Atop The Sugar Pile – 2/11

Yep, it’s back. And won’t this one be fun? Let’s kick this pig!

The Dizzying Highs

Samoans Do The Humpty Hump – There’s little I can add to what Patrick Kane is doing. There are few sights in hockey more exciting than when Kaner is feeling it and unafraid to try anything. Literally anything could happen. It’s complete anarchy. Spin-o-rama pass right on the tape through three defenders? Sure, why not? Dance two or three checkers into a fucking hole? Check. Egregious turnover in own zone? Might happen! Only Tomas Vanek’s insane game in Boston is keeping Kane from atop the charts in points and goals, and good for him for being honest about wanting to win the scoring title. Just like when Derrek Rose admitted he wanted to win MVP, and then went ahead and did it. They both know that if they accomplish these individual goals, it will be good for the team.

Couple caveats here. Kane is shooting 27.3%. That’s not going to last. His career average is 11.5 and career high is 12.5. Secondly, he’s averaging about 2.75 shots per game, and you’d like that to be over 3. It was when he scored 30 goals for the only time in his career. When the percentage drops, he’s going to have to make that up with more shots. Sadly, his center not winning a whole lot of draws isn’t going to help that much.

The Terrifying Lows

Sharp-Shooter Needs A New Spotter: Pretty obvious what the goal-drought is doing to Sharp. However, it has led him to be more dogged in his puck pursuit the past couple games. What’s worrying is that Sharp is barely cracking 2.5 shots per game, and his career average is over 3.5. Again, it’s being hidden by the satanic verses Kane is spitting up with the limited chances he has, but this line just doesn’t have the puck enough.

In Sharp’s defense, when his game is on it’s about ghosting into open areas to be available to score. It’s darting in and out and being hard to find. It’s not that thick of a line to cross to go from that to merely floating around the outside waiting for Kaner to hit his tape, and it’s something he occasionally struggles to balance. As long as Sharp continues to chase the puck down on the defensive side, he should see his chances again.

Uh, faceoffs? – It’s an issue, because everyone not named Toews or Mayers is getting murdered. A puck possession team that doesn’t possess the puck as much as it should is headed for some bumps.

The Power Play – Ignore a couple 5-on-3 dunks against the Yotes and suddenly there’s a small sucking sound emanating from the man-advantage again. It’s not as bad as it was last year. The entries are still pretty clean, for the most part, and there are chances. But there’s an awful lot of standing around too, waiting for Kane to do something. Have to get the movement back into it, because the kill won’t be elephants over the Alps forever.

The Creamy Middles

StanQ – I know, it doesn’t look like they’ve done much, and both were forced into some decisions that came up trumps. It took an injury to Carcillo for Q to figure out that Saad should go into the Top 6. They haven’t had a lot of practices for Q to juggle the lines. But one or both of them instructed the Icehogs to have Leddy play on the left side, and it’s transformed his game. Rozsival and Brookbank have been pretty much exactly as advertised. Marcus Kruger has been excellent as a 4th line center and penalty killer (beside the draws). Stalberg and Bickell have been a terror on the forecheck. Everything has been slotted correctly. That hasn’t always been the case.


  • JesusMarianHossa

    Really wish worked properly so the CORSI was available for individual games without Hoag having to go all sorcerer on the game summary. Still not ready to bail on that 2nd line. Let’s see what happens with them over the home stretch when Quenneville gets last change and is able to give them even more favorable matchups. If there was ever a time for Sharp to hit a hot streak, it’s now when he’s able to do a little bum slaying.

    • ahnfire

      seriously. I miss 🙁

    • Neo

      Man do I miss timeonice. Can’t believe how important some of these fan data sites have become to the whole “hockey” experience.

  • Tornsys

    As far as that second line, I have to wonder if you mess with the formula or leave it as is as long as the team as a whole is winning. It’s tempting to move things just a smidge to improve, but every other line is passing the eye test for the time being.

    • Skags

      Leave it. If it ain’t broke. Let sleeping dogs… A bird in the hand, etc etc ad nauseum. The Hawks don’t have a regulation loss so leave em alone. I say.

