Sabtu, 14 April 2012

New Feature: STATurday with Curtis

Hello internet! Curtis here with possibly the most boring new feature we've ever introduced. But, hey. Our blog. Whateva whateva we do what we want.

So if you've been following our twitter (and I expect you have been), you learned today that I spent all night Thursday researching and analyzing stats. Interestingly enough, that's something I do pretty often. However, Noodles is the only one I share my findings with and we decided it was a shame that my "hard work" goes to waste.

This is an actual screenshot of my actual spreadsheet.

So I'll have a new post every Saturday, and I don't sleep- so if you have a request? Something that's been bugging you, a feeling, or just something you want to know more about, let me know in the comments or on the twitter and I will be that person who does the dirty work for you. I haven't really decided how to format the posts- I don't know how much explanation it needs and I'm kind of wordy.

Enough expository garbage. Here's the first post.


The Impact of Taylor Hall's Absence on Jordan Eberle and the Edmonton Oilers

As the Oilers season wound down, I started to look forward to the end with a certain resignation to the fact that it was going to be another brutal, awful finish. But that wasn't all- I started to realize how much I was beginning to hate watching the Oilers play without Taylor Hall.

Hall is my favourite player, as just about anyone would be able to tell you. This was a rough season. He missed 21 games, including the last 11 games of the season, but still managed to solidify himself as a dangerous scorer and the emotional leader of the Edmonton Oilers. The games without him were tough to watch- Jordan Eberle is by far the most talented player on our team, and while he kept scoring, even he seemed to be missing the extra jump. So while I suspected that the Oilers, and Jordan, were just better with Hall in the lineup, I couldn't trust that it wasn't just my own bias. So uh, being the person that I am, aka- a person whose brain is probably 75-80% hockey stats, I decided to investigate.

The results were more telling than I could have imagined. The deeper I got, the more my feelings were confirmed.

The Ebs and Hallsy bromance is one of the greatest of our generation but it seems they might actually be a little bit more co-dependent than I even initially thought.

Over the 78 games he played this year, Jordan finished with a .97 pts/game average. He played 20 games without Taylor in the lineup. During that time, his p/g dropped to .75. In the 58 games with Taylor in the lineup? 1.05, over a point per game. A 30% increase in points (12% more goals, 19% more assists). He was also a +6 with Taylor, and a -2 without.

They're just better together.

As far as the team? Let's look at the wins. Well, we all know the Oilers season wasn't exactly picture perfect, with a 32-40-10 (.390). Not exactly stellar. However, they went 6-11-4 without Hall. That's a .286 winning percentage. Over the course of a season, that's 23-43-16, for 62 points... which would have been even worse than Columbus this year. With Hall, their winning percentage actually jumps up to .426. Still not a winning team, and doesn't change much this year, but still a marked improvement.

One of the biggest things I noticed was that there was a substantial drop-off in the effort level, especially after the 40 minute mark, particularly if we were losing. A number of players alluded to this in their end-of-year interviews. So obviously I looked into that, too.

Without Taylor Hall, the Oilers scored 12 goals in the third period (while allowing 22). Of twenty-one games. TWELVE GOALS in TWENTY-ONE games. In one of those games they broke out against the Blue Jackets in the third period and scored 5 goals, including a Ryan Jones hattrick. So that game aside? 7 3PG in 20 games. They outscored the opponent in the third period THREE times. 3 out of 21 games. That's probably because Taylor Hall scored about 15% of the Oilers 3rd period goals this year. 41% of his goals this year came after the 2nd intermission. In the business, that's called "Clutch".

There are other Oilers who know that word, too.

Interestingly enough, since Taylor Hall came into the league as a rookie in the 2010-2011 season, the Oilers have scored 4 overtime goals. He scored three of them. The first was scored by Dustin Penner on December 1st, 2010, and since then, it's been all Taylor. Not to mention that Taylor scored 26% of the Oilers' game winners this season.


To summarize, yea. The Oilers are better with Taylor Hall. The Oilers need Taylor Hall. And I think everyone- not just Oilers fans- should be excited to see what he can do healthy, with a full season, next year.

2012 Playoffs: Quarterfinals Day Three

#3 Florida Panthers / #6 New Jersey Devils

Devils lead series 1-0 after a 3-2 win.

In the first period, it was all Devils. They took it to the Panthers and it looked hopeless. They scored three goals in the first and everything looked to be under control.

But the Panthers wouldn't let that happen. And they scored two in the second and then it was a battle to the end to see if the Panthers would tie it.


