March 09 2013 09:21PM
Photo via Abelimages/NHLInteractive via Getty
A few thoughts before I look at some aspects of Toronto's 5-4 loss against Pittsburgh. Don't call it a "loss", really. Toronto came back and got a late goal from Phil Kessel to tie it up. After a nail-biting overtime session that was pretty inconsequential, James Neal and Sidney Crosby scored in the shootout as Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri missed.
But, a few thoughts...
When the National Hockey League came out of the season-long lockout they started showing games on NBC on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Watching out-of-market games is always fun, and in addition to the weekly CBC games, we got the TSN ones and then NBC on weekends. They'd always bring in some good talent from TSN, guys like Chris Cuthbert and Gord Miller I remember calling games, which was pretty cool.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
March 09 2013 04:07PM
For the Toronto Marlies, games like today's are ones you're expected to feast on, but actually dread. Yes, the struggling Abbotsford Heat had won just 1 of 11 games leading up to today. It sounds advantageous, but stats like that lead to taking games too easily, while the struggling opponents have an extra sense in urgency. Sure enough, that was the case here tonight, as the blue and white dropped this one 4-2.
March 09 2013 02:14PM
A slight hiccup for the Toronto Maple Leafs in Boston the other night, but Toronto have still won more than they've lost over this recent stretch of games, and have won more than they've lost on the season. They currently sit 15-10-0 in the Eastern Conference, good for 5th, and presumably need 12 more wins in the next 23 games to make the playoffs. Good news, Matt Frattin is returning to the lineup tonight.
It's a tough task tonight against Pittsburgh. I hate to use this word, but the Penguins may be the most enigmatic club in the National Hockey League. Their +15 goal differential is 2nd in the conference, they're 2nd in the conference in points and have scored more goals than any team in the NHL. They also, however, have given up a tonne of goals, found themselves down 4-1 to Philadelphia on Thursday before coming back and last Saturday blew a one-goal lead and a two-goal lead in a wild 7-6 game against Montreal.
Pittsburgh is a team that looks like they could win the Stanley Cup easily one night, then come out the next night and give up six goals in a loss against Florida. Such is life for a team built on offence and shooting talent and not much else.
March 08 2013 03:52PM
Yesterday I discussed some of the entrenched misperceptions about statistical analysis in hockey and why they are misguided. Today, in a post called "Hockey's Counting Problem", Cam Charron looked at some of the significant obstacles standing in the way of effective, evidence-based analysis truly getting a foothold in the NHL's upper offices.
Two challenges he touches on that I want to discuss in greater depth are top-down vs bottom-up processes and the clash between long-term decision making and short-term incentives.
March 08 2013 10:38AM
Let's be honest here - it's the Bruins. What did you expect?