Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Thu Feb 25 06:20:14 UTC 2010

On 2/25/10 12:05 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> Apparently this is a regular everyday verb in hockey circles, but I
> (not being an aficionado) had never heard it until this week, when
> I've heard/read it a lot during the Olympic competition. I can't
> tell if it's any different from "outshoot"--Alice, our hockey maven,
> will know. How frequent is this? There are 22k+ raw hits in google
> for "outchanced" and about 3600 for "outchance", but no entry in the
> OED.

You rang!

The underlying distinction here (hockey-wise, not grammar-wise!) is
between a scoring chance and a shot on goal. A shot on goal is a shot
that would enter the goal, if not blocked by a defender or "saved" by
the goalie, as well as a shot that actually scores. A shot that hits the
outside of the net or that flat-out misses doesn't count as a shot on
goal. A scoring chance, on the other hand, is a cluster of activity that
can plausibly (although not necessarily) lead to a goal. A single
scoring chance can include multiple shots on goal. And a shot on goal
isn't necessarily part of a scoring chance. (And, in the ultimate
boundary case, you can have a goal scored without there having been an
official shot on goal; this would most commonly be an "own goal".)

So, a team that out-chances the other team has more scoring chances,
whereas a team that out-shoots its opponent has more shots on goal, or
even more shots total.
Alice Faber                                       faber at haskins.yale.edu
Haskins Laboratories                            tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                               fax (203) 865-8963

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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