SAME AS IT EVER WAS?

The Edmonton Oilers are through the first half of the season, with many of the same questions from opening night still unanswered this morning. Is there progress?

BABY BLUE, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • GA after 41 games 2014-15: 139
  • GA after 41 games 2015-16: 122
  • GF after 41 games 2014-15: 90
  • GF after 41 games 2015-16: 102
  • Goal Differential after 41 games 2014-15: -49
  • Goal Differential after 41 games 2015-16: -20

This is from NHL.com and is slightly different than my running count. Edmonton has in fact increased the GF by 12 and reduced the GA by 17. However, the underlying numbers are not (generally speaking) better and that is a concern. How much is injury? How much is poor production? How much is deployment that is not working?

THE BLUE, 2015-16

OILERS DEFENSE OVER SEASON

Brandon Davidson is the only healthy defenseman over 50 percent Corsi for 5×5, but that will end soon if he hangs with Andrej Sekera (and he should). Edmonton needs to win 50 percent of the even-strength play, but have been in an elevator shaft since the Oscar Klefbom injury. Look at Sekera’s possession numbers—and he is a helluva player!

One thing we have done this season is move away from the Vollman Sledgehammer and to the chart above, using SCA/60 at 5×5 to rank defensemen. I find it informative, especially when placing it beside CorsiRel (Fayne, for instance, should be an everyday player based on Rel but the table gives a different projection and offers insight into what Todd McLellan is seeing). I still don’t agree with it (Fayne should be playing over Nurse, as an example), but perspective is important.

What does another team look like when they are ranked by SCA/60? Here is Calgary.

  1. Deryk Engelland 23.11
  2. TJ Brodie 25.41
  3. Mark Giordano 26.14
  4. Ladislav Smid 26.86
  5. Dennis Wideman 27.81
  6. Dougie Hamilton 29.87
  7. Kris Russell 31.00

Interesting. In my mind, 25.00/60 is a reasonable dividing point, but we can see that even guys like Brodie and Giordano are in the range of Oscar Klefbom (Oscar actually a little better), which is heartening. Dougie Hamilton and Darnell Nurse are also in the same range as each other. Thoughts? This is a new metric for me (this season), but I like the feel of it. Would you like to continue with this stat, or use another? The only one I am stubborn on is CorsiRel. What would I do with the blue? Move heaven and earth to find a 25-year-old Brent Burns. Or get Brent Burns.

Stu MacGregor’s picks (second round and beyond) that are in the NHL and gathering GP:

  • Anton Lander 172 (Chosen No. 40, 2009)
  • Martin Marincin 110 (Chosen No. 46. 2010)
  • Brandon Davidson 35 (Chosen No. 162, 2010)
  • Tobias Rieder 111 (Chosen No. 114, 2011)
  • Jujhar Khaira 12 (Chosen No. 63, 2012)
  • Erik Gustafsson 10 (Chosen No. 93, 2012)

I am not arguing MacGregor should have stayed or that he should return. I am arguing that you have to wait five years—and even then Brandon Davidson was not absolutely clear in our minds as a top 6D NHL option. For my part, the last few years were a lesson in the impact of a GM on the scouting staff (Yak selection, Musil selection, 2013 draft under MacT, 2015 draft traded away under Peter Chiarelli).

nurse condors

One of the talking points for Oilers fans these days is what to do with Darnell Nurse, and it is an interesting discussion. The most important opinions in this conversation? GM and coach.

  • Peter Chiarelli has him on the roster.
  • Todd McLellan plays him A LOT. Nurse ranks No. 3 overall in total TOI per game (21:08) and No. 1 (by two minutes!) at even-strength TOI (19:19).

What is going on here? Well, if you look at the SCA/60 above, or at my CorsiRel, you see Nurse is not thriving. Why would McLellan put the 20-year old in this position? The only real answer is that he is using different criteria to assess Nurse. Even with that, Nurse has been moved down the depth chart over the last several games and has been playing with Justin Schultz (and his Rel/SCA numbers have been improving away from Andrej Sekera).

Why does McLellan do this? Well, part of it has to do with options—there are not many. I wrote about Nurse in the RE series, predicting he would begin the season in the minors, play 50 games and eventually emerge as a top 4D by season’s end. Todd McLellan took that a step further, force feeding the kid from early days (after they clearly, imo, misread the veterans, and someone should answer for that what the hell was said in the Kingsway offices last summer?)  and using him as top pairing with Sekera.

Nurse’s numbers have improved since backing off the Sekera train:

  • Nurse Corsi Rel December 21: -8.39 (Source)
  • Nurse Corsi Rel January 6: -6.84 (Above)

I think the Oilers would have been far better off with Nurse in a secondary role (and I did and do agree he is one of the six best options on the team, so sending him down was not an option—if you are trying to win games in-season), similar to the one he now occupies with Justin Schultz.

Meanwhile, Brandon Davidson is next man up, and in a month or so we may be reading articles about what is wrong with him. Answer? Nothing, past playing too high up the depth chart. Andrej Sekera is the real tragic hero in this piece, occupying the Jeff Petry role. People are just now saying ‘he has finally figured it out!’ when in truth he has been a solid NHL defenseman since the first struggling weeks. We need to agree on context when being critical of players, and for Sekera, 2015-16 has been Shawshank laundry room. I am hopeful they have success with Davidson—Sekera, here are their two most recent games:

  • 14-19 against the Coyotes
  • 11-16 against Carolina

I suspect we will be talking about Brandon Davidson’s struggles in a month. It is not Darnell Nurse, folks. It is the task at hand. Once again, the Oilers do not have enough top 4 NHL defensemen to win games at this level. We knew this, we all knew it, except for Peter Chiarelli and the men who informed him about the quality of the roster in those summer meetings. Who were those men?

Same as it ever was. Darnell Nurse will be fine. Brandon Davidson will be fine. The question for me? When will these men be suiting up in playoff games? Comes the answer: When informed decisions win the day. The Edmonton Oilers decision making—today—on NHL defensemen is not strong. Same as it ever was.

Ann Margret

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

We are finally back! 10 this morning, full show, TSN1260! God I have missed it, there is so much hot air built up this may not go well! Thankfully, I have brilliant guests!

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. His take on the first half of the season, the WJs, and the top pairing in Edmonton.
  • Tim Fragle, Vimy High School Director. He saw Fabbro and Jost up close and personal at the recent World Jr A Challenge, we will chat about that and more.
  • Sunil Agnihotri, Copper & Blue and the SuperFan. Darnell Nurse, Brandon Davidson, and a plethora of Oilers topics.
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. We will discuss injury reports from sports teams—WHY are they so vague and should fans be upset about them?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

MUSIC!

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180 Responses to "SAME AS IT EVER WAS?"

  1. rocket says:

    Agree with you. However remember that GA is a team game and, as a whole in the 41 games, the team has not yet learned how to play a defensive game.

  2. cc says:

    LT,

    If Davidson holds up alright with Sekera. Do you think that Klefbom (whenever he returns!) will take Nurse’s spot with Schultz? Thereby leaving Nurse with either Gryba or Fayne on the 3rd pairing. Remembering last years #’s Schultz played well with Klef and perhaps it props up Schultz’s game if they decide to move him at the deadline.

    CC

  3. sean w says:

    LT,

    Do you have the team-level underlying stats (eg. SF/SA)? If we’re comparing the change in the team’s goal differential from this year to last, it might be interesting to see how/if the SF/SA have changed.

  4. slopitch says:

    When will these men be suiting up in playoff games? Comes the answer: When informed decisions win the day.

    LT are you saying that Fayne should be top pairing or playing? I tend to agree that he should be in over Hunt or Gryba but I disagree that he’s a top pairing option. In which case the problem isnt decision making – it’s the lack of top pairing dman and Klefbom that’s killing the team. Lack of shelter and lack of options and the guys that are filling in (Nurse and now Davidson) are taking a beating because of it.

  5. PhrankLee says:

    Our goal diff moving in the right direction. We can expect the pace of that to improve as key injuries come off IR. Happy.

    I like your chart for D, LT.

    It correlates with the eye nicely as to who is standing up the puck carrier properly and early enough (gap).

  6. judgedrude says:

    I’ve always wondered why Edm never signed 2012 4th round draft D Eric Gustafsson, who’s paired with Brent Seabrook tonite vs Pitt.

    I think it was his sub-par fancy stats that the GM didn’t like: 6-0 and 176 lbs

  7. theres oil in virginia says:

    Are you sure that the problem is that the new guys were informed by the old guys that these old vets could calm the waters (when the past clearly shows the resulting turbulence)? Isn’t the problem more akin to the lack of available options? I think it’s conceivable that the old guys told the new guys that the old vets could weather the storm until the young ones matured and could handle the job, but I would hesitate to take it any further.

    Anyway, Chiarelli demanded “full control” upon entry, so if he got bad advice and was dumb enough to take it, then it’s on him. I don’t understand what’s happening with Fayne, but clearly that’s not due to bad advice from MacT. They sent Nikitin and Fayne down and PB’d Ference, so clearly there is no deference currently to MacT’s guys. It will be interesting to see what happens to MacT and Howson over the next few months. I think it will be telling.

  8. rich says:

    Certainly it would have made more sense to shelter Nurse and play a vet (Fayne) with Sekera but I think the coach was looking more long-term than short (part a) and basically was shuffling deuces and threes.

    The options on the blue are still limited. Who knew at the start of the season Davidson would emerge like he has? Everyone thought Fayne made the most sense to play up – but his foot speed is not to the coaches liking for the system they play. Putting Klefbom up w/Sekera means the bottom 4 is really exposed because the vets (Nikitin, Ference, Gryba) were poor bets to play at all or above 6/7.

    Given this, I think the coach feels that he takes his lumps this year in the hope that better days are ahead. Accelerate the learning, pull back when it gets really bad and give someone else a chance (now Davidson over Nurse).

  9. Seismic Source says:

    Redheads with bedhead and freckles….hockey what?

  10. Lowetide says:

    theres oil in virginia:
    Are you sure that the problem is that the new guys were informed by the old guys that these old vets could calm the waters (when the past clearly shows the resulting turbulence)?Isn’t the problem more akin to the lack of available options?I think it’s conceivable that the old guys told the new guys that the old vets could weather the storm until the young ones matured and could handle the job, but I would hesitate to take it any further.

    Anyway, Chiarelli demanded “full control” upon entry, so if he got bad advice and was dumb enough to take it, then it’s on him.I don’t understand what’s happening with Fayne, but clearly that’s not due to bad advice from MacT.They sent Nikitin and Fayne down and PB’d Ference, so clearly there is no deference currently to MacT’s guys.It will be interesting to see what happens to MacT and Howson over the next few months.I think it will be telling.

    I am giving PC the benefit of the doubt here. There were goalie and defense options, he addressed both but stopped short on the blue. I do think they planned a buyout, but not a defender. I believe that was a mistake.

  11. DocFan says:

    LT – another great post.

    I have to say that even though the team is still in the bottom 5 – there is real improvement here. Improved GF, Improved GA. And the team is a full 10 points ahead of the same point last year. That’s a projected 20 points better over a season. A huge improvement in my books.

    We should remind ourselves to take a step back. It’s Jan 5th, and we the playoffs are still an options (even if it’s a distant one). This team is actually enjoyable to watch again. There hasn’t been an 11 game losing streak.