      I would also like to say that I haven’t missed a single game since about 2009 and in that time, I don’t know if I have ever seen Q exhibit this much patience with his lines or defensive pairings. I keep waiting for the Hammer of the Gods to come out or a Bo Fro Bick get together, but it hasn’t happened.

      And it’s not just the lines. 28 other coaches in the league would have yanked Craw after two soft goals in San Jose. He called a time out, left him in, and Craw settled down and picked up a win. Solid coaching right there.

      I just couldn’t be more impressed with Q right now. He’s got this team rolling.

  • Kane’s shooting percentage will decline at the precise moment that Sharp’s begins to climb, right?

    • laaarmer

      yes. That is what the numbers say

  • unknown operator

    Brandon Saad is making it easier for me to stop moaning about Andrew Ladd.

    • jackattack

      I don’t think there’s any better way to put it.

  • Sparky_The_Barbarian

    Gonna be a tough home stand with four of the first five games against the teams currently seeded 2-4 in the west.

    Not worried about Sharp. He’s winning corner battles and hitting posts. His luck will turn. Wonder how Sharp would do at 2C if they wanted to try him there and put Bolly back at 3C, but I’m not sure I want to mess with the fore checking machine that is the third line right now.

    Hard to find anything to bitch about other than the Clown Shoes. Q has four lines rolling, PK is good, Crow and Razor are an effective Goal Tending duo, Oduya is worth every penny Stan paid him, and we aren’t cap strapped for next year. Oh, My, gods of hockey…. Could it be that ‘the plan all along’ is working and we’ve just been a bunch of whiny bitches?

  • cliffkoroll

    Perhaps Kane’s shooting percentage has something to do with his deadly play-making. Have you ever seen Rinne look worse on a goal? That was Leighton-bad. Maybe part of it is his worrying about Kane hitting a cross ice pass. Earlier in the game, Kane almost stuck the puck in a pube-sized opening from zero angle, cuz Rinne wanted to cover the far post against a behind the net pass. 27.5% ain’t gonna last, but maybe a career-high north of 15% is realistic.

    • Accipiter

      Just how big are your pubes ?

      • 10thMountainFire

        I’ll kill you, Leonard Nimoy.

        • jekyll1489

          I’ll kiss you right on the mouth, Kenny Rogers

          • Accipiter

            How is that even a skill ?

          • 10thMountainFire

            If I were a lion and you were a tuna I would swim out into the ocean and freaking EAT you!

          • jekyll1489

            My friends used to call me Big Red, but I told ’em “Stop it!” ’cause
            there’s only one Big Red in town, America’s number 1 cinnamon gum.

          • jekyll1489

            Ok, first off, a lion? Swimming in the ocean? Lions don’t like water! If you placed it near a river or some sort of fresh water source, that makes sense.

            But you find yourself in the ocean, 20 foot waves (I’m assuming it’s off the coast of South Africa). Going up against a full grown 800-pound tuna with his 20 or 30 friends? You lose that battle.

            You lose that battle 9 times out of 10.

            Well guess what? You’ve wandered into a school of tuna and we now have a taste of lion! We’ve talked to
            ourselves. We’ve communicated. And I said, ‘You know what?! Lion tastes good! Lets go get some more lion!’ We’ve developed a system: to establish a beachhead and to aggressively hunt you and your family. And we will corner you and your, your pride, your children.

            We will construct a series of breathing apparatus with kelp! We will be able to track certain amounts of oxygen. It’s not gonna be days at a time. An hour? Hour 45? No problem!

            That’ll give us enough time to figure out where you live, go back to the sea, get more oxygen, and then stalk you. You just lost in your own game. You’re outdone and outmanned.

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Rinne got burned thinking, “He won’t shoot from there, I better sneak a peak at the slot…. why is that red light flashing?

    • JesusMarianHossa

      That pass to Bolland? Yeah, that was nasty. Snuck it between 3 guys just to find Bolland’s tape.

    • laaarmer

      Cliff. I have to chime in re: the stats. He cannot have a career high. The stats will not allow that. He has to miss the rest of his shots on the homestand, while Sharp hits more of his. Numbers don’t lie!

    • ballyb11

      Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

      • Accipiter

        Is it dinner time already ?

    • Definitely agree. And a good example is Stamkos. His 5on5 shooting percentage (based on SOG and misses) went from 8% in 2009, to 11% in 2010 and 11, and then 16% in 2012.

