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Showing posts from March, 2010

Rookie of the Month

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The Toronto Maple Leafs youth movement is in full flight, and two of their rookies are having terrific months of March. Tyler Bozak has gone 5-9-14 in 16 games this month to lead all NHL rookies. Goalie, Jonas Gustavsson has gone 7-1 in the month with a 2.06 GAA and save PCT of .923.
As good as these numbers are, neither one is likely to win the rookie of the month award. Buffalo's Tyler Myers has continued his torrid pace with 13 points in 15 games, second among league rookies. He won the award in January with only 10 points. Even John Tavares has 4 goals, 7 assists and 11 points in 14 games.

However, Detroit's Jimmy Howard has quietly morphed into one of the top goalies in the entire league. Howard may very well win NHL First Star of the month to go with Rookie of the month with a record of 12-2-1, 2.24 GAA and .918 save PCT. Howard leads all goaltenders by three wins for the month and may even be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy when all is said and done.

Team Quebec 1976

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In the 1977 Handbook of Pro Hockey (with, incidentally Paul Newman in Slap Shot on the cover) there is a quick write-up on most players in the NHL and WHA. I happened to come across to the Marc Tardif page while flipping through, and was interested in something I read. Apparently he had been quoted as liking the idea of a Team Quebec entry into the inaugural Canada Cup 1976. Now, I have never heard mention of this before, and of course I found it intriguing.

Tardif was coming off a 148 point year with the Nordiques of the WHA, a team packed with francophone stars. In the NHL of 1975/76 the scoring leader was of course Quebecer, Guy Lafleur and five of the top eight scorers were French. Three of the top four goal scorers that year were French as well, maybe Tardif had an argument. The mid 1970's was a time of change in the province of Quebec what with the sovereignist Parti Quebecois winning a majority government in 1976. Quebec nationalist pride was rampant, what if they indeed we…

Some Friday Ramblings...

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1.)
Similar starts to a goaltending career W L T GAA

Semyon Varlamov, 08/09 & 09/10 17-3-6 2.55 Bob Froese, 1982/83 17-4-2 2.52 Dominik Hasek, 90/91 & 91/91 13-4-2 2.58
Career numbers
Bob Froese 128-72-20 3.10 Dominik Hasek 389-223-95 2.20
Interesting how similar the starts of the careers from three players from very different eras. Will Varlamov end up being a Froese or a Hasek. Most likely somewhere in the middle.


2.) Toronto Maple Leaf, Jonas Gustavsson is actually having a nice rookie season. His record of 15-13-8 is even more impressive seeing the team's other tenders sport a record of 12-22-4. The Monster has his GAA down to 2.86 and Save PCT up to .902. 3.) Scoring Leaders since The Olympics Goals Stamkos 10 Stempniak 10 C.Stewart 9 Samuelsson 9 Gagne 9 Kessel 8 Gionta 8 Lee Stemp…

Bobby Poo....

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Olympic hangover, workload too big, too much between period Capicolli? Luongo just isn't right.
Sure, he's 6-3-1 since helping Team Canada to Gold, but his GAA in those 10 games is 3.20 and he's allowed three or more in six of them. Since the start of the longest road trip in history, he is 8-6-1 with a 3.17 GAA and only one shutout.

Therin lies the problem for me. I selected Luongo in my work draft with the 8th overall pick, first goalie taken. I was expecting far more than 4 shutouts after he put up 9 last season. In our pool, shutouts are three extra points on top of a goalie win, so they're huge. Therefore, today I have done the unthinkable......
I have dropped Luongo in my pool in favour of Jimmy Howard for a $10 transaction fee. See below the top six in our pool, I'm sitting third place, just inside the money.

At this point I HAVE to stay in at least third to collect the $100 prize money. This is about how much I have put into the pool so far what with all my …

600 goals, who's next?

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Teemu Selanne just became the 18th player to score 600 career NHL goals. Of these 18 guys, Selanne has scored a goal at the rate of 0.51 per game which is the seventh best among six hundred goal men. The question is, how many if any 600 goal scorers will there be in the future. Is Selanne the last member of this exclusive club?

Mark Recchi is currently at 560 goals, Mike Modano is at 556 and Keith Tkachuk sits at 536. Can any one of them find the 600 goal level? Recchi is 42 years old, Modano is 39 and Tkachuk is a week away from 38. Logic would dictate that it will be tough for any of them to hang around long enough, especially at their current goal scoring rates. Luckily there is a way to make an educated guess.
When I was a kid I loved reading the baseball analysis books of Bill James who was an innovator in statistical analysis and is currently employed by the Boston Red Sox. He developed a fomula to project career stats that he called "The Favourite Toy". Using a player&#…

The Calgary Molson Flames

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The 1983/84 O-Pee-Chee hockey set may very well be one of the ugliest sets ever, what with all the air-brush butchery. I explored this last year....
http://nitzyshockeyden.blogspot.com/2009/07/more-airbrush-magic.html

However, one thing that always puzzled me about this set is why in the world were some of the Flame players pictured in practice jerseys featuring "Molson" across the top? Was this the first ever product placement on a hockey card, did Molson pay a fee to have their name on the cards?
Perhaps the exposure to this as a 13 year old kid led to my current love of beer....

And not all of the Flames were pictured in their "beer league" sweaters, Kent Nilsson among others has a nice action shot on his card.

Was it mere laziness on the part of the company? I mean, they managed to find a nice game shot of Lanny McDonald for his masterton Trophy card...what gives?


