Friday, July 23, 2010

Red Light, Green Light

So it’s inevitable that we’d eventually get around to taking a look at Mike Green’s 19 goals from the 2009-2010 season. Personally, I had a couple of questions about Mike’s game: “How many times did Mike go end-to-end on the rush and score?” and “How often did he look like a defenseman in scoring a goal?”

Once again, I reviewed each of Green’s goals and placed them in a category. As it turns out, there were 5 categories:
  1. A slap/wrist shot from the right point
  2. A shot off an offensive rush
  3. A shot from the left side
  4. A shot from below the face off dots with the play set up in the offensive zone
  5. An empty net goal
The findings? Well, let’s just say that Mike isn’t a fan of the left side. And he's no Paul Coffey.

Of his 19 goals, 9 were scored on a hard slap shot or wrist shot from the right point, the counter to Ovie’s left-side power play one-timer. Another 4 goals came on an offensive zone rush where his shots came from the middle/right and from below or between the circles. 3 more goals were scored by sneaking down low from the point (the 'Gonchar') and another was a long range empty netter. Mike only scored 2 goals from the left side last season, both from the left faceoff dot.

For the most part, Mike scores the way most defensemen score: from their position on the point and from selectively sneaking in for back door chances when left alone. Mike also has enough speed to join the rush at times, which makes him dangerous trailing the play. But he never broke out for an end-to-end rush like he has in the past (at least he never scored a goal that way).

I found it interesting that so few of Green’s goals were scored from the left side. Usually, for a right shot, playing the left side allows you to open up for a one-timer. Maybe this is because that's Ovie's spot? Mike did, however, almost always take his time with the puck before he shot it, picking his spots rather than blindly throwing pucks at the net.

To me, this analysis was interesting. It showed me that Mike is truly deadly shooting pucks in from the point, not abandoning his defensive responsibilities in favor of skating the puck (something he still does quite often, to the displeasure of many a Cap fan). His point production might be cut a bit if he took fewer risks and skated with the puck less, but his defensive game would likely improve.

Then again, he wouldn’t be Mike Green if he weren’t risky. And quite often, his risks reap rewards.