Auston Matthews has a career Shooting % of 16.7 prior to this season’s 10.2. This is not an article about Matthews and why he isn’t scoring goals, though.
Matt Murray is a bad, bad man who knocks the net off on purpose over and over. We know this because it happened five times (or so) in two games. Not relevant is that the net came off in Minnesota for Marc-Andre Fleury at least once. The history of other goalies having the net come off doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it happened in a sequence. And the saying goes: once is interesting, twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend. More than three is a crime waiting for punishment. It has to be. The sequence here must have an explanation of post hoc ego propter hockey cause and effect.
Murray, now that we know he’s soaked in the sin of pushing the net off on purpose, must be punished. Not for what he does in the future! No, no, no. If Matt Murray knocks the net off again, he will be penalized — it’s obvious that he has to be — because of what has occurred. The past is proof of the intent of an event that hasn’t happened yet, because if it’s not, well — the whole concept of NHL hockey as a product unravels. Thousands of words of sports writing would be called into question, the play-by-play of almost every game would be revealed as nonsense, and everything we know about hockey as a moral lesson set in a world of natural justice, with results following intent and the rightness of the right-playing, right-acting man would be in tatters at our feet.
It is possible to integrate some aspects of the so-called analytics into hockey. We can look at shot share and consider that the right way to play is to keep the puck, and expected goals are okay because you want to drive the net, so shot location is key. Perimeter players are easy to spot, after all. But get any deeper than that and you lose touch with reality. Hockey is here to teach you that the universe has a natural order, and it bends towards hard work and humility. Skill is necessary, but needs to be tempered with responsibility and discipline or it’s dangerous and should be viewed with suspicion.
What a hockey broadcast tells you, correctly of course, it must be correct, is that winning a faceoff leads to possession, and then heart and grit leads you to get the puck to a guy who can score real well, but needs to be sharply watched in the defensive zone.
And it’s important that we understand that if a player scores in several games in a row, he’s on a hot streak, and it will continue because he’s the best player on the team. If he’s cold, he’s squeezing the stick too hard, and no that’s not a double entendre, but as soon as he stops doing that, his cold streak will end.
This situation with Murray and his heinous knocking the net off is no different. It can’t be random that he keeps doing this over and over when the other team has a scoring chance. It never comes off when the play runs the other way, does it? It’s not luck. You make your own luck. Making your own luck means you knock the other guy down when he’s going to score, that’s good, but if a goalie cheats in this classless way by knocking the net off, he should be penalized! Throw the book at him. Rewrite the book and throw it harder.
Because, and this is important, you’re betting on this game. If you’re not the NHL would rather like it if you did. Everything on the ice is cause and effect, it has to be, that’s how the world works, so if your team is hot, you should bet on them. And if your team is on a losing streak, that’s going to change, so you should bet on them. We can’t have goalies cheating and messing that up, and there’s no way things happen in a streak for no reason. There’s people who call that the gambler’s fallacy, but it’s not, it’s science. Randomness and luck are on-off-on-off. Everyone knows that intuitively.
Murray is guilty. And the next time he does it, it will be on purpose, and he will get a penalty. You can bet on that.