• I don’t believe in Beatles

    by  • September 4, 2008 • Uncategorized • 52 Comments

    Per Fenwick at the start of last season:

    There’s a lot to love about Phaneuf. He has a hard shot that he can get off. He hits hard. He infuriates opposing players, and Oiler fans. He makes plays — right from his rookie debut, he was one of the best defensemen I’ve ever seen at keeping the puck in at the blueline. He’s extremely fit: he led the Flames in ice time last year, playing tons of PP minutes, plenty of EV minutes, and even 1:58/gm on the PK.

    It’s almost unfair. He set the bar very, very high from Day One; he’s already a nice NHL defenseman. And there is progress: in Year 2, he went from 21:43/gm to 25:39/Gm, all due to a big increase in EV icetime (14:12 to 18:05). Though the toughest assignments will continue to go to Regehr, the remainder of Dion’s Handle With Care label will be pretty much removed this year.

    There’s a lot that’s right here. The part that looks wrong? “Though the toughest assignments will continue to go to Regehr…” As it so happens, Phaneuf got a pretty hard push from Mike Keenan last year and what I think was the big objection a lot of people had to his Norris candidacy, that he didn’t play enough high calibre opposition, is probably no longer a meritorious objection. Horrifying evidence after the jump.

    I’m back into looking at who played who – longtime readers of the site will remember that I did this a few years back with Phaneuf, looking at what I termed as the Big 8. At that time, it was, I think, a thoroughly fair point to say that he was being hidden from real opposition. Back in the day, we only had the data as to who was on the ice when a goal was scored but it was obvious that Phaneuf was playing third pairing minutes. We now have who was on the ice for every shot, which lets us get a much better idea of who was playing against who.** I’ve separated out all shots involving an opposition star* on the ice. I’ve sorted this list by percentage of team star events.

    phaneuf

    I assume that the chart is pretty self-explanatory – the last two columns refer to a) how many star events (SF+SA) a guy was on the ice for and b) the percentage of his team’s star events that he was on the ice for. I’d hope that this goes without saying, but I screened those in which Iggy was on the ice and an opposition star wasn’t.***

    I’m not yet convinced that he was worthy of the Norris nomination, although, to be perfectly honest, that was his big flaw in my mind and I was obviously still caught up in my old perception of the guy.

    It’s funny, I know that there are a lot of people out there who think that stats in hockey are nuts and that they’ll trust their eyes and gut to tell them who’s good and who’s not and who they’re doing it against but this to me is a perfect example of how you can use the data collected about hockey games to better understand what’s happening and more accurately assess the guy. I wouldn’t have guessed that he played this much against the opposition’s best this year (probably because it seemed like every time I watched a Flames-Oilers game, there was Regehr out running Hemsky) but then I definitely wouldn’t have pegged him as the sixth best defenceman in the NHL in 2006-07, when he clearly wasn’t playing top competition, like some misguided souls did.

    So…anyone else hoping that Kiprusoff really is finished? Otherwise it might be a long couple of years.

    (There’s some pretty cool stuff in that chart other than the Phaneuf stuff. I’m surprised at how poorly Iginla did against the stars, surprised at how insignificant Marcus Nilson has become and hopefuly by how terrible the team was when Iginla wasn’t on the ice against the other team’s top players, because while the Flames did many things this summer, I don’t think “added depth” was one of them.

    *Star means: Mats Sundin, Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa (Thrashers only), Eric Staal, Alex Kovalev, Marc Savard, Alexander Ovechkin, Derek Roy, Vinny Lecavalier, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Danny Briere, Dany Heatley, Daniel Sedin, Jarome Iginla, Ales Hemsky, Marian Gaborik, Paul Stastny (only because guys like Smyth and Sakic missed so many games), Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Rick Nash, Keith Tkachuk, Patrick Kane, Olli Jokinen, Jason Arnott, Mike Modano, Shane Doan, Joe Thornton, Ryan Getzlaf and Anze Kopitar. Pretty amazing stuff – of the 54656 ES shots last year, one of those guys was on the ice for 29868 of them, or 54.6%. Of the 4385 ES goals, at least one of them was on the ice for 2621 of them, or 59.8%.

    **It seems so astoundingly obvious that I hate to insult the reader by explaining it, but I’m using the shots to indicate who was on the ice, not because those are the only things that “star” players do that matters.

    ***I thought that the reason for this was obvious but I’m led to believe it’s not. If I didn’t screen out events in which Iginla was on the ice but no stars on the other team were, it’s not exactly like those are hard matchups to play. Iginla isn’t going to suddenly decide he wants to take on Phaneuf one on one.