      In 2009 Kane’s 5on5 Sh% was 6%, 8% in 2010, 10% in 2011, and dropped to just over 7% last year. This year he’s at 18%.

      So, aside from last year’s drop, who’s to say that a Sh% in the 15-16% range like Stamkos last season isn’t realistic? On the flip side, Kane’s much more of a setup man than Stamkos, especially on the PP where Stamkos sits in wait for the back door pass, whereas Kaner delivers it. So maybe it’s more likely that Kane keeps putting up a career rate of points, but his percentage of goals to assists declines. I’ll take it either way.

      And regarding his Sh%, I’m not surprised it’s gone up. Could it be “luck”? Perhaps. But I think Kane has really changed his game. I used to pull my hair at watching him look for the perfect shot instead of putting it on net. This year, he’s not only improved, he’s done a 180. Now he’s taking shots that a sane human would never attempt, keeping goalies off guard.

      Is he gonna take the shot, pass, or skate away and then suddenly flip the puck at the net? He’s got the netminders and d-men guessing and it’s making everyone around him better.

      This is the untradable Kaner I’ve always wanted to see. Fuck you, Ryan Miller. American Hero Patrick Kane.

      • birdhead

        I used to pull my hair at watching him look for the perfect shot instead of putting it on net. This year, he’s not only improved, he’s done a 180. Now he’s taking shots that a sane human would never attempt, keeping goalies off guard.

        Intuitively this would make me expect his shooting percentage to drop, not rise. What am I missing?

        • I think he’s catching goalies off guard, maybe that’ll decrease as time goes on, but in the past a majority of the time Kane would take predictable shots or hold the puck too long IMO.

  • amontesawesome

    I have to say I think the faceoff concerns are wildly overblown. They just don’t make a significant impact on the outcome of games. It’s annoying to watch everyone outside Toews only win 40% of the time, but it’s just a minor nuisance.

    These guys figured that, on average, about it takes about 76.5 faceoff wins to equal a goal differential. If you extrapolate the FO numbers through a quarter of the season through the rest of the season you get:

    Toews-984 FOs taken
    Bolland- 736
    Shaw- 480
    Kruger- 460

    Let’s say in an ideal world everyone outside of Toews wins 52% of the time. What would the difference in FO wins in this ideal world be vs the real world?

    Bolland- 383 (ideal) v. 316 (real)
    Shaw- 250 (ideal) v. 232 (real)
    Kruger- 239 (ideal) v.188 (real)

    Total: 872 (ideal) v. 736 (real)

    The total difference would be 136 face off wins which would translate to a 1.78 change in goal differential. Over the course of the entire season the Hawks would change their goal differential by less than two goals. And this is in a world where you have 4 centers all capable of winning draws at a 52% clip, something that can be replicated by few, if any, teams.

    • Neo

      This is the fourth article I have read on the subject. They all say pretty much the same thing.

    • What about when home and away games are separated? And what do the stats say about faceoffs (resulting in or preventing goals) when, say, a 1st line matches up against a 4th line (or any other obvious one-sided affairs). If the 4th line wins the draw, gains control and gets off, isn’t that an important occurence. Over the course of a season, all these situational stats blend into non-significance.

      In this instance, I have a hard time understanding the merits of looking at it over the length of a season. Like some other problems I have with these stats (and I DO think they show more than they hide), this undersells what happens when good/bad match-ups happen … my feeling is that the importance of a face-off increases in these situations.

      As well, say a good faceoff team meets a poor faceoff team in a 7-game series. Isn’t the possession difference over 7 games going to result in any significant goal or differences? If you win 65% of the draws in a given Game 4 at home, isn’t that likely to determine play somewhat and perhaps chances and so perhaps the result? And isn’t that what we’re kind of hoping for when we say we should be better at the dot … wanting to be closer to that 65 than the 35?

      • .. or what about special teams? What do the numbers say about winning faceoffs strictly on special teams? I suppose I should read the damn thing.

        • laaarmer

          I did not look at the numbers, but I have a thought. A thought regarding stats. How does puck possession relate to standings points? Do teams that have greater puck possession get more standings points? If you get more standings points it stands to reason you score more goals. Am I on to something?

