What Happens When Alex Ovechkin Shoots?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Ovechkin scores a lot. More than anyone since he's come into the league. But what about when he doesn't score?

There's never been any question that Alex Ovechkin is a volume shooter. Our buddy Greg Wyshynski delved into the phenomenon that is Ovechkin's rapid-fire hockey stick last week, inspired of course by a torrid shooting pace to start the season, even by Ovechkin standards.

Despite Ovechkin's accomplishments, there's been a quiet-yet-sustained conversation about the nature of the Great Eight's shot totals. The argument, neatly boiled is as follows: Ovechkin's shot totals are the result of his selfish nature. The counterargument is yeah, well, if it was that easy to rack up the shot numbers, anyone could do it.

We've picked apart Ovechkin's shot selection in the past - but this time around we're going to ignore the shot itself, and look at what happens in the 15 seconds after the Great Eight does what he does best. (Big thanks to Muneeb Alam for the data mining, by the way. You'd do well to follow him on Twitter and check out his additional work at Red Line Station.)

Detailed below are all events that I have determined to be important, dynamic in-game events that happen within 15 seconds of Alex Ovechkin notching an even strength shot on goal.

Season

Ovechkin ES SOG not resulting in Goal

Events resulting in NZ FO

Opp. Corsi Events

Opp. Icing

Opp. Giveaway

Opp. Penalty

Wsh. Shots

Wsh. Missed Shots

Wsh. Shots Blocked

Wsh. Goals

Events resulting in OZ FO

2007

254

21

10

2

7

11

43

14

17

10

103

2008

283

24

13

5

8

7

30

19

20

5

114

2009

213

24

26

4

6

4

32

9

6

11

71

2010

213

21

8

3

2

4

33

10

13

5

75

2011

187

22

17

1

3

3

21

12

10

4

71

2012

121

9

8

2

5

8

7

8

6

3

52

TOTAL

1271

121

82

17

31

37

166

72

72

38

486

You'll notice that in organizing this data I separately classified Washington's shots, goals, missed shots, and shots that were blocked by the opponent, while simply grouping all of those same events for the opponent as "Opp. Corsi Events." I did this because we can presume that in a game situation with any team's top line on the ice, and that team's best player having just taken a shot, the next fifteen seconds should feasibly be comprised of positive events for that team... which in this case is the Washington Capitals. The purpose of this data is to show exactly what types of positive events happen.

I have, however, included a sum of events that resulted in neutral zone faceoffs, which is not inherently positive or negative (as you, the deductive reader, perhaps has intuited from the word "neutral.") The "Opp. Corsi Events" column is here to provide context in that these are negative events, or, at the very least, not positive events. In case you're curious, of the opponent's 82 Corsi events, 5 did result in goals against the Capitals.

Aside from the rare rush the other way, what the data tells us is that more than a quarter of the even-strength shots taken by Ovechkin are followed by a secondary shot attempt (348 Corsi events after 1271 Ovechkin SOGs).

How 'bout that big number there? Those 486 offensive draws forced? That's almost a 40% Ovi-shot-to-OZ-draw rate. So what happened in the 15 seconds after those faceoffs?

This is a cumulative summary of all positive post-faceoff events:

Goals after FO

10

Shots after FO

63

Missed shots after FO

43

Blocked shot after FO

49

Now seems look a good time to reiterate that all the data above comes from Alex Ovechkin shots that have not been goals. So let's go ahead and bring those moments into the equation - because, you know, Ovechkin goals are definitely positive events for the Capitals.

From 2007-2012, which is the period during which this data was extracted from, Ovechkin scored 129 goals at even strength. Let's assume that the 38 goals scored shortly after an Ovechkin shot existed in some way - physically or cosmically - because of a chain of events of which at least one link was an Ovechkin shot on goal.

That's 167 goals, or 21% of the Washington Capitals' total even-strength goals scored in a five-season sample (796 - which, for what it's worth, ranks fourth in the NHL). If you add the 10 goals that the Caps scored off a faceoff that was taken 15 seconds or less after an Ovechkin SOG, it bumps up to over 22%.

Those are pretty huge numbers. For comparison, approximately 8% of all the Capitals even strength Corsi events have come from a Ovechkin SOG, or in the moments after one. And as a caveat for further context, no team attempted more shots from 2007-2012 than the Washington Capitals.

So basically what I'm saying is, keep shooting, Ovi. And if you're wondering about the impact of Ovechkin's even-strength shots in 2013... well, it's been pretty good so far.

More from Japers' Rink:

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