    About

    52 Responses to I don’t believe in Beatles

    1. mc79hockey
      September 4, 2008 at

      OK, because I feel dirty, the one thing I’ll say that still says Regehr is the man in Calgary – he’s allowed to venture out against the opposition’s best without Iggy a lot more often than Phaneuf is. Still, impressive stuff from Dion.

    2. Showerhead
      September 4, 2008 at

      Jesus, between this and Matt’s domination of any and all takers at BOA, it hasn’t been a good few days for hope.

      And god dammit, I blew this year’s beer budget on a trip to BC/Washington for Sasquatch.

    3. September 4, 2008 at

      Cool stuff MC. Of course I would assume that Phaneuf also got a lot of the good offensive ice time at even strength as well. Like when a line from the opposing team had been trapped on the ice for over a minute, or the faceoff after the opposition’s 4th liners had to ice the puck. And of course Regehr isn’t going to get much of that.

      And wasn’t Dion getting the big responsibility easly, but Keenan drifted more towards Regehr/Sarich as the season wore on? Kent W. or Matt should know. And Phaneuf wasn’t getting the Thornton gig very much in the playoffs, was he?

      Still, this is compelling, gotta give the guy props. I reserve the right to hate him though. Plus I’m sure that PDO will root through a bunch of data until he finds something damning about Dion, I can always just wait for that.

      Until then I’ll improvise with this. He was on the ice for a staggering 443 offensive zone draws. 105 more than in the bad end of the rink. And almost always the guys who are being chosen for offensive zone draws are also being thrown over the boards when the puck is heading north already. That sure helps.

    4. mc79hockey
      September 4, 2008 at

      Oh fair enough, Vic. That said though, when you go back and look at his rookie year – he wasn’t on the ice with those guys period.

    5. September 4, 2008 at

      Terrific stuff all around.

      Also MC, can you divide the number of shots by the total shots/goals ratio, to see how it lines up with just using plain old goals alone.

      By eye it looks to be right in line, but it’s a jpg so I can’t just cut and paste it into a spreadsheet and check myself.

      This is important to know I think, to establish a level of confidence in goals alone. Because if we ever get the old game sheets, that’s what we’ll have, and we could go back as far as about 1970 using this methodology, learn to appreciate (or the opposite) some of the stars from our childhood. Was Bobby Clarke playing tough minutes? What kinds of players were coaches sending out against Gretzky in the early 80s and then in the late 80s, etc.

    6. mc79hockey
      September 4, 2008 at

      I’ll check once I’ve done all of the teams. I’d expect it to be better in the past just because there were a lot more goals.

      I think you’d find a lot of guys rolling the lines. I distinctly remember watching HNIC when I was a kid and having them seriously discuss the relative merits of line matching versus rolling the lines.

    7. September 5, 2008 at

      Yeah, now that Quinn isn’t coaching I don’t think there are any line rollers left in the NHL, are there?

      You read some of the quotes from the 70s coaches on Lowetide’s blog, and clearly there some guys who were into line matching. Hard to say how many for sure. I mean I can remember Ferraro saying “MacTavish is just rolling his lines now” when he was clearly jumping through hoops to get his matchups.

      So it depends on the announcer and if they notice that kind of thing.

      BTW, if you google “official NHL game sheets” and click on the hockhist yahoo group link, there is a post from a guy who says he was working on getting all of the official game sheets for the Leafs since 1927 onto the web. So clearly these things are available if you ask the right person in the right way.

      The ability to use just goals is really important for that reason though. As you say, sample size might be a problem. But that should fade if you add more “star players” to your list. Maybe an A list and a B list, I mean even at this stage a lot of those guys you have there give a lot back the other way.

      Personally, I really like SA as a measure here. Though for this team at least, it looks to be about the same as total shots anyways.

    8. September 5, 2008 at

      Jesus, between this and Matt’s domination of any and all takers at BOA, it hasn’t been a good few days for hope.

      You are kidding, right? When did making snide remarks and ignoring criticism become “taking all comers?”

    9. September 5, 2008 at

      “Though the toughest assignments will continue to go to Regehr, the remainder of Dion’s Handle With Care label will be pretty much removed this year.”

      So, why doesn’t that sound right — isn’t that exactly what you demonstrated between your post and Comment #1?

