St. Patrick’s Day seems like an opportune time to add some thoughts as the Sens season goes into the drink (Varada see’s no reason for hysteria, as the Sens are exactly the bubble team he predicted–I wince a bit when he says “most” people felt that way–Rob Vollman and others were very high on the team). The off-season is less than a month away (April 14th kids, mark your calendars), and I think obituaries should be held until then. Regardless, since I last chimed in on the season the Sens have gone 1-3-2 and seen their tiny playoff odds slip to almost non-existent. It turns out those November musings that the season was over (referenced here) were spot on. As Nichols points out (props on being paid for your opinion amigo–it’s well deserved), the Sens aren’t that different a team from this year to last, but they aren’t receiving the miracle goaltending of the lockout shortened campaign. However, I’m not a fan of this thought:
if Bryan Murray can add better two-way forwards
I think Sens have an over abundance of forwards to whom that appellation is given (albeit not by Nichols), eg the lamentable Greening-Smith-Neil (Manny does his best to understand Paul MacLean’s obsession with the trio, concluding its their zone entries that he loves so much). I actually like the Sens defence, minus the re-signed Chris Phillips (if he’s good in the room, leave him in the room) and Jared Cowen–at least the latter has hope to improve (Manny does a good job describing Eric Gryba, “he’s a serviceable bottom-pairing defenseman”).
-Any move that Don Brennan doesn’t like is going to be a good one, but no one needs his idiotic opinion to realise the acquisition of Ales Hemsky at the deadline was a good move and I hope he isn’t just a rental. I wasn’t a fan of trading Andre Petersson, but this is the final year of his ELC and clearly the organisation thinks it has more than enough forward prospects to let him go (the much less interesting NCAA prospect Jeff Costello was also jettisoned). Speaking of undersized forwards, Corey Conacher was gifted to Bryan’s nephew Tim via the waiver wire–while he didn’t score much in Ottawa, his underlying metrics were very good and it wouldn’t surprise me if he blossomed as a Sabre. Dumping Joe Corvo into the AHL made sense–his addition over the summer seemed pointless to me at the time and it was a mercy for him and the team to move on.
–Manny gives us some analytics on scoring chances and after a lengthy exploration concludes:
Possession is the component that drives even-strength scoring. The results herein further enforce the notion that goal-based statistics do not provide adequate assessments of players’ overall performances, but rather the summation of innumerable factors in constant flux. Though possession drives scoring opportunities and in turn, those opportunities goals, too much becomes lost in translation at the individual level. Given what we know, it’s best to rely on bulk shot-based metrics to provide statistical insight into how a player contributes towards out-scoring opponents.
I recommend reading the entire article.
–Amelia L does a great job looking at the disappointing effort Sportsnet is putting into its planned national broadcast coverage of the NHL (Fox News style–aim for old white men as your audience). My favourite bit:
Analysts like Friedman have tried to drag HNIC into the 21st century on issues as diverse as player safety and statistical analysis but the show as a whole remains firmly lodged in the past. Too often Friedman, who embraces social media and hockey’s growing online voices, is shouted down by PJ Stock and Glenn Healy, the current embodiments of hockey’s archaic “code” culture. Too often the loudest panelist wins on HNIC, regardless of how well his argument has been articulated.
This is one of the many reasons I don’t watch HNIC unless I have no choice.
–Jared Crozier offers us this:
I have laid the blame on the official before, and will probably do so again, so this might be a little hyppocritcal. But at some point the Senators fan base has to look at the team they support and see that it is more their doing than the guys in stripes.
Put aside Jared’s anger at people blaming officials when he plans on blaming them in the future and go more to the point: simply accept NHL officiating is bad and your lives will be more peaceful.
–Jeremy Milks gets self-reflective:
For some reason I’ve gotten that reputation [of liking tough guys over skilled guys] in the Sens small but fiercely opinionated online community and maybe that’s my own fault. … Even if I’m wrong sometimes, I take satisfaction in defending a player that gets almost unanimous scorn. … I don’t want to turn this into another stats argument and point to a bunch of numbers. We all know they’re good.
I like that Jeremy wants to defend underdogs and not simply bow to the opinion of the majority (albeit his opinions are the majority in print/radio/TV media), but I do find his disinclination to deal with stats amusing. He has to know that stats are a way of describing and analysing the events he’s seeing, so they (should) provide insight rather than get in the way of discussion.
–Jeff Ulmer continues to provide great coverage of Binghamton’s season (the B-Sens finally getting out of their funk as they reclaimed first place in the East); former beat reporter PuckJoy is also doing a great job on Twitter doing the same.
–Peter Morrow offers us his top-20 prospect list; there’s no real analysis (or rationale for how players are compared–is it fulfilling their potential, against each other’s potential, how ready they are, or what?), but for list-lovers everywhere it creates room for debate and discussion.
-I didn’t cite Travis Yost here, but do yourself a favour and follow him (TravisHeHateMe)
-A very different flavour, but PuckPossessed is also someone to watch on your Twitter dial
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)