    As fans, we all want things to improve rapidly, but this is a oil tanker (that metaphor fits nicely doesn’t it?) and it’s slowly turning.

    I’m already excited to cut lose all the dead weight and contract money this summer (Nikitin, TCAF, Schultz, and Purcell – who clearly isn’t dead weight, but won’t be 4.5 million.)

    We have an amazing core, and more pieces are coming.

    And this mostly without McJesus! The picture is much better in the long term than it has been since 2006!

  12. hags9k says:

    I shudder to think where we would be if Sekera had never signed.

    PC really has his work cut out for him. I don’t know how we add help to the D and keep all our treasure on F. Klef and Darnell need a couple more years before they are killers.

    There will be blood.

  13. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide: I am giving PC the benefit of the doubt here. There were goalie and defense options, he addressed both but stopped short on the blue. I do think they planned a buyout, but not a defender. I believe that was a mistake.

    Franson?

  14. Bruce McCurdy says:

    The likely difference between NHL.com totals and yours is that theirs (at least the ones cited above) do not include shootout “goals”. These do, however, show up in the standings, even though nobody is ever credited with scoring them.

    re: Nurse, my fellow Lowdown guest Sunil wrote an interesting post over at C&B this morning. He cites CF% REL as well, & Nurse’s -6.84 is the worst by a fair margin of the 30 comparables he used (all 20-year-old d-men themselves). And this is “REL” a pretty mediocred club in the 2015-16 Edmonton Oilers. Certainly evidence that he has been asked to do more than he is capable to this point.

  15. theres oil in virginia says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Shouldn’t you be driving? 🙂

  16. godot10 says:

    Cody Franson would NOT have helped. He is just another 3rd pairing D (like Fayne), and Buffalo has a worse record than the Oilers playing in the Eastern Conference.

    Franson would have just extended the waste of cap space into the indefinite future.

    And Franson, like Fayne, cannot play McLellan’s system because he is another D lacking in mobility.

    MacT saddled the Oilers with Ference, Nikitin, and Fayne. And threw away Petry and Gustafsson. That is a net plus minues of -5 for decisions on defensemen.

  17. hags9k says:

    DocFan,

    I like the metaphor but are we sure we are turning?

    I’d say CFP ran this ship aground in an environmentally sensitive coast 9 years ago and it hasn’t budged. Nicholson was recently hired to focus on the cleanup. Young Darnell and Oscar are below deck desperately trying to repair the hull so that Connor, the new young, talented captain can take her back out to sea. This crew can really sail, but Darnell and Oscar are going to need more help with that hull.

  18. Lowetide says:

    theres oil in virginia: Franson?

    Not the only one. With cash saved, they might have been able to get a Brian Campbell or other.

  19. vinotintazo says:

    haven’t we learned? do not mention Franzon on LTs site, or Godot will start bashing him.

  20. knighttown says:

    When I watch the Oilers complete dominance at 3 on 3 I can’t help but get a bit sad. It feels to me like this is the last gasp at building an offensive juggernaut at a time when offensive skills has never been less important.

    Jacques Lemaire started this with his army of talentless, faceless players devoted to the system and enjoyed success in Jersey and Minnesota. Now it’s trickling through to the Carolinas and Arizonas of the NHL who will win more games playing like this. Even Toronto, who has no one, has an even par goal differential.

    Tampa is crumbling and the seeds of that to me were planted in the postseason last year when Stamkos was often 6th or 7th among forward ice time. Coach Cooper realized Alex Killorn helps him win more games than Stamkos (excepting power play) and when you factor in the 10 million dollar pay check, move out the Stamkos’ and the Drouins and bring in more 1 million dollar speedsters, hungry to play in the NHL. Hands optional.

    I rarely agree to Doug MacLean but his comment the other day stuck with me. This has become a .500 league. No one is good and no one is bad. Teams go on runs like Florida is right now (4th in the NHL) or like Montreal did earlier but they don’t last.

    Look at the NHL.com standings under the heading “Last 10”. You’ve got Florida and Montreal at either end of the spectrum but everyone else, and I mean everyone, is clicking along at 4-4-2. Pick up a point, go to overtime, maybe you get an extra point, do it again the next night.

    For Oiler fans who are more familiar with the bottom of the standings, look there instead. There’s no terrible teams. Only 2 teams have a goal differential worse than -20. The Capitals of the mid seventies posted a -265 goal differential.

    We keep reviewing the roster and dreaming of unicorns but that misses the forest through the trees.

    The Devils are 12th in the NHL and their 2nd line centre is Stephen Gionta

    Corey Schneider you say?

    OK, the Coyotes lost their goalie and have Louis Domingue tending their nets and have Brad Richardson and Jordan Martinook in their Top 6. 5-2-3 in their last ten…same as everyone else.

    Other sports realized Tom Brady, Steph Curry and Josh Donaldson are who the fans want to see but this fucking sport is run by grinders and face punchers who applaud the Rudy-esque story of Jordan Martinook.

    This Oilers team will likely have one of the greatest collection of talent the NHL has ever seen and I’d be very surprised (and excited!) if they ever reach the potential most of us think they are destined to reach. And it won’t be because of terrible management or players who don’t buy in or any other cliche media-types reach for to explain the unexplainable. It’ll be a case of timing, pure and simple.

  21. theres oil in virginia says:

    knighttown,

    Fuck the NHL. Seriously, fuck those guys!

  22. frjohnk says:

    Bruce McCurdy: re: Nurse, my fellow Lowdown guest Sunil wrote an interesting post over at C&B this morning. He cites CF% REL as well, & Nurse’s -6.84 is the worst by a fair margin of the 30 comparables he used (all 20-year-old d-men themselves). And this is “REL” a pretty mediocred club in the 2015-16 Edmonton Oilers. Certainly evidence that he has been asked to do more than he is capable to this point.

    And it seems like Nurse is the Korpikoski of d men. Everybody has a better shot attempt % away from him

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=2003&withagainst=true&season=2015-16&sit=5v5

    I wouldnt worry about that too much for the future. For example,most players who played apart from Ristolainen last year fared better as well.

    Like Ristolainen last year, Nurse is playing too high up the batting order.

  23. Woogie63 says:

    H1 2015/6 v. H1 2014/5

    Could part of the story be the NHL TOI invested in young players?

    H1 2014 we were playing Draisaitl, Klefbom and Marincin

    H1 2015 we are still playing Driasaitl and Klefbom but have added McDavid, Nurse, Davidson, Khaira and Reinhart

    the 2015 investment should pay bigger dividends in H2?

  24. Hope is a good thing says:

    There is no question MacT and Howson grossly overestimated the D, but there is no way a conversation between Chiarelli and TMac didn’t happen last summer (maybe even at the Worlds). Maybe something like this:
    Pete: “We didn’t see the Oilers very much but we used to just run the shit out of them and laugh at how they never pushed back. How about the Sharks?”
    Todd: “Yeah, kind of the same, but we would occasionally get off track and play shinny with them, their forwards can be dangerous. But as far as their defence, they were brutal, and then they went and traded away Petry, their best guy! Can’t believe they didn’t lock him up. Klefbom is going to be good, but he’s really young.”
    Pete: “This doesn’t sound good…”
    Todd: “You have no idea! If their D didn’t pass right to us, they’d fire it off the glass and we’d start the attack from the neutral zone, cycle them to death, and then just look for the open guy in front of their net – they’d leave the slot wide open!”
    Pete: “Uh oh, hmmmm, that’s not what I’ve been told…”
    Todd: “One more thing I should mention…their best goalie is in the minors, you wouldn’t believe some of the shots we’d score on.”
    Pete: “Oh boy…”

    Gets Sekera, Gryba, and Reinhart. Scoops Talbot and Nilsson. Looks for other trades, but the price is too high, too many bad contracts on the books – sets sights on 2016/17. Wishes Todd good luck.

  25. oliveoilers says:

    Taylor Hall All-Star!

  26. dustrock says:

    knighttown,

    Well said, I’ve had the same rant many times over the last couple of years. The game is getting to be more of a chore to watch these days, I’ll be honest.

  27. Melman says:

    “after they clearly, imo, misread the veterans, and someone should answer for that what the hell was said in the Kingsway offices last summer?”

    LT this was the part of your post that really grabbed my curiosity. Will there be any summertime head office fall out after this season? Nurse, a 20 year old rookie, struggling as a first pairing defender = expected result. So is him being one of the top 6 options as you pointed out. But SOMEBODY, must have told Chia that among the 3 of Fayne, Ference and Nikitin there was adequate protection for the young D. I am a big fan MacT the player, coach and person, which makes the mess of the D all the more perplexing. Why Kingsway could not see what everyone in the hockey world could is bizarre.

    Frightening thought of the day: Could you imagine the state of things if Nurse and Davidson were not playing as well as they have?

  28. Woodguy says:

    Here are Sekera’s key numbers with Nurse and Fayne.

    The other Dmen havent’ played enough with Sekera for the numbers to mean anything (less than 30 minutes)

    Corsi For/60
    with Nurse 45.89
    with Fayne 55.85

    Corsi Against/60
    with Nurse 60.74
    with Fayne 59.68

    CF%
    with Nurse 43
    with Fayne 48.3

    Goals For/60
    with Nurse 1.52
    with Fayne 2.55

    Goals Against/60
    with Nurse 2.87
    with Fayne 2.87
    (not a typo, they are identical)

    GF%
    with Nurse 34.6
    with Fayne 47.1

    Its very, very, very clear that Fayne is the superior option and its not close are even in the same zip code as close.

    Its interesting that this shows the same thing my posts on BecauseOilers in that Fayne really seems to help Corsi For.

    How does he do that?

    I’m not sure at all, but the results haven’t changed on that from when I looked at it at game 8 until now at game 41.

    I remained convinced that waiving Fanye was about trying to move the player.

    McLellan scratching him in favour of Gryba and Schultz is more disconcerting if McLellan’s immediate goal is to win each game.

  29. dustrock says:

    I’m not convinced Chiarelli liked the state of the D corpse from when he was hired. It seems very obvious they are far below average for the NHL.

    I’m also not convinced Chiarelli had any strong plans to address this problem once the season began. He obviously wanted Hamonic. He obviously wanted Hamilton. He was no doubt poking at Seabrook.

    Other than those options, he might not see anything out there that would be worth pursuing this year.

    We all thought this was mostly going to be an evaluation year, and though the issue of McDavid’s ELC meant there was more urgency than under Lowe/Mac T, I thought we all agreed there were too many holes and too many young players to really expect the playoffs this year.

    He’s put Fayne and Nikitin into the AHL, and Ference on LTIR, so there is some awareness or belief that the veterans are even worse than they previously thought.

  30. PDL says:

    knighttown,

    Well said. It really is depressing watching skilled players getting hammered and ground down by lesser players. I think I first felt this way watching Lindros’ career come to a premature end. And now it’s just a matter of time before McDavid’s speed gets hampered by goons trying to knock him around.

  31. Pouzar says:

    dustrock:
    knighttown,

    Well said, I’ve had the same rant many times over the last couple of years.The game is getting to be more of a chore to watch these days, I’ll be honest.

    This.

