There's no question Jason Allison knows he has an effective shot in his pool of offensive talents.
Using it on a regular basis so far this season, however, has been out of the question.
Known for his playmaking skills, especially within arm's reach of the opposition's net, Allison scored just his seventh goal as a Maple Leaf on Saturday night when he beat Phoenix Coyotes goalie Curtis Joseph with a hard shot to the top of the net.
"I think I could be trying to score more than I have been, so that's something I will be trying to focus on over the next half of the year," said Allison, who scores the majority of his goals from areas where he can see the whites of the goalie's eyes. "It's something I have to be more conscious of. It's not necessarily even always shooting the puck, but even taking it to the net at a time where I am looking to make a play."
Allison has registered only 54 shots on goal in 40 games for Toronto, a puny number among centres in the NHL. In fact, Allison's low shot total is indicative of the Leafs as a whole. They are the only team in the league which does not have at least one forward with 100 shots on goal (Darcy Tucker, Mats Sundin and Jeff O'Neill each have 98), and only four teams -- Washington, Columbus, Minnesota and Phoenix -- have less than the Leafs' 1,233 shots on goal. And none of those four presently are in a playoff spot.
Allison's 29 assists trail only Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle on the Leafs, which coach Pat Quinn recognizes. But wanting Allison to shoot more is a desire of Quinn's.
"I think probably every coach he has played with has asked him to do that," Quinn said. "He has a terrific shot. In his mind, he is looking, looking, looking, almost to a fault for the play, and often for the perfect play. How many times have we seen him get to the place where a good shot has a big chance and he will look for the pass?"
By no coincidence, in 2000-01 with the Boston Bruins, Allison had a career-high 36 goals when he had a career-high 185 shots on goal.
"Over my career I have not shot the puck enough but there is a fine line," Allison said.
"I am successful because I don't force things and I look for late guys and make good plays down low. I can't stop looking for that. I will never be a guy you see who will have a lot of shots."