September 01 2016 11:00AM
Image: USA Today Sports
For fans who are every bit as interested in following the decisions that form their favourite team's roster as they are the team itself, August is somewhat of a dry spell annually. There's just not an awful lot of movement leaguewide.
I consider myself one such fan, which is why I always consider September to be when hockey is back on. That's when the professional try-outs are handed out, and familiar faces find new places in the constant shuffle of the NHL machine. Usually it's fringe NHL'ers or players trying to save themselves from falling victim to that distinction, but every now and again someone who doesn't fit either mould slips through the cracks.
According to a report by Elliotte Friedman, Peter Mueller is that player for this season. The former eighth overall pick and NHL journeyman is looking to make an NHL comeback after a tour in Sweden and sounds serious about it, too. Which, naturally, raises the question of whether the Canucks should have any interest.
September 01 2016 10:55AM
Today, a debate formed on Hockey Twitter regarding moves made by Dave Nonis. Specifically, which was the worst. TLN's own Drag Like Pull had this as his entry:
Probably Bozak, especially when you consider they chose him over Grabovski. https://t.co/WfvFkaM2jl— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) August 28, 2016
And, former TLN blogger and current member of The Blogger's Tribune, Tom Hunter, had this as a response:
For the last couple years Bozak at $4.2m is far better than Grabo at$5.5m. If you don't see that, you're dealing with some pretty sever bias— Tom Hunter (@PuckDontLie) August 28, 2016
This is clearly a tired debate. It happened 3 years ago, and I think it formed out of yearning for hockey to finally start. Nonetheless, I'd like to dig into it a bit and present why I think Grabovski is still a better hockey player than Bozak. And as follows, that the better move would have been to let Bozak walk and keep Grabovski, instead using a compliance buyout on him.
August 31 2016 03:49PM
Luck is part of our everyday life. When you go to the store and there is no beer left of your favorite brand, you feel unlucky. When you go to the mall and out of the blue meet Maria Sharapova, you feel lucky (I can confirm that one).
As we also know, luck is also omnipresent in hockey. Injuries are probably one the biggest luck factors involved in the success or failure of NHL teams, and man-games lost has become a popular statistic to explain the W-L-OTL columns at the end of the season.
In recent years, shooting and save percentages have also been showed to be somewhat related to luck, given that a high difference with the average is generally not sustainable season-over-season. A new advanced statistic, PDO, has been developed from these considerations and is now a key statistic to consider when evaluating a player. Goalposts, the difficulty of the schedule and questionable decisions by the referees are other factors that are lumped in this luck factor.
So, we know that luck is part of hockey. However, what we don’t know is, how big a part is it? For instance, can we quantify how many points obtained during a season can be attributed to luck? It turns out that we can get a pretty good idea using what we call time-series models.
August 31 2016 10:04AM
There's now less than a month until NHL training camps open up and, and the first exhibition games will start getting played in late September. That means Auston Matthews's debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs is getting pretty near. While Auston's time spent playing in the World Cup may delay his first game with the Leafs by a week or so, it won't be long until Leafs fans finally get to see him don the blue and white.
Expectations for the recent 1st overall pick are sky high, but Mike Babcock has tried to keep expectations in check by saying that Matthews will start the season on the third line. Any player's production is going to be affected by their ice time, so just how many points the Leafs prized rookie can score is going to depend if (or, let's be honest, when) Matthews starts moving up the lineup.
August 30 2016 01:00PM
We're into the second part of our trip down Olympic memory lane. Last time, we looked at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Those games saw a scrappy little oil town host the world and get a few pieces of sporting infrastructure out of the whole process (along with a nice sense of community).
The 1988 Olympics made money (in terms of their operations), and the reports of corruption were rather minor. Now, there are two common explanations for this:
- Hey, the corruption and chaos of Russia and Brazil were unique to the business and political cultures of those countries.
- Hey, the IOC only got really corrupt in recent years.
So to test whether it's the place (the host country) or the time (recent versus past) that impacts the feasibility, profitability and tolerability of an Olympics, let's head to a place very near and dear to us – Vancouver, who hosted the 2010 Olympics.