It’s Wednesday, so it’s time for another Wednesday Webhits! The big topic of the week is obviously the Winter Olympics, and Puck Prospectus has given us a nice break-down of the top four Olympic hockey teams from a statistical perspective. And don’t worry, this post is not all about international competition, as we also take a look at the top scoring blue lines in the NHL, the top individual scorers (naturally with a healthy Washington presence), and – in a follow-up to a link from last week – what the optimal shift length should be. (Take note Sashas)
This week we look at Alex Ovechkin’s chances of going down as the greatest goal-scorer in NHL history, a break-down of last week’s big Kovalchuk trade, a look at the change in average shift length for today’s players versus those from 10 years ago (with a certain Capital being a rare exception), and busting a few common myths using the Vancouver Canucks as an example.
I had to wrangle these links up quickly, since I forgot what day it was. That’s when happens when you’re snowed in for almost a week without seeing the outside world. At least I had my spreadsheets to keep me busy.
This week we’ve got a some more on how the points system effects scoring, whether a goalie should be credited more for making those “big saves”, the top individual players in the power-rankings, and who should be chosen for the All-Star team.
“Leverage is a concept that gets used a lot in baseball – it’s essentially the probability of winning at a given point in a game. In hockey, unlike baseball, teams are awarded a point for losing, so leverage actually captures not winning percentage, but the expected number of points a team can expect in the standings given the score and the time remaining in the game…
What I want to draw your attention to is the difference between the two charts. In particular, there is a significant leverage difference in tie games:
Basically, the “loser point” has completely changed third-period incentives. Giving up a tie-breaking goal in the last five minutes of the game is now approximately one quarter point more costly than it was before the lockout, while scoring that same goal is worth one quarter point less than it was before. NHL teams are obviously aware of these incentives, and it should come as no surprise that a record high percentage of games have been tied at the end of regulation time this season. I know of no other sport that works like post-lockout hockey – as long as teams don’t decide to game system any more than they already do, it can probably continue. But the incentive is to play for the tie whenever you can, and the system can easily fall completely out of its unsteady equilibrium.”
I know I’m beating a dead horse on this, but the system is bad.
“If there exist some goals that are unstoppable and a goalie can’t predict his team’s future offence, which are two basic assumptions that obviously hold in hockey, there really is very little opportunity for a goalie to mess with the scoreline without costing his team. And that is why attempts to explain away poor individual save statistics with references to a goalie’s win total are just biased nonsense.
Long story short, the next time you hear an announcer say something like, “It’s not how many saves you make, it’s when you make them”, what he’s actually telling you is, “I have no idea how to separate the contribution of a goalie from the contribution of the rest of the team.””
Ovie stays at #4, where he’s been for a while. He’s the top non-goalie in the ranking at 21 Goals Versus Threshold.
“Nothing says success like a 10-game winning streak, and the most comforting thing for the Capitals is that it’s not all Ovechkin. While the captain has an impressive 18 points over those nine games, that still leaves 27 goals on which he wasn’t involved.”
Mike Green was ranked as the Easterns Conference’s top defenseman, and second in the NHL behind Chicago’s Duncan Keith. Three Capitals made it amongst the forwards, with Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin all ranked in the top 7.
This week we’ve got a study on the age at which hockey players are at their peak (an important consideration when looking to sign a guy to a long-term contract), a look at what kind of conclusions you can draw from how a team does over various stretches of time, what it appears goalies are awarded three stars for, and a new stat based on plus-minus and Corsi.
This week we’ve got a the guys who take the most punishment on the ice (hits), a better save percentage using an adjustment for the penalty kill (which puts a certain Caps’ goalie in pretty good company), the snipers who score goals more than one would expect, and a look at which Conference is stronger and what that means for who could end up in the Stanley Cup Finals.
This week we’ve got a great example of goalie analysis, the difference in salary a player can expect depending on whether he is a restricted or unrestricted free agent, what might explain the difference in predictability and parity between the NHL and other sports (namely, the NBA), and a nice profile of the Capitals.
This week there’s one link in particular that should lead to some debate; whether the Capitals would be better off signing Nicklas Backstrom to a long term contract instead of Alex Semin.
There’s also a bit on one Cap’s under-appreciated skill, which Olympic team has the highest paid players, how to go about building a team, and who the top fighters since the lockout are.
I should note that I don’t think fighting is a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I do find it entertaining (when it’s done well).
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!
Daniel Moroz, or The Frost King as some of us know him, will for now on be providing a weekly segment called “Wednesday Webhits” from now until the end of time. Trust me. He’s signed a contract in blood. He can’t get out of it.
This weekly post will deliver powerfully interesting links that will make you laugh, cry and maybe even kiss that dumb brain goodbye.
This week learn about ties, an awesomely great fighter, why EA Sports hates the Capitals and how Jose Theodore’s current flashy statistics might be a little misleading… Take it away Daniel!
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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