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Jacques Lemaire on Scoring Chances

There's been a ton of work being done around the Oilersphere on scoring chances lately.  Dennis did a superb job of recording them every night and putting them up at Tyler's site, while lately Scott at Gospel of Hockey has done running tallies and lately Vic at IOF has been getting involved too.

Anyway, with all this work being done it's good to remember a basic truth about scoring chances.  Jean Lefebvre, an excellent sportswriter and a great addition to FlamesNation, related a story in his last piece that really drives the truth home:

Canucks defenceman Willie Mitchell, who played for Lemaire in Minnesota, tells this story: “I remember one time against Detroit. I scored late in the game to put us up 3-2 or maybe tie it at 3-3. It was my second year in Minnesota and we were playing against Detroit when they had everyone. Jacques pulls me in the office the next day and I think I’m going to get the old pat on the ass, the old fluffing up because I had scored.

“He said, ‘Willie, you had three chances (to score) last game. Pretty good, pretty good. But you had three chances against — ooh, not so good.’ Then he says, ‘Detroit Red Wings — Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Brett Hull, three chances. Minnesota Wild — Willie Mitchell, three chances. Who’s going to score more goals? Play defence.’”

In other words, even if Ales Hemsky breaks even at this, he's coming out ahead.  And when guys like Ethan Moreau and Steve Staios finish 100 in the hole at even-strength, that's even worse than it appears.