Even Strength Faceoffs

This is theft and if Vic asks me to take it down I will. Having said that, I can never find the damn thing and admit freely to not being even close to able when it comes to his terrific shift chart and head-to-head webtools.

Here are the Oilers 08-09 totals for Faceoffs. Pretty much self explanatory. The numbers are Defensive zone-Offensive zone, then difference (Horcoff’s is +156) and finally the neutral zone total.

Forwards
  1. Shawn Horcoff 466-310 +156 434
  2. Kyle Brodziak 330-181 +149 181
  3. Zack Stortini 103-81 +23 113
  4. Fernando Pisani 142-122 +20 165
  5. Liam Reddox 117-102 +15 152
  6. Ales Hemsky 314-305 +9 434
  7. Ethan Moreau 269-260 +9 351
  8. Patrick O’Sullivan 68-68 EVEN 84
  9. JF Jacques 11-11 EVEN 21
  10. Marc Pouliot 141-153 -12 228
  11. Ales Kotalik/Ryan Potulny 69-94 -25 132
  12. Erik Cole 202-231 -29 231
  13. Dustin Penner 245-284 -39 284
  14. Andrew Cogliano 237-276 -39 338
  15. Sam Gagner 238-277 -39 305
  16. Robert Nilsson 174-219 -45 237

Interesting list, I’m always struck by just how big a hole Brodziak had this season. The d-zone FO’s combined with the sludge he was dragging around the ice should be considered whenever we compare him to someone like Pouliot. They may have been facing softer opponents overall but Brodziak did it with little help and started on his own 20 very often.

Also, Horcoff. Destined to be the whipping boy for much of the fanbase, one suspects Pat Quinn will take about 5 seconds before he’s hanging on to #10 for dear life.

Penner, Cogliano, Gagner and Nilsson had an easier time based on this chart. However, when you factor in Penner’s reasonably tough quality of opposition and the fact that Cogliano didn’t have the best linemates, we’re left with Nilsson and Gagner as the guys who played much of the season in ideal weather. Gagner’s not going anywhere, but Nilsson wasted a lot of at-bats this past season.

Defense

  1. Steve Staios 370-341 +29 470
  2. Tom Gilbert 392-369 +23 444
  3. Denis Grebeshkov 315-295 +20 395
  4. Sheldon Souray 401-394 +7 487
  5. Theo Peckham 49-43 +6 48
  6. Ladislav Smid 228-228 EVEN 280
  7. Lubomir Visnovsky 225-230 -5 304
  8. Jason Strudwick 202-213 -11 279

Staios didn’t face the toughest opposition but he did start shifts in his own zone quite a bit. Gilbert and Grebeshkov do well by this measure and Souray helps out too. Visnovsky got the edge in faceoffs and I think we can reasonably argue he covered the bet based on performance and math (specifically Corsi). The blue is too expensive to keep but there are some nice things here.

One final note: the two men on top of each of these lists have taken a major beating from large portions of the fanbase so far this off-season. Does this change anyone’s mind?

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96 Responses to "Even Strength Faceoffs"

  1. Smytty777 says:

    I think the hole that Horcoff and Brodz got put in is on a whole different scale than Staios.

    The drop off for Horc and Brodz is quite alarming, Staios is not really beyond much of the rest of the pack. Although the numbers perhaps hi-light a bigger gap between Staios and Strudwick than I thought was there. Of course one of those guys gets paid $2.7M and one gets paid $0.650M.

    My mind has not changed, still like Horc and Brodz, still think Staios needs to be moved for cap space, he is servicable as a 6D, but gets paid way too much for that role.

  2. Lowetide says:

    rickibear: Actually, I’ve appreciated Brodziak and what he brings all down the line. Example:

    http://lowetide.blogspot.com/2008/07/brodziak-key-component.html

  3. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    So Horcoff took 1.90 more defensive faceoffs than offensive faceoffs per game and didn't stay on the ice after many of those own draws.

    Hmmmm.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Smytty777: Agree completely. Horcoff and Brodziak (and the previous season Stoll and Reasoner) were basically special-teams faceoff centers.

  5. Scott says:

    When I checked midseason Horcoff had the biggest differential in the league. This might be something to watch for next year since MacTavish was on the extreme end in this area and there could conceivably be considerable change in tactics with the coaching change.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Scott: It also tells us that a seemingly small difference of opinion (not signing Reasoner as per MacT's preference) had a big impact.

  7. Jonathan Willis says:

    Is it just me, or did Staios drastically improve his ranking from the midpoint of the season? I seem to recall him being well down the list at about the halfway mark.

    Still, it's a much bigger shift than two years ago; back then he was up in the +100-or-so range.

  8. PDO says:

    So Horcoff took 1.90 more defensive faceoffs than offensive faceoffs per game and didn't stay on the ice after many of those own draws.

    Hmmmm.

    Which means he got the puck moving north.

    Sounds like a good thing to me.

    Bruce: (Sorry for the hijack LT)

    I saw you had Penner first in his "PDO" #.

    How'd you quantify first? Highest? Lowest? Closest to 100? Any three could be used….

  9. Oilmaniac says:

    So this post simply shows where the players started typically (def-off) for each puck drop, right..

    and that horc was jumping on and off for def faceoffs, as per Fake Mac's post…

    So,.. without negative remarks (which requires some deletion)

    all in all, seems to be an exclamation mark behind the statement "get another centre that doesnt need to be sheltered"

    It would appear that the third line centre spot is brodziaks, without additions to the team… seems to me that if he stayed on the fourth as mr. 'third string dependable centre' then this disparity disappears..

    An aside, looking at the kids at positions 14-16.. is this -40 mark a major indication of being sheltered, or is it just partial with a mix of 'who else to put out in the O-zone'…?

  10. Jonathan Willis says:

    So Horcoff took 1.90 more defensive faceoffs than offensive faceoffs per game and didn't stay on the ice after many of those own draws.

    What percentage did he jump right off for? We don't know.

    How many lost draws ended up inside the net within 30 seconds? We don't know.

    Of course, none of those questions address the initial point. Even on the draws that Horcoff went out and won, then cleared the zone and jumped off the ice, was he doing something that Sam Gagner or Andrew Cogliano couldn't do? I think so. How many of those zone-clearing efforts did Horcoff manage that the young centres he was sheltering couldn't? How much ice-time did Horcoff get in strictly defensive work – work where he had virtually no chance of recording a point on, and how did that effect his offensive totals relative to ice-time?

    None of this excuses Horcoff's poor offensive production; but I don't think there's an argument to be made that the offensive/defensive zone breakdown is a trivial matter, or that Horcoff wasn't fighting an uphill battle.

  11. rickibear says:

    Lt: It bothers me when People think of him as a fourth line center.

    Teams laking depth would be wise to steal him from us.

  12. rickibear says:

    //Is it just me, or did Staios drastically improve his ranking from the midpoint of the season?//

    JW: Yes and still provided his blocks.

  13. Coach pb9617 says:

    None of this excuses Horcoff's poor offensive production

    And yet he still outscored.

    I have to repost from the last thread because it's glaring.

    Horcoff's peers over the last two seasons, tough minutes outscoring centers in goal differential per 15 minutes of ES order, desc. The number after the name is this year's zonestart.

    .55 Pavel Datsyuk -12
    .27 Evgeni Malkin -173
    .22 Stephen Weiss 73
    .20 Craig Conroy -25
    .16 Mike Richards*
    .11 Shawn Horcoff 156
    .09 Eric Staal -24
    .08 Derek Roy -7

    Only Weiss and Horcoff have to go uphill.

    *Something is screwy with Richards' data – it has him taking 500 more faceoffs than he did, so he's not included.

  14. Bar Qu says:

    I have felt that Staios was given a raw deal this season by the fans. Most people have talked about Staios being the vet who needs to go over Moreau, but these numbers seem to suggest that Moreau would be the easier loss.

