Friday, September 19, 2008


I had a look at the Sedin's results the other day, I was checking to see why San Jose ends in the right end of the rink so often, but gets so few shots blocked in the process. The thinking being that Wilson's Sharks often get the puck into the scoring area the same way that the Sedins do, they work it in from off the low boards.

Of course San Jose has a raft of giant forwards who can really skate (if you ever see the Sharks and the Oilers walk past each other, you'll worry for the safety of our lads) and the Sedins would seem to be some sort of uncanny Weebles. Still, the process is the same.

And it turns out that the Canucks on the whole are as you'd suspect, the ratio of shots for/against is .95, missed shots .96, blocked shots .93.

But when the Sedins are on the ice they are uber-SanJose, hugely outshoot and outscore without the blocked shots, or missed shots for that matter, to show for it. And when the Sedins are off the ice, the Canucks are uber-Calgary. Blocked shots and missed shots all over the place, without the shots on goal to show for it. Go figure. And since I'm not mad enough to watch a bunch of Canuck games to figure out why this happens, I was just going to let it die.

Funny thing that happened along the way though, at a quick glance it looked like Daniel was a much better player than Henrik. This can't be, they are identical twins after all. I mean Vigneault is a button down coach, so the winger is not going to be the first forward back very much, and the centre is going to be the 3F going forward a lot. And he'll stay high unless meaningful possession is gained. In short, the winger is going to get more goals and the centre more assists for Vigneault at 5v5, I think we all expect that, and it's not very interesting.

And of course although the Sedins are famous for the cycle, and as a consequence not giving much back the other way, they can score in transition too, and it's always going to be the 1F back sending one of the wingers away at that time.

What is interesting; the Sedins played apart a bunch last season, relatively speaking. I remember near the end of the season that they had been split apart for some games, two of them vs the Oilers if my memory is right. I didn't realize just how much though. About two and a half hours of 5v5 icetime away from each other last season.

And by the shots for/against metric, which the Sedins usually own like few others; Daniel rolled along at a decent but lower clip (+65 and -63) and Henrik got shelled. And I mean shelled Stoll-style (+54 and -101). Damn, that's an asskicking!

Why? Bearing in mind that they are identical freaking twins.


Linemates when apart:

Henrik -- Taylor Pyatt (62 more teammate minutes than Daniel), Raymond (29), Cooke(20), Naslund(19) .

Daniel -- Ryan Kesler (65), Burrows(36), Morrison(15).


Faceoffs by zone:

Together -- -89 (A turnabout from Vigneault here, he was getting the twins out for offensive zone draws this year, and presumably otherwise with the puck headed north. That last bit is a dangerous assumption to make with a Hitchcock team, that cat is off the hook btw, but for everyone else it seems to hold water)

Daniel Apart -- +4

Henrik Apart -- +35 (!)


So when the Sedins were playing apart, it would appear that the twins were being used on separate lines as retro rockets. And Naslund and Morrison were Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. And Henrik was the one being thrown to the wolves.

If a knowledgable Canuck fan can chime in and give the window, or better yet list of games, when the Sedins were run separately, I'm sure that we'd see Morrison and Naslund with great underlying numbers and, depending on the puck luck, great 5v5 results as well.


Just to add, that Kesler is awfully good. Check out who he played against by MC's shots metric here (my own list of "star players" is in the URL, change it to suit your own eyes if you wish. And I just used the Western teams, I'm less confident with the east beyond Alfredsson, Sundin, Crosby, Hossa and Ovechkin). Plus look at how often he started in his own end. (player number "99" is the Sedins on the ice at the same time btw). And the terrible quality of his wingers, based on how they fared without him against lesser opponents, I'll leave you to your own devices on that one.

I dunno man, a work in progress I think. And maybe injury issues and other such commonsensical things come into play, I don't know. A shame that none of the smart cats around here watch the Canucks play, because there is a lot of truth about hockey lying there with the Sedins.


Update: I should also mention that Desjardins shows the twins playing an identical level of competition. Tyler's "total shots" metric shows the same, as shown in the link above, this using my own intuitive choice of 'star WC players'. The difference lies in the end of the rink that this stuff was mostly happening in for the twins.


