Any Nashville Predators fan can tell you that 5-on-3 shorthanded situations are a dangerous affair; last night in St. Louis, the Preds gave up their 7th(!) such goal this season. Just in time for Barry Trotz’s chalk-talk before tonight’s game with Vancouver, hockey stats guru Gabriel Desjardins brings us an analysis of just how much more likely a team is to score with 5-on-3 as opposed to a 5-on-4 power play.
The short answer is, quite a bit more, and it’s usually well worth it strategically to pass the puck to the shorthanded team as soon as a ref raises his arm, to maximize that 5-on-3 time. The only situation I could see where you wouldn’t want to do this is if the team on the power play is defending a lead late in the game; keeping the man advantage for a longer time might be better at keeping down the chances of the other team scoring to tie things up, but the defensive side of power play action isn’t addressed here.
Sean Avery may think he’s boring, but Calgary captain Jarome Iginla is making a move towards the top of this week’s NHL Penalty Plus/Minus rankings, just a step behind Los Angeles center Patrick O’Sullivan, who continues to hold down the NHL lead at +17. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the standings, Vancouver’s Shane O’Brien has raced ahead of the Blue Jacket’s Mike Commodore into the penalty box…
I know it’s Friday and half of you are already thinking about the weekend, but fire up those brain cells for a little bit longer and head over to the Edmonton Journal, where Dave Staples interviews Gabe Desjardins, proprietor of the seminal advanced hockey statistics site Behind the Net (which I use quite often in analytical pieces).
In this new world of new hockey statistics, many hardcore fans have made stellar contributions, but Desjardins is one of the most influential figures.
He has come up with a number of conceptually brilliant ideas on how to rate hockey players, things such as his Quality of Competition index, which attempts to put a number on just how difficult the opposition faced by each NHL player is.
Towards the end of the piece, Staples also revisits the issue of how misleading the traditional Plus/Minus statistic is, and discusses possible improvements.
Read on for the entire interview…
It looks like Mike Commodore has plenty of time to kick back in the penalty box and make it rain all over himself, as he’s taken over the bottom spot in our weekly NHL Penalty Plus/Minus update, with a -15 rating that puts him barely below Philadelphia’s Braydon Coburn.
L.A.‘s Patrick O’Sullivan still leads at the top of the chart, with a +16, a step ahead of Toronto’s Niklas Hagman and San Jose’s Joe Pavelski at +14. Check out the enclosed table for all the numbers…
At From the Rink, James Mirtle digs inside the numbers to see if shot-blocking is actually a winning NHL strategy:
It seems to me we’ve heard more and more about blocking shots the past few years, and the stat is often attributed to the best defensive players — and teams — when it comes to evaluating their play in their own end.
Looking at the stats, however, it’s not hard to see that a team like Detroit, for example, is consistently near the bottom of the NHL in shot blocks, and is this season right in dead last. The Islanders, meanwhile, lead with 17.7 blocks per game, almost exactly double the Red Wings, and are (needless to say) trailing them in the standings.
What follows is a nice correlation matrix of various factors (like Goals Per Game) with a team’s winning percentage. There’s even a helpful comment from a statistics teacher about the danger of mistaking correlation for causation. All the same, it’s always interesting to look under the hood and see how different aspects of the NHL game are interrelated.
Perhaps no figure in recorded history understood the concept of home-ice advantage better than Alexander Nevsky, a midieval Russian prince who scored a huge win over the Teutonic Knights on the frozen Lake Peipus back in 1242.
While luring enemies in heavy armor onto thin ice may not be an option, tonight the Nashville Predators return to the Sommet Center to take on an undermanned St. Louis Blahs squad at 6 p.m. local time; the early start is for a nationwide Versus telecast, the only scheduled appearance by the Preds on the Mike Chen Network this year.
A couple weeks ago I remember seeing an article (can’t remember where, sorry for the lack of linkage) that said the Predators have been one of the top teams in the NHL on home ice since the league came back from the Great Lockout. So I decided to run some numbers…
Expect your Nashville Predators to come home today with those 1st quarter report cards pinned to their shirts, please remember to read them and sign on the back before returning them to the teacher!
Patrick O’Sullivan is still King of the Hill in the NHL Penalty Plus/Minus rankings this week, and some of his competition will have difficulty keeping up. Despite being tied for 2nd in the league having generated 13 net power plays for the Nashville Predators, rookie Ryan Jones was sent down to Milwaukee for what is expected to be a short-term assignment, with a recall to the big club later this week.
Vancouver defenseman Shane O’Brien holds down the cellar with a -12 rating, while Robert Lang has taken over the bottom spot among all forwards, with a -11. I’m guessing that as they chase the Bruins in the Northeast division, Habs fans would like a little less penalty box time from “the Enigma.”
We’ve had our fun identifying an MVP for the 1st Quarter of the NHL season (Alex Ovechkin, don’t you know), so now it’s only appropriate to focus the lens of statistical analysis on the opposite end of the league. Who has been the biggest disaster on ice so far? May I have the envelope, please…
So who is your MVP for the NHL’s 1st quarter? In order to take a comprehensive look at which players have impacted team performance the most, I’d like to present my own take on the Top 30 skaters so far. This analysis combines even strength, special teams, durability and penalty drawing/taking information in what I hope you’ll agree is a more complete picture than we’ve typically seen when it comes to comparing individual stars.