          • Neo

            There are three primary numbers, “shot differential,” “Shooting
            percentage” and your teams “Goalie save rate.” In small sample sizes “shooting percentage” can vary significantly and
            offset “shot differential.” Over a 70+ game season a lot of that will work itself out and return somewhere to the average of each player’s historic values.

            “Goalie save rate” fluctuates as well but after those 70+ games, the actual skill of the goalie will generally show forth.

            So of the three numbers “shot differential” is the most
            sustainable. That is why stats people tend to look at a team’s Fenwick numbers (which is Shots+Misses). Over the long hall puck possession has the largest correlation to winning games. In a 48 game season, however, all bets are off…

          • laaarmer

            What are you talking about? Facoffs dude. faceoffs

          • Neo

            dude, you are the one that went off topic talking about puck possession.

          • laaarmer

            Faceoff win = puck possession. OOPS!

          • Neo

            oops, nothing. There is NO causation between winning faceoffs and overall puck possession time. Temporary, maybe but overall, NO. Have you NOT read any of these documents?

          • laaarmer

            I have read some of parts of all of them. Puck possession is puck posession. Once you have possession of the puck for that time, it cannot ever be taken away. You had the puck and the other team did not. It’s really quite simple. I don’t think there will be any argument that if a team wins more faceoffs, that team will have the puck more. I think everyone will also agree that if you lose a faceoff in your own zone and it leads to 15 seconds of puck posession for the other team in your zone, it is NOT a good thing. The opposite is also true. For anybody to state that faceoff wins don’t equal puck posession is asinine (one of my favs). If your team wins a faceoff, you have the puck. It’s really quite simple. Furthermore, as I have said, it is the centers job (along with his teammates) to win the faceoff. Anything other than winning that faceoff, and they failed. Our team is 15th out of 30 in FO %. Boston is 10% higher. When we play Boston in the finals, if that difference is still there, we will be in trouble. Our team should work on winning faceoffs a little more. Not for hours on end, but fix an aspect of the game that is lacking and you will be a better team.

          • laaarmer

            Let me clarify something. “if a team wins more faceoffs, that team will have the puck more” Should read, you will have the opportunity to have more overall puck possession. Obviously, TO’s, offsides, goalie saves, will effect the overall, but if you don’t win the faceoff, the opportunity to have the puck is gone as well. If you win the faceoff, you do have the puck, correct?

          • Neo

            A player with a 44% faceoff record will win the puck 11 of
            25 times. The player with the 56% record will win the puck those 11 times plus 3 more or 14 times out of 25.

            If the team that wins the puck at the 56% rate keeps the puck on average 13 seconds they will have had the puck for 182 seconds. If the team that wins the puck at a 44% rate can hold the puck for an average of 17 seconds they will have had the puck for 186 seconds. Or 5 more seconds overall for every 25 faceoffs.

            So maintaining puck possession is more important than the original faceoffs. And when you go multiple shifts between a stoppage of play, maintaining puck possession becomes even more important.

            Furthermore, corner puck battles, puck retrieval from misses
            and in particular from blocked shots is much more important in overall puck possession than the initial winner of the faceoff.

            And the ability to enter the offensive zone and maintain the
            puck is by far more important to overall puck possession time than which team won the initial faceoff.

            People make way to big a deal about who wins a faceoff. It is way down the list of importance. And there have been multiple documents that have shown this. Not sure what else
            there is to say.

          • laaarmer

            Why does the team with a 44% faceoff % keep the puck longer than the 56% team? What the fuck kind of bullshit is that?

          • Neo

            I was illustrating how little it took to overcome faceoff win differential. I thought that was obvious.

          • laaarmer

            Don’t fuck with numbers, man. You could get in big trouble.

          • Z-man19

            That ^

      • amontesawesome

        I feel like I’d argue that it’s even more meaningless on a game to game level than in the macro sense.

        Again, just using the face offs as distributed so far this season, it would be 15 draws per game for Bolland and 10 a piece for Kruger and Shaw. The difference in win/loss draws in a single game for Kruger and Shaw would be basically one. For Bolland the difference between 43 and 52 would be two draws per game. So in this idealized world the Hawks would win 4 more draws in a game. Regardless of situation I can’t possibly see a scenario in which 4 face offs alter the outcome of a game.