    Staios, imo, would provide the continuity of leadership and a steady hand to the third pairing, whoever it is.

  15. misfit says:

    @Coach pb9617:

    This list is simply how many times each player was on the ice for an O-zone/D-zone draw, not how many faceoffs they took. If Richards was on for ~500 more draws than he took, it's likely he was used as a winger in a lot of faceoff situations to ensure they had two centers on the ice.

  16. Coach pb9617 says:

    it's likely he was used as a winger in a lot of faceoff situations to ensure they had two centers on the ice.

    Yeah, I thought about that, but 500 extra? Seems way out of line.

  17. Black Gold says:

    I think we're all happy more than happy with Staios as a 5th Dman. He'd have a very different stigma if he was making 5th D money. But he's not. Next year it'll be harder to move that $2.7M, and in the 2011 season it'll be an even uglier contract.

    I have two problems with his play. Problem 1: The slow bounce pass behind the net when he's under pressure. I gotta think Smid doesn't like it and before that I'm pretty sure Roy was on the ugly end of a few of those passes.
    Problem 2: Panic mode. A couple nice passes in the oil zone, and he's down on all fours getting in Roloson's way. Stay on your feet, fella. Play your position, take the guy in front.

    Part of his popularity problem has to be with the amount of times his on the negative end of the highlight real. Your data there probably has a lot to do with it. Staios's Cons list is visually a lot more accessible than his Pros list.

  18. Asiaoil says:

    Give me Horcoff, Staal, Brodziak and Betts down the middle and I'm a happy guy. So many moves to make to get this team back into shape – and if Gagner and MAP could get us Staal in some package deal then I'd consider it. Cap is obviously an issue though.

    I'd consider moving Gagner, Nilson and POS to make it work up front – plus totally overhauling the bottom six to cut out the overpays like Moreau and bring in some cheap vet wingers – plus Gilbert and Staios would go off the back end to make it work cap-wise and add Vokoun

    Penner Horcoff Hemsky
    Cogs Staal Pisani
    xxx Brodziak xxx
    JFJ Betts Stortini

    Vis Smid
    Souray Grebs
    Peckham xxx

    Vokoun / xxx

    The top 6 would be reliable – the bottom 6 cheap and aggressive, the defense a nice mix of youth/experience/size and offense, and the goaltending world class. But it's a ton of moves.

  19. bookie says:

    Scott: It also tells us that a seemingly small difference of opinion (not signing Reasoner as per MacT's preference) had a big impact.

    Yes, I don't think many people expected MacT to become a delusional obsessive micromanager just because he lost one player.

  20. YKOil says:

    Not that I can prove I've liked Weiss as a player the last few years but if:

    Cogliano, Staios & ? (Chorney maybe?)

    gets me

    Weiss

    I do that trade.

    Horcoff, Weiss, ? (MAP maybe) and Brodziak all make for a very competent C depth.

    My offensive flair comes from the wing and the defense. Means I need someone to go with Visnovsky and Hemsky.

  21. Jonathan Willis says:

    Coach, you know I love Horcoff, but using last years' data in combination with this season's data skews the results.

    Only the real dummies were upset with his production last year; I think it's fair to say a little more was expected this season offensively.

  22. DBO says:

    Horcoff and Brodzziak weren't given much help. look at the red wings, they have 5 guys who have FO% above 50%. Pretty much all their centres are responsible defensively (with Zetterberg and Datzyuk a consideration every year for defensive player of the year), and their team focus is on puck control. With Bordziak and Horcoff you have 2 of 4 holding their own at the dot. It's just a killer when the other 2 are so bad. If you add one more decent faceoff guy, you lessen the load on Brodziak and Horcoff and their numbers offensively will improve and our team defense will look better since we'll get the damn puck out more often.

    That being said, Gregor and Barnes on Team 1260 were talking about how the Oil will need to think outside fo the box to improve this team since salary cap is an issue and it's edmonton (not exactly California or a Cup contender). that line of thinking brought me to a trade offer that might help us a lot, and the other team may go for it.

    Gagner, Gilbert and a pick
    for
    Datzyuk

    Hear me out. With the success in these playoffs without Datzyuk, and the strong play of Hossa, does anyone think Detroit may consider Hossa over Datzyuk if they have to choose one? They would be able to re-sign everyone else on their roster, and fit Gagner and Gilbert under their cap. they may look at a Gilbert as a top 4 dman that can become a top pair guy once Lidstrom retires (in 1 or 2 years) and Gagner brings the skill quality they love.

    For us we get Datzyuk, a top end superstar who can win faceoffs, score above a point a game, play with Hemsky and is responsible defensively. Yeah it hurts to give up Gagner, but Datzyuk gives us a legit superstar who can score.

    ?-Datzyuk-Hemsky
    Penner-Horcoff-O'Sullivan
    Moreau-Cogliano-Pisani
    Jacques-Brodziak-Stortini

  23. mc79hockey says:

    As many of your posts are LT, this is one that I wish I'd written. I was at the Sens game earlier this year when the Oilers were in town. Horcoff and Brodziak come over the boards. I say "Watch this – if the Oilers win the draw, one of them will go right to the bench." Sure enough, that's exactly what happened. I think she was impressed with my knowledge.

    I'm surprised by Stortini. Vic does not, as far as I know, have an icing tool but it'd be interesting to know how many of them were stuck on the ice following an icing.

    So Horcoff took 1.90 more defensive faceoffs than offensive faceoffs per game and didn't stay on the ice after many of those own draws.

    He only gets to leave the ice if he wins the draw and the puck is cleared. If he loses the draw or if the puck isn't cleared, he stays out. Basically, he carried all of the risk and collected none fo the benefit. He's not owed anything of course – you deploy your players in the way that best suits the team's needs, even if it isn't the best thing for his stats.

  24. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    mc79hockey said…

    So Horcoff took 1.90 more defensive faceoffs than offensive faceoffs per game and didn't stay on the ice after many of those own draws.

    "He only gets to leave the ice if he wins the draw and the puck is cleared. If he loses the draw or if the puck isn't cleared, he stays out. Basically, he carried all of the risk and collected none fo the benefit. He's not owed anything of course – you deploy your players in the way that best suits the team's needs, even if it isn't the best thing for his stats."

    So let's assume for a moment that his faceoff percentage was roughly equivalent all in zones…just over 50 Percent.

    So, the incidence of him losing the extra D zone faceoffs is now down to .95/game.

    Hmmmm.

  25. mc79hockey says:

    Let's keep in mind that Horcoff finished in the black shotswise.

    Taking your number of .95 a game to be right, that's still an extra hour a year of the worst kind of ES TOI – starting in your own end with the other guys having the puck.

    There's a styudy that should be done here and I'll try to do it at some point. I've taken a look before at the difference between winning and losing an own zone faceoff SH and it's pretty stark, although there's just not enough of them to make a huge difference. At evens, I can see it having a non-negligible impact on the numbres.

  26. Jonathan Willis says:

    Tyler: I (and a bunch of others) noticed MacTavish using that fourth line for own-zone work and top-oppostion duty a few times during the year, even when he had other options.

    It was a source of much consternation during the game day threads, but remembering it I'm not that surprised to see Stortini;s totals.

  27. Bruce says:

    Great thread which I'm joining late. A few comments to catch up on (sorry for length).

    Is it just me, or did Staios drastically improve his ranking from the midpoint of the season? I seem to recall him being well down the list at about the halfway mark.

    JW: Staios drastically improved his partner from about the midpoint, actually Game 50. Once Vis went down, Staios moved up into the top 4, and was paired with Souray rather than Strudwick or Smid.

    Bruce:
    I saw you had Penner first in his "PDO" #.
    How'd you quantify first? Highest? Lowest? Closest to 100? Any three could be used.

