Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If You Want Goals, Go To The Net

In a season full of memorable quotes, perhaps the most unforgettable of post-game soundbites came from Brooks Laich, as he tried to explain his emerging goal-scoring prowess by recalling what a former coach had told him:
"If you want money, go to the bank. If you want bread, go to the bakery. If you want goals, go to the net."
Laich, of course, scored 21 goals last season, and his highly efficient 17.6% shooting percentage would seem to indicate that he scored the bulk of them from in tight (and might also indicate that he's going to have a hard time repeating his 20-goal campaign in 2008-09).

In fact, according to the NHL's play-by-play sheets, Laich did score most of his goals (15 of 21) from less than 20 feet from the goal (to give you a frame of reference, that's the distance at a right angle from the goal line to one of the faceoff dots), and if you totalled the distances of all of his 2007-08 tallies, you wouldn't make it from one end of the ice to the other and back - his 21 goals added up to 396 feet, an average of 18.86 feet per goal. Laich scored five goals from inside of 13 feet and only scored once from more than 28 feet away, a 42-foot "bomb" (the blueline, for reference is 64 feet from the goal line).

Laich isn't afraid to get beaten up in front for a goal, and often reaped the rewards of his hard work, scoring eight times on the power play. Surely, Laich was more proficient in close than, say, Alex Semin, right?

Not so fast, my friend.

The average distance on Semin's goals was actually less than Laich's - 18.58 feet - and 18 of his 26 goals were scored within 20 feet of the net (slightly lower than Laich's percentage), nine from within 13 feet (a higher percentage than Laich's). Semin's speed and cherry-picking afforded him more breakaway opportunities than Laich gets, of course, but the numbers are still somewhat surprising - I'd have expected most of Semin's goals to have come from the 21-to-30 foot range (only five did).

Point being, Brooks Laich isn't the only one who knows that if you want goals, you go to the net.

Post script: When I got home from work yesterday, this was waiting for me:

Supersweet.

29 comments:

Tyler said...

Semin doesn't shoot the puck. He dangles and dangles and dangles, trying to get gimme five-footers.

Anonymous said...

Semin could very well have a banner year if he is able to pick up where he left off - in the world cup post-season.

JP said...

Why the Semin hate? Am I the only one that watched the playoffs last year?

wittcap79 said...

I love Sashafalldowngoboom. He's an AMAZING talent, now if he can fully harness it. Which WILL happen under the mentoring of one Sergei "don't call me federov" Fedorov.

tg said...

By the way, good luck in the Blogger Invitational fantasy hockey pool. Could you let us know who you picked and why? (Hey, I'm always looking for tips...)

Tyler said...

No hate here. Just observation.

NS said...

Tyler - I am thoroughly convinced Papa Fedorov will school Semin into his playoff form again this season.

Adding Fedorov will single-handedly make Semin a much better and lasting talent. Hopefully Feds will give him tips on NOT dangling in his own defensive zone.

Arabella said...

I love Sashafalldowngoboom too!! Or more commonly called 'Big Al' in the upper reaches of Section 112. (Gawd, I can't WAIT to get back to the upper reached of Section 112.) Tyler is just, well, you know, being Tyler.

I also very much look forward to this year's collection of memorable quotes and One-Timers, which I really enjoy. Laich is ever reliable, as is Gabby and Ovie, but I believe the addition of King Karl will juice it even more. Provided he doesn't do this modest rookie, I'm-just-here-to-listen-and-not-talk, routine. 'Course, it's hard to keep a good talker quiet.

JP, where on the blog is your One-Timer Archive? Now that I'd love to read.

JP said...

@ TG: Thanks. I'm a little worried about that draft, as my other league will be drafting at the same time - I've never run two at once, and I don't think it's a good idea. But it is what it is. I'll rock these chumps (and let you all know about it).

@ All: No comments on my brand new red-rockin' authentic Laich? Weak.

JP said...

