I have been pondering doing this for a while and over the past few days I finally got around to it. I have had a theory for a while that an average shot resulting from a rush up the ice is more difficult than a shot than the average shot that is generated by offensive zone play. It makes sense for numerous reasons:
- The rush may be an odd-man rush
- The rush comes with speed making it more difficult for defense/goalie to defend.
- Shots are probably take from closer in (aside from when a team wants to do a line change rarely do they shoot from the blue line on a rush).
To test this theory I defined a shot off the rush as the following:
- A shot within 10 seconds of a shot attempt by the other team on the other net.
- A shot within 10 seconds of a face off at the other end or in the neutral zone.
- A shot within 10 seconds of a hit, giveaway or takeaway in the other end or the neutral zone.
I initially looked at just the first two but the results were inconclusive because the number of rush events were simply too small so I added giveaway/takeaway and hits to the equation and this dramatically increased the sample size of rush shots. This unfortunately introduces some arena bias into the equation as it is well known that hits, giveaways and takeaways vary significantly from arena to arena. We will have to keep this in mind in future analysis of the data and possibly consider just road stats.
For now though I am going to look at all 5v5 data. Here is a chart of how each team looked in terms of rush and non-rush shooting percentages.
So, it is nice to see that the hypothesis holds true. Every team had a significantly higher shooting percentage on “rush” shots than on shots we couldn’t conclusively define as a rush shot (note that some of these could still be rush shots but we didn’t have an event occur at the other end or neutral zone to be able to identify it as such). As a whole, the league has a rush shot shooting percentage of 9.56% over the past 7 seasons while the shooting percentage is just 7.34% on shots we cannot conclusively define as a rush shot. Over the 7 years 23.5% of all shots were identified as rush shots while 28.6% of all goals scored were on the rush.
In future posts over the course of the summer I’ll investigate rush shots further including but not limited to the following:
- How much does the frequency of rush shots drive a teams/players overall shooting/save percentages?
- Are score effects on shooting/save percentages largely due to increase/decrease in rush shot frequency?
- Are there teams/players that are better at reducing number of rush shots?
- Can rush shots be used to identify and quantify “shot quality” in any useful way?
- How does this align with the zone entry research that is being done?