Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Different but relevant

Somewhere in his home, Brendan Shanahan was wearing his owners-only Phoenix Coyotes footy pajamas after he banished conflict of interest on skates, Rusty Klesla, to a game in the press box. While he stirred the powder in his bedtime chocolate milk, he figured he would check in on the Flyers-Devils game and see how the second period was going to wrap up before he hit the hay.

Brendan Shanahan never drank that chocolate milk. Rather, he crawled under his bed and cried. He doesn’t hate all Mondays but he does hate tomorrow.

With time expiring in the second period, Martin Brodeur left the trapezoid to play the puck up ice. In the fateful corner, Mr. Official on-duty (who shall remain nameless) missed Brodeur touching the puck in the no-no zone, thus playing it up ice for the Devils. He of all integrity and Philadelphia’s local best player in the world, Claude Giroux, noticed this event and encouraged the official to make the corresponding illegal play call.

When the official did not oblige Mr. Giroux, Claude, a name not shared with any famous NHL rats, skated down the ice and brushed by the chin of Devils forward Dainius Zubrus who was once described by Mike Milbury as being “not North American.”* This incident clearly had nothing to do with Claude being frustrated about what transpired earlier in the shift and was totally independent of any other events in the game. So much so that after it happened, Claude, with Mr. Zubrus on the ice, definitely apologized immediately and didn’t immediately go after Mr. Official to berate him over the earlier confusion regarding the existence of trapezoids.

Wait… I don’t think it happened that way.
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Did you hear? Sidney Crosby is playing tonight! I had no idea! Hardly anyone has talked about it… Ok, couldn’t do that with a straight face.

Seriously, if my eyes happen upon one more ‘Sid Cam’ I’ll probably be thrown in jail for stalking. Things haven’t gotten this weird on the internet since one particular basketball superstar opened up his soul for all of us.

At any rate, ‘Sid Watch 2012′ has hit its fever pitch tonight as he is very much in the lineup tonight – my looking up at the TV screen in front of me here in theScore newsroom confirms this – and the NHL can hardly contain itself with its excitement. Seriously, it’s running out of space on the website.

(Red means Sid-related) Read the rest of this entry »

There are the numbers

Here at theScore we’ve been keeping track of the social media chatter regarding certain trade targets. What we’ve done is identify several key targets across the league, as well as players who have been traded, and tracked how many people are talking about them.

In the above graph, check out the spike in Andrei Kostitsyn once his trade was announced. It’s crazy how things can blow up when the Andrei Kostitsyns of the world get traded. Now we wait and see what the numbers will be like if a big name swaps places.

You’ll note some interesting details about these players:

All the chatter started to trend upwards at 10:00AM, before then it had been relatively dormant. The social media buzz didn’t pick up until six hours out from the deadline.

What’s more, of all of those players Kostitsyn was the only one to be traded. He hadn’t been discussed at all relative to the other players in this graph leading up to his trade, yet once he was swapped he’s had at least double the reach than any other top player. Since game time yesterday at 8PM until noon today, there have been over 6,000 total tweets mentioning his name.

Nash’s chatter has been gradually trending upwards since 8 AM, and has been increasing steadily as we progress towards the deadline. As the big name out there people are becoming more and more active online to find out whether or not he’ll be moved.

Even Luke Schenn, who hasn’t been mentioned in any specific trade rumors has been mentioned over 1,000 times and reached over 250,000 twitter users by virtue of playing for the Leafs. It’s crazy what a fanbase can do for increasing a player’s number of mentions. Compare that to the likes of Ott or Brown who have been mentioned in specific rumors for days and, while they have reached a greater number of users, they haven’t been mentioned nearly as many times.

For those wondering how we gathered this data:

To get the data for these infographics we used Sysomos ( a leading social media monitoring tool.

Callahan seems a little preoccupied here

The folklore started many years ago when he made Rostislav Olesz swallow his mouthguard at the World Juniors and has carried itself through multiple seasons in the NHL. Whether you love him or hate him, Dion Phaneuf is a first class bringer of pain. There aren’t many people more feared in the NHL crossing the open ice than the Leafs captain, and in a lot of ways he has earned the reputation of “next Scott Stevens” with some outrageous hitting.

Denis Hamel, you should have been warned.

At any rate, Phaneuf claimed another victim in a Toronto loss as he clocked Brian Boyle at centre ice as a whistle blew. This is just a good ole fashioned shoulder to should check that didn’t end well. Boyle should be mad at the trap he walked into when Phaneuf’s outlet pass was picked up. He should have known all along.

View. Read the rest of this entry »

I know it’s not exactly breaking news that players in the NHL are good at shooting the puck. But, more than ever, I’m noticing just how ridiculous the speed and accuracy with which non-slapshot goals are being scored.

Guys have always shot the puck hard, from Bobby Hull to Brett Hull and beyond. But now, players don’t need that wind up to unleash scary shots. These new sticks are nightmares for the folks between the pipes.

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Look at the picture above these words – how’s that for a lesson in shooting the puck? Dude is bombing a slapshot and has his head completely up, picking his spot. I’ve written about Andrew MacDonald’s ability to do that before here. It’s so tough to do, but so valuable if you can.

Andrew MacDonald’s team, the New York Islanders, opened the season on October 8th against the Florida Panthers. That night, defenseman Jason Garrison (pictured) unloaded a slapper past Al Montoya, and got his season off to a running start.

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I’ll start this post the same way I started my “on-ice trends” about goalies sucking with armpit-hole shots lately:

Just because we’ve seen a lot of this lately doesn’t necessarily indicate that something has changed in the NHL. I have no idea if there’s a connection between any of these events or not. But, it’s awfully suspicious.

This is the same sideways glance that guys use to stare at women’s cleavage.

Being focused early in a game is important, or so we’re told. So why are so many goals being scored on the first shift or two of games lately?

You would think that we’d see more “feel each other out” type play in the opening few minutes, but in the past few days, you can barely get your popcorn ready before the red light comes on.

Since Tuesday we’ve seen the following players score at these times of the first period:

Derek Engelland, 0:24
Patrick Hornqvist, 0:26
Sean Couturier, 1:43
Evgeni Malkin, 2:04
Dan Hamhuis, 2:20

…and there’s a sack of other ones in the first 3-4 minutes, including Rick Nash at 2:23. This isn’t some list for the year – like I said, this is over the span of a few days.

It seemed like the ideal situation for me to talk about proper mental preperation (after all, I was a visualization guy at naptime), but then I took a closer look at these goals and how it affected their teams:

Engelland, Penguins: lost
Hornqvist, Predators: lost
Couturier, Flyers: won
Malkin, Penguins: lost
Hamhuis, Canucks: lost. Badly.

Hmm. Didn’t see that coming. Read the rest of this entry »