Some random thoughts before Tuesday’s practice:
Of course, Gomez sports only a paltry 4.9 shooting percentage, which suggests that while he’s improved in his willingness to shoot, he hasn’t necessarily improved his shot. I know that Tom Renney last season wanted to get Gomez to fire more pucks on net, so Gomez shooting more may be a case of the coaching staff encouraging him to do so. Or it could be a reflecion of the fact that after playing most of last season with Brendan Shanahan, one of the great snipers in league history, he doesn’t yet have the linemate that he’s consistently looking for in the slot. Hence he’s the one taking more shots.
That’s my theory at least. I’ll investigate later.
The Rangers, like most teams, prefer to measure “chances,” which is not an official statistic, but something they monitor on their own. It’s basically any shot from relatively close range in the middle of the ice. You would think that the league with all its resources could figure out a way to measure that, since it would be a much better gauge.
It’s hardly my job to defend the Rangers coach. He’s a smart enough guy on his own and the Rangers have a full PR staff to help try to spin things in their favor.
If you don’t like decisions the coach has made, that’s more than fair. I have my own quibbles as well—from why the team doesn’t call up a seventh defenseman to spell one of their struggling regulars; to the complete alienation of Petr Prucha; to the coach’s heavy reliance on his fourth line. But I’m not sure it’s fair to completely misinterpret something the coach has said and then use it as ammunition against him.
OK, that’s enough from this soapbox.
More from practice in a bit…