The Best of the Nation – 10.7.12

Jonathan Willis
October 07 2012 09:13AM

After the jump: why the 2012-13 season won't be cancelled, looking at the possibility of replacement players, trying to identify players that raise their game in the post-season, and a lot more.

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Distorted Reality And Fantasy Goalies

Josh L.
October 06 2012 05:28PM

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Goalies are obviously important in hockey. They're the last line of defense to an otherwise huge target. They, like catchers in baseball, get unique equipment tailored to the unique job they do . The unique role they play doesn't necessarily make each goalie unique. Over the past few years the idea that there isn't much difference between most of the leagues starting goalies has grown legs. Goalie performance has high variance, and LeafsNation czar Cam Charron's observation about the recent playoff goalies puts the issue in context:

Los Angeles, Florida, Detroit, Washington, Phoenix, all these teams got competent-to-great goaltending for pennies on the dollar and all made the playoffs. Last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning spent more on their combination of Dwayne Roloson, Sebastien Caron and Mathieu Garon than any of those teams and never found the right guy.

NHL teams largely participate in a crapshoot to find capable goaltending. Fantasy GMs do too, but they might actually have a more difficult job finding capable goalies given the standard set up of fantasy leagues. Four of the ten standard scoring categories in Yahoo leagues are attributed to netminders. Each of a team's two starting goalies then accounts for 20% of that team's scoring potential in a head to head league. This obviously forces GMs to key in on "elite" goaltending talent earlier than they otherwise would.

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Colorado Avalanche 2012-13 Season Preview: Back On The Road to Success

Scott Reynolds
October 05 2012 09:52AM

After the 2003-04 season, the owners decided to use a protracted lockout to curb player salaries. They insisted on getting concessions from the players so that a salary cap could be instituted. This would, in theory, prevent the rich teams like Toronto, New York, Detroit, and Colorado from spending big money on players and driving up costs for everyone else in the process.

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Are There Players Who Drive Shot Quality

Scott Reynolds
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.

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Do some players elevate their game in the playoffs?

Eric T.
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.

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