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The Value of Stick Checks

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06-19-2013, 10:43 PM
  #1
SolidusAKA
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The Value of Stick Checks

I was watching coaches corner the other day and heard Don Cherry say something about how you should never stick check when a player has a clear shot at the net because it often can deflect pucks into the net and interrupt the goalies ability to process the shot. I always thought that you should always be trying to disrupt the shot before it is taken.

Long story short: is there a good time and bad time to stick check, should you always be stick checking, or is stick checking something that should be avoid.

This is specifically in the context in which a shot has yet to be taken. When should you try to put your stick in the way of a shot?

I dont know much about CORSI, is there a stat might explain this?

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06-19-2013, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SolidusAKA View Post
I was watching coaches corner the other day and heard Don Cherry say something about how you should never stick check when a player has a clear shot at the net because it often can deflect pucks into the net and interrupt the goalies ability to process the shot. I always thought that you should always be trying to disrupt the shot before it is taken.

Long story short: is there a good time and bad time to stick check, should you always be stick checking, or is stick checking something that should be avoid.

This is specifically in the context in which a shot has yet to be taken. When should you try to put your stick in the way of a shot?
No, absolutely not. What Cherry said (for once) was correct. If you put your stick in the way, you only have a small chance of stopping the shot but there is a significant chance you will deflect the puck. If you are getting in the way of a shot you want to use your body, not your stick. You have a greater chance to stop the puck (larger area, more mass) and are less likely to cause a wild deflection that way.

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I dont know much about CORSI, is there a stat might explain this?
CORSI is just the aggregate total of all shots on goal+missed shots+blocked shots. It won't tell if the shot was blocked by a body or stick, or if it was scored as a "miss" and was deflected, and obviously if it goes on net it's still a shot on goal.

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06-19-2013, 11:53 PM
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SolidusAKA
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
No, absolutely not. What Cherry said (for once) was correct. If you put your stick in the way, you only have a small chance of stopping the shot but there is a significant chance you will deflect the puck. If you are getting in the way of a shot you want to use your body, not your stick. You have a greater chance to stop the puck (larger area, more mass) and are less likely to cause a wild deflection that way.
This is a great point, but I was wondering more specifically about when the only option is to get a stick on it. In a situation where you are far enough way to be unable to block the shot but close enough to deflect or poke it. Is it better to do nothing if there is a chance you might just be deflecting it in or is it better to risk it and disrupt the shot?

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06-20-2013, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
No, absolutely not. What Cherry said (for once) was correct. If you put your stick in the way, you only have a small chance of stopping the shot but there is a significant chance you will deflect the puck. If you are getting in the way of a shot you want to use your body, not your stick. You have a greater chance to stop the puck (larger area, more mass) and are less likely to cause a wild deflection that way.
Interestingly enough, the numbers that Cunneen looked at in his blocks thread there's no correlation between blocking shots and preventing Fenwick events or the percentage of Fenwick events that eventually go in on a team level.

The problem with blocks in general, and stick checks specifically, is that there's a large tendency towards confirmation bias when watching games. When a stick check goes wrong and a goal is scored we're analyzing "why did that goal occur", "who did something wrong", "how did it get past the goalie" but when it goes right no one cares. It's either deflected into the corner and play continues or it goes up into the netting and we have a faceoff.

There's actually a large number of stick checks that go right, but are basically unnoticed. I don't have specific numbers on them, but it would be interesting to see what specific percentage go right and how many go wrong and compare that to what percentage of those shots would have been goals without stick checks.

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06-20-2013, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SolidusAKA View Post
I was watching coaches corner the other day and heard Don Cherry say something about how you should never stick check when a player has a clear shot at the net because it often can deflect pucks into the net and interrupt the goalies ability to process the shot. I always thought that you should always be trying to disrupt the shot before it is taken.

Long story short: is there a good time and bad time to stick check, should you always be stick checking, or is stick checking something that should be avoid.

This is specifically in the context in which a shot has yet to be taken. When should you try to put your stick in the way of a shot?

I dont know much about CORSI, is there a stat might explain this?
I don't care what cherry says. If i'm defending a 1-on-1, i'll stick check everytime if I can check at the moment when the forward stick touches the puck. I'd say 95% of the time it results in a puck going wide.

