• Where Columbus Got Better

    by  • April 21, 2014 • Hockey • 8 Comments

    One of the great things about Twitter (which has some serious downsides) is that if you follow the right people, it’s kind of like watching the playoffs with a bunch of smart people. I was watching the Jackets-Pens game tonight and commented that I’d expected, early in the season, that Todd Richards would be the first coach fired this year. Columbus were a fun story last year but they were very much a percentages team with lousy possession numbers and Richards was hired by the old regime.

    Early in the year, the Jackets seemed like the same thing. As the season went along though, they turned into a very good possession team. Here’s Extra Skater’s Fenwick Close (shots + missed shots when the score’s within one in the first two periods or tied in the third) chart for the Jackets this season:

    You can see that Columbus hit a low point on November 30, 2013 at 45.5%. They finished at 50.8%, which required a 53.3% Fenwick Close from December 1 onwards. That’s an excellent number. To dig into this a little bit, I looked at the Fenwick Close for players with at least 100 Fenwick Close events both before and after November 30. Here’s what that gives me.

    When I see something like this – a group of F, followed by a group of D, followed by a group of F, I tend to think that it’s the forwards with whom something changed. That really is an astronomical improvement for Anisimov, Jenner and Foligno. My suspicion when seeing data like this is to think that something changed with how Anisimov, Jenner and Foligno were told to play, although it’s worth mentioning that Jenner is a rookie and that could be a learning curve that we’re seeing as much as anything. Same’s also true of Ryan Murray’s impressive growth throughout the season.

    In any event, if you’re looking for what changed when Columbus erupted following December 1, there’s your answer. A large part of their roster took off. It would be interesting to hear from some Columbus watchers as to whether there were big tactical changes or anything with the team – I’m inclined to suspect that there were.

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com

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    8 Responses to Where Columbus Got Better

    1. tj
      April 21, 2014 at

      Tyler, using an example from a different sport but in Australian Rules there’s a pretty well-accepted argument now that a team’s premiership window opens when the core of the team is 23 yrs old and has 50-100 games of experience at senior level – the belief being that by that stage they’ve been in the system 4-5 years, they’re physically (and mentally) mature and they’ve had time to adjust to the greater discipline and tactical sophistication of senior football compared to juniors/lower level. Is there any evidence that something similar happens in hockey?

    2. Bradley
      April 21, 2014 at

      http://bluejackets.nhl.com/club/scheduleprint.htm?season=20132014&gameType=2&team=CBJ

      For anyone interested, here’s the Regular-season schedule for the blue jackets.

      The schedule seems to get a lot easier for the jackets once they got into January. It’s mostly within their division with a few games against the better Western Conference teams. I’d almost discount your argument but when they played the Western Conference teams the fenwick did not drop.

      This current playoff series will prove it convincingly for me.

    3. Danton
      April 22, 2014 at

      Spit-balling, but could the answer lie in player deployment? Re-arranging matchups?

    4. JeremyOK
      April 22, 2014 at

      Would be interesting to see if there were significant differences in the forward lines before and after Dec.1…Horton’s return after Christmas would have had an effect on the lines (and indirectly, possession numbers).

    5. Whalers47
      April 22, 2014 at

      Long time Blue Jackets fan here. The team took off in terms of possession when Bobrovsky got hurt. They were relying on him and his game was off, then he missed about a month with a groin strain. The backups (McElhinney and McKenna) played well and the team went .500 during the stretch. But, because Bob wasn’t back there they decided to possess and roll all four lines. They also worked on simple breakouts that got everybody involved, so with the wheels in motion everybody seeing the puck and having fun checking anything with an opposing sweater, there you have it.

      • May 7, 2014 at

        they had taken over there for she had all the infomation on this conapmy and the some of money involved weare she got this info from i do not no verry convinced she was told me they are from spain i read a few articals on the net about this conapmy which i led to belive payed them a31300 for an insurance to get the whole of my money back and the sale of my points and it turned out to be a boguse conapmy, rang my credit card conapmy to nite and they put that payment in disput so there for i were verry lucky to stop the paymet been cashed as it takes one to two days before the can get there hands on it

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