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Kovalchuk`s Worst +/- Rating

The worst +/- rating in the NHL belongs to Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils.  He has a -26 rating.  This is not the result New Jersey hoped for after a summer where he was the most sought after free agent signing and his ordeal to get a contract accepted by the NHL was the summer`s biggest hockey story. 

This +/- rating is largely an indictment of the New Jersey Devils team.  New Jersey has the worst team +/- rating at -53.  The worst three and five of the worst six +/- ratings in the league are Devil players.  Playing significant minutes on the Devils is going to get any player a bad +/- rating.  Kovalchuk is third in ice time on the team.  The two players who are ahead of him in ice time (Andy Greene and Henrik Tallinder) are the second and third worst +/- ratings.

Kovalchuk has never been a strong +/- player.  The only time he finished a season as a plus player in his career was last season.  He is generally a dominant scorer and a strong power play attacker, though he hasn`t had his usual offensive effectiveness this season and that has been a problem. 

Kovalchuk has only ten even strength points so far this season.  That puts him second on his Devils, who have the worst offense in the league this year (behind Patrik Elias).

Ilya Kovalchuk has not been able to score as much as expected this year.  It is a combination of bad luck and poor teammates.  He has never been a defensively strong player.  A player like Kovalchuk who plays on a poor team like New Jersey is going to have a poor +/- rating.  It is an indictment of his team as much as it is his individual play.  Everyone with lots of ice time on the Devils has a poor +/- rating.

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Teebz's avatar

Your argument is riddled with fallacies.

In Atlanta, the problem with him not scoring was poor linemates and bad luck. Yet he scored 0.55 goals per game (328 goals in 594 games) with a team that had no offensive stars besides Vyacheslav Kozlov to support him. That’s one goal for every two games in Atlanta, and he had 31 goals, 28 assists, and a +1 rating when he was traded to New Jersey.

Since that time, Kovalchuk has scored 18 goals in 62 games for New Jersey - a 0.29 GPG clip. That’s half of his normal pace in Atlanta, yet he’s surrounded by better teammates i Jamie Langenbrunner, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, and Zach Parise. After arriving in New Jersey, he went an additional +9 for a +10 rating in the 2009-10 season - the only season in which he’s finished in a plus standing.

Do you really think he’s worse off in New Jersey? From what I can see, he’s actually made one team better by leaving, and one team far worse by signing. And therefore, he’s all to blame for his own problems and a lot of the team’s problems.

Posted by Teebz on 12/30/10 at 05:29 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Do you really think he’s worse off in New Jersey?

The 2010/11 Devils are the lowest scoring team that Kovalchuk has ever played for.  It is only natural that his scoring will go down in that environment.  The drop is partially Kovalchuk’s fault, but luck and a poor envirnoment have a lot to do with it.

Definitely Kovlachuk is worse off being in New Jersey this season.

From what I can see, he’s actually made one team better by leaving, and one team far worse by signing.

Any improvement in Atlanta has nothing to do with Kovalchuk.  Their top two scorers were not on the team last year (Byfuglien and Ladd).  Tobias Enstrom is the oldest member of their top 6 scorers and he just turned 26 years old.  Their number one goalie Ondrej Pavelec took a big step forward and he is 23.  This is what a team looks like when a good young core starts to make good.  Their presence is not related to Kovalchuk in any direct way.

You suffer from a common logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc.  You want to argue that because something happened before something else it must be its cause.  Therefore Kovalchuk signing caused Parise to get hurt, it caused Brodeur to show his age, it caused Dustin Byfuglien to be the top scoring defenceman in hockey, there is a long line of things you must assume it caused to get to your conclusion.  The vast majority of these things had nothing to do with Ilya Kovalchuk.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/30/10 at 05:42 PM ET

Teebz's avatar

Are you really that blind? Or is this a mental capacity thing?

Definitely Kovlachuk is worse off being in New Jersey this season.

Why? It’s not because of his teammates. Luck strikes everyone, and blaming his crap season on bad luck is a “convenient excuse”. No, the reason is because he decimated that team with his stupid signing. His paycheck is the reason why the Devils have been dismantled from a viable playoff team to a lottery-pick team. Had he signed for a more cap-friendly number, there would be more talent and money to go around, and the Devils would be in a better place. But they aren’t, and a large number of problems are associated with that $100M contract.

In short, he caused this, he signed off on these problems, and now he’s suffering through his own spectacular greediness.

Any improvement in Atlanta has nothing to do with Kovalchuk.  Their top two scorers were not on the team last year (Byfuglien and Ladd).

