As I watched the second intermission show of the Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs game, TSN commentator Ray Ferraro commented on a point that we have all heard so many times—hit the net! The Leafs had already missed the net 13 times in the first two periods. They were doing a fine job of not giving their team a chance to win on this point alone.
Ferraro also said something to the effect that “The net has been in the same place for over 200 years” and he was marveling on how an entire team could be so inept at getting the puck on the net.
Coaches always stress shooting the puck—and hitting the net. Starting with warming up your goalies at the beginning of a practice, there is little value in shots that miss the net. Coaches do things like making players do pushups or do extra skating when players miss the net during drills. This sometimes helps.
Consistently hitting the net is more of a mental thing than a reflection of physical ability. Having the mindset to get the puck on the net is where a player needs to be. Coaches can help with consistently demanding this in practices. Players who like to score make it a habit to get the puck on the net consistently. Top power plays try to get the puck to the net every time they have the man advantage.
“A shot on goal is never a bad thing.” We all heard that line before.
Oh, by the way, the Leafs continued to miss the net in the third period. They lost 4-1.