Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another Bit On The Sidebar

Added something on the sidebar. Just a thing that reads the shiftcharts and tells you who played against who. These things aren't razor accurate, nor are the time-on-ice sheets that they are built from. But it gives you a pretty damn good idea of who played against whom on a given night.

The plan is for me to update it after Oiler games this season, so that it's the most recent game on there. And even though updating it will only take a minute or so, I will probably be sporadic with it.

For now it's just for 5on5 icetime, and just one home player vs one road player at a time. I can add more to that upon request if people are actually using it, though there is a danger in making things too complicated of course.

Hopefully this gives us some insight into the thinking of the coaches, and offers some context for us to judge why a player looked good on the night ... or the opposite. For me, I don't tend to notice the D matchups during the games very often, so it's cool to sit back and have a quick look at how Huddy was working things after the fact.

And my optimistic side is hopeful that this gets more people looking at the matchups and gameplans during the Oiler games this season. At least a bit more anyways. Especially for the people who are going at the games and therefore can see these things easier.

That is all.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hemsky And Horcoff

Since the thread below has descended into Canuck talk, I thought I'd take a kick at this here.

Questions of the day: Who was driving the results? Why does Horcoff have so many goals-against when he isn't playing with Hemsky?

There are different things we all see in the games, it probably depends on our backgrounds and the positions we played. Personally, I get more pissed off with turnovers at the blue lines than most Oiler fans, so my opinion on Hemsky is probably not as favourable. Anyhow, an attempt to understand follows, and since my memory isn't nearly good enough on it's own (despite the fact that I often think that it is) I dug a little deeper.

Hemsky and Horcoff on the ice together:

Well, we started the season with Smyth-Horcoff-Dvorak as the line that carried the mail. The played almost every 5on5 shift vs Sakic in Game1 and almost every shift against Naslund in Game2 until Smyth was hurt.

Then there was the ill advised spate of Rita with 10-20 in SoCal ... until MacTavish came to his senses midway through the L.A game and shifted Pisani up there on his offwing. And that trio played against Iggy in the next one and Modano in the one after (Tippet was trying to avoid it though) until Horcoff injures his shoulder in a play I never did see.

Horcoff and Smyth are both back in the lineup quickly, though probably still hurt. MacTavish, true to form, pretends they are both fit, marches them out there against Sakic's line in the first game and they get kicked around by Joe's line. MacT does the same in COL the next one (Q seems to be avoiding the matchup as well by my eye, srange shit ... does he not realize these guys are walking wounded?). And by the time they hit DAL in the next one MacTavish finally decides he has to go with Peca vs Modano and he bumps Hemsky in with 10/94 to take softer minutes. I remember RiversQ crediting MacTavish for getting such a clean matchup with Peca-Modano on the road. Personally I think Tippet just hadn't figured it out, so he was happy to take that matchup. (BTW: Tippet's pre-game interview on TV before the next game in DAL about 2 weeks later was quirky ... almost a wink and a nudge with a "we think we have a good read on their strengths and weaknesses right now ;) " ... he ran Modano at the 94-10-83 line right from the opening faceoff and that trio got their asses absolutely owned. Clearly Horcoff and Smyth weren't back up to snuff just yet, and wouldn't be for a while.)

Okay, all that previous bit was just from memory, but I'm confident that nobody can prove me wrong on that stuff. It was just all so interesting the way that it was shaking out at the time that it has stuck with me, and I'm sure that the Oiler fans that notice this sort of thing are going to agree.

I think that this second game in DAL, the one where they got thumped, that probably coloured my opinion of Hemsky a bit too. Perhaps unfairly, perhaps not.

In any case, up until the first game in DAL, game 11 of the Oiler's season. Hemmer hadn't played much with Horcoff. According to the shift charts, during the first 90 minutes of icetime that Hemsky got in the 05/06 season ... only 2 minutes of it were with Horcoff. But from this point on, up to the shift in philosophy in Game81, Hemsky would play about 88% of his 5on5 icetime with Horcoff, and Horcoff played more at 5on5 so the percentage of his 5on5 icetime with Hemsky (78%) over this significant stretch. And at 4on4 Hemmer played mostly with Peca (just by memory, I don't think we need to check that.)