      That semiformal, half-hearted objection aside, beauty stuff. The way I saw it, the key coaching strategy stuff underlying this is simply that Keenan liked to play Phaneuf with Iginla. Factor 1A was who he wanted to play Iginla’s line against, and “preferred defense pairing vs. X” was a secondary consideration. And really, with the sheer number of minutes Dion plays, it would be shocking if your table showed anything different. (Obvious but necessary caveat: Keenan’s idea of who the stars are is no doubt different than yours.)

      Non-Phaneuf thoughts:
      - amazing that I read Lowetide’s bit about Brad Isbister right before coming here, because Wayne Primeau is not a better player. On merit (throughout, as far as I can tell), his career should be in the same shape as BI’s.
      - I’m still not happy about losing Tanguay, but you cannot look at that chart and say, “My God, losing him and Juice and Nolan leaves a gaping hole!”
      - *Very* encouraged by Lombardi’s numbers there, especially since he was stuck with the aforementioned fuckhead Primeau for long stretches
      - Good thing that, per Sutter, Vandermeer is a young up-and-cummer, or I might think that contract he just got was the blueline equivalent of Primeau’s. What? Oh….
      - Langkow is back. And so is Conroy, for $1M per season. That seems like a good thing.
      - There’s a reason I like Moss even though his hands suck

      And just on the general depth thing, I think they did add it — but the improvements in the 3rd and (hopefully) 4th lines seem to have come at the expense of the 2nd.

      Developing, as they say.

    10. September 5, 2008 at

      And Doogie — I’ll get there re: the roster changes, and how they figure to affect the standings. I thought I was clear that I was looking at the Starting Point, from whence those evaluations come. Perhaps not.

    11. mc79hockey
      September 5, 2008 at

      Maybe if your title was clearer Matt…

      (Obvious but necessary caveat: Keenan’s idea of who the stars are is no doubt different than yours.)

      Yeah, although I’d say I picked out most of ‘em pretty bang on, assuming he wanted to play his best players against the other team’s best.

    12. September 5, 2008 at

      Thanks for this, MC.

      As Matt says, Keenan played Phaneuf with Iginla a lot, so it really depended on who Iggy was seeing. The burden was especially heavy the first six weeks or so, when Dion was taking on the hardest competition on the team (and actually doing a pretty good job at it). As Vic suggests above, it evened out as the year progressed.

      This season, I half expect to see a Phaneuf/Regehr pairing play behind Iginla. At least, that’s the way I’d do it.

    13. David Staples
      September 5, 2008 at

      Excellent work. On first glance, I prefer this way of measuring quality of competition.

      If you go by Desjardins’ qualcomp, Phaneuf faced seventh toughest opposing players.

      If you go by how much he played against opposing star, he was out there the most of all the Flames.

      Desjardin’s top seven, based on plus/minus:
      Tanguay
      Conroy
      Iginla
      Regehr
      Sarich
      Nolan
      Phaneuf

      Top seven based on percentage against top star:
      Phaneuf
      Iginla
      Regehr
      Tanguay
      Sarich
      Conroy
      Langkow

      I can’t recall, MC, but have you made a similar chart for the Oilers vs. opposing stars?

    14. September 5, 2008 at

      If you go by how much he played against opposing star, he was out there the most of all the Flames.

      how do you reckon? this chart only offers info regarding star events a player was out there for. it does not speak to minutes played against stars. my guess is that the reason we see a higher star event total for phaneuf over regehr is because phaneuf produced significantly more events per minute (both sf and sa) than regehr. suffice to say, when regehr is on the ice, not too much is going to happen, which is exactly why you’d throw him out there against the gaboriks and hemskys. can we get a break down of the star events per star minutes played?

      i think the only firm conclusions you can draw from this chart is 1) stuff happens when phaneuf is on the ice, 2) he’s on the ice alot, 3) he’s certainly not getting those 3rd pairing minutes he was two years ago. but honestly, would even a cursory viewing of a dozen or so flames games have not produced these same conclusions? i could certainly be wrong, but my understanding is that regehr, not phaneuf, was the no.1 option to shut down the opposing big boys (esp. in the context of trailing late or d-zone draws), and this chart, as impressive as it is, does nothing to change that. i’m pretty sure everyone can agree to that, just want to make sure no one’s getting ahead of themselves.

    15. September 5, 2008 at

      The very nature of Desjardin’s qualcomp means that Phaneuf would lose credit for the soft icetime (the aforementioned shift after the 4th line iced the puck, and so on).

