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Taking One For The Team

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Found on Kukla's Korner, there's an article by Michael Farber over at SI.com discussing the prevalence of blocked shots. Great shot-blocking is definitely an underappreciated art form, and while there are some nice anecdotes in Farber's piece, I was left wondering - other than his impressions, do we really have any evidence that shot-blocking is on the rise?

I took a look through the play-by-play files for this year (up through Sunday night) and last, and found that at indeed, we've seen about a 5% increase in blocked shots per game since last season:

Year EV PP SH Total
2005-06 18.47 0.67 6.80 25.94
2006-07 20.48 0.58 6.11 27.17

Blocked Shots per game (both teams), broken down by situation.

Interestingly, we've seen a decline in the number of Shorthanded blocks, and a significant jump in the number at Even Strength. I'll have to dig through the pre-lockout files to see if a longer-term trend is in the works...