Stop showing off, Nabokov. (Photo credit: Nick Wass)
Ed. Note: In our continuing quest to bring you the least crappy product possible, we’d like to welcome Ana Hansen of the blog Hockey Yelling to the RMNB team. Ana, a 22-year-old English major at William & Mary, is witty, creative, and mentally unstable. So uhh you better give her a warm welcome in the comments below or else. You can follow her on Twitter here.
Hello Caps world! In the place of your regularly scheduled coverage you’ve got me tonight. My condolences, but not too many of them, because a hockey game happened, and that’s more important than anything else.
We lost this game, which I hope does not mean that I’m bad luck. I will be carefully monitoring this issue from here on out.
To the game, somewhat reluctantly I guess. We were supposed to win this one. The Islanders are not a particularly lethal team, but when they’re given this much space, even they can stumble into a few goals.
Tavares opened the scoring with a redirection on the PP, and the first person to mention his scoring streak gets a punch in the kisser. Parenteau made it 2-0 on a joint effort from Carlzner, Alzner with the giveaway and Carlson screening his own goalie. You’re welcome, Pareteau. Parenteau converted on the PP for his second of the night but luckily by that point, you were probably too numb to feel it. Caps lose, 3-0. Gross.
Weird bounces, Long goal reviews & Floating Pucks. What a fun night. (Photos by Nick Wass)
Funny isn’t it that the Capitals and Bruins will meet twice in the last week of the regular season before playing one another in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If tonight’s game sets a precedence for next week, we’re due for some entertaining hockey.
Tonight’s victory over Boston saw goals from fan favorites Nicky Backstrom, Mike Knuble and Books Laich, who secured the overtime gamewinner. Despite the everpresent physicality of Zdeno Chara’s bleeding nose and the dynamism of Patrice Bergeron, the Caps emerged victorious. Three games or bust.
“No matter how fearsome their attack, they’re just OK at keeping pucks out of their net. They’ll enter the playoffs, likely as the top seed in the East, entrusting the most critical position on the ice to the likes of Jose Theodore, Semyon Varlamov and/or Michal Neuvirth.” – NBCSports.com
So what type of goaltending does it take to win the Cup, and do the Caps have it?
[Editor's note: Russian Machine Never Breaks is proud to announce the addition of Neil Greenberg to the fold. You might remember Neil from his excellent statistical analysis over at 5ive Hole, which he will continue to maintain. Please join us in welcoming Neil. Play nice.]
The trade deadline came and went, and while the Caps made some changes, a lot stayed the same. Most importantly: Hershey was virtually untouched. And it is probably because of this that the Caps didn’t make the “big move” most of the fans thought they would.
The Russian Machine doesn’t have much to say about the Capitals 2-1 loss the Los Angeles Kings today. It was crap. In fact, we felt this photo of Mike Green pretty much summed it up.
The Caps once again, came out in the first period with absolutely no push. To that effect, they’ve been out scored 6-0 in their past three first periods and out-shot 35-11. (Thanks Capitals Insider)
We want to take the easy road and say “Man, with Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina gone, this team is in absolute disarray. They’ve lost three straight games.” But you’ve got to look deeper than that. If you go by that logic, then the Hershey Bears are 10-1 in their last 11 because they brought Chris Bourque back . The problem is the secondary scoring for this team has been absolutely nonexistent lately and the team has not been playing a full 60 minutes at their level. The lack of intensity from anyone other than the Young Guns is troubling. And honestly, Jason Chimera seems to still be trying to find himself in Bruce Boudreau’s system.
The Capitals look like they’re a step slow. They’re losing battles. And with this being one of the NHL’s most skilled teams, we figure this is a tall-tale sign of either a team losing its focus or is in general tired. Someone needs to start banging into some bodies and create some space for others.
We hope with two home games on the slate this week, the Caps will bear down and play better in front of their own fans. And The Russian Machine Will Even Offer A Bold Prediction: We will be excited to see who will be named Captain in the coming days (Alex Ovechkin For Kapitan!!!) and receive the instant gratification of refocusing the team after soundly defeating the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday Night. Okay guys, make it happen!
Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina in a Blue Jackets Uniform. Weird.
The Washington Capitals made a trade this week, picking up Jason Chimera from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina. Given that I spent all weekend putting together a spreadsheet trying to approximate the Goals Versus Threshold that Puck Prospectus uses to give an idea of a player’s contributions, I thought it would be a good time to put it to use. I wasn’t able to match their GVT exactly, but I got close enough to make the thing potentially viable.
First, on what GVT is:
“To explain in terms already familiar to sports statisticians, GVT is very similar to VORP in baseball: it is the value of a player, in goals, above what a replacement player would have contributed. The fact that GVT is measured in goals is crucial: statistics that divide up “Win Shares”, so that the ratings of a team’s players sum to that team’s number of wins, are very erratic and non-linear, since wins don’t increase or decrease linearly with team caliber. While hockey is ultimately about winning or losing, players’ contributions always come down to scoring goals and preventing them. A player cannot “win” a game, even though he may be put in a situation where scoring a goal or making a key save would create or conserve a win. Each player’s role, no matter his position, is to try and increase the goal differential in favor of his team. An offensive player who scores a hat trick only to see his teammates allow 4 goals against has nevertheless done his job; a goaltender who stops 39 of 40 shots only to lose 1-0 has likewise performed well. Using this standard, all players can be compared by the same yardstick: how much did they help (or harm) their team’s goal differential?…
GVT is measured in goals. This makes it a convenient unit that hockey fans are already comfortable with.
GVT compares hockey players of all positions and over any period of time.
GVT only uses statistics that lead directly to goals. You cannot incorporate goaltender wins into GVT, because they are not a measurement of goals prevented. However, if you can rationally explain what are the odds of a faceoff win (or loss) leading to a goal or goal against, it would be possible to incorporate faceoff wins and losses into GVT, though I have not done so.
GVT has built-in accounting. The sum of player GVTs on a team equals that team’s GVT plus the replacement level. This is essential, as player statistics often come with caveats. “Kovalchuk scored 43 goals, but he doesn’t play defense and his team isn’t good”. This makes it much easier to measure “how good would this team be replacing player A with player B?” It is also essential in that player success is correlated with team success, which after all is the entire point of the sport.
GVT automatically normalizes for the strength of the league…
GVT does not measure a player’s talent. The statistic measures a player’s contribution to his team’s goal differential. A goaltender that faces zero shots will have a value of zero, regardless of whether he is Patrick Roy or Andrew Raycroft. Likewise, a player that is injured or gets little ice time will see his GVT reduced accordingly. It also does not take into account environment: a player will score more with better linemates, and I make no attempt to adjust for that…
GVT does not measure intangibles. Things like leadership do exist in hockey, and they do help to make your teammates better. However, there is no way to measure this through statistics, and any attempt to quantify it is futile. In effect, we are not trying to see what information is “hidden” in the statistics; we are simply trying to better characterize the information that is at hand”