    Not exciting at all imo. I like the hybrid ice size in Finland but we know this isn’t going to happen.
    Before you all jump over me…I know bigger ice doesn’t necessarily mean more goals. I like to see guys with room to skate and make passes and the hybrid size would still allow teams to play a heavy physical game as well.

  32. The Trade Guy says:

    All the big sports have realized that parity maximizes their revenue streams.

    For some reason Bettman hasn’t realized that offense makes things more exciting and changing the rules to benefit offense (see NFL) makes for better games (even in a league of parity)

    He seems to be cool with the clutching and grabbing of garbage players that kills the backs and legs of the Lemieuxs and Bures. And thugs that smash the brains of the Lindros and Kariyas of the world.

    May as well have Generic Hockey Player 1 and 2 tackle and attempt to cripple the Connor McDavids of the world. What an exciting product!

    *Yes I agree hockey is pretty boring these days.*

  33. braidon says:

    Hey all, had to sign up to leave this question for the information gatherers and sharers.

    Would anyone happen to know if resources exist pertaining to a connectionist network’s ability to take, say, CF% of a team and generate a useful notion of future success [IE. Win% or GF%]. That is to say, has anyone taken the data and fed it through a connectionist network to see if it tells us anything about a team’s chance of winning, and if so, compared it to traditional methods of predicting future success?

  34. stevezie says:

    knighttown: no one is bad.

    Agree completely. The Oilers are by far the worst team of the last ten years, and they were a lot better tan the mid 90s Senators.

    I think the issue is coaching. There’s too much. I don’t know how, but I would love to bring back a less structured game and worse goaltending. But how do you ban coaches?

  35. Halfwise says:

    Pouzar: This.

    Not exciting at all imo. I like the hybrid ice size in Finland but we know this isn’t going to happen.
    Before you all jump over me…I know bigger ice doesn’t necessarily mean more goals. I like to see guys with room to skate and make passes and the hybrid size would still allow teams to play a heavy physical game as well.

    I love the 3 on 3 OT. I put down whatever else i was doing and just revel in the skating and creativity that comes from all that space.

    For entertainment value, a 4 on 4 NHL on North American ice beats 5 on 5 on North American ice whenever it happens.

    If they were to shrink the goalie pads and blocker size and make the net 6 inches taller, there’d be more goals and maybe that would nudge the entertainment value up a bit. But the size of players and their physical abilities have outgrown North American ice. Changing equipment isn’t enough to restore the entertainment value, although it would be a good start.

    It’s like 1922 all over again when they dropped from 7 players to 6 and all those rover positions vanished.

    5 skaters a side on big ice surfaces, 4 skaters on NA surfaces, rosters shrink by 3-4 players, i.e. 90-120 jobs lost. Have to get the NHLPA onside of course (expansion? bigger slice of revenues? phase in the roster cuts?) but eventually everyone needs to realize the shared challenge is in getting money from fans who have other choices for their entertainment dollar.

  36. Hope is a good thing says:

    One of the things I like about the Oilers is their organizational philosophy to try to play the game the way it was meant to be played: skating, passing, and shooting at an elite level, and be willing to take risks. Exciting versions of the Canadiens, Islanders, Oilers and Penguins over the years kept true fans cheering for hockey they wanted to watch, regardless of affiliation.

    Acknowledging my bias, but I believe the number of highlight reel goals scored this year by the Oilers must be leading the league. Hall, Draisaitl, Purcell, McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Pouliot, and Yak have provided many “out of your seat” moments. Unfortunately, defences and massive goalies rarely allow for more than one or two of these to result in goals in a game. Screens, deflections, rebounds, and garbage goals are more the order of the day. Sekera’s recent one-handed swipe of his own rebound that luckily found it’s way through Ward’s pads was a hopeful sign we will add these to our repertoire as well.

    Expansion, coach’s job insecurity, and the trap are choking the life out of our “Beautiful Game”. Bigger ice is being trumped by bigger $$$, so until the league follows the NBA and NFL example to change the rules to open up offense (make the trap an illegal defence, actually call penalties when stars are hooked, held, slashed, mugged, and/or reduce the size of goalie equipment) then be prepared for more of the same, and pray for a power play that can be the difference in a game.

  37. Pouzar says:

    Halfwise: If they were to shrink the goalie pads and blocker size and make the net 6 inches taller, there’d be more goals and maybe that would nudge the entertainment value up a bit. But the size of players and their physical abilities have outgrown North American ice. Changing equipment isn’t enough to restore the entertainment value, although it would be a good start.

    100% in agreement. Well put.

  38. G Money says:

    braidon,

    What do you mean by ‘connectionist’ network?

    Do you mean neural networks? If so, then yes, I have been toying with neural networks and other machine learning algorithms to see if I can derive something useful from hockey data.

    Nothing of significant interest to report as yet.

    I am helping Woodguy with a data project he’s doing, and while I’ve been on vacation (one of those trips where you get back and you need a holiday) I’ve been mulling some machine learning approaches to helping with that … but again, nothing at all concrete as yet …

    There are a few others using this stuff (“similarity ratings” use a machine classifier), but to my knowledge, no (non proprietary) breakthroughs.

  39. G Money says:

    knighttown,

    This is – sadly! – a very good post!

  40. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    All Star voting is a funny thing. I find it strange that people seem to get genuinely worked up about it, but at the same time it’s fun to pick apart.

    For all the “I can’t believe John Scott made the all star game” talk, which is fair, there are plenty of other head scratchers.

    I was mentioning this on twitter, but the one that stands out for me this year is Pekka Rinne. He’s sharing the central crease with Dubnyk.

    He’s rocking a .908 sv%… and his Dmen are 2 of the 3 central division reps on the team.

    Based on merit, virtually any other starter in the Central likely deserves the nod. Crawford for sure, but even Jake Allen or frankly even Varlamov (middling numbers, but better than Pekka and at least he plays for a pourous mess of a defense).

    What’s everyone else’s favorite head scratcher?

  41. godot10 says:

    The problem with hockey is that the NHL and the NHLPA don’t let the referees call the rulebook, and the NHLPA won’t come out against fighting (with all the concussion evidence staring them in the face).

    None of the other changes will help much if they don’t call the game by the rulebook.

  42. G Money says:

    Hope is a good thing,

    Ha ha, I like this one too.

    Also: TAYLOR FRICKIN HALLSTAR.

    And with that, I will bring my posting burst to a close.

    Back in the Frozen Tundra in four days.

    Stay safe, stay warm, keep Tal-bot wrapped in bubble wrap!

  43. Loyal2theoil says:

    https://youtu.be/s7-H3eJFCd4

    highlights of the Finn Line that dominated at the WJC.

  44. braidon says:

    G Money,

    Thanks G Money, yeah I was referring to neural networks. I think over the next few weeks I’m going to do some poking into some connectionist literature and see if these kinds of data sets [differential data] have any precedent in generating useful probability outputs different from those which can be generated by traditional statistical methods. Working to finish off my degree and this seems to be an interesting application of connectionism and neural networks as they pertain to probability output from large and variable data sets.

  45. Quinlan says:

    I agree with the general appreciation of offence that’s been voiced… but I was entertained by the Carolina-Edmonton game.

    It ended in OT 1-0.

    1 goal scored, but I was engaged all the way through. To me, it was and is fascinating to see two teams playing pretty well transitionally, executing passes and plays in a back and forth game, with some great defending and some great goaltending.

    To be clear, I hate the sloppy, poor passing, low-shot 1-0 game. But those have become rarer and rarer. Even two of the lower teams in the league in Carolina and Edmonton can play an exciting, engaging game while scoring a grand total of one goal.

  46. knighttown says:

    Halfwise: I love the 3 on 3 OT. I put down whatever else i was doing and just revel in the skating and creativity that comes from all that space.

    For entertainment value, a 4 on 4 NHL on North American ice beats 5 on 5 on North American ice whenever it happens.

    If they were to shrink the goalie pads and blocker size and make the net 6 inches taller, there’d be more goals and maybe that would nudge the entertainment value up a bit. But the size of players and their physical abilities have outgrown North American ice. Changing equipment isn’t enough to restore the entertainment value, although it would be a good start.

    It’s like 1922 all over again when they dropped from 7 players to 6 and all those rover positions vanished.

    5 skaters a side on big ice surfaces, 4 skaters on NA surfaces, rosters shrink by 3-4 players, i.e. 90-120 jobs lost. Have to get the NHLPA onside of course (expansion? bigger slice of revenues? phase in the roster cuts?) but eventually everyone needs to realize the shared challenge is in getting money from fans who have other choices for their entertainment dollar.

    I’d love 4-on-4 and 3-on-3. Like the other poster said, you just stop what you’re doing and stare.
    Just can’t see it happening with the NHLPA.

    I think larger nets might have a much bigger impact than you’d think because there could be a ripple effect. Larger nets potentially means:
    -goalies can’t block the entire net in the butterfly. They either block what they can and get beat high or they stand up to make those saves but miss more low ones.
    -as the Gretzky/Vernon goal starts going in the “danger areas” of the ice becomes larger which means it has to be defended which spreads the defense out. Right now the home plate area is 11 bodies in a mosh pit.
    -larger net means “fronting”; defensemen playing goalie, becomes tougher. The shots will be at their head or wider where they can’t reach it and if they miss it it’s much more likely that it’ll find a hole somewhere through the screened goalie and bigger net.

    I’ve challenged people on this dozens of times and I still haven’t even seen a good argument for NOT increasing the net size. All I hear is “I don’t think they need to go there yet” or “it’s a travesty” but no one can explain why net size is so sacred.

    Can’t I just say net-to-goalie ratio is sacred?

    Usually people dismiss it “travesty!!!” and then suggest their unrelated idea.

  47. knighttown says:

    Quinlan:
    I agree with the general appreciation of offence that’s been voiced… but I was entertained by the Carolina-Edmonton game.

    It ended in OT 1-0.

    1 goal scored, but I was engaged all the way through. To me, it was and is fascinating to see two teams playing pretty well transitionally, executing passes and plays in a back and forth game, with some great defending and some great goaltending.

    To be clear, I hate the sloppy, poor passing, low-shot 1-0 game. But those have become rarer and rarer. Even two of the lower teams in the league in Carolina and Edmonton can play an exciting, engaging game while scoring a grand total of one goal.

    You were entertained by that? Even the announcers whose job it is to promote the game were mocking that game. There were almost no scoring chances.

    You need to rewatch that game and then rewatch the 3-on-3 and I’d love to hear your opinion then. I’d bet real dollars there were more scoring chances in that 3 minute OT than there were in a full period.

  48. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Dougie Hamilton allowing more SCA/60 than Schultz, while playing similar comp but Schultz with the tougher ZS?

    Neither are lighting the lamp often, especially Schultz, but there’s something to think about.

  49. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Woodguy,

    what about SCA/60 and HDSCA/60?

    Fayne seems to be hurting there

  50. LMHF#1 says:

    The Trade Guy:
    All the big sports have realized that parity maximizes their revenue streams.

    Not true for MLB and they’re doing great.

  51. LadiesloveSmid says:

    The Trade Guy,

    call more PPs. Teams averaged nearly like 6 PPs a game in ’06. Edmonton averages 3 a game now.

    Leader in PP Points last season: Giroux 37

    Leader in PP Points in ’06: Kovalchuk 56

  52. Caramel Obvious says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    Woodguy,

    what about SCA/60 and HDSCA/60?

