April 26, 2007

Too many power plays!

Looking at the event summary from the complete destruction of the Canucks on Wednesday night I noticed something quite rare: 50% of the game was spent on the power play [officially 48%]. The other half was even strength (that is of course ignoring all the four-on-four time as well). Often when I see something strange I ask myself: how strange is this. Well the previous "record" this post-season was 38%. Last post-season I found an even more impressive feat by the referees giving an astonishing 54% of ice time to power plays, Edmonton readers may still remember that game. Another game this season the referees almost managed to make 60% of the game special teams. In 2005-2006 was a bit worse having quite a few games that went over 50% power play time (20 or so).

I'm not about to say the penalties weren't deserved and they probably could've called more things. It's just hockey isn't much fun when the entire game is spent either on the power play or killing penalties.

April 23, 2007

Dallas @ Vancouver

I've never been a big fan of Vigneault, but over the course of the season I've accepted his methods as different but not inneffective. I like his calm demeanor and the fact he doens't play favorites.

In my opinion the role of a coach in the playoffs is to show the players "holes" in the opposing team's methodolgies. This means that a coach attempts to explain how the opposing team's penalty kill works and what they should do to take advantage of the opposing team's system. Or they show how to get passed the opponents neutral zone trap etc.

What concerns me about Vigneault is his solution to the current problems on the powerplay are to "Try harder," Vigneault said. "That's what they have to do. Try harder". Morrison seems to know what has to happen from the coach: "For whatever reason they are being ultra-agressive. Usually, if a team is ultra-agressive, if you make the right play, you can torch a team. Usually, there's somebody open. We're just not executing now."

I think it's important to note the difference between Morrison and Vigneault, that is the team needs to find the holes in Dallas' defense and this is primarily the role of the coaching staff. As this series has progressed the Canucks have been weak in their responses to Dallas' changes, but Dallas has been effective at making changes that stiffle the Canucks. This is Vigneault's first NHL playoffs as a coach, and he may be significantly embarrased tonight, losing a series after being up 3-1. I guess he can always just call it 'bad effort' on the part of the players, because they don't really want to win (sarcasm).

Game 1:53.690.044.086.1
Game 2:01.995.024.0100
Game 3:22.595.012.092.0
Game 4:22.094.711.990.0
Game 5:00.995.012.0100
Game 6:00.895.924.9100
Game 7:42.591.711.292.0
Series [4-3]1314.294.01220.092.3

This image displays the two team's records and goals for (GFA) and goals against (GAA) rates against only teams who made the playoffs. In addition I added my 'trademarked' estimated team value rating (I sum up all my estimated worth[$'s] of the current lineup) to give an idea about how good the lineup is in relation to the performance over the year. You can see the season series below that, and a small number in the bottom right is the number of penalties per game in the season series. The big percentage are the likelihood, based on a simplistic prediction model, of the team to win the series. The percentages are updated after every win or loss. F,D,G represent Forwards, Defense and Goaltending respectively, and are just my best guesses. If you think they're wrong tell my why and I'll likely change them.

Even Strength
Power Play

The winner column displays the dominant team in that category. The more pictures of the team's logo the more dominant the team is in that category

All the non-percentage numbers are scoring rates. For example on the first row, the Vancouver Canucks have an even strength scoring rate of 2.41 goal for per hour. [GF = goals for, GA = goals against Exx = expected xx, SV% = shot quality neutral save percentage].

In the power play section in order to calculate the expected scoring rates I multiplied the goals for rate of one team and the goals against rate of the other and divide by the league average in order to get the expected rate for these two teams combined. So for example, the Vancouver Canucks have a power play goals for rate of 6.54 and the Dallas Stars have a penalty killing goals against rate of 5.96. So 6.54*5.96/6.5=6 [league average is 6.5].

Outperforming expected goals for is a sign of a lucky team. Outperforming expected goals against is a sign of either a good goaltender or luck as well.

Each category listed has a different importance to winning, so be careful how you read these. Being able to score short-handed isn't going to win a lot of hockey games.