Yeah, those two are certainly “top scorers” and “elite players” by your standards. Give your head a shake and realize that CAP FLEXIBILITY is a vitally important asset to every NHL franchise in this day and age.

The reason they could out and pillage the Blackhawks for their second- and third-liners, as well as bring in some other solid talent, is because they didn’t have Kovalchuk’s albatross contract hampering the team’s efforts in signing quality players. Had Kovalchuk signed in Atlanta for the $100M that they offered, players like Buff and Ladd wouldn’t be there. Therefore, Mr. Logic Deficiency, something good happened to Atlanta because something bad DID happen elsewhere. And now Atlanta is starting to fill out its roster with quality young players rather than searching the Atlanta Want Ads for players looking for a beer league team.

The cap inflexibility due to Kovalchuk’s idiotic contract is a hindrance to New Jersey, and his not signing in Atlanta benefited the Thrashers greatly as they could go out and distribute that god-forsaken amount of money amongst several quality players through cap flexibility.

I’m going to give you benefit of the doubt and assume you understand cap flexibility, so you can’t possibly blame anyone for Kovalchuk’s crap season except Ilya Kovalchuk. Or am I being far too simplistic for a deep mind like yours?

Posted by Teebz on 12/30/10 at 05:55 PM ET

Avatar

The Devils don’t have a single decent puck mover on the blue-line to assist on transition. Greene’s just not good enough and Tallinder is too old. They lost Martin, Rafalski (et al) and didn’t replace them. Even Oduya was pretty mobile. This is New Jersey’s single-biggest problem. Generating offense on the breakout starts with a good first pass. They don’t have anyone who can make one. Atlanta had Enstrom and at least one other guy last year.

Kovalchuk’s a player who scores two types of goals; goals that come from rushes caused by good transition and slapshots on the powerplay. The Devils don’t have good transition. Kovalchuk’s not not a problem, but his problems are probably exacerbated by the bigger problem, which is lack of good puck movement from the d to f.

Sadly for the devils, mobile, 2-way defensemen hardly ever become available, and when they do, they get overpaid (Bouwmeester, Campbell). Jersey let two such guys go for nothing since the lockout and traded another for Kovalchuk. They’re reaping the benefits now. Bad news is, the only way (other than free agency) to get the types of defensemen they need is to draft them and wait four years for them to develop.

Posted by StevieSteve on 12/30/10 at 06:00 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

PSH:Definitely Kovlachuk is worse off being in New Jersey this season.

Teebz:Why? It’s not because of his teammates.

PSH:  It definitely is because of his teammates.  The New Jersey team is the lowest scoring team in the league.  They are in last place.  That is a worse situation than he even had in Atlanta.

Teebz:Luck strikes everyone, and blaming his crap season on bad luck is a “convenient excus.

PSH:  Luck does not strike everyone equally.  Some players are luckier than others given a relatively small sample size - and a single season is usually a small sample size.  Luck can be quantified to a degree.  Look at his shooting percentage.  Shooting percentage is not a skill that players sustain from season to season.  It fluctuates quite randomly from year to year.  This year, Kovlachuk’s shooting percentage is his career worst.  He just isn’t having his usual luck finishing plays.

That is not so say that Kovalchuk is blameless for his poor partial season (which is why I didn’t say it - and odd that you feel the need to rant against it instead of discussing what I actually said).  The Devils salary cap is tight with Ilya Kovalchuk around.  It cost them a full line-up in a few games early in the season.  It is costing them Brian Rolston, if anyone will take him.  This is less significant than Zach Parise being hurt or than Martin Brodeur no longer playing as an elite goalie.  You are overlooking much more significant problems than the one you want to rail against.  This shows your bias or your lack of thought about the issue.

The cap inflexibility due to Kovalchuk’s idiotic contract is a hindrance to New Jersey, and his not signing in Atlanta benefited the Thrashers greatly as they could go out and distribute that god-forsaken amount of money amongst several quality players through cap flexibility.

Atlanta had the lowest salary cap hit in the league most of this season.  The salary cap in no way limits the Thrashers.  They could add Kovalchuk’s contract and drop nothing and still have one of the lowest salarytotals in the NHL.  Not signing Ilya Kovalchuk did not give Atlanta any salary cap flexibility whatsoever.  It may have helped them with internal budgets, but your claim that it has to do with the salary cap is flat wrong.  There is no salary cap reason that Atlanta could not have kept Kovalchuk and traded for Byfuglien and Ladd.  There is no direct tie between Kovalchuk and that trade at all.  You are desperate to manufacture one because without it your argument fails. 

