“SHOOOOOOOT!” yell half of the 18,000 people in attendance.
Meanwhile, at ice level, braindead bums like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are moving the puck around on the powerplay, looking for an opening.
The shoot-yellers, one would think, realize that the players ears aren’t exactly tuned to listening to advice from them – so it’s worth asking: why are they yelling it? Maybe it’s cathartic?
I guess I can see the logic of the bellowing-Bowmans (Scotty, not Stan) – when guys take big, booming slapshots through the crowd, it seems to go in like, a third of the time. THEN JUST SHOOT IT, right?
There’s a reason those shots have a high success rate. There’s a reason they aren’t shooting, so settle in and take notes – those guys are seeing something your view may not allow.
To take it from the top, NHL goaltenders are really good. That’s some breakthrough journalism right there.
If you gave, say… Duncan Keith, 100 unscreened slapshots from the blueline, and all the leagues goaltenders rotated through to play goal one shot at a time, I’d be boggled if he scored more than twice (Toskala… was that you Toskala? He scored didn’t he, Vesa?).
For a shot from the blueline to have any hope, you need to make the goalie move, which opens up holes. It means he’s facing the shot without getting set. It means he starts to lose where he is in his net, unless he stays deep in his crease (which is ideal for shooting anyways). It tires him out so he doesn’t have the legs to get across as quickly later in the powerplay. You gotta make that goalie move.
Then there’s the screen. The defenseman in front has one main focus – when the puck is up high, he has to clear the man out in front so the goalie can see. Being an NHL defenseman, he’s huge, strong, and probably angry – even guys like Holmstrom need some time to get decent body position on a guy like Chara. You’re simply not scoring on Marty Brodeur if you don’t take his eyes away. Just ask Sean Avery.
Then there’s the penalty killers. They’re keeping their sticks in as many lanes as possible, to take away passes, but they know what you want to do. They’ve been taught to attack the guy with the puck on the half-wall by coming from the top – in translation, he’s taking away the pass to the point, but letting you pass it low, where your team is less of a threat. It takes a little time getting those guys out of position before you can make that pass.
Even then, the weak-side forward is assigned the job of getting in the shooting lane. So if the pass does come through the strong-side guy, the other forward is standing in the shooting lane.
For those of you who’ve seen a short-handed goal, you know about half of them come from a bomb into the defenders shinpads, the puck going the other way, and the guy who blocked it facing forward, while the shooter isn’t. Getting your shot blocked up high gets you kicked off the powerplay, because frankly, the guy was RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.
Then the pass has to be in the wheelhouse to be able to take a one-timer. Stopping the puck means the goalie has had time to set, the d-man has had time to move your forward, and the forward has time to get in the lane.
The low levels of anxiety and frustration that listening to people yell shoot probably isn’t helping the decision making process.
So “SHOOOT”, you say?
I say maybe just hold that thought, and let your NHL TEAM’S TOP SKILL GUYS make that call.
I dunno. Just a thought of my own.
If you feel like learning about a little bit more Bourne, here’s an interview I did for SB Nation. It includes a compliment for my (mostly) funny, sharp readers!