Part of being a stat geek “numbers guy” means I go on the record a lot with predictions, and this season was no different. Sometimes I’m right and sometimes I am righter. Let’s take a look back and see how I did both on RMNB and on my posts for The Washington Post’s Capitals Insider.

What Can We Expect From Mathieu Perreault?


somewhere between 27 – 35 points for an 82 game NHL schedule in his second year, similar to the sophomore seasons of Peter Regin, Antoine Vermette, Alex Steen and David Backes. Third line centers – sure. Second line pivots for a Cup caliber team? Not likely.

Perreault scored 14 points in 35 NHL games during his second stint, which comes out to 32-33 points over an 82 game season.

Mike Knuble And Fine Wine: Both Better With Age?

Will Mike Knuble have a career year at 38?

This allows us to project Knuble’s production to fall somewhere between 43 – 48 points this year. Not terrible for an old man, but is it enough to sustain him on the top line with Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom?

Knuble took the looong way to 40 points this season. And what did Bruce Boudreau say about him Monday? “He’s like fine wine.”

Is Two Days Enough?

Bruce Boudreau

The Caps have the worst win percentage (.559) with 2 days in between games. Compare that to back-to-back games (.605) or even just one day to prepare (.683), and we could have to wait until the boys in red face Ottawa on Dec 19th before we see the Caps right the ship.

They broke their losing streak against Ottawa on Dec 19.

Why Sacrificing A Goat Won’t Help Mike Knuble

It's been that kind of year for Kanoobs.

If Knuble were to experience the average decline, we could expect his shooting percentage to be 13.1%, which is much more in line with his career average.

Knuble ended the season at 11.8%.

Can Alex Semin Score 40 Goals Again in 2010-11?


I projected .47 goals per game. Semin finished at .43.

Are more shutouts ahead for Capitals?

Colin Greening scores on Semyon Varlamov

What is worrisome is the offense has, at best, a 7 percent chance on any given night to be shut out and its recent performance suggests it could be as high as 10-15 percent — which means another two or four shutouts on the horizon.

That was after shutout number eight. Florida handed them shutout number eleven during the last regular season game.

Don’t panic just yet

DJ King fight

we should see the Caps we know and love on the ice sooner rather than later – without making a trade or firing the coach. After all, shinny happens, and when it happens in December it is no time for panic.

The Caps went on to win the top seed in the East.

Don’t count Alex Ovechkin out just yet

Ovechkin celebration

Ovechkin has his work cut out for him, but the top line is “back on track,” and over the last two games The Great 8 has been on the ice for nearly two thirds (25 of 37) of Washington’s scoring chances. While he may be the underdog, Ovechkin is not a long shot by any means. So don’t count him out just yet.

He did end up catching Crosby for the scoring title, but only because a concussion sidelined him since the Winter Classic. Stamkos struggled a bit down the stretch, however that wasn’t enough to let Ovi catch up either. And while I did pick Corey perry in my fantasy league, I didn’t expect to see him put up 50 goals either.

Nicklas Backstrom leads the way in the defensive zone, but is that a good thing?


This season, Backstrom has started in the offensive zone just 49 percent of the time — taking more defensive draws than any of the other pivots — with a single assist as his only even-strength point scored. If he continues to be used this way, we should see a decline in offensive production

Backstrom started in the offensive zone only 51% of the time, down from 58% the year before. Is that the sole reason for his drop in production? Probably not, but it certainly didn’t help.

Will Eric Fehr have another breakout season?


Secondary scoring is going to be a key issue for the Caps in 2011, and while it would be great for Fehr to outperform his recent contract extension, it is more likely we see him turn in a 15-20 goal season.

Fehr had an injury filled year, but still managed to pot ten goals in 52 games or 15-16 prorated over an 82 game season.

Alex Ovechkin: 50 in 50?


For an 82-game season, I have Ovechkin scoring on average 42 goals, plus or minus 8.

This was a bold statement to make back in October and man did this get some people fired up. Let’s look at some of the comments:

How can you arrive at “Ovechkin scoring on average 42 goals, plus or minus 8″, given that historically he averages 50+? Seems to me that something is way off.

If you’re simulating that Alex Ovechkin is going to score an average of 42 goals over the next 82 games based on the past five years of data (in which he’s dipped below 50 only once), I suspect there’s something wrong with the simulation.

the problem is this; if you’re running a simulation of Alex Ovechkin’s next season BASED ON THE DATA FROM THE PAST FIVE YEARS and you’re arriving at a mean of 91% of the prior low-water mark, you’ve screwed up your simulation somewhere.

If your simulation is deviating from the observed results that much, something is most likely wrong. Both [of us] understand standard deviation, but the mean is just too low for this to be correct.

We know now  that this wasn’t far off after all. I thought a 37-goal season “looks light” and said I would take the over, but 42-8 = 34, and Ovi ended up with 32 goals.

  • Peter


  • Greg

    Pretty good track record with these calls. I don’t know what any of it means come Wednesday though.

    I have no earthly idea what to expect in Game 1, and that makes waiting for it even worse.

  • Greg

    Also, the layoff thing is why I’m not thrilled about the 72 hour + break between games 3 and 4.

  • Nathan

    The questin Neil, is did you prop bet any of this in Vegas?

  • @Nathan Strangely enough: I am not a betting man.


  • BobbyG

    @Neil: Not bad, not bad at all. You should have gone to Vegas as Nathan suggested

    @Greg: Not thrilled about gap b/t games 3 & 4 AND also b/t games 4 & 5 either if the series goes that far. It will be very interesting indeed if the Caps layoffs play a role in the outcome of round 1.

  • JW90

    Neil you’re a beast. Now please predict us winning the cup and later trading Tyler Sloan for the first overall pick in the draft