TERRY MURRAY’S SHOT MENTALITY THEORY SHOT DOWN BY STUBBORN STATISTICS

“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hoping that Terry Murray would be right but knowing that this theory, like most of his 1976 offensive theories, are outdated and about as “horrible” as Mr.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.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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9 replies

  1. The numbers make a compelling case, and our playoff position ought to seal the deal. But we will be seeing Terry Murray in camp next fall, and it will be the same old thing over and over again. This team had better potential than the results they got out of the regular season, but I don’t see any reason to expect Murray to change his system next season. Maybe we should email him this post! 3-1 Wings right now, at the beginning of the 3rd period BTW. Maybe we get one of those epic Shark chokes in the 1st round! GO KINGS GO!!!!

  2. You are WRONG. This is well documented: teams that gather leads tend to get outshot. In other words these winning teams face a much higher shot volume against AFTER they have established winning leads.

    You want evidence, here you go: http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=3119.

    As you get father ahead, basically every teams shot ratio gets WORSE (evening comparing a two goal lead to a two goal deficit). In other words, teams that are good enough to get leads also tend to give up more shots against, and the effect will be magnified the longer they are in that situation.

    Shot mentality DOES work, especially if you look at the correlation between outshooting and winning.

    http://objectivenhl.blogspot.com/2010/02/relationship-between-outshooting-and.html

    http://objectivenhl.blogspot.com/2010/11/in-defence-of-even-strength-shot.html

    http://objectivenhl.blogspot.com/2011/01/even-strength-outshooting-and-team.html

    http://www.behindthenethockey.com/2009/10/15/1086229/dont-panic

    • That makes sense. That is why the Dallas Stars are number 1 in the league instead of fighting for their playoff lives on the last game of the season, right? They have been sitting on all those leads. No? I will look at your stats but unless they show the top 10 teams in the league getting outshot consistently in the final two periods of most games they led, then all your stats show that there are other factors to consider other than just shots on goal, which was pretty much the point of the article. Do you also have the stats for teams that fling shot attempts at the net from the point and just inside the blue line regardless of other available passing and shooting lanes? If not, that would be helpful.

      Also, thank you for visiting and reading. I am reading your site and it looks great.

  3. Yeah getting the puck in the goal is more than just shooting. And the kings two game slip against the Ducks cost them a playoff ranking and allowed the Ducks into the playoffs. At least both teams are in the same playoffs for the first time in history.

    SO what is you solution to this problem of mass shooting not working? Being a puck possession team may be too much to ask from the Kings at this point. At least Quick has shown some signs of hope this season.

    • I don’t advocate any extreme and the term puck possession team is kind of a misnomer anyway. I would prefer that the Kings do what other top teams do, exercise options when available. The obsessive systematic pass to the point and shoot and pray through legs, sticks and bodies isn’t an offensive system. It’s a lack thereof.

  4. We have discussed a myriad of things wrong with TM';s coaching of this team. This is just the disgusting icing on a vomitous cake!

  5. The Kings do not have the talent to pass up a shot when they have the option to take it.
    Frolov theory 1.o, we dont have the Ducks, Nucks or Shuks offensive talent pool.
    Please rewrite incorporating this final straw in Murrays marching orders or your point is moot.
    You wheelchair quarterbacks would not have gotten the kings into the playoffs.

  6. Yeah I would agree with you on that point on puck possession. But the problem is that the success of the kings this season, whether it be their full potential or not, is definately enough to keep everyone’s job in the office. So it’s looking like this system is going to stay for another year.

  7. Great stats/info.
    Thanks and
    GO KINGS GO!!!

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