Angry At Numbers

While I’ve been leading the bitch about Q brigade for at least the past three years (it’s lonely and cold out here), there comes a point where you have to dig into the evidence and see if you’re just spouting nonsense. Or at least more nonsense than usual.

So before we take a look into some of the metrics we have on Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri, a couple caveats. One, they’ve played a combined 15 games, and that’s not really much of a sample either way to get a true reading. Two, by no means am I certain that they are the answers for their respective positions. I really have no idea. What I do know is that I want to find out, and I think we can only do that if they get a fair shake.

So, what do we know? Well, the numbers kind of break both ways.

Zone Starts: Morin is the most sheltered on the team, starting just 9% of his shifts in the defensive zone. That’s kind of remarkable given that he’s mostly played on the 3rd line with Shaw and Bickell who are expected to carry some defensive responsibility. Or they did in the past, but Bickell himself is right behind Morin in this category. And Pirri is right behind that, starting just 16.3% of his shifts in the defensive zone. That’s not that unusual for the Hawks #2 center, as it’s always been a hammock spot — i.e. gets the most offensive zone starts and easiest competition because Toews and Kruger take the harder stuff.

Quality of Competition: Of all the forwards, Pirri is seeing the easiest competition as you’d expect. He’s at -0.196. Morin isn’t far behind at -0.092.

Quality of Teammates: This is about the only place they diverge. Morin has the highest quality of teammates on the team, and Pirri has the worst. This is where the numbers don’t tell you the whole story. Pirri’s QofT is so low because he’s mostly played with Patrick Kane, who has the worst Behind The Net Rating on the team. I’m not making that up, he does. Now is that because Pirri is dragging Kane down or vice versa? You want to say vice versa, but what they’re really suffering from is a terrible PDO for Kane. For those who don’t know, PDO is the team’s shooting percentage plus the team’s save percentage when that player is on the ice. It’s an attempt to measure luck somewhat, because generally these things normalize to around 1000. Kane’s is 920, with a .871 save percentage when he’s on the ice and a 4.85% shooting percentage (.871+.0485 =.920 or so). You could argue that because of a lack of defensive positioning or awareness that opponents get better looks and shots when Kane and Pirri are on the ice. And that may be the case, but this is still extremely unlucky. For example, last year the Hawks shot 11.8% when Kane was on the ice. So while they may give up goals while Kaner is out there, they should be scoring more and will.

Possession numbers: Morin’s Corsi% for the year is 61.2, meaning that the Hawks attempt 61% of the shots and the opponents 39% when Morin is on the ice. Pirri’s is 60.2. Both are above what the Hawks are as a team. Of course, there’s a lot of factors in these numbers, like who they’re playing against and with and all that.

What I think we can glean from this is that Pirri and Morin certainly aren’t dominating in a way that say Brandon Saad did. But no one expects them too, and Saad kind of warped how we view performances from young players. But neither are Morin and Saad getting their skulls kicked in. They’ve been ok to good.

There’s always the eye-test, of course. Pirri is trying in the defensive zone, but you can he’s still thinking of where to be instead of reacting. That can come with time. He still has some problems along the boards behind his net, which the Hawks count on. Morin is more mobile and active in the offensive zone than defensive, and that should change. But neither has been a detriment either by stats or by scouting. At least I don’t think.

We know the drill here. Q makes his opinion on players early and it becomes incredibly hard to change that opinion. It goes both ways. Andrew Shaw was on both special teams and the second line in his third game with the Hawks. Nick Leddy was killing penalties in his rookie year. Even Dylan Olsen got a fair amount of time in his one stint up here, though injuries played a part.

Meanwhile Smith has only been able to get a game or two a year the previous two seasons. Same with Morin and Pirri. Now they’re here, and they’re having a tough time changing that opinion. I just would like to see them get a minute or two more per game to get a bigger chance to do so.



  • Z-man19

    XMF approves this message, as do I.

    • Accipiter

      So this is what it sounds like when doves cry ?

      • laaarmer

        Cause in this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld

        In this life,
        You’re on your own

        • Z-man19

          Would not have pegged you for a fan of the former artist formerly known as prince.

          • 1benmenno

            Let’s go crazy.

          • Z-man19

            You haven’t already?

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            His idea of crazy is drinking milk straight from the cow teat.

          • Z-man19

            Any good Mennonite would know that it’s much better to drink straight from the tank

          • laaarmer

            Purple Rain. Saw it at 53 (drive in).

          • cliffkoroll

            53. Whoa. good times.

        • 10thMountainFire

          I love Smith more than you now.

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          Honey I know, I know, I know times are changing. It’s time we all reach out for something new, That means you too.

    • Bob Lanz

      That makes tree turty tree of us! Mo, Brandon #3 and Smitty get my vote for increased ice time and prove they belong or not based on their ability to play and learn. If not well Dragon Targaryn, Denault and McNeil are prepping for their shot next…

      • lizmcneill

        Brandon #2 has also displayed a welcome ability to learn.

    • 10thMountainFire

      I was just thinking the same. Z and X approved.

  • nextgame

    Except for getting his blankie back when Zus is ready to return, I don’t see that Q has any choice but to play these two (and Smith).
    Of course, they’ll be playing press box roulette. And when in the lineup they’ll only get 10 min. or less of ice time.
    That doesn’t exactly seem like a fair chance. Hopefully they’ll make the most of the chances they do get.

    • lizmcneill

      what’s the record since Zus went out?

      • Bullitt315

        Quick glance says 4-1-1. 5-1-3 with him

        • laaarmer

          What about Dick “Korky” Corsi?

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            The Corgi got treated for bordetella and neutered over the past week.

  • chichicagochi

    Great post

  • 10thMountainFire

    Is it my birthday?

  • Preacher

    I’d love to know what chances Bollig got. Of course, the expectations for him have never really been more than for him to be a 4th line player. Bickell got a lot of opportunity didn’t he? The organization seems to be patient with some but maybe not so much with others? Hmm? I still think that Q is basically experimenting right now. He’s had the luxury of getting points out of almost every game so he can do that. I’d like to see Sam do this same analysis in about a month and then see where we’re at.

  • Paul the Fossil

    Just cause it was a fun read with a lot of info I hadn’t known before, here’s a great story about Cheli:–beach-bum-s-lucky-break–how-chris-chelios–hall-of-fame-career-almost-never-happened-at-all-223053286.html

  • StanleyKup

    My head hurts…

  • Bannerman

    If Q hates Smith, and I’m not saying for sure he doesn’t, why did he play him when Hossa got hurt? I know it’s only one game but that would seem like an odd choice.
    Maybe it’s not so much that Q hates players but he bases playing time on how long they’ve been around divided by what they’ve done lately.

  • 334Rules

    I think the circus trip will help us sort this out a bit more, as Q won’t have the last change for quite a few games in a row so won’t be able to shelter anyone.

  • ahnfire



  • ahnfire