All about shots
When I imagine what Behind The Net overlord Gabe Desjardins must be like, he's usually got a big domed forehead, one with an extra eye in the centre of it, and spends his time living in a giant, hockey-puck-shaped lair known as the Statosphere.
It's from this secret location, somewhere in northern California, where this strange creature spends his days pumping out all sorts of wacky hockey-related numbers for our perusal.
And it's a good thing, too. Because, more and more, I'm stopping by his site to look at what certain players are up to.
Desjardins's latest concoction is a look at shots on goal at even strength, something that tells us Alex Ovechkin leads the way with 103. But, more than that, we learn which players take the majority of their shots from close to the goal: Andrew Brunette, Todd White and Sidney Crosby lead the way here, although likely for different reasons. (Brunette's well known as a tap-in specialist, but my guess is Crosby's penchant for breakaways is the reason he shoots from so close so often.)
Tobias Enstrom, meanwhile, is listed as the defender who takes his shots from the closest to the goal, which, again, makes sense because of the way he plays.
The other thing Desjardins has done is broken down shots by slap, snap and wrist categories. Brian Rolston has the most slap shots, Ovechkin the snappers, and Rick Nash with the wrist shots.
It's actually stunning just how much information is now available on the site, and it's a resource that continues to grow (in some instances as a result of my own harebrained suggestions). Earlier this season, Desjardins added data on who takes and draws penalties in the league, another stat that measures what was previously unmeasurable. Per minute played at even strength, St. Louis's lightning-quick rookie David Perron draws the most penalties, while Crosby is second, and superpest Sean Avery third.
Crosby has drawn the most penalties overall with 26, while Ovechkin is second and Eric Staal third.
And I haven't even gotten to the blocked shots data, where Jason Smith leads the way in blocks per minutes.
There's some great stuff there, and it's well worth any hockey fan's time to poke around a bit, or even to just look at their own team's performance in a slightly different way. Lowetide called Desjardins's site "a Godsend for thinking hockey fans" on the weekend, and I'd have to agree.
Puckheads are only just beginning to figure out how to use this data to better analyze the game.
And Gabe? He's actually a normal dude from Winnipeg who went to Berkeley and now builds rocket ships. It's nice to have him on our side.