#4 Pittsburgh Penguins / #5 Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers lead series 2-0 after an insane 8-5 win in PGH.

Claude Giroux had an amazing game. Six points. Are you kidding us?

Again, the Penguins scored the first couple of goals. And again the Flyers came back to win the game. But this time they won with eight goals. Are you freaking kidding us? Eight goals.

These types of character wins scare the crap outta us. It just gives the Flyers more motivation and that isn't good for the Penguins.

Well, it will sure as hell be interesting in Philadelphia.


#4 Nashville Predators / #5 Detroit Red Wings

Series split 1-1 after a 3-2 Wings win.

We could have predicted this win. The Wings were motivated after the injury to Helm and the WWF move pulled by Weber. It was an emotional win for the Wings and we expected it.

The Wings scored two in the first and then added another and all seemed well for the Wings. But the Predators made it interesting and scored two.

The series is going to Detroit after this and everyone knows how the Wings are at home so it's going to be really interesting to see who wins Game Three.


#1 Vancouver Canucks / #8 Los Angeles Kings

Kings lead series 2-0 after a 4-2 win in Vancouver.

No one predicted this that's for sure.

The Kings power play has been out of control right now. And the Canucks power play is not doing well.

Even with the Kings taking a million penalties in the game, the Canucks could not capitalize on the power plays. And even got scored on. Both of Dustin Brown's goals came shorthanded.

Uh, what? That's pretty awesome.

People are already yelling about putting Schneider in goal but Luongo isn't the problem. The rest of the team is.

Jumat, 13 April 2012

2012 Playoffs: Quarterfinals Day Two

#1 New York Rangers / #8 Ottawa Senators

Rangers lead series 1-0 after a 4-2 win at the Garden

Of course Captain Callahan scored the Rangers first goal in the playoffs. Because he's the man.

It looked like Henrik Lundqvist was gonna get the shutout but Daniel Alfredsson ruined it. Of course.

It was one of those games that you knew would either be a shutout or a high-scoring affair. Kinda was both actually.

The Senators looked like they were not ready for this game and it showed. They were nervous and all over the place. Next game will be interesting.


#2 Boston Bruins / #7 Washington Capitals

Bruins lead series 1-0 after a thrilling OT win.

Okay, we're kidding about the thrilling part. It was one of those 0-0 games that you feel.

Braden Holtby was being a beast. And the Bruins couldn't solve him at all. Not until the third period at least.

Chris Kelly came out of nowhere and scored the game-winning goal.

And then the glass wanted in on the celebration and fell on top of David Krejci. Poor glass, it just wanted to be in on the celly.


#2 St. Louis Blues / #7 San Jose Sharks

Sharks lead series 1-0 after a 2OT goal.

Martin Havlat showed up and made a difference in the game. He scored the game-winning goal in second overtime.

The game was literally back and forth and exciting and they were trading chances left and right.

The Sharks scored first and it didn't look good for the Blues but they came back and scored. It was definitely a back and forth kind of game.


#3 Phoenix Coyotes / #6 Chicago Blackhawks

Coyotes lead series 1-0 after a win in OT.

Martin Hanzal, the night of Martins, scored in the first couple minutes of OT and broke all of our hearts.

Well, those that were cheering for the Hawks were heartbroken.

But it was lovely to see Captain Toews score in his first game back and the first goal for the Blackhawks in the 2012 Playoffs.

Just lovely.

But the Coyotes definitely held the best of the play and deserved the win. They were really good and played defensively and just waited for the opportunity to get the game-winner.

Fine then, there's always next gameeeeeeeee.

Kamis, 12 April 2012

2012 Playoffs: Quarterfinals Day One

So much to talk about and so much to avoid.


#4 Pittsburgh Penguins / #5 Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers lead series 1-0 come from behind win in OT.

Really? We were not pleased with this at all but it happens and we can only hope for the best from the Penguins in Friday's game.

So, can we talk about the dominance from Brayden Schenn? Like seriously, we knew the kid was good and he showed flashes of it in the regular season but come on, he was effing brilliant against the Penguins in Game One.

What a player and what a kid. He was offensively on the whole game. When Claude Giroux was shut down, Schenn was there to pick up the slack and man did he do just that.

Of course we're hoping for none of that in Game Two but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.


#4 Nashville Predators / #5 Detroit Red Wings

Predators lead series 1-0 after a 3-2 win in Smashville

We know what everyone is talking about after this game ended. It's the Weber WWE move on Zetterberg. We've heard enough, you've heard enough so let's move on and talk about the game.

