May 14 2012 11:48AM
Author's Note: Though the tagline has my name only, this story was made possible by conversations with and the work of Eric T.
In January of this year, I received the following e-mail from noted Kings' writer Rudy Kelly:
My Dearest Derek,
What the f*(k.
May 13 2012 02:51PM
If blocked shots are your thing, and going by the number of readers and analysts who use them to judge defensemen, there are a ton, you're probably used to hearing how essential shot-blocking is to sucessful NHL teams. You've also probably looked at shot block totals, or listened to an analyst discuss shot block totals and laud the players with the most blocks. The danger of using raw blocked shot totals as a measurement of effectiveness is that the players who see the most icetime and/or allow the most shot opportunities are natually going to block the most shots.
Noted tactics writer Dawgbone has written about what happens when blockers get in the way, and the results haven't always been pretty. Sunny Mehta showed a small team skill in shot blocking and Desjardins showed an even smaller individual skill in the same. While shot blocking is a skill, or an art, for a very small segment of the NHL player population, talking heads espouse it as yet another magical part of the game, dictated by hard work and grit. In reality, a large quantity of blocked shots simply means the team, or player, is being dominated and forced to spend their time in their own end blocking rubber rather than possessing the puck and forcing the other team to block shots.
Earlier this season, I was in the midst of a discussion with the incomparable George Ays who turned me on to the idea of re-measuring shot blocking with context. Ays re-created a formula used by Desjardins (we think) to determine which players were blocking the most shots, and which players were giving up a bunch of shots and blocking some.
May 10 2012 03:03PM
The NHL Draft will probably be the most important hockey-related event for Canadians in 2012 (unless you believe TSN's World Juniors hype, and you don't). None of Canada's seven storied franchises made the second round of the playoffs, so the possibility of Stanley Cup-related hype is out. Three of Canada's storied franchises draft in the top five, with the Edmonton set to kick off the draft festivities, again. The draft hype will be heavy, likely ridiculous, so why wait?