While the Canucks have been a mess on the powerplay this season and have been inconsistent defensively at even-strength, the one area that has been a strength all season long has been the penalty kill. The Canucks have allowed more than one powerplay goal in a game just three times this season and haven’t done so since February 24th against the Detroit Red Wings.
Once the Canucks had some actual centres in Ryan Kesler and Derek Roy, the penalty kill got even better, going seven straight games and 25 opportunities without allowing a goal against. As a result, the Canucks finished 8th in the NHL in penalty kill percentage at 84%. It’s been one of the most consistent areas for the Canucks, killing off 86% last season and 85.6% the season before.
It’s sometimes tough to tell who on the Canucks is most responsible for their shorthanded success. Goaltending obviously plays a big role and it’s assumed that coaching is vital, but which defencemen and forwards have been the best on the penalty kill for the Canucks?
It’s harder to figure out than you’d think.Continue Reading —›
The Canucks are taking far too many penalties this season. At least, that’s what it feels like just 18 games in. It doesn’t help that the Canucks are currently 19th in the NHL in penalty killing at 79.4%. Penalties tend to be a lot more memorable when a goal is scored during the subsequent powerplay.
Sunday’s game against the Red Wings is a good example. While there were certainly some questionable calls by the officials, it was the Canucks’ lousy penalty killing that helped make them part of the story of the game. With some better penalty killing in the second period, the Canucks would actually have had a chance to get a point out of that game instead of it becoming an 8-goal debacle.
Over the past couple seasons, the Canucks have had one of the league’s best penalty kills, which played a big part in their back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy wins. This season, the Canucks have given up 15 goals while shorthanded. At 5-on-4, they’re tied for the second most goals-against in the league. That has to be a combination of their poor penalty killing and taking too many penalties.
The biggest culprit so far has been Alex Burrows, who has found himself in the box far too often this season. This just makes matters worse, as he is also one of the Canucks’ best penalty killers.
Over at Backhand Shelf this morning, I looked at the trends in penalty minutes across the entire NHL. I’m going to do the same here, focussing on the Canucks.Continue Reading —›
While nothing has been confirmed officially, by all accounts the NHL season will be starting on January 19th and will last for 48 games. This was, apparently, the shortest season that the NHL would have considered, which makes it awfully convenient that a new CBA deal was reached just in time for a 48-game season to occur.
Setting aside what has brought us to this point for the moment, what does it mean to have 48 games rather than 82? For starters, each game becomes nearly twice as important. Approximately 1.95 times more important, to be a little more specific. To help you visualize a 48-game season, each team plays 48-50 games before the All-Star break in a normal season.
To give you some idea of how a 48-game season changes things, I looked at what it would have meant for last season.Continue Reading —›
Sometimes when I get curious enough about something to investigate it, digging up statistics and putting together charts, the answer turns out to be the obvious one. Fortunately, it can also turn up some other interesting information along the way.
Here’s the question I had: which wingers were most effective with Ryan Kesler last season? One of the big questions coming into this season is who should play on the second line with Kesler, once he returns too early? David Booth seems to have his spot all sewn up, but there are many competitors for the opposite wing, including Chris Higgins, Mason Raymond, Jannik Hansen, Zack Kassian, and Nicklas Jensen. Heck, if Shane Doan signs with the Canucks, you can add him and Alex Burrows to that list.
David Booth and Chris Higgins were Kesler’s most common linemates last season, but were they his most effective linemates? To get the answer, I did some WOWY (With Or Without You) analysis to see how Kesler performed with and without various linemates. In this case, the answer appears to be pretty definitively “yes.”Continue Reading —›
Charts and graphs are great. I love charts and graphs. But they do have a tendency to be a trifle boring. Fortunately, Chartball is here to make sports charts and graphs beautiful. Chartball has been around for a few years but has only recently begun making charts for hockey.
This particular chart covers the Vancouver Canucks’ franchise history up until the 2010-11 season, which makes me think it’s been around for a while, but this is the first I’m seeing it.
And yes, it’s beautiful.Continue Reading —›
Advanced statistics in hockey aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Also, not everyone likes tea in the first place, so when you offer them a cup of tea and they politely, yet firmly, decline and you keep shoving tea in their face, it’s rather rude. And yet, I continue to talk about advanced statistics on PITB, trusting that the tea-drinkers will appreciate a nice rooibos tea while everyone else will ignore it completely.
But what if I promised a pretty picture that might make advanced statistics a bit more clear? Or, in my increasingly forced tea metaphor, what if I added a bunch of high-fructose corn syrup to green tea but still pretended it was healthy by putting ginseng in it?
Robert Vollman of Hockey Abstract has released the 2011-12 Player Usage Charts, which take three of the most common and useful advanced statistics and put them into a handy-dandy chart that makes it easy to see at a glance how a player was used and how well they performed in their role. I’ve taken a look at these charts in regards to the Stanley Cup Finalists over at Backhand Shelf; after the jump, I’m going to look at the Vancouver Canucks’ chart and see what can be gleaned from it.Continue Reading —›