What we want to focus on is the dominance of the Predators's third line. The line of Nick Spaling, Gabriel Bourque and Matt Halischuk.

When the first two 'scoring' lines couldn't produce anything, their third line came up big. We've always thought that the Predators had an excellent third line and this game really made us believe.


#1 Vancouver Canucks / #8 Los Angeles Kings

Kings lead series 1-0 after a 4-2 win

Biggest story to come out of this series so far? PENALTIES GALORE! Seriously, everything was being called on everyone.

There was barely any pace to the game and the Kings had some good chances on the power play and finally converted.

Mike Richards was a huge factor in the game as well and his playoff experience for the Kings is obviously invaluable.

Our favorite part? Dustin Penner's game-winner.

News & Notes for Wednesday

- Jack Connolly from Minnesota-Duluth won the Hobey Baker Award which is college hockey's award for the top player.

- Boston College won the NCAA Championship over Ferris State with a score of 4-1.

- The Blackhawks signed Ray Emery to a one-year contract extension.

- has the final statistical look at the regular season. You know how we love our stats!

- The Dallas Stars had a moving ceremony honoring Karlis Skrastins and Shanny sent us the video of it.

- Surprise, surprise Nail Yakupov has been named the #1 player for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

- The Edmonton Oilers won the number one spot AGAIN for the third year in a row.

- James Reimer has been battling what he calls a neck injury and hopes to be better next season. Don't we all.

- There's a lot of things that Jay Feaster has to consider in this long off season for the Flames like to rebuild or not to rebuild.

- Brian Burke vows to address the issues the Leafs have in goaltending and in the size-department. Mmkay, we will see.

- Nathan Horton will miss the entirety of the 2012 Playoffs with a concussion. Such a shame.

- Jaromir Jagr expects to play next season. Cool.

- The Colorado Avalanche signed head coach Joe Sacco to a two-year contract extension. This makes us happy, we think he's a good coach for the young Avs.

- Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold is optimistic about the Wild making the playoffs next season and says that GM Chuck Fletcher will get an extension.

- Apparently there's a giant replica of the Stanley Cup in Times Square in New York City. What the everloving hell?

- Here's another episode of Unlaced with Ralph Strangis who tortures/interviews Vern Fiddler.

(thanks to Shanny for this link)

- One of the most exciting things going on (besides the playoffs) is the World Championships. Yay!

Team Canada has nabbed quite a few great players. Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, John Tavares, Jay Bouwmeester, Dion Phaneuf, Evander Kane, Devan Dubnyk and Cam Ward.

Among others. We can't wait. As always, Team Canada seems stacked and we hate them.

- Team USA is also getting their shit together and getting guys left and right to play for their country.

So far, the guys named are Jack Johnson, Cam Fowler, Richard Bachman, Alex Goligoski, Justin Faulk, Jeff Petry, Paul Stastny, Bobby Ryan, Patrick Dwyer, Nathan Gerbe, Cam Atkinson, JT Brown, Nate Thompson, Keyl Okposo, Max Pacioretty and Jim Slater.

They've also named Ryan Lasch who is playing in the Finnish Elite League and is not in the NHL. Um, okay.

USA hockey is do or die.

Rabu, 11 April 2012

2012 Playoffs Preview: Western Conference

Hey ladies, we're cutting it down to the wire here but things in real life have been a little crazy.

The Eastern Conference is fun but sometimes the Western Conference just scares the living daylights outta us. They're tough, they're high-flying and did we mention murderous because we wouldn't want to meet most of the bluelines in the Western Conference in a back alley.

Unless it's Shea Weber and then we would totally let it happen.

Anyway, onto the previews before this playoffs season starts.


#1 Vancouver Canucks / #8 Los Angeles Kings

Hasn't this already happened? Two seasons ago we had to watch the Canucks run the train on the poor Kings and come out of that series relatively unscathed.

The Canucks are without Daniel Sedin who is still suffering from a concussion but that didn't stop them from clinching the President's Trophy. Even without him, they're still that good.

Sure there are questions about their goaltending but honestly, Roberto Luongo isn't that bad. He has his moments and yeah, he kinda crapped the bed when they needed him the most but you live and you learn. Hopefully for Canucks fans, he stays solid.

And the Kings. The poor Kings, who have been battling with the Sharks and the Coyotes for the third seed in the playoffs, just seemed to be outside looking in for most of the season. But here they are.

Defensively, the Kings are strong. Jonathan Quick is a fantastic and Vezina-worthy goaltender. But are they strong enough to stop the Canucks attack who just seem to throw a million pucks on net?