      So by this measure, on the Oilers of 7 or 8 years ago, a guy like Doug Weight would probably rank close to Todd Marchant. By Desjardins he would rank far lower. And if Desjardins us EV shots against instead of icetime for his H2H matrix, the gap between Weight and Marchant would be very wide indeed.

      Substitute Phaneuf for Weight, and Regehr for Marchant, in the paragraph above and you’ll get the same effect, probably in about the same measure, though I didn’t watch enough of the Flames to be sure of the extent of it.

      MC’s star list is, after all, largely the same bunch of players that drive Desjardin’s QUALCOMP number in the upward direction.

    16. September 5, 2008 at

      rajeev

      I think that while it’s obviously true that some players are higher event than other guys, it gets overstated a bit.

      For the Flames D from last season, from behindthenet.ca, here are the total 5v5 shots (SF + SA) per hour of 5v5 icetime:

      Phaneuf 55
      Eriksso 53
      Warrene 49
      Aucoin 49
      Vanderm 49
      Hale 49
      Sarich 48
      Regehr 48

      That’s a wide spread compared to most teams, but the gap from top to bottom still isn’t exactly enormous.

      Other context will obviously drive Tanguay, Regehr, Nolan and Sarich up, and push Phaneuf, Aucoin, Huselius and Iggy down. But MC79′s point remains, we can’t play the “he’s sheltered from good players!” card when we’re dissing Phaneuf any more.

    17. mc79hockey
      September 5, 2008 at

      However, the “He looks and sounds inbred!” card remains in play.

    18. September 5, 2008 at

      Can’t we? Phaneuf ranked third behind Regehr/Sarich; that isn’t top-pairing competition. Goo results in a 2nd-pairing assignment is nothing to sneeze at, but it doesn’t scream “elite”.

    19. mc79hockey
      September 5, 2008 at

      That’s such a small difference though, and a murky methodology. I’ve said it before, but I trust the order of rankings there more than I trust the size of the differences he identifies.

    20. September 5, 2008 at

      jonathon

      That’s still a lot of icetime against quality though, and it’s not the the SA drop through the floor against good players, like it would for Lupul, Vanek or Nylander, so I doubt this is misleading.

      If MC broke this down into home and away games (I don’t take requests, and I don’t expect Tyler to either, but it never hurts to ask), I’m sure we’d have more to go at Flames fans with, but still not a lot.

    21. September 5, 2008 at

      That’s such a small difference though, and a murky methodology. I’ve said it before, but I trust the order of rankings there more than I trust the size of the differences he identifies.

      I agree with that; but from watching the Flames play (albeit my memory is clearer on the late season games) Regehr is clearly option one against toughs and Sarich is his usual partner.

      Thus, Phaneuf finishes third, although with a lot of minutes.

      Then again, maybe it’s just my distatse for the player shining through and affecting my judgement.

    22. Pucker
      September 5, 2008 at

      I’d love to be all for you statistical analysis, but stuff like Star Events for and Star Events against are laughable to any fanbase outside of the Oiler group that has been following your formula making for years.

      Weren’t you the one that came up with a formula to show that Ty Conklin was a superior even strength goaltender to Martin Brodeur comming off the Oilers playoff run a few years ago.

      Other than finally pointing out that Phaneuf is an incredible young talent (possibly assuming the mantle of “Best Dman in the NHL” this season), your stats come off as silly and Oiler fans come off as laughable when using them to try to support an argument with non Oiler fans.

    23. mc79hockey
      September 5, 2008 at

      Weren’t you the one that came up with a formula to show that Ty Conklin was a superior even strength goaltender to Martin Brodeur comming off the Oilers playoff run a few years ago.

      Nope. Definitely not me making that argument.

      Other than finally pointing out that Phaneuf is an incredible young talent (possibly assuming the mantle of “Best Dman in the NHL” this season), your stats come off as silly and Oiler fans come off as laughable when using them to try to support an argument with non Oiler fans.

      I was curious, so I went and looked at the site stats and it appears that this thread has now been linked from CalPuck. I don’t understand quite why, but the bulk of Flames fans really are the religious fundamentalists of the NHL. You have your things that you support or oppose, like Phaneuf, and you characterize other things based on how they make Phaneuf appear. Stats say that Phaneuf was sheltered? Stats evil! Stats say that Phaneuf seems to have played a remarkable amount of time against the game’s best for such a young defenceman? Stats good!

      It’s sort of the secular, Canadian equivalent of saying that God sent a hurricane to New Orleans to kill gays, because there happened to be a lot of gays there, but that most other hurricanes are cool.

