October 09 2012 09:30AM
Save percentages have been increasing sharply in recent years. Some of this is because there have been fewer penalties called, but even just at even strength we see a clear increase in save percentage.
How do we explain this?
October 03 2012 08:03AM
Clutch play is a common source of debate in sports. We've all seen players come up big in big moments, but does that mean they are clutch, that we should expect them to do it again next time?
Variance is a part of life; everyone has good days and bad days, or even good years and bad years. We know intuitively that a single year's worth of games doesn't tell us everything we need to know -- people knew that Nikolai Kulemin was unlikely to repeat as a 30-goal scorer, and hopefully nobody is counting on Max Talbot for 19 goals next year. Yet players like Talbot and Johan Franzen get the clutch label after much fewer than 80 playoff games.
In this article, we will compare players' playoff performances to their career rates and look at whether the results we see in playoff performance are consistent with typical variance or whether the number of people at the extreme high or low ends exceeds what we would expect by simple random chance.
September 18 2012 09:23AM
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.
August 30 2012 08:24AM
Bryzgalov spent the off-season working on his camouflage so he can hide from the Philadelphia media
photo by Andrey Godyaykin (www.for-wikimedia.bolshoisport.ru), via Wikimedia Commons
The Flyers have an amazing ability to lead the league in both long contracts and roster turnover.
Even after trading away Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and James van Riemsdyk; even after failing to add Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, or Shea Weber on offered 10+ year contracts, the Flyers still have more players signed through 2015-16 than any other team (they have nine; Montreal and Carolina are next with seven).
And yet the Flyers are still not long on roster stability, as they have continually turned over the roster in recent years -- the longest-tenured Flyer is Braydon Coburn, and the longest-tenured player who they drafted is Claude Giroux.
Depite the turnover, the Flyers have been extremely successful. Over the last five years, their worst season was either 88 points and a Wales Trophy in '09-10 or 99 points and a first-round playoff loss in '08-09. Can that continue this year?
August 21 2012 06:53PM
By goaliej54 [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Bruins enter 2012-13 season with largely the same roster for the third year in a row. There have been some small tweaks here and there, replacing Tomas Kaberle with Joe Corvo and letting Tyler Seguin grow into Mark Recchi's minutes, but the core has largely remained intact.
With one notable exception.
How critical has Tim Thomas been to their recent success? What should we expect from the team going forwards?