I saw a chart the other day and it was average distance by forwards for shots. The team whose forwards were shooting from the farthest were the Panthers. This made me confused. I was confused about why are we shooting from up high rather than down low when a lot of our goals of late have come from the slot.
We have a lot of fancy players. Guys like to get fancy. Also normally when we get down low, we try and make east-west passes. I play rec soccer. My dad is my team’s head coach. I normally play Left Defense in soccer and he always tells me, when you get the ball kick it up the line to your forward or kick it out, never to the middle. While this rule doesn’t have too much danger in the offensive zone as it does in the defensive zone, it is still key. If I try and make a pass to my Center Defenseman and if I don’t get an accurate pass off and the opposing forward intercepts, all you can do is pray that your goalie saves it or the forward misses the shot. On offense it is kind of the same thing except you have the defenseman intercepting it when you try a cross, and that will instantly break up momentum.
Another soccer teaching is that you want to make short passes, because it has a less chance of being intercepted. This is a very big problem for the Panthers. Now I know shooting with a stick is different but I do not have a lot of power when I kick the soccer ball. The only long kick I can really do is a punt and those don’t go as far as most kids my age can kick. Instead of trying to force a long pass in hockey which will normally turn out to be icing (from the D-Zone) or just break up momentum.
Back to my original point about shot distance, remember what I said about power in the third paragraph. Out of all of our players, the only player who looks like he has a lot of power in his shot is Aaron Ekblad and that isn’t good because we keep trying to force long shots which require a lot of power and Ekblad is a defenseman. We get a lot of gritty goals down low and that is what we need to do more often.
If you don’t have a lot of power in your shot and are shooting from long distance, you don’t have a lot of speed in your shot and the accuracy isn’t good. For example, a goalie is more likely to see a 70 mph shot from the point going towards his pads than a 40 mph shot from 10 feet away going to the high blocker side with a few people scrambling around in the slot. Out of all of the goals we have scored this year and I have seen most if not all of them, I can’t think of any goals that were scored from a long way away which Aaron Ekblad is not shooting. Why is Jonathan Marchessault leading the team in goals? He is getting gritty goals. He isn’t shooting from far away. How many shootout goals would Barkov have if he shot from the point instead of completely deking out the goalie down low?
In Conclusion, the distance of shots is the thing we need to focus on the most.