    24. FanIn80
      September 5, 2008 at

      Dude. The fact that you needed a spreadsheet and a calculator to finally realize that Phaneuf is an elite level defenceman just proves your inability to recognize talent. Why don’t you put your pencils and crayons away and just watch a hockey game once in a while? I mean seriously watch the game. Without any preconceived notions. Just sit back with some friends and say… “Holy hell, that was a hard hit.” …or “Wow. Did you see how hard he shot that puck?” …or “That’s crazy. There’s no way a defenceman goes end-to-end and scores a goal like that. I can’t believe he did that.”How does it make you feel to know that 98% of the people watching Phaneuf’s first game in the NHL knew he was going to be an elite-level, perennial Norris candidate defenceman… yet you needed 3 seasons, a calculator and a spreadsheet to come to the same conclusion?

    25. September 5, 2008 at

      Vic-

      For the Flames D from last season, from behindthenet.ca, here are the total 5v5 shots (SF + SA) per hour of 5v5 icetime:

      Phaneuf 55
      Regehr 48

      i think a 15% spread between the two studs is pretty significant, and actually it’s more than i expected. I think it’s pretty clear now that this, and not time on ice against starts, is what’s driving the results here.

      But MC79’s point remains, we can’t play the “he’s sheltered from good players!” card when we’re dissing Phaneuf any more.

      i agree 100%. but couldn’t we have gotten this just by looking at game logs, or qual comp, or, and not to sound too much like the last commenter, by, you know, watching some of their games? i think the problem with the chart is that it overstates phaneuf’s role as a shut down guy a bit.

      frankly, if anyone was still using the “he’s sheltered from good players!” card before they saw this post this morning, they don’t know what they’re doing or talking about.

      that said, i’ll take regehr at his cap hit over phaneuf and his most of the time.

    26. mclea
      September 5, 2008 at

      +1 Fanin80

    27. September 5, 2008 at

      And Doogie — I’ll get there re: the roster changes, and how they figure to affect the standings. I thought I was clear that I was looking at the Starting Point, from whence those evaluations come. Perhaps not.

      I realize there’s a larger picture there, both in terms of unrepeatable stuff and in terms of off-season changes — I believe I stopped beating that drum a while ago, and if I didn’t, then I apologize. I just still don’t think much of the methodology and conclusions drawn in that post, nor do I think the constructive criticism was addressed nearly as much as the dumbass fanboyish nonsense.

      However, the “He looks and sounds inbred!” card remains in play.

      And acts; let’s not forget leaving the keys in the ignition of a new SUV.

    28. September 5, 2008 at

      Most of that shot difference is because of the offensive game though. When Regehr is out there with Nolan’s line against Crosby, in the offensive end I’m sure that they were more likely to grind it out along the wall and try to work the puck into the scoring area from down low. As Matt says, Phaneuf played a whack with Iginla, and by the looks of things in a lot of offensive situations, at least later in the year. They are going to take more chances, plus Phaneuf himself is obviously more of a shooter.

      So while you normally don’t see much difference from road to home for D (home team gets first dibs on matchups and usually picks a forward matchup, D matchups are usually conceded). Plus with most teams running three lines at evens for the most part, D matchups aren’t that tough to make.

      There should be an exception here for Phaneuf with the home/road split though.

      I’m not a big fan of time on ice as a metric either, but it’s more easily grasped I think. And generally in line.

      Of course if you watched the Stanley Cup finals you saw that. Babcock got the Z matchup at home, but at the expense of zone/possession, Z started a bunch in his own end and came onto the ice a lot with PIT in solid possession. It was tougher icetime for him than for Sidney. And in game three Crosby was coming over the boards just as Z/Dats was leaving, or at least when they’d already been out there for 30 seconds or more (the shift-after strategy is older than dirt, of course). In that game Babcock, or the players themselves, opted to stay out there against Crosby quite a bit, some long shifts in there for Zetterberg and Datsyuk iirc. Again, much tougher icetime for Z & co. than for Crosby and Co.

      Against Edmonton the Flames have never had any interest in playing Phaneuf against the Oilers top players, esp in tough situations. And Keenan most certainly favoured Regehr/Sarich for the heavy lifting in the playoffs. And since most Oiler fans don’t watch all 1230 NHL games, we’re going to assume that was the case in the rest of the games that the Flames played.

      So while I still suspect that Phaneuf was more of a second pairing guy, in terms of opponent, than MC’s information shows, he certainly took on more of the tough work than I expected in the Flames games that I didn’t see.