Atlanta has an improving young core.  They added their two top scorers in a trade after Kovlachuk was gone.  This is the reason for improvement.  There is no direct tie in to Kovalchuk at all.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/30/10 at 06:16 PM ET

Alan's avatar

They added their two top scorers in a trade after Kovlachuk was gone.  This is the reason for improvement.  There is no direct tie in to Kovalchuk at all.

Actually…

In the Kovalchuk deal, players Bergfors, Oduya, and Cormier were sent the other way. With them, the Devils’ first round pick was sent. Atlanta and New Jersey swapped second round picks.

To get the deal done with Chicago, Atlanta sent off Reasoner (traded to Florida), Morin, Crabb, and the two NJD draft picks (24th overall, 54th overall). Atlanta received Byfuglien, Eager, Sopel, and Aliu. The argument could then be made that Kovalchuk helped Atlanta get to where they are, simply based on the returns from the trade that sent him to Jersey to begin with.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/30/10 at 06:57 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

In the Kovalchuk deal, players Bergfors, Oduya, and Cormier were sent the other way. With them, the Devils’ first round pick was sent. Atlanta and New Jersey swapped second round picks.

To get the deal done with Chicago, Atlanta sent off Reasoner (traded to Florida), Morin, Crabb, and the two NJD draft picks (24th overall, 54th overall). Atlanta received Byfuglien, Eager, Sopel, and Aliu. The argument could then be made that Kovalchuk helped Atlanta get to where they are, simply based on the returns from the trade that sent him to Jersey to begin with.

That is a pretty non-direct argument.  Some portion of the Kovalchuk trade was some portion of the Chicago trade.  In neither case was it the most significant portion.

It is no different from claiming that Wayne Gretzky was a significant part of Scott Pearson being traded to Edmonton, becuase part of the return for Gretzky was Martin Gelinas, who was later (along with a 6th round pick) traded for Pearson.  In fact, the Gretzky brought Pearson to Edmonton argument is a much stronger one because Gelinas was clearly the main piece going to Quebec and it isn`t obvious that anything that comes from the Kovalchuk deal was the main piece going to Chicago.

Now do you serious believe that Wayne Gretzky had to be traded to bring Scott Pearson to Edmonton?  Me neither.  Why does your logic come up with the opposite conclusion when Kovalchuk is involved?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/30/10 at 07:09 PM ET

Avatar

It has to be tough to be a Devils fan right now. Maybe the Kovy signing was an earlier sign of Lou’s diminished skills in a new-aged NHL.

Posted by Jesters Dead on 12/30/10 at 07:10 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Any improvement in Atlanta has nothing to do with Kovalchuk.

Teebz explains pretty well above and, instead of dealing with what you know he meant, you take a pedantic approach.

Fine, I’ll say it the correct way so that you may deal with the concept directly instead of using the term “salary cap” as a straw man for you to roundly defeat.  Ready? here goes:

Atlanta’s two top scorers were not on the team last year, but their combined cap hit is lower than Ilya Kovalchuk’s.

The salary cap (proper) had nothing to do with Kovalchuk’s departure from Atlanta and the arrival of Ladd and Byfuglien.  But, as you hinted at before going back off your rant, internal budgets were very likely the reason the Thrashers ended up going the route that they did without both keeping Kovalchuk and acquiring the two Blackhawks players.

Atlanta, as a franchise, simply cannot afford to have paid Kovalchuk the same dollars that New Jersey has while keeping the talent around him to aid him in scoring.  According to the Forbes data, Atlanta is the 2nd-least valuable franchise in the league and hasn’t run an operating profit since the lockout.  While it’s wholly possible that under the salary cap, they COULD have kept Kovalchuk, the reality of the business situation is that it would have been financially wrong to have done so.  The $9MM he’s making was not likely to bring the Thrashers an extra $9MM in gate receipts (or $15.79MM if you want to take the players share on a case-by-case basis). 

Instead, they went out and got a couple of players who, combined are more valuable than Kovalchuk with a lower price tag.  I would argue that these moves helped improve Atlanta both as a team and as a business.  You are wrong when you deny that there is any link.

You’re right to not have completely dismissed the cap inflexibility that Kovalchuk’s contract has inflicted on New Jersey, but I think you’re minimizing it too much.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/30/10 at 07:20 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

JJ

I argue that the trade with Chicago would likely have gone ahead with or without Kovalchuk’s signing.  In fact the trade happened before Kovalchuk had signed anywhere, so it was entirely possible that Atlanta still had some ideas that they might be able to entice Kovalchuk to come back given the right contract circumstances.

