Archive for the ‘Spitballin’’ Category

Buffalo Sabres v Florida Panthers

The idea isn’t a revolutionary concept or anything, so don’t get your hopes too high, but it seems to me there’s a way to tamp back fighting that would bump up scoring: punt the idea of “coincidentals” after fisticuffs and actually make the penalties cause a loss of a player, as in, go to four-on-four.

I’m not the type who even wants to see less fighting in hockey, but the voice from the minority who do is getting louder (and there’s the whole “wow that’s really dangerous” common sense thing, but shh it’s fun), so I figure this could be a nice little compromise. And hey, given that the league is constantly clamoring to find a way to get more pucks in the nets, here’s why I think this works.

First off, knocking it down to four-on-four is a pretty clear way to generate more chances and thereby goals (the numbers bear this out, via @ngreenberg). At the very least, the league thinks it does, because overtime is currently four-on-four in hopes of finding a winner (and quick) before we have to go to a shootout. If there’s a melee and multiple fights, we pare it down to three-on-three, and you’ll see some great end-to-end action that allows skill players to maintain possession longer and get creative (for more on why three-on-three is super neato, read this post by some Justin Bourne dude).

As for bringing fighting numbers down, there will be teams that realize they aren’t cut out to succeed at 4-on-4 (especially when playing higher-powered offenses), and will discourage their players from fighting unless it’s absolutely unavoidable, and it takes two to tango (you can’t really fight the completely unwilling). Also, any team with a lead will be less eager to fight and up the likelihood of swapping more chances, and again: two, tango, etc. And just in general, I think coaches like to think defense-first and avoid run-and-gun hockey, so not many will encourage their players to get out there and shed them mitts.

As long as there are any reasons that one side will be less interested in fighting, aside from “don’t give them a reason to wake up” (which is really all we currently have), you’re going to have less fights. In fact, you may have more guys on losing teams trying to bait guys into fighting, which results in taking penalties, which results in more offense too. Maybe you’d have to call a few more instigators on the team on the down side, but that’s not much of a problem. Read the rest of this entry »

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins - Game Five

As human beings, we admire when others have exceptional work ethics, and so we should. Sloth is the enemy, and those who put their heart and soul into what they do should be celebrated. That group of people includes the great Jaromir Jagr, one of the most hard-working supremely gifted humans in hockey. There’s a reason he’s still an effective hockey player at age 41.

Yesterday Elliotte Friedman of CBC wrote about Jagr and his aforementioned admirable work ethic, which shared some of the details about his regimen, which includes extra on-ice workouts with a weight vest…after actual games have finished. He uses a heavy puck, and occasionally weights his skates to make his muscles work harder. His place in Pittsburgh was rumoured to good for two things: sleeping and working out. Petr Prucha, who stayed with him for awhile, said “While the NHL is sleeping, he is working.”

Kudos, kudos, kudos. It’s obviously worked and been effective for him. He’s had a tremendous hockey career.

But permit me the question, or at the very least hear me out: is it too much? Is he overdoing it right now? (Keep in mind, I’m speculating. Hypothesizing. Blogging, if you will.) Read the rest of this entry »

San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks

Whether you’re into advanced stats or not, you should definitely give PDO, a terribly named measure of “luck,” a chance.

Our own Cam Charron (well, he’s everywhere, but you get the point) laid it out for us in plain english here, but in a nutshell, it’s a combination of a player (or team’s) on-ice shooting percentage plus his team’s save percentage while he’s on the ice. Basically, if a guy’s PDO is really high he’s had some good luck, really low and he hasn’t, and the idea is that everyone will regress back to 1.000 (or 1000, however you want to write it), because nobody can shoot 20% all year, and nobody is going to be on the ice while the goalie has a .600 save percentage all year. Those numbers are impossibly unsustainable in the NHL today barring them putting me in net and starting me on the daily with magazines taped to my shins for pads.

Only…a lot of good teams tend to have high PDOs, and a lot of bad teams tend to have low PDOs, and I’m unwilling to say that those teams are good and bad because of their luck. One of my current beefs with the advanced stat community in hockey is an over-attribution of luck to success. Hockey players are taught to create luck, and I think some players and teams are better at doing it than others. I’ll get more into that in a sec, but let’s take a look at the numbers.

Cam Charron does a weekly update over at of team’s PDO’s (and more) and where they sit, which I’ve cribbed below: Read the rest of this entry »

The term “Cody Hodgson’ing” refers to the idea that the Vancouver Canucks put Hodgson in a position to have success at the NHL level…but only when they were trying to trade him (they eventually turned him into Zack Kassian in a swap with Buffalo). You play a guy with some good players, give him more starts in the offensive end, chuck him some PP time, and watch his stats inflate beyond what they would actually be if given regular usage, then you shop him saying “LOOK HOW GOOD HE IS.” Thomas Drance has done a lot of the leg work on Hodgson, the Canucks, and this concept (you can read his original post on it here, and his follow up with hindsight here).

Welp, methinks the Canucks are at it again, this time with goaltender Roberto Luongo, who they’ve not-so-subtly been trying to move.

Here’s Vancouver Sun writer Elliott Pap on the case:

Read the rest of this entry »