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barry-trotz-notes

Every game, Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz jots his notes onto a notecard he keeps in his suit coat. As the Caps and Rangers left the ice for the first intermission on Wednesday, NBCSN showed a close-up shot of Trotz looking all philosophical-like, holding his top secret notes for all the world to see.

Let’s enhance!

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caps-fan-bird1

Photo: Rob Carr

On Thursday in front of a less than capacity crowd at Verizon Center, Jason Chimera took a brutal penalty that led to Nick Foligno‘s game-winning overtime goal. The Caps lost to division foe Columbus. Old news, but I wanted to share the photo above by Rob Carr because it really captures Foligno’s excitement after the… hey – wait a minute!

Is that? It couldn’t be…

Let me fire up my vectoring program on the RMNB super computer. I’m going to need to enhance that upper-right quadrant.

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When Stats Suck and Why: Making RMNB Last

shotsshotsshots

Welcome back to the Making RMNB Last essay series. This time our prompt comes from Joe K., who I think did a wonderful job articulating, so I’ll just hand it over to him.

“You all put together wonderful statistical analyses which tell us way more than the standard NHL-provided goals/assists/+/-, etc and really help us look at players more insightfully than ever before (tho without CapGeek, maybe we’re all back to square 2). The only issue I have is how the analyses are typically constrained by even strength/5v5 TOI, and more importantly, that this is a not insignificant portion of overall TOI for a lot of players, or in some cases a very significant portion. Seems it could also be presumed that the more non-5v5 TOI a player has a game, the less likely their even strength stats tell the story of what their value might be to the team.

I’d like to see something that assessed, what, if any, stats are out their which might enhance the lens thru which we look at these players’ advanced stats and help flag which players’ 5v5 SA%/G% #’s might be more/less meaningful.

Finally, I realize the above might be the subject of a Doctoral dissertation and know that can’t happen, but even weaving the issue into these discussions more is something I see as a potentially avenue to drive analyses in that direction and appropriately couch bigger picture judgment on players. Don’t worry about writing a specific article on this, just would find it interesting to see something alluding to this concept and informing the discussion at some point along the way. Thanks for the ear and opportunity to offer the thoughts. By all means if I just haven’t been reading you all enough and this path has been beaten, by all means accept my apologies and offer a link. Keep up the great work; you all do amazing content, and, whether or not anyone will ever recognize it, contribute so much to the Caps and NHL generally by offering anyone who follows the game so many different ways to look at/unpack what is the most exciting sport out there.”

Thank you, Joe. That’s a wonderful question, and you framed like a thousand times better than Ian, who tries to troll me with this topic every few months.

Why do so many statistics uses exclude everything but 5v5 even strength, and is that a flaw? Well, it is and it isn’t. A lot of our goof-ups regarding statistics occur when we ask them to do things they weren’t built for or when we fail to consider the context that informs objective measurements. To paraphrase Rob Vollman, stats should be the beginning of the conversation, not the end.

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gold-rush-glencross

Former Flames forward Curtis Glencross is figuratively on fire right now. (I stole this from Katie Brown.) He just scored again and I think I know what’s fueling him: delicious, delicious Roy Rogers.

In his first five games with the Caps, Glencross has scored three times – all in the first period. (He also has points in all five games with Washington.) The Capitals have a promotion with Roy Rogers: if they score in the first period, you get a free sandwich.

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Keep Sleeping: Rangers beat Caps 3-1

beag-ovi

Freaking Ovi. Freaking Beagle.

The Capitals hadn’t played since Saturday; the Rangers played last night. And yet it was the Capitals– beset by injury– who looked slow and overwhelmed on Wednesday night. Down a goal, the Capitals made a big comeback effort in the third, but it got defused by the tiny guy in blue, so Washington lost to the new division leader.

In the first period, Nate Schmidt choked up the puck in neutral, opening up a shooting gallery that ended with Carl Hagelin’s goal. Ovi tied it up with an Ovi shot from the Ovi slot, but J.T. Miller put the Rags back up after a weird bounce on a clearing attempt. The Caps picked up the pace in the third but couldn’t crack Cam Talbot. Martin St. Louis delivered the dagger.

Rangers beat Caps 3-1.

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Caps at Flyers Pregame: End of the Road (Trip)

pano

Photo: 365 days of april

Listen up, you ignorant lemmings! You think the Caps are good just because they’re on a 103-point pace and haven’t lost a game since the late 80s? Well, you gotta be better than good to beat the Philadelphia Flyers. You think, just ’cause they’re 24th in puck possession, the Capitals are gonna run roughshod over ’em?

Yeah, probably.

But the Caps are on the back half of a road back-to-back, and the Flyers are gonna do nasty stuff after the whistle, so really anything can happen.

7 PM on CSN. Crash the net.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 21-11-7 52.0% 100.2 23.1% 79.2%
Philadelphia Flyers 15-18-7 48.1% 101.7 22.0% 75.0%

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The Awesome Index: We Needed That

Friends, I am having a bit of a day: Flat tire, bad weather, nasty cold, traffic jams, wah wah wah. In short: everything sucks.

But then I remember overtime, and Eric Fehr seizing victory from the jaws of mediocrity, and I can’t help but think: Man, that was awesome.

Maybe being badly-needed is an essential property of Awesome. Maybe, when things suck, awesome things become even more precious. In this week’s awesome index, only the most indispensable awesome things shall be indexed. And you’re damn skippy I am starting with Fehr.

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official-wipes-out

Something seems off in this photo.

Earlier Saturday night I wrote about a wacky Blues fan dressed up like an official. When I was reviewing the video, I noticed something else silly that happened during that segment.

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Caps beat Hawks 3-2! The Capitals Won a Game!

Freaking great GIF by @myregularface

The Chicago Blackhawks were wayyyyy better than the Washington Capitals for the first half of Friday night. Like, it wasn’t even close. It was like David and Goliath except if Goliath mercilessly beat David to death with a club. But then the Caps herded a little big mo’ and got the bounces that had been eluding them for the last two weeks.

It was ugly at first. Get this. Marian Hossa beat Matt Niskanen along the boards and set up Brandon Saad for a lovely goal on a two-on-one. Then, Duncan Keith got a rebound for a power-play goal from the Ovi spot to make it 2-0.

Okay, now get THIS, ’cause this all happened inside five minutes. First,Andre Burakovsky called his own number on a breakaway late in the second, scoring with a dart to the high corner. Then, Marcus Johansson tied it up with a spinny shot that took some bounces. Finally, Matt Niskanen release a long b0mb from the blue line that had plenty of support up front– namely Joel Ward, who tipped it in.

The third period was all Hawks as the Caps played prevent defense in the same manner as your parents played prevent defense about nine months before you were born. Except this time it worked.

Caps beat Hawks 3-2! THE CAPITALS HAVE WON A GAME!

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CapsCanes12

Photo: Amanda Bowen

There was one photo I didn’t share from Amanda’s gallery on Monday.

It’s this image of Troy Brouwer, Andre Burakovsky, and Marcus Johansson celebrating their goal during Sunday’s final preseason game of the season. Burakovsky’s geeking out, Brouwer’s giving kudos for that sick pass, and Mojo is just of there. It’s pretty tame– except wait.

I’m going to need to enhance.

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