Horcoff's extra icetime without Hemsky wasn't a helluva lot ... but it's a strange mix. For example, he shows only 20 minutes with Stoll. But it's spread out. A whole bunch of games with about 30 seconds, only a couple with as much as a minute, a lot with none at all. They're both centres of course. Same goes for Reasoner, very similar to Stoll in this regard, even though I'm struggling to remember that. And stunningly high event rates ... most of it bad.

And since I'm tired of typing, and I think my wife has probably figured out that I'm not on the internet looking up advice on how to fit hardwood on the stairs ... I'll leave it at that for now. I think you know where this is going anyways. If you need a hint: defensive zone faceoffs. I think I know of a way to rip something compelling here off of the NHL.com data, just by grabbing the guys that were on the ice 7 seconds after the play-by-play sheet shows a faceoff, that to negate the rounding error in the shiftcharts ... but my theory is that if I walk away and wait ... mudcrutch will eventually do it. So I'll try that first. :-)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Taking The Shots

So, which Oiler players were least likely to see a shot-against when they were on the ice? ... This is the lineup, the top eight, the "they don't get shots on the Oilers net when I'm out there!" players:

M. PECA 370
R. SMYTH 376

This normalized for equal icetime, 15 hours at evens. And just shots-against rate here.

Surely sensible people everywhere are expecting the forwards to be driving the bus here, and they are. But Pronger at the top of the list ... that's an anamoly. And he's dragged Spacek (admittedly smaller sample size here) along with him. He's a helluva player, no doubt. Some fairly shitty luck with shooting and save percentages around him probably prevented him from getting another Norris. Then again, you could probably say the same for a few of the top tier D guys any year. And none of them can touch Modano, Forsberg, et al in any season by this metric.

By and large the forwards are driving the results at this, and this is the stat that the video game kids theorize has bugger all to do with them. (I maintain that the video games are programmed by geeks on the payroll of this sport's major bookies. Though I have no proof ... who else has a vested interested in making young hockey fans dumber?)

The Oilers are going to miss Pronger, no doubt. One of the few guys who really drives the results from the D position. He ain't no Bobby Orr (Orresque playoff streak aside) ... but he'll be missed.

The Hemsky thing is hard to explain. I dunno. Clearly I've been too harsh on the guy, two years in a row wih damn decent outshooting stuff, odd man rushes surrendered or no ... the chipstack is pretty respectable.

Oiler funfact: Last season Igor Ulanov had the best save% on the team behind him (nearly .960, just crazy), this season it was the worst on the squad (nearly .830). That alone explains the fall from "unsung hero!" to "Whatta asshole!". Nearly perfectly by the sums. Seriously.

All of the other Oiler D are bunched in around the 395 mark. The Oilers 4th liner types got murdered at this.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Smyth and Horcoff at 5V5? WTF!?!?!

Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff took a beating at 5V5 last year. I have no idea what happened to them because honestly they kind of sucked at keeping the puck out of their net. When you compare the numbers to 03/04 it gets kind of scary.

Ryan Smyth: EV+48/EV-38 in 03/04. EV+52/EV-56 in 05/06.

Shawn Horcoff: EV+45/EV-45 in 03/04. EV+56/EV-58 in 05/06.

The hourly rates work out to:
Smyth: +2.5/-2.0 in 03/04 and +3.3/-3.5 last year.
Horcoff: +2.5/-2.5 in 03/04 and +3.2/-3.3 last year.

As a benchmark, the team was EV+148/EV-121 in 03/04 and they plummetted to EV+133/EV-148 last year.


So let's play ask and answer...

Q: What didn't change?

1. Injuries. They both had some nagging injuries and MacT played them anyway. Damn the torpedoes. Some things never change.

2. Opposition. They played tough minutes both years according to Vic's event based stuff.

3. Paired up. They played together a lot. Maybe a little more in 05/06.

Q: What did change?