        • laaarmer

          What about the 5 on 3 Hossa won the other day? That altered the game without a doubt. That is just one faceoff win. Also, if the Hawks don’t have the puck Hossa can’t score with 2 seconds left to tie. It may not have come from a FO, but they had to have the puck.

          • Z-man19

            To add to your point laaarms, if I may, the Wild got both of their goals off of FO wins in their zone

          • amontesawesome

            Yes, but the theory that the Hawks face off numbers are dangerous doesn’t hinge on the Hawks turning into a team that only wins face offs. Even if the Hawks have a team wide fo% of 53% that means they’re still essentially losing as many as they win. If the Hawks could only win face offs for the rest of the season that would represent a significant advantage over their opponents, but they can’t do that.

            What people want to see (and if the Hawks did this they would likely lead the league by a wide margin at the end of the year) is the Hawks win 4 more face offs per game. That’s it. That’s what we’re talking about. They could improve 4 face offs per game, get Bolland, Kruger, and Shaw all up at 52% and still lose a whole bunch of face offs.

            Kruger’s FO% of 41% is frustrating to watch. But if he’s one face off better per game he’s up to 50%, which cosmetically looks better, but that one face off does not change the outcome of a game. It just doesn’t.

          • Z-man19

            Hmmm, win just one extra FO right? Win one of the FO’s the Wild scored on and theoretically the hawks win that game in regulation

          • amontesawesome

            The point I was trying to make was that Kruger could have one won more and he still would be losing 5 draws a game. So, he could have won one more, still lost a pk draw in his own zone and Hawks lose still.

          • Z-man19

            Or he could have won that particular draw and the hawks win the game. Obviously being great at the dot as a team doesn’t guarantee anything but I’d rather be above 50% as a team than below

          • Neo

            That is correct. A player with a 48% and 52% faceoff percentages have exactly the same results for 24 out of 25 faceoffs.
            Both will win 12 and lose 12. It is the 25th faceoff that is the difference as the 52% winner will win that one every time.

            So basically you are looking at the outcomes for what actually happened every 25th faceoff. Or for that particular player about one faceoff every other game.

          • birdhead

            the point is that you don’t know that it’s that one that he wins. Maybe the one he wins is the one where the puck was turned over back to the Hawks right away anyway. Maybe he wins all his draws in the neutral zone where they don’t really matter, and loses all his defensive zone draws where immediate possession really matters. If he then starts a lot in neutral maybe he ends up with a 70% FO% but it’s more or less meaningless.

          • Z-man19

            So late in the game and a 1 goal lead and a FO in your end, who do you want taking the draw, Toews or Frogger?

          • Accipiter

            Which ever one wins the draw, I’ll take that one.

          • Guest

            I don’t know, maybe Toews’ draw stats are inflated by a lot of easy neutral zone wins …. (okay okay Toews obviously but the point is that the raw number isn’t worth hand-wringing over if other possession stats are good.)

          • birdhead

            this should be a reply to Z-man obviously … having technical difficulties.

          • Z-man19

            Ah the elusive Waylon. I find it difficult to accept that if Bolly could win 3-4 more draws per game that it would make no difference in the game, especially when he’s centering 88 & 10

          • birdhead

            I think the numbers they have at the moment, despite Bolly being so bad at face-offs, are part of the illustration that it doesn’t; because they mostly aren’t winning face-offs, but still winning games, because they get the puck back.

            Bolly took 14 face-offs last game. Winning 3 more of them would put him at 64%. There were 49 face-offs in the game, meaning each face-off represents around a minute and a half of gametime, but how often does possession stay the same off the face-off for that whole minute and a half? Not that often? I think you’re probably talking an extra minute of possession if he wins all three of those draws, but broken up into 3 20-second clumps. A lot can happen in 20 seconds, true, which is why offensive and defensive face-offs are important. I don’t think face-offs are meaningless, I just think they’re one aspect of the possession picture that includes bad passes and turnovers and takeaways, but we stress so much more about FO% than the other ones. (Okay, we also stress about bad turnovers, but I guess we can see the way they’re a consequence of trying to make plays a bit more than with face-offs.)