    Fayne seems to be hurting there

    There is no good reason to ignore half the game.

  53. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    for and against

  54. Halfwise says:

    knighttown: I’ve challenged people on this dozens of times and I still haven’t even seen a good argument for NOT increasing the net size. All I hear is “I don’t think they need to go there yet” or “it’s a travesty” but no one can explain why net size is so sacred.

    Can’t I just say net-to-goalie ratio is sacred?

    So currently the net opening is 24 square feet. The size hasn’t changed since goalies were 5’6″ tall a century ago. If we just scale the height up by 15% to account for 6’5″ goalies, that puts the crossbar 7″ higher. When you think of all the pucks that go just over the net, you could probably add a couple of goals per game. Eberle would be a monster.

    I would go higher first, not wider, because it’s easier and cheaper than drilling all those new holes in all that concrete.

    There’s also no reason why blockers can’t be 2/3 their current width, and catching gloves can’t be restricted to 2/3 their current length.

    And hell, just for the entertainment value, all coincidental penalties become 4 minutes each.

  55. OilClog says:

    All star game should be held for the previous year during training camp the following season. Would be a fun way to kick off the year, the players that truly deserve the nod for their season of work will hopefully get their all star game. Maybe fans won’t be clamouring to see John Scotts when they’ve been deprived all summer of the opera on ice.

    Player contracts, injuries and such will all come into play, but I’m willing to bet the players would put Alil more grit into their effort.

    Seriously though, Chia has to be making a move for a defender.. I understand this may be a burn year for contracts.. But simply adding one quality defender that is everything Fayne was suppose to be could have this team in the playoffs.. He can’t possibly Tambi this can he.. Add the man now! Not four weeks too late 🙁

  56. Statsman says:

    Quinlan:
    I agree with the general appreciation of offence that’s been voiced… but I was entertained by the Carolina-Edmonton game.

    It ended in OT 1-0.

    1 goal scored, but I was engaged all the way through. To me, it was and is fascinating to see two teams playing pretty well transitionally, executing passes and plays in a back and forth game, with some great defending and some great goaltending.

    To be clear, I hate the sloppy, poor passing, low-shot 1-0 game. But those have become rarer and rarer. Even two of the lower teams in the league in Carolina and Edmonton can play an exciting, engaging game while scoring a grand total of one goal.

    I can’t say that I saw the same game as you did from an excitement point of view.

    I was chatting with John Forslund (the Carolina PxP guy) between periods as we both were in agreement that coaching is stifling the game. Coaches get paid to win and will do whatever it takes to do that (and you can’t really blame them). When you are a team that is built like Carolina (i.e. not too many high-end skilled players), playing stout defensive hockey is really the only way that they can be successful.

    Carolina was playing a 1-1-3 forechecking system (in a 0-0 game FFS) which, in essence, is the dreaded trap. Forslund was saying that they have been playing that way pretty much all year and has produced fairly successful, if not boring, hockey. To have any chance of winning that game, the Oilers also had to resort to playing a tight, mistake-free game. Thus the grid-locked snooze-fest that we witnessed.

    There were literally as many high danger scoring chances in that OT as there were in the rest of the game.

    To get back to an exciting brand of hockey, we somehow need to figure out how to ban the coaches or something.

  57. kinger_OIL says:

    – Re: Hockey, Knightown, Pouzar, Rock et al: I moved to London UK in 1999, returned 2006 (the year the Oil went to the Finals). Didn’t watch any hockey, and have kicked the habit.

    – the playoff run was glorious as a “fan”, and certainly playoff hockey in general is a much better product, but the NHL is in a funk. The standings: are a joke how +/- 4 points mean for all but Washington, LA, etc. That doesn’t appeal to me.

    – And the product just sucks: goalies are too good, Defense is suffocating, scoring 30 goals in a season is big-time elite. 2-1 games in playoffs is great, but day to day, give me the 5-4’s, where the team that is down 2 goals after 25 minutes has a chance to come back. Or if you are up a couple goals, your team tries to pad their stats by scoring more. Now a 1 goal lead going into the third so often is a trap performance, or when tied, they play to not lose.

    – My 6 year old son: he plays hockey, but he and his peers don’t watch hockey like we did growing up: because it’s boring! Last night, his hockey game, it was 8-5: and all the kids on both size loved it. Scoring matters. I suspect for him, watching hockey today is like how watching baseball was for me 30 years ago. MOAR GOALS PLEASE!

  58. OilClog says:

    if the refs would start calling the multiple stick infractions that are creeping back into the game, a lot of this trap crap would be gone again.

    Chicago went an entire game without one penalty, this is the NHL no team commits less then 5 clear minor infractions a game. Refs have put the whistles away, every team should be on the PP atleast once a period.

    Thus a trap coach would have to change his style quickly if his team begins to fall behind on the scoreboard.

    Hopefully the league weaks up and ends it before another dead puck era is eating into the McJesus land.

    That and the Oilers PP badly needs a Burns or Buff.

  59. knighttown says:

    I’ve posted it here before but the brilliant Sean McIndoe (Down Goes Brown) just destroys the NHL’s attempts at addressing the goal scoring issues in this post.

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/14207776/nhl-brief-history-nhl-pretending-fix-scoring

    It even has Barry Melrose handling the question of larger nets as everyone always does…dismiss “it’s crazy! It changes the game!” before recommending something else.

  60. knighttown says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – Re: Hockey, Knightown, Pouzar, Rock et al: I moved to London UK in 1999,returned 2006 (the year the Oil went to the Finals).Didn’t watch any hockey, and have kicked the habit.

    – the playoff run was glorious as a “fan”, and certainly playoff hockey in general is a much better product, but the NHL is in a funk.The standings: are a joke how +/- 4 points mean for all but Washington, LA, etc.That doesn’t appeal to me.

    – And the product just sucks: goalies are too good, Defense is suffocating, scoring 30 goals in a season is big-time elite.2-1 games in playoffs is great, but day to day, give me the 5-4’s, where the team that is down 2 goals after 25 minutes has a chance to come back.Or if you are up a couple goals, your team tries to pad their stats by scoring more.Now a 1 goal lead going into the third so often is a trap performance, or when tied, they play to not lose.

    – My 6 year old son: he plays hockey, but he and his peers don’t watch hockey like we did growing up: because it’s boring!Last night, his hockey game, it was 8-5: and all the kids on both size loved it.Scoring matters.I suspect for him, watching hockey today is like how watching baseball was for me 30 years ago.MOAR GOALS PLEASE!

    All well stated. My 9 year old is similar. Just loves the game and is a very good player. Knows the scores and the standings and watches all of the highlights and wants to watch games but when I turn on the TV he watches for a half a period and then plays mini-sticks while listening to hear when something exciting happens.

  61. godot10 says:

    The NFL took away the obstruction of receivers by defensive backs. It made it a passing league.

    The NHL doesn’t even have to change the rules. They just have to enforce the rules as written.

  62. theres oil in virginia says:

    The Trade Guy: And thugs that smash the brains of the Lindros and Kariyas of the world.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tid_86o9M-o

    I would have started him off with a one year suspension and see how that changed his thinking. The NHL did nothing.

  63. Quinlan says:

    I saw two teams with similar game plans, both trying to establish the O-zone cycle, with pretty strong transition passing and an extra effort to get defenders up in the play offensively. In fact, the defencemen were rotating in *while* the team had established possession on offence, Sekera, Schultz, and even Gryba dropping low off the blue-line and going to the net. The Hurricanes were also pursuing the same, with Faulk, Slavin, Hanifin, and Pesce all getting in. A number of passes missed through the slot on centering attempts.

    A couple of bounces this way instead of that way, and both teams would have scored in regulation.

    Ward and especially Talbot made some really nice saves. It was close and you could tell a goal would be monumental.

    I was entertained. Maybe that makes me glass half-full. But I saw a lot of good hockey in that game.

  64. Halfwise says:

    godot10:
    The NFL took away the obstruction of receivers by defensive backs.It made it a passing league.

    The NHL doesn’t even have to change the rules.They just have to enforce the rules as written.

    But since they won’t, then what? Referee discretion is a limp lever at the best of times. Equipment changes are way less subjective.

  65. LMHF#1 says:

    knighttown: All well stated.My 9 year old is similar.Just loves the game and is a very good player.Knows the scores and the standings and watches all of the highlights and wants to watch games but when I turn on the TV he watches for a half a period and then plays mini-sticks while listening to hear when something exciting happens.

    Way more options for entertainment these days.

    Also the home team still sucks. Never underestimate that.

  66. Klima's_Bucket says:

    The NHL officials are paid to call the game a certain way.

    When a team is behind late in the game who is more apt to get a PP??
    Or, in a situation when a team has three power plays and the other team has only one; guess which team is more apt to get the next call??

    I liked the officiating at the World Juniors.
    Sure there were some soft calls, but overall the officials couldn’t give a fuck about who had more power plays or what the score was and it made the games more fair and reasonable to watch.

  67. Caramel Obvious says:

    Statsman: I can’t say that I saw the same game as you did from an excitement point of view.

    I was chatting with John Forslund (the Carolina PxP guy) between periods as we both were in agreement that coaching is stifling the game. Coaches get paid to win and will do whatever it takes to do that (and you can’t really blame them). When you are a team that is built like Carolina (i.e. not too many high-end skilled players), playing stout defensive hockey is really the only way that they can be successful.

    Carolina was playing a 1-1-3 forechecking system (in a 0-0 game FFS) which, in essence, is the dreaded trap. Forslund was saying that they have been playing that way pretty much all year and has produced fairly successful, if not boring, hockey. To have any chance of winning that game, the Oilers also had to resort to playing a tight, mistake-free game. Thus the grid-locked snooze-fest that we witnessed.

    There were literally as many high danger scoring chances in that OT as there were in the rest of the game.

    To get back to an exciting brand of hockey, we somehow need to figure out how to ban the coaches or something.

    Carolina can get away with playing 1-1-3 because the system encourages teams to play for the tie. If you received three points for a regulation win there would be an incentive to try and score goals. Right now there is no incentive. Play for the tie is the smart play.

    For instance right now if you tied every game and then won only a quarter of the games in overtime you would have a goal differential of -40 but a point total of 103. Think about that for a second. The structure dictates low event hockey.

    Now this is only part of a problem. The ice and nets may also be too small. However, those are very difficult things to change.

    Changing the point structure is obvious and easy. It’s incredible that it hasn’t happened.

  68. kinger_OIL says:

    Halfwise,

    – Yes on that: Football is now much more fun to watch (except for the long ref. deliberations on all sorts of scoring plays, etc).

    – They have gone from a few elite RB’s who ran for 2000 yards with 30+ carries a game, and all teams handing the ball off the RB for 3 yard gains, to many WR’s/TE’s scoring a lot of TD’s, QB’s throwing for 4000+ yards: that’s entertainment.

    – TE’s never used to score much. But rules changed

    – Offence generates fun for fans, week to week, day to day as a sports viewer: always has.

  69. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Caramel Obvious: Carolina can get away with playing 1-1-3 because the system encourages teams to play for the tie. If you received three points for a regulation win there would be an incentive to try and score goals. Right now there is no incentive. Play for the tie is the smart play.

    For instance right now if you tied every game and then won only a quarter of the games in overtime you would have a goal differential of -40 but a point total of 103. Think about that for a second. The structure dictates low event hockey.