@ Arabella - The One-Timers don't archive... perhaps I'll have to start doing so manually.

Tyler said...

@arabella: Cute shot. But instead of being cute, why not address what I actually said?

this space for rent said...

@jp: I got my Backstrom sweater for my birfday this year. It's good to see people going for jerseys other than Ovie. I mean, Ovie's awesome, but everybody, their grandmother, and the family dog has Ovie sweaters ^^

So awesome stuff right there.

~Mark said...

Yes, the now famous Brooks Laich "if you want goals" saying is quite familiar to my seven year-old son now as well. So much so, that the other day when he was playing soccer (forward), I yelled to him "if you want bread, go to the bakery" and he smiled and ran towards the net.
Pretty funny, but you can see the value of the wise saying.

wittcap79 said...

@TSFR

Yeah, but not everyone has the Russian National Team Autographed Ovie Sweater...oh it's so sweet.

Ryan said...

Ive got close to 20 in NHL 09 just going to the net...I'm the white Tim Kerr

VT Caps Fan said...

Nice post and nice new jersey.

I'm on the fence on which jersey I'm going to get.
Do I go with Backs? Laich? or go crazy with Alzner? Decisions decisions.

this space for rent said...

@wittcap79: Definitely not. And if I did have one I sure as hell wouldn't wear it to a game where some clumsy twit could spill their beer all over it. I'd /frame/ that sucker and wear another one. :)

DMG said...

@ tyler,

I agree Semin stickhandles too much but he can definitely shoot the puck and score from anywhere.

tg said...

Any idea if they'd sell a green Green Caps jersey?

And last year I got a Clark one before the season started, under the assumption that everyone else would get an Ovechkin one.

Sombrero Guy said...

Sweet jersey J.P. Like everybody else i have an Ovechkin. Unlike everybody else I only paid $85 for mine on ebay.

JJ said...

I decided that before this season I needed to pick up a red jersey, and it came down to Laich or Ove. It wasn't Ove to be a trendy, it's just that in following dc sports my whole life (caps, wiz, redskins) I don't think I've ever had a player better embody everything you could want as a fan (This moment kind of summed it up for me). However, I'm leaning towards Laich because he's always been one of my favorites for his style of play, and among my group of friends "called" how good he would be two years ago.

Also, I have to disagree with him having trouble repeating a 20 goal season. I don't have JP-like stats to back this up, but it seemed like he always was in a good position to score, even when he didn't get the puck, got a bad pass or missed the chance. His upside is huge, and I actually see him upping his tally this year.

JJ said...

Screwed up the link on my post, I meant this Ovechkin moment

wittcap79 said...

@TSFR

I have a Greenie jersey I picked up just for that exact reason. I'm retiring the Ovie one to special occasions, Opening Night, Playoffs, Penguins games, those sorts of things.

this space for rent said...

@wittcap79: Yeah, I've got a blank jersey that I'm using to collect autographs. (Got Boudreau's, woo!)The Backstrom jersey is for regular games ... I'm still debating which one to wear opening night.

Penguins games. Hahahahah. I so want to own the Penguins this year. Almost as much as I want to own the Flyers.

nuftjedi said...

nice jersey. I think Laich is going to be my next one.

Sombrero Guy said...

JJ- I hear ya. I almost didn't get the Ovechkin jersey just because "everybody else was doing it" but ultimately I pulled the ebay trigger because

A) I am cheap
B) Not since Cal Ripken or Juan Dixon have I been as enthusiastic about a local athleye

Ryan said...

I think my next one will be a Quintin Laing....the guy's so damn gutsy I can't help but love him

TJ said...

JP: Nothin' but love for Le Lapin here. If he stays healthy, and plays the way he did in the playoffs and worlds, 50+ goals is not out of the question. Yes, it's a bit of a stretch, but he's definitely capable.

Steve R said...

I have a Green away, am torn between home Nick B. or Feds.