The Secret To The Kings Turnaround

Derek Zona
May 14 2012 11:48AM

Quality.  Photo by Buchanan-Hermit via Wikimedia Commons

Author's Note: Though the tagline has my name only, this story was made possible by conversations with and the work of Eric T.

In January of this year, I received the following e-mail from noted Kings' writer Rudy Kelly:

Subj: Penner

My Dearest Derek,

What the f*(k.


Rudy Kelly

Read Article | 12 Comments

Who Were The Best Shot Blockers In The NHL In 2011-12?

Derek Zona
May 13 2012 02:51PM

 Photo by Saruwine, via Wikimedia Commons , commons license.

If blocked shots are your thing, and going by the number of readers and analysts who use them to judge defensemen, there are a ton, you're probably used to hearing how essential shot-blocking is to sucessful NHL teams. You've also probably looked at shot block totals, or listened to an analyst discuss shot block totals and laud the players with the most blocks. The danger of using raw blocked shot totals as a measurement of effectiveness is that the players who see the most icetime and/or allow the most shot opportunities are natually going to block the most shots. 

Noted tactics writer Dawgbone has written about what happens when blockers get in the way, and the results haven't always been pretty. Sunny Mehta showed a small team skill in shot blocking and Desjardins showed an even smaller individual skill in the same. While shot blocking is a skill, or an art, for a very small segment of the NHL player population, talking heads espouse it as yet another magical part of the game, dictated by hard work and grit. In reality, a large quantity of blocked shots simply means the team, or player, is being dominated and forced to spend their time in their own end blocking rubber rather than possessing the puck and forcing the other team to block shots.

Earlier this season, I was in the midst of a discussion with the incomparable George Ays who turned me on to the idea of re-measuring shot blocking with context.  Ays re-created a formula used by Desjardins (we think) to determine which players were blocking the most shots, and which players were giving up a bunch of shots and blocking some.

Read Article | 8 Comments

Alexander Ovechkin, lies, damned lies, and statistics

Jonathan Willis
May 13 2012 12:04PM

Photo via Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation license

Photo via Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation license

There was a relationship that came up a few times during Washington’s post-season run, ended in (yet another) one-goal game last night against New York. When Alexander Ovechkin played more than 20:00 in a game, the Capitals were 1-and-5; when Ovechkin played less than 20:00 per game, the Capitals were 6-and-2.

Is that useful information?

Read Article | 6 Comments

Nation Radio - May 12, 2012

May 13 2012 10:30AM



The hot topic this week was the launch of the Nation Network's newest project NHLNumbers blog. Derek Zona, Kent Wilson and others stopped by to talk about how the new site came to be as well as what readers can expect from it down the road. In addition, Ben Massey called in to talk the Oilers and Edmonton FC while Kent Simpson updates us on the Oil Kings playoff march.

This is Nation Radio.

Read Article | 48 Comments

Better Know a Bias: Cognitive Dissonance

Danny Gray
May 12 2012 12:21PM


 (NHLNumbers will occassionally publish some of our author's archival material. This article was originally posted on August 8th, 2011)

Why do people get so angry about advanced statistics?

Read Article | 4 Comments