    This, this, a million times this. The point system rewards neutral play. It is batshit crazy. Full stop.

  70. sliderule says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Ice yes
    Nets no

  71. knighttown says:

    sliderule:
    Caramel Obvious,

    Ice yes
    Nets no

    Again…why?

  72. Water Fire says:

    knighttown: knigh

    Nice post.

    I see the problem as being corporate Americans running the league. They don’t care about hockey, they care about prestige and money, and not necessarily in that order.

    The corporate Canadians also probably don’t care about hockey as much as we do, but more than the Americans, but they are just surrogates birthing cash for the south and have little influence.

    Betmann is undoubtedly a very popular man with owners as he has created an NHL where everybody has a shot and everybody (barring a few shit shows) can win enough at home to please fans if there are actually any in the city.

    By having a team in a fairly decent geographical spread across North America he secured big TV contracts so even the teams where there shouldn’t be one can push some cash to the owner (of course while losing on the books).

    He’ll put a team in Las Vegas and that will raise the visibility of the game with so many American tourists traveling there, hockey being invisible in many markets. It will be a disaster of a team likely of course.

    Betmann is a good businessman, and that so often isn’t good for the beauty of things.

    EDIT: Caramel’s point about the extra point illustrates this perfectly.

  73. knighttown says:

    Bruce McCurdy: This, this, a million times this. The point system rewards neutral play. It is batshit crazy. Full stop.

    Yup. Bruce has been banging this drum and I’m right there playing second percussion. The system is asinine. Your example is shocking.

    One of my favorite moments in hockey for the past few years was when Philadelphia refused to advance the puck against a trapping Tampa team. LOVED it. Would be great to see an Erik Karlsson type do that for a whole period.

    There was outrage everywhere…”the NHL must respond now!”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/hockeys-death-trap/article4183372/

    But like always, nothing changed.

  74. knighttown says:

    Water Fire: Nice post.

    I see the problem as being corporate Americans running the league. They don’t care about hockey, they care about prestige and money, and not necessarily in that order.

    The corporate Canadians also probably don’t care about hockey as much as we do, but more than the Americans, but they are just surrogates birthing cash for the south and have little influence.

    Betmann is undoubtedly a very popular man with owners as he has created an NHL where everybody has a shot and everybody (barring a few shit shows) can win enough at home to please fans if there are actually any in the city.

    By having a team in a fairly decent geographical spread across North America he secured big TV contracts so even the teams where there shouldn’t be one can push some cash to the owner (of course while losing on the books).

    He’ll put a team in Las Vegas and that will raise the visibility of the game with so many American tourists traveling there, hockey being invisible in many markets. It will be a disaster of a team likely of course.

    Betmann is a good businessman, and that so often isn’t good for the beauty of things.

    Can’t argue with this. Half-hearted fans in Miami will glance at the standings and see the team 5 points out and think they’re in the hunt. Frig, even we get fooled into thinking that we’re right there even though we need to jump over every Western Conference team to make a playoff spot.

    Allow bad hockey players to be good at hockey PLUS give away standings points like it’s Make-A-Wish and you’ve got parity. With parity comes hope and although that may not put bums in the seats it apparently drives viewers to the TV enough to allow billion dollar expansion franchise fees.

  75. Klima's_Bucket says:

    I hate what the NHL has become, but I can’t quit.

  76. Water Fire says:

    The Oilers don’t have to be taken down by how the league chooses to punish excellence with points and officiating.

    But it takes a very good GM to roll with the punches and a coach that can too. The Blackhawks are who I’m thinking of

  77. Oil2Oilers says:

    knighttown:
    I’ve posted it here before but the brilliant Sean McIndoe (Down Goes Brown) just destroys the NHL’s attempts at addressing the goal scoring issues in this post.

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/14207776/nhl-brief-history-nhl-pretending-fix-scoring

    It even has Barry Melrose handling the question of larger nets as everyone always does…dismiss “it’s crazy!It changes the game!” before recommending something else.

    Thanks for the link, informative article. Constructively I can offer three simple tweaks to increase scoring and make hockey more entertaining;

    1) Call obstruction (seen almost every play, every shift on a player like Hall)

    2) 3 points for a win (the Bruce McCurdy rule)

    3) No blocking shots by intentionally leaving your feet (the Howie Meeker rule)

    None of these rules materially change the game, they just make it better.

  78. Dominoiler says:

    I couldn’t agree more, LT.. I’m thinking a once in a while look at the sledgehammer would be interesting, a check in, but agree that this daily tracking of SC Against is giving good, relevant data (maybe could be paired with minutes/QC, top4 or 5/6, for two different averages?!.. This could highlight a decent bottom 5/6’er being played too high up the depth chart..)

    Great job respectfully calling out management for the missed calls made on the defense. The Oilers need to take a hard look at what went on there, then go in a different direction..

  79. Woodguy says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    Woodguy,

    what about SCA/60 and HDSCA/60?

    Fayne seems to be hurting there

    Yes he is.

    I only looked at metrics that I could WOWY.

    I wish I could WOWY every metric.

    Would be very useful.

  80. sliderule says:

    knighttown,

    The nhl is never going to change ice size .Too much lost revenue.

    Changing the goal size is a no brainer.Would cost nothing and probably
    add at least a goal per game.

    It might even add more as playing on your knees might not work out quite as well for bigger less mobile goalies .

    If you increase scoring coaches would not be able to sit on one goal leads.

    If basketball had not made numerous rule changes to creat offence the nba would be irrelevant.

    Hockey is irrelevant in USA because the NHL just doesn’t get it.

  81. Oil2Oilers says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    I hate what the NHL has become, but I can’t quit.

    Me too, but it sounds like Yak will be back soon and some kid that sometimes Centers him shortly there after. It might sooth things a bit, at least for Oilers fans.

  82. Pouzar says:

    Oil2Oilers: Thanks for the link, informative article. Constructively I can offer threesimple tweaks to increase scoring and make hockey more entertaining;

    1) Call obstruction (seen almost every play, every shift on a player like Hall)

    2) 3 points for a win (the Bruce McCurdy rule)

    3) No blocking shots by intentionally leaving your feet (the Howie Meeker rule)

    None of these rules materially change the game, they just make it better.

    Those are really smart ideas but this is what the NHL wants.
    Fake races so fan bases will keep coming to games.

  83. flea says:

    Is the fix as simple as just going to a straight win/loss system. Regulation, OT, Shootout, record it as a win and a loss. Maybe there just needs to be some other incentive for regulation wins, just to keep teams pressing. Like maybe the most regulation wins finish 123 in the division regardless of point standings. Ie a team that wins a boatload of games in overtime can’t be ahead of a team that wins more in regulation.

    If teams know a tie is not an option, they might be more reluctant to extend games. It would make more sense to end them.

  84. Statsman says:

    Caramel Obvious: Carolina can get away with playing 1-1-3 because the system encourages teams to play for the tie.If you received three points for a regulation win there would be an incentive to try and score goals.Right now there is no incentive.Play for the tie is the smart play.

    For instance right now if you tied every game and then won only a quarter of the games in overtime you would have a goal differential of -40 but a point total of 103.Think about that for a second.The structure dictates low event hockey.

    Now this is only part of a problem.The ice and nets may also be too small.However, those are very difficult things to change.

    Changing the point structure is obvious and easy.It’s incredible that it hasn’t happened.

    I couldn’t agree more with you and Bruce. There is no incentive to “go for it” during regulation, especially on the road.

    And being an accountant by trade, I hate it when things don’t reconcile. Having every game worth the same number of points would go a long way towards giving the league more credibility. And don’t get me started on the discrepancies caused by shoot-out wins. The team that wins gets credited with a goal in the standings, but no player gets credit for it. Unreconcilable differences indeed.

  85. Pouzar says:

    Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) | Twitter

    1 hour ago – View on Twitter

    Keep hearing that trade talks between #CBJ and #Preds have intensified.

  86. LMHF#1 says:

    I see no need for 3 point systems or anything else goofy. Again – copy baseball. Play until it’s over. That’s simple enough.

  87. Pouzar says:

    Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) | Twitter

    https://twitter.com/JasonGregor

    1 hour ago – View on Twitter

    “Today was a big day for my mentally. I tested the ankle in battle drills and it felt good. I need to work on cardio now.” Yakupov #Oilers

    2 hours ago – View on Twitter

    McDavid involved in one-on-one battle drills to stay inside the circle. Looking stronger and not favouring shoulder/clavicle. #Oilers

  88. Oil2Oilers says:

    Pouzar: Those are really smart ideas but this is what the NHL wants.
    Fake races so fan bases will keep coming to games.

    Agreed and saddened by it.

  89. Dominoiler says:

    knighttown:
    When I watch the Oilers complete dominance at 3 on 3 I can’t help but get a bit sad.It feels to me like this is the last gasp at building an offensive juggernaut at a time when offensive skills has never been less important.

    Jacques Lemaire started this with his army of talentless, faceless players devoted to the system and enjoyed success in Jersey and Minnesota.Now it’s trickling through to the Carolinas and Arizonas of the NHL who will win more games playing like this.Even Toronto, who has no one, has an even par goal differential.

    Tampa is crumbling and the seeds of that to me were planted in the postseason last year when Stamkos was often 6th or 7th among forward ice time.Coach Cooper realized Alex Killorn helps him win more games than Stamkos (excepting power play) and when you factor in the 10 million dollar pay check, move out the Stamkos’ and the Drouins and bring in more 1 million dollar speedsters, hungry to play in the NHL.Hands optional.

    I rarely agree to Doug MacLean but his comment the other day stuck with me.This has become a .500 league.No one is good and no one is bad.Teams go on runs like Florida is right now (4th in the NHL) or like Montreal did earlier but they don’t last.

    Look at the NHL.com standings under the heading “Last 10”.You’ve got Florida and Montreal at either end of the spectrum but everyone else, and I mean everyone, is clicking along at 4-4-2. Pick up a point, go to overtime, maybe you get an extra point, do it again the next night.

    For Oiler fans who are more familiar with the bottom of the standings, look there instead.There’s no terrible teams.Only 2 teams have a goal differential worse than -20.The Capitals of the mid seventies posted a -265 goal differential.

    We keep reviewing the roster and dreaming of unicorns but that misses the forest through the trees.

    The Devils are 12th in the NHL and their 2nd line centre is Stephen Gionta

    Corey Schneider you say?

    OK, the Coyotes lost their goalie and have Louis Domingue tending their nets and have Brad Richardson and Jordan Martinook in their Top 6.5-2-3 in their last ten…same as everyone else.

    Other sports realized Tom Brady, Steph Curry and Josh Donaldson are who the fans want to see but this fucking sport is run by grinders and face punchers who applaud the Rudy-esque story of Jordan Martinook.

    This Oilers team will likely have one of the greatest collection of talent the NHL has ever seen and I’d be very surprised (and excited!) if they ever reach the potential most of us think they are destined to reach.And it won’t be because of terrible management or players who don’t buy in or any other cliche media-types reach for to explain the unexplainable.It’ll be a case of timing, pure and simple.

    Wow, what a tremendous post.. LTs was excellent, but Knightown wins the thread with a big picture zoom out.. Could the Oilers provide a break through, is TMc that kind of coach, what kind of system can defy the trap? (if there was one, unicorns, would we have seen it by now?)