1. The rules. Yeah the rules changed. I haven't the foggiest idea how that may have affected these two players. I'm taking suggestions.

2. The goaltending. The Oilers' goaltending was pretty sucktastic in 03/04. They set a new low in the 05/06 regular season. The Oilers' league relative SV% in 05/06 was 984 and in 03/04 it was 995. By my rough calculations that's about a 13 goal difference in all situations. The Oilers gave up about 63% of their goals against at 5V5 last year so we'll say goaltending was worth about 8 goals at ES last year. According to Tyler's team numbers and the individual NHL.com numbers, Smyth played about 27.3% of the Oilers' minutes at ES. That means Smyth's share of the goalie hurt at ES was about 2 extra goals against at 5V5 vs. 03/04.

(Note: this is rough - if Tyler was a lifetime student he'd have updated his damn site and I could've used his situational numbers.)

From 03/04 to this past season, it appears to me that Smyth gained +4 GF and added -18 GA. Horcoff gained +11 GF and -13 GA. Do you still think goaltending explains this slide? I don't. Even if my GA due to goaltending estimate is wrong and you triple the number to six goals, they still had some serious issues with GA at 5V5.

3. Hemsky. Smyth and Horcoff didn't play much with Hemsky in 03/04 and they played a heap with him this time. To my knowledge, Hemsky hadn't seen opposition like those two were used to at 5V5 so he had a few more things change going from 03/04 to 05/06. He's also a high risk/high reward player. That's a stark contrast to Smyth and Horcoff's usual 03/04 RWers which were usually Pisani or Dvorak IIRC.

I think it's Hemsky's fault and I think it's because Smyth's strength as an outscorer is gaining possession in the offensive zone and keeping it there. Same really for Horcoff, although he's probably a little better in his own end. Hemsky's turnovers at the blueline hurt the line's ability to keep the other team pinned in their own zone and thus they saw their outscoring drop. Maybe it was also a little contagious as well and they played a riskier game in general. Admittedly I'm reaching there.

Funny thing though:

Hemsky: EV+27/EV-31 in 03/04. EV+40/EV-45 in 05/06.

Crap. WTF does that mean?!?! Sure Hemsky played fewer ES minutes in both seasons but the rates (+2.0/-2.3 in 03/04 and +2.6/-2.9 last year) don't really help much. Hemsky's the worst of the three in GD/hr of course but none of this really makes much sense to me. This was mentioned before on the boards but somehow Hemsky's the lower event player? Does that really jive with what you see on the ice?

Anyone out there have a unifying theory?

The bottom line is that the Oilers saw their 5V5 games take a beating last year and Smyth and Horcoff are two of the team's best forwards. They need to do better next year and play to their strengths in order for this team to have success.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Vishnevski to the Thrashers

According to TSN,it cost ATL Karl Stewart, a 2nd rounder in 2007, and a conditional draft pick.

My guess is the conditional pick is probably based on re-signing Vishnevski before he hits UFA, but I haven't actually seen it mentioned.

Could EDM have beat that? Karl Stewart I know nothing about, his numbers kind of look like Brodziak's, no idea if he's thought of better or worse than that.

I wonder what Burke's thoughts were about keeping Vish in conference?

Brodziak, 2nd and conditional pick? LT, I'm guessing that would have been a "go" for you, right?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ridiculous Malkin rumor

Well, I've seen this rumor crop up in a couple of places now, including here and here.

(1) I don't think Malkin will be traded

(2) If he were on the block, and you were in charge of the Oilers, what would you be willing to offer?

I'm guessing this is nowhere near enough for EDM to land Malkin, but let's pretend he's on the market. What does everyone think of an offer something like:



Stoll, Torres, Pouliot, 1 or 2 1sts

Would you be willing to go further than that? Not that far?

In any case, that probably would leave enough money for EDM to go out and sign Dumont if they so desire, or bank the salary savings, for an "off the top of my head" lineup something like:

Smyth Horcoff Hemsky
Sykora Malkin Lupul
Moreau Reasoner Pisani
Dumont Schremp Mikhnov


Smyth Horcoff Hemsky
Sykora Malkin Lupul
Mikhnov Reasoner Pisani
Moreau Schremp Winchester

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lowe's Summer

An interesting one for Kevin Lowe. Worth a brief recap methinks.

