I’m in a hurry, unfortunately, and don’t have time to comment at great length on this at the moment. Nevertheless, I wanted to throw this out there. I’ve been digging into the SF/SA numbers at ES on a game by game basis, pretty much entirely because of a comment I saw over at Lowetide’s that just stunned me in terms of (IMO) missing the point on discussions of outshooting. I’ve got a longer post in the works on that but for now, two very quick points:
1. If you treat the ES portion of a hockey game as a separate game, which I think is the only sensible way to look at whether or not outshooting your opponent matters, the Oilers, since the 2005-06 season, are 36-42-33 when outshooting their opposition at ES, 31-63-27 when getting outshot and 5-5-4 when the ES shots tied. Just to be crystal clear, this is their record in the ES portion of the game – it seems foolish to me to look at the game as a whole when talking about ES outshooting. So, for example, if Edmonton outshoots their opposition 20-15 at ES and outscores them 2-1 at ES, but give up 3 PP goals and score none, I treat that as a win for the Oilers.
There is an idea floating around out there that MacTavish’s coaching style involves building the sort of team that weathers the storm and then sticks the knife in on the counter attack, letting them get outshot with impunity. I’ve never bought it and I have serious doubts that there’s any team that will do better over the long run in games where they get outshot. Since 2005-06, 26 teams have done better in the ES portions of games in which they outshot their opponents than they have in the ES portions of games in which they were outshot. The four teams that have done worse are Vancouver, Montreal, St. Louis and Chicago.
2. This part stunned me. I’m going to go back and recheck my math but I’m pretty sure I’ve done this properly. I actually sat on it for a bit so that I could take a second look and I’m going to check it a third time but here it is:
I assume that the part that surprised me will be obvious to people. I’m going to check my numbers a third time, just to be sure, but wow. I’ve got some theories as to why that I want to check out but there seems to me to be a pretty solid argument there that playing for teams that outshoot their opposition on a regular basis is a drag on your save percentage.
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I’m sad to see that Mike Winters has decided to shut it down. Can’t blame him, as running a frequently updated blog takes a lot of time. Their site was absolutely one of my favourites, just for the writing alone, and the ideas were good too. Hopefully his cartoon site continues and he’s able to offer us the odd bit of Oilers commentary through that format: