You can’t hear what Pierre McGuire’s first bit of analysis is for this goal, as NHL.com presumably cut it off because it was so mind-numbing. Pierre is my favourite hockey broadcaster because he decided to leave Canada alone this season, and has a thing for ruining big moments. After Jordan Eberle scored with seconds on the clock to tie a World Junior game against Russia at the 2009 World Juniors, play-by-play guy Gord Miller yelled out rhetorically “Can you believe it?” to which Pierre responded, enthusiastically, without letting the play sink in “I can!” before describing “[Jon] Tavares’ magical play” that led to the goal.
So, in this video in particular, I can’t really quote Pierre word-for-word because all I’m going off is my memory, but I can guarantee most broadcasters, after seeing Henrik Zetterberg cough up a puck in his own end and Patrice Bergeron jumping all over it to score a tying goal may mention Bergeron in some aspect. Or the shot. Or the fact that Zetterberg doesn’t turn that puck over 999,999 times out of 1,000,000 in that situation. Not Pierre. Not the guy who worked himself out of NHL front office jobs because he kept hogging all the coffee in boardroom meetings.
He said something like “Look at how Tyler Seguin influences the puck.”
What did Tyler Seguin do that was so amazing in this situation? Niklas Kronwall, unpressured from Seguin, gets a good, hard, cross-ice pass to Zetterberg, who controls the puck before it takes a bad bounce on him. Seguin is nowhere near the pass or the turnover, but I guess he influences the puck right onto Bergeron’s stick. Maybe his influence on the ice is what pushed Bergeron to get a really good shot high short side.
Or Maybe Pierre McGuire is buying into a whole bunch of hype because Tyler Seguin has begun his second career season with a ridiculously high PDO, and thus every minor play that Seguin makes is all part of some grand reason why Boston appears to shoot much better with him on the ice.
What does a high PDO mean? Well, it means that, when Seguin is on the ice at even strength, if you add up the Bruins’ shooting percentage and their save percentage, the number comes up to something considerably higher than 100. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is, of course, that the team is doing very well with him on the ice, but the bad thing is that a PDO that’s considerably much higher or much lower than 100 isn’t sustainable, and the player is unlikely to keep up his current production.
When Seguin is on the ice, the Bruins have out-shot the opposition 178 to 119, which is still pretty remarkable, but is a shot discrepancy of 59 really worth Seguin’s early +18 rating? No. (I did the math. To be a +18 having been on the ice for 178 shots, you’d need to allow only 32 shots against) Most of the time, +/- rating tell us nothing as far as a player’s two-way ability goes, and this early in the NHL season, they really do tell us less than nothing because there is still so much randomness. The goalie could make all of his great saves when one player happens to be on the ice, or all the right bounces go well for one team, or one of the best defensive forwards in the game happens to turn the puck over 15 feet out of the net leading to a golden opportunity.
As a practical example, after 21 games last season, a player that some analysts were bringing up as a “50 goals in 50 games” candidate had a PDO of 105.6—his team shot 10.6% when he was on the ice at even strength and his goalie made the save 95% of the time. Now, there’s a school that deduces that goaltenders make easier saves when certain players are on the ice because they keep shots to the outside (according to that theory, tough-guy George Parros is a terrific defensive forward. His goalies stopped 96.5% of shots last season) but a lot of it has to do with luck. PDO adds both elements together, and in the back three quarters of the season, this player’s on-ice save percentage had reduced to 91.4% and his teammates shooting percentage dropped to 10.2% when he was on the ice. His excellent +12 through the first 21 games had dropped to just +5 through his next 61.
So, with Seguin on the ice, the Bruins have shot 12.4% when he’s on the ice and the goalies have stopped 96.6% of the shots according to timeonice. According to BehindTheNet, Seguin has a 108.7 PDO, good for fourth in the entire National Hockey League, and very likely to drop. Its nice to credit this young, scoring force for every goal that the Bruins have scored during their tremendous recent run, his success is visibly inflated from a little bit of luck. While I have every reason to think that Seguin will become the player that we thought he might be when he was hyped as a potential number one pick along with Taylor Hall, those days still lie ahead.
We’ve seen this movie before. Tyler Seguin is good and already has quite a few accomplishments in his first season. He’ll probably crack 30 goals this season and has a Stanley Cup to his name. Even with his early-season scoring prowess and high +/- rating, this is something that bound to slow down. He’s good, but he’s not THAT good, just yet.