I certainly do not accept this premise that it was an either/or situation.  If Ilya Kovalchuk was a Thrasher and Chicago offered the same trade that occurred, Atlanta would have been crazy not to make it happen.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/30/10 at 07:29 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I certainly do not accept this premise that it was an either/or situation.  If Ilya Kovalchuk was a Thrasher and Chicago offered the same trade that occurred, Atlanta would have been crazy not to make it happen.

And how would you dare to explain to Atlanta’s investors when they asked why your franchise had a $17MM operating loss?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/30/10 at 07:32 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

And how would you dare to explain to Atlanta’s investors when they asked why your franchise had a $17MM operating loss?

Its a good hockey move.  Other teams have operated with larger losses at times in the past.  It is entirely possible.

Very quickly we could be discussing the viability of the Atlanta market in the NHL.  It isn’t very good.  Does that mean that Atlanta can never see their payroll increase?  As the salary cap and floor increase they will have to see increases.  Adding Kovalchuk’s current contract to the Thrashers still makes them $3 mill cheaper (by salary cap hit) than the Phoenix Coyotes, who have been run by the league for almost two years.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/30/10 at 07:41 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Their payroll is going to increase as it will have to, but it won’t have to increase by $9MM.

A fine position to take that it’s ok to make what might be a good hockey move while losing powerball-esque sums of money when it’s not your cash.

There is no evidence to support that Atlanta would be a better team with Ilya Kovalchuk on their roster anyway, especially if Kovalchuk’s bad shooting luck is such an uncontrollable thing.  The Thrashers are actually doing things the right way as prescribed by the CBA.  They’re trying to build a winner slowly to bring back the fans while attempting to stay within their means. 

Whatever the Coyotes spend is irrelevant.  The Thrashers look like they have a good chance at finishing higher than Phoenix in the standings while spending significantly less.  The Coyotes are the lowest-valued team in the league and a team that’s claimed operating losses of $65MM to Atlanta’s $27MM since the lockout.  This is a big part of the reason they’re owned by the league.

If you want to talk contraction and relocation, then put up a post about that, but just flatly saying that Atlanta should spend more money because of the hockey sense while ignoring the business sense unfortunately doesn’t fly.  I’d love to agree with you that Atlanta should have signed Kovalchuk regardless of the financial concerns, but sometimes you cannot make the best hockey decision because of real-world finances.

Therefore, when you take into consideration that real-world finances have created an either/or situation as far as it pertains to keeping Kovalchuk and acquiring Byfuglien and Ladd, if forced to take one choice or the other, the Thrashers made the right choice and are better off for it.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/30/10 at 07:54 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Some portion of the Kovalchuk trade was some portion of the Chicago trade.  In neither case was it the most significant portion

It’s simple, really. Atlanta wasn’t going to trade their first for the players. Atlanta acquired another first, and flipped a second. It’s possible a deal could have been struck using other methods, such as prospects in the Atlanta system.

Furthermore, it’s not just about the Chicago deal. It’s about Atlanta becoming better as a whole. Kovalchuk didn’t just help get the Chicago guys here for less than what it could have cost, we also got the Devils players as a direct result of Kovalchuk being traded.

Thusly, this nullifies the silly argument about Gretzky.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/30/10 at 08:03 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I see.  For Atlanta to make a good hockey trade, it is necessary that they
1) acquire a first round draft pick from somewhere
2) reduce their payroll
3) probably some other concerns to be added later that are also directly related to Ilya Kovalchuk

If all this is true, its amazing that Atlanta made the trade at all.  They had the best hockey trade offered to the organization in its existance (disagree? name a better one).  and needed several other (all Ilya Kovalchuk related) circumstances in place before they could say yes.

No wonder Atlanta has gone nowhere significant in their history.  They have been turning down good hockey trades because they couldn’t trade Ilya Kovalchuk to reduce payroll and acquire a first round pick before the deal could be made.

Or perhaps ... Rick Dudley makes trades like this with some frequency.  He traded for Ruslan Fedotenko and two other draft picks, giving up his first round pick (4th overall) when he GMed the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The Ilya Kovalchuk related things we are positing had nothing to do with this trade or the Fedotenko one.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/30/10 at 08:15 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Now who’s arguing post hoc ergo propter hoc?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/30/10 at 08:58 PM ET

Teebz's avatar

Perhaps we can go back to the issue. Here’s how the chronological steps took place.

1. Kovalchuk denied Atlanta’s deal on several occasions. The Thrashers, sensing that they need to improve in this past off-season, moved forward with a bundle of cash they were holding on to in case Kovalchuk came back. He didn’t. They went elsewhere.

