• Sheltering MAB

    by  • July 29, 2009 • Uncategorized • 17 Comments

    Just a quick chart here, looking at how coaches used their defencemen for faceoffs.

    What I did was look at each team’s defencemen who were on the ice for at least 500 draws and pull the defenceman with the highest ratio of defensive to offensive draws, relative to the team, and those with the lowest ratio of defensive to offensive draws, relative to the team. I used numbers relative to the team ratio rather than absolute numbers in order to be making an apples to apples comparison. What I’m interested in seeing is how different coaches handled the issue. As you’ll see, some coaches (Jacques Lemaire and Wayne Gretzky) were quite aggressive in pursuing this, while others (notably Craig MacTavish) weren’t.


    I wouldn’t cross the street to listen to Mike Keenan talk about his strategies as a general manager but I’d go a long way to hear him talk about this strategy and why some coaches pursue it while others don’t. I think that you can make a little bit of sense from it, although it’s not as cut and dry as “We think this guy sucks in the defensive zone.” It’s going to depend on the specific mix of talent a coach has. In any event, it’s interesting stuff. I continue to think that if you were really crazy for line matching and you went and got a smart techie to break down the data, you could probably know who the opposing coach was going to put on the ice at any given moment before he does.


    17 Responses to Sheltering MAB

    1. Mike W
      July 29, 2009 at

      MAB without the puck in his own zone — yeee. I’d say my esteem for Jacques Lemaire went up a notch, but anyone who remembers that pygmy trying to gain body position on players would call it a no brainer.

    2. Mike W
      July 29, 2009 at

      Also weird that MacT had seemingly no interest in putting his best men out on the ice for defensive draws condisering the team lost most of them.

    3. mc79hockey
      July 29, 2009 at

      Yeah, I think that the thing with MacT is that they were fine with pretty much anyone but Strudwick out there for own zone draws. Even then, they didn’t care too much. It’s understandable to a certain degree that Staios got the most own zone draws – there were clearly four guys in front of him for the o zone draws.

    4. July 29, 2009 at
    5. July 29, 2009 at

      Gretzky’s an interesting guy – I’ve actually come to think of him as a pretty decent coach over the last few years.

      I really like Don Maloney too, of course. It’s too bad the team is such a mess in the boardroom.

    6. rgib
      July 29, 2009 at

      I see that NYR is pretty low on the list as well, considering Renney had a couple of D men who could be considered liabilities in their own end. Can’t really see Quinn pushing this back up the page either.

    7. July 29, 2009 at

      Interesting to check out a few of the big names on the “most protected” side of the chart. While Mike Green delivered the goods with his O-zone starts, some of the others not so much, e.g.:

      Player ** D:O *** QC *** +/- *** Cap hit

      Jovo *** 0.60 ** -.03 ** -15 ** $6,500,000
      Sauer ** 2.30 ** +.06 *** -1 ** $1,750,000

      Campbell 0.80 ** -.03 *** +5 ** $7,140,000
      Keith ** 1.20 ** +.08 ** +33 ** $1,475,000

      Boyle ** 1.14 ** -.02 *** +6 ** $6,667,000
      Vlasic * 0.92 ** +.02 ** +15 **** $735,000

      In each case, the second guy had tougher-to-way-tougher Zone Starts, tougher-to-way-tougher QualComp, nonetheless recorded better-to-way-better plus/minus, but made a fraction of the money of the “star”.

      Gold star to everybody on the Oilogosphere who tabbed Kurt Sauer as the steal of Summer 2008. We were right on the nail on that one.

    8. July 29, 2009 at

      Oops, reversed Boyle and Vlasic’s faceoff start ratios.

      • Paul
        May 31, 2013 at

        A formidable share, I sipmly given this onto a colleague who was doing somewhat evaluation on this. And he in fact purchased me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love studying more on this topic. If doable, as you grow to be experience, would you mind updating your weblog with more details? It’s highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

    9. mc79hockey
      July 29, 2009 at

      Yeah, I should really post the numbers against the Norris voting. Lots of guys who the coaches were giving the easy work too ended up getting a lot of Norris votes.

