|The Right-Hand Men||Tweet|
|Written by Justin Goldman|
|Monday, 19 November 2007 03:24|
There are only a few NHL goalies that wear the catching glove on the right hand. Mathieu Garon, Jose Theodore and Josh Harding always look a little weird in net, but do they have any real advantage, or is it just a coincidence that Garon and Theodore are playing so well in November?
That being said, shooters always have a better chance to score in the top and lower corners instead of the five-hole (duh). Let me also overstate the obvious by repeating the age-old adage, “If the goalie sees it, he’s going to stop it.” So for the sake of this argument, we’ll focus on the two main factors in goals being scored; time and space. The more you have of both, the higher scoring percentage you’ll have.
In today’s NHL, more pure goals (non-deflections) are actually scored to the stick side because goalies are quicker to react with this lighter, smaller glove than deflecting a puck with a stick in their hand. It’s also a well-known fact that “stick-side and just over the pad” is the toughest save for a goalie to make, because it takes more energy and time for them to move a heavy stick instead of a light glove. Realize, however, that there are many factors coming into play here, including the shooter’s skill, the velocity of the shot and the goalie’s quickness and agility.
Now I found some great numbers published by statistician Dirk Hoag regarding shootouts since the start of the 2005-06 season. They somewhat prove the argument that “righty” goalies have an advantage. Although this is just for OT shootouts, left-handed shooters have a 9.1% better shooting percentage (37.3 - 28.2) against left-handed catchers and right-handed shooters boast a 7.8% edge against right-handed catchers (32.8 - 25.0). Let it also be known that roughly 66% of NHL shooters are lefties and only 10% of goalies are “righty”.
That means a left-handed shooter on a righty goalie (75 save %) will have a lower shooting percentage (25%), because the distance between the puck and the goal-line is longer when going stick-side. A shot to the glove would be a straight line, which is a shorter distance. Since goalies are quicker on their glove side, those righty goalies will make more reaction saves against left-handed shooters.
That’s congruent with a right-handed shooter on a lefty goalie (71.8%) having a lower scoring percentage (28.2%) because the distance between the puck and the goal-line is longer (across the body) when shooting to the stick side.
Are you still with me!? Basically, when the situation includes “opposites” (a leftie shooter on a “rightie” goalie), there’s a lower shooting percentage because the glove is actually lined up with the shooter’s stick, which is a shorter distance to the glove. Goalies are quicker glove-side than stick-side, so those righty goalies are going to have a better save percentage against left-handed shooters, which is the case for roughly 66% of the NHL players.
But I’ll be brutally honest and play the “Occam’s Razor” card, as I believe the simplest explanation is the correct one. Right-handed goalies are so rare that they really just confuse shooters and make more saves. I’m no math magician (err…mathematician) and I’m not a big fan of statistics, but after watching Mathieu Garon and Josh Harding play on consecutive nights this past weekend, it’s fairly obvious they fool a lot of shooters and the rest of the time the shooters don’t have the time and space to make an adjustment to their shot.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 11:57|