February 14 2017 08:07AM
© Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
The Winnipeg Jets are losing more games than they win. They sit third-last in standing's points per game played. Some models show the Jets having a greater shot at first overall than making the playoffs. (Let's ignore the models have Jets with a near 50 percent chance of neither playoffs nor top five pick)
Not everything is going as planned.
Just like one must know what broke before repairing a car, we must analytically dissect the Jets and see where the help is needed. Let's look at the Jets' holes and discuss some solutions on fixing the team, with keeping in mind the up coming trade deadline.
February 14 2017 07:00AM
This is a four-part series analyzing where each NHL teams stands heading into the trade deadline based on the context of each division, and the short- and long-term implications of buying or selling with the expansion draft around the corner.
The Pacific Division is completely wide open. Though San Jose appears to still be the cream of the crop, the Oilers have showed flashes of brilliance, and the Ducks and Kings have a track record of previous success. The Canucks and Flames are in a difficult situation determining whether to buy or sell, while the Coyotes have known for months that their season is over.
February 13 2017 04:32PM
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS
Shortly after I woke up this morning, I stumbled upon a tweet from Empirical Sports co-founder Michael Schuckers, referencing an analysis that he and a few peers had done years prior on the statistical value of a faceoff in the National Hockey League. Their finding was that you needed an approximate faceoff differential of 76.5 for your talents at the dot to be worth a goal differential of 1. They also broke it down into even strength and special teams, and into specific zones.
The final findings were summed up in this table:
The Nation Notebook: Setoguchi's comeback ends, Burns' historic season, and notes on the seller's market
February 13 2017 07:00AM
The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don't quite deserve their own article.
The L.A. Kings have put to bed Devin Setoguchi's comeback, as he joins all of the major signings the team made last summer on the waiver wire. Brent Burns is on pace for the best season we've seen from a defenceman in a long time (don't tell Erik Karlsson). And a seller's market has massively upped the asking price for good-but-not-great players, making this deadline likely to be a slow one.
February 12 2017 01:06PM
Photo Credit: Charles Leclaire/USA TODAY SPORTS
Things have been stressful of late. The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost six of their last eight games, and while they're hanging onto a playoff spot, there's a lot of questioning as to whether that'll last. Unsurprisingly, the same topic that comes up during every losing streak has come up again; the defence.
The Leafs need to fix their defensive woes. They are bad defensively. They outscore their opponents, they outshoot them, and they're still 12th overall by points percentage despite this losing skid. But that isn't enough, and it won't be enough in the future. Because, they can score their brains out, but that doesn't win rings. As we all know, defence wins championships.
That's true everywhere. Hockey, soccer, football, basketball... tennis? It's a popular trope across the sporting world, presumably because that belief aligns favourably with the philosophy of work ethic, systematic buy in, and self-responsibility. The values the idea tries to instil are great, and ones I'd want my hockey team to carry into the battlefield.
But, is the actual defence part really that important to the end result, to the point where the Leafs need to re-envision their priorities? Are the best defensive teams the ones that are really coming out on top? How have recent champions won their trophies? Here's a look at what does, and doesn't unite them.