Wednesday Webhits: The Frost King’s Best Links Of The Week

Week two of The Frost King’s Webhits – out of 156* – has links looking at how well the Capitals’ goalies perform on the penalty kill, the diversified scoring of Washington’s forwards, which players excelled at scoring in the past decade, whether defense still wins championships, and a discussion about reforming the shootout system. Enjoy!

* My contract apparently goes through the end of time, which latest info says will be December 21st, 2012. Plan to start (and finish) your Christmas shopping a little early that year!

Even Strength and Penalty Kill Save Percentage

Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov are two of the 10 goalies this year with the largest difference between their even strength save percentage and their penalty kill save percentage. Theodore has been worse by 8.8% (.915 to .827), while Varly has been worse by 9.7% (.941 to .844).

The penalty kill save percentage is in a smaller sample size though, and so there isn’t as much reason to worry as you’d think:

“Philadelphia and Washington both have a much better save percentage at even strength than on the penalty kill, which indicates that the teams have struggled on special teams. However, since the goalies have been able to make saves during 5 on 5 it seems likely that their performance will likely improve as well while shorthanded, and that should help the Flyers and Capitals going forward.”

Top-Six Forwards, Part 2

Mike Knuble has just about doubles his even-strength points per 60 minutes from 2008 to 2009 (1.5 to 3.0), and is one of the top 10 forwards in the league in that respect this year.

“For Washington’s Knuble it’s a case of responding extremely well to opportunities playing alongside obscenely talented linemates.”

The Capitals actually have 9 forwards scoring at least 1.7 points per 60 minutes, which is tied for the most in the NHL.

“In Washington it could be a case of spreading out their truly elite scorers (Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin) in such a way that it artificially inflates checking line players like Matt Bradley.”

Players of the Decade: Per-Game Scoring

Not really a surprise, but Ovie’s #1 at 56.1 goals per 82 games. “Backstrom”, who I assume is Washington’s own Nicklas Backstrom, is 6th in assists at 61.4 per 82 games. Going to overall points, Ovechkin drops to 3rd at 106.3 per 82 games, with Sidney Crosby (boo!) on top at 112.3.

“It’s always strange for me to think that Crosby has drawn so much flak in his short career. He’s been a dominant offensive player playing against the other teams’ top lines. His path to the Stanley Cup was two years shorter than Wayne Gretzky’s. He led the league in scoring when he was 19. I suppose things could be worse: he could have *actually* done something wrong!”

Well yeah, Hawerchuk, if you want to be all “objective” about it. But what’s the fun in that?

Why Offence Rules The New NHL

In the playoffs since 2006, the team with the better regular season winning percentage won 61% of the series.
The team with more goals scored won 62% of the time.
The team with the better win threshold won 63% of the time.
The team with fewer goals allowed won just 45% of the time.
The team with the better regular season save percentage won 42% of the time.

(Thus the title, Why Offence Rules The New NHL)

Because of the way points are awarded for getting to over-time, good defensive teams have a bit of an advantage in the regular season (and so in getting to the playoffs). Once in though, it looks like it comes down to which team has the most fire-power. Considering the Capitals are a near lock to make it to the post-season, their scoring ability might prove a decisive advantage.

Reforming The Shootout

Roundtable discussion with everyone mostly in agreement that the way points are awarded now isn’t good:

“Think about it: right now, if the game is tied with three minutes to go, your team has three options: 1) win (worth 2 points); 2) lose (0 points); or 3) tie (worth 1.5 points.) So your incentive to win is +0.5 points, while your disincentive to lose is -1.5 points. When giving up an extra goal is three times as bad as scoring one is good, you’re not going to try to score! Make it three points for a regulation win, and in addition make one more goal equivalent to one more goal against – plus each team will have a shot at a 3rd point. Of course, this would tend to favor good teams and decrease parity, so it’ll never get approved by the league…

Therefore if ANY team were to somehow manage to eliminate regulation scoring altogether, either with a new system or by cooperating with their opponents, they would finish the season with 123 points and a top playoff seed. In essence, the shootout creates a statistical incentive to reduce scoring, especially for the weaker teams. It also creates the illusion of league parity where there is none, often allowing inferior teams to advance to the postseason and denying us more compelling playoff matchups.”

I agree 100%. The system seems blatantly dumb on it’s face to me. Maybe I’d be more in favor of this kind of parity if the Capitals were a mediocre defensively oriented team, but just from a theoretical aspect it should be fixed.

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