            Bolly’s numbers aren’t great but if he, Kane, or Sharp could create more turnovers from the other guy that line’s numbers would probably not be that bad, IMO.

          • Z-man19

            That’s the point, that’s not what 88/10 do so well, go get the puck from the other guy. Lets not forget that that line was getting owned pretty badly up until the last couple of games

          • Accipiter

            Now we need someone to look into turnovers, takeaways, and board battles to see how they figure into the scoring, oh, and don’t forget about hits.

          • Neo

            4 more wins per game would require a 70+ winning percentage. What you are talking about is for Bolland to win 1.5 more draws per game and be at ~50%.

            So lets look at the numbers. Faceoff’s only matter if they generate a shot off of them. So how many even strength faceoff wins actually generate a shot? About one faceoff in every 6 or 7 in an offensive zone (6.667). And about one in every 14 in neutral zone faceoffs.

            How many shots off of faceoff wins actually score a goal? About one in every 12 or 13 shots.

            So 6.667*12 = ~80 offensive zone faceoffs required for one

            And 14*12 = ~170 neutral zone faceoffs required for one

            And that works out to ~100 on average for all faceoffs won.

            How many faceoffs per game are the Hawks losing because of
            Bollands poor faceoff performance? About 1.5 per game.

            How many games does it require for that poor performance to
            cost the Hawks a goal. 101.6/1.5 or 67.7 games.

            So in a 48 game season how many goals is that? About 7/10ths of a goal per season.

          • Accipiter

            What about the errors in FO recording ? How do they affect the results ?

          • Neo

            If there is NO bias involved and it is simply errors in recording it should have NO impact to the league wide results. In any particular situation you have erred giving one team a win and the other a loss. Since the data is league wide, a 5% better performance by one team is offset by the 5% worse performance of the other.

          • Neo

            Yeah, but Bolland’s faceoff numbers are a bit deceiving because he tends to ONLY play against the other teams best players. These tend to also be the best faceoff guys. He never gets to play against any bumslayers to inflate his stats. Or even normalize his stats to the entire league.

          • Neo

            But the only way to guarantee winning that particular faceoff is to win all the faceoffs. Otherwise you generally have a 24 out of 25 chance to have NO impact on that particular faceoff.

          • amontesawesome

            I agree. Puck possession is important. But there is not a large enough difference in face off percentage in the league to alter possession over the course of a game. Now, if I were out there taking draws for the Hawks and losing every single one, the team’s possession might be hurt. But as long as the Hawks have NHL caliber centers taking draws it doesn’t correlate.

          • laaarmer

            If you win 10 more faceoffs in a game and those 10 faceoffs lead to let’s say 15 -20 seconds of puck possession each time, you have the puck 150 seconds more (at the conservative 15 second per face off number). It makes a difference, especially if you score during those 150 seconds. Let ma also say that the guys that did the “study” also say the following (which I have already copied) “For a player that wins 60% of their 1200 faceoffs, taking 20% more
            faceoffs outside the neutral zone can add an additional 3 goals or one
            win per season.” 3 goals per season only leads to one win? Very presumptious. It depends when the goals happen. If they all happen in a 9-0 win, it has no effect, but if they happen in 3 tie games and you score, well then that would be 3 points in the standings and 3 wins. Could be the difference in home ice for the playoffs.

          • Neo

            The 3 goals leading to one win is a league wide statistic. Over the course of a season looking at all teams, generally 3 more goals will be the equivalent of one more win.

          • laaarmer

            and could lead to home ice advantage or #8 seed instead of #9.

          • red palace

            Another good micro example.

          • laaarmer

            But that one faceoff resulted in a botched 5 0n 3 possibility and lead to points. I have said this before. Hockey, and all sports are played in the micro. Your job is to win the faceoff so your team has the puck. If your team has the puck, the other team will not score (unless of course Steve Smith plays on your team). I see little relevance in looking at the stats for an entire season, when the job at hand(micro) is to win the faceoff so Seabrook can clear the puck and kill the penalty. I am not arguing with you regarding what the authors are saying the numbers are. I am saying they don’t mean anything as far as hockey goes. Bolland’s job when he takes a faceoff is to have his team get possession of the puck. Sometimes it’s his job to get a stalemate with the center and the wingers actually grab the puck. Other times he wins it back to the D, etc, etc. The face off is not as important as a save from the goalie, but it is not irrelevant either.

