May 17 2012 08:54AM
Sami Lepisto is proof that blocking shots can hurt, but in some media and blogger's eyes the Rangers have taken shot blocking to a level the NHL has never seen. Fact: the Rangers are willing to block shot. Myth: They block more shots per game than Wanye has pictures of Jordan Eberle.
Every year during the playoffs many seem to jump on the bandwagon of one topic and beat it to death. Usually it is something that is supposedly ruining the game. It's gotten so annoying that I'm hoping someone hijacks the comment sections and debates the value of Sam Gagner for the millionth time. Actually I will block you if you do that today, but you get my point.
I decided to look at the Rangers games and see if they are supposedly ruining the game. I too find their games boring, but it isn't just their shot blocking that has me nodding off in my chair.
NYR v. OTT blocked shots Results
Game 1: 20-12 Rangers win 4-2
Game 2: 25-10 Sens win 3-2 (OT)
Game 3: 21-17 Rangers win 1-0
Game 4: 30-8 Sens win 3-2 (OT)
Game 5: 19-10 Sens win 2-0
Game 6 17-15 Rangers win 3-0
Game 7: 23-8 Rangers win 2-1
Rangers clearly blocked more shots than the Sens, but two of the Sens three wins came when the Rangers blocked the most shots.
NYR v. WSH blocked shots Results
Game 1: 15-15 Rangers win 3-2
Game 2: 14-24 Caps win 3-2
Game 3: 41-40 Rangers win 2-1 (3OT)
Game 4: 7-26 Caps win 3-2
Game 5: 10-25 Rangers win 3-2
Game 6 6-24 Caps win 2-1
Game 7: 19-15 Rangers win 2-1
In the four Rangers wins, they never once blocked many more shots than the Caps. In fact, they only blocked 20+ shots in one of their four victories. The Capitals blocked way more shots in this series and lost.
NYR v. NJ blocked shots Results
Game 1: 26-15 Rangers win 3-0
Game 2: 16-7 Devils win 3-2
Blocking more shots helped them in game one, but didn't alter the outcome in game two.
The Rangers blocked way more shots than the Senators, but there is more to it than just shot-blocking. The Sens had the puck more in the offensive zone most games and directed way more shots on net.
Here are the same stats, but with total shots directed on net in the new column.
NYR v. OTT blocked shots Results Shots directed on net
Game 1: 20-12 Rangers win 4-2 64-59 Sens
Game 2: 25-10 Sens win 3-2 (OT) 74-49 Sens
Game 3: 21-17 Rangers win 1-0 76-48 Sens
Game 4: 30-8 Sens win 3-2 (OT) 85-49 Sens
Game 5: 19-10 Sens win 2-0 61-60 Sens
Game 6 17-15 Rangers win 3-0 53-50 Sens
Game 7: 23-8 Rangers win 2-1 63-51 Sens
Is it fair to say that the Rangers blocked more shots, because the Sens took way more?
Now look at the Caps/Rangers series again.
NYR v. WSH blocked shots Results Shots directed on net
Game 1: 15-15 Rangers win 3-2 49-47 Caps
Game 2: 14-24 Caps win 3-2 65-46 Rangers
Game 3: 41-40 Rangers win 2-1 (3OT) 115-107 Caps
Game 4: 7-26 Caps win 3-2 52-40 Rangers
Game 5: 10-25 Rangers win 3-2 78-35 Rangers
Game 6 6-24 Caps win 2-1 68-42 Rangers
Game 7: 19-15 Rangers win 2-1 57-55 Caps
In games two, four, five and six the Caps blocked way more shots, most likely because the Rangers directed way more shots on goal. The Rangers are willing to block many shots, but based on the shot totals it's also fair to say they do so out of necessity as much as willingness. If they are continually playing in their own zone, and allowing the opposition to fire a lot of shots they will be forced to block more.
In games 4 though 6 when they only allowed 35-42 shots directed on net, they only had to block between 6-10.
The Rangers block more shots, but not just because they want to, usually it is because they play more in their own end than they do in the offensive end. They haven't re-invented the shot-blocking wheel, instead it seems they do it out of necessity and circumstance more than anything.
- Most refs or umpires could wear that pin and feel safe. Complaining about bad officiating seems to be another annoying daily, even hourly, topic in social media. While most fans of a sport have played it at some level, I'd say that maybe 2-5% of people have ever officiated their favourite sport, and they really have zero clue how hard it is. The best way to stop the endless whining and complaining, at pro and amateur games, would be to make it mandatory that once a kid turns 12 they have to ref/umpire at least three games within the next two-three years.
Their parents would have to go watch and listen to other obnoxious parents yell at their son/daughter because she/he missed a call during an atom, novice, peewee or bantam hockey game. They'd quickly understand it isn't a good feeling, and likely wouldn't be so quick to yell at a teenager who made a supposed bad call. If your child plays lacrosse, ringette, baseball, soccer or football the same rules should apply when they register. The kids would actually have a better understanding of the rules, and they'd realize quickly that being a ref isn't easy, especially when you have coaches, parents and players yelling at you.