    PDO: Highest. Good percentages are better than bad percentages, no? I know there's a school of thought that somebody "riding the percentages" will regress to the mean, and there's certainly truth to it as MC79 has shown on more than one occasion. But dynasty-Oiler fan that I am, I continue to hang on to the notion that it's possible to produce above-average percentages by generating higher quality shots for than against. Goaltending is also a factor, although within a given team it should tend to level out.

    Oilers as a team had a PDO# of 1.013, based on a EV Sh% of 8.8% and an EV Sv% of .925. Here's how the forwards did (20+ GP):

    1.027 Penner
    1.024 Nilsson
    1.020 Stortini
    1.016 Brodziak
    1.016 Pisani
    1.016 Gagner
    1.013 Horcoff
    1.011 Pouliot
    1.011 Moreau
    1.010 Reddox
    1.010 Cogliano
    1.009 Hemsky
    1.006 Cole
    0.959 MacIntyre
    .

    So you see the whole group is clustered within about +/- .01 of the team average. Do the differences mean anything? Maybe not a whole lot, but when your top guy for shots +/- also has the best percentages +/- (PDO#), I think that speaks to a nice combination of quantity and quality.

    Horcoff and Brodziak come over the boards. I say "Watch this – if the Oilers win the draw, one of them will go right to the bench." .

    Tyler: Using Vic's great "&henrik&daniel" tool, I found that Horcoff and Brodziak were on the ice together for 68 draws, of which 67 (!) were in the defensive zone. Checking the same pair for shots data, the Oilers were outshot 27-3 and out-Corsied 59-6 when both 10 and 51 were on the ice, which is unsurprising when you consider where they always started and that one of them always left the ice when they did successfully clear the zone. What is surprising, nay, astonishing is that the 10-51 combo broke even with 1 GF and 1 GA.

    I'm surprised by Stortini. Vic does not, as far as I know, have an icing tool but it'd be interesting to know how many of them were stuck on the ice following an icing.

    Tyler: Vic does have an icing tool, under http://timeonice.com/icings.php?team=EDM&first=20001&last=21230.

    It indicates that Stortini was "stuck on the ice" on 26 occasions over the season. Does that explain his +23 D-zone draws?

    It does if you assume that a) he stayed on the ice after all icing calls against the Oilers (a given under the rules); b) he didn't stay out for any of the 24 offensive zone draws caused when his line forced an icing; and c) his line didn't start any shifts in the O-zone when the previous line had caused an opposition icing.

    In a "roll-the-lines" scenario those things would be expected to come out in the wash. Fact is the coach didn't shelter Stortini et al with O zone draws to start their shifts, preferring to use those situations for Nilsson, Cogliano, Gagner, Penner, and Cole. Presumably the reason was the opportunity to create some offence from an offensive situation, and for better or worse MacT trusted Stortini more defensively than he did offensively.

    The odd part was that Zorg had the worst Sv% ON of any Oiler (.895), and the best Sh% ON (12.5%). Suggesting that MacT's deployment of him wasn't entirely in sync with what was actually happening out there.

  28. Scott says:

    Is it just me, or did Staios drastically improve his ranking from the midpoint of the season?

    As Bruce mentioned, Staios was deployed much differently after Visnovsky was hurt and he was moved into the top four "D" (with Souray).

    It's interesting to me that after the Visnovsky injury his scoring chance numbers stay about the same. The quality of his competition went up and so did the quality of his teammates and he produced about the same results. I think that's a pretty good warning that people need to keep quality of teammates in mind as much as they do quality of competition (I often do a bad job of this) when measuring results.

  29. RiversQ says:

    The odd part was that Zorg had the worst Sv% ON of any Oiler (.895), and the best Sh% ON (12.5%). Suggesting that MacT's deployment of him wasn't entirely in sync with what was actually happening out there.

    Can you explain that Bruce?

    As we argued a couple of months back, the faceoffs for Stortini are pretty much 1:1 when you account for the icings.

    I guess you're trying to argue based on the percentages that Stortini is a better off. player than def. player? I suppose you could argue that Stortini wasn't used correctly even with an intentional 1:1, but you have to figure there are only so many offensive zone draws to hand out and MacT preferred to let Gagner and Cogliano gorge themselves on them. There's always a give and take, in line matching and/or situational shifting – you can't have every matchup.

    However, I would argue Stortini was incorrectly used because he belonged in the press box more often. His GD rate is abysmal and his Corsi rate is so incredibly ugly that I can't believe he was left in the lineup so often.

    This player at this point can't be used in many situations at all. He's the Jeff Francoeur of NHL hockey.

  30. RiversQ says:

    Re: Penner and the PDO#

    I think it's entirely likely he's an above league average SH% player although I see nothing to suggest he would be an above average SV% player. (Just doesn't fit his game – even the pure pragmatics in the group know how he drives the results. You can certainly keep the GA down this way, but there's no logical reason why it would translate into SV%.)

    Although I haven't dug into the numbers I would assume there are a significant number of players that are consistently above average in this regard even when attempting to normalize for goaltending and/or teammates.

    However, if Tyler and Vic have shown anything over the last 6-8 months, it's that one season is just not enough. Players routinely bounce around a lot with these numbers and it's undoubtedly luck. I'd say you surely need at least 3-4 seasons to get a firm idea. Penner should have close to enough data to determine for sure if he has sustainable SH/SV% at this point.

  31. RiversQ says:

    One last thing about the PDO#s.

    Is anyone even a little scared that this team had a pretty darn good year by the percentages and still sucked?

    What happens if the team numbers regress to the mean and they still get outshot at the same rate? It'll be a bloodbath.

    They absolutely MUST find some hockey players this summer. Quinn, Renney and marginally better ST will not be nearly enough if the EV game stays this poor.

  32. LMHF#1 says:

    Brodziak had a good season considering how badly he was used by MacTavish. If you couldn't see that you couldn't see a thing.

    I think Staios being in the defensive zone that much dictates MacTavish ineptitude more than Steve still being able to hack it. He makes way too many mistakes (though he was slightly better at the end of the year).

    The people slagging Gilbert and calling his contract bad don't know their rear from a hole in the ground.

    Thank you Tommy Salo!

  33. mc79hockey says:

    But dynasty-Oiler fan that I am, I continue to hang on to the notion that it's possible to produce above-average percentages by generating higher quality shots for than against.

    Yeah, all's you need is the greatest offensive player of all time, a HOF winger for him, 2/3 of a HOF second line and one of the great offensive defencemen to boot. So as soon as we do that, we can stop worrying about Corsi.

    Seriously though Bruce – I took a look at the 80's shooting percentages lately. The Oilers were in a completely different stratosphere. While anything is theoretically possible and that team moved it from theoretically possible to possible, as I've shown in the past, they were better when they outshot and they're an extreme statistical outlier.

    Checking the same pair for shots data, the Oilers were outshot 27-3 and out-Corsied 59-6 when both 10 and 51 were on the ice, which is unsurprising when you consider where they always started and that one of them always left the ice when they did successfully clear the zone. What is surprising, nay, astonishing is that the 10-51 combo broke even with 1 GF and 1 GA.

    That's a great way to look at it Bruce. Kind of drives home how much taking those d-zone faceoffs sucks.

    The odd part was that Zorg had the worst Sv% ON of any Oiler (.895), and the best Sh% ON (12.5%).

    This is (part of) what you said last year at my site about Stortini when we looked at the percentages at the end of the year:

    Again, let’s use Stortini as an example, since the team Sv% of .933 behind him was quite exceptional and no doubt unsustainable. But he was/is a responsible defensive player, almost always was between his man and the net, rarely allowed odd-man rushes. His biggest defensive weakness was to be sucked down low and to open up his point man at times, but outside shots into a wall of defenders are the way pf the new NHL, esp. as envisioned by Craig MacTavish, and a good Sv% is to be anticipated. Not to be discounted is that Zack’s opponents were often plumbers.

