How to create open net space

Dear Lou

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the question of how much net is available for you to shoot at.  Mike’s comment to make the net bigger was answered, stupidly as is expected, by Daly, who assumed right away that Mike meant wider.  Yes, that would be very difficult.  So impractical that it defies easy implementation.  But as I pointed out, it’s extra height that would alter the game in a good way, making the butterfly less of an advantage in key situations.  The goalies would have to use discretion, and you’d separate those who can think for themselves, from those who can’t.  Marty was at the top of that list his whole career, and even though he was recognized for it, I still think it wasn’t enough recognition.

But putting that question aside for now, there is another way.  You have to go against the grain.  Where you’ve always wanted to shoot from the slot, at the maximum 24 square feet that present themselves to your shot.  The full width of the net, plus the full height.  That’s what the butterfly is designed to cover.  But watch what goalies do when the angle drops, especially below the faceoff dot.  The goalie drops to butterfly, as nearly all do (James’ second goal against versus Dallas is an example), and exposes quite a lot of net.  The full height of the net is still available, but less than half the width, because of the angle.  If the goalie remained standing, pads together, he could cover all of it, and still push himself across the crease very quickly to cover any pass.  But he drops.  And since the goalpost blocks him from extending his leg, in the butterfly, his whole body shifts away from the post.  Hence, there is ALWAYS a nice, big gap on the short side.  Easy to exploit, and there are so many goals scored that way, I think the shooting percentage has to be better than 25%.  Old habits die hard.  It took too long for shooters to learn to shoot high after the butterfly became universal.  And now, goalies will take too long to learn to stand on sharp angle shots.  In the meantime, look for those gaps, and exploit them.  They’re easy pickings.


How to create open net space

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