Just to be clear, this is a five part article series. Part 1 happened to be this part of the systems I coach. And by my hockey systems I mean when I am a coach I have five things I like to consistently harp on and engrain in the players minds all year round. Part one is shots on goal, throwing pucks to the net and out-shooting teams to be more successful. (Note my first and foremost important system is defensive zone accountability/responsibility. A clean d-zone=a successful offense). Part 1: Shots on goal=more goals.
Sounds simple correct? But it is often the most difficult aspect for some hockey players to understand. Especially with todays game and hockey players, kids like to get the perfect shot, go top corner or score the flashy goal. I'll admit if one of my players does score a BarDown goal, I'll be the first one screaming from the bench but I do emphasis simplicity when it comes CERTAIN situations. Throw the puck on net, crash the net and work well below the goal line. While a BarDown goal is nice, a goal is a goal at the end of the day.
I was researching this theory among the top goal-scorers in the AHL, OHL, QMJHL, NHL and NCAA leagues. Among these leagues the guys who shot the most, usually end up being the leading scorer or a top scorer.
Looking at the NHL top-5 scorers, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Jeff Skinner, Leon Draisaitl, Brayden Point and John Tavares , Ovechkin has 238 shots on goal (as of Feb.22), Kane has 243 shots on goal (SOG), Skinner 196 SOG, Draisaitl 165 SOG, Point 153 SOG and Tavares 210 SOG. The top shooters in the league MacKinnon (260 SOG) has 30 goals, Kane #2 with 243, Ovechkin 238, Tyler Seguin 235 SOG and 26 goals and Brent Burns 234 SOG and 12 goals.
Now looking at the AHL A. Greco has 180 SOG, 19 goals (ranked 25th in goals), M. Puempel has 179 SOG and 19G (27th), R. Boucher has 178 SOG and 24 goals (5th), R. Parber has 168 SOG and 21 goals (19th) and P. Holland 154 SOG and 20G (21st).
Onto the OHL, K. Hancock 283 SOG, 46 goals. A. Kaliyev 270 SOG, 47 goals. T. Felhaber 252 SOG, 55 goals. J. Robertson 215 SOG, 42 goals. J. Brazeau 247 SOG, 48 goals. All five of the leaders with shots on goal are the top scorers in the OHL.
The QMJHL, J. McKenna 320 SOG, 38 goals. I Chekhaovich 239 SOG, 37 goals. R. Harvey-Pinard, 231 SOG, 32 goals. N. Legare 230 SOG, 39 goals, J. Teasdale, 218 SOG, 34 goals. These top shooters also happen to have the most oddly sounding last names too.
NCAA, J. Walker 153 SOG, 23 goals. D. MacLaughlin, 138 SOG, 19 goals. W. Lockwood, 134 SOG, 14 goals. R. Kuffner 128 SOG, 20 goals (four others tied at 128 SOG). T. Loggins, 122 SOG, 17 goals. Three of these players are in the top-five in goals among the NCAA.
It all comes down to the situation though!
So, a lot of numbers and repetitive terms but makes sense right? I have to make it clear, I am not saying come in cross the blue line and take a shot at the goalies chest and let him cover it up. This system only works if the players have good situational awareness. For example, you are a forward you are coming out of the corner, you have two guys in front of the net, one screening the goal, one off to the side a little but a defenseman is tied up with him. You have a shooting lane but not a clear shot, if you shot it could be blocked by the other team or your own. IF I am your coach I would rather see you get in a shooting lane and shoot. Now here is another example. In the off. zone, wingers are covering D, two other forwards of yours are tied up in front, you are in the corner just above the goal line. What do you do? I say, either walk out a little and shoot or just throw the puck on net and shoot. Another key to this system is pairing guys who like to shoot with guys who like to pass or get in front. The reason that Ovechkin has been able to score so much is playing with guys like Backstrom and Kuznestov who will pass first along with Wilson who will get in the dirty areas and take a whack in front. Either way this system works by having the coach tell his players he does not mind if they are selfish on the ice, if they have the puck and a shooting lane, shoot. A goal that is always good for coaches to tell their players is every shift try to one up what they did last shift. They had 2 shots last shift lets go for three this shift, etc. Now of course they have a unpredictable 9 shot shift it will be hard to top that but now they know they are capable of it and will continue it.
There is the right and wrong situation to shot. It is always best to play a game and pick apart the game film and pick out where someone should have shot and should have not shot. This all comes down to situational awareness and a good hockey IQ therefore if you do not have one of the two, good luck (I dealt with it). If you are situationally aware and know the situation, i.e. late in the game, down by a goal. Not the best idea to look for the perfect shot. Shoot the puck on net and hope for the best! I will have a video on here showing something along these lines (pucks on net, goals off rebounds, etc.) Part 2 will be....