Off of the top of my head, and in no particular order, here we go.

Signs Roloson to a 3 year, $11M deal moments before the UFA period begins.

You had to think that Roloson would ask for MannyMoney. That's just the way that hockey players think. The question was whether or not Lowe would pay it. And the answer was YES.

Fernandez signed for the same three year term at an escalating rate. $3.75M, $4.5M, $4.75M. That's $13M at an ascending annual rate. Which is fair enough, Manny is still pretty young. Roloson got $11M over three years, he starts out getting a bit more than Manny at $4M and then sees his salary remain the same in year two and drop a million in year three. Which is fair enough, although he is apparently a fit guy, Rolo is getting pretty old.

So thinking of it within that framework, this was a pretty well negotiated deal by Lowe's team. And a very fair deal for Roloson as well.

Without knowing the asking price for Nabokov or Giguere it is hard to say if this was a smart move moneywise. But there isn't much to bitch about here, especially after seeing the Gerber deal that followed. Aside from Hasek, which is sort of a special case, Manny Legace is the goalie bargain of the year I think. But it would have been a strange move for Lowe to pursue him, I don't think he really could have. Not sensible.

As an aside: Rolo was a trade deadline mercenary, rare that those guys sign with their short term team. I think Roloson was the only one from the 05/06 deadline trades, no?

Signs Pisani to a four year, $10M deal.

I was hoping for more of a home town discount, but it's a fair rate. Pisani was in a unique position because he combined a long track record of stunningly effective outscoring against some damn good opposition over his short NHL career with a remarkable streak of goal scoring in the playoffs. If he had gone UFA he would have had a lot of suitors, from Doug Wilson and Bobby Clarke at one end to Dale Tallon and Mike Barnett at the other. A good signing methinks.

The Pronger trade for Lupul and Smid.

A disappointment for me. I'm not disputing the quality of any player in the deal, but this move smells of "rebuild on the fly". Granted the persistent rumours of Horton/JayBo set the bar pretty high, and if that deal really was on the table and Lowe balked ... then that was a huge mistake IMO.

Lupul is not really the kind of player I like. He's a drifter and a shooter. But this coaching staff likes that kind of guy more than most. If you can finish ... these guys are willing to live with some other flaws in your game. That's not so common for NHL coaching staffs in this era.

Locks up the key forwards: The Horcoff and Hemsky Deals.

Both terrific IMO. Though if one of them breaks their legs in training camp it will look like a lot of cash down the drain of course. No reward without risk though. Great deals.

Acquires two defensemen we've never heard of before.

Hejda and Tjarnqvist. Who? Jury is out. Then again, who the hell knew who Karlis Skrastins was before he came over when he was about 6 or 7 years older than Smid is now? And he's the guy that Q leaned on every bit as much as Blake last season. You never know with defensemen. Some effer who is waived without takers this season will be a hot commodity on the UFA defenseman market in a couple of years ... I don't know who, but someone will.

The main thing is that Lowe didn't overpay for a mediocre D in the madass market that John Ferguson created on July 1st. Would have screwed up his own salary structure with Smith and Staios if he had.

Signs Reasoner.

A great signing. I wish they could have gotten him for more years though. Looked like this guy's career might be over at this time last summer. I was tough and go with the knee issue. But he should be even better this year, and hopefully he gets better icetime and opportunity this go 'round. I suspect that he will.

Signs Petr Sykora.

A really good signing IMO, I like Sykora. I really thought that Petr would come a bit cheaper though, because his counting numbers haven't been any hell over the past three years. Still a good deal though. We'll see how well he does as a PP pointman, because I'm guessing that he was promised that opportunity with the signing. And Pronger left a big void on the PP when he left the team.