It's going to be a battle of wills between Quick and the Canucks forwards in this series.

Our Pick: Los Angeles Kings

Because: Yeah, sure this is more than likely going to blow up in our faces but we really like the Kings in this matchup because of their defense and their goaltending. And we just want to pick something different instead of the favorite.

#2 St. Louis Blues / #7 San Jose Sharks

This series has to be one of the hardest to decipher because it could literally go either way.

The Blues have been tops on the Western Conference for most of the season and barely lost the first seed to the Canucks. Still not bad for a team that was one of the worst until Ken Hitchcock came around.

All seems lost when they announced that Brian Elliott is out with an injury but we don't feel bad because they have one of the other best goaltenders in the league in Jaroslav Halak. Yeah, the Blues will be fine.

Now the Sharks. There is no other team that baffles us more sometimes. It's like they're good, we know they're good, but they just don't play like they can sometimes and waste their potential at times.

They have the offensive skills to beat St. Louis. And they have the experience but there always seems to be something missing in their game. Like the drive to win is not there. Or something.

Our Pick: St. Louis Blues

Because: We just think that they're ready and they're a better team than the Sharks. Sure the Sharks have the experience but sometimes that isn't enough. The Blues are ready to fuck shit up. We hope.

#3 Phoenix Coyotes / #6 Chicago Blackhawks

You should already know who we're rooting for in this series. We are throwing all conventional wisdom out the window at this one.

When we found out that the Coyotes were in the playoffs again, we were admittedly surprised. No one seemed to talk about the pretty good season that they were having. Like, we had no idea they were doing that well. But, like the Southeast in the Eastern Conference, they are also points behind the seed they are playing.

Still, that does not take from the pretty great season they have been having. Even without their supposed number one goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov, who was traded away for a bag of pucks and a pick. Mike Smith has been amazing down the stretch and one of the reasons that they hung onto the third seed.

How the Chicago Blackhawks even made the playoffs, we aren't even sure. Jonathan Toews was having a Hart-like season when he received a hit from Joe Thornton and has been suffering from a concussion. Without him, the Hawks are less dynamic and more pressure is on his linemates. But he should be coming back and we couldn't be happier.

The Hawks have the offense to win. But yet again, the question is goaltending. We can't even stand this question anymore. Corey Crawford is being seen as weak and not playoff ready. Uh, does anyone remember Antti Niemi? He had a comparable defense in front of him and still won the Cup. We have faith in Crawford.

Like the Sharks, the Hawks have the experience to get out of the first round. Unlike the Sharks, they have the drive to win because they know what it is to win and what it is to lose in the first round to Vancouver (people don't forget).

We think this is going to be a tough one and another one that we have no idea how it will turn out. But we will make our predictions.

Our Pick: Chicago Blackhawks

Because: We have to have faith in our second favorite captain and the team that we love in the West. They have the offense and the experience and the leadership and Toews. That's why.

#4 Nashville Predators / #5 Detroit Red Wings

This series reminds us of the Eastern Conference #4 and #5 matchup because it's two teams who are divisional rivals and are pretty evenly matched.

The Predators have home ice and that is a huge advantage. They have been pretty great at home and actually, they've just been pretty great. This is a team that is built to win and built to win in the West.

With the additions that their GM made in the trade deadline, you just knew they would be a contender. Paul Gaustad was acquired to go up against Ryan Kesler. Hal Gill is the shutdown man. Andrei Kostitsyn is scoring.

And then they got Alex Radulov. Really? Really? Whatever, it's not even fair at this point.

We didn't even talk about the defense. Best blueline around. They're built for the Stanley Cup Finals and if they don't get there, well, that won't be good at all.

The Red Wings are the perennial contenders. But there's something different this season. They just don't have the same fear factor like they did in other years. Maybe it was the losing streaks. Maybe it's the injuries. Something has taken the bite out of this team.

We would never count the Wings out. Ever. They're always dangerous and they're always in contention. But we just aren't feeling it this season.

Our Pick: Nashville Predators

Because: Well, like we said above, they're built to win. And Pekka Rinne is a stud. And they made it out of the first round last season and that isn't enough anymore. They want it and they want it bad.

Well, this is the Western Conference preview. Who do you think will win? What do you think will happen?

As always, let us know.

Happy Playoffs!

Selasa, 10 April 2012

2012 Playoffs Preview: Eastern Conference

Like every year, we will be doing our 2012 Playoff Previews for the Eastern and Western Conference.

Does it seem like this season is filled with matchups that could go either way and it's hard to even figure out who will win? Sure you can make a guess but other seasons you usually had the one matchup where you were like, "Oh there is no way they can win. It's sad that they're even trying."

