November 09 2011 01:32PM
Probably the most unfortunate thing about the start of the new NHL season, other than all the hope and promise that accompanies your new team with its new additions, is all the hope and promise that comes when a team manages to string together a few wins in October.
November 06 2011 10:05AM
There has been a lot of talk in Vancouver recently about goaltenders and whether Roberto Luongo is the right guy to carry this team. But early in the season, this is a narrative that carries across many hockey markets, and, valid or not, the play of a goaltender is one that dominates headlines as the goalie is the most important player on the team. Here are three goalie controversies that bear slightly more weight than the Luongo/Cory Schneider discussions, and may have stronger
repurcussions repercussions as well.
November 04 2011 02:44PM
-The Leafs Nation nerdling returns!
Earlier this week I looked at individual Fenwick percentages for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and there was some discussion in the comments as to why Dion Phaneuf's individual number was so much higher than his partner Carl Gunnarsson.
So I looked through the timeonice shift charts and the NHL.com play-by-play data from Wednesday's game in New Jersey and Thursday's game in Columbus and give us a brief picture at what happens when the two play without each other.
I only looked at full shifts at even strength and didn't count the few seconds tacked on at the start or end of a shift where one member changes on the fly. If there was a significant amount of time before or after the change, I looked at that.
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.