on net, get more goals. What’s wrong with that? We got over 44 shots on net last night, but only one goal. They got less than half of that (20) and scored three. So, that was a fluke right? I mean, if you look at the statistics over the entire season, you will find those games where the Kings outshot the opponents, they won the far majority, correct?
I have been patiently waiting until the end of the season to answer this question. Biding my time. Actually hoping that Terry Murray would be right but knowing that this theory, like most of his 1976 offensive theories, are outdated and about as “horrible” as Mr. Bourne and I have proclaimed.
82 games behind us. 2363 shots on goal. 2288 shots against, or, by percentage, 28.8 shots per game and 27.9 shots given up. In games we have outshot opponents, our record is 23-18-5…in other words, we are batting .500 when outshooting opponents. When being outshot by opponents, our record is 21-12-1, a winning percentage of .618 – a significant difference. The Kings are 6th in the league in winning percentage when being outshot by opponents. They are an average 14th when outshooting opponents.
Here are all the NHL statistics.
“Wait, wait, wait, Scribe, how the hell can that be? That must be a fluke, right? An anomaly? Like getting 44 shots on goal but losing 3-1”
I bring you NHL powerhouse and the President’s Trophy winner, the Vancouver Canucks. 2624 shots on goal. 2470 shots surrendered. 32 shots per game. 30.1 shot against. When outshooting opponents, 28-13-5, a mere mortal .609 winning percentage. When outshot by opponents, a superhuman 23-5-3, a “wow” percentage of .742. Stunned?
Pittsburgh Penguins are .566 and .640 respectively.
The offensive juggernaut Washington Capitals are .565 and .618.
Look at our division – The Phoenix Coyotes are .480 and .577, the Anaheim Ducks a staggeringly bad .406 and an incredible .667. The San Jose Sharks have a marginally higher winning percentage when outshooting opponents – .583 and .550. The Dallas Stars, who likely won’t make the playoffs, are the only team with any significant difference in winning percentage when outshooting opponents – .645 and .478. Who wants to be or play like the Marc Crawford Stars? Been there, done that, screw that.
These statistics are consistent, but for a few exceptions, across the league. Out of the 30 NHL teams, only 7 teams have a winning percentage when outshooting opponents compared to being outshot.
Pick up your slacked jaw. There is an explanation and it’s even more simple than this Jurassic Terry Murray shot mentality theory.
Scoring chances. Keep the puck, create passing and shooting lanes through movement of feet and puck, force defenses to adjust and get out of their position, be it a box or otherwise, and you see pucks finding the back of the net. Spread the defense like peanut butter on bread and you get goals. Don’t, while firing away senselessly at the net, and you get Terry Murray hockey and, as the stats tell you, losing hockey.
Flapping your arms harder and harder won’t get you air born. Hanging from a pole for hours on end doesn’t make you taller. Shot mentality doesn’t make you a winner.
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