If I can't time it properly then yes, I agree it's better to leave the goalie with a clear sight.

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06-20-2013, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacklours View Post
I don't care what cherry says. If i'm defending a 1-on-1, i'll stick check everytime if I can check at the moment when the forward stick touches the puck. I'd say 95% of the time it results in a puck going wide.

If I can't time it properly then yes, I agree it's better to leave the goalie with a clear sight.
1 on 1, stick checking makes a lot more sense. But if you're defending against the cycle or killing a penalty blocking would seem to be better.


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Originally Posted by hatterson View Post
Interestingly enough, the numbers that Cunneen looked at in his blocks thread there's no correlation between blocking shots and preventing Fenwick events or the percentage of Fenwick events that eventually go in on a team level.
I found Cunneen's analysis interesting, but I think there's the confounding factor that for many players, blocking the shot might actually be the best play available for them. This could be for a number of reasons - they could have slow feet, poor stick positioning, poor gap control, and so on. Hence, they block more shots as an attempt to make up for deficiencies in their defensive play. If they were to not block shots, odds are their teams would be worse off. Maybe you can argue that teams should look for players with better stick positioning and gap control, but they might be deficient in other areas too.


I'm not sure how to quantify this effect in a simple fashion, though - you'd have to look at games where the players in question played a lot of minutes but didn't block many shots and see if he fared any better or worse than if he were trying to block more shots. But that in itself raises the issue that if we're looking at a player who always tries to block, he's bound to have a few games where he won't block at all despite trying his best, so these "0 block" games might be a result of a typical deviation rather than a conscious attempt to not block shots.

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06-20-2013, 04:13 PM
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It all depends on positioning.

If the defender can get his stick near the puck (<20 cm or so) and the shooter is reasonably far out, I want my defenseman to make that play 100% of the time. Any redirection will most likely deflect the puck wide, and there's more time for me to make an adjustment.

Closer to the net, things get a bit dicier. But if the defender thinks he can get his stick on the puck, I say go for it. I really think overall that saves goals.

But attempting to knock pucks out of mid-air? Or reach for a puck when you're more than a metre away from the shooter? Oh hell no.

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06-21-2013, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuineaPig View Post
It all depends on positioning.

If the defender can get his stick near the puck (<20 cm or so) and the shooter is reasonably far out, I want my defenseman to make that play 100% of the time. Any redirection will most likely deflect the puck wide, and there's more time for me to make an adjustment.

Closer to the net, things get a bit dicier. But if the defender thinks he can get his stick on the puck, I say go for it. I really think overall that saves goals.

But attempting to knock pucks out of mid-air? Or reach for a puck when you're more than a metre away from the shooter? Oh hell no.
I think you nailed it. If your stick is within 2ft of the shooter, yes block it. It the puck is airborne get your stick out of the way.

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06-21-2013, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuineaPig View Post
It all depends on positioning.

If the defender can get his stick near the puck (<20 cm or so) and the shooter is reasonably far out, I want my defenseman to make that play 100% of the time. Any redirection will most likely deflect the puck wide, and there's more time for me to make an adjustment.

Closer to the net, things get a bit dicier. But if the defender thinks he can get his stick on the puck, I say go for it. I really think overall that saves goals.

But attempting to knock pucks out of mid-air? Or reach for a puck when you're more than a metre away from the shooter? Oh hell no.
I agree I never bat a puck out of mid air, i'll move away a bit if I can't make a play, so I clear the goalies view a bit.

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06-22-2013, 09:54 AM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacklours View Post
I don't care what cherry says. If i'm defending a 1-on-1, i'll stick check everytime if I can check at the moment when the forward stick touches the puck. I'd say 95% of the time it results in a puck going wide.
That's not quite the same situation; one on one you're typically going to be close to your opponent and not only would a stick check be the better option, in many cases it's the only option (if you're not lined up, you don't have the chance to block).

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolidusAKA View Post
This is a great point, but I was wondering more specifically about when the only option is to get a stick on it. In a situation where you are far enough way to be unable to block the shot but close enough to deflect or poke it. Is it better to do nothing if there is a chance you might just be deflecting it in or is it better to risk it and disrupt the shot?
IMHO, stick-checking a shot should be reserved for when you can actually make contact with the stick.

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