Friday, August 11, 2006

2006-2007 Oilers Lineup Redux

It looks like the Oilers' lineup is pretty much done with the signing of Petr Sykora and I can't let Lowetide and Grabia at BofA have all the speculatory fun.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the 23-man roster on opening day will be:
G - Roloson, Markkanen
D - Smith, Staios, Tjarnqvist, Bergeron, Hejda, and Greene. (Ext. Smid)
F - Smyth, Horcoff, Hemsky, Stoll, Sykora, Pisani, Lupul, Torres, Reasoner, Moreau, Pouliot, and Mikhnov (Ext. Jacques and Winchester)

This would mean that the Oilers would be looking for legitimate AHL spots for Dubnyk, Deslauriers, Schremp, Brodziak, Gilbert, Syvret and Roy. I think Schremp will start down on the farm because I really doubt he's more than an extra forward with this group of forwards and it doesn't make developmental or financial sense to have him as an extra forward.

Assuming cap numbers of $1.5MM for Lupul (I think he signs for two years) and $3MM for Sykora gives the following breakdown:

When I compare this to the main 23-man roster entering the playoffs, I see some good things here.

Now if you assume that the money is spent correctly, which is a bloddy massive assumption, I much prefer this year's breakdown to the one used last season. The 2006-2007 Oilers are spending their money on goaltending and forwards. The average for the top six forwards in 2005-2006 was $2.3MM and this season it looks to be almost $3.2MM. The average for the top four defensemen was $3.0MM last year and barring any significant moves it looks like the new top two pairings will average out at $1.5MM. The goaltending averages are in the charts - $1.2MM last year and $2.2MM this year. I think this is an efficient way for the Oilers to spend their money.

I'm not terribly pleased with the blueline situation, but I think I'm content to watch it play out at this point. I'm really just concerned that having both Greene and Smid around will be too much to handle. I would much prefer to see Hejda/Greene as the 6/7 alternates and then send Smid down for some AHL minutes. That will require a trade for a veteran that can preferably play 2nd pairing minutes.

I'm also not sure I'm totally comfortable with the forwards but Sykora should help quite a bit. I think he's capable of solidifying a 2nd line playing soft minutes along with Stoll and Lupul. I also really like the fact that they've picked up another forward that can play the point on the PP. I think it's virtually a cinch now that the Oilers will use four forwards on the PP and that can only be a good thing, especially with this group of atrocious PP defensemen - not a one capable of playing on a good NHL PP unit in my estimation.

There's a bit of a concern that the forwards might be too young and that some young players won't get the minutes that they need at this point in their careers, but it's too early to tell how things will shake out. The logjam of young forwards champing at the bit for an NHL roster spot - Mikhnov, Schremp, Pouliot, Jacques - leads me to believe that they're probably the prime trade bait at this point. Unfortunately, the Oilers are going to be pushing $40MM pretty soon, so it may be a little difficult to justify adding a veteran dman while moving out less than $1MM in salary.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Death, Taxes and... Staios fading?

The Oilers' blueline is a source of considerable concern for your average Oiler fan these days. Whether you're Chicken Little or Dennis, you have to be at least a little bit worried. Even Vic, our resident voice of reason, is probably more than a bit squeamish about the Oilers' pairings conceivably containing two of Matt Greene, Ladislav Smid or Tom Gilbert. On top of that, the rest of the Oilers' blueline has been experiencing a little more character assassination than usual. All of a sudden, Jason Smith is just a decent 2nd pairing defenseman and Staios can't possibly be expected to contribute any more than third pairing minutes. The main reason you'll hear around the intarweb for Staios' fall from grace is that he runs out of gas as the season progresses and the minutes pile up.

Ever since I started frequenting OilFans.com or the Oilers' board on Hockey's Future I can recall many an Oilers fan deriding Steve Staios "for falling apart when he gets too many minutes" or "fading down the stretch." He was heavily criticized for this in 2003-2004 and he was definitely accused of it this year too even while playing in Chris Pronger's considerable shadow. It's basically a given among Oiler fans: You can't play Steve Staios too much or his play deteriorates. The idea is posed as though it is almost as unavoidable as death and taxes for the hopeful Oiler fan.

