L.A. Kings Are Moving On Up

No longer in the cellar are we the dweller. With last night’s 4-2 victory, the L.A. Kings are in 29th place in goals per game. That’s right kids. We now average 2.12 in the G/G stat. The Minnesota Wild take the position of shame with 2.11.

The Kings have also scored 4 goals in three out of the last four games (Blackhawks, Wild and Sucks) and the powerplay is 4 for 11 in that time span. If you ask me, the powerplay is the main reason we are winning these games – it gives us the momentum and helps us keep it. Of course, the credit should go to one man who we have talked about around these parts. That’s right. Bernie Nicholls. Our reader JT just cursed under his breath.

I talked to a friend last night about the Kings inability to keep shots low. It’s maddening. The shots fly chest high and above regardless of from where we take it. I counted eight consecutive shots that we sent high and wide against Anaheim. Eight. And half of them were damn good scoring chances. Throughout the season, Kopitar, Doughty, Stoll and Brown have been the biggest culprits, in that order. God bless Slava Voynov, Alec Martinez and, our newly acquired sniper, Jeff Carter.

This isn’t a novel concept. You learn this very early on. If you don’t keep the shot below the goalie’s knees, you don’t get rebounds. If you don’t get rebounds, you don’t get second chances. If you don’t get second chances, you score less goals. I know butterfly goaltenders make it more difficult to score down low but when you look at the best shooters in the league, they “snipe” and pick corners when they have clear openings but they do not do so when the premise is to get the shot on net and create a rebound.

The drill to address this issue is not a difficult one. You take the net and push it over so the top of the net (where the water bottle sits) faces the shooter. That height is about as high as you want the low shots to go. You set up and space out twenty or more pucks from circle to circle. You can place the pucks closer or further away (dot to dot or just below the blue line) depending on whether the defenseman or a forward takes the shots.

You then set up on one end and take wrist or slap shots into the top of the net while you work your way across without stopping.

You miss the top of the net and you start over with 20 pucks.

Miss.

Start over.

Until your damn arms fall off or you learn to keep the shots low.

If I ran this drill, a couple of L.A. Kings players wouldn’t be able to lift their arms over their shoulders after practice until they got it. I am looking at you, Anze.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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39 replies

  1. “The shots fly chest high and above regardless of from where we take it.”

    …unless they’re shooting from right in front of the goal. Our guys love to shoot low on garbage rebounds and hit the pad there. I know Carter’s first garbage goal on the PP from a rebound wasn’t necessarily anything special, but he fucking got lift on it and roofed it over the pad, which is something I have seen our guys fail to do over and over this season.

  2. That sounds like a good drill. They should really consider bringIng in some kind of a shooting coach/guru.

    But man it’s great to finally have a sniper. Top of the circles and in the slot, that wicked lazer of a wrister that goes to the corners, we haven’t had that for years (Kompon should be barred from discussing positioning with Carter less he fucks him up like he has everybody else). Leave Carter to his own instincts, it has worked for several years now Jamie so STFU. As far as sniping location, It seems so elementary but nobody’s stepped up to the plate until now. Stoll does it in the shootout and I’ve always scratched my head wondering why he hits the glass when shooting 5 on 5. He does have a great shot in the shootout. It’s Jekyll and Hyde.

    I’m also really impressed with Carter’s D game. Figured he’d be a floater who just tried to pick his shooting spots. And that would have been ok since the rest of the team is so good on D and could have covered. But he is actually a pretty descent 2 way player. He’s not taking the body but he gets in between guys and is good with his stick. Pleasant suprise there.

    I really like our top 6 now and it finally looks like a team that is spending close to the cap. If gagne comes back on 2nd line LW and either King plays 3rd RW or Penner plays 3rd RW instead of 3rd LW keeping Strollsy at 3rd C, our
    top 9 will look killer. Finally seeing the Stoll I thought we’d get this year, tons of energy, fast skater, great forechecker and awesome faceoff guy. He seemed overqualified to be 3rd C but wasn’t a great 2nd C so he shoulda been an awesome 3rd C. He’s starting to play like one.

    Now if our defense can keep playing the way they have all year and Quick can get back to dominating (he’s looked a little out of it last few),
    I like our chances.

    Hopefully Dallas will not be able to keep it up, and we can get a solid grab on that 8th. Not scared of the Casucks in a first round, Detroit I’m terrified of.

