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Showing posts from January, 2007

Getting Serious About Shootouts

Perhaps the most significant difference between pre- and post-lockout NHL action is the shootout, the crowd-pleasing finish to an otherwise tied game that allows one team to skate off in victory, and the other to still take home a point in the standings for their night's work. We've seen some incredible highlights come out of the shootout, like Brian Rolston's slapshot , Pavel Datsyuk's incredible deke , or perhaps the ultimate highlight-reel play, Marek Malik's between-the-legs dazzler. As much as many in the sports media criticize the NHL for perceived marketing failures, the adoption of the shootout has provided a great opportunity for hockey to sneak into the highlight packages on nightly sports shows across the country. Besides sheer entertainment value, however, the shootout has turned into one of the most significant factors in the race for the playoffs. Last year, for example, if you took away the points in the standings from shootout victories, Toronto ra

It's a good ole hockey meme...

This got started yesterday by Jes Golbez . Here's my take... If I Were a Hockey Player: Team : Detroit Red Wings Uniform Number : 35 Position: Right Wing Nickname : Good question - my name doesn't lend itself to the "ie" effect, as in Dougie, Stevie, etc. Dream Linemates : Brendan Shanahan on LW, Joe Sakic at C. Rounding out the PP : Nick Lidstrom and Zdeno Chara (it would be hilarious just to stand on the ice next to him). Job : Forechecking (duh!), and working the crease for rebounds & tips. Signature Move : Quick shots of the faceoff in the offensive zone. Strengths : Hustle, passing, defensive anticipation. Weaknessess : Shooting, skating. Injury Problems ? A 20-pound growth that's congealed around my midsection since my college days. Leading medical researchers call it a "spare tire", or "lovehandles". Equipment : Tattered and well-worn padding, a clunky Cooper hockey helmet , and an old-school Torspo hockey stick with

Back in my day, we didn't call 'em "Bloggers..."

It looks like there was another round of discussions lately on the issue of press-style access that bloggers should or should not receive from the NHL. This brought to mind my experience from the mid- to late-1990's, writing for the long lost website In the Crease , where I used to write regular columns, mostly covering the Red Wings. Back then we didn't have the handy word "Blog" to use, so instead we had awkward terms like "internet magazine", or "webzine", etc. It was great fun, however, as most things were in the early days of the internet; with the thrill of seeing your stuff mocked up professionally, and receiving feedback from readers all over the world. Then I remembered the Internet Archive Wayback Machine , a handy way of peeking back through the curtain of time to see websites as they used to be. Sure enough, In the Crease is in there, and in one of the oldest issues they have captured there, is a piece I wrote after getting my f

Thank Goodness for "Revert to Classic"

Wow, what a nightmare - just spent the last couple hours wrestling with "new Blogger's" layout functionality, trying to migrate this blog into their new tool. At least I was able to find the "Revert to Classic" button, and bring things back to status quo. It may not be sexy, but at least I didn't lose everything. For a while, it looked like I was going to have to rework every blogroll, sidebar item, etc. Blech. Someday I'll try improving the visual aspects of this site, but not this way...

Pardon the Dust

I don't know why I decided to do this tonight, but I'm upgrading to "new Blogger's" templates, which basically wiped out a lot of my original formatting, blogroll, etc. Please be patient while the remodeling continues...

Those Especially Special Teams

There I was, idly clicking my way around the hockey blogosphere, when, like the Bat Signal cast against the cloudy skies of Gotham, I spied a call for help. At the end of a post covering the All-Star Game and how perhaps it might be improved, Ritch from American Hockey Fan had a question... Why not have the best Powerplay in the league face off against the best PK? Who would that be, I wonder? San Jose vs. Montreal, maybe? Perhaps the Forechecker will come to my aid again. Fear not, good netizen - I'm always in need of topical inspiration, so let's take a look... The NHL stat in this area merely covers percentage of opportunities converted. On that front, San Jose has the top power play (25.8%), and Vancouver the top penalty kill (88.4%). There, we have our answer, right? If we did, this would be an awfully short piece, that's for sure. A great source of special teams statistics can be found over at , where you can find a breakdown of teams on a 60-mi

Taking In The All Star Game

Since, as the old saying goes, "opinions are like blogs, everybody's got one" , here's my thoughts after catching tonight's NHL All-Star Game from Dallas: The Rail-Cam is a great idea, but it needs further refinement. Perhaps if they would run it back and forth along a wire suspended higher in the air than the top of the glass, it would not only provide a better viewing angle (most shots are too tight), but the camera itself wouldn't get in the way as much during wider shots. The live commentary from Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco throughout the third period was some of the best TV hockey I've seen in a long, long time. The on-air interviews need to provide more opportunity for the players to show their personality and have some fun. Good example - Christine Simpson presenting Alex Ovechkin with a jumbo-size bag of potato chips, in a nod to his recent TV commercial, and Alex mugging like he was going to chow down right there on the bench. Bad exa

Top Goal Scorers: Are they Hot or Not?

Today's tidbit comes courtesy of a fleeting inspiration while compiling some other Shot Quality data. I thought I'd take a snapshot of the Top 50 Goal Scorers at the current time, and list what their Expected Goals figure shows, based on the quantity and quality of the shots they're taking. I've provided that list below, along with a "Hot or Not" factor which is merely Actual Goals/Expected, so starting with Martin St. Louis, he's scored 20% more goals than you'd expect from basic Shot Quality analysis*. The intention is simply to point out which players are the hottest right now (shaded pink), and which are actually underscoring (shaded blue) their predicted value. Now granted, since I'm looking at the Top 50 scorers, someone who is excessively "cold" wouldn't even show up on this list. Some of the players who fell into that category include Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom (13 goals vs. 18.61 expected) and Anaheim's Andy McDonald (