Beavis+Butthead+library

Angry At Numbers

Haven’t dusted this one off in a while. Let’s take a look at some stats and stuff. But we’ll start with the stuff. My boy Rob Vollman over at Hockey Abstract.com sent me this player usage chart.

 

Interesting stuff here, and a nice illustration of some points that will come later. As we see, Bolland, Sharp, and Kane are drawing the usual tough assignments that have been a staple of Bolland’s career. What they’re not getting is the nearly impossible zone starts that Fabulous Weapon is usually saddled with. Last year, Bolls started something like 63% of his shifts in the defensive zone. As you can see this year, it’s more 50-50. That makes some numbers to come up later quite scary, but we’ll get there.

Also interesting that Q hasn’t ignored the early-season trends on his blue line, because it’s Hammer and Oduya being trusted right now with the toughest assignments, i.e. opponents and zones. And I don’t think anyone would disagree with that right now with how things are going. Won’t, or can’t, last forever but it is encouraging that Q is recognizing who is playing best right now. Though he’s actually been better with that than he has with his forwards, as you’ll remember two years ago there was a solid, month-long stretch where Brian Campbell was closing out games and taking the tougher assignments, as he was playing best.

-48.6, -63.5

That’s the combined CORSI and Relative CORSI of Sharp-Bolland-Kane. It’s kind of terrifying. For those who don’t know the difference, CORSI is the amount of shots taken vs. those against over 60 minutes, and the Relative is what it is compared to the rest of the team.

There are a couple easy explanations, though I’m not sure they explain it all. One is obviously Bolland’s inability to consistently win a draw, and now no longer has the wingers to claw it back. In the past, he’s been riding with Ladd, Bickell, Versteeg, Shaw, Stalberg and Frolik, and while they’re all different players they all share a dogged puck-pursuit. Secondly, Bolland almost always had Keith and Seabrook behind him. When he does now, they’re not playing up to their abilities, so they’re not helping the shelling as much as we can expect them to later in the season.

What is worrying is that Bolland’s line is starting a fair amount in the other zone, and they’re still getting killed. It’s been masked by Kane’s power play exploits and the fact that he’s so skilled and destructive he doesn’t need a lot of offensive zone time to make things happen. But if you’ve watched just the past two games, you’ve seen this trio getting skull-fucked for long stretches.

It’s not that Kane and Sharp can’t work together, but when they’ve been at their best is with Toews between them. Jonny Revelator wins draws for them to get them the puck, and can also get it back in any zone through his pursuit and strength. This is something the Hawks are going to have to address. I’ve already been banging on switching Saad and Sharp, or in Bolland’s absence moving Sharp to center to combine with Saad and Kane (there are a lot of candidates to fill in alongside Hossa and Toews, but Kane and Sharp need something a little more precise). But I’ll be yelling about that for a long time, I think.

The problems are also demonstrated by the fact that all three of Bolland, Sharp, and Kane finish their shifts in the offensive zone anywhere between 5%-7% less than they start, so you can see which way they’re heading most of the time on the ice.

16.1, 24.1

This is Brandon Saad’s CORSI and Relative CORSI, which lead the team. It’s also Top 25 among forwards in the league.

3.33

That’s Oduya’s Behind The Net Rating, which measures how many goals the Hawks are better off for every 60 minutes he’s on the ice vs. every 60 he’s off. That’s 10th best among d-men in the league.

 

  • Chesterfield King

    I had no idea Saad’s Corsi was so high. It’s weird for my eye-test to actually be backed up by evidence for once.

  • cliffkoroll

    Great stuff. I won’t be happy until Bolland shows up in the top left of that graph and Kane in the bottom right.

  • cliffkoroll

    However:

    “you’ll remember two years ago there was a solid, month-long stretch where Brian Campbell was closing out games and taking the tougher assignments, as he was playing best.”

    I have zero recollection of this. For now, I say “Hmmm”.

  • AMR

    I still believe they need to hire a coach specifically for face-offs. I believe when Yanic Perreault was on the hawks, he helped Toews become the faceoff master he is today. So why not hire him as a coach (assuming he is available ) to teach it to bolland, kruger, shaw, and anyone else who may take a draw

    • Waylon

      This will seem really out there, but if Stan the Man’s around, why not give him a try? I remember Mikita being awesome at the dot since almost day one, and he was still awesome into his last years. Worth a shot? I would think the kids may listen to what a legend has to say about it.

      • DonCherryCollection

        I always hope Toews would just stay an extra half hour after practice and teach Krugs, Bolly, Shaw, and who ever else.

  • 334Rules

    I don’t like numbers either, but that’s a very pretty balloon picture. It would have made me happier if you hadn’t explained what it meant.

    • Joe Banks

      It’s a beautiful Balloon picture. I think I get the Offensive Zone Starts axis, but I’m bewildered by the Quality of Com Partition axis, or whatever it says.

      Be gentle children, I’m just an old man (Caveman lawyer), and your numbers and graphs frighten me…

      • birdhead

        Quality of Competition. I can’t remember how it’s determined (maybe by Corsi?) but it measures how tough your opponents are, so if you’re on against the first line your QualComp is really high and if you’re on against the fourth line it’d be really low. (If this wasn’t a sincere question, I apologise, my irony meter is running really low at the moment.)

  • RLWiener

    What would be the negative of swapping both wingers on the first and second line? Have Toews with the Patricks and Bolland with Saad and Hossa?

    • Chesterfield King

      Is Toews solid enough defensively to compensate for the other two? Especially given Sharp’s play of late?

      • RLWiener

        Well I like to think that Toews is capable of anything.

        • The Doctor

          Which has been proven as a scientific fact.

        • Chesterfield King

          I actually like your idea. Stabilizing the second line should be the biggest priority for the coaching staff.