    • Dallas has an easier schedule than we do, unfortunately.

    • A lot of the credit for Carter’s defensive efforts in his own zone go to John Stevens. He had Carter first on the Phantoms AHL, the year they won the Calder Cup and later as a Flyers coach and he taught/showed Carter how to use his size and reach to work the puck and lanes better. He taught Carter to be responsible in his own zone. It’s one reason why the Flyers are giving up so many goals (over 3 a game) this year, they lost their three best defensive forwards (Richards, Carter and Powe).
      Having watched Carter for 6 years in PHilly, he looks more motivated to me than he has in years. He’s driving hard, backchecking, he’s agressive and pursuing and he’s consistant for 60 minutes. Maybe getting traded 2x in a year woke him up. Or maybe he just matured late.
      His wrist shot, deadly and I’d put him tops in the NHL in that skill. That’s someting this team will need from now on. And he is streaky, so that bodes well for the upcoming road trip.
      GKG

      • Or maybe he just matured late.

        … If immaturity means scoring over 130 goals in four seasons, I’m all for it, personally.

      • Yeah world class shot. He’s up there with guys like kovalchuk, kessel. Ovi/ Stamkos being the best IMO.

        He does look really motivated. I think he understands the Kings threw him a life saver. He could have been traded to another shit team but has been given another chance to play on a good team and to play with his buddy on top of it. I hope he never forgets the opportunity he’s been given. How could you ever be down about playing hockey and living by the beach when it’s 80 degrees 1st week of March?

        @vegaskingsguy, yeah we really got hosed with this schedule. Its fucking bullshit. On the other hand if they can beat these teams like the wings, bruins, preds, it will be a huge confidence boost going into the playoffs. Let’s pray

  3. Of course, the credit should go to one man who we have talked about around these parts. That’s right. Bernie Nicholls.

    … Denial still isn’t just a river in Egypt. Remember, the Kings had a top five power play just two years ago, and Bernie Nicholls wasn’t around then.

    I counted eight consecutive shots that we sent high and wide against Anaheim. Eight. And half of them were damn good scoring chances. Throughout the season, Kopitar, Doughty, Stoll and Brown have been the biggest culprits, in that order. God bless Slava Voynov

    … Why don’t we do it like Mythbusters and check the facts on this? Let’s find out how many times each player has hit the net with their shot attempts (those attempts which aren’t blocked, anyway). Pretty simple formula: (shots on goal + missed shots) divided by (shots on goal).

    Forwards:

    Gagne, 75/93, 80.6%
    King, 18/23, 78.3%
    Loktionov, 60/77, 77.9%
    BROWN, 174/240, 72.5%
    Fraser, 38/53, 71.7%
    Richardson, 88/123, 71.5%
    Carter, 143/200, 71.5% (includes time in Hell, I mean Columbus)
    Westgarth, 13/19, 68.4%
    KOPITAR, 182/271, 67.2%
    Lewis, 79/119, 66.4%
    Penner, 88/133, 66.2%
    STOLL, 107/162, 66.0%
    The Darling of Los Angeles, 130/200, 65.0%
    Nolan, 8/13, 61.5%

    Defensemen:

    Drewiske, 11/13, 84.6%
    DOUGHTY, 124/180, 68.9%
    Scuderi, 48/70, 68.6%
    Martinez, 55/81, 67.9%
    The Recently Departed Jack Johnson, 129/190, 67.9% (includes time in Hell)
    Mitchell, 71/110, 64.5%
    VOYNOV, 57/95, 60.0% (God Bless!)
    Greene, 58/98, 59.2%

    Soooo, yeah. If Brown’s the “culprit” of anything, it’s improving the overall shooting accuracy of this team. Doughty’s been terrific, as he usually is in any category. Anze could stand to be more accurate, sure. Stoll’s had his worst season for missed shots. God needs to bless Voynov a little more, I think. And ohmigod of course let’s NEVER EVER call out The Darling of Los Angeles for anything, even though he misses the net more often than a man with documented arthritis – well played.

    • Those stats measure high shots or missed shots? Missed shots. I referred to high shots. Maybe that wasn’t clear. Sorry about that. Good stats though, just not the ones applicable. If they have that high shot stat, break it out please and I would track it all season. THAT would be useful. I have and had little doubt Brownie put his shots on net, generally in the goalie’s crest :) although I love the front of the net presence lately. He is getting good results from playing a simple north to south game. Hope it continues.