2. Chicago, desperate to shed salaries, offered up a variety of players for any takers. Atlanta, having a ton of money available to add to their roster WITHIN THEIR BUDGET thanks to Kovalchuk spurning their offer, went out and picked up many solid players through signings and trades: Freddie Modin, Dustin Byfuglien, Akim Aliu, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Chris Mason, Andrew Ladd, and Freddy Mayer.

Total cap hit for 8 players: $11.8M for this season.
Total cap hit for Kovalchuk: $6.67M for this season.

If you’re the Thrashers, would you take eight above-average players for $12M, or one superstar for $6.67M? Don’t forget that Atlanta was significantly below the salary cap minimum threshold before the deals with Chicago went down. Therefore, their cap flexibility has allowed them to bluk up with good young players while still having $17M in cap space remaining.

New Jersey’s GM in Lou Lamoriello, trying to keep the Devils’ core intact, was usurped by owner Jeff Vanderbeek. He wanted a big name in New Jersey and was willing to pay whatever he could to get a big name. Kovalchuk was his choice, and he dumped a truckload of money at Kovalchuk’s feet. Kovy signed, thinking the Devils would be highly competitive, and took his wheelbarrow of money to the bank.

The problem? The Devils were now way over the cap because Kovalchuk couldn’t say no to the money. And the shedding of good players began because they couldn’t pay them.

It starts and ends with one name: Kovalchuk. He made Atlanta better, and he made New Jersey worse. And the root of all this evil is money. All he had to do is drop the ludicrous $100M demand he made when stringing LA along, but he didn’t. And now he’s paying for it. He made his bed. Enjoy lying in it.

Blame Kovalchuk? You’re damned right I do.

Posted by Teebz on 12/30/10 at 09:30 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Teebz

You have left out a significant number of important details to force things to fit your narrative.  Things like Parise getting hurt and Brodeur not playing as well as he has in the past and you are forcing other details such as the signing of after thought players like Fredrik Modin to be part of the Chicago trade when they are not.  The only players who have had a significant impact this season of the Atlanta additions are Byfuglien and Ladd and I have argued many times that they could have been added with or without Kovalchuk present.  In order to argue against it you couple things dishonestly to include Modin, Mayer, Mason and others.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/30/10 at 09:58 PM ET

Teebz's avatar

You have zero concept of reality. I’m not arguing about this with you, PSH, because your arguments make little to no sense. You continually prove you know little to nothing about the game, and base everything on black-and-white stats when there are so many factors that go into the game outside of statistical analysis.

I’ll leave you this: if Atlanta only wanted to spend $45M this season, could they have signed all eight players who are factoring into their success and kept Kovalchuk? If your answer is no, we’re done.

Remember - $45M and not a penny more. Add it up. I’ll wait. And laugh.

Posted by Teebz on 12/30/10 at 11:10 PM ET

Teebz's avatar

And by the way, who wrote this?

“In New Jersey this season, Kovalchuk has had very little support for his offence from teammates.  This is not a new situation for him.  In Atlanta he rarely had much support either, although his team was higher scoring last year than it is this year.

“So what is wrong with Ilya Kovalchuk?  He has had a moderate drop in his ability to get into scoring opportunities.  This is likely due to playing on an even lower scoring team than he was last year and being on a team that plays a stronger defensive game perhaps this is to be expected.  The main problem is that he is not finishing his chances.  This is a transient problem that will not last.  Shooting percentages show very little year to year consistency.  When a player has an abnormally high or low one, you can make a good guess that it won’t last.  Thus Ilya Kovalchuk is likely going to start scoring at a higher rate in the near future. “

Those paragraphs come directly from your December 8 article, minus the complimentary bolding by me. So, according to you, PSH, either the problem is Kovalchuk or the problem is environment and bad luck. It can’t be both despite you claiming both.

Pick your poison because you can’t have both. However, the toxin in both equations is Kovalchuk. Deduce what you want from it.

Posted by Teebz on 12/31/10 at 01:17 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Teebz asks an irrelevant question I’ll leave you this: if Atlanta only wanted to spend $45M this season, could they have signed all eight players who are factoring into their success and kept Kovalchuk? If your answer is no, we’re done.

Remember - $45M and not a penny more. Add it up. I’ll wait. And laugh.

First he made up the number $45 million.  There is no reason to believe that number has any significance at all.  Its just a random number he produced.  Right now they are on pace to have a salary cap hit that is barely over $41 million.  The $45 figure doesn’t have any basis in reality.

The second irrelevant demand is that Atlanta must add 8 players to their roster and keep Kovalchuk.  Most of those eight players are not too important.  They include people like Fredrik Modin and Brent Sopel and Freddy Meyer who are not much more than replacement players.  The only two players on the list who really matter this season are Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd.  The others don’t matter much to our analysis - except to Teebz irrelevant question because he demands they exist to keep the salary cap hit high.