  • justforkicks

    Would switching Saad and Sharp OR Hossa and Kane still stabilize and strengthen both lines? I keep thinking yes, but I’m no expert. While I like that we’re getting consistent lines and Q doesn’t want to touch the 1st because of how well its doing but, the 2nd line just isn’t working and if one flip flop can address that, its totally worth it.

    Also, I have to admit I would have thought with Bolland on the 2nd line (and with his linemates), the Toews line would get the tougher assignments, because of Kane in particular. Interesting that its not the case.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet

      Wonder if the road-heavy schedule so far has anything to do with it. Hawks are n’t getting to choose their matchups. Does Q put Toews’ line out for the toughest matchups at home? I don’t see any reason he wouldn’t seeing the defensive giant Hossa has become coupled with Toews’ draw-winning abilities. When we can choose the matchups, these line compositions may favor us much more.

      • Z-man19

        Solid point HH. With Rats inability to win a draw, I’m not sure it’ll make a big difference.

    • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

      Hawks aren’t playing, as of yet, Saad in critical defensive zone draws. Kruger gets those as a second center. So Saad’s Corsi numbers are slightly inflated since he only gets on the ice AFTER the Hawks get control back. However, he has been very good defensively.

      And Toews is getting defensive zone draws while Bolland has been getting the offensive zone draws. So, yes, Toews gets the tougher assignments from Q. However, the other teams keep attacking Bolland and the Patricks with their teams best lines. So that line overall is getting the tougher opponents.

      And again, in this setup, it is the third line that should be putting up bigger numbers.

      http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/ratings.php?db=201213&sit=5v5close&type=corsi&teamid=7&pos=skaters&minutes=10&disp=1

      • Joe Banks

        So when Carbomb returns, put Saad with Kruger?

        • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

          I’m thinking the Hawks still have to figure out what they want to do with each center. At least before they worry about their wingers…

        • wardrums

          No way – Saad is where he belongs.

  • ballyb

    Trading 3 Oranges for 4 Blues would solve all our problems except goaltending.

    • Chesterfield King

      This is where we trade Kane for Ryan Miller, right?

      • ballyb

        Release both Kane and Saad. Then deal with the goaltending.

        • Chesterfield King

          Maybe Buffalo will give us Scooter back, too

          • Z-man19

            GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH

          • Chesterfield King

            What, not what you had in mind?

          • Z-man19

            About as much as you would put a dog turd on your pumpernickel bagel

          • Chesterfield King

            keep my bagels outta this

          • Z-man19

            Stop talking about fluffy returning

          • Chesterfield King

            search your feelings… you know it to be true… Kane for Miller+Scooter… after all, Kane won’t fight anyone and is a bum

          • Z-man19

            Search your next bagel, may you find a toenail there

          • Chesterfield King

            Fine. Bowman will throw in a bag of pucks for Buffalo, just to make the trade a little more balanced.

          • Joe Banks

            What kind of pucks? The good ones?

          • Chesterfield King

            I mean we need to sweeten the pot if you think Darcy Regier is just going to GIVE UP John Scott

          • Joe Banks

            My therapist asks that you please refrain from talking about a return of ” you know who”… I’ve been doing so well up until now…

          • Joe Banks

            Oh please don’t do that.

    • Joe Banks

      I remember, back in my day, it was Apples and Oranges…

  • RossH

    Screw it. Long time lurker, first time poster. I love advanced stats, both in baseball and in hockey, so this is a good post to comment on. That CORSI for the rating for the Sharp-Bolland-Kane line is staggering, especially the CORSI Rel. Somewhat surprising stat: Seabrook’s Corsi Rel is third-lowest at -15.2, only behind Kane and Bolland.

    • Chesterfield King

      Welcome!

      It’s been especially noticeable after the first five or so games. I know the Corsi was bad during that stretch, but last night they seemed barely able to successfully leave their own zone.

  • Joe Banks

    New movie Idea; “Money Puck”

    • Joe Banks

      With Brad Pitt as Stan Bowman, and Joel Quenneville as Art Howe…

  • Hack

    I hope Kaner is enjoying his status as the team leader in Even Strength Points per Game, because if this chart doesn’t change in a hurry, he won’t hold that status much longer.

  • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

    http://www.hockeyanalytics.com/Research_files/Player_Usage_Charts_2012.pdf

    And BTW, if one didn’t know better and just looked at this graph compared to a similar graph from last year, you would swear the Blackhawks changed coaches.

  • Joe Banks

    Ducks take the lead!

    • Joe Banks

      Ducks Win!

      • birdhead

        First regulation defeat for the Sharks!

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Hmm… I wanted the Hawks to be the first. Now SJ will be all gnarly and full of fight and… Oh, wait…. SJ….

  • Joe Banks

    Here’s one for ya

    http://didgomezscore.com/

  • DesertHawk

    So the Sharks lost in regulation. We’re now in the lead, as they have no games in hand.

  • wardrums

    Great stuff Sam. If it’s possible, I feel a little smarter this morning. Saad’s numbers are verifying my eye test.

  • FattyBeef

    Advanced metrics are fun. Especially when they help you win arguments with idiots.

    • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

      Let me know how that works out for you.

      • cliffkoroll

        Are you still sore about the weak statistical case you made in favor of home ice advantage in the playoffs last year?

        • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

          Remind me, how did not having home ice go for the Hawks last year?
          Or avoiding “big bad Nashville”? Or “goaltending doesn’t win championships”?
          (of course only the first one applies to you and we each can scream “SAMPLE SIZE!”)

      • FattyBeef

        Usually good… As long as the other party is not able to wrap their heads around the total bullshit platter that they were fed

  • 2883

    inb4smallsamplesize and advancedmetricsnerdfightII