    So certainly we can expect the Sv% behind 46 to normalize next year, but perhaps still be a little better than team average due to those factors. That said, as I’m sure Vic Ferrari will agree, a bad bounce or five over the course of a season can make a mockery of such micro-analysis of stats. This past season it’s fair to say Zack got more good bounces than bad, but down the stretch he was more than hitting his weight by any metric.

    I dunno. I mean, that was a compelling sounding explanation, backed up by all sorts of views of the guys but shit happened. Do you think that he was so much worse this year? Or is puck luck a harsh and cruel bitch goddess?

    This player at this point can't be used in many situations at all. He's the Jeff Francoeur of NHL hockey.

    In my fantasy baseball league, there's a side bet, with stakes of replacing one's team logo with a dildo, on Francouer's K:BB ratio this year. The dividing line is 2:1. Frenchy is current at 30K/6BB.

    Is anyone even a little scared that this team had a pretty darn good year by the percentages and still sucked?

    Yep. In addition, Quinn's reputation for making teams better has basically involved him taking over teams with abysmal percentages in Vancouver and Toronto.

  34. HBomb says:

    RE: Team PDO's.

    Across the board, they seem on the high side of 1.0. Noting that this is a team-wide trend, what's more likely?

    a) A bunch of guys shot the lights out in terms of shooting percentage?

    OR:

    b) The one guy who affects everyone's PDO (the goalie) had a huge year that he won't replicate?

    More data in the book for those of the school of thought that signing Roloson, even for one year, might not be the smart bet at this point.

  35. Bruce says:

    Can you explain that Bruce?

    Nope. Can't explain either one. His PDO is normal-to-good (a little above team average), but Sh% at both ends was very high. Meaning that it might have been preferable to have him out for more O-Zone faceoffs.

    As we argued a couple of months back, the faceoffs for Stortini are pretty much 1:1 when you account for the icings.

    I didn't accept your argument then, Riv, and I still don't. Icings go both ways. How do you account for the icings of these guys?

    Player . Icings . Faceoffs (D – O)
    ——————————
    Stortini …. 26 …… +23
    Cogliano …. 43 …… -39
    Penner …… 40 …… -39
    Cole …….. 28 …… -29
    Gagner …… 33 …… -39

    .
    I explain it as coach's decision, trust in a player to handle his own zone vs. expectations in his ability to generate offence in the good end. Obviously MacT had more of the former w.r.t. Stortini, more of the latter for the other guys named here.

    However, I would argue Stortini was incorrectly used because he belonged in the press box more often. His GD rate is abysmal and his Corsi rate is so incredibly ugly that I can't believe he was left in the lineup so often.

    Yeah, I know you hate the guy, Riv. I don't; I think he brings a lot of attributes that the Oilers desperately need more of, not less. (Size, competitiveness, aggressiveness, discipline, consistency, work ethic to name a few) MacT's decision to pressbox him for 8 games running down the stretch was one of the most perplexing in a season full of oddball moves. I suppose you were happy with the poofter team we iced during that critical stretch, though.

    As for that "abysmal" GD rate, let's check out the two years that Stortini has worked his way into the line-up as a more-regular-than-not. I've included only forwards who were on the team both years:

    Nilsson +9
    Horcoff +8
    Stortini even
    Pouliot even
    Brodziak -2
    Moreau -4
    Penner -5
    Cogliano -5
    Pisani -6
    Hemsky -8
    Gagner -22
    .

    Abysmal??

    shit happened. Do you think that he was so much worse this year? Or is puck luck a harsh and cruel bitch goddess?

    Aye, Tyler, it is. In Zorg's case this year, in games that I saw he got burned no fewer than 3 times where he stepped on the ice with the puck not merely going the wrong way but going right into the net, where he was saddled for a minus after a shift of <5 seconds and absolutely no opportunity to get in the play. The last time that happened was in Montreal, when Marc Pouliot made the worst line change of the entire season (for the second year in a row, mind you) and by the time Stortini stepped over the boards Poo's man oops make that Zorg's man was breaking free and about to tap her home. For that transgression, MacT chose to bench Stortini for the next 8 games.

    So yeah, shit happens.

    Shit also happened at the good end, good shit mostly, where Stortini and the fourth line outperformed the percentages for the second year running. My observation was that his line generated few shots but the ones they did get were of relatively high quality, in close to the net with lots of mayhem and traffic. Which looks like shit for Corsi numbers, but not nearly so bad on the scoreboard. Which last time I checked, is what actually counts.

  36. mc79hockey says:

    On my numbers, looking strictly at the faceoffs taken, for 2007-08, Horcoff was actually on the ice for 177 defensive zone faceoffs, 306 neutral zone faceoffs and 196 offensive zone faceoffs. So there's some definite movement there this year, with him getting worse starting field position.

    Re: Zorg. He barely played this year, being on the ice for 122 ESSF and 191 ESSA. So there's not really much of a point, IMO, in trying to glean anything from his percentages.

    With that said, I've got some serious difficulty with the idea that his line does something special that results in high percentage scoring changes. A large part of that was Zack shooting 22.7% on 17 shots. If that's his true talent, because of the kind of game he plays, he'd be second on the all-time shooting percentage chart to Craig Simpson, which is impressive given that Zack only gets ES shots.

  37. Coach pb9617 says:

    Only the real dummies were upset with his production last year; I think it's fair to say a little more was expected this season offensively.

    He still outscored this season.

    I mean, sure, it would be awesome to have 30 goal scorer, 70 point producer Jason Spezza playing the second toughs and getting outscored by 10 goals. But until the Oilers can swing a trade for him, I guess the team is stuck with the tough minutes outscorer.

    Bummer.

  38. quain says:

    Only the real dummies were upset with his production last year; I think it's fair to say a little more was expected this season offensively.

    I'm not sure why we're impressed with Horcoff last season, but disappointed in him this season. His Corsi was better this season, his GF-GA/60 was better this season, his QUALCOMP rank was higher this season, and his PPGF/60 was about even (which wasn't good, regardless). I'm not going to let the app run, but I'd bet my life that he had a tougher time, faceoff-wise, this year by a large margin.

    Everything says he was a great contributor this season, except the counting numbers, and yeah, I want to see the guy put up those great underlying numbers AND hit 90 points or whatever, but those goals were still getting scored while he was on the ice, he just wasn't getting a nice notch on the belt.

  39. quain says:

    Coach stole my thunder, I'm getting a sandwich and crying.

  40. Traktor says:

    I wonder if we can dump Horcoff on Montreal now that Jacques Martin and Jacques Lemaire are at the helm.

  41. ian says:

    Very in depth stuff from all of you guys,I hope your bosses don't mind.
    If "some" of the improvement for next year is to come form new/different players with better FO% how do we get them?
    Tambo on Ched last night mentioned that most GMs are looking to shed salary which also means that moving high priced players will be harder than ever.We always seem to get caught up in "fantasy" trades that work for us and do not really address the other teams needs.
    Again for the record I think Horc will have a much better year this season and I am hopeful that Penner will bump his numbers by around 15%

  42. Traktor says:

    "He still outscored this season."

    If you score 2 goals and only have 1 scored against you in 82 games then you outscored.

    If we're just looking for a clock killer then a Toby Peterson type is a better value at 450k.

  43. Coach pb9617 says:

    If you score 2 goals and only have 1 scored against you in 82 games then you outscored.

    If we're just looking for a clock killer then a Toby Peterson type is a better value at 450k.

    The average cap hit of tough-minutes outscoring forwards for 09-10 is $5,750,000.

    There are 15 of them in the league.

  44. Coach pb9617 says:

    If you score 2 goals and only have 1 scored against you in 82 games then you outscored .

    And Eric Staal can score 35 goals and give up 34 goals and net the same result over an 82 game season.

  45. Master Lok says:

    Oh good lord Traktor, are you suggesting then that Toby Peterson would be an adequate replacement for horcoff?