Another choice would have been to keep Clarke MacArthur.  He is the top scorer on Toronto and they let him go for nothing.  His $2.4 million arbitration award is a red herring because Atlanta didn’t oppose his case so he got whatever he asked for.

All of this misses the point anyway.  Atlanta has a young core that is on the rise.  That is clear with or without Ilya Kovalchuk.  It is pretty clear they would haqve improved in the standings if he was still there and they arei mproving without him.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/10 at 01:27 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Teebz

If your reading comprehension was up to par, it would be obvious that the problem is a lot of things.  Surroundings and bad luck are the biggest cause, but Kovalchuk is also underperforming, however not by nearly enough to explain his entire offensive drop.

You might like to think in black and white, but the world is usually in shades of grey.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/10 at 01:30 AM ET

Teebz's avatar

You blamed Kovalchuk for his poor stats on December 8:

The main problem is that he is not finishing his chances.

Today, you blame the Devils for Kovalchuk’s poor plus/minus:

It is a combination of bad luck and poor teammates.

So which is it?

Posted by Teebz on 12/31/10 at 01:41 AM ET

Teebz's avatar

You might like to think in black and white, but the world is usually in shades of grey.

Watch out for the lightning strike, dude. You, of all people, should not be making claims like this.

Posted by Teebz on 12/31/10 at 01:42 AM ET

John W.'s avatar

You might like to think in black and white, but the world is usually in shades of grey.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/30/10 at 10:30 PM ET


Funniest thing I’ve ever read.  Oh the irony.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 12/31/10 at 02:40 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Teebz

Again your problem is reading comprehension - and it appears quotes pulled out of context.

Shooting percentage is not a skill.  It does not carry over from year to year for any player in any meaningful way.  Kovalchuk is not burying his chances.  That is effectively bad luck.  Any player who has a shooting percentage well above average is riding a streak of good luck and any player (such as Kovalchuk this year) who has a shooting percentage well below average is riding a streak of bad luck.

Today I agree with what I wrote on December 8th, but you seem unable to understand that they are saying essentially the same thing.  You misunderstand things to think that one comment disagrees with the other.  They do not.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/10 at 03:19 AM ET

Teebz's avatar

You mean to tell me that a guy who averaged nearly 40 goals per season in Atlanta is suddenly cursed by the swamps of New Jersey?

Shooting percentage is a statistic that is based on skill. If you are a sniper, as Kovalchuk is, scoring goals is not based on luck. It is a skill. Otherwise, Gretzky was the luckiest man to ever live, Brett Hull should buy lottery tickets weekly, and Mario Lemieux made leprechauns look like unlucky.

If his shooting percentage is low, he’s taking shots that have a low percentage of finding the back of the net. Getting to open ice where shooting percentages go up is also a skill. Kovalchuk, if you’ve been watching this season, has yet to work very hard in any game, and his stats are suffering because of it.

My reading comprehension is fine. Why can’t you decide whether Kovalchuk’s stats - and correct me if I’m wrong, but is plus/minus not a personal stats - are a result of his poor play or his teammates bad play + bad luck?

Because winners accept the consequences of their actions in the game. Losers - exactly what Kovalchuk and the Devils are - make excuses about being “snake-bitten” and “bad luck”. You make your own luck in this game.

If you don’t believe me, explain Crosby’s recent 50-point, 25-game point streak. Was that luck? Or did his hard work pay off, especially when the Penguins went through streaks of injuries?

Bad luck is a bullshit excuse. And you know it.

Posted by Teebz on 12/31/10 at 03:55 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Getting scoring chances (i.e. shots) is a skill that players sustain from year to year, but the rate at which they finish them (i.e. shooting percentage) is not.

A good goal scorer gets lots of scoring chances.  That produces lots of goals.  That was the entire point of the December 8th article that you appear to not have comprehended at all.  You did however attempt to “quote-mine” it to find something that disagreed with my point today.  However it was a pretty poorly failed attempt.  Next time understand the article before you attempt to quote-mine from it or better yet, do not quote ine at all.  It is usually a dishonest attept to argue things.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/10 at 04:12 AM ET

Teebz's avatar

A player who averages 40 goals a season for nearly a decade doesn’t suddenly lose his ability to put the puck in the net. He was scoring 40 goals a year with a 10-15% shooting percentage, but both stats have plummeted rapidly since moving to New Jersey. Why is this? Let’s dig into your fascinating, albeit pointless, articles.