      • Those stats measure high shots or missed shots? Missed shots.

        … Right. I’m not very concerned with how often a guy shoots high, as long as it’s on net. Actually I’d rather a guy miss high if he’s going to miss at all. Walter Gretzky said, “Put that puck upstairs”, and that’s good advice. If you ask me, they need to keep shooting that puck high.

        • That is interesting. You agree high shots minimize rebound opps right? Nothing wrong with picking a corner but the best offensive d men have that low hard shot for a reason. It also does depend on the goalie you face.

          • … It all depends what you’re after and what the situation is. Sometimes, it’s good to keep it low to take advantage of some traffic in front. Other times, I’d want to let it fly, because there’s a lane or simply to put the thought in a goalie’s mind, change his level of vision. It works the same as a pitcher in baseball; pitch the batter high and low, change up the look.

          • Not a baseball guy so I will take your word for it but from the D, keeping that shot low (unless you have a seeing eye one that finds its way through and in) is key. I remember Gretzky trying to instill this in Zhitnik at one point. And one of the best Ds at it in a Kings sweater? Robert Blake.

          • … Well, Lidstrom’s the prototype on keeping it low and tippable; does it better than anyone I’ve ever seen. But, that guy isn’t human. :) Norstrom did a great job keeping shots low, so did Modry. Blake was alright, but he was guilty of going high at certain times when the situation called for a lower shot. I remember Mark Hardy having a good low shot.

          • Offensive defensemen :)

            You are right about Hardy though. Good low hard shot. I recall Wells had a good low shot too but I am biased because he is my favorite King of all time.

          • I recall Wells had a good low shot too but I am biased because he is my favorite King of all time.

            … Holy shit, really? Wells? I had no idea. Jay was one insanely strong mofo.

            He got traded for Doug Crossman, who in turn was traded for the immortal Kelly Hruuuuudey.

          • I am partial toward goalies first and defensemen second and I come from Larry Robinson’s school of thought – “never trust a forward.”

          • I come from Larry Robinson’s school of thought – “never trust a forward.”

            … Words to live by, right there.

    • Mike Richards is to you what Drew Doughty is to me, and vice versa. Lotta work on the stats, thanks for the effort there, very interesting.

    • You forgot someone.

      Williams, 180/257, 70%.

      Williams and Brown both hit the net more than Kopitar. That’s kinda sad, don’t you think?

      • You forgot someone. Williams, 180/257, 70%.

        … I knew I would leave one out. Thanks for the catch.

        Williams and Brown both hit the net more than Kopitar. That’s kinda sad, don’t you think?

        … I’d be more worried about it if it was a career tendency. But he’s usually better than this.

        06-07, 193/275, 70.2%
        07-08, 201/282, 71.3%
        08-09, 234/346, 67.6%
        09-10, 259/369, 70.2%
        10-11, 233/315, 74.0%
        11-12, 182/271, 67.2%
        Career, 1302/1858, 70.1%

        It’s probably luck. Anze’s career has been better, and last season he was MUCH better. He will get back up into the seventies; book it.

        Just for fun, why don’t we look over the Darling of Los Angeles’s career. Why not, eh?

        05-06, 168/238, 70.6%
        06-07, 130/194, 67.0%
        07-08, 212/303, 70.0%
        08-09, 238/338, 70.4%
        09-10, 237/334, 71.0%
        10-11, 184/280, 65.7%
        11-12, 130/200, 65.0%
        Career, 1299/1887, 68.8%

        This season is very similar to last season for Mike. Is he declining? His career numbers are better than this, though they aren’t great. We’ll see.

        • I never really understood the hype for Darling/Richards. Living near Philly and leaving the Flyers fold when Brind’Amour did, I’ve not exactly worn the black and orange glasses in regards to the players they have. Don’t make that many friends that way though. =D

          Richards is like the little girl with the curl. When he’s good, he’s very, very good. And when he’s bad, well…

          • Richards is like the little girl with the curl. When he’s good, he’s very, very good. And when he’s bad, well…

            … Wow, you are dead-on with this. That is exactly how I feel about Richards; well put.

  4. High shots.. take away their composite 80 flex sticks and force em to practice with good old wood beasts until they learn how to utilize technology.

