November 01 2011 03:53PM
We've sort of known for a while that Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson likes looking at numbers to evaluate player performance, but never were we given any indication that he looks at more than goals and goals against. That is, until James Mirtle at the Globe got Wilson to admit that he tracked scoring chances when discussing the play of Dion Phaneuf.
While a good eye for on-ice talent can be helpful, so can a blend a statistical analyses. A good defensive play can't be recognized by the eye, because it doesn't necessarily exist. While we can notice a shot block or a hit, or a gritty puck battle won by the defender, we need to understand that sometimes those plays don't give way to not allowing shots. Paul Coffey was a terrific defensive defenseman, because the puck was always in the other end. Vince Lombardi once applied to football the quote "the best defense is a good offense" and that perfectly applies to hockey.
October 25 2011 01:55PM
At the outset of the season, there wasn't a pundit or hockey writer around who suggested that the Toronto Maple Leafs or Winnipeg Jets were surefire Eastern Conference playoff favourites. Toronto was lumped in as a bubble team while Winnipeg was sort of on the fence between a bubble team and a lottery team, partly driven on their first-half success of last season.
By the way, the only thing weirder than writing about Winnipeg in an Eastern Conference analysis would be writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Western Conference. Or the Vancouver Canucks in the East. Or the Ottawa Senators in first place.
But who are the other bubble teams in the Eastern Conference who will compete against these teams for the playoffs? We can be sure that Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington and Philadelphia are essentially locks, while the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning may be right there. Also on the bubble, I think it's safe to say that Carolina, New Jersey, Montreal, NY Rangers and Florida will be right there by season's end, competing for a pair of playoff spots.
October 20 2011 01:46PM
Thus far in the NHL regular season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are shooting at 12.1%. This can be interpreted as either a good thing or a bad thing. The good news is that the Toronto Maple Leafs are shooting at 12.1% and thus scoring a lot of goals and are 6th in the NHL in goals per game. They are theoretically on pace for 257 goals.
The bad news is that the Toronto Maple Leafs are shooting at 12.1% and are probably not a team capable of sustaining that rate through the full NHL season. In fact, no team really is. The 2007 Buffalo Sabres are the only post-lockout team to crack the 12% barrier over the course of an entire season, and they were a team loaded with players who had career seasons.
October 16 2011 09:18AM
Well, after a couple of weeks of research and organizing and sorting, we got six basic standard "player types" that are sorted between "high- and low-event" players that I'll be using for a little bit more of my analysis on the Nations.
If you missed it, those six player types are:
October 12 2011 02:29PM
I guess we should have known, when Ron Wilson and Paul MacLean respectively dressed Colton Orr and Zenon Konopka Saturday night, that there would be some fireworks and tension between the Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators.
And while there are still a lot of members of the hockey community who appreciate a good scrap—CBC's intro song for years has been Nickelback's rip-off of the classic Elton John tune that gave this post its title—it's left many of us on the other side questioning why these fights happen.
This Sens/Leafs game, which ended up with a 6-5 shootout had the majority of the scoring coming in a period where there wasn't even a scrap to give an adrenalin jolt to the game. There were two fights in this game, so it's probably well and good to analyze what exactly they accomplished in the grand scheme of the hockey game.