St. Louis Blues 12-13 Preview: Contenders Under Hitchcock

Jonathan Willis
September 29 2012 12:51PM

The 2011-12 season was the team’s best in over a decade. Will 2012-13 see the team improve upon it or fall back to the disappointing levels of previous seasons?

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Your Graphical Guide to the NHL Barnyard

Graphic Comments
September 25 2012 08:48PM

We will fight for bovine freedom

If you're anyting like Detroit Red Wings' Senior VP of Barnyard Operations, Jim Devellano, it's sometimes hard to tell elite hockey players apart from the rest of the herd. But never fear, the handy chart above should help you out if you ever get into a pinch.

Now, far be it from me to judge a Lester Patrick Trophy winner like Jimmy Devellano, but the cattle comment was a bit over the top. If there's anything I've learned over the years, it's that you don't poke the bear. You lure it with some bait, and then shoot it while it's not looking.

Wait. No. Not only is that the wrong analogy, it's the wrong animal.

We're talking barnyard animals today, especially those that make up the NHL's pecking order...

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The Best of the Nation - 9.24.12

Jonathan Willis
September 24 2012 10:34AM

Nathan MacKinnon is the consensus pick as the best player eligible for the 2013 Draft. Who else is available? What NHL list that nobody wants to be on did Ryan Kesler just make? What kind of livestock did an NHL executive compare NHL players to? Why is Toronto slamming the “best goalie coach on the planet”? When will the NHL lockout end?

All that and more, after the jump.

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Nathan MacKinnon Dominates 2013 NHL Draft Consensus Top 30

Derek Zona
September 21 2012 02:38PM

Brian Burke 2012 Draft
Photo by Ryan Meier, all rights reserved.

The 2013 NHL Draft order might have some excitement to it, excitement that's been stripped away of the last three drafts by the Edmonton Oilers and their grip on the worst.  But with a possible season cancellation in the works, this draft might come down to the luck of a ping pong ball.  

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Assessing performance in all three zones: Zone entry data for the Wild and Flyers

Eric T.
September 18 2012 09:23AM

Flyers gain the zone against the Wild

Previously, we described how tracking zone entries for the Flyers this year at Broad Street Hockey led us to some startling conclusions. There was very strong evidence suggesting that puck possession on a zone entry is quite important, that carrying the puck in generates more than twice as much offense as dumping it in.

More surprisingly, the data also strongly suggested that shot differential was almost entirely determined in the neutral zone. Claude Giroux was more likely than Zac RInaldo to push the puck forwards into the offensive end and more likely to carry the puck in, but shockingly his carry-ins did not generate any more shots than Rinaldo's. In fact, there was no evidence that any Flyer consistently did well or poorly at generating or preventing shots in the attack zones.

While this seemed to be unequivocally true for last year's Flyers, I was hesitant to generalize beyond that for such an unexpected result. So I called for assistance, encouraging readers to try tracking their favorite teams. Several people expressed interest, and I've now received my first significant packet of data -- Bob Spencer has tracked zone entries for the first 50 games of the Wild's 2011-12 season (his analysis of the data can be found here).

In this article, we will compare the 5-on-5 data from the Wild and the Flyers. We will find the following:

  • Like for the Flyers, the Wild players show that the ability to control the neutral zone is a persistent talent.
  • Like for the Flyers, no Wild players can be identified as having an ability to get more shots per offensive zone possession.
  • Unlike for the Flyers, the data for the Wild suggests that there may be players who limit shots in the defensive zone.
  • Overall, the Wild were much less effective in the neutral zone than the Flyers, likely because of both talent and coaching.

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