Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/22/13 at 03:32 PM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Trying to assess when a rebuilding team is ready to make that great leap forward is always a tricky suspect business. Usually, improvements occur in small increments and are often hard to detect, and then it all comes together in one big push forward. The Pittsburgh Penguins did it in the second year of the Sidney Crosby era, jumping from 58 to 105 points. The Washington Capitals did it in the third year of the Alex Ovechkin era, jumping from 70 to 94 points. The Oilers were hoping for a breakthrough this year, but reasonably objective observers had to concede they could still use another year or more to get the collective act together.
Curiously, what’s largely set the Oilers back this year is the popgun nature of their offence – and more specifically, the inability to score goals at even strength. The NHL keeps track of this as a ratio of five-on-five goals scored for and against – and Edmonton ranks dead last at 0.52 (calculated by dividing their 29 even-strength goals against into their 15 even-strength goals for). It isn’t even close by the way. The Florida Panthers are 29th at 0.65, followed by the New York Islanders (0.66), the Calgary Flames (0.68), the Washington Capitals (0.74) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (0.74).
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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.
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