Thursday, March 06, 2008

Mounds And Mounds Of Rebounds

"Every rebound is a personal challenge." - Dennis Rodman

Science may have purported to conclusively show that Olie Kolzig's reflexes are cat-like, but your eyes (and this blog) have told you all year that the cat ain't as quick as he used to be. And while his save percentage is a decent indicator of that, The Forechecker has another great metric for confirming what we already knew - Olie's simply not as spry as he used to be.

Now, before we dive into the numbers, recognize that these stats are team goaltending stats and as Olie has played roughly three-quarters of the overall minutes in net, he's only responsible for roughly three-quarters of the stats... in theory.

That said, let's cut directly to the chase: no team in the NHL has allowed a higher rebound shooting percentage against than the Caps (and it's not even close). According to the stats at On The Forecheck, 39.6% of the rebound shots (a "shot within two seconds of a previous shot on goal") that Caps goalies have faced have been put home (Los Angeles is second worst at 34.7%; Chicago is best at 17.7%).

As far as raw numbers go, the Caps are in the middle of the pack (15th) in rebound shots allowed, but have allowed the third-most rebound goals (40) tied with Florida and behind only Toronto (41) and L.A. (50). If Caps goalies had just an average rebound save percentage - 72.22% - they would have surrendered 12 fewer goals on the season so far. Are there standings points in those 12 goals? Who knows?

Enough numbers - what does it all mean?

To me, it's a pretty clear indication of either an inability of Caps goalies to recover from making an initial save to being well-positioned for a second save and/or an inability to steer rebounds into areas from which follow-up shots are less dangerous. To be sure, other factors are at play here - the blueliners' and backcheckers' ability to hinder follow-up shots, etc. - but this serves as decent confirmation that Caps goalies are giving up juicy rebounds into prime scoring areas and/or are failing to get back in position to make a second stop after denying an initial shot.

What it also means is that Caps goalies and defenseman aren't allowing an abnormally large number of rebound shots, contrary to what I had expected to find. So that's something good... right?


The Forechecker said...

This reminds me of one game from my rec league days in Ann Arbor; our regular goalie wasn't able to make it, so one of our defenseman (who'd been harboring this secret desire) took the opportunity to play his first game in goal.

This guy is 6'5", 260+ lbs., and like I mentioned, this was his first game. Suffice to say that when he went down to play a shot, there was no Plan B for about 10 seconds or so.

Fortunately, we were playing the worst team in the league, and won something like 8-0. Those of us playing defense, though, were panicking to clear those rebounds, though!

The Forechecker said...

Boy, I hate the fact that you can't edit a comment after it's posted!

breed16 said...

Excellent stat, something I had been pondering a while myself now. Glad someone gathered the data. Thanks, forechecker!

Also of note, Canadians goalies to date have stopped a respectable 27% of rebound chances. Huet played no small part in that.

~Mark said...

This has been my single biggest beef with Olie all year. He can still make some great initial saves, but after that, he looks like a fish out of water. Perhaps a main reason Huet looks so good to me.