That wasn't the point in my post. I meant if you're bad at SO, you should work on it (and it's up to the coach to organise more shootout drills, as well as to the players themselves working on their technique). If the players are good at shootout already, they don't have to work that hard on it. But when you're really bad at it, then it's a reason to worry and you should do something about it, i.e. practice.
You implied that the Devils have been practicing this to perfection in your initial post; hence their success. (As we can see, practicing the shootout to perfection can help you a great deal by bringing you a lot of extra points. Good thing that's what the Devils did.)
I don't think they practice it any more or less than any other teams. Like I said, I think a lot of elements have come together (Marty's thorough studying of opposing shooters, the Devils having good players on the roster who are also good in shootouts, etc.). I think the coaches have enough on their plates...I'm sure they'd all love for their teams to have Devils-type success in the shootout, but if a team goes to the shootout more than 15 times a year, it's a lot. It's not a situation that comes up enough to demand too much attention.
Which might not be that far from truth, actually. I mean, if you have a very good record in the shootout and you're playing a tough opponent who you can't find a way to score on... Wouldn't you feel more confident about going to SO than beating them in a normal game?
The Devils were absurdly good at this in 2011-12 for sure (57.1 shooting%, which is insane...not hard to see why they went 12-4). But even with that, there's enough of a luck, anything-can-happen feel that I wouldn't want to bank on winning a game that way. But I'll admit, it was pretty hard not to feel confident when Devils games went to a shootout...especially when shooter #1 was about as guaranteed as one could get to put his shot home.
Aren't you contradicting yourself a little bit here? Do you really think there's no connection between players studying the opposing goalie/shooter carefully and their effectiveness?
Sure there's a connection, but I don't think it's that significant...I think there's only so much one can do to get better in these. And it's like I said, shootouts don't come up often enough that a whole lot of players are going to concentrate that much on it. One of the ways Marty is underappreciated is that he works harder at the mental aspects and nuances of NHL hockey than anyone (read his book and you'll see)...he's dedicated to an almost freakish level. And he's ALWAYS been like that, regardless of who his coach was.
So? It's about technique and practice, just like anything (well, when you practice hard and still don't get results, then someone else should take your spot in the SO. There are usually only three shooters there, anyway, so I'm sure you can find someone capable on an 18-men roster). You're never equally good at all aspects of the game. You can have a powerful shot, but poor accuracy or deking skills. You can be a great passer, but fail at faceoffs. Same with the shootout - no one is guaranteed success in it (though the players you mentioned do translate their offensive skills in the game to shootout success).
The shootout really isn't about technique and practice...mostly because I maintain they're not worked on that much (in relation to more important things), and a lot of luck factors in. I think the guys who have been consistently good since '05-'06 simply have a knack for it. Kovy's story in shootouts this season is a nice one for sure, but that kind of improvement is very rare. He went from being meh to damned near automatic, when the best shooters are usually around 50%.
Of course, no GM is going to give up on acquiring an all-star scorer just because he doesn't score much in the SO. Just like you're going to ignore some other nuances about players if they are good enough (if he scores 100 pts., you can accept the minor defensive mistakes he makes from time to time). But getting a guy with a high shootout scoring percentage might be a good idea if you're struggling in that regard.
I don't think you'll ever see a GM acquire a player primarily because he's a good shootout producer. I think GMs see that as a minor bonus...I need a player who does this, this, and this for this amount of cash. If he's able to produce in shootouts, great, but if he doesn't, so be it. The GM is clearly going to be more concerned about the 82 games of regulation and overtime on-ice play than a skills competition that, at the very most, will rear its ugly head in no more than 25% of his team's games.
True dat. But it still IS up to the GM and coach to do something if the team is performing poorly in some aspect of the game. If you don't have enough depth, you should get some solid 3rd/4th liners. If you're bad at the faceoff circle, get a center who can win some faceoffs (even if he's not great at other stuff). Same with shootouts: if you're notorious for losing them and you don't do anything about it (get a player who's good technically or make some more SO drills), then you only have yourself to blame and you shouldn't bitch about the world being unjust.
This goes back to what I was saying before...the other aspects you are talking about can affect you in every single game of the season. The shootout doesn't...at most, if you suck at it, it will hurt you in 25% of your games at most (a lot of teams only play 10 or so of them total), and even then it's not like you're going to lose them all...most seasons your team will find a way to win at least 30%-35% of them.
Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976, 09 April 2012 - 09:38 AM.