      Plus everyone has bias. The overwhelming majority of fans at CalPuck think that all coaches in the NHL just roll players over the boards with no consideration for opposition, most of the remainder believed that Phaneuf was playing tough opp two years ago, when in the opinions of most around the Oilogosphere he was clearly being sheltered.

      I mean you watch all the Ranger games and believe that Nylander and Jagr played tough minutes and were terrific two way players. I watch about seven or eight Ranger games a year, and I think the opposite. (SEE Crosby-Z example above). Different people see different things in a hockey game.

      A measure like this, that MC has brought for us, it’s not perfect, he doesn’t claim it is. It IS a reasonable premise and an unbiased execution. And some people will accept that and learn a bit more about the context of the ice time of players on other teams, guys we don’t see a lot of.

      But most people who link here from a fan site are going to look at it, and embrace it if it flatters their faves and disses their whipping boys … and become pissy if it does the opposite.

    29. mc79hockey
      September 5, 2008 at

      The overwhelming majority of fans at CalPuck think that all coaches in the NHL just roll players over the boards with no consideration for opposition, most of the remainder believed that Phaneuf was playing tough opp two years ago, when in the opinions of most around the Oilogosphere he was clearly being sheltered.

      I’m genuinely baffled by this. Cosh has a theory that Alberta has a better education system than Ontario; the Flames fanbase being so, by and large, insistently opposed to anything but a shared conventional wisdom that’s based on (what they think) is solely observational data. It blows my mind. Why are Fenwick and Kent W. so alone?

    30. September 5, 2008 at

      Why are Fenwick and Kent W. so alone?

      I’ve often wondered this myself, both in terms of embracing “other” means of looking at the game and in terms of “blog representation” in the ‘sphere.

      I think it partly has to do with a perceived Oilers fan ownership of statistical analysis by online Flames fans. The implicit assumption is that:

      1.) Oilers fan are overly enamored with stats – specifically “new stats”.

      2.) Oilers fans do this exclusively for the purposes of either building their own team up or denigrating other teams (ie; the Flames).

      The resultant underlying assumption is, therefore, that “new stats” are lies or a method of self-delusion. And, given that this is conceived as an “Oiler fan” failing, there’s a backlash against anything more complex than counting numbers.

    31. Slipper
      September 5, 2008 at

      I think a large chunk of the online Oilers fanbase ascribe to the same assumptions that Kent has layed out with regards to new stats.

      I mean, all you assholes are just trying to make the kids look bad.

      Steve Staios is done. He’s barely a 3rd pairing defenseman.

      Shoot-out points are points all the same, and we were just inches from a playoff berth last year.

      Now get fucking lives.

    32. ZomgIwin
      September 5, 2008 at

      I’m still trying to figure out which one of you guys is the bigger outscorer…

    33. September 5, 2008 at

      ZomgIwin:

      MC79 has been going over to Calgary Puck to pick fights for ages, and for no reason, that’s true. Still, why come here? You may very well be a good guy in regular life, but we both know that it’s not to offer insight.

      Stay with yours.

    34. September 5, 2008 at

      Slipper, where do you see the season points line coming in for the Oil next season? They shot the moon last year, so it’s got to be up at least a touch I think.

      Where would you peg them?

    35. September 5, 2008 at

      Kent

      For me at least it’s very little of “these new stats made me look at things differently” and a whole helluva lot of “these nutters on this message board must’ve been watching a different game than me, that’s just crazy”, and then going and trying to find if there is information there to prove it.

      People can piss on the numbers all they want, but when I was trying to make the point that Smyth was playing way more against the good players than Moreau, I was almost universally being called a fool (Smyth isn’t a checker, dummy!). Even though I can’t imagine how it could have been more obvious.

      If I’d had a sharper people to talk hockey to then, like I do now, well I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but I wrote a script to scrape the old shift charts, with a bit of help from oilswell. And from that point it was no longer possible for a reasonable man to argue to the contrary. Plus, I think, it made the other things that I blathered on about seem more reasonable (that was several years ago, but it was mostly possession then as well. Hockey is still just hockey, after all.)

    36. Slipper
      September 7, 2008 at

      26 regulation wins last season and they managed 88 points.

      They could be a signifigantly better hockey team next season and be hard pressed to best that total.

      In fact, it would be utterly crazy to peg them for a 14 win swing which would take them to true .500, and even then, if they got bad luck in their extra time games they could just match or even fall short of 88 points.

