OK so this post/rant has been the chamber for a while but since Fluto Shinzawa over at the Boston.com Bruins Blog mentioned the topic today I figured that I would get around to finishing my thoughts on Dennis WIDEman and his amazing ability to miss the net..

First, here is what Fluto had to say about today’s bruins practice:

Cone work

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff March 18, 2009 10:30 AM

WILMINGTON — Good morning from Ristuccia Arena, where the Bruins have started skating onto the ice for practice.

Dennis Wideman was on early with assistant coach Doug Houda. With help from some cones placed at the points, Wideman has been practicing getting his shots through traffic and on net.

* Phil Kessel is back on the ice today. Kessel was given a maintenance day yesterday.

I have had a few discussions with various people throughout the season about shots on goals and, more specifically, Dennis Wideman’s  inability to hit the net. Fluto Shinzawa asked Dennis about his ‘accuracy problem’ and his responses on the topic are pretty funny and/or ridiculous.   The following quotes are from Fluto Shinzawa’s Bruins Notebook on February 23rd in The Boston Globe.

First, let me say that I think Wideman is obviously a top tier defenseman in the league and probably should have been at the all-star game in Montreal this year. He is 10th in the league in points for a defenseman (12-32-42) and leads the league in +/- for defenseman (+30).  However, his reaction to being questioned on his shots on goal remind me of some actor talking down to someone becuase they don’t understand “the art of their craft” or some bullshit like that:

Dennis Wideman doesn’t think much of the missed shot statistic.

“The guys who keep missed shots are up very high,” said Wideman of the off-ice officials, usually stationed in the press box. “A lot of them get tipped wide sometimes. Or you don’t have a shooting lane, so you just dump it cross-ice from the corner and they count them as missed shots. It’s not a good stat.”

Let me just stop you there. I am not saying that I have seen, or can recall, all 204 of your shot attempts this year but I am pretty sure that the amount of times that you wind up for bombs from the point, outnumbers your crafty cross corner dumps to unnamed players by a pretty wide margin. Plus, all those guys that sit ‘up very high’ are sitting right next to the scouts, GMs, broadcasters and Cam Neelys of the hockey world. Basically all the people that are important in hockey and know where the best place to watch a hockey game is  sit up there (Oh yeah, they also have TVs and replays of any play in question too).  So to claim that they can’t really see what is going on in the game is a pretty weak argument.

As misleading as the statistic may be – a miss often can be a judgment call by the off-ice officials, who must determine intent at game speed – Wideman has been tagged with 83 missed shots, third-most among NHL defensemen behind Edmonton’s Sheldon Souray (105) and Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf (91). However, entering yesterday’s game, Wideman was credited with 121 shots, fewer than Souray (199) and Phaneuf (206).

Therefore, Wideman has missed on 40.7 percent of his shots, a higher percentage than Souray (34.5 percent) and Phaneuf (30.6 percent), meaning the Boston defenseman could be even more productive (40 points) if more pucks landed on net.

Exactly. If they miss one of your ‘secret dump/shots’ or ‘wide shots in an attempt to get a funny rebound off the back boards’ (which is a legitimate and smart play in some rinks), I understand. But I don’t think that you have done that 83 times this year, Dennis!

“For us, it’s pretty simple,” said coach Claude Julien. “If you’ve got a clear shot at the net, you’ve got to hit the net. If you’re not, I think that’s your responsibility. But what we do sometimes is when the [defensemen] are being pressured and guys are coming on them, you don’t want that shot blocked. If it means shooting it wide, we should have some guys at the side of the net tipping pucks. That’s important. If the guy’s not there to tip it in, it’s a wide shot. But it’s certainly better than seeing it get blocked and having the guy go on a breakaway.”

Ahh Claude. Always the voice of reason. He makes complete sense here. Obviously a soft chip into the corner is much better than shooting it into some guy’s pads and giving him a breakaway. But if that is a problem for you 83 times in the first 59 games of the year (almost 1.5 times a game), you need to have a little after practice session with Chara up at Riscuccia – (apparently the bruins feel that assistant coach Douh Houda is up to the task of helping Wideman) .

Wideman, the quarterback on the second power-play unit, explained that it’s more challenging than it appears. With the primary objective to keep the puck in the offensive zone, defensemen must sneak shots through lanes that, because of the leaguewide emphasis on shot-blocking, are sometimes too tight.

“It’s hard from the point with guys in the shooting lanes and stuff like that,” Wideman said. “Sometimes you have a really thin lane to get it through. You’re shooting sometimes hoping it hits someone and goes in. Those are all missed shots.”

Alright, alright. You can make as many excuses as you want about shooting lanes, blocked shots or even tilted ice but the bottom line is that you have the highest percentage of missed shots in the league. That is one list that you do not want to be on.  Missing the net is so aggravating to me that I could put it right next to the plus/minus category as a major factor in a player’s effectiveness (although it would be ridiculous to compare Wideman to Rod ‘the bod’ Brind’Amour who is an astounding –30 -28 and in last place in the NHL in +/- as the captain of the Hurricanes).