        • red palace

          What happens in small sample sizes is that you will see greater variances from the mean.

          Both of Minnesota’s goals a couple weeks ago came within 5 seconds of draws in their O-zone. (But the draws were scored as wins for Kruger and Bolly, for whatever that is worth!)

          Toward the other extreme, in the first round against PHX, I can’t see that the combined 41% at the dot by Hawks not named Toews had any significant impact on the outcome, given the inability to solve Smith, the 1-for-19 PP and Crow’s gaffes.

          Over the course of a season, competence on the draw would likely be worth a few points in the standings. In a shorter series, it might have a significant impact on a game or two. Or it might not.

    • They say this: “We also broke our analysis down by combinations of strength and location. Unsurprisingly, the fewest faceoff wins needed to gain a goal occur on special teams, PP or SH, in the
      Offensive or Defensive Zones at a clip of about 35 goals [sic] per goal differential.”

      So, in other words, faceoffs are statistically significant on special teams.

      Also, they mention that team expertise faceoffs can gain you a win over a season (and earlier they mention a team moving from 50% to 60% would equate to 12 goals and two wins … but why that means two, I don’t know). It’s a lot in my mind. They also mention error in faceoff statistical recording.

      I don’t know. No one’s here anyway.

      • laaarmer

        I’m right here!

        • Accipiter

          That’s creepy.

          • laaarmer

            I love a good stat discussion

          • Accipiter

            Trying to quantify luck, I mean stats.

          • laaarmer

            No, this one is better. So, these numbers are trying to say that if the other team has the puck, it really doesn’t matter? I did not look at the article on the link, but that seems like a load of BS.

          • laaarmer


          • Accipiter

            I’m gonna go ahead and say winning draws in your own end helps keep the puck out of your net, and winning draws in the offensive zone gives you a better chance to score. And I didn’t do any research.

      • amontesawesome

        Yeah, face offs were more significant for special teams. I would be interested in seeing special teams only face off data. Obviously, the sample size would be a lot smaller since there are so much fewer opportunities and there are really only two guys taking face offs then. I’d be curious to see the Hawks breakdown of how many special team draws Toews takes compared to the field.

        I also thought the error in faceoff recording to be absolutely fascinating. I’m not sure what it means, but it’s interesting.

    • red palace

      Ha, I’ve had this on my list to look into when I have some time. For all the attention paid to faceoffs, I’ve had the suspicion that in the aggregate they don’t make *that* much difference. Still, the conclusion in the linked article is even more extreme than I might have guessed. I’ll have to bookmark it for later.

    • I’ve probably posted this same thing a handful of times already, so…

      …good luck.

  • 10thMountainFire

    Kaner definitely takes inspiration for a lot of his game from basketball.

    I forgive him for that. Barely. Mostly because he’s so fucking awesome.

  • cliffkoroll

    Q said he ain’t gonna change anything. Good. My fear is he goes all matchy-uppy at home, because he can. The road trip shows that all this team needs to do is roll, and let the fuckhead on the other bench worry about match-ups.

    • Agreed Cliff. Matching up certainly has it’s merits, but this team is ‘fuck your couch’ good right now. Let the boys play and let the chips fall where they may. We’re not in the playoffs yet.

  • Skags

    Also, that might have been Odoya’s worse game as a Hawk.

    • laaarmer

      worst. Or was it worse than his other worst game?

  • Z-man19

    I’d have a hard time leaving Hammer out of the creamy middles. Dude has been fucking rock solid. This group of 7 Dmen has to be as good as the hawks have had in some time.

  • DesertHawk

    It’s snowing at my house… This is weird.

  • Fork

    Bolland is more of a playmaker than Sharp, but Sharp can win the occasional faceoff…so why not let Sharp take the draws and once they’ve got control of the puck, they can return to the regular center/wing assignments?

  • Accipiter

    Looks like adding Brent Burns to the line up wasn’t a good idea.
    SJ 1 – CBJ 6 in the 3rd.

