July 09 2012 06:03AM
One of our NHL Numbers writers, Rob Pettapiece, made an excellent point last week. In the early days of baseball, before player production was boiled down to digestible statistics, it wasn't like managers were overlooking basic attributes a successful player has. The ability to get on base and to hit for power had always been sought after in baseball, even before Bill James. It was only after the release of Moneyball that fans started to see how wrong some teams were doing it.
It's the same thing in hockey. If you ask the average hockey fan or executive, they'll tell you (if they're giving you a straight answer) that the most important trait in a player is his ability to gain the zone and to create scoring chances. Perhaps they wouldn't phrase it in that way, but that is unequivocally the most important thing teams look for in their most important players. A lot of that is clouded. Some teams overvalue certain roles and, unfortunately, some players' ability to do simple things like gain the zone and create scoring chances.
The numbers - the "advanced" numbers we used - are just another way of expressing observation. In a way, it's proving something we already know.
July 08 2012 10:59AM
With summer weather finally arriving on the ol' dusty plains here in Alberta, a lot of folks thoughts are probably turning to backyard barbecues and water parks and picnics and pin wheels and county fairs and whatever else folks associate with summer vacation.
Not us here at the Nation though. Our hearts and minds stay rooted at the rink - or, as it were, in spreadsheets, internet squabbles over player contracts and twitter flame wars.
This week, Lowetide snubbed the the inviting sun and instead talked contracts, drafts and free agency with a gaggle of guests including Jason Strudwick, Andrey Osadchenko and Jonathan Willis.
This is Nation Radio.
July 08 2012 08:10AM
Leo Komarov has been in Toronto the last couple of weeks for Maple Leafs prospect camp. Our own Andrey Osadchenko was able to catch up with him and discussed a little with Leo about his playing style ( more on that can be read here ), the rumours that Komarov is planning to return to the KHL, and last season's Gagarin Cup Finals.
It seems it was only yesterday when you hoisted the Gagarin Cup wearing Dynamo Moscow jersey. You are now a Maple Leaf. Why did you decide to go overseas?
I wanted to come here even last year. We agreed with [Dynamo’s coach] Oleg Znarok that I would spend another year in Moscow. And we won the Cup. My contract with Dynamo is good for another year but they let me go.
July 07 2012 07:12PM
Last Sunday we boarded an "aeroplane" and headed off to nerd summer camp in San Francisco. And because we basically use the Nations as a diary and because Kent hasn't figured out how to override our author clearance on the site you are about to hear all about it.
Come on it's summertime - you gotta read about something right? Right.
July 07 2012 08:55AM
I’m not going to voice my opinion on the Jay McClement signing yet. McClement was signed to be a third line, defensive centre – much in the mould of Sami Pahlsson on Randy Carlyle’s cup winning Ducks. McClement should help with the leadership void and the penalty kill, but the fact the bottom half of our forward group is starting to look like an episode of hoarders.
“[McClement] might push Steck down,” said Brian Burke. “But I think that’s where Steck probably belongs in terms of minutes, playing in the four hole, but on the first penalty-killing unit. So both those guys will probably end up with third-line minutes. He’s strong on faceoffs and in the last minute of a game, if we’re protecting the lead, he’s going to see the ice”. To tell you the truth, if we’re signing Mikhail Grabovski to a 5.5 million dollar contract and he’s putting up 50-60 pts per year, that seems like the kind of two way guy you want playing heavy minutes.
Burke seems fairly committed to McClement and Steckel as the teams bottom six centers. That leaves Tyler Bozak, Tim Connolly, Matt Lombardi, and Joe Colborne auditioning for the #1 spot. I could see Lombardi finding his way on the wing (and Colborne for another year in the AHL) but Tim Connolly looks like he’s on his way out. He’s had a tough go (In Toronto and everywhere) but he’s a serviceable two-way player with one year left on his contract. I could see someone taking him.