I think that's bunk and here's why.

I think the best way to measure the performance of a defenseman is by EV+/-. The vast majority of them shouldn't even play on an NHL PP and the proper evaluation of individual skater contributions to penalty killing are not clear. (Although I'm inclined to suggest that defensemen may have their most profound impact in that situation.) That leaves us with even strength. Defenseman, particularly the more defensively inclined, generally play almost 70% of their icetime at ES. The good news is that we have EV+/- (GF and GA at 5V5 only with EN goals removed) as a fairly well defined and accepted method of evaluating players at even strength. It's obviously limited by opposition and linemates (especially for dmen, as we've seen that the forwards in front of them tend to drive the results) but those things tend to be reasonably constant throughout the year. ie. It's pretty rare that a dman like Staios sees his matchups or his partner change dramatically for significant periods of time in a given season.

Using this logic, I chose to approach the question of Staios' diminishing returns during a given season by breaking up his last three seasons into quarters: the first 20 games, the next 21 games up to the halfway mark, games 41-61 as the third quarter and finally the last 21 games of the regular season. Pretty simple and arbitrary cutoffs in my opinion.

Staios played 76 games in 2002-2003. His ES/PP/PK minutes breakdown was 1301/160/231 for 22:16 ATOI. As you can see from the EV+/- breakdown for this season, both Staios and the team were steady but unspectacular in the first half before Staios begins to slip up in the third quarter. It follows the script up to this point, but then Staios and the Oilers really shape up at 5V5 for the stretch drive. This data sure doesn't jive with the contention that feeble little Stevie Staios can't hack it as the minutes pile up.

In 2003-2004, Staios played a full 82 game season including a pretty significant minutes total with a ES/PP/PK breakdown of 1470/224/194 and 23:03 ATOI. Again the EV+/- breakdown contrasts the commonly accepted idea about Staios' ability to play late in the season. In fact, he actually thrived as the season progressed in 03/04.

This past season Staios again played 82 games but saw his minutes decline a bit as he was wisely removed from the 1st unit PP rotation. His ES/PP/PK minutes breakdown was 1294/149/269 for 20:53 ATOI. The shocking thing here is how awful the Oilers were at 5V5 this year. Sure you could see it on the ice and it's been discussed quantitatively around these parts and on MC79's site to a certain degree, but it's all too real when shown in black and white in this table. The Oilers had a -42 goal swing from 2003-2004 to 2005-2006 at 5V5 alone. Incredible. If it wasn't for the rather exceptional special teams, this team wouldn't have had a chance at a playoff spot despite the much-ballyhooed additions of Peca and Pronger, who were expected to really make an impact at ES. This has to be a major area of concern for Lowe and MacT as they absolutely must get their heads above water at ES for both short term and long term success... Anyway, back to Staios.

At first glance, this appears to be the first year that matches the Staios myth. It does until you see how abysmal the team was at 5V5 in the second half of the year - the entire season deficit of -15 was due to 2nd half performance. The wheels fell off the whole team at ES and Staios actually kept his head above water posting a -2 in each of the last two quarters despite the massive -15 total for the team. Again I don't feel this evidence supports the idea that Steve Staios can't be leaned upon for this team.

This argument seems similar to an earlier thread I posted about Pronger's Postseason myth. I think many fans around the league have developed an almost equally deluded idea about what Staios brings to the table late in the season.

It comes down to this: He's just fine at the end of the year, he's performed in the past, he's not that old, and he can do it again. Staios was referring to leadership back on July 7th, 2006 when the world was crashing down on Oiler fans and he took a moment out of his vacation to circle the wagons, but I think he himself said it best:

"So I don't think that will be a problem moving forward. I'm not concerned."

Ditto, Steve.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

At LT's request...

1. Have you ever been in a fantasy league?

Yup, a couple fantasy, well, sim leagues really. Currently in one titled the "Outlaw Hockey League", you'd find it if interested with a quick google search.

My team is pretty good as is, but the depth I have in the AHL and ECHL is what makes my organization one to watch.

