Would-be sniper R.J. Umberger hasn’t scored a goal in almost a half-season worth of hockey.
His current goal-less streak is at 39 games, with 21 of them coming in the 2015-16 season.
While goals aren’t the only way Umberger can contribute for the Philadelphia Flyers (he has five assists this season and seven overall during that 39-game span), it’s been tough to look away from his struggles.
Even Umberger admitted to the Philadelphia Inquirer that he’s personally having a tough time with this slump.
“It’s frustrating. If I think about it, it makes me sick to my stomach,” Umberger said. “It’s not for a lack of trying or wanting to score goals. I’ve scored goals my entire career – scored a lot of goals – and you never dream you’ll ever go through a spell like this.”
The effort may be there, but the chances are not.
Umberger has only fired 24 shots on goal in 21 games so far this season, barely more than one per contest. Looking back to his season-ending slump in 2014-15, Umberger wasn’t getting that many chances either, with just 23 shots on goal in 18 contests. You’d think one of 47 shots on goal would go in, but that’s really not that big of a total in 39 games.
Granted, as a player uncomfortably transitioning at least short-term into a fourth-line role, the shots might not come very often.
That’s really the only way a sniper can get on the board, though. Saying “shoot more often” seems stupidly obvious but … how else can a guy with multiple 20-goal seasons to his name break out of this funk?
It’s the kind of talk that might leave you a little, well, sick to your stomach.