  90. Bruce McCurdy says:

    knighttown: Yup. Bruce has been banging this drum and I’m right there playing second percussion.The system is asinine.Your example is shocking.

    My hypothetical example is a team that never scores, never allows a goal, and splits the shootout. They end the season with a record of 41-0-41 and with the Presidents’ Trophy.

    Oil2Oilers: 2) 3 points for a win (the Bruce McCurdy rule)

    It’s not my rule, though the idea was obvious to me five minutes after Bettman Point Ver 1.0 was introduced in 1999. But European leagues and the IIHF have gotten it right for many years. Here’s how the rule reads from the just-completed World Juniors:

    Three Point System

    For all games points shall be awarded as follows:

    3 points for the winning team at the conclusion of regulation time
    1 point for both teams at the conclusion of regulation time if the game is tied
    An additional point earned for the team winning the game in a 5-minute overtime period, or the Penalty Shot Shootout Procedure if the teams are still tied following conclusion of the overtime period
    0 points for the team losing the game in regulation time

    What is bang on here is not just the first line, but the correct sequencing of the second and third lines. First you get a point for a regulation tie, then you get the “winner point” for winning the OT/SO. Which is exactly how NHL teams & coaches play it, one point at a time. There is no particular incentive for winning in regulation (though obviously you do it if you can) but there is a heavy DISincentive for losing in regulation.

    In the IIHF if you fail to win in regulation you guarantee one point but also guarantee less than maximum points. This bit Canada in the butt when they failed to beat Switzerland in regulation but did so in the shootout; in the end that lost point cost them a chance at first or second place in their group on the last day. Which is exactly how it should be; they didn’t beat the Swiss like their rivals did, they only “beat” the Swiss. Looked at in reverse, the Swiss claimed their one point directly from their opponent, as opposed to from the ether.

  91. Caramel Obvious says:

    LMHF#1:
    I see no need for 3 point systems or anything else goofy. Again – copy baseball. Play until it’s over. That’s simple enough.

    It’s not a goofy system, it is what is now almost universal in soccer. 3 points for a win transformed the way the game is played.

  92. GCW_69 says:

    It’s time for bigger nets. If MLB can lower the mound in baseball because pitchers had gotten too dominant then the NHL can increase the size of the nets because its goalies are too dominant.

    Look at these pictures:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vezina.gif

    George Vezina, the guy the goaltending trophy is named after, was 5′ 5″ tall. Look at equipment Vezina was wearing. The nets were made for guys under 6′ 0″ wearing that size equipment, not 6′ 6″ behemoths dressed up like the Michelin man.

  93. pocession charge says:

    I prefer a three-pronged approach to increasing offense:

    1. reduce the puck to the size of a golf ball.
    2. remove the blue lines.
    3. clone McDavid.

  94. geowal says:

    One thing we have done this season is move away from the Vollman Sledgehammer and to the chart above, using SCA/60 at 5×5 to rank defensemen.

    Hi Lt,
    Is there anything stopping one from making the Volman Sledgehammer as before, but with the bubbles sized and coloured according to SCA/60 instead of CorsiRel? That way you maintain the zone-start and competition context while moving to a preferred defensive stat..

    I would quite like that I think. I suspect your answer will be yes…in theory. But conflicting data sources for what goes in would make it quite troublesome to make?

    thx

  95. Optimism is Foolish says:

    one thing … I never see on here when Klefbom is discussed is his injury history. Is it better to have Klef for 60 g/yr or someone like Hamonic who plays 70 plus?

  96. pocession charge says:

    In all seriousness:

    1. make the nets bigger by the width of the goalposts and the height of the crossbar.
    2. call the goddamn obstruction.
    3. go the 3 point regulation win system like in soccer or IIHF.
    4. shrink the goalie equipment — pads and blockers don’t need to be that wide.
    5. clone McDavid.

  97. Woodguy says:

    Caramel Obvious: Carolina can get away with playing 1-1-3 because the system encourages teams to play for the tie.If you received three points for a regulation win there would be an incentive to try and score goals.Right now there is no incentive.Play for the tie is the smart play.

    For instance right now if you tied every game and then won only a quarter of the games in overtime you would have a goal differential of -40 but a point total of 103.Think about that for a second.The structure dictates low event hockey.

    Now this is only part of a problem.The ice and nets may also be too small.However, those are very difficult things to change.

    Changing the point structure is obvious and easy.It’s incredible that it hasn’t happened.

    Great post.

  98. fifthcartel says:

    So Johansen for Jones might actually happen?

    Honestly, I wonder if either would re sign if that happened.

  99. Woodguy says:

    GCW_69:
    It’s time for bigger nets.If MLB can lower the mound in baseball because pitchers had gotten too dominant then the NHL can increase the size of the nets because its goalies are too dominant.

    Look at these pictures:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vezina.gif

    George Vezina, the guy the goaltending trophy is named after,was 5′ 5″ tall.Look at equipment Vezina was wearing.The nets were made for guys under 6′ 0″ wearing that size equipment, not 6′ 6″ behemoths dressed up like the Michelin man.

    This is the correct answer.

    If they change the mound in baseball, they can change the size of the nets.

    When I grew up watching hockey in the late 70’s & 80’s all the goalies were “stand up goalies”

    Why?

    Well, if they went down the whole top half of the net would be exposed and a goal was much easier.

    Now with 6’4″ being the average goalie height, they can *almost* cover the top part of the net from the knees.

    Add to that the width of the shoulder pads miraculously making some of these men 36″ wide and there is very little to shoot at.

    Make going down to your knees a risk/reward proposition again.

    Right now its all reward and very little risk.

    Make it so standing up and being an acrobat is a viable goaler strategy (two pad stack!!!) because having a giant goalie kneel down and “be big” isn’t enough to put up .875 before we add in more saves due to skill.

    When the traditionalists bitch and moan about the “sanctity of the game” remind them of this:

    Last year the NHL’s leader scorer had 87 points in 82 games.

    In 1984/85 (80gp) there were 26 players with 87+ points.

    15 of those had 100+ points

    1 of those had 208 points (man)

    What “traditions” are you supposedly keeping sacred by not changing the net size?

  100. Woodguy says:

    fifthcartel:
    So Johansen for Jones might actually happen?

    Honestly, I wonder if either would re sign if that happened.

    Source?

  101. OF17 says:

    knighttown, what a fantastic post. One of the better ones that I’ve read over the years here, and that’s saying something.

    One of the anti-offense factors I’ve noticed creeping into the game in the last few years is acceptance of interference, especially when gaining the line. How many times do we see forwards chip the puck over the blueline and then get interfered with by the opposing D? Leads to an easy recovery by the D partner, a breakout, and then another chip-interference cycle. It really hampers teams that favor speed and skill, since it means you either need to carry it into the zone or bring 2+ forwards heavy on puck retrieval, and either way you’re opening yourself up to a turnover and odd-man break the other way. Kinda like in 3-on-3 overtime, offensive strategy becomes “wait for them to try offense” and react, which makes for a more boring game.

    The prototypical defenseman in this era is mobile, big, and good at passing, but it isn’t to spring initial breakouts, it’s to disrupt opposing breakouts and capitalize. Passive, reactive play, because that’s what works when the rules aren’t called.

  102. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy: Source?

    Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) | Twitter

    https://twitter.com/Aportzline

    39 mins ago – View on Twitter

    Puck-rakers: Johansen? Jones? Trade talks between #CBJ and #Preds said to be intensifying bluejacketsxtra.dispatch.…

  103. Oddspell says:

    pocession charge,

    Only worry I have about increasing crossbar height by any significant amount is that it means more slap shots at face level, more missing chiclets, and more injuries.

  104. fifthcartel says:

    Woodguy,

    https://t.co/7pcYG9eCHa

    Aaron Portzline ‏@Aportzline 2h2 hours ago
    Keep hearing that trade talks between #CBJ and #Preds have intensified.

    Portzline is pretty connected.

  105. OF17 says:

    fifthcartel:
    Woodguy,

    https://t.co/7pcYG9eCHa

    Aaron Portzline ‏@Aportzline2h2 hours ago
    Keep hearing that trade talks between #CBJ and #Preds have intensified.

    Portzline is pretty connected.

    No one better for CBJ news.

  106. Halfwise says:

    Oddspell:
    pocession charge,

    Only worry I have about increasing crossbar height by any significant amount is that it means more slap shots at face level, more injuries, and more missing chiclets.

    Actually it just restores things to how they were 40 years ago when players were shorter. Add in today’s helmets and visors and it’s safer still.

  107. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Would players give up the composite sticks if goalies went back to wearing 80’s style goaltending equipment??

  108. fifthcartel says:

    What is LA thinking??

  109. frjohnk says:

    Lecavalier and Schenn to the Kings for Weal and a 3rd rounder

    Wow! Thought Lecavalier was never gonna get traded.

    I wonder if he retires after this year

  110. Woodguy says:

    Pouzar: Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) | Twitter

    https://twitter.com/Aportzline

    39 mins ago – View on Twitter

    Puck-rakers: Johansen? Jones? Trade talks between #CBJ and #Preds said to be intensifying bluejacketsxtra.dispatch.…

    Thanks!

  111. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk:
    Lecavalierand Schenn to the Kings for Weal and a 3rd rounder

    Wow!Thought Lecavalier was never gonna get traded.

    I wonder if he retires after this year

    What the actual fuck?

    They should erect a statue of Hextall next to Rocky in Philly.

    Unreal that he could unload Lecav.

    Any word on how much salary was retained?

  112. Woodguy says:

    OF17: No one better for CBJ news.

    Agreed.

    I follow Aaron, great follow.

    Haven’t been on twitter much today.

  113. Woodguy says:

    Darren Dreger ‏@DarrenDreger 2m2 minutes ago
    Sources say pending NHL approval, Mike Richards is expected to join the Washington Capitals. Told Richards has to meet with Bettman.

    Wow.

  114. Centre of attention says:

    Woodguy:
    Darren Dreger ‏@DarrenDreger2m2 minutes ago
    Sources say pending NHL approval, Mike Richards is expected to join the Washington Capitals. Told Richards has to meet with Bettman.

    Wow.

    ALL the shoes are dropping! Hold onto your butts the dam is starting to burst!

  115. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy:
    Darren Dreger ‏@DarrenDreger2m2 minutes ago
    Sources say pending NHL approval, Mike Richards is expected to join the Washington Capitals. Told Richards has to meet with Bettman.

    Wow.

    Wow. Busy day.

    Philly retains 50% on both contracts, but I’m still scratching my head on what LA is thinking unless there is something else.

  116. Woodguy says:

    Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie 2m2 minutes ago
    Vinny Lecavalier’s agent Kent Hughes says it is his client’s intention to retire at the end of this season.

    There’s the something else.

    Hextall gets a get out of Holmgren Jail for Free card today.

  117. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy: Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie 2m2 minutes ago
    Vinny Lecavalier’s agent Kent Hughes says it is his client’s intention to retire at the end of this season.
    There’s the something else.

    OK, makes sense. I guessed that could be a possibility right from the beginning, and I was right…..for once.

  118. square_wheels says:

    frjohnk,

    LA leads pro sports in Cap-fuckery, with the full support of Bettman, so I’m sure Vinny will suffer a career threatening injury this summer and be able to retire with no cap implications.