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      The Jerkits are still a mediocre team, but they are capable of putting together the occasional big night.

      Toronto having their way with the Phlyers, too.

  • robondacob

    Re: Coach Q sitting Saad the first game in favor of Carcillo.

    I believe that Saad was always destined to replace Carcillo in the top 6, and the injury Carcillo received had no impact on Saad’s placement on the top line. Hear me out.

    I looked at the salary cap for the Blackhawks at and it appears that Saad was eligible for $307,500 in bonuses this year. After looking for some information about the bonus, I came upon this ESPN article here:

    If the source is correct, Brandon Saad’s $307,500 bonus was only available if he played in all 82 games. This deal was made before the lockout, but I assume that the bonus requirements were changed to playing all 48 games and that Saad was still eligible for the money in the preseason.

    Fast forward to the first game of the season, the game against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. It is announced that Brandon Saad will be scratched and Carcillo will be playing with Jonathan Toews and Marian Motherfuckin Hossa. Really? Carcillo played some time in the top 6 last year, but we all saw how that turned out (fourth line, no points, stupid injury). I have a tough time believing that Coach Q and Co. did not think of putting Saad on the top line before Daniel Freakin Carcillo, seeing as how Saad had two impressive training camps in a row and Carcillo is a meathead.

    I think that the actual reason Saad sat the first game was Stanbow’s plan to screw Saad out of the bonus right away, then play him on the top 6 for the rest of the season. It’s odd that someone would go from a healthy scratch to a linemate of Toews and Hossa, two of the top 10 players in the world. I’m thinking that Stanbow put in a word to Q that Saad had to sit exactly one game, purely to get rid of the bonus and preserve his precious cap space.

    • Chesterfield King

      When he did play last year, Carcillo spent a lot of time up front. Not saying you’re wrong, but he was playing with Toews and Kane last year before the injury. It’s not a stretch to think that they would have eventually worked Saad in after more practice and skates with the team.

    • justforkicks

      Carcillo spent a hell of a lot of time on the top lines last year, so I don’t find it hard to believe he was going to play Carcillo there this year as well. I’m pretty sure Q also recently said when Carcillo came back there would be a place for Saad on the bottom line.

    • red palace

      Carcillo lined up with Toews and Hossa for two games last year and one so far this year. In all three games he got a point. Of course, he also left two of those games with serious injuries.

      I’m not saying I agree with Q on this, but I believe he sees Carcillo as a player whose skills are not too out of place on a top line and who also serves as a deterrent to those who would take a run at 19 and 81.

    • I feel like you may have overthought this a bit.

      You don’t build realtionships with your players by doing things like this. Saad is a kid. The Hawks don’t just give away roster spots (unless you’re Nick Leddy) to anyone. Saad had to earn it – or Carcillo had to get hurt. Whichever came first.

      I agree that Saad was always going to be in the top 6 as long as he was on the team. My guess is that in the end – Sharp will move to the 2C slot and Carcillo will play left wing on that line with Bolland dropping back to the 3C spot.

  • Joe Banks

    LA leads Scum Jr 4-1 in 3rd, Halak re-injured in warmup. Sharks lost to BJs 6-2

    • Joe Banks

      4-1 final, in Colorado, avs 2, yotes 1. Yandle just got 2 minutes for diving.

  • laaarmer

    Here’s a good one

    Puck Possession gone geeky

    Awesome graphics

  • Woods

    Is it just me or is Sassone the worst beat writer to follow on twitter?

    His gems from this morning’s skate:

    “From the looks of this morning skate, the #Blackhawks are going to have a tough time tonight. Can’t make two straight passes.”

    “First game back home from long road trip is always dangerous plus#Ducks are playing well. #Blackhawks”

    Thanks for keeping it real Tim.

  • Woods

    Also: Rozner on the score… what a dolt. Whining about Saad not scoring and saying he can’t wait until Carbomb is back on the top line.

    Is Carcillo really a better scorer than Saad? Didn’t think so.

    Also he takes more penalties than he draws. Saad hustles and gets calls.

    Meatballs indeed.

    • Bullitt315

      He’s the worst of the meatballs.I actually like a little meatball in my talk radio but he’s 100% meatball

  • laaarmer

    Tried to post excel file, but the software, it no worky!