    37. September 7, 2008 at

      Yeah slipper, it’s a mountain to climb. Although their regulation record is far worse than their goal differential iirc. So it’s not quite as bad as it seems, even though I think that most of us agree that it’s really unlikely that they’ll get anywhere near the same number of OT and SO points this season.

      The thing that can really make a big swing for a team; when their worst players (in terms of helping them win) turn into positive contributors. Promising rookies are like puppies, everybody loves them. Some just like puppies for being puppies, some see a good puppy and think about what a great dog he could turn into. The only thing we know for sure is that they will crap on the floor a lot.

      If Gagner and Cogliano can keep improving, play more in the good end of the rink, finish some chances, give up fewer, and end more shifts in a better place or situation … that should send a ripple down the whole roster.

      Sort of the opposite of 06/07, when a few guys who carried a lot of the burden and drove the play forward the season before, they were moved. Most notably Pronger. Which isn’t the end of the world if you replace them with a similar collective. But when you replace their ice time with Smid/Lupul/Greene, well that’s a hell of a swing in the bad direction.

    38. September 7, 2008 at

      MC:

      I checked the road split for the Flames, using your metric and list of players, and it’s near enough the same as home for Phaneuf. Dude really did play tougher ice than I thought.

      OTOH, there is some obvious swings for who Keenan favoured/or was frightened of:

      Swings by your measure (except I used SA only, which, by the looks of it, probably ends up being about the same difference for this Flames team anyways):

      Tanguay 7.3%
      Nolan 6.5%
      Lombardi 5.3%
      Regehr 4.2%

      Yelle -4.4%
      Eriksson -8.9%

      So when he had more control, Tanguay and Nolan were the guys he leaned on more, and Eriksson, and Yelle of all people, are the ones that scared him a bit. Or so it would appear.

    39. Slipper
      September 7, 2008 at

      This season should be interesting. There’s a bunch of real big question marks.

      Having Stoll and Reasoner exit without replacing them with experienced pivots is worrisome, atleast to me. I know most people are fist pumping at the idea that Gagner and Cogliano will have more ice time and repsonsibility, and YES!, this might open a spot up for sugar tits- but these aren’t good things in my mind.

      The defense excites people because it tickles peoples desires for fire wagon hockey, but a Robyn Regehr thrown in the mix of those over-priced puck moving defenseman fairies would ease my mind a bunch.

      And what the fuck do I know about goaltenders. All I can say is that I hope that Garon can post a save percentage at or above .910%, and I’ll be happy.

      The thing that the Oilers have going for them is parity, for lack of a better word. There are holes on most teams now, as they all seemingly become top heavy. Early free agency seem to accelerate players up the depth chart, so the bottom six forwards and bottom D pair on most teams are thinning.

      If the Oilers get a break from the IR this year and few critical injuries to the right team, maybe…

    40. mc79hockey
      September 7, 2008 at

      The defense excites people because it tickles peoples desires for fire wagon hockey, but a Robyn Regehr thrown in the mix of those over-priced puck moving defenseman fairies would ease my mind a bunch.

      Ever hear of this Dan Heyda fellow in Columbus? Hitch rode him pretty hard last year…more than 57% of CBJ events with a star on the ice involved him and he kept his head well above water too – better than evens in terms of shots, +9 (although if that’s the betting line this year, I’ll take the under). Wonder how the Jackets lucked into him. Lydman in Buffalo is another one, playing tough minutes for a reasonable price.

    41. September 7, 2008 at

      They love Lydman in Buffalo too. Granted Ruff keeps telling people what he does, when he plays, and how much he matters.

      Defensemen are hard to figure in this league. Gauthier was never good enough to play in this league but he’s made millions. And look at the way he was played, every coach he’s played for seemed to realize this before Halloween. GMs couldn’t resist the guy. Vishnevsky the same, similar player too. (I have a theory that runs along the lines of Lowetide’s “Mike Johnson is too common of a name” theory: I think that GMs and coaches have long confused Visnovsky with Vishnevsky, at least to the extent that the play of one has influenced their opinion on the value of the other. Seriously).

      Finger just signed for a squillion dollars, Malik can’t find work. And you can be certain that some 26+ year old guy from the AHL or Europe will break into the league this year, outplay highly paid or highly drafted defenders on his team, and be established as a top pairing Dman by March.

      This stuff just doesn’t happen with forwards.