Even the world-reknowned hockey card producers at Vachon Cakes managed to find a game shot of Lanny f…

Tier Two Junior Scorers

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With the CHL wrapping up and heading to their respective leagues playoffs, it's interesting to look at the next level down of junior hockey in Canada. Junior A Tier Two as it was once called is home to numerous leagues from British Columbia to the Maritimes that are great suppliers of talent to NCAA and even professional hockey. In fact, the just released ISS 2010 Draft Rankings list Penticton Vees, Beau Bennett (pictured) at 25th overall for the upcoming draft. Bennett, a native of southern California tied for the lead in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League with 41 goals and 79 assists for 120 points in 56 games. He is committed to attending Denver University next season. Tied with Bennett for the league lead was Mark Zengerle of the Salmon Arm Silver Backs (great name). His 120 points broke the team record for points that was held by Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils. Bennett's linemate in Penticton, Denver Manderson notched 113 points in only 50 games. Manderson pl…

Special Teams Inefficiency

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The Toronto Maple Leafs scored three powerplay goals against the Oilers last night to break an 0 for 31 drought in that department. Even with this outburst their Powerplay Rate is a terrible 16.0%, 26th overall. Combine this number with an atrocious 72.0% Penalty Kill efficiency, and this years Leafs have some of the worst special teams of all-time. Scotty Bowman used to say that the goal of his teams was to have PP and PK rates totalled at least 100%. Even with variance in season to season goal scoring rates, the special team rates will be on a constant of 100%. If for instance powerplays and goal scoring is at a high level (early 1980's) the corresponding penalty killing rates will always equal out to 100%. This makes comparing different eras easy as special team numbers are readily available back to 1963. This season's Leafs have a total Special Teams number of 88.0%; below is how that number rates as one of the worst ever. They may very well end up having the worst secial tea…

Road Sweet Road

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The Vancouver Canucks have just finished their monumental NHL record 14 game road excursion. Amazingly, they managed to garner over 60% of possible points on the trip.
Over the entire trip they scored a mere two goals more than they allowed yet still went 8-5-1. This all despite the fact that Lunogo was far from his best, he was actually outplayed by back-up Andrew Raycroft.


The 'Nucks were somewhat surprisingly led in goals by Mikael Samuelsson with ten. Ryan Kesler was second with six goals and over a point per game with 15. Daniel led the squad with 17 points and a +9 rating, brother Henrik managed 14 points. The success of the trip is even more impressive with the fact that the Sedins scored a total of six goals combined. The emergence of secondary scoring is what made up the difference. Four goals from Kyle Wellwood, three from Jannik Hansen and eight points in eleven games for Demitra certainly bodes well for Vancouver as the season winds down.

Team Canada 2014

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Too early?....perhaps. But, I say it's never too early. Of course, NHLers may not even go to Sochi. For our purposes we'll say they make the right call and shut down the league in order for the top talent in the world to play.

Team Canada 2010 had five members of the World Junior Champion team from 2005, firstly let's see if there are five players from the 2009 Junior squad that could be Olympians in 2014.
Goaltender Dustin Tokarski is having a nice pro debut with Norfolk in the AHL and Chet Pickard is also having a nice debut with teh other Admirals in Milwaukee. Both have work still to do to become NHL starters let alone elite players. Defenseman Tyler Myers should by 2014 be a top flight player, he's almost there now in 2010. Ryan Ellis and Alex Pietrangelo could very well be NHL stars by 2014, but for now they're OHL stars.

Among the 2009 Junior forwards, I'd imagine that John Tavares will be an elite player by 2014 worthy of Olympic consideration. As well, Jo…

Equalized Goal Scoring, First Five Seasons

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Sidney Crosby is your NHL goal scoring leader with 44. His Goals/game rate is 0.68 this season. As impressive as this is, Alex Ovechkin has a career Goals/game rate of 0.69 over almost five full seasons. Last year, I looked at equalizing individual goal scoring seasons, http://nitzyshockeyden.blogspot.com/2009/02/equalizing-goal-scoring.html

How does Ovechkin's scoring rate compare to all-time numbers. On it's own, his rate in his first five years is the sixth best in modern history to start a career.
Goals/Game First Five Seasons (modern era)
Gretzky 0.91
Lemieux 0.82 Br. Hull 0.80 Bossy 0.79 Richard 0.72 Ovechkin 0.69
The only problem with comparing numbers like this is the fact that league scoring has varied wildly over the years. For instance, over Gretzky's first five seasons (1979-84) there was an average of 7.67 goals scored in each NHL game. Over the last five seasons, teams have scored on average 5.83 goals combined per game. This is a huge difference, and makes current …

Wow....

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A better script could not have been written by Hollywood. Crosby, Overtime, Gold....come on. I'm just happy the game wasn't forced into the shootout. That is NOT a way to decide a gold medal. Even in my wildest dreams I wouldn't have been so bold to predict a finish like the one we saw. A few other things that would have been impossible to predict.

- Pavol Demitra leading the entire tournament in scoring with 10 points

-Norway's Tore Vikingstad scoring TWICE as many goals as Alex Ovechkin and finishing second overall with 4 goals.

-Brian Rafalski leading the U.S. in points and goals (tied with Parise) with 4 and 8.

-Each of Sweden's and the Czechs defense core notching a grand total of ONE goal, with Niklas Lidstrom coming up completely empty on goals and assists.

-Norway defenseman Jonas Holos playing an average of a ridiculous 28 minutes, 56 seconds per game over four matches.

Well, it's back to the N.H.L. now. Trade deadline, playoff races and my Leafs continuing…