October 28 2011 09:22AM
I've been scratching my head for a while now, trying to come up with a puck possession metric that focuses on defense rather than offense-driven numbers. I mean, if you're Anton Volchenkov, you might be responsible for preventing a lot of goals, but there's always the chance that last year's New Jersey forwards were incapable of putting shots on the opposition's net, and that your Corsi numbers look bad. What's a defensive defenseman to do? There's got to be a way of measuring defensive contributions that isn't tied to shots or goals.
So here's my rationale: only the puck carrier can be hit, so if there is a lot of hitting in your end of the ice, the puck must be there a lot, right? Even if your team has the puck, and is getting hit a lot in their zone, doesn't that mean that you're struggling to get out? Leafs fans should certainly remember last year's broken-record recording of "to the line, but not out", so anecdotally, anyway, this makes sense.
October 27 2011 10:51PM
This is an article about James Reimer's post-goal body language.
Before I begin, I should point out that this post comes with a number of caveats. First, I should point out that I am making no guesses about what goes on in Reimer's head. I don't know if he's feeling confident or not, or what else he might think about after being scored on. The second point I should be clear on is that I recognize that we're really discussing minutiae here, so let's just keep this in context. Reimer has had a good start to the season.
The main reason I think a post like this is still worthwhile is that the venerable Justin Goldman (of The Goalie Guild) wrote so often last season of James Reimer's fantastic body language. Here's an exerpt from an interview with Goldman in an article by James Mirtle at the Globe and Mail:
"But when Reimer has suffered a loss or given up a bad goal, he has not allowed that to kill or weaken his confidence. His ability to "bounce back" has been very impressive as well. He has only lost two games in a row once this season, and I think that ability to shake off a bad game (or a bad goal) has been a major reason why he continues to play so well. On top of this, he has a very positive attitude and a very strong work ethic. He's composed, even-keeled and he rarely displays negative body language. Those are all key traits you want a rookie can display; they are all signs of strong mental toughness. So if something goes wrong or he has a bad outing, he has the work ethic and confidence to overcome it"
October 27 2011 04:07PM
In some ways, being a goaltender is like being the leader of a political party. There are limited opportunities at the highest level, and many candidates vying for them. There are star candidates and unknowns, with the latter succeeding almost as often as the former. Both goalies and political leaders often find themselves blamed with or credited for the accomplishments of the people around them.
There is at least one more similarity: once the candidate has secured a job for a contending entity, there is not much patience for failure. When that patience runs out, the candidate is out of a job.
Jonas Gustavsson has tested the patience of the Toronto Maple Leafs and their backers.
October 27 2011 10:39AM
Tonight marks the 590th meeting between these two Original Six franchises. The Leafs enter the game with a 5-2-1 record and a healthy Tim Connolly for the first time this season. Will he mesh with Kessel? Will he help our beleaguered PP? Will he spontaneously combust at some point during the game?
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.