• I wish Brownlee hadn’t written about PK faceoffs

    by  • January 4, 2009 • Uncategorized • 8 Comments

    I’m writing a broader PK post that tries to nail down the cost of a lost faceoff but it’s some involved shit. The actual reasoning is pretty easy and straightforward; it’s the data manipulation that’s pure hell. I want to clean it up a little bit before I post it. So, for now, I present the following:

    PPSpost1

    Some general information about defensive zone PK faceoffs (which are, of course, the same thing as offensive zone PP faceoffs): On average, teams had 391 faceoffs in the offensive zone while on the PP and 391 faceoffs in the defensive zone while on the PK. The team on the PP succeeded at a 55.5% clip and the team on the PK succeeded at a 44.5% clip.

    Carolina led the league in PP faceoffs in the offensive zone with 489 while Boston finished last with 326. The spread, therefore, was 163 faceoffs. With respect to shorthanded faceoffs in the defensive zone, Philadelphia had the most, at 455, and San Jose the fewest at 312. The spread was 143.

    With respect to success rates, Chicago was the best in the league at winning offensive zone faceoffs on the PP, doing so at a 63.1% rate. Nashville was the worst, winning just 45.5% of their offensive zone faceoffs when they enjoyed the man advantage. That’s a spread of 17.6% from best to worst. On the PK side of things, Detroit had the best winning percentage on defensive zone faceoffs when they were shorthanded, at 56.1%. Phoenix was the worst, at 37.1%. That’s a spread of 19.0%.

    I’ve got some evidence to suggest that winning a faceoff in the defensive zone is a pretty big deal, which I’ll get into down the road. The problem, as I see it, is that the spread between the good and the bad is too small to amount to much. While 19% is a huge difference, the real difference to me looks to have been more like about 12% between best and worst – Detroit is just on a completely different planet at 56.1%, with the next best team at 49.5%. Over 391 faceoffs, there’s something like 45 lost own zone draws between a team at 49.5% and a team at 38ish% over the course of a season. That might be significant but I suspect when I really drill into things I’ll find that being an atrocious faceoff team on the PK will cost you, at the absolute top end, a win over the course of a season. I suspect that it’s probably more like half a win but we’ll see.

    As a complete aside, I’ve always found it to be a bit nuts when you read stories about NFL coaches working 19 hours a day. The more I look at this sort of stuff, the more that I can see how it happens. If I was employed by an NHL team, I’d want to know everything that there is to know about what Detroit was doing on PK faceoffs last season. They’re kicking ass in this department again this year, winning 53.8% of their draws on the PK. Maybe Draper, Datsyuk and Zetterberg are just the best in the word at winning PK faceoffs; maybe the Wings do something to help them out.

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    8 Responses to I wish Brownlee hadn’t written about PK faceoffs

    1. January 5, 2009 at

      On average, teams had 391 faceoffs in the offensive zone while on the PP and 391 faceoffs in the defensive zone while on the PK. The team on the PP succeeded at a 55.5% clip and the team on the PK succeeded at a 44.5% clip.

      Great work Tyler. I’ve asked this question about PP faceoff % a couple of times, including once last year when I pointed out that Dustin Penner’s 55% faceoff percentage was probably skewed due to almost all of his opportunities occurring on the PP, and again earlier this year when wondering what sort of norm to peg Horcoff and Brodziak’s reported 40% PK faceoff rate against. I suggested at least one of those times that 55/45 might be a likely split, but I don’t have the programming chops to figure it out. Thanks for doing that.

      While 50% is obviously the norm for all faceoffs, it would seem that a player who has a disproportionate number on one special team over the other should be expected to skew a little in one direction; e.g. last year’s Penner a little above average, this year’s Brodziak a little lower.

    2. January 5, 2009 at

      While 50% is obviously the norm for all faceoffs, it would seem that a player who has a disproportionate number on one special team over the other should be expected to skew a little in one direction

      It should have been obvious all along – this would explain an awful lot of Yanic Perreault.

    3. Unleaded
      January 5, 2009 at

      I am looking at the faceoff stats for individual Oilers players for last year, and all I can focus on are how out of this world Stoll’s numbers are. I feel like a fool for chasing him out of town now, because what he brought last year is what this team is missing this year. It’s at the address below.

      http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20082EDMFAFAll&sort=totalFaceOffs&viewName=faceOffPercentageAll

    4. namflashback
      January 5, 2009 at

      The MSM quote the other day from Moreau is a little bit of a tell as well. He basically said that on a d-zone PK faceoff, the center is not as agressive on the faceoff for fear of getting kicked out of the circle and not having an adequate replacement

      That would appear to be the case, and also having a D-man on the other side of the circle who will have to peel back rather than stay engaged in the scrum with the PP winger to keep coverage in case of a pass back to the point.

    5. David Staples
      January 5, 2009 at

      I’ve been keeping track of defensive zone faceoff losses that lead to goals against the Oilers at even strength.

      Or, at least, I was doing that, but found it wasn’t that interesting, mainly because outside of one game against Nashville — where three defensive zone faceoff losses led directly to goals against the Oilers, mainly because of booming Shea Weber shots — I found this scoring sequence hardly ever happened.

      I think there’s only been one or two other defensive zone faceoff losses at even strength this year that have led to goals against the Oilers.

      That’s not very many goals.

    6. January 5, 2009 at

      David

      Let’s divide up the work here. At the end of the season, when your confreres are writing their post mortems and mention the Oilers inability to win a faceoff and how it killed them, you can take them to task at your site. Probably be good to have a different voice doing it for a change.;)

    7. January 6, 2009 at

      The solution is obvious. Lowe already started collecting all the dmen with huge shots from the point, all they need to do is somehow re-acquire Pronger, get Weber, and anybody else that’s left. Then they don’t need to win any faceoffs any more.

    8. Pingback: ARE FACEOFF LOSSES REALLY SUCH A BIG PROBLEM? | Edmonton Journal

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