Friday, December 14, 2007

Making Their Shots

I remember an Oilers home game vs Colorado a few years ago, the good guys won, scoring five goals. The Edmonton media were on Patrick Roy after the game, he was not a player that was well liked by journalists. Roy was unflappable though, I heard him on the radio post game show and he didn't think he'd played a bad game. His explanation for allowing five goals, by my memory; "they made their shots". If shrugs made a sound, you would have been able to hear it. And I think he was right.

Lately the pucks have been going in for the Oilers, they've been finishing their chances. I made a remark to this effect in the comments section on Lowetide's blog today. Before I wrote it, I made a quick check, just to grab the number to drive my point home. It's easy to do, you can get the list of game numbers for the Oilers here: and then whip through them here: Simple stuff, just change the last five digits in the URL to the gamenumber you wish to look at. It took less than ten minutes to check the shooting percentage in the last ten games. Note that this lists goals and saves, you have to sum them to get shots.

These list the players by jersey numbers, so you can use the goalies (Garon is #32 and Roloson #35) to get the totals. You can do the same for PP shots here if you are really keen. And the team totals are done like this: . And obviously just change the last three characters in the URL to look at another team.

To my mind the Oilers aren't a team that just fires the puck at net from anywhere, and they aren't a team that that too often tries for the extra pass to create a golden chance. You'd expect them to peg in at around 8% shooting, league average, maybe even a touch more. To my eye the Oiler problems are mostly not having the puck enough, and not getting it into scoring areas.

In the first 23 games:
  • The EV shooting percentage was a bit light at 7.2%
  • The PP shooting percentage was a craptacular 9.9% and they weren't generating enough shots either.
In the last 10 games:
  • The EV shooting percentage was a spectacular, and completely unsustainable 14.3%. This includes the defensemen as well, of course. Hell there isn't a single player on the Oilers roster who has a career shooting percentage that high, and those career numbers include PP shots and goals. As we all know, the Oilers are really finishing their chances right now.
  • The PP shooting percentage was a solid 13.7%, they might be able to maintain that. Let's hope they don't fall back into the static, safe-pass, predictable patterns of earlier this season, and past years for that matter.

My point, and I do have one, is that as much as this last stretch has shown us a glimpse of the future for some of these young players, it won't last. They have some promising youth though, and with the potential of new ownership on the horizon, and the change in culture and perception that comes with that, they may very well be a playoff team in a year or two, and a very good team some time shortly after that. Let's hope that Lowe doesn't do anything rash at the trade deadline, for whatever reason he's chosen this path, he should stick to it now.


Blogger PunjabiOil said...

Let's hope that Lowe doesn't do anything rash at the trade deadline, for whatever reason he's chosen this path, he should stick to it now

Just watch Ryder traded here for Stoll or Torres, then bolting on July 1. [Not that I'm against trading either]

12/14/2007 11:40 pm  

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