    Or that the Oilers are a better team without Horcoff, and having the centres be Gagner, Cogliano and Brodziak?

  46. Traktor says:

    "The average cap hit of tough-minutes outscoring forwards for 09-10 is $5,750,000."

    Sure, but if I use my own boundaries and parameters I could come up with a totally different set of numbers.

    For instance, David Bolland was one of the best tough-minute outscoring forwards in the league last year and he didn't even make the list. He made 850k last year.

    Sorry but that post is pure garbage by a guy who's motive for making the post was to shed positive light on Horcoff.

    "And Eric Staal can score 35 goals and give up 34 goals and net the same result over an 82 game season."

    Sure, and if I need a goal with 2 minutes left in the game guess who I'm going to send out?

    It certainly isn't going going to be the player who had the 220th best PTS/60, Shawn Scorecoff.

  47. uni says:

    I wonder if we can dump Horcoff on Montreal now that Jacques Martin and Jacques Lemaire are at the helm.

    I marvel at the ability to simply gloss over and largely ignore all the evidence presented in this comment thread regarding Horcoff.

    If you score 2 goals and only have 1 scored against you in 82 games then you outscored.

    If we're just looking for a clock killer then a Toby Peterson type is a better value at 450k.

    I don't think anyone seriously believes that Toby P. can outscore and perform as Horcoff did while playing the same number of tough minutes. In fact not a lot of players in the NHL can and those that do are highly prized, see Madden, John.

    I mean I like a lot of your ideas Tracktor, but a lot of the time you seem to become overly fixated on what you want and gloss over or ignore the facts to suit your purpose. I mean sure we all do that, but there's something to be said about extent.

  48. Traktor says:

    "Oh good lord Traktor, are you suggesting then that Toby Peterson would be an adequate replacement for horcoff?

    Or that the Oilers are a better team without Horcoff, and having the centres be Gagner, Cogliano and Brodziak?"

    Is it true that Edmonton's best winning stretch in the last decade came when Shawn Horcoff was on the IR with a shoulder injury?

    I don't know for sure, I'm just asking.

  49. Tweezer So Cold says:

    These stats comparisons are similar to the pitbull/hockey mom Palin campaign talking points. So what, if you don't win? Nobody cares how much "tough sledding/outscoring/d-zone vs o-zone" you do if the result is always "Kotalik scores late to make it interesting"

    Horcoff whiffed on a Scott Pearson-esque amount of open nets last year, reminded me of Adam Oates 2004 and contributed to a terrible PK. The team faded from a playoff berth that was theirs for the taking, had control of its playoff destiny etc…..

    He was as guilty as Staios and Moreau for glossing over the PLAYER's responsibility to motivate themselves. These 3 stooges' post-game comments were pathetic down the stretch.

    He cannot repeat last season, and should work with the new coaches to focus on what he can consistently bring to the Table.

    Glencross and Reasoner on this roster, we make the 09 playoffs.

  50. Traktor says:

    "a lot of the time you seem to become overly fixated on what you want and gloss over or ignore the facts to suit your purpose."

    Kind of like going all in on micro stats.

    Forget that during the stretch run Shawn Horcoff only has 3 goals in the last 24 games of the season – it doesn't matter because he had a high Corsi number and that will get us in the playoffs just the same… oh wait.

  51. RiversQ says:

    Bruce said…
    I didn't accept your argument then, Riv, and I still don't. Icings go both ways. How do you account for the icings of these guys?

    I explain it as coach's decision, trust in a player to handle his own zone vs. expectations in his ability to generate offence in the good end. Obviously MacT had more of the former w.r.t. Stortini, more of the latter for the other guys named here.

    Bruce, with all due respect you've just got this wrong.

    Shifts starting with faceoffs are about coaching decisions. When a player (or his linemate) ices the puck, he takes the decision out of the coach's hands. So 26 times last year Stortini and his linemates took that decision away from MacTavish. It's perfectly fair to remove d-zone faceoffs due to icings in order to assess the coach's decision making.

    Therefore, when MacT actually had a choice, Zach was -3. So again, basically 1:1.

    Now, there is a place to get credit for the opposition icings. It's where the faceoffs are when you finish a shift. Zach gets his +23 boost in that metric and it's wholly deserved.

    Mind you, even with the icings in his favour finishes his shifts 126/81/80 – Def/Neu/Off, so he's still not moving the puck in the right direction.

    As for the GD, over the past two years he's -1 according to timeonice (which ditches the EN goals). You're absolutely right, that's not abysmal and I should have checked before I leaped.

    The Corsi is indeed abysmal at -121 last year and -102 in 07/08. Given his icetime it leads to shockingly poor rates and can't possibly justify more icetime. He cannot continue playing this way without being a major liability. And it's not just his GA, it's also the GA that result from him and his linemates being unable to get the puck in the other end of the rink consistently against poor opposition. If he continues playing this way against poor opposition, then when the PDO# levels out, or dips below 100%, he's a major boat anchor.

  52. RiversQ says:

    One fun fact on the icings: only three Oilers were actually negative in that regard: 46, 44, and 24.

    The team was +59 in drawing icings, which is kind of interesting in itself.

  53. Traktor says:

    re: Corsi

    Ever here the phrase "we can't trade chances with them"?

    Why is that?

    How many 2 on 1's would it take Moreau and Pisani to score 10 goals?

    How many 2 on 1's would it take Gagner and Cogliano to score 10 goals?

    I'm definitely with Bruce here (even though he might not consider that a good thing).

  54. RiversQ says:

    Is it true that Edmonton's best winning stretch in the last decade came when Shawn Horcoff was on the IR with a shoulder injury?

    Man, it gives me shivers just thinking about how brutal that team was in 07/08.

    It's too bad Lowe and MacT made their decisions based on that silly little stretch at the end. That cost them the playoffs this year easily.

  55. Coach pb9617 says:

    For instance, David Bolland was one of the best tough-minute outscoring forwards in the league last year and he didn't even make the list. .

    Because he didn't do it two years running, like Martin Hanzal, the reason for the study in the first place. If he does it again, he'll show up on the list. The explanation is quite clear. I'm looking for the guys who have, you know, established themselves as tough-minutes players. Stop being so obtuse about this because it disagrees with your premise.

    Sorry but that post is pure garbage by a guy who's motive for making the post was to shed positive light on Horcoff.

    The motive was to find the guys that played the hard minutes two years running – Hanzal's peers – again, quite clearly explained in the post. Horcoff was a sidepiece, again clearly denoted as such at the end of the article. Frankly, the most surprising piece of the article is Stephen Weiss.

    The team was +59 in drawing icings, which is kind of interesting in itself.

    If those numbers are legit, that is mindblowing. My lasting memory of the season will be this team chasing other teams around in the defensive zone for minutes on end. Rather than ice the puck, they let it go in the net? :)

  56. RiversQ says:

    Traktor said…

    Kind of like going all in on micro stats.

    This one in particular is amusing.

    Most of the stats discussed above involve much larger sample sizes than anything you see in the boxscores.

    It's kind of the opposite of "micro."

  57. Coach pb9617 says:

    Completely off-topic, but a friend and I were discussing the playoffs and something came up:

    Did the Campbell Conference used to be a 2-3-2 format?

  58. RiversQ says:

    Coach said…

    If those numbers are legit, that is mindblowing. My lasting memory of the season will be this team chasing other teams around in the defensive zone for minutes on end. Rather than ice the puck, they let it go in the net? :)

    I'm pretty sure they're legit. It does seem a little bit weird I have the same recollection and considering the team finished -41 in the faceoff department (Off-Def).

    However, we're talking about nearly3466 total EV faceoffs the Oilers were involved in, and just 379 of them were derived from icings. Given the fairly small number, I have a hunch that icings taken/drawn might not be terribly repeatable year over year.

  59. dstaples says:

    How many lost defensive zone draws ended up in the net within 30 seconds for the Oilers.