- John Tortorella's act has become a waste of time, but the media constantly complaining about him is just as old. If you know Tortorella won't say anything post-game why go? Take a stand; don't go or stop complaining. You have a choice, so why not just boycott going. Trust me, if the media snubbed him for two days the NHL would step in. Right now, Tortorella's actions are getting as much press as the game, so the NHL loves it.
- From one immature, arrogant coach to a refreshing one. I loved Darryl Sutter's response after the Kings' victory over Phoenix in game two. When he was asked about the Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal hits, rather than try to make it bigger than it was, he calmly said,
"Doan's hit on Lewy, I think Lewy is turning back. It's probably more of a hockey play. It's a tough one. I didn't really have a big problem with that. But the one on Browny, it's hard to say from the bench. I didn't get a good look at it, but
I don't think the puck was even close, was it? That's about it."
Nice to see him not freak out and demand suspensions. We knew the Hanzal hit was awful, and he calmly made his point by saying the puck wasn't even around. In our day and age where most are quick to announce they were wronged, and then turn around and do the same thing the next game, I really appreciated Sutter's response.
- The more I think about it, the more I think the Oilers should slide down and draft Galchenyuk. They desperately need a centre with size and skill. I wouldn't criticize them at all if they took Yakupov at #1, but the more people I talk to about Galchenyuk's skill and desire the more I'm intrigued by him. Especially because he's a centre.
- I don't see a weakness in the Kings. They'll take out the Coyotes in four or five games, and barring any injuries I don't see them losing to the Devils or Rangers. With the Lakers and Clippers likely to lose their respective series, the Kings will be the toast of LA for a few weeks. It would be great to see an organization that has never won much finally raise the Cup.
- It's great for Edmonton to have two teams going for championships right now. The Oil Kings already won the WHL and their quest for the Memorial Cup starts Friday at 5 p.m. MST v. Shawinigan. You can listen to it on the TEAM 1260 or watch on Sportsnet.
- The Edmonton Rush battle the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. MST in the NLL final. You can watch the game on Bell Express Vue channel 413 (SD) or 1432 (HD), or on Shaw channel 303. You can also listen to yours truly on TEAM 1260, pregame starting at 5 p.m.
- Hate to break it to you Oiler fans, but there is no way that Plymouth forward, Tom Wilson, will drop to the 2nd round. The hulking winger, 6'4", 200 pounds, plays with an edge, hits incredibly hard and has some decent skill, but every scout I talk to says he'll go in the first round because there are few players like him in the draft. If the Oilers want him they'll have to trade up from #31 (based on Devils forfeiting 1st round pick) to grab him.
- I had a caller named Doug call my show on Monday and declare that, "I'd never want a Russian on my team (Oilers). Historically they are bad news." He wasn't joking, and he was certain that Russians are bad seeds. This got me thinking. If we made a list of bad seeds, guys who didn't care how would they match up to the solid Russian players?
Perceived bad seeds:
Radulov, Filatov, Zherdev, A. Kostitsyn, S. Kostitsyn (I know they are from Belarus, but many assume they're Russian), or Yashin. Yashin produced in regular season, 781 pts in 851 games, but he wasn't great in the playoffs. There is a long list of Canadian players who fall into the same category, so I personally wouldn't say he was a distraction in the room his entire career. I'm sure there are others with a bad rap sheet, but not many come to mind. Do you have any who really stands out? Not guys who didn't produce, because not being productive is not exclusive to Russians or any Nationality.
Larionov, Federov, Bure, Fetisov, Konstantinov, Mogilny, Kravchuk, Kasparaitis, Korolev, Samsonov, Nikolishin, Datsyuk, Malkin, Ovechkin, Kovalchuk and Semin come to mind. You can say Semin is a bit lazy at times, but his lowest goal total in six NHL seasons is 21. Many different players from various Nationalities don't always play hard, so let's stop pretending that Russians are the only ones guilty of that.
It is more accurate to say that they, unlike the Czechs, Swedes and Finns, Russians have a legitimate option to play in a league outside of the NHL and make good money doing it. That is fair, but the best players will want to play in the NHL. We likely won't see as many 3rd and 4th liners anymore, because they can make more money playing in their homeland where they know the language and the culture. I don't blame them for that, nor does it make them bad seeds.
Sadly, I don't think Doug is the only person who feels this way, and I think that perception of Russians is incredibly inaccurate.
- Can we please refrain from making comparisons between the World Championships/Olympics and the NHL. Suggesting that when Canada loses at the WC or Olympics it reflects bad on a GM is ridiculous, just like it is to suggest that because Yzerman won gold in 2010 that he's a great GM. There is no correlation in how you run a NHL team for 365 days a year to a single elimination tournament. Sorry, but there isn't.
- Here is a great read from former NFLer George Koonce. Concussions aren't the only reason former players get depressed. Great stuff, give it a read. The NHLPA should read this.