Does the Momentum Boost From Fighting Help Teams Win Games?

Jonathan Willis
January 11 2012 02:40AM

It’s a scene anyone who watches NHL hockey has seen: two players squaring off, dropping the gloves, and going at it. One player might dominate the other, the two players might draw more or less even, but after the fight the teams will generally get back to playing 5-on-5 hockey (barring an instigator penalty to one player.)

Usually, one team will come out playing better after the fight. And usually, the commentator that evening will make a point of mentioning that Player X’s big fight win and/or willingness to go toe-to-toe with a beast like Player Y has given his team momentum.

Is there any truth to that story?

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Learning To Play: Hitting the OK Plateau

Danny Gray
January 10 2012 04:19PM



As some of you may know I’ve been righting the biggest wrong of my childhood by learning how to play hockey. The response to my first article was great, and I put the advice dispensed to good use. Thus far I’ve been learning by doing, playing in relatively informal games of shinny with a few hours of work on my passing and shooting on the side. At this point I’d describe my skill level as OK. I can skate, shoot, pass, and stickhandle well enough to keep pace with guys going at about 50%. I’m not very good mind you, but I’m not falling all over myself out there either.  While I’m exponentially better than when I first began, I worry that pretty soon I’m going to hit the OK Plateau.

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Jonas Gustavsson: Not Even Close To Being The Answer

Jonathan Willis
January 10 2012 12:58PM

For probably the first time in his NHL career, Jonas Gustavsson is starting to turn some heads. He entered the league with high expectations – as many of these undrafted free agents do now, as various teams line up to bid for their services – but never really lived up to them, failing to take the starting job despite a constant state of flux in the Toronto net during his time with the team.

Now Gustavsson has the starting job, and looks like he knows what to do with it after posting an 8-3-0 record over his last 11 games.

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The Truth Behind Project Mayhem

Pension Plan Puppets
January 10 2012 08:54AM

This week the NHL will announce the rest of the players that will be participating in the All-Star Game in Ottawa. They will be joining half of the Ottawa Senators and Dion Phaneuf. The team and its fanbase pulled out a Herculean effort to overcome the sheer overwhelming numbers of Leafs fans. Getting four of their players (of variety levels of deservedness) into the game has likely guaranteed that the game will be a sellout and a success. Who is to thank for this? Is it the team that did all that they could do to promote the vote? Was it the pom-pom waving media like Bruce Garrioch and Tim Baines? Or was it the radio station that figured out how to vote without having to provide an e-mail address?

Trick question: It was Project Mayhem.

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Why not Gustavsson?

Cam Charron
January 09 2012 12:47PM

(Via Pawel Dwulit at the Canadian Press)

Toronto goaltending is a weird thing. It's pretty well been established that Toronto haven't had a reliable #1 starter since Ed Belfour and attempts to fix this via trades for Andrew Raycroft and Vesa Toskala horribly backfired.

This season, Toronto are the 22nd best team in the NHL in overall save percentage but are actually the 13th best team with even strength goaltending according to Behind The Net. Unfortunately, the team's overall goals against total (3.10) reflects more the overall team save percentage than that at even strength, due to a well-publicized brutal penalty kill.

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