    About 15 all season long.

    Two or three for Horcoff.

  60. Coach pb9617 says:

    However, we're talking about nearly3466 total EV faceoffs the Oilers were involved in, and just 379 of them were derived from icings. Given the fairly small number, I have a hunch that icings taken/drawn might not be terribly repeatable year over year.

    Can you break that down with Vishnovsky and without?

  61. HBomb says:

    "Hey look kids! There's Big Ben! And there's parliament!"

    Talk about things turning into a familiar train-wreck over the span of a couple hours….

    Is it true that Edmonton's best winning stretch in the last decade came when Shawn Horcoff was on the IR with a shoulder injury?

    Yes, the same stretch which was shown by someone (was it mc79?) to be an against the odds run of good luck in terms of points gained vs. the goal differential over that stretch. In other words – it's a pretty damn big fluke.

    It's time for certain individuals to get over it and realize that Shawn Horcoff is a damn good hockey player who is worth the money he's getting paid, contrary to the bitching and moaning from the knucke-draggers calling into Just a Game and suggesting that it would be a good idea if the Oilers bought the guy out. How exactly does getting rid of your 2nd best forward (and best two-way guy) help this team going forward exactly?

    News flash: he'spart of the solution, because he's damn sure not the problem with this hockey club.

    The only way I would be agreeable to seeing him dealt out is if Tambellini somehow pulled a rabbit out of his ass and landed us a pair of Swedish twins on July 1st. And even then, why not dump salary elsewhere and have a 1/2 punch at centre of H.Sedin/Horcoff? Talk about a coach's dream in terms of dealing with teams like Detroit (Datsyuk/Zetterberg) and Pittsburgh (Malkin/Crosby).

    "Dumping" him on Montreal? Talk about dumb.

  62. dstaples says:

    Corsi is a useful stat, but doesn't do justice to all.

    I was no fan of Ethan Moreau this year, and his poor Corsi is indictive of more than just his tough oppostion. He really was weak for large stgretches of play.

    But Moreau was as effective as almost any other Oilers forward at creating scoring plays (not chances) at even strength, and it had something to do with how hard he would drive the puck to the net.

    It's a strategy that partially made up for many other shortcomings on his part, and one that isn't reflected by Corsi numbers, or Dennis' scoring chance numbers.

    The same would go with Stortini, IMO. Bruce's assessment about Stortini isn't offbase, and if we were collecting more information from games, such as quality of scoring chances, and which players were truly involved in scoring chances for and against, we'd know that, I suspect.

    It's great that all this new data is being collected, such as Corsi numbers and Dennis' scoring chances, but I'd say we're where baseball was about 20 years ago with defensive stats, and needing to just collect far, far more information before we can really rely on stats to make fundamentally sound arguments about hockey players.

    Too much information is being left on the ice right now to be precise.

  63. RiversQ says:

    Well, Visnovsky was -37 icings and +60 drawn, but you also have players like Gagner at -33 and +66 drawn, so it's a little hard to see what's going on here.

    I have Visnovsky leaving after Game 757 against Chicago. Is that right?

    If so, the team was -66 icings taken and +81 drawn after he was out, which makes them -94 and +138 when he was still in the lineup. So that's 1.23 when 71 was out and 1.47 when 71 was in the lineup last year.

    Again I wonder about the value here, but the general theme last year was "if 71's on the ice, the team is in good shape" and this certainly fits that trend.

    Mind you, it probably has more to do with the drop to his replacement and the shuffling of minutes to lessers than just sheer Slovakian awesomeness.

  64. Coach pb9617 says:

    Ray Emery to sign with the Flyers.

    Phew.

  65. RiversQ says:

    dstaples…

    Too much information is being left on the ice right now to be precise.

    I'm not sure I agree with that, but it can always get better. I won't argue there.

    Having said that, some things are just glaringly obvious in the numbers. It's damn hard to explain away how Stortini is giving away 1 Corsi for every 3min of ES icetime. That means the puck is spending too much time in his own end (which is also supported by the faceoff data) and that cannot be a good thing.

    I have no problem with Stortini, outside of the fact that he's not a very good hockey player.

    IMO, he does have one good excuse. He doesn't play very much and less than 9 min/game has got to hurt your performance to some degree. The problem is that he hasn't really done anything with the opportunities he has had, so I can't blame a coach for deciding he doesn't want to get on that train any more than absolutely necessary.

  66. RiversQ says:

    Bad news though – Granato's not coaching in the NW division anymore. Too bad.

  67. quain says:

    I support the hell out of all these stats and absolutely agree with them saying Stortini is a garbage player… but -4 is a small price to pay to experience the joy of the Stortini Experience every game.

    He's just so ugly and mediocre at hockey… it gives me a warm feeling in my tummy to see him out there. If Quinn takes that away from me, I might revolt. Unless his replacement rocks.

  68. uni says:

    Forget that during the stretch run Shawn Horcoff only has 3 goals in the last 24 games of the season – it doesn't matter because he had a high Corsi number and that will get us in the playoffs just the same… oh wait.

    I don't think that those numbers are micro stats to begin with.

    Also, do you honestly believe that the team would have been so much better had Horcoff not been around? He clearly helps the team a helluva lot more than you're giving him credit for. Not to beat a dead horse here, but you're just ignoring all the facts and making broad generalizations, would you argue against the value of someone like John Madden in his prime?

    Do you or does anyone else honestly believe that 21 game 'stretch-drive' a year ago of luck and OT wins and puck luck galore was anything but fortune having a turn?

    As for the stretch-run this year, did anyone else on the team seem to do particularly well when everything came tumbling down? Horcoff is a valuable part of this team, and I'm sure 29 other coaches between MacTavish would love to have him. Maybe 5 million is a bit, but 4.5-5 million seems to be the going rate for guys of his skillset.

  69. Bruce says:

    I'm definitely with Bruce here (even though he might not consider that a good thing).

    Traktor: If you're with me, that must mean that you think Horcoff is Oilers' best forward. Consider:

    1st in TOI
    1st in ES TOI
    1st in SH TOI
    1st in faceoffs
    1st in faceoff % (20+ draws)
    1st in ZoneStart
    1st in +/-
    .

    That last stat is pretty remarkable in light of how many of the previous ones are more defensive than offensive in scope. The guy is a top-notch two-way player.

    While I will concede your point — as I have all along — that his offensive output was not what we or he hoped, he nonetheless wound up third among Oiler forwards in goals, second in assists, points, and shots on goal, and first in powerplay goals. In the process he posted his fourth consecutive season over 50 points. That's not nothing in this league.

  70. RiversQ says:

    quain said…
    I support the hell out of all these stats and absolutely agree with them saying Stortini is a garbage player… but -4 is a small price to pay to experience the joy of the Stortini Experience every game.

    Yeah, point taken. However, it's one thing to get a saw-off like Horcoff manages and it's a whole different thing to only manage one while playing the worst players in the league.

    At the end of the day, it's still your goalie, your top six forwards and your top two d-pairings dictating the game, but it'd be nice to give your coach some more options for the matchups.

    Now apparently Quinn will be rolling the lines for the most part this year, which means whenever someone wants to take a run at Stortini's line, they won't have to chase it.

    I'm pretty sure that'll be a bad thing.

  71. Coach pb9617 says:

    Again I wonder about the value here, but the general theme last year was "if 71's on the ice, the team is in good shape" and this certainly fits that trend

    To be honest, I thought it was going to be hugely positive with him and even without him.

    I'm a bit stumped, really.

  72. Vic Ferrari says:

    dstaples sed:

    "But Moreau was as effective as almost any other Oilers forward at creating scoring plays (not chances) at even strength."

    Damn. Dude.

    You're on your own planet. You need a new stat the way the Huey Lewis needed a new drug. Is this it for next season, then? And is there any place where you have the totals for your ERRORS?

