Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/10/14 at 08:39 AM ET
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
In hockey, progress happens regularly. Players become bigger, faster, and stronger. Equipment gets lighter and more durable. Coaches devise better game plans.
But the NHL will hinge — and change — upon the explosion of hockey intelligence.
We are experiencing the game’s IQ transformation. Teams like Los Angeles and Chicago are mining data diamonds and applying them to the ice.
They understand that four lines of skill, speed, and puck-possessing prowess overwhelm the traditional template of two skilled units, a checking threesome, and an energy group. They acquire and play mobile, pace-pushing blue liners over hold-your-ground defensive defensemen. They don’t panic when they fall behind, 2-0, because statistics show that scoring next impacts the outcome more than allowing a third goal.
Duncan Keith is Chicago’s best defenseman. But Keith sits against first lines. Chicago deploys Niklas Hjalmarsson in a shutdown role. That allows Keith to flourish in situations that play to his strengths: quickness, speed with the puck, accurate passing, and offensive instinct.
Joel Quenneville didn’t conclude this based on what he knew about the game. The Chicago coach listened to his stats guys.
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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