Tag: blocked shots

Chuck Kobasew, Gabriel Landeskog, Kyle Quincey, Jason Garrison

Blocking shots: Mad genius or just mad?


One of the interesting little underground hockey debates revolves around blocking shots.

Any reasonable person will admit it’s a brave act, but the schism happens when you discuss the wisdom of doing so. The New York Times tackled the subject in an interesting way on Monday, studying the undeniable increase in the activity since the lockout while spotlighting heavy practitioners and the teams who generally abstain from the courageous move.

Many stats bloggers will say that a blocked shot is often the sign of a last-resort move by a defenseman who’s out of position.

Interestingly enough, The NYT’s Dave Caldwell spotlighted the three local teams and saw a wide variety of results. The lowly Islanders topped the NHL in the category and look primed to fall in first place again this season, but the East-leading Rangers swear by it too. Meanwhile, the traditionally stout Devils defense follows Paul Coffey’s lead in avoiding the practice.

Crunching simple numbers on the subject

source: Getty ImagesTo take a quick-and-dirty look at the potential big picture view, here are the top five teams as far as shot blocking, their place in the standings, total goals allowed and times shorthanded:

1. NY Islanders: 955 blocked shots, 55 points (tied for second to last in East), 159 goals allowed and 158 times shorthanded
2. Montreal: 942 blocked shots, 55 points (tied for second to last in East), 154 goals allowed and 214 times shorthanded
3. Toronto: 912 blocked shots, 62 points (eighth place in East), 166 goals allowed and 178 times shorthanded
4. NY Rangers: 907 blocked shots, 77 points (first in East, second overall), 110 goals allowed and 178 times shorthanded
5. Minnesota: 904 blocked shots, 58 points (12th place in West), 144 goals allowed and 193 times shorthanded

To take a look at the flip side, here are the five teams who block shots the least in the same categories:

26. Boston: 694 blocked shots, 70 points for second in the East, 120 goals allowed and 188 times shorthanded
27. Los Angeles: 691 blocked shots, 65 points tied for sixth in West, 124 goals allowed and 210 times shorthanded
28. Columbus: 661 blocked shots, 38 points for worst record in NHL, 185 goals allowed and 185 times shorthanded
29. Vancouver: 652 blocked shots, 74 points for second in the West, 138 goals allowed and 208 times shorthanded
30. New Jersey: 638 blocked shots, 66 points for sixth in the East, 155 goals allowed and 190 times shorthanded

I’m not sure if you can deduce much of anything from that little study, although it does seem to provide good evidence that you can play stingy defense without blocking shots. The low shot-blocking side seems a little heavier on “legitimate” contenders … but it also includes the horrific Blue Jackets. (Click here to check out NHL.com’s stats on shot blocking.)


How do you feel, though? Is the strategy a necessary evil to avoid goals or a bad gamble in terms of positioning and/or injuries? Share your take in the comments.

John Tortorella doesn’t care much for stat keepers

John Tortorella

Even after seeing his team shutout the rival Islanders, Rangers coach John Tortorella can take exception with something.

This time around, Tortorella had choice words for the folks keeping stats during last night’s game. Rangers forward Brian Boyle was credited with just one blocked shot in the game after absorbing more rubber than Henrik Lundqvist did in pitching a shutout.

After the game, Tortorella sounded off to Katie Strang of ESPN New York about the lack of credit his guys got on the stat sheet.

“The league stats are ridiculous. Brian Boyle probably blocked four or five shots, he’s down for one. They shouldn’t even give us those sheets,” Tortorella said.

Both Boyle and Anton Stralman shined during a second period flurry that saw the Islanders threaten to score but come up empty thanks to their efforts. Even worse still, you can’t even blame the lack of stats on it being a homer scorekeeper as the game was at Madison Square Garden.

If you’re carrying a pen and a clipboard around John Tortorella these days, we’d suggest treading very lightly until this passes.

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Save of the Night – Stephane Robidas (December 28th)


Even if the NHL (thankfully) keeps a dedicated stat category for a blocked shot – whether it be a forward or defenseman doing the shot blocking – it’s still an underrated act of bravery. (Some stats bloggers will point out that a defenseman with a high number of blocked shots might compile so many because they’re often out of position, but it’s still courageous.)

Normally, blocked shots are forgotten well after a player’s bruises heal up. Yet every now and then, a defenseman goes from making a blocked shot to practically becoming an impromptu netminder.

We’ve seen more than a few instances when a blocked shot or heads-up defensive play is so impressive (and entertaining) that we cannot help but make it the save of the night. Most recently, we awarded a crafty play by Minnesota Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky.

Well, we have another great bit of defensive desperation/cleverness to add to that group from Tuesday’s game. Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas is one of those guys who can do a little of everything from playing the point on the power play, logging numerous even strength minutes and providing rugged defense on the penalty kill. His hockey IQ and willingness to do whatever it takes to help his team win were on bold display last night, as he bailed out Andrew Raycroft and the rest of the squad with some heady saves.

You really have to hand it to Robidas on this one, as he saved Raycroft with some great work. To be fair, Raycroft bailed the Stars defense out plenty of times last night, earning 44 saves in the win against Nashville. Check out Robidas’ goalie auditions in the clip below.