    Hell, I bet somehow the league will take another 1st round pic from Jersey and compensate LA as an act of pity.

  119. Eh Team says:

    square_wheels,

    Maybe we can trade Ference to the Kings! If he promises to retire also.

  120. frjohnk says:

    square_wheels:
    frjohnk,

    LA leads pro sports in Cap-fuckery, with the full support of Bettman, so I’m sure Vinny will suffer a career threatening injury this summer and be able to retire with no cap implications.

    Hell, I betsomehow the league will take another 1st round pic from Jersey and compensate LA as an act of pity.

    I think Luke Schenn is a good replacement for Matt Greene on the backend but I would believe that whatever cap space they had left before this deal could have been used for a better player than Vinny.

    He is done.

    Like Andrew Ference done.

  121. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Is Luke Schenn what Griffin Reinhart will be in 4 years??

    *Ducks and covers*

  122. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    On the issue of goal scoring, hearing a lot of different ideas.

    To put one into context, widening the posts by the width of the post (new post starts where old post ends). This basically means that every shot that currently hits the post would be a goal.

    NHL.com suggests there have been 566 posts hit to date. Given that we’re halfway through the season that means about 1150 posts per year at this pace. There are (I believe) 1230 games played per year (82*30/2) so that means widening the posts increases scoring by about 1 per game.

    This would cost about 1/1000000 the cost of widening the ice surface.

    There are far fewer crossbars hit, so increasing the height of the nets wouldn’t have a big impact (maybe an additional 0.2/game) but would increase injury risk.

    I would suggest widening the posts and limiting equipment size ought to do it. Combine that with calling a few more penalties and you’ve got yourself lots of offense.

  123. Woodguy says:

    General Fanager ‏@generalfanager 46s46 seconds ago
    No cap recapture penalties if Lecavalier decides to retire at the end of this season, as reported.

  124. Pajamah says:

    Re: Goal Scoring

    One idea not mentioned worth discussion is akin to basketball’s illegal defense. Easy enough to paint a box in the slot where no more than 3 defending players can occupy at the same time.

    Not saying it is the solution, or a particularly highly likely one, just one that doesn’t involve potential injury, “ruining the sanctity of the game”, or increased costs.

  125. LMHF#1 says:

    Pajamah:
    Re: Goal Scoring

    One idea not mentioned worth discussion is akin to basketball’s illegal defense. Easy enough to paint a box in the slot where no more than 3 defending players can occupy at the same time.

    Not saying it is the solution, or a particularly highly likely one, just one that doesn’t involve potential injury, “ruining the sanctity of the game”, or increased costs.

    No way. This isn’t ringette. It would precisely be “ruining the sanctity of the game”. Hockey is so often about throwing everything you have at the situation.

  126. raventalon40 says:

    John Scott in the All-Star game and no Sidney Crosby.

    Something very wrong about this.

  127. Marc says:

    vinotintazo:
    haven’t we learned? do not mention Franzon on LTs site, or Godot will start bashing him.

    Thing is, Godot was 100% right about Franson this summer and deserves credit for it.

    At $3.25M, he’s Buffalo’s third highest paid D and seventh highest paid player overall, but his coach has him playing highly sheltered third pairing minutes. And in spite of that sheltering, he’s on pace to score both fewer EV points and fewer PP points than Justin Schultz did with similar usage last season – production that was widely regarded in these parts as too poor to justify either the usage or the salary. He’s been a terrible signing for Buffalo.

    And it could have been worse.

    He was looking for a Petry type contract ie. 6 years at $5M+ per. Had he got that and played the way he has so far, it would have been one of the worst contracts in hockey.

    The case for Franson was 100% possession analytics driven (here’s an example of Jonathan Willis singing his praises: http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/washington-capitals-rearguard-mike-green-is-not-a-good-free-agent-fit-for-the-edmonton-oilers). I don’t recall ever seeing a hockey insider/scout/person who watched him play a lot singing his praises.

    And the possession analytics were wrong. Possession analytics successfully identified Stralman, Petry and Sekera as underrated D before they were widely viewed as such in the wider hockey community. But the same analytics told us that Franson was good and he just isn’t.

    It makes me very wary of relying on Rel Corsi alone when we’re looking at D. I’m extremely grateful that LT has been working SCA into the mix. I don’t know if it’s better than Rel Corsi, or just has different flaws, but having more information to help us assess D quality can only be a good thing.

  128. Pouzar says:

    Michael Grosso ‏@RumorBreak 3m3 minutes ago
    **BREAKING**: Hearing the Avalanche offer for Drouin includes Rantanen and one of Gormley/Zadorov.

  129. frjohnk says:

    raventalon40:
    John Scott in the All-Star game and no Sidney Crosby.

    Something very wrong about this.

    One could make a great case that just as recently as last year, Crosby was the best player in the NHL while Scott was the worst player.

  130. Water Fire says:

    I’d settle for reducing goalie equipment size. The equipment needs to be regulated or the benefit of the game. One problem with a net increase is sticks have changed with goalie equipment and now everyone has a pretty decent shot except Smitty.

  131. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Pouzar,

    Is Michael Grosso the same guy that was hockey insiderrrr???

  132. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Marc,

    This is true.

    I’m not yet sold on the ability of analytics to identify quality D as of today. Too many players that look good by the numbers and bad by eye, and vice versa.

    We’re closer today than we were a few years ago when it was more about straight corsi.

    They help. Being good by the numbers isn’t a negative, it’s just less convincing an argument, for me, than it would be in terms of reviewing the performance of, say, a winger.

    Franson is a decent but unspectacular hockey player. Giving him money or term would have been a mistake. We’ve made a few of those in our pursuit of veteran help on the blue line, we can’t afford another.

  133. Pouzar says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    Pouzar,

    Is Michael Grosso the same guy that was hockey insiderrrr???

    Not sure.

  134. Chamucks says:

    No Tim Raines in HoF. That whole thing is a joke.

  135. Chamucks says:

    99.3% for Jr.
    Who in God’s green earth? Fuck baseball.

  136. Lowetide says:

    Chamucks:
    No Tim Raines in HoF. That whole thing is a joke.

    Yep. MLB are assholes, every fucking one of them.

  137. sliderule says:

    Water Fire,

    The composite stick increases shot velocity but not accuracy.

    The physics shows that velocity is irrelevant from the high danger area.

    The goalies cannot react fast enough and rely on positioning to block the shot.

    If you widen the nets by goalpost width it’s been shown you will add a goal per game.

    If you tighten up the equipment you will add some but I have no idea how much.

    I went to oiler games in the 80s where you hung around in the third period even if the oilers were three goals down or up as anything could happen.

    I just wish all the young NHL fans could experience the same magical time.

    Over to you NHL.

  138. Eh Team says:

    Chamucks: No Tim Raines in HoF. That whole thing is a joke.

    Raines and Bagwell will be in next year,

  139. rickithebear says:

    SMB draft picks with less than 40% chance of being a 200 gm player.
    but excluding picks with approx 10% chance to be a player.

    2008 32.4% chance
    #22 32.4% Eberle 384gm

    2009 53% chance
    #40 20.8% Lander 172gm
    #71 17.1% Hesketh
    #82 15.1% Abney

    2010 93.3% chance
    #31 25.5% pitlick 27gm
    #46 18.9% Marincin 110gm
    #48 18.6% Hamilton
    #61 17.5% Martindale
    #91 12.8% Blain

    at this point 178.7% chane of a player from these picks
    and
    3 players with 110+ games

    ———————————- above is 5 year +

    2011 108.5% chance
    #19 36.4% KLefbom 107gm
    #31 25.5% Musil
    #62 17.6% Perhonen
    #74 16.5% Ewanyk
    #92 12.5% Simpson

    2012 67.2% chance
    #32 24.6% Moroz
    #63 17.6% KHaira 12gm
    #91 12.8% Zharkov
    #93 12.2% Gustafsson 10gm

    2013 69.7% chance
    #56 17.8% MOR
    #83 14.9% Yakimov 1gm
    #88 13.7% Slepyshev 11gm
    #94 11.9% Houck
    #96 11.4% Platzer

    2014 12.8%
    #91 12.8% Lagesson

    almost 5 years in for 2011 there was 258.2% chance of players
    and
    1 with 107gm and 4 with at least 1gm

  140. John Chambers says:

    In my estimation this puts Philly at the top of the list of teams who might sign Byfuglien this offseason.

    Now Umberger and MacDonald are their only two horrific contracts left on the books. They are once again free to bring the crazy in the offseason, restoring the world to its natural order,

  141. SwedishPoster says:

    I think the three points for a win is a nobrainer. I’d also widen the nets by a pucks width and increase the height slightly as well, maybe by a pucks height or so. As stated the goalies has gotten so much bigger it just makes sense. If increasing net size is too much against “tradition” I’d talk to the companies making goalie equipment and see what the smallest possible gear they can make that won’t kill the goalies is. Can they slimfit it?

    Ofcourse calling by the rule book would help. Making a PP 2 minutes regardless if you score might as well.

    I’m also banging the drum of having the same size for the ice in NA and Europe, personally I think I’d go for the hybrid ice they use at some rinks in Finland but there are positives with both NA and Olympic. I just think it’s stupid to have different surfaces in different countries.

    I also think part of the issue is a lack of creativity from a coaching perspective. A lot of very simple hockey being played, an overall lack of focus on improving the passing game instead a lot of dump and chase and uncontrolled zone entries which leads to less offensive zone time with actual puck control which is what usually leads to good plays, instead offensive zone time is just a lot of boardwork. Chicago has shown that you can have a more complex passing game and be successful, I find it odd that so few teams have tried to ollow their lead. Winners usually get a lot of copy cats but I can’t really think of one team that’s close to the Hawks passing game. Instead LA is the winning team other teams try to emulate. Like heavy skill is easier to find or something.

  142. GCW_69 says:

    Woodguy: This is the correct answer.

    If they change the mound in baseball, they can change the size of the nets.

    When I grew up watching hockey in the late 70’s & 80’s all the goalies were “stand up goalies”

    Why?

    Well, if they went down the whole top half of the net would be exposed and a goal was much easier.

    Now with 6’4″ being the average goalie height, they can *almost* cover the top part of the net from the knees.

    Add to that the width of the shoulder pads miraculously making some of these men 36″ wide and there is very little to shoot at.

    Make going down to your knees a risk/reward proposition again.

    Right now its all reward and very little risk.

    Make it so standing up and being an acrobat is a viable goaler strategy (two pad stack!!!)because having a giant goalie kneel down and “be big” isn’t enough to put up .875 before we add in more saves due to skill.

    When the traditionalists bitch and moan about the “sanctity of the game” remind them of this:

    Last year the NHL’s leader scorer had 87 points in 82 games.

    In 1984/85 (80gp) there were 26 players with 87+ points.

    15 of those had 100+ points

    1 of those had 208 points (man)

    What “traditions” are you supposedly keeping sacred by not changing the net size?

    Don’t forget the goalie pants. Jamie McLellan was explaining that the goalies all wear ridiculous oversized goalie pants so when they go down on their knees the pants push up under and widen their torso by a huge amount. It’s crazy.

  143. commonfan14 says:

    2 points for a regulation win, 1 point for an OT win, 0 points for an OT loss.

