Assessing performance in all three zones: Zone entry data for the Wild and Flyers

Eric T.
September 18 2012 09:23AM

Flyers gain the zone against the Wild

Previously, we described how tracking zone entries for the Flyers this year at Broad Street Hockey led us to some startling conclusions. There was very strong evidence suggesting that puck possession on a zone entry is quite important, that carrying the puck in generates more than twice as much offense as dumping it in.

More surprisingly, the data also strongly suggested that shot differential was almost entirely determined in the neutral zone. Claude Giroux was more likely than Zac RInaldo to push the puck forwards into the offensive end and more likely to carry the puck in, but shockingly his carry-ins did not generate any more shots than Rinaldo's. In fact, there was no evidence that any Flyer consistently did well or poorly at generating or preventing shots in the attack zones.

While this seemed to be unequivocally true for last year's Flyers, I was hesitant to generalize beyond that for such an unexpected result. So I called for assistance, encouraging readers to try tracking their favorite teams. Several people expressed interest, and I've now received my first significant packet of data -- Bob Spencer has tracked zone entries for the first 50 games of the Wild's 2011-12 season (his analysis of the data can be found here).

In this article, we will compare the 5-on-5 data from the Wild and the Flyers. We will find the following:

  • Like for the Flyers, the Wild players show that the ability to control the neutral zone is a persistent talent.
  • Like for the Flyers, no Wild players can be identified as having an ability to get more shots per offensive zone possession.
  • Unlike for the Flyers, the data for the Wild suggests that there may be players who limit shots in the defensive zone.
  • Overall, the Wild were much less effective in the neutral zone than the Flyers, likely because of both talent and coaching.

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John Carlson's contract with the Washington Capitals likely to be a bargain

Jonathan Willis
September 17 2012 12:24PM

John Carlson (Photo: Michael Miller/Wikimedia/CC BY-SAY 3.0)

After a slow summer for hockey news, teams got busy in the twilight hours of the last collective bargaining agreement, with more than 20 players signed to new contracts in the last few days. Among those signed was Washington Capitals defenceman John Carlson, to a six-year, $23.8 million contract.

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Winners and Losers under the current CBA (Part 3)

Graphic Comments
September 17 2012 07:57AM



This is Part 3 in a series on the winners and losers under the current NHL CBA. For all the preamble see Part 1 here, and then Part 2 here.

In the previous posts, I examined how NHL revenues and player expenses have changed over the six years prior to and after the 2004-05 lockout. In Part 3, I take a look at Operating Expenses and the resulting Operating Income, over the same time period. I guess you could say this is the money shot. But you probably shouldn't.

So lets continue on this journey into the heart of darkness that is the murky world of NHL finances. But I swear, if I find a feverish and delirious Bruce McNall in a jungle compound at the end of this, I'm going to be really freaked out.

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September 14 2012 07:55PM


With all the hoopla surrounding the lockout on the horizon and the Economics of the arena dominating the news, the Sports Section looks more like the Business Section these days. Who doesn't love a riveting cost analysis diagram where there should be a breakdown of the Oilers training camp line up? And we would rather see an interview with Fehr and Bettman wearing rumpled suits and rumplier faces than the Nuge all sweaty and talking about skating any day.


Anywhoo, we thought we would pose a question as it relates to a conundrum for the Nation if this is how things are going to be. An entire article surrounding the economics of the Nation Network. On a Friday night with no hockey in sight. Bleak huh?

You're welcome.

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Flames Forwards Shot Rates - Part 2, Expected Goals

Kent Wilson
September 14 2012 02:56PM

In the first part one of the series, we looked Flames forwards shot rates, mostly with a view to putting the top guys rates in context, both from a team and league perspective. It took me three tries and some helpful comments to ultimately get the chart right, but I blame excel for that.

The follow-up builds on that base to illustrate the effect of possession on individual shot (and goal rates) at even strength as well as gross on-ice totals and ultimately goal differential. This exercise puts some flesh on the bones of corsi/possession theory for those who wonder about the practical applications of that sort of advanced analysis.

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