Kovalchuk’s poor stats are his own fault. The guy scored 40 goals per year on one of the worst teams in the NHL at a rate of 12-18% per year. Kovalchuk goes to a better team with more talent, but he can’t find the net and he scores 6% of the time. What happened?

You said, and I quote,

“So what is wrong with Ilya Kovalchuk?  He has had a moderate drop in his ability to get into scoring opportunities.”

So have his skills diminished? Or are his terrible stats a result of his poor play… meaning his teammates and bad luck have nothing to do with the equation? After all,

“Getting scoring chances (i.e. shots) is a skill that players sustain from year to year”

... except in Ilya Kovalchuk’s case. Which means, and I quote myself on this one,

“he’s all to blame for his own problems and a lot of the team’s problems”

.

Still having problems digesting that? How about Behind The Net’s analysis of Kovalchuk’s play on June 28? And I quote,

“Ilya Kovalchuk has been much more likely to start out in the offensive zone than his teammates, and even though he lines up against his opponents’ weaker lines, his teams have been significantly outshot while he’s on the ice.  In other words, he’s a seriously negative player at even-strength.”

Wow. Can you believe that? He’s actually a pretty poor player. However, he does exceed the league in one area. Behind The Net points this out:

“Kovalchuk does have one skill - shooting.  He’s the rare guy for whom on-ice shooting percentage will consistently exceed the league average”.

So the guy is a prolific shooter - a skill, no less, as pointed out by Behind The Net - but can’t score in New Jersey. And he’s a significantly negative player according to your beloved Corsi. Do I really need to go on about how Kovalchuk is to be blamed for his god-awful plus/minus, or do I need to browbeat you some more?

Quote-mine that, jackass.

Posted by Teebz on 12/31/10 at 05:49 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I disagree with Gabe Desjardins at Behind the Net here.  If we look at Kovalchuk’s career shooting percentage including this season it has fallen to around the league average for a forward over the years Kovalchuk has been in the NHL.

Instead of claiming there are different rules for Kovalchuk than any other player, which Desjardins asserts and you blindly accept, the case looks much simpler.  Kovalchuk is just like everybody else.  He gets a lot of goals when he gets a lot of scoring chances.  He had a several year run where he managed to convert them at higher than average rate and then his luck ran out.  As a 27 year old, likely he will have several years to bounce back, possibly not to the 52 goal level as he has done in his career best season, but 40+ is a logical expectation.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/10 at 05:00 PM ET

Teebz's avatar

But his stats this year show he’s in decline according to analysis, and he’s not very good when it comes to playing on a team that has minimal talent whereby he has to work harder to generate scoring chances. Therefore, he was a better player in Atlanta because of his teammates if we hold true that he isn’t working any harder to generate chances. If A is constant, then B would be true.

But you still are not grasping this concept: all of your beloved Corsi stats, all of Kovalchuk’s stats, all of the Devils’ stats are all related to Kovalchuk blowing the New Jersey Devils up with his ridiculous contract demands. He is entirely to blame, and he should start pointing the finger at himself and no one else. It’s up to him to work harder to generate scoring chances in the same way that Sidney Crosby did on his 25-game scoring streak. Until he learns to work hard every game and not float through games, he’s going to be a loser.

The last time he gave the game everything he had was in the World Championships two years ago when he was named the tournament’s best player. He worked his tail off, scored a pile of great goals (including the championship winner), and looked like a superstar. Since that time, he’s done nothing - NOTHING - to convince anyone he’s worth $100M. Therefore, he’s to blame for his own situation, and he needs to accept that blame as a result of his poor play. It’s not his teammates’ faults. It is not the system’s fault. If he is unwilling to put in the effort, the stats will show that.

Speaking of pointing fingers, I’m going to point one: why did you delete the TKO comment?

Posted by Teebz on 12/31/10 at 07:06 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

But his stats this year show he’s in decline according to analysis,

Half a season of numbers is a small sample size.  There is a lot of random error inherent in analyzing a small sample size. 

I think when we look back we will see this as a down time (season?) in Kovalchuk’s career and he will bounce back and have a significant comeback in the years to come.  That is the clear conclusion from analyzing his numbers.  You fall into the trap that many hockey fans do, they see the numbers from last week or last month and assume they will continue indefinitely into the future at that rate.  You need a much larger sample size to assume that.  a much larger sample size with Kovalchuk shows he is a very good scorer.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/10 at 07:13 PM ET

Teebz's avatar

If it is a “down season”, as you say, then the blame is squarely on Kovalchuk and no one else for his own poor play. You’ve just accepted my argument. Game. Set. Match.

Posted by Teebz on 12/31/10 at 07:22 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The blame goes lots of places Mr. Troll.