      • May 6, 2014 at

        When you look at the current Hawks rosetr, a lot the strengths and the great future it has, belong to Bowman’s work he inherited Teows and Kane, but he has also done a wonderful job dealing with both players, so that it is virtually certain that both will finish their careers as Hawks.He was part of the team that went out and got Hossa, and made the deal workable for our CAP. Brandon Saad was an incredible steal in the 2nd round. None of us have to worry about whether Saad will make it or not, he’s a very good NHL’er right now. He locked up Sharp for the long term at a number that was fair to both parties. Jimmy Hayes was acquired in a trade for one of our three 2nd rounders, and is an above average NHL’er right now when Hayes adds confidence to his game, how good can that kid be? Andrew Shaw is a very good NHL’er, and he came to us STRAIGHT OUT of Jr. Hockey he was a 5th round pick and has produced for us from day 1 that’s an incredible draft selection. Bowman insisted on Stahlberg as part of the Versteeg deal now we know why Stahlberg is an important part of this team and isn’t going anywhere. Marcus Kruger is the real deal another 5th round pick and has produced from the git go as well. Kruger is a big part of the future of this team, as is Shaw. Getting Frolik from Flordia, considering what we gave up was a nice move as well. He traded Brouwer (which had an immediate affect on our team) but in return drafted Danault who looks like he will become a very good NHL’er, maybe the long term solution for the 2nd line centre role. I liked the Hayes and McNeil 1st round picks as well. TT last year was an incredible steal at #18. But picks like Garrett Ross in the 5th round, Adam Clendening in the 2nd round, Holl and Johns in the 2nd, Mac Carruth in the 7th, and Chris Calnan in the 3rd are also great picks that ensure 4 line deep depth for the next decade. That’s great work by a GM He just needs to deal with the 2nd line Centre situation NOW.

    42. September 7, 2008 at

      Lydman in Buffalo is another one, playing tough minutes for a reasonable price.

      They love Lydman in Buffalo too.

      Sigh.

    43. September 8, 2008 at

      Eriksson, and Yelle of all people, are the ones that scared him a bit. Or so it would appear.

      Yelle had an awful season, he really did. Gotta think that there’s going to be at least some recovery this season.

      Just sit back with some friends and say… “Holy hell, that was a hard hit.” …or “Wow. Did you see how hard he shot that puck?” …or “That’s crazy. There’s no way a defenceman goes end-to-end and scores a goal like that. I can’t believe he did that.”

      Those first two things just described Sheldon Souray. Or Bryan McCabe. I hear Toronto needs a new GM- if nothing else you’d be consistent. (Ooh, Blake scores again- he’s so fast – he’s a steal at 5M/annum. Oooh, gotta lock that McCabe up quickly, he hits and shoots real good!)

      If you watch the games with intelligence, yes, it generally tells you the same thing as statistical breakdown. It should, since the stats are just a model of the game anyway. As for Phaneuf, I think everyon who watched him as a rookie realized he was a high-level talent, but the question being asked/answered here is whether he’s hit that level yet.

    44. September 10, 2008 at

      does anyone happen to know where tyler has obtained the data regarding how a certain player fared with and without a specific teammate on or off the ice? you can find data like this for goals allowed and goals for, here: http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/200708players/player0398.php

      but tyler seems to be able to expand it to shots allowed and shots for. any help on how i could do this is greatly appreciated. thanks.

    45. September 10, 2008 at

      rajeev:

      http://timeonice.com/shotsopp.php and follow the brief instructions on the page, it is not user friendly. ‘Opposition games vs’ is an aggregate if you are looking at more than one player. I hope that helps.

    46. HBomb
      September 11, 2008 at

      Other than finally pointing out that Phaneuf is an incredible young talent (possibly assuming the mantle of “Best Dman in the NHL” this season)

      Whoa, hold on a second here….when did Nik Lidstrom retire?

      Because if he hasn’t, this isn’t happening.

      Yes, Phaneuf could take another step forward and possibly even actually justify a Norris nomination (I still think last season’s was a crock, even after seeing these numbers), but the gap between Lidstrom and everyone else is, to my eye at least, pretty damn huge.

      And like Vic has stated, no matter how good Phaneuf gets, I reserve the rights to hate him on the grounds of blatant douchbaggery. But that’s just me.

    47. September 11, 2008 at

      Vic – many thanks for the link, and for the not user friendly fair warning. Only spent about a minute tooling around there and could not get done what i was looking for, but I plan on spending more time with it soon. Heads up, may contact you directly if I’m still confused, if that’s alright.

    48. October 28, 2008 at

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    50. November 26, 2008 at

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    51. December 7, 2008 at

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