January 27 2012 01:36AM
How many times have you been watching your team carry a lead, only to have the commentators announce that the opposing team has scored most of their goals in a later period? Listen, I get it; the talking heads on TV have to maintain a certain level of suspense. They can't very well say "It's looking pretty unlikely that this game takes a turn for the interesting." And although I love mythbusting when it comes to hockey, I will concede that sometimes narratives are more fun to build than reasonable arguments.
But, as any of you who are familiar with my work will already know full well, I'm never content to accept in-game narratives without some kind of verification.
So what about teams that score more goals in the third period than any other? Are they successful? What about those teams that score most often early in the first? I took a look at 6 seasons' worth of data to check.
January 07 2012 10:17AM
It wasn't so long ago that I thought the NHL had seen the last of Jonas Gustavsson. That is, I figured the Leafs would hang on to him for the rest of the season, but I never forsaw a time when he would take games like last night's away from James Reimer. I even considered the possibility that Ben Scrivens might wind up making The Monster a third wheel, much like he was towards the end of last season.
I also don't mind saying that I disagreed with Ron Wilson's decision to start Gustavsson against The Winnipeg Jets, because, although Gus didn't play a poor game against Tampa Bay, in allowing three goals, he wasn't exactly spectacular, either. In my mind, winning once isn't enough to take my number one goaltender out for an important game against another team in the playoff hunt.
Of course, with his shutout against the Jets, The Monster is making me eat a few of my words (and I'm more than happy to do so if it means the Leafs are picking up points), but I'm still not convinced he's a long term solution as a backup goaltender. I mean, is he even really a short term solution?
Follow me over the jump for more.
January 02 2012 12:38PM
In my last article, I wrote about how the Leafs have allowed significantly more goals so far this season than last, but that this year, the Leafs' forwards have compensated by scoring a whole lot more. The truth is, I should have said that the team has scored more goals than last year - it isn't really just the forwards, the team also is getting much better production so far this season from their defenders than they were a year ago today.
Follow me over the jump for more.
December 31 2011 05:13PM
This year for the Maple Leafs Annual (may it R.I.P.) my contribution was a preview of the Leafs' defence. I predicted then that they would be marginally better than last year's incarnation, with the addition of Cody Franson taking Brett Lebda's place as the extra defender, and John-Michael Liles filling Tomas Kaberle's shoes more or less adequately. I'd also hoped that the defence would get a little more help from the goaltending department with James Reimer set to see more action.
So far, the Leafs have allowed 122 goals against, and have an overall goal differential of -6. This isn't good enough for a team that hopes to finish in the top 8 in the East, and it's actually a significant decline over last year's record on December 31st, which was 108 goals against and - good Lord, would you look at that - a goal differential of -22. So the fans are witnessing progress, but it's nearly all coming from the forwards.
Below the jump, I've taken a look at which individuals have performed best using Behind the Net's statistics.
December 28 2011 06:17PM
Yes, Ron Wilson's contract extension is a show of faith by Brian Burke in his coach, that much is obvious. That Burke offered his coach an extension so early in the season (November) is a somewhat larger show of confidence. Moreover, in all of his years of being a General Manager, Burke has only once canned a coach, which suggests that Burke intends Wilson to coach to the end of his deal - not to fire him halfway through next year.
What is more interesting to me is that fans aren't in the least bit concerned. The times, they have a changed. You see, it wasn't so long ago that Leafs fans freaked out over contract extensions they felt were undeserved. Years of the John Ferguson Jr. era had left everyone on edge, ready to go into hysterics at the slightest sign of mismanagement.
These days, folks seem to have a lot of faith in Brian Burke.