Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

The Fenwick Number

I have been taking my usual look at sabermetrics and hockey this summer.  I have spent most of the time looking at the Corsi Number.  The Corsi Number is essentially an alternative to +/- ratings.  Instead of using only goals scored to tally ratings, it uses all shots directed at goal (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots).  This makes the numbers much larger and removes statistical noise to a better degree than +/- does.  Corsi is a good judge of puck possession of players.  Players with high Corsis tend to dominate in puck possession and those with low Corsis tend to have their opponents dominating in puck possession.

Corsi is not the only alternative to +/- that is used in this manner.  Another method, which is less common, is the Fenwick Rating.  It is named for Matt Fenwick from the Battle of Alberta blog.  He factors out blocked shots from a Corsi Rating to include only shots on goal and missed shots.

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Why Mike Babcock Is A Good Coach For Canada

Of the Olympic hockey teams in 2010, no team has as many coaching choices as Team Canada does.  Most of the NHL’s coaches are Canadians.  The decision of who to coach Team Canada coach has many possibilities.  It doesn’t really have any wrong answers as long as somebody competent is selected and most (if not all) NHL coaches qualify as competent coaches. 

The ideal coach for Team Canada is somebody who has shown he can succeed with a talented team.  It is somebody who does not play a complicated system since there is little time for that to be learned (and let’s face it the six month early Olympic orientation camps are near useless).  The ideal coach for Team Canada should not have a conflict of interest where he appears to favor his teammates over other players who may be better fits.

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How Evgeni Malkin Made An MVP Run

In the 2008/09 season, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins led the league in scoring with 113 points.  He finished second in the Hart Trophy voting behind Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.  Does this mean that Malkin is the second best player in the NHL or did the circumstances of how he was played serve to improve his statistics?

Malkin was heavily played in offensive situations by the Pittsburgh Penguins.  In fact, he had the third most prominent offensive zone starter in the NHL last season.  This is quite a significant achievement given that Pittsburgh did not have a great season in terms of puck possession.  They had more defensive zone faceoffs than offensive zone ones.  They finished with a negative team Corsi number.  They were a team that got on a hot streak in time for the playoffs, but they had not been dominant in the regular season.  In fact, at times during the regular season they looked as though they might miss the playoffs.

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The Most Protected Player In The NHL

When we look at the top 20 offensive zone starters, we see that Ed Jovanovski leads the league.  He has a significant lead on anyone else in the league.  Jovanovski has 168 more offensive zone starts than defensive zone starts.  Patrick Kane of Chicago is in second place well back at 139.  This is an amazing total given that Phoenix had the worst team Corsi Number  in the league last season and had many more defensive faceoffs than offensive faceoffs to take last year. 

Given that Jovanovski is the highest paid player on the Coyotes with a $6.5 million salary cap, this isn’t good enough.  He should be the player who leads the team and does the hard work to make the team win.  In Phoenix, it is Zbynek Michalek and Kurt Sauer who play the tough roles.  They are on for the most defensive zone starts in Phoenix.

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Top 20 Offensive Zone Starters

Recently in this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have introduced the concept of zone starts.  I recently listed the top 20 defensive zone starters, the players who most frequently are on the ice for faceoffs in their defensive zone and not those in their offensive zone.  This is a measure of players who play tough defensive roles with their teams and are thus more likely to have poor Corsi Numbers.  Today I will look at the opposite situation, players who are on the ice for the most offensive zone faceoffs minus defensive zone faceoffs.  These numbers were pulled from NHL game summaries by Vic Ferrari at Irreverent Oiler Fans.

Here are the top 20 offensive zone starters in the 2008/09 season:

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Top 20 Defensive Zone Starters

In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have recently introduced the concept of zone starts.  This is the tabulation of the number of times a player is on the ice for a faceoff in a given zone on the ice (offensive, neutral or defensive) over the course of the season.  In order to see the correlation of these numbers with Corsi Numbers, these zone start numbers are restricted to 5 on 5 situations.  The raw data has been tabulated by Vic Ferrari at Irreverent Oiler Fans.

Today I will present the list of the 20 players who were most preferentially used in defensive situations.  These are the twenty players who were on the ice for the most defensive zone faceoffs minus offensive faceoffs.

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Zone Starts

In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number.  I have published top 20 and worst 20 adjusted Corsi lists with Corsi Number treated as both a counting stat and a rate stat.  Here are the top 20 and worst 20 adjusted Corsi numbers as a counting stat and the top 20 and   worst 20 adjusted Corsi numbers as a rate stat.  It is clear that the players who made the top 20 lists were players who excelled in the situations that they played and those who were on the worst 20 lists failed in their situation.  However, it is not clear how tough the role they played on their team was.  One piece of the context, which helps to interpret if the player failed because they are not NHL calibre players or because they played in a tough role in which it would be hard for any player to excel is important to try to make sense of Corsi Numbers, is which zone they tended to take faceoffs in.

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Worst 20 Corsi Rates

In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number.  The Corsi Number is the difference in the number of shots directed at the net (shots on goal, blocked shots and missed shots) taken by a team while a given player is on the ice and those taken by his opponents in five on five situations. I recently gave the top 20 adjusted Corsi rates.  This is a list of players who excelled in the roles that they played last season.  Today, I am listing the worst 20 adjusted Corsi rates.  The adjustment method involves calculating a player’s Corsi rate while he is on and off the ice and subtracting them to get the adjusted rate attributed to a given player.  This is similar to the adjustment that behind the net does with on/off ice adjusted +/- ratings.

Here are the 20 worst adjusted Corsi rates from 2008/09 among players with 50 or more games played:

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Top 20 Adjusted Corsi Rates

In this summer’s look at sabermerics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number.  The Corsi Number is the difference in the number of shots directed at the net (shots on goal, blocked shots and missed shots) taken by a team while a given player is on the ice and those taken by his opponents in five on five situations.  I have given the top 20 and worst 20 adjusted Corsi Numbers found when treating Corsi as a counting number (total over the entire season).  A similar adjustment can be done as a rate stat (per minute of ice time).  The main difference between these adjustments is that players who succeed, but in lesser roles on teams are more likely to be found at the extremes of the ratings.

Here are the top 20 adjusted Corsi rates from the 2008/09 season among players with 50 or more games played:

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Who Is Going To Score On The Rangers?

The New York Rangers were the third lowest scoring team in the NHL last season.  They averaged 2.44 goals per game, finishing barely ahead of the Colorado Avalanche and New York Islanders.  Improving the offence in New York should be a priority.  The highest scoring player who finished the 2008/09 season as a Ranger was Nik Antropov, who was acquired on trade deadline day from the Toronto Maple Leafs.  His 59 points led the Rangers.  Antropov left the team as a free agent when he signed with the Atlanta Thrashers. 

Among players who spent the entire 2008/09 with the Rangers, Scott Gomez and Nikolai Zherdev led the team in scoring with 58 points.  Both of them are gone.  Gomez was traded to the Montreal Canadiens.  The biggest scorer from last season acquired in return was Chris Higgins, who is coming off a 23 point year.  Zherdev won’t be back with the Rangers either.  They have walked away from his $3.9 salary arbitration award to allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.  Last year’s three top point scorers on the lowest scoring playoff team will not be back.  How can that be a step forward?

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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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