    10. shep
      July 29, 2009 at

      its ulf samuelsson whos coaching the d-men in phoenix (afaik)

    11. mc79hockey
      July 29, 2009 at

      Interesting idea Bruce – that might be another thing to run it against as a sanity check for QualComp – if the QualComp numbers (within the context of the team) match up, that’s a point in favour of QualComp, I think.

    12. Vic Ferrari
      July 29, 2009 at

      Huddy runs the D for the Oilers, MC. I don’t know if any coach run the D in the NHL, almost all run the forwards. Though presumably the philosophy of the head coach affects the way the assistant runs the D.

      In an interview on the IIHF website a while ago Barry Smith (long term Bowman associate coach and assistant to Gretzky in his first year behind the bench) said that shortly into his first term, Gretzky deferred bench managemnt of the forwards to him. Wayne didn’t even run the D AFAIK.

      If you go back to 07/08, you’ll find that Huddy did heavily favour some guys for D zone draws. Greene and Grebs were leant heavily towards the offensive zone and Staios took way more than his share of D zone draws iirc. “teamfaceoffs0708.php” yields that info.

    13. July 29, 2009 at

      Phaneuf was protected too. Calgary had a great team ZS, but Phaneuf and Giordano got the benefit.

    14. Ribs
      July 30, 2009 at

      “…you could probably know who the opposing coach was going to put on the ice at any given moment before he does.”

      I’m intrigued to see this in action some day.

    15. Vic Ferrari
      August 1, 2009 at

      “…you could probably know who the opposing coach was going to put on the ice at any given moment before he does.”

      I’m intrigued to see this in action some day.

      You do already, they have spotters off ice. Quinn is going to wash this away, but MacT vs Hitchcock, Tippet, Carlyle, Q, etc was like an aggressive ballet.

      When I was in my early 20s I lived in England for three years. There was a game show, a ‘call my bluff’ type of thing, can’t remember the name of it. At the end of the program, the real “chimney sweep”, or whatever, would be asked to reveal himself. It was three dudes and one would step forward emphatically … then he’d quietly step back … then another guy would step forward with gusto … then he’d step back. On it would go for a while until the host called a stop to it at the moment that the right guy was standing there.

      I’d entirely forgotten about that TV show until I saw Carlyle vs MacTavish a couple of years ago at Rexall. Some madass stuff. You won’t see it on TV, but if you’re at the game live and watch the benches for just a few minutes in a row … it can’t be missed. You’ll have an epiphany.

    16. August 3, 2009 at

      The European domestic leagues, and the Russians in particular, just don’t match lines at all. Well, that’s not entirely true I guess, they basically roll 4 lines, 1 against 1, 2 against 2, 3 against… etc. with seemingly no further thought or variance or sophistication to it. I find it maddening, and totally ineffective, particularly against a coach that is willing/able to match lines to gain a matchup advantage on particular shifts. Dave King talked about it in his great book about his time in Magnitogorsk: he would hold Malkin back from time to time on his particular turn out there. Malkin, having grown up and played in that system, would be confused, wondering why he wasn’t being sent out when it’s his turn,etc. Then of course King would get him out against a third or fourth line and Malkin would just devour them. Does anyone have any idea what the hell is going on over there? Russian junior coaches have been painfully known to just roll 4 lines mindlessly, including PP and PK units. There has to be some reason why the big ice lends itself to such a practice, but I can’t see it. Often on those teams you have top level NHL quality pro’s on the first line and then 17- or 18-yr old juniors on the fourth lines, so it could be some kind of implicit detente between all parties to not act unscrupulously, but that seems to be antithetical to athletic competition. I would love to see a Lemaire or a Hitchcock coach in the KHL and just blow people’s minds.

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