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Rule the Roost

There is a lot of talk about Lino Martschini’s playoff-performance and the reasons for his scoring-drought are served on a silver platter: He is too small, too light-weighted and doesn’t drive to the net hard enough and is not ready to resist hits in the painful slot-area; he is too soft. Some voices even remember his subpar performance during last year’s world championship plus last year’s playoffs. Popular majority-opinion at this point: Lino Martschini can’t be successful on the international stage and in tight playoff-games.

By Thomas Roost

I don’t agree with this. I can’t prove my opinion but I boldly say that my opinion is based more on probabilities and on many more facts and figures in comparison to the opposite opinion. The basis of my opinion is the so-called PDO-Value, used in advanced NHL-stats as an indicator for future improvement or regress and representing “puck-luck”. One part of the PDO-Value is the shooting-percentage, the other part is the save-percentage. The average shooting percentage in the long-term is about 9% and varies from the best to the worst team just slightly from a minimum of 8% to a maximum of 10%. So if a team presents a shooting-percentage of let’s say 12% in one season, this would be a strong indicator that this team will regress in the upcoming season because no team keeps a constant 12% shooting-percentage in the long term.

Why am I telling you this? Where is the Lino Martschini-factor here? Well, the shooting-percentage is also a good indicator to judge individuals. In addition, the amount of shots says a lot more about a good or not so good performance than goals scored. “Really??? It’s the goals that count and not the shots on goal!” “Yes, true, but this is a typical example of just measuring “success” and success is not performance, success is performance plus a huge part of luck, puck-luck as we call it in hockey. Goals in hockey decide about winning or losing but goals are a rare occurrence and this is exactly the trap we fall into. In a lot of analyses and when judging players, coaches and/or sporting-directors, we judge them according to their success and not according to their performance.

Well, how has Lino Martschini performed in the playoffs so far? He has a similar amount of shots on goal compared to the regular season. This means that he is able to create scoring chances and that he goes to the areas where he can shoot the puck. Although the opponents in the playoff are on average slightly better than in the regular-season, he is able to put himself into promising scoring positions even a bit more than in the regular season. The big difference is the shooting-percentage: In the regular season, his shooting-percentage was 18% and now in the playoffs it’s...2%. This means: He just has to wait, stay composed and relaxed. There will again be weeks with a shooting-percentage of close to 20%; Martschini’s “normal” shooting-percentage is probably between 12% and 13%. We have to know that all goal-scorers always score in bunches. Even Crosby and Ovechkin have loooong scoring-droughts from time to time, that’s part of the game and quite common. The problem is: You never know when these droughts will be and when the over performing phases appear. Nobody has the key to this. The best NHL-shooting-percentage-players in the long term (many seasons) are Crosby with 14%, Tavares and Kane with 13%. Ovechkin and Malkin are in the books with 12%. On the other end, we have the NHL-great Zetterberg with “only” 8%. Former German NHL-player Marcel Goc also comes in at 8% and NLA import-player Lapierre is with only 7% at the back-end of this stat.

Coming back to the Swiss League: This year’s playoff-hero Dino Wieser proudly presents a 33% shooting-percentage! This means he vastly over performed. Because of this stat his ¼ and ½-final performances most probably get overrated here and there. Never ever will he keep this scoring-percentage in the future. Ebbett now has 22%. This means he also over performs and won’t keep this pace. Now, coming back to Lino Martschini. In my opinion, he really performs well in these playoffs but hasn’t been lucky when it comes to scoring goals most of the times so far. Is this dangerous for SCB in the upcoming games? Yes. They have to expect more goals from Martschini and Suri. This is dangerous. No. Because they can also expect that McIntyre won’t keep his pace with a playoff-shooting-percentage of 29% so far. He will score less.

Finishing off this topic: My opinion is not the “truth”. It’s just a calculation that leads to probabilities. I stick to the following opinion: It’s very likely that Martschini and Suri will produce more goals in the next games and Ebbett and McIntyre will score less. The basis of this prediction are those players’ respective shooting-percentages. This “calculation” is also called the “regression towards the mean-effect”.

Don’t get me wrong. In the case of Lino Martschini I would come to a different conclusion if the amount of shots taken during the playoffs would be significantly lower than in the regular-season. If that was the case, I would say that in tight, important games, be that national or international games, he is not able to put himself “open”, to get himself into shooting-positions because he is too afraid, too small, to light-weighted or whatever. But this is not the case: Lino Martschini is a very good player, he really can shoot the puck and he will score, mark my words! :-)

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About the Blog

Rule the Roost

Thomas Roost, CHRO and Executive Board member in a intl. tourist company, NHL-scout for Central Scouting Europe since 1995, scout for SC Bern from 2007-2010 and EHC Biel since 2010.

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