    I enjoyed your comment some time ago on BofA about NHL teams tracking ERRORS, you cited John MacKinnon I believe. You can't make this stuff up, hilarious. I know you're just trying to get traffic, and your early stated goal was to emulate IOF. Still, it lessens us all. More specifically the fact that none of the regulars (myself included) bothered to cut you to ribbons lessens us all. There are some smart cats that read this corner of the internet, and that sort of thing is emabarrassing.

    Every team databases and reviews mistakes of course, but the notion of the ERROR stat runs countercurrent to all sensible measures in the game. You'll hate Quinn in this regard by the way, and Dennis will love him, even though he is the league's most passive bench coach.

    This half of the Oilogosphere won't bring more traffic, David. It really won't. Think about that, it's true.

    You have your audience I'm sure, but this is largely a different crowd. Bringing ridicule upon yourself does nothing to increase your readership, and frankly that's all your doing when you post outside of your community. It's the way it is.

  73. Vic Ferrari says:

    coach/rivers

    Been a while since I looked, the first time being in response to a slipper comment on a rivers post iirc. But I think that the Oilers don't ice the puck nearly enough for a team that spends more than their fair share of time in their own end of the rink.

    And at the time I looked, midseason maybe, Cogliano and Gagner were guys who stood out as having poor territiorial advantage (by eye and by numbers) yet precious few icings to show for it.

    I suspect that they were loathe to ice the puck because they were struggling so remarkably badly on the dot. I don't know, I'm not inside their heads, but that's my best guess.

    In fairness to the Oilers as well, they could have save themselves some heartache on a lot of occasions if they had just iced the puck. And they probably would have saved some goals against and shifts that ended in a barrage as well.

  74. Vic Ferrari says:

    quain:

    I agree with you on Stortini, I'd probably be supporting the guy if not for the fact that Bruce has already done so in a way that seems madass over-the-top to my mind.

    Ever seen the episode of King Of The Hill where Bobby makes the track team? Turns out that the coach has just brought him in because his team has some bad habits, and Bobby is the shame/motivating factor.

    Pole vaulter caught smoking … Bobby, you're in the high jump!
    Sprinter skiving off and talking to girls … Bobby, you're running the 100!

    Best line of the episode, Hank attends a meet and says, by memory:
    "Bobby is running the high hurdles? It usually takes him two or three tries to get on the couch"

    I saw that episode just before flipping back to the Oilers game to catch the interviewer asking Cogliano what he thought of playing with Stortini.

    Damn. There is a sense of entitlement on wee Andrew. Then again I suppose there is on most of these young guys. And if they even waiver for a minute their similarly inclined young teammates, puck bunnies, autograph seeking fans, agents and families all reinforce it.

    It would seem that several here have mocked the postgame sentiments of Moreau, Staios, Souray et al, that's my sense of it anyways, having read only a fraction of the commentary here … but personally I think they understated.

  75. Traktor says:

    Who's the better 10?

    Shawn Horcoff or Vernon Wells?

  76. mc79hockey says:

    It would seem that several here have mocked the postgame sentiments of Moreau, Staios, Souray et al, that's my sense of it anyways, having read only a fraction of the commentary here … but personally I think they understated.

    The problem I have with those three (more Moreau than any) is that I think their commentary comes from their own sense of entitlement and, particularly in the case of the former two, it's not like they were doing a hell of a lot to win games for the Oilers this year. Tell us again about how the PP sucked Ethan, without breathing a word about the PK that you're only nominally part of becuase you spend so much effing time in the box for stupid stick penalties. To extend Vic's analogy, Ethan's probably a Cotton Hill figure in the dressing room.

  77. Coach pb9617 says:

    I suspect that they were loathe to ice the puck because they were struggling so remarkably badly on the dot. I don't know, I'm not inside their heads, but that's my best guess.

    I think it would be interesting to see the full team data (hint hint MC) and look at guys like Smid and Staios especially. Maybe you're right on Gagner and Cogs.

    Until ten seconds ago, I thought that defensemen were responsible for more icings/TOI than forwards and that Gagner and Cogliano wouldn't have as much of an effect on icings as you say above. I'm not sure now, though.

  78. Coach pb9617 says:

    To extend Vic's analogy, Ethan's probably a Cotton Hill figure in the dressing room.

    And Kevin Lowe traded Boomhauer to the Islanders.

  79. Vic Ferrari says:

    Honestly Traktor, what do you get from this?

    To put things in micro view for you:

    I saw a game a little over a year ago, on the road against either CBJ or NSH. I do remember that Horcoff was playing on a line with Nilsson and Penner, and that they'd been pinned in their own end for a long shift. A lot of badness, hold your breath stuff. That sort of thing is more wearing on the defending team as well, of course.

    Anyhow, eventually Horcoff breaks it out off the boards and Nilsson takes it and rushes up the middle. Penner is a bit out of frame at the top, but I suspect he fakes charging forward to keep the bench side from changing early, then retreats. He's actually a good player in a lot of ways IMO, work ethic aside.

    Anyhow, young players make rash decisions all the time, especially at the blue lines, but Nilsson had all day to think about this one. He comes to the line and tries to pass it over to Horcoff on the right. Fricking nuts. Horcoff wins battles and has a lot of legs, even though it's a hellish ling shift … for crying out loud chip it deep and let Horcoff get their first and battle until the Oilers have new players on the ice. There's a good chance the next Oiler shift could start well, Nilsson just has to let Horcoff do his thing.

    In this case Nilsson and his dad were the only people in the building expecting him to try and sift a pass through the D at the blue line … and it didn't work. Even the defender seemed surpised, but he moved it forward, the Oilers D were caught changing and one took a penalty to break up a 2 on 1 iirc.

    Nobody criticized Nilsson on the play.

    And he can make the same play 50 time over and it won't have a material effect on his boxcar numbers. Just the way the world is. But it matters, get a bit up off the ground, shed your micro view, and surely you can see it.

    I turned off the game then and there, sick and tired of that movie. I checked the shift charts a day later, and MacTavish had continued to run Nilsson a regular shift and he'd continued to get first unit PP on the night.

    I'm in the chair and that effer would have been in the minors, or benched for the rest of the game at least. The problem is, when you've got another half dozen gus on the bench that are going to pull the same crap … what to do? Gagner was even worse that year, and Cogliano worse yet. Grebeshkov gave those two a run for their money. I suppose he didn't have better options.

    Damn, that fluky streak near the end of 07/08, when all but the clinically foolish could see that they were getting badly outplayed but catching a run of sevens … that's been a curse, really.

  80. Coach pb9617 says:

    Damn, that fluky streak near the end of 07/08, when all but the clinically foolish could see that they were getting badly outplayed but catching a run of sevens … that's been a curse, really.

    I have to admit, I was on the side of "yeah, they're being outplayed, but let everyone have their fun – it's a good run", never thinking that team would make all personnel decisions based on a fluke run, which was a good indicator of where the organization stands as a player and team evaluator.

  81. RiversQ says:

    Along the same lines, I have to say that MacT's role in the player personnel is my number one complaint about him that I can't shake.

    After 06/07 and 07/08, we heard quotes about how he'd be more involved in the offseason acquisitions. I can't fathom how he managed to see this kind of hockey up close in the trenches and not manage to do more to fix this mess.

    I mean, Lowe should have been canned a long time ago, but some of that stink has to be on MacTavish. As much as I liked the guy and I don't think the bench coaching has made that much difference, he can't be absolved for that.

    Aside: how the fuck did the Dutch lose '74? Must have been a fix.

  82. mc79hockey says:

    How big of a role do you think that he actually had Riv? I can't believe that it changed all that much from 2006 to 2008. That's why the Oilers have three pro scouts, to sort that shit out.

    I don't think we need to worry about it from Quinn, who has candidly admitted that he doesn't know a lot of the players. Coached all of ten games against the West in the last five years.

