August 17 2012 04:26PM
Some may suppose it's appropriate that the Montreal Canadiens were founded the same year they began building the Titanic. Built in the same year were the deck chairs that general manager Pierre Gauthier was shuffling around the deck as the ship began to sank. It's not that Gauthier was purposefully making moves that would ruin the Habs' chances at a playoff spot, but he made a number of questionable decisions in a bleak effort to save face and keep his job.
The butchered heads of failed managers rarely roll, and even when they do, they don't go too far. Gauthier lost his job with the Canadiens and ended up in Chicago as an assistant, while Marc Bergevin, an understudy of the successful Stan Bowman, was hired as Gauthier's replacement in Montreal to oversee hockey's Lower Canadian club.
Funnily enough, things weren't awful for le club hockey last season. Sure, they finished with an Eastern Conference-low 31 wins and 78 points, but that was partially thanks to a league-low 11 wins in 37 one-goal games they played. In games decided by three or more goals, the Habs were 14-12. So what made the difference?
August 11 2012 08:33AM
If you followed my earlier article on the "Ken Hitchcock effect", you'd have maybe found what I did. A particularly elite coach like Hitchcock can possibly influence his goaltender's save percentage and make it a little better than the goalie normally expects. Now, the effect isn't great. I think a lot of people who took a look at St. Louis' goaltending this season can make the mistake of attributing all of the success of Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak to Hitchcock.
July 17 2012 01:26PM
This has been cooking for quite some time, but I'm finally getting around to posting a little bit of data I've collected. In an effort to better understand goaltenders, I've compiled even strength save percentage numbers from NHL.com and have begun filing through them.
Jonathan Willis wrote a post about Dave Tippett and Ilya Bryzgalov over at Cult of Hockey where he concluded that a lot of goalies were prone to fluctuations in save percentage and that coaches can't really control a goaltender's save percentage. I was interested, because I'd been looking a bit at Ken Hitchcock's work.
June 28 2012 02:29PM
Whatever tendency certain players might have for driving their team to get more scoring chances than a simple shot differential predicts is small and swamped by random noise. This suggests tracking scoring chances isn't adding much information to the readily available shot differential numbers.
That's from Eric on this very blog earlier this week. I'm willing to believe that, too. Over the course of the season, when I was tracking chances for Vancouver, I found that when the Canucks out-chanced a team, they were really not in a position to win the game all the time.
June 11 2012 04:44PM
Stop me if you've heard this one: a National Hockey League team overpaid for a bottom six role player. Granted, Chris Kelly had a 20-goal season, a career-high, but he also "led" the NHL in PDO and had a 16.3% shooting rate. Essentially, his percentages, and his age (32 next season) probably indicate that future success from Kelly is a bad bet.