Fans in the National Hockey League can often be heard yelling out 'Shoot!' to a player on the ice, however, this very advice is coming from Toronto Maple Leafs' John Tavares, who wants his teammate Mitch Marner to use his shot more often.
Marner hasn’t scored a goal in 11 games, but has 15 assists in that time span. He has 82 shots on goal, second on the team to Tavares, who has put 110 shots on rival goalie. Tavares wants more from his linemate.
“I’m on him right now. We’ve got to get him one in the back of the net, spread the wealth around,” Tavares said. “I think he’s got a lot of deception in his game and he can be very difficult to read. His ability to look players off and find the passing lanes – I think he can be very similar with his shot.”
Tavares added that it doesn’t have to be “the hardest shot in the league” to be effective.
“It’s just about being able to fool the goaltender, just trying to be hard to read and trying not to be predictable,” he said.
The Maple Leafs are facing the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, and we could see if Tavares' message to Marner was heard loud and clear.
If you're wondering what head coach Mike Babcock had to say about Marner's use of his shot that has started to noticeably decline lately, you will be surprised about his comments. The issue is not bothering Babcock at the moment.
“I think Mitch is one of those guys where it’s pretty hard to give advice to, because he makes the right play most of the time,” Babcock said after the Leafs’ optional morning skate. “But we encourage him all the time in practice to be shooting it. I think on the power play he can shoot it more as well because he has a dangerous shot, but he makes a lot of good decisions. You hate to be giving him too much advice there.”
Let's see tonight what Marner does of Tavares' advice. He could listen to him, especially that number 91 will be celebrating a major milestone in the league tonight. The game will mark Tavares’ 700th in the NHL.