All things said, Wideman is a great defenseman who has shown that he is an all-star caliber player in Boston. The Bruins would not be anywhere close to their current success without his consistent play. However the bottom line is that he needs to get his shots through to the net.

Updated shot stats:

Defensemen with the most missed shots:

(Wideman still lead all defensemen with the highest % of missed shots)

Player Team Total Shots Shots on Net Missed Shots % Missed
Sheldon Souray EDM 347 231 116 33.43%
Dion Phaneuf CGY 354 245 109 30.79%
Shea Weber NSH 320 219 101 31.56%
Dennis Wideman BOS 239 143 96 40.17%
Chris Pronger ANA 254 164 90 35.43%


8 Responses to “WIDE-man”

  1. 1 moremoreskidmore
    March 19, 2009 at 10:10 AM

    I read the “about” page for this blog, and while it says you cover all aspects of hockey, from D-III college to the NHL, it sure seems like all you guys (or should I say ladies?) write about are the Boston Bruins. The D-III frozen four is coming up, and there has been no dialogue on the NCAA tourney (I mean, the #1 team in the nation since November got knocked out by a bunch of thugs from Neumann College!). I did enjoy TheKiiids article on the Coyotes, and fighting for that matter, but if I wanted to read about the boston bruins all the time, i would just go the bruins blog. How about the rangers starting to play better hockey (6-3-2 uner Tortarella, after going 2-7-2 in Tom Renney’s last 11 games behind the bench). What about Martin Brodeur becoming the winningest goaltender of all-time? thoughts? comments? Or how about the fact that the Devils are just 4 points out of tieing the HOLY BRUINS for 1st place in the eastern conference? NAH, you’d rather write about Wideman missing the net more than he hits the net…AFTER the bruins blog already wrote about it. get some original dialogue or else you’re going to lose a very loyal reader!

    That is All.

    • 2 commissionerdangle
      March 19, 2009 at 10:44 AM

      Easy Chief. Agreed that content has been light lately but I think that was made clear with the post: Loge 19 on Vacation. Working on catching up at the moment..

      We will have a college hockey update by tomorrow and an NHL round out later today.

      I’m sure that if you fully read the ‘about’ page you would have seen the last line that states, “If you have anything to add, please contact us at loge19blog@gmail.com and we will post it to the site.” So if you have something hockey related that you want to talk about, e-mail us and we will post it. Thanks for reading! Go B’s!

  2. 3 thekiiid
    March 19, 2009 at 11:48 AM

    We picked up a New York Rangers guy, he should start posting soon.

  3. 4 moremoreskidmore
    March 19, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    i’m not coming to log19 to read about any specific team. While I do appreciate the Bruins stories, that is all I have been reading as of late. LPsnipa6 has been dead in the water since Middlebury got bounced from NESCACS and didn’t make the NCAA tourney…AGAIN. “COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE”

    Remember, creative thought matters!

    For example: Remember when Sean avery called out Bettman and the NHL for poor marketing during the off season (might have been early in the year, can’t remember); and then when he tried to ruffle a few more feathers with his ‘sloppy seconds’ comment, he was slammed with a hefty suspension (6 games) compared to what guys receive for “intent to injur” elbows and hits from behind (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYFn30ryLfs – Five Game Suspension, Gauthier has a history of hits like this, and he gets suspended 1 less game than avery did for off-ice comments – huh!? what?). Fast Forward to this past weekend, when NBC picked up the Rangers vs. Flyers tilt Sunday afternoon, and they put their ‘Star Cam’, which follows one specific player around the ice for every shift they are out there, on none other than Sean Avery…hmmmm, makes you wonder if there were altertior motives behind the Avery suspension. I’m not saying there were any motives, but it sure is interesting how everyone around the league was outraged by it, and now they are marketing him to sell the game down the final stretch into the playoffs (on the biggest national TV stage the NHL has seen since the Outdoor Living Network, I mean Versus took over their TV rights).

    • 5 commissionerdangle
      March 19, 2009 at 3:45 PM

      Check out the new post. http://loge19.com/2009/03/19/nhl-round-up/

      LPsnipa6 is licking his wounds inflicted by the Lord Jeffs of Amherst. He will be back soon.

      We would like to add a Rangers guy but they are all fair weather fans and only want to do posts after their team wins. We are working on it…

      The kiiiid will take care of things when he gets back from sunning himself in AZ

    • 6 thekiiid
      March 20, 2009 at 5:48 PM

      moremoreskidmore, looks as though you want a permanent seat in the Loge, could this be true?

      • 7 commissionerdangle
        March 20, 2009 at 10:49 PM

        Alot of mouth from moremoreskidmore lately. I like some of his analysis. I think if he plays his cards right we could use some of his insight. It would be nice to get an opinion from somewhere outside of New England….

        I think we have a couple of seats open in row 25. just have to verify with the kiiiiiiiiiiid.

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