October 23 2013 07:09PM
So there have been some misconceptions lately about shot quality, I figure, or what the "Corsi" statistic is meant to capture. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the absolute centre of the "quality or quantity" debate for shots and it's become quite a story surrounding the Leafs. Every game the Leafs play, whether they win or lose, seems to be a victory for Team Regression or Team Traditionalism.
On Tuesday, a Toronto Star reporter echoed and endorsed the belief of Twitter user @erndog44: "advanced stats guys say Raymond's bad angle shot in 1st period is equivalent to that shot Kessel just sniped". Chris Boyle has taken to Sportsnet introducing his "shot quality project," and while I'm interested to see the results, I don't think that there's a way to quantify the value of every individual shot taken in the last six years that properly explains whether there are teams that can affect shot quality enough to win games.
October 23 2013 10:32AM
Phil Kessel & JVR look mighty good together! I'm pretty sure the Leafs' strategy is a Vine video.
October 22 2013 08:35PM
It's taken Phil Kessel a little bit to get going this season. He's been the same guy. He's taken four shots per game, is by far the most active Maple Leaf in the neutral zone and, despite just two goals on the year coming in Tuesday's game, had eight points. Six assists, and his 2.01 points per 60 minutes were behind just James van Riemsdyk on the Leafs.
The goals weren't there. The shots were, and when shots happen, it means goals will come. Kessel wasn't going to shoot 5.6% for the whole season. Sometimes it takes a little bit of luck to get going, sometimes it takes an insane, blind, whiplike pass from your linemate. Kessel scored a hat-trick in the Leafs 4-2 win Tuesday over Anaheim, and the Leafs came back from an early 2-0 deficit.
October 22 2013 03:13PM
One of the reasons the Leafs have a good record to start the season is their special teams play. Against Anaheim, they'll be running into a team that has been getting rat turd-like results on special teams but have curiously been one of the most dominant squads at even strenght.
Randy Carlyle gets to play against his old team, a team he won a Stanley Cup with and spent full six seasons, making the playoffs five times although his team's poor start in his seventh season ensured the Ducks would miss despite a very strong second half pace. Anaheim is consistently a team that's tough to figure out, a team that has fluctuated between 'elite' and 'terrible' over the last ten years or so. While the Leafs defied mathematicians last season and made the playoffs with a low puck-possession rate, so did the Anaheim Ducks, winning 30 games in the short season, although they backed into the postseason and were exposed by the Detroit Red Wings and were upset in the first round.
October 22 2013 12:00PM
Or, perhaps "struggles" is an unnecessarily polarizing word. "Concerns" could be more appropriate. The Leafs do have the 7th best penalty kill in the NHL, via traditional measures. Clicking at 85.3%, the Leafs are hanging around where they were last season at 87.9% when they were second in the league.
The noticeable difference between the Leafs 2013 penalty kill and the Leafs 2014 penalty kill is the amount of shots they've given up when down a man. At 4-on-5 last season the Leafs allowed 41.9 shots against them per 60 minutes. They were 5th in the league in that regard. This season, Toronto has given up 68.5 shots against per 60 while on the PK, down to 27th in the league and scrunched between Edmonton and Buffalo.