NHL News and Notes (10/28)

We’ve partnered with On Goal Analysis to provide in-depth NHL coverage this season. For more analysis, be sure to check out the On Goal Analysis website and the OGA Blog.

Submitted by Michael Pryor

There are two things to report on for The Scores Report submission this week. First is a quick analysis of players skating in all games for a team versus their standings points – is there a connection? And the other is the latest results for On Goal Analysis’ Playoff Qualifying Curve.

Players In All Games Versus Standings Points

If I was back in a college science class, I would properly begin a study with a hypothesis. So I offer here that I believe the more players who skate for every scheduled game, the better the overall team performance. Said another way, injuries are likely to adversely affect a team’s ability to earn the “W.”

There is no doubt the loss of an Ovechkin, Gaborik, or Kopitar with what they are providing their teams right now should produce a drop off in overall team production and ability to win games. True, teams often rise to the occasion, playing above their heads and sucking it up for their fallen comrade. The New Jersey Devils losing Martin Brodeur for most of last season is a good example. But more often than not, you are likely to see the kind of play Vancouver offered with the loss of Roberto Luongo last winter.

They used to say in that science class ‘…It is just as important to disprove a theory as it is to show you were right….’ So without further ado here are the mixed results of the comparison through games ending Sunday night, 25 October:

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Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

NHL Notes from On Goal Analysis (10/12)

We’ve partnered with On Goal Analysis to bring our readers innovative, insightful hockey commentary throughout the season. Enjoy.

Submitted by Mike Pryor

A Note Caused By Atlanta

A 9 October blog by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution caught my eye. Within, he indicated Thrashers’ coach John Anderson statement that, while the team had been outshot in its first two games, they are being more ‘…shot selective….’ This selectivity had actually produced 10 goals on 50 shots, or a scoring rate of 20%.

It made me wonder what are all teams’ scoring percentages in terms of goals divided by SOG, and how would that project over 82 games. Based on games ending on Saturday, 10 October, I came up with this:

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While the numbers are interesting, there are some anomalies to point out what with it being early in the season and all. First is that the average number of projected goals over 82 games this season (‘Proj Gs’) is about 6.2% higher than last year. That sounds great! Were it not for the eight teams projected with 300+, and five teams with totals in the 100’s, I would think we are going to gleefully be witnessing more red lights. The truth is we are more likely to see those numbers even out amongst the clubs as the season wears on (last year, there were NO teams with 300 goals and only one in the 100’s) and any increase in scoring being more in the 1-2% range if it actually occurs.

Despite this being the early part of the season are a few other noteworthy facts. ATL’s 10 goals / 50 SOGs = 20% scoring percentage calculation is no longer valid after Saturday night. The highest percentage team on that chart is CGY at 15.5% or one goal in every 6 – 7 SOG. ATL is right behind with a 15.39% rate, but is now under that 20% that started me thinking. Still, it kinda sucks to play the Flames and face 35 shots, eh?

On the other side of the coin, however, you have BUF with a paultry 3.45% scoring percentage. Could it be the youngsters they have playing? Sabres’ line combinations? Something is amiss, here.

But when the average number of SOG per team and per game was 30.27 after Saturday night, that means CGY outscores BUF 5 – 1. Shoot – it means EVERYONE outscores BUF. Just not in regulation, right? I love irony. I also know this scoring rate bares watching throughout the season.

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A Testament to Parity in the NHL

Submitted by Mike Pryor of On Goal Analysis.

Tuesday night, 6 October has been my favorite night of the new NHL season so far.

That’s because NHL night number six serves as a testament to NHL parity. We say this because of seven games: two were decided by one goal; two won in OT; two more went to a SO; and the last game was a two-goal, see-saw decision. What may be causing this parity, you ask? We can only respond with ‘…Several things.’

Parity Reason #1 (P.R.1) – New Coaches and Coaching Staff

Some of this is inevitably due to the fact many teams are playing under a new coach and system and it takes time and game situation knowledge to make the adjustments more ‘normal’ to players on the ice. On 6 October, seven of the 14 teams playing were doing so under a new coach and staff.

Click here to read the rest of this post at the On Goal Analysis Blog.