I think circumstance and bad luck get the largest portion of the blame and I have shown that a few times.  You have chosen to ignore it.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/10 at 07:25 PM ET

Teebz's avatar

I haven’t ignored it once. I’ve simply decimated your bullshit excuses with reason. And you’ve chosen ignorance as an attitude for life.

Bad luck happens to every team and player at some point. The key about bad luck is that it ends at some point through one main factor. I can’t say this enough: hockey is a game where a player makes his own luck. Effort trumps talent in 99 out of 100 chances in hockey, and luck is largely determined by effort. Therefore, luck lies squarely on the effort put in by a player, and Kovalchuk floats through games. No effort = no positive luck.

Circumstance is created by the decisions made by a person. Therefore, a player can control circumstance. Perhaps Kovalchuk should accept the circumstance he’s in thanks largely to him decimating the team around him.

Kovalchuk’s circumstances and “bad luck” were created by himself. You’re not going to win this one, Mr. Jackass. But keep trying to convince me that “bad luck” is an acceptable excuse to give to your boss if you turn in a sub-par performance at work. I’m sure your boss will appreciate and accept your excuse for not putting in an effort.

Posted by Teebz on 12/31/10 at 07:32 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Teebz

Your problem is that you believe the following fairy tale Effort trumps talent in 99 out of 100 chances in hockey, and luck is largely determined by effort. 

You made a statistical statement.  Please provide the numbers to back it up.

Or else admit that its crap.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/10 at 07:34 PM ET

Teebz's avatar

Are you insane?

- Montreal defeats Washington in last year’s playoffs through pure effort and hustle. Effort trumps talent in a monumental way.
- Montreal defeats Pittsburgh in last year’s playoffs through pure effort and hustle. Effort trumps talent for the second straight series.
- Philadelphia defeats Boston after being down 3-0 in the series. Effort trumps talent.
- The Czech Republic, having mostly players from the Czech Elite League, defeats Russia’s NHL-heavy roster at the World Championships. Jaromir Jagr’s quote after the game? “They had stars and we had guys who play in the Czech Republic, but this shows that talent doesn’t matter - you have to work hard.” Effort trumps talent.
- Team USA defeats Canada at last year’s World Junior Championship by working its tail off and never giving up. Effort trumps talent.
- Canada wins gold at the Olympics after being manhandled by the Americans in the round-robin. Canada learns a valuable lesson - you have to work hard to win. Effort trumps talent.

All of those examples are just from the last year. Are you retarded, or do you just play one on the internet?

Posted by Teebz on 12/31/10 at 07:41 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Obviously you wouldn’t know what statistical evidence is if it walked up to you and introduced itself.

What you did was list a few games where you claim the harder working team won.  Had it gone the other way, you would probably be arguing the other team (the one that won if it went the other way) was the hardest working team.

I argue that it is reasonable to call the 2010 Nashville Predators the hardest working team last season.  How did their cup run go?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/10 at 07:44 PM ET

Teebz's avatar

Where, exactly, do you see the word “effort” on this page? Because I see it all over the place on that page.

It’s called an intangible. It’s something that players have to commit to in order for their stats to improve. Steven Stamkos put in the effort with Gary Roberts over the off-season two years ago and last year, and it now one of the most feared snipers in the NHL. Effort is the work put in, and stats are the results of that hard work.

Have you ever played the game? Have you ever played sports in your life? I’m fairly certain you have not. If you had, I’m guessing you were probably cut from most teams because it seems you have no concept of how hard work is valued by almost every coach and team over a lazy superstar. Players who work hard get better. That’s why coaches and teams have these things called “practices”. Normally, when players put in solid efforts in practice, it carries over to games. When that happens, stats usually go up because the player understands that hard work = success.

Anything else you’d like me to explain to you in terms of how life, in general, works? Lazy people are far from successful in most cases.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” I think he was a fairly successful guy.

Thomas Edison once said, “There is no substitute for hard work.” I’m quite certain he was successful. He also added, “Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Does that not sound like Kovalchuk’s situation?

JC Penney once said, “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.” JC Penney… his name sounds familiar for some reason.

Face it: HARD WORK TRUMPS TALENT in almost every situation. The results of hard work are great results. So maybe you should work a little harder in trying not to come off as an ass.

Posted by Teebz on 12/31/10 at 07:55 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Which clearly explains why Nashville won the Stanley Cup in 2010.

Also, I am still waiting for your proof of your statistical statement Effort trumps talent in 99 out of 100 chances in hockey, and luck is largely determined by effort..

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/10 at 07:59 PM ET

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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.

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