Friday, 2 December 2011

So It Has Come Down to Criticizing Shootout Choices

I have a job that requires me to wake up at the ungodly hour of 6am every day. This doesn't cater well to 10:30pm starts to Habs games so needless to say, I missed the tail end of the team's latest loss last night. I woke up to see Travis Moen as one of Twitter's trending topics in Canada. Naturally, my immediate thought was that Moen was either traded or scored/was responsible for the game-winning goal. Turns out Moen was selected to be a shooter in the shootout, a decision Jacques Martin has been grilled for today.

I'm among those who believe that while Jacques Martin is not a bad coach, he isn't the ideal candidate to get the most out of this group of Habs players. However, I certainly won't judge him for his selection of shootout participants because frankly, the entire thing is a crap shoot.

Guess who the active NHL leader is in shootout percentage (among those with at least five attempts)? Hint: You're more likely to find his name on the waiver wire than any endorsement contract. John Mitchell, he of 21 career goals. Someone you've seen suit up for the Connecticut Whale this year far more than you've seen in a Rangers jersey. In second place is Adrien Aucoin.

Some teams are lucky enough to have players who do decently enough in the shootout that you can pencil them in without thinking twice about it but let me do some research for you. None of those players are on Montreal's current roster. The best the Habs currently have to offer is Brian Gionta and he fails 61% of the time. Point is, there is no one close to automatic on this team so Jacques Martin may as well just pull names out of a hat.

The typical fan says to go with your goal scorers. Well guess what? The first four shooters last night were the top four players in the lineup in goal-scoring. I can get behind the logic that you go with the guys who have seen the most shots of theirs hit the back of the net. No one who took the ice in San Jose last night has seen their shots light the lamp this season more than Travis Moen.

So grill Jacques Martin all you want. Just get some better material.

Follow me on Twitter @HeyMyNameIsWill


  1. Well said. Sometimes I think we'd get just as good results if JM wrote all the names on that notepad of his, cut them out, threw them in the air and picked the ones he was closest to.

  2. Agreed, Will does a great job of breaking it down in his debut post, here...