    • We talked about this too. I am less familiar with today’s sticks because I didn’t play with them. There a double edged sword, or stick if you prefer. When I recently picked up Bernier’s stick, I laughed at how light it was. By comparison, I carried lumbar

      • Dude I’ve still got my old Paul Coffey model Sherwood. I loved that thing, funny its ancient tech now. I havent picked up one of these new composites but I’m sure my old Sherwood is like lead compared to them.

        • Remember when Gretzky started playing with the graphite stick. Was it graphite? I can’t remember but it shined like he was Lancelot and he pulled that stick out of a stone

          • … He used a wood Titan TPM 2020 in his glory days in Edmonton and early in his career with the Kings, then he switched to an Easton with an aluminum shaft, can’t remember the model of it – think it was a 5100 or 5500, maybe both. I think that late late in his career, when he switched to Hespeler, he started with graphite.

          • Aluminium

          • That is right. Surprised you knew that. Didn’t think you knew much hockey history except for Jack’s plus-minus. ;) lol

          • I had the gretzky Easton aluminum, you couldn’t bend it if you stood on it. The new solid body composites weigh next to nothing and there are options in the flex. But the thing I notice is you get a lot more loft on the same shot. Doughty complained that he wasn’t getting as much lift on his shot so he also moved to a heavier curve– I think it’s time he switched back.

          • Correction, he made the switch prior to 09. Still think he needs to switch back.

            http://fortheloveofhockey.com/?p=613

          • Oh yeah I remember those. Had the swappable blade which always came loose. Kinda showin off but fuck it he’s Gretzky. Had the black skates too

        • I’m pretty sure the Sherwood Coffey stick is still made. Those things suck though, they break after like 3 slapshots.

          I’m partial to the cheap laminated fiberglass/wood sticks. Don’t break as much.

          • Yeah on the street all the wooden ones would break easy. That’s why a lot of guys were getting the ones with swappable blades because it was getting expensive. That Coffey was my last ice stick. I never broke one on the ice but I was no Al Mcinnis, I was @14

  5. Good points I can honestly say the Kings shoot high over the net than any other team in the league IMO, having watched this over and over again it’s very frustrating that we are not correcting this problem. Sounds like we need you as our shooting/sniper school teacher.

    Since the trade I do see us playing with more confidence and that has led to more goals and hopefully more wins. Jeff Carter might just have been the best deadline acquisition in quite awhile. Time will tell if we make the playoffs and make a deep run. I think we could make a nice run if we can just get in our playoffs have already started and this 4 game road trip will give us fans an indication of where we stand. I am hoping Bernier gets 1 start on the trip Nashville or Columbus as I don’t want Quick wearing down in the stretch run.

    Susan

  6. I really enjoyed this analysis on this post and replies, because it adds another dimension and piece of the puzzle on where improvements can be done. These do seem to be a factor on the poor scoring this year.

    Although, I do believe a lot of the low scoring is the system and psyche or lack of confidence troubles out on the ice.

    I would say one corollary here is that goalies often in the league are anticipating the kind of incoming shot (low ones) and are dropping down often, leaving the top opening up, yet the shooter is not seeing at the time with the motions in their arms and wrists in progress, that they could actually score up top as the goalie is dropping. In other words, the shooter’s eye cannot reflex to the brain and then to the arms and wrists to change the shot while the goalie a split second is dropping and leaving the top open.

    I think people know what I mean and it is hard to describe in a post like this. This is more visible on the slow motion during the game or on our DVR slow mo. I see the slow mo and I say to myself that only if the shooter could have seen and reflexed or reacted to the goalie drop and went high, they would have scored rather than into the pads or thereabouts.

    By the way, these stats are from regulation and OT play, or do they include or not include shoot outs? I presume this is all regulation and OT stats?

    As for shoot outs, we are seeing misses left or right, and rare over the cross bar.

    I am amazed how often I see in shoot outs the left and right misses from close in, when normally the skater (best ones on the team usually) can miss that way so often.

    I trust Carter can teach others any tricks of the trade, or these guys like to keep their patented talents under wraps?

    We do have Luc and Bernie (proven snipers) that can lace up and go out from time to time and show their tricks on shot mechanics.

    Anyway, great dialogue here and I am for one going to pay more attention to these misses and how and why they may have happened with some of these players.

  7. Could they be shooting it high and wide in order to shoot around opponents infront of the net perhaps?

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