    Doesn’t require us to re-calibrate how we think about team point totals, and we’d see teams trying even harder to score than with 3-point wins.

  144. Chamucks says:

    Jones for Johansen. heh

  145. Chamucks says:

    Straight across looks like.

  146. rickithebear says:

    The aprox 105 or lower picks
    2008 32.2% chance
    Hartikainen 52gm

    2009 29.9% chance
    zero games

    2010 36.1% chance
    Davidson 38gm
    Bunz 1gm

    2011 24.3% chance
    Reider 111gm

    2012 16.6% chance
    zero games
    2 1/2 seasons to 5

    2013 31.5% chance
    zeo games
    3 1/2 seasons to 5

    2014 32.2% chance

  147. Soup Fascist says:

    Chamucks:
    99.3% for Jr.
    Who in God’s green earth? Fuck baseball.

    In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is king.

    The fact that Junior was thought to be an excellent “clean” baseball player – when many of his contemporaries were sticking needles in their ass cheeks – lead to an overwhelming 1st ballot vote. View it as a protest vote against the Clemens / Bonds / McGwire / Sosa types.

    Hope Raines gets in soon. One of my favorite Expos (only hiccup is when he self-glossed himself “Rock”).

  148. LadiesloveSmid says:

    there goes Ellis to Edmonton 🙁

    that is one huge deal, hardly ever see 1-for-1s

    Nashville is going to be even better

  149. LadiesloveSmid says:

    and Murray-Jones!!!

    that will be one hell of a top pair some day

  150. treevojo says:

    Hello
    Rare poster. Fulltime reader. Question for the group. There is a common play in the game now since the red line and two line pass was removed. It is basically the “legal” way to ice the puck. It involves a forward floating between center and the opposition blue with no other purpose to box out the d and have somebody from there own end to shoot the puck at them so they can tip it in deep. To me it is a zero skill play that does nothing but let the team off the hook and have players with less skill serve a purpose. What if there was some sort of rule that the player would have to have two touches on the puck for passes or in this case shots from there own end or it would be ruled icing. Curious to hear a few different opinions. Sorry for poor grammar. On my phone.

  151. Chamucks says:

    So we trade Nuge to Columbus now, right? Better check on Gregor and Rishaug.

  152. Soup Fascist says:

    Something not right with Johansen. Can’t put my finger on it, but I think Columbus got the better of that deal.

    Johansen WILL get an opportunity on that team, though.

  153. jake70 says:

    Knighttown, fantastic post. Couldn’t agree more.

  154. matmik says:

    Horrific missed opportunity for PC – trading RNH for D is vital – he’ll be moved eventually at a massive discount to Jones –

  155. Receptor Antagonist says:

    Wow, Nashville just got scary good.

  156. Seismic Source says:

    Defensemen do get traded.

  157. LadiesloveSmid says:

    matmik,

    who would NSH prefer? Johansen or RNH?

    Jones is no world beater just yet either.

  158. Rondo says:

    Receptor Antagonist:
    Wow, Nashville just got scary good.

    If they get 1 more goal scorer they could go to the cup

  159. The Trade Guy says:

    LMHF#1: Not true for MLB and they’re doing great.

    True. BUT they have been adding more playoff spots which is letting more teams be competitive in the season for longer periods of time.

  160. kb says:

    Wow… Thought it would have been johanaen plus…

  161. Protagonist says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    matmik,

    who would NSH prefer?Johansen or RNH?

    Jones is no world beater just yet either.

    No, but he’s a young, potential franchise defensemen who’s just entering the start of his prime. If you could trade for Shea Weber when he first entered the league (knowing what we know now) you probably would too. That’s a bit of a mistaken argument because IIRC we didn’t know that Shea was going to be as dominant as he was, but young and under control for (potentially) a long time is a big selling point in his favour. I seem to remember some people on this very blog making a case for RNH over Stamkos because he’s younger.

    Now when you’re trading for a young player like Johansen it’s not as big of a deal, but getting a young (good) player is not exactly a negative.

  162. Chamucks says:

    Rondo,

    I think they could go to the cup today.

  163. LadiesloveSmid says:

    and take a look at CBJ’s centre depth now. They are banking on either winning the lottery and taking Matthews or running Jenner at 1C for the foreseeable future. Imagine EDM’s centre depth at this moment without RNH

  164. Soup Fascist says:

    matmik:
    Horrific missed opportunity for PC – trading RNH for D is vital – he’ll be moved eventually at a massive discount to Jones –

    I like Jones but I am not sure he is first pairing just yet. One thing to look OK with Weber, Jossi et al providing cover – quite another being the stud duck on a bad team. I don’t view not moving RNH for Jones as “horrific” my any means. Frankly, I think I would have been pissed with that move. RHN for Jossi – now I am listening.

    In three years Nurse will be a more impactful D-man than Jones. Said it on their draft day, still believe it.

  165. kinger_OIL says:

    – I wouldn’t be happy with a RNH for Jones trade

    – Columbus does that trade as it makes them better in a few years, the Oil need impact today

    – I do like though that a comp has been set: 1C not fully developped = more toolsy younger D

  166. stevezie says:

    Could be we offered RNH. By the numbers Johanson clearly looks better.

  167. Bruce McCurdy says:

    commonfan14:
    2 points for a regulation win, 1 point for an OT win, 0 points for an OT loss.

    Doesn’t require us to re-calibrate how we think about team point totals, and we’d see teams trying even harder to score than with 3-point wins.

    Yes it Does require us to recalibrate how we think about team point totals because the average would go down. There would still be unequal values from one game to the next. Make all games worth the same.

    As it stands we have already had to recalibrate how we think about team point totals when you need 95 points in 82 games to be in the middle of the pack. So next time we have to recalibrate, let’s not go New Cockamamie, let’s get it right.

  168. GCW_69 says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – I wouldn’t be happy with a RNH for Jones trade

    – Columbus does that trade as it makes them better in a few years, the Oilneed impact today

    – I do like though that a comp has been set: 1C not fully developped =more toolsy younger D

    Both Toronto sport radio stations were just talking about the Jones Johansen trade. Pretty much across the board the conclusion was while it was a good deal for both teams, CBJ came out ahead because srud defensemen are more rare than top line centres.

    I agree with that. These guys don’t come available that often and when one does you gotta grab him, even if it includes some risk.

  169. GCW_69 says:

    stevezie:
    Could be we offered RNH. By the numbers Johanson clearly looks better.

    Nuge contract situation is much better though.

  170. Lowetide says:

    treevojo:
    Hello
    Rare poster. Fulltime reader. Question for the group. There is a common play in the game now since the red line and two line pass was removed. It is basically the “legal” way to ice the puck. It involves a forward floating between center and the opposition blue with no other purpose to box out the d and have somebody from there own end to shoot the puck at them so they can tip it in deep.To me it is a zero skill play that does nothing but let the team off the hook and have players with less skill serve a purpose. What if there was some sort of rule that the player would have to havetwo touches on the puck for passes or in this case shots from there own end or it would be ruled icing. Curious to hear a few different opinions. Sorry for poor grammar. On my phone.

    No worries, and it does mean less time for actual skill. I am not sure of a better way to change though, teams are going to find a way to get fresh troops out.

  171. stephen sheps says:

    I suppose it’s time to take down my shrine to Ryan Ellis now that Jones has been traded.

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Late to the party on the points thing, but I’m fine with a recalibration since the league has already messed things up so badly. I’d start with the idea of a 3 point reg win. Euro Football has its issues, but the point system is just right.

  172. Quinlan says:

    stevezie:
    Could be we offered RNH. By the numbers Johanson clearly looks better.

    Hold on… what? I’m not sure but I thought Nuge was significantly ahead in P/PG, in fact possibly even in total pts. How is Johansen clearly better?

  173. Seismic Source says:

    Yes to the 3 point wins. It’s absolutely crazy how some games are worth 3 points and others are worth 2. Is parity worth teams not able to make ground after Christmas?

    I’d like to see the nets bigger but I doubt the NHL would do it. I’d settle for posts that are rounded in so a higher percentage that hit the post go in.

  174. Seismic Source says:

    Also, if Vinny is going to retire this year with no recapture penalties, that means that Hextall moved him to set up something bigger this year maybe? Why not just let him retire at season end if not?

  175. Professor Q says:

    LMHF#1: No way. This isn’t ringette. It would precisely be “ruining the sanctity of the game”. Hockey is so often about throwing everything you have at the situation.

    Hockey, like most sports, changes constantly.

  176. Professor Q says:

    Pouzar:
    Michael Grosso ‏@RumorBreak3m3 minutes ago
    **BREAKING**: Hearing the Avalanche offer for Drouin includes Rantanen and one of Gormley/Zadorov.

    Ouch…

    Halfwise: So currently the net opening is 24 square feet. The size hasn’t changed since goalies were 5’6″ tall a century ago. If we just scale the height up by 15% to account for 6’5″ goalies, that puts the crossbar 7″ higher. When you think of all the pucks that go just over the net, you could probably add a couple of goals per game. Eberle would be a monster.

    I would go higher first, not wider, because it’s easier and cheaper than drilling all those new holes in all that concrete.

    There’s also no reason why blockers can’t be 2/3 their current width, and catching gloves can’t be restricted to 2/3 their current length.

    And hell, just for the entertainment value, all coincidental penalties become 4 minutes each.

    Would you not have to compensate for the increased height with width and/or depth to retain stability?

  177. stevezie says:

    Quinlan: Hold on… what? I’m not sure but I thought Nuge was significantly ahead in P/PG, in fact possibly even in total pts. How is Johansen clearly better?

    Before answering, I’ll say I prefer RNH and have never been all in on Johansen, but if you take out his first two years he has the highest ppg, his 71 point season and 33 goal season are both the tops and he has never had a significant injury (though RNH is not bad in that department). Perhaps most importantly, RJ is 6’3″ 200. Plus he is 2 mil cheaper.

    Now, I think RNH does a lot that doesn’t show up in that. I should have said, “has more league-wide value”. I just mean in the numbers.

  178. stevezie says:

    I still can’t get over how bad this Philly-LA trade is. The other one makes perfect sense. We can debate if RNH for Jones makes sense for us, and whether Nashville should prefer RNH or Johansen, but clearly Jones for Johansen makes a tonne of sense for both teams, just as some handsome poster said it would a few weeks ago (granted, it’s an obvious fit). What a handsome poster.

    But paying half Vinny’s salary, half Schenn’s, giving a 3rd and a Lander (Weal)? For Luke Schenn? Luke Fucking Schenn??? More reasonable trades have come out backgammon bets.

    I hate Philly so this makes me mad. At least LA suffers.

  179. jm363561 says:

    Halfwise: So currently the net opening is 24 square feet. The size hasn’t changed since goalies were 5’6″ tall a century ago. If we just scale the height up by 15% to account for 6’5″ goalies, that puts the crossbar 7″ higher. When you think of all the pucks that go just over the net, you could probably add a couple of goals per game. Eberle would be a monster.

    I would go higher first, not wider, because it’s easier and cheaper than drilling all those new holes in all that concrete.

    There’s also no reason why blockers can’t be 2/3 their current width, and catching gloves can’t be restricted to 2/3 their current length.

    And hell, just for the entertainment value, all coincidental penalties become 4 minutes each.

    And no goalie should be taller than 5′ 6″.

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