2. What was the first jersey you ever owned?

Quebec Nordiques is the first I remember, I was given it at some hockey tournament when I was a kid. The first jersey I bought was an Oilers home jersey, maybe 93 or 94? I was going at one point going to put Maltby on it, good thing I didn't as he was traded shortly thereafter.

3. Top 5 sports books

I like reading, but not much in terms of sports books I guess

(1) Moneyball
(2) Gretzky's autobiography
(3) a Mario Lemieux Biography, can't find the book r remember teh Author's name
(4) It's not cheating if you don't get Caught - as I remember this was a book about incidents of cheating in baseball, rule changes that came about because of interesting ideas, and ways of tricking the opponent.
(5) A book called "Iron Mike", a collection of newspaper and magazine articles chronicling Tyson's career (as I recall, until just after the Lewis fight)

4. 10 favorite athletes all-time

1. Gretzky
2. Dennis Rodman
3. Kelly Gruber
4. Kurri
5. Coffey
6. Randy Moss
7. Mike Tyson
8. Jordan
9. A-Rod
10. Weir

5. Three Athletes I secretly admire but am ashamed to admit it for fear of ridicule:

Well, I'm not really ashamed of what I like, I mean, I listed Mike Tyson in my favorite athlete list.

6. I'm not really sure who else to tag, so I'll leave that be

7. Three people (outside family) you would pay to have coffee with:

- Lowe
- Gretzky
- Jordan

8. One Thing You Could Change if you Could:

The Gretzky trade

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A lack of willpower...

I’ll admit, I’ve made a concerted conscious effort to stop myself from being the author of three consecutive posts but I simply can’t help myself. It’s possible I overachieved a little in my role as summer student in the months of May and June, or that I’ve got three weeks left to do one week’s worth of work. Heck, I may even just feel the need to sit here and type furiously to give my office-mates the delightful illusion that their happy-go-lucky student is off on another financial crusade. One way or another, I just can’t seem to stay away from hockey talk.

You’ve got Manny Legace, who you’ve consistently buried behind starters he’s outplayed, who has save percentages well above league average for the last several years, who would have commanded a sizeable raise had Dwayne Roloson not played out of his gorge for the Oilers… begging for work at $1.5 million - and you sign Dominik freaking Hasek? You might as well have given Chris Osgood a random $1M pay hike – now, in addition secretly pining for the mid-90’s and in addition to starting the majority of Red Wing games, he’s going to have to put up with reporters’ incessant questions about DH for the year… or if not the year, the 79-game portion of it that Hasek is out for.

If you have a certain level of trust in NHL coaching, I’ve come up with a very basic metric for identifying who the most dangerous offensive players in the league were during 2006/07 for ES, PP, and (for shits and giggles) PK. If you have the tools to take any player and come up with the average ice time per game he played against any one or more opposing players, you should let me know – you may be in the running for the title of Showerhead’s best friend in the Oilogosphere. Heck, I’m even in the stone ages when it comes to ES + and -; I simply open up game sheets and count the bloody things. Have you ever noticed that I haven’t brought in my own numbers for these stats for any context other than the playoffs? Now you know why…

Finally, I’d like to talk about 2 defensemen that finished in the top 15 for PPP/hr in 05/06 (among those D who played more than 100 PP minutes). Both are free agents (though one signed in the Czech Republic) and as both are getting up there in years, neither played more than 50 games last season due to a couple of minor long-term injuries. Here are their numbers:

Defenseman the first:
35 years old
5.4 PPP/hr (3rd among those with at least 100 PP minutes)
Played just 32 games in 2005/06, missed the last 26 games with back injury
Signed in the Czech Republic for 2006/07

Defenseman the second:
37 years old
4.8 PPP/hr (12th among those with at least 100 PP minutes)
Played just 45 games in 2006/07, missed 28 games with a dislocated right shoulder

As a point of comparison, Dick Tarnstrom and Marc-Andre Bergeron posted 2.28 and 2.77 PPP/hr respectively last season. With this in mind, have you figured out who either of the aging studs are and would you want either player on the Oilers?