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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Shoot the Puck... at the "right time"

I tweeted about this the other day and I meant to expand on it and my schedule just hasn't allowed for it (something that has become far too common these days). Seattle will host the Red Deer Rebels tonight and I will be watching closely how many times Seattle hits the net with the puck.

Seattle fired a ton of pucks at the net Saturday night and just wasn't able to score, losing to the Vancouver Giants 1-0 but the fact that they got those pucks to the net is a sign that good things should start happening more often (provided they keep shooting... I'll get to that).

Currently, Seattle has a shooting percentage of 8.434% which is "good" for 3rd worst in the league. Kelowna leads the league in shooting percentage at 15.717% and while I don't expect Seattle to get themselves up to 15% anytime soon I also don't expect them to shoot this poorly for the entire season.

Last season, the worst shooting team in the WHL was Lethbridge at 8.113%, so I suppose it is possible that Seattle really is "this" bad and things won't improve. If they don't... you can expect them to be near the bottom of the standings as the worst shooting teams in the league last year were Lethbridge, Kamloops, Moose Jaw and Tri-City (aka, not good company).

Seattle has to continue to get pucks to the net while they are playing 5x5 and continue to be selective on the Power Play. I know some people love to yell "shooooooooot" when teams are on the Power Play but the time to yell "shoooooooot" is actually when they are at even strength. Studies have shown (just trust me here... I'm too tired to source it) that more shots generally equal more goals and particularly at even strength.

The catch-22 is that you have a bunch of 16-20 year old boys/men who just got finished shooting the puck 38 times on net and not scoring and it would be somewhat reasonable for them to collectively be more selective with their shots. This of course... would be a mistake. Seattle is only averaging 27.8 shots on goal per game and that is after getting those 38 against Vancouver. By contrast, league average is roughly 30.8 and Medicine Hat leads the league at 35.8 shots on goal per game.

The challenge of the coaching staff (and I have to assume they are doing this) is to make sure they know that they have to keep shooting the puck and that eventually they will get some lucky bounces to go along with the quality goals that they will also score.


Kodi said...

Two things to bring up:

1. Did anyone else notice that Barzal might have got benched during the overtime period. He was on the first line and it looked like they were doing quick shifts but he didn't leave the ice messing up the lines. After his first shift he never went back out on the ice including not getting a shot in the shootout.

2. Now that it has been reported the Theo is being returned to Seattle after the Subway Super Series (second game on the series is in Brandon on the 11th and we are in Brandon on the 14th) when does the team need to start addressing the roster. I think our D looks good but we lack scoring. Getting Theo back gives us more scoring opportunities. Khaira has to play 45 games as a 16 year old rookie. I think every one of them have earned playing time so what is going to happen?

Should we trade young talent to make a run this year?
Should we trade Theo to improve the team the next two years (picks or prospects)?

Thunnex said...

I had to leave the game early because of baby duty (shocking) so I only heard about it and didn't see it.

I personally don't do either of those things. I think this is a critical learning year for all of these developing players but you can still make the playoffs and be dangerous with Theo so I don't think you trade him...

Unless.... someone just really blows your doors off with an offer.

Unknown said...

Yes, I agree. I think you sit tight unless someone makes you an offer that you just cannot refuse.

Regardless, I was talking to people at Tuesday’s game regarding Theo (before we knew if he would be coming back or not), and I think I shined light on the situation to make it look better than it already is... Watch this:

KENT – The Seattle Thunderbirds today announced the acquisition of high-scoring defenseman and first-round NHL Draft pick Shea Theodore in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks. The deal finds Seattle surrendering nothing in exchange for Theodore’s services.

Theodore, 19, was selected 26th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft. The Langley, BC native spent the past weeks in Anaheim at the Ducks training camp before being sent to Anaheim’s AHL team in Norfolk, Virginia as a result of an elbow injury. Theodore will participate in the upcoming Subway Super Series before being sent to Seattle.

Selected 64th overall by Seattle in the third round of the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, Theodore immediately stepped into a starting role with the T-Birds in his 16-year old season recording 4 goals, 31 assists, and 35 points in 69 games. The 6-foot-1.5, 186-pound defender led all WHL defeseman last season with 22 goals, 57 assists and 79 points in 70 games. Expect to see Theodore provide a much needed scoring threat to Seattle’s back end.

(At this point in time, he is almost a free trade)

Kodi said...

Yikes, maybe Barzal wasn't benched. He's being reported as injured.

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