Kachinas’ goalie parents and coaches, this is Goaltending Director Hiroki Wakabayashi.


Part 2: How Bad is that Bad Goal?

Only a goalie can appreciate what a goalie goes through.
Jacques Plante
(Hockey Hall of Famer)


Many people including pro coaches and commentators casually say “I know nothing about goaltending but it was a BAD GOAL, I could have stopped it!” but how do they know it’s a bad goal without knowing goaltending?

Here are some criteria that you have to consider when you say it was a BAD goal.

Shooting Areas on the ice

Many study suggest that “The Distance from the Net is the most correlate factor of the shooting %. So basically,,, “The closer the better” for shooters and of course “The closer the more difficult” for goalies.

Look at the diagram of NHL goalies’ save % by the shooting areas on ice.

The stats show even the best goalies of the world give up 1 out of 4 shots taken from net front (Inner Slot) area.

Therefore, most of the goal given up from net front area are considered to be “Good-Goals-Bad-Defense-Goalie-Can-Only-Do-So-Much” although a goalie can/should always get better on making those saves if he/she wants to become an elite goalie because this IS the area to make you stands out in games.

Other slot area (West/East Outer Slot) also could create quality scoring chances but the save % in everywhere else is stunning 94.6 and up. This means you try to score from those mid-far range for 100 times and you won’t score more than 5 in NHL level.

Therefore, the goals against from mid-far range are usually considered as “bad goals”

Of course, they could be “OMG-that-was-a-rocket” types of shots if the guys like Ovechkin are given enough time to wind up and snipe even from outside of the prime scoring area so you have to analyze each goal closely before the judgement.

Scoring Situation

Another huge factor to consider is Scoring Situation, which means, “What happened before the shot”.

It’s a well know fact in hockey analysis that the shot immediately taken after passes (one timer or quick release) is way more difficult to stop compare to the “Clear” shot taken after the puck stayed on shooters stick for a few seconds (drive and shoot type of plays). 

As you can see below, a great goalie like Lundqvist stopped about 97 of 100 Clear (or Clean) shots. Therefore, it could be a bad goal if he gave up those clear shots. Or they could be just super snipes as I talked about earlier.

On contrary, his save % dropped down significantly against the shot right after passes or tipped.

It’s interesting to see that the save % against your favorite “Rebound” situation was not too bad (80%). Which means “shoot and rebound” is only the 3rd best best tactic if you want to generate more goals. 

From the goaltending point of view, 1) rebound coming off the chest/belly or 2) being lazy on covering the rebound in front then getting scored on are definitely counted as Bad Goals.

Full video here to explain the Shot Quality. Great 6mins watch.

Screened Shot

Another obvious big factor is screens to destruct goalie’s sight. Simply, any shot from any area can be very dangerous if the goalie lost the sight of the puck. We sometimes misevaluate the long shot went in as a bad goal just by watching from the bench or stand but we always have to check if there was something blocked the goalie’s sight or not.

Leaked Through Body

Regardless of the Shooting Areas and Scoring Situations, the shot leaked through your body (between arm and body or notorious 5-hole) is almost always a bad goal because shooter can score these goals mostly by just shooting hard on you.

However, as we discussed in a Newsletter last year, 5-hole is one of the weakest holes even in NHL level so it’s not easy to shut it down perfectly especially with lateral movements as we talked about already.

Stickhandling mistake leading to a goal against is yes, it’s a bad goal.

There are “bad TIMING goals” we can talk all night about them but,,, ok ok, I know you had enough reading about this depressing subject. I just finish with a great quote from my friend Sean Burke.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Hiroki Wakabayashi
World Hockey Lab LLC. 1140 E Wildwood Drive Phoenix, AZ 85048

[ Newsletter Vol. 4 Part 1 | Newsletter Vol. 5 ]