NHL News and Notes (10/6)

We’ve partnered with On Goal Analysis to provide in-depth NHL coverage this season. Here is a look at the weekend’s game and a look ahead at this week’s action. For more analysis, be sure to check out the On Goal Analysis website and the OGA Blog.

It is time for a short post on some keys things we noticed this first weekend of the new hockey season and what to look for next week.

A short weekend…

…but an exciting and interesting one. At this point in the season, it is not worth getting too worked up while watching your team play. But if they were not winning, the time to wring hands is fast approaching. Because On Goal Analysis’ proprietary Playoff Qualifying Curve is not yet ready to determine who will or will not be in the 2010 playoffs, this week’s primary post focus is on some of the interesting storylines from the first three days and nights of the new Hockey season.

The first note we caught was the President’s Trophy winner, runner up and No.3 team ALL losing their season openers. BOS recovered somewhat by going 1-1 with a HUGE 7-2 second game win over CAR. SJS did likewise with a Game #2 win in ANA. But DET starts 2-0 with 1/3 of games against STL down the tubes. Will this come back to haunt the Red Wings in any way? Shaken confidence and increased frustration are likely by-products here. This team has a mere four days to travel home and practice before receiving CHI at home, a club that took three-of-four points home from the European openers.

We also found several points where science kicked in to display the thought theory that ‘Nature Seeks Equilibrium.’

• The No. 1, undefeated pre-season team (VAN) starts 0-2, both loses within the Division. Might this skew things out of their favor come the end of the season? Especially when the difference between the 8th and 9th seeds since the Lockout has averaged 1.5 games? We shall see…

• The team picked to be No. 15 in the West (COL) and 30th overall in many pre-season polls begins the season 2-0 with two, convincing victories by an average of three goals. That Wojtek Wolski fella is on a roll.

• PIT, pacing themselves in pre-season with only one W are 2-0 to start defense of their Cup victory in games against the two NY’s.

We also were watching the top five 2009 Entry Draft prospects currently active with their clubs this past weekend and their efforts:

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2009 NHL Preview: Washington Capitals

We’ve partnered with On Goal Analysis to bring you a team-by-team preview of the upcoming NHL season. (Just scroll down on the OGA website and hit the calendar.) Here is the preview for the Washington Capitals…

Team Play: ISSUE – Reloading… There is a not so quiet excitement building in Washington for the start of the new season. Optimism is evident at player, coach and management level, and in the fans who will attend the 41+ sold out games this season. Any frustrations at their Conference Semi-Finals departure last season are now replaced by thoughts of chalking it up to completing another step toward the ultimate goal of raising The Stanley Cup. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a hungry and capable squad.

The early Fox Sports depth chart for the Capitals indicates a No. 1 line of Ovechkin- Backstrom- Semin from left to right, and Laich- Morrison- Knuble on No. 2. We think it will actually be Ovechkin- Backstrom- Knuble No. 1 and Laich- Morrison- Semin as No. 2. The No. 1 pairing scored 7 G’s and 7 A’s in the pre-season, and No. 2 combined to chip in 3 G’s and 8 A’s. Fourteen and eleven points? In pre-season? We know – suspect matchups against a lot of guys trying to make it into the NHL. But any way you slice these two pairings, it serves as an indicator that they will put up some good numbers for this club. Of interest to Caps fans is the No. 3 and 4 lines. As of 28 September, Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux were amongst the cuts, leaving Chris Bourque and Quintin Laing up with the squad for opening night. And there’s also the Nylander Factor – as in not factored into any pre-season games + statements of deep desire to play + a $4.875M cap hit might just = a depth roster slot, especially due to injuries.

The top two pairings listed on defense are Green-Jurcina and Poti-Pothier. Based on last season’s play, the top blue line pair projects at approximately 103 points playing a full 82-game schedule. That’s with the big IF Mike Green produces 70+ points again this season. This is better than several forward trios on 3rd and 4th lines. You can forget the dearth of scoring in the pre-season for the first pair (a lone A for Green) as they saw limited game time. Line No. 2 was good for 1 G and 4 A’s in September and should be able to be counted upon for about a point every other game. For those waiting with baited breath, Karl Alzner was again a victim of late training camp cuts on 28 September, but look for an injury call up if required.

Click here to read the rest of the preview (which includes the site’s unique Playoff Qualifying Curve and fantasy information) at the On Goal Analysis site.

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