Today in Quotes Taken Out of Context: John Garrett describes the strengths of Antti Niemi.Continue Reading —›
Every now and then, as I thumb through the Canucks’ individual and team stats, I come across one that really jumps out at me. Today, I was struck by the team’s blocked shot totals: as of Wednesday, January 4, the Canucks have gotten in front of 463 pucks this season, good for 28th in the NHL.
Blocked shots have become something of a controversial stat of late. The old-school hockey minds will tell you that a team with a low total of blocked shots is a team unwilling to get into shooting lanes and help their goaltender. Meanwhile, the advanced statheads have begun to counter the claim, explaining that blocked shots are more an indication of possession than the quality of team help defense: If you routinely routinely out-possess and outshoot your opponent, as the Canucks do, you will simply have far fewer shots to block.
And so, at the end of the game, when one team has 21 blocked shots and the other has 4, some will claim one team was working harder than the other, that one team was more willing to “pay the price”. However, others will say that this “hard-working” team might have gotten a better deal on “the price” if they’d moved the puck up the ice with a little more flair.
(You can always use more flair. The bare minimum of flair is hardly acceptable.)
So which is it? Truth is, while you can expect to hear both sides of this stat presented as the only side more than a few times in 2012, it’s both.Continue Reading —›