October 04 2012 08:45AM
Nino Niederreiter (Photo: Andrew430/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)
When it comes to saying which players are the very best of the best, and which are the very worst of the worst, there's often little disagreement between those who follow the game closely and place tremendous value on statistics, those who follow the game closely but aren't interested in statistics, and even casual observers. But when we start talking about more philisophical questions, there's frequently a great chasm between those groups.
One of the great defining issues in this regard is shot quality. If you believe that it's a highly important, repeatable skill, you're probably not a stathead; if you believe that it exists but that its impact over a long period of time is small, you probably are.
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.
October 02 2012 08:48PM
From June 23, 2011 until the present, there has been no team in the NHL willing to shake up their roster like the Columbus Blue Jackets. It all started last summer with the acquisition of Jeff Carter from Philadelphia, a marriage that will go down infamously in hockey circles both for how it began and ended so abruptly. With Carter’s eventual departure being the starting point of a fire…sale beginning just before last season’s trade deadline, Columbus will have a slew of new faces come opening night. For the Jackets, the question left to answer is whether these players can improve upon last year’s league-worst 65 points in the standings.
As we try to answer such a query, the good news for Jackets fans lies within the proverbial statement that there’s nowhere to go but up. In order to evaluate the likelihood of improvement, let us first note the key subtractions and additions from Columbus’ 2011-2012 squad.
October 02 2012 08:47AM
A few things became clearer in the wake of Graphic Comments' three part series on the effects of the prior NHL CBA: that the NHL grew rapidly, but unevenly; that different owners actually have vastly disparate incentives, and that the current labour negotiations don't seem to be focusing on the leagues truly meaningful issues.
October 01 2012 03:40PM
In 2006-07, the Ottawa Senators finished with a plus-67 goal differential, 105 points and a loss in the Stanley Cup Finals in the post-season. In 2007-08, that goal differential dropped to plus-14 and they were swept in the first round. Over the next three seasons, the team would miss the playoffs twice, never finish with a positive goal differential and overall allowed 91 more goals than they scored.
In 2011-12, they finished plus-9 and made their return to the playoffs. Will the improvement continue?