There doesn't seem to be that matchup this season. Which could be a good or bad thing for fans.

Here is the schedule for the days and times and channels that each series will be played on. The Quarterfinals is always the hardest one to keep track of.

Anyway, onto the Eastern Conference preview.


#1 New York Rangers / #8 Ottawa Senators

The Rangers have been tops pretty much all season except for like a week when they weren't.

The Senators have been that team that had major ups and downs this season and made it into the playoffs in the eighth spot through sheer will. And decent goaltending from Craig Anderson and a career year from Erik Karlsson.

Two very different teams in two very different positions and it's hard to tell what could happen in this series.

Will Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza continue their dazzling offensive output and just run roughshod over the Rangers?

Will Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards produce like they have pretty much all season and just give it to the Senators goaltender?

These are the questions that keep us awake most nights.

Everyone is picking the Rangers to win this and we really can't argue with it.

But we do think that the Senators are going to put up a good fight and score some goals on Mr. Lundqvist.

Honestly, we have had some pretty good feelings about the Rangers this season. This is their time to shine and show the hockey world that they're finally ready to contend for the Stanley Cup.

Our Pick: New York Rangers

Because: they have Lundqvist who is healthy and playing lights out again and he is the difference-maker in the series...both teams have the offense but only one has the King.

#2 Boston Bruins / #7 Washington Capitals

The Bruins. Everyone is obsessed with their defense of the Cup but in all seriousness, we could see them making a serious run for it. They had an awful start to the season but then turned it around and clinched the Northeast Division.

The Capitals had one of those seasons that you just wish would end mercifully for all. Injuries plagued them. Offense just wasn't there. Defense didn't happen. It was just all over the place.

The interesting part will be goaltending. With the injuries to Vokoun and Neuvirth, the Capitals will be turning to Braden Holtby and Dany Sabourin to be the backup. Holtby is not a bad goaltender but this is the playoffs and the Bruins know how the playoffs are.

We can't talk enough about experience and how that does make a difference. This will probably be a hard-hitting and possibly a high-scoring series. Also, did the Capitals use everything they had to get into the playoffs and have nothing left in them for the playoffs? That's a huge question as well.

Our Pick: Boston Bruins

Because: their defense is still one of the toughest in the league and you can't argue with Tim Thomas being great...the only problem we see is the Capitals offense being too much for the Bruins but maybe not.

#3 Florida Panthers / #6 New Jersey Devils

Well, this happened.

The Panthers won the Southeast Division but honestly, we could win the Southeast this season. Admittedly, they were the top team in that division for almost the whole season but still, beating up on those teams isn't that hard.

What we like about the Panthers is that they seem to be the Goonies of the season. Maybe that should be a future award or something. They just never say die and just go and go and go. Many NHL pundits pegged them to fail and they didn't.

As for the Devils, jeez, a team that's been middling throughout the season and just roared their way into the sixth spot. They seem to be always in the mix and with 30-goal seasons from David Clarkson, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk it almost seems like they were going to make the playoffs all alone.

We would love to see the Panthers kick some butt and take it to the Devils and at least make it a good series. Everyone's been picking the Devils to just run over the Panthers but we don't believe it. Like the rest of the season, the Panthers are being counted out and we think they're going to give the Devils some fits.

Our Pick: New Jersey Devils

Because: With their playoff experience, Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk, and Peter DeBoer motivated to win against his old team, it's hard to bet against them.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins / #5 Philadelphia Flyers

The series to end all series.

The Penguins have been pretty consistent all season until the last few weeks when shit just seemed to be failing left and right. But that's just Penguins fans going all Chicken Little on us again. They're stacked. Sidney Crosby is hungry for another Cup. Evgeni Malkin is scoring at will. And pretty much everyone is healthy. This is a scary team.

The Flyers have been pretty much neck and neck with the Penguins all season, the two teams snapping at each other's heels. This series was destined to happen. And the Flyers are pretty stacked as well with Claude Giroux having an MVP season and Scott Hartnell doing what he does best.

Of course the question is goaltending for the Flyers. Bobrovsky is undefeated at Consol Energy Center. They're 5-1 against the Penguins at Consol and the Pens have home ice advantage. That's the good news. The bad news is the up and down season that Ilya Bryzgalov had and for them to win, he has to be awesome.

Our Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins

Because: We had to and we really believe that they'r the stronger team.

What do you think? How do you think your team will fare? Let us know here!

Tomorrow will be the Western Conference Preview.