Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Flyers Take A Step Backwards

The Philadelphia Flyers have significantly remade their roster.  They made a series of moves that move them further away from any shot at the Stanley Cup. 

The mistake seems to be an adherence to the “final piece” theory of hockey.  A team needs a final piece to win and that piece must be acquired at all cost.  Apparently that piece in Philadelphia is goaltending and the goaltender to solve the problems is Ilya Bryzgalov. 

Bryzgalov was signed to a huge contract worth $51 million in 9 years.  He is signed until 2020 when he turns 40.  In order to clear salary cap room arguably their best two best forwards in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were traded.  They were traded for young players.  Even if these deals work out, the players they got in return will not be ready to be NHL stars until Bryzgalov is beyond his prime.

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Who Should Have Won The Hart Trophy?

The Hart Trophy goes to the player who is adjudged most valuable to his team.  This often creates an incorrect semantic argument where a player who is less valuable is more valuable to his team because his team is worse.  Without him on his team, his team would really suck.  Thus some people try to pick the best example of a one man team and give the award to that one man even though he is less valuable than players on other teams. 

The example I like to give is two boxes of diamonds.  Which is more valuable?  A million dollar diamond in a box of $100 k diamonds or a $700 k diamond in a box of gravel?  If you think it is the $700 k diamond,is worth more, you failed basic math.  1 million > 700 k.  The million dollar diamond is worth exactly $300 k more.  If you think the $700 k one is worth more how much more do you think it is worth? 

With those preliminaries aside, let’s discuss hockey.

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NHL Award Voting Results

The NHL Awards were today.  As always it takes a bit of work to find the entire award voting results.  For the most part I have found it.  Of the awards I worry about, I am unable to find results for the Masterton Trophy voting.  I also cannot find award voting for the Pearson, Foundation Award and GM of the Year, but they are awards I am less interested in.  The Pearson Award is essentially another MVP but voted on by the players and not the hockey writers (I am award that people try to make a false distinction between most outstanding and MVP - if anyone thinks that a million dollar diamond is not the most valuable if it is surrounded by other hundred thousand dollar diamonds when another diamond that is worth $700 k is all alone with some gravel you can take it to the comments).  The Foundation Award depends on charitable giving and other similar factors which I am in no place to evaluate by watching games.  The GM of the Year is an award I disagree with in principle because being a good GM requires successfully orchestrating a multi-year plan and that cannot be evaluated meaningfully in one season.

Paul found the First and Second All Star team voting and it is here.  The voting for the other awards is below the break followed by my comments on the thing.

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David Backes Has A Top Adjusted +/- Rating

As I continue my sabermetrics and hockey posts, I am looking at the number two adjusted +/- last year.  David Backes of the St Louis Blues accomplished this with a +32 rating on a team with a +1.4 baseline. 

Backes had a good season last year.  He led the Blues in scoring with 62 points.  He was the Blues representative in the NHL All Star Game.  I think he should be a Selke Trophy nominee.  Some people take this too far and suggest he is Hart Trophy candidate.

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Toni Lydman Leads The NHL In Adjusted +/-

Yesterday I began my summer sabermetrics and hockey series by listing the top 20 players by adjusted +/-.  The leader is Toni Lydman of the Anaheim Ducks.  He has a +33.6 adjusted +/- rating.  This is a +32 raw rating with a -1.6 team adjustment.  This gives Lydman a three point lead over anyone else in the league. 

This makes him a good defenceman who succeeded in his role last year.  It doesn’t make him the best defencemen in the league despite some claims of poor sabermetricians.  There is a significant reason that Lydman’s +/- is higher than it would otherwise be.  As I wrote during the season when I discussed Lydman’s +/-, he is boosted by playing significant penalty kill time and essentially no power play time.

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Top 20 Adjusted +/- Ratings

Now that the season is over it is time to take a sabermetrics and hockey look at the 2010/11 season.  I will start by looking at adjusted +/- ratings.  There are multiple ways to do this.  One of the simplest is to find a baseline for a team to compare +/- ratings between teams.  This is a counting stat method first outlined in the Klein and Reif Hockey Compendium.

This technique will find players who succeeded in their role with their team.  It will select players who succeeded in easier roles where they played against lesser competition and it will select star players who played tougher roles and still succeeded.  There is no attempt to correct for quality of teammates or opposition.  It is a valid method to find players who succeeded in their roles with their teams and compare between teams.

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How To Avoid Offer Sheets

One of the more effective ways of hurting your opponent’s ability to build their team is to sign their restricted free agents to offer sheets.  Either they will lose them from their roster or they will be forced to pay more than they wanted to match the offer sheet and this will reduce their ability to keep the rest of their team signed under the salary cap.  I have been advocating this strategy since the early days of this CBA.  While there have been a few RFA offer sheets over the year, few clearly were following this strategy.  The best example has been San Jose signing Niklas Hjalmarsson of Chicago to an offer sheet.  This kept Chicago from keeping Antti Niemi on their team.

This strategy requires you to find a team that is nearing the salary cap with a few more players to sign.  By signing one of their players to an offer sheet, you guarantee that they won’t be able to re-sign all the players they would like.

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What We Learned This Season

At the conclusion of the NHL season it is natural to look back and see some of the things we learned as the season gets put in historical context.

1)  The Stanley Cup Boston Bruins are a largely forgettable team.  They took sixth seed in the East Conference last year.  They took third seed in the East this year by winning their division but had the fourth best record in the East.  They have never shown that they are a top team in the NHL.  They had a good run in this year`s playoffs but it looks very unrepeatable.  I don`t think they will be a serious Stanley Cup contender next year.  I won`t go as far as one hfboards thread that accuses them of being the weakest Stanley Cup winner as I think they are stronger than the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes, but this Stanley Cup winner is not an elite one.

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Penalties In The Stanley Cup Finals

This year’s Stanley Cup finals have been different from recent finals for several reasons.  One of which is penalties.  This has been the most penalized finals series since the lockout (I chose that as a starting date because it is the start of an era and because penalty totals are hard to find online for older series) by a large margin. 

In fact here are the numbers:

June 16th: This post is updated for game seven

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Future Hall Of Famer Mark Recchi Retires

One story at the conclusion of the Stanley Cup playoffs is that future Hall of Famer Mark Recchi has retired.  He is retiring fresh on the heels of his third Stanley Cup victory with his third Stanley Cup winning team.  He retires as the highest scoring active NHL player.  Here is the post I wrote when I first considered him a Hall of Famer regardless of the rest of his career.

I like to write a career retrospective for any future Hall of Fame player when they retire.  Here is Mark Recchi.

Recchi was born on February 1st, 1968 in Kamloops, British Columbia.  He grew up playing in the Kamloops minor hockey system.  He was first noticed by hockey scouts when he played with the Langley Eagles in the BCJHL in 1984/85.  He scored 65 points in 51 games and was given a chance to play with the WHL New Westminster Bruins for four games.  The next season he became a permanent member of the Bruins.  He scored 61 points in his first full year.  This is the first year he was eligible for the NHL entry draft but he was viewed as too small and defensively questionable and nobody selected him.  He was traded to his hometown Kamloops Blazers and that is where his junior career really too off.  He scored 76 points in an injury shortened 40 game season. Nevertheless, he remained undrafted.  In his final junior year he made the WHL West First All Star Team.  He played for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships.  He led the league with 93 assists and led the league in the playoffs with 21 assists and 31 points.  At this point he looked too good to be overlooked by the NHL.  At age 20, he was drafted as the Pittsburgh Penguins fourth pick 67th overall in the 1988 draft.

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com

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