February 27 2013 09:34PM
I commented after the game that nothing is at stake with the Toronto Maple Leafs, just the prime years of Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Mikhail Grabovski. Those three are legitimate stars in the National Hockey League, if only they could be surrounded with a supporting cast to help them win.
In some ways, they do. Clarke MacArthur is a versatile player. Nik Kulemin has stopped shooting, but he's still strong on defence and moving the puck around in the offensive zone. Jay McClement is a top defensive centreman and he's stabilized the Maple Leafs penalty kill.
Colton Orr played a career-high 14:55 at even strength in this game. That was more than Kessel and van Riemsdyk. The Leafs were out-shot 32-21 at even strength. In shot attempts at net, or "Corsi" events, the Habs had 74 events to Toronto's 56.
February 27 2013 04:06PM
Who are these Montreal Canadiens the Leafs are playing tonight? They've played two games so far this season, both at le Centre Bell, and the Leafs decisively won both games, the first 2-1 and the second 6-0. The first game was less close than it appears based on scoring chances data, and Montreal had a very poor showing.
Le Club Hockey has played just seven road games this season and have performed well in them, but haven't necessarily played well. Absent a dominant performance against the Ottawa Senators earlier this week, they were generally on the losing end, puck-possession wise, in road games. Was that just a beast of small samples and is their 2-1 win over the Senators on Monday more indicative of a better, tough, road Habs team? We'll find out tonight…
February 27 2013 12:11PM
The Vancouver Canucks shutting down Manny Malhotra is a more notable move than a lot of people made it out to be. Malhotra became a whole new kind of defensive centre than the NHL had previously seen, a centreman that took a lot of face-offs in the defensive zone, and nearly exclusively in the defensive zone.
Malhotra wasn't like the "checking lines" of the past, who would match up against dedicated opponents and prevent a singular line from scoring. What the Canucks started to do in 2011 after signing Manny Malhotra was pretty radical. I mention this on the Leafs Nation blog not because I suggest the Leafs should get involved with the strategy, but because they already are, and they're probably doing it wrong.
February 26 2013 01:45PM
A great disadvantage of doing statistical analysis on leagues outside of the NHL is utter lack of detailed information available to further enhance analysis. Cam, among others – have made this point.
Something as easy as PDO can be tracked to quantify momentum, however, the American Hockey league doesn’t differentiate shots on game sheets on special teams or at even strength.
At least, not publicly, which is a shame. I would assume teams do this on an individual club basis, but that is proprietary and I can understand why any data is kept under lock and key. I won’t let this degenerate into a rant on circumstances beyond my control, instead I tried to maximize the available data with a little rejigging.
February 26 2013 11:31AM
Nazem Kadri putting up points and I'm speaking Russian. This season is way different than last season.