Blogger Jonathan said...

Kesler is spectacular. An elite checking forward before he turned 24, on a poor team with poorer linemates. Special player in a lot of ways, but unless he ever gets put into an offensive role I doubt most people will ever realize it.

9/19/2008 2:27 pm  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Also, I'm not sure if I count as one of the "smart cats" or not, but living in BC, I do see my share of Canucks games. A quick check confirms that it was early-to-mid March where Vigneault split them apart for good chunks of the game.

Aside from that, although I haven't checked, I recall that Vigneault occasionally liked double-shifting Henrik, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Henrik with more total icetime than Daniel.

9/19/2008 4:28 pm  
Blogger Jonathan said...

More precisely:

March 18 - PHX
March 20 - EDM
March 21 - MIN
March 25 - CGY
March 26 - COL

Looks like he started the next game against Minnesota that way too, before putting the two back together.

9/19/2008 4:39 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Thanks Jonathon. The DAL game before that on there too, and that looks like it for the stretch of Sedins on different lines. Might be one or two others in there somewhere.

And without summing it up, it would appear to account for most of the difference in linemate quality (Kesler >> Pyatt, if it wasn't obvious [I've rated Kesler for a while, so I have bias] you can tell at a glance just by the way the opposing coaches ran their bench against those two lines on the road).

And it would appear to account for very little in terms of the faceoff zone difference, that must have come here and there throughout the year for those guys.

Vigneault seems to have conveniently isolated the variables for us here. I'll get back to it eventually, but my first course of action will be to sit back and wait for someone else to do it. :)

9/22/2008 11:16 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

By the way, Jonathon:

I knew that there was a Dallas game in there, because after hearing the Oilers remark in June on how increasing mgmt staffing levels would help them look at things like "why did Dallas do such a good job against the Sedins?", I had a quick check.

Turns out that the Canucks did one whole hell of a lot worse when the Sedins weren't on the ice vs DAL. Still, the pain was indeed less than for the Oil, and the obvious keys to their moderate success with the pisscutters:

1. Played Modano against them.
2. Had already built the rest of the team well enough that the Sedins were forced to start in their own end of the rink WAY more than against the Oilers.
3. When Vigneault decided to split up the Sedins ... not to worry, the Stars had Richards by then.

To add on that last game (which I didn't see, btw): Tippet looks to have started the Ribeiro/Morrow line running north all night, Vigneault could match with a Sedin line or get killed, he chose the former.

Richards/Lehtinen went up against the other Sedin line, and Tippet got all nostalgic on us with Modano v Naslund/Morrison.

9/22/2008 11:24 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

As I'm rambling already.

Jonathon, check out the H2H icetimes and shift chart for the CGY/VAN game on your list.

It's in Cowtown, and the Sedins play against quality all night. Either Iginla/Langkow/Phaneuf or Tanguay/Nolan/Regehr/Sarich.

Keenan leaves the Lombardi line (with yelle and Primeau I think) to square off against Naslund/Morrison ... and they do okay. Looks like wuiet icetime and they were mildly outshot but Nassison ... but damn, that's a matchup that would have scared the shit oout of Keenan, or any other bugger, not too long ago.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Injuries or no, that's just bad.

9/22/2008 11:28 am  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Keenan leaves the Lombardi line (with yelle and Primeau I think) to square off against Naslund/Morrison ... and they do okay. Looks like wuiet icetime and they were mildly outshot but Nassison ... but damn, that's a matchup that would have scared the shit oout of Keenan, or any other bugger, not too long ago.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Injuries or no, that's just bad.

I don't know what happened to Naslund - Morrison looks like the same player to me, albeit in worse situations with far worse linemates, plus he's still a good-to-better-than-good powerplay performer. Always liked Morrison, to tell the truth.

I don't know what happened to Naslund; he's been a shell of himself since the lockout.

And no, a couple of years ago I don't think any coach would have sent Wayne Primeau out against those guys ;)

9/22/2008 12:42 pm  

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