  83. Vic Ferrari says:

    The thing with that is, I remember a few of the veterans and MacTavish in particular, talking about that stretch as it happened. They were cold and sensible, MacTavish was talking about how they probably wouldn't win games unless they got the better of the breaks (if the HFboarders, traktor hunter etc had heard it, Im sure they would have gone spare … but that was true and plainly obvious at the time.

    Thing is, by early summer everyone had changed their tune. The late stretch run was apparently a result of a brand new kinf of hockey that Bowman or Shero wouldn't even recognize. I assumed that they were blowing smoke in an attempt to lure a difference maker like Hossa … but even after that ship passed they kept the talk going.

    Not that the Oilers are a terible team, I'm sure that they would be a playoff team in the East. Just that I'm a big believer in team culture, and this team needs an enema. Reminds me of Buchberger's stint in ATL when he started to become ubervicious towards his slacking young teammates. He couldn't get his head around the self righteous attitude of the kids. Maybe he just couldn't relate. Surely the voice carries less weight if the legs don't carry a commensurate amount of talent … but if they had a do-over, ATL would have been wise to gut themselves of most of that promising youth on Buchy's say-so. And nobody would have said that at the time.

    Ferraro captained that team, no? I think so. He was happy as well. That's Ray.

  84. Vic Ferrari says:

    Lowetide:

    I can't imagine why you would think that this would upset me. Hell, this sort of thing is what I was hoping for when I made those scripts accessible.

    Bruce's thing with Brodziak/Horcoff on the ice at the same time is terrific and adds real value also. Again, that's what I was hoping for.

    To drive your point home, look at Jordan Staal before and after the coaching change. His faceoff zones take a big swing and his corsi and EV+/- follow. It accounts for most of the changes of fortunes for the Pens.

    Of course that happens because Malkin suddenly decided to become less of a dink. He had a ZoneShift before that which would have made Lupul, Lecavalier or Kovalchuk point and laugh.

    That's the hope with the Oilers coaching change IMO. The message won't change, but sometimes when it's a completely brand new set of guys telling you the exact same thing … even modern NHLers, sheltered and coddled as they are, even they have "Gawdam, maybe it IS me after all!" moments.

    And if they don't … get rid of them. The team culture has to be protected imo.

  85. RiversQ says:

    mc79hockey said…
    How big of a role do you think that he actually had Riv? I can't believe that it changed all that much from 2006 to 2008. That's why the Oilers have three pro scouts, to sort that shit out.

    Well, for his sake I hope it wasn't very much, but I'm left wondering given the results.

    What's your take then? He just didn't make enough noise? He didn't push back hard enough? Or Lowe just did as he pleased regardless wht his coach told him?

    I just think he had to be more complicit than I'm willing to forgive.

  86. Jonathan Willis says:

    RiversQ: Maybe so, but if MacTavish couldn't get Lowe & Co. to budge on something as small as re-signing Marty Reasoner, how much sway could he really have had?

    It goes against every public statement he's ever made to imagine him endorsing a centre depth chart of Horcoff – Gagner – Cogliano – Brodziak. I just can't see it.

  87. RiversQ says:

    JW: Maybe he just started drinking the Kool Aid though? I do recall the Oilers including MacT seemed to believe the streak stuff in the summer as Vic said. I want to believe MacT had nothing to do with it but that's a little hard to believe at this point.

  88. Bruce says:

    Bruce, with all due respect you've just got this wrong.

    I suspect we're making the same case from opposite directions. Maybe we're both wrong? :)

    Shifts starting with faceoffs are about coaching decisions. When a player (or his linemate) ices the puck, he takes the decision out of the coach's hands. So 26 times last year Stortini and his linemates took that decision away from MacTavish. It's perfectly fair to remove d-zone faceoffs due to icings in order to assess the coach's decision making.

    The rub is that the decision is taken out of the coach's hands in defensive situations only. Deduct those, and your median expectation of Off : Def draws will no longer be 1.0, but something like 1.18 (assuming that Oiler games are typical and 18% of all non-neutral zone faceoffs are the result of icings, but could be plus or minus a few percent on a league-wide level … too lazy to check).

    e.g. The Oilers had 1084 DZone faceoffs, of which 160 occurred after icings, therefore MacT only had a choice for 924 defensive zone faceoffs. Whereas he had a full range of options for all 1043 offensive zone draws. Twisting the math your way and counting just faceoffs where MacT did have a choice, he had a surfeit of 119 more offensive zone draws than defensive.

    Zorg got 3 of them. Cogliano got 82, Penner 79, Gagner 72, Nilsson 67, Cole 59, Moreau 45, Pouliot 43, Hemsky 34, Reddox 10, Pisani 1. The only regular forwards in the negative by this metric were the afore-mentioned Horcoff (-104) and Brodziak (-120). Which again speaks to the extraordinary expectations heaped on these two guys. But next on the "defence first" list, in both net differential and as a ratio, come Pisani and Stortini. It's the same no matter how you slice and dice your measurement system.

    Therefore, when MacT actually had a choice, Zach was -3. So again, basically 1:1.

    Yup, ~ 1:1 in a metric where the team average was 1.13 : 1.

  89. dstaples says:

    Rivers@: How can Stortini has such a poor Corsi number, yet still be a decent player?

    He played any number of shifts with MacIntyre and Strudwick. Brodziak, his most common linemate, also struggled defensively.

    So Quality of Competition obviously came into play in a big way with this player, and where the puck tended to be when he was on the ice.

    Corsi is a team stat, Stortini was just one of five on the ice when he was assigned all those minus marks, and he may or may not have been deserving of them.

    So his Corsi number is one thing to think about in rating him, not the only thing.

  90. R O says:

    What's Stortini's ERROR stat look like?

  91. Vic Ferrari says:

    I just sent this note to Tyler re the crazy big Philly faceoff numbers, thought I would post it here as well.

    teamfaceoffs.php was repeating the last game of the season once for every day since the last game of the season. It would have affected every team that played on that last day, so CHI, DET, STL, NYI and BOS I think.

    This because I have a script that looks for the NHL's completed games once a day at 4:00 AM, and NHL.com left the games from the last day of the regular season up on their site, so every day my script thought they were new games.

    In any case thanks for the heads up, it's fixed now.

  92. Peeeete. says:

    "There are some smart cats that read this corner of the internet, and that sort of thing is emabarrassing."

    So's misspelling embarrassing, especially while berating someone else for being an idiot.

    Don't mean to pick on Vic, at all; you're my favourite internet hockey guy. Most of the rest of the commenter guys are pretty inadvertently funny. At best. And usually they don't function at best.

    Am I a smart cat? Nah…

  93. Dennis says:

    +2 for the King Of The Hill references:)

  94. dstaples says:

    R O: When it comes to the goals Stortini helped to create compared to the goals he was a culprit on at even strength, he is part of the great mass of Oilers forwards bunched together, though he was at the top of that middle group.

    He knows how to backcheck and to go to the net and that is more than many an Oilers forward can say.

    Overall, the only Oilers forwards who stood out in this individual plus/minus metric were Dustin Penner, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff. They led the pack by quite a bit, all the more impressive considering their quality of competition.

  95. dstaples says:

    This issue of MacT wanting Reasoner back but not getting his way keeps coming up, and LT recently pointed out the public comments on this, which support that position.

    From what I know of MacT, though, he had a tremendous amount of input on this kind of decision.

    My best guess is that despite the public comments, this was a mutual coach/GM position.

  96. HBomb says:

    Overall, the only Oilers forwards who stood out in this individual plus/minus metric were Dustin Penner, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff. They led the pack by quite a bit, all the more impressive considering their quality of competition.

    Those three were very impressive as a unit at even strength.

    The fact the coach refused to play them as a trio, due to some bizzare personal vendetta against Penner, is a big reason he's no longer coach of the Edmonton Oilers.

    100 miles past Stupid is what that was.

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