Monday, October 23, 2006

Practicing the shootout

The talk here in Toronto surrounding the Maple Leafs is about the shootout — and more precisely, the team's shoddy record in them. Already this season, the Leafs have lost three of four of the tiebreakers, which when added to a 3-7 record last season, puts them near the bottom of the barrel in shootout win percentage (25th, 28.6%).

So, Paul Maurice has been asked (repeatedly) the past few days, how do you practice the shootout?
"We will work on it in practice," Maurice told The Globe and Mail's Tim Wharnsby on the weekend. "We'll change the order and change the personnel, but the focus will continue to be the 65 minutes that comes before it."
The answer from most coaches seems to be that it's a difficult thing to improve on, at least in any manner other than doing the drill at the tail end of practices. Given the number of points being won (or lost) so far this season, you wonder if it might be a good idea to have breakaway contests become a key component of what coaches teach now. (Maurice did indicate that the team spent time reviewing shootout video last season.)

My guess is some of the more successful teams already are putting a lot of work into the shootout.

All-time shootout records by team
  1. Dallas, 13-1
  2. Los Angeles, 6-2
  3. Nashville, 8-3
  4. Columbus, 8-3
  5. Carolina, 8-3
  6. N.Y. Islanders, 10-4
  7. Minnesota, 7-3
  8. N.Y. Rangers, 9-4
  9. New Jersey, 10-5
  10. Tampa Bay, 7-4
  11. Buffalo, 8-5
  12. Phoenix, 4-3
  13. Atlanta, 6-6
  14. Washington, 7-8
  15. Vancouver, 4-5
  16. Edmonton, 6-8
  17. Detroit, 3-4
  18. Florida, 4-6
  19. St. Louis, 5-8
  20. Montreal, 3-5
  21. Colorado, 3-5
  22. Philadelphia, 4-7
  23. Ottawa, 3-6
  24. Anaheim, 4-9
  25. Toronto, 4-10
  26. Chicago, 2-6
  27. Calgary, 2-7
  28. Boston, 2-9
  29. Pittsburgh, 1-6
  30. San Jose, 1-7
All-time shootout records by division
  1. Atlantic, 34-26
  2. Pacific, 28-22
  3. Southeast, 32-27
  4. Central, 26-24
  5. Northwest, 22-28
  6. Northeast, 20-35
All-time shootout records by conference
  1. Western, 76-74
  2. Eastern, 86-88


At 2:40 p.m., October 23, 2006, Blogger ninja said...

Shoot-out practice was on my training camp wish list, but that doesn't seem to have happened. If JFJ&co. can address team defense and team speed and goal tending in the off seaon they really shouldn't neglect another glaring deficiency from last year. A deficiency that determined the first tee time of the summer no less.

At 3:15 p.m., October 23, 2006, Anonymous Bob said...

As a Blue Jacket fan, I see the shootout as a method of inflating our record. I am convinced that the team even caries a player, Balastik, who's value to the team is his shootout goals. If I were an NHL coach, I would do like Maurice and work on the other 65 minutes. The players work on shootout skills on their own time as it is, so why take valuable time and resources away from more important issues.


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