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  • oilfieldhockey

    NHL STANDINGS PREDICTIONS FOR 2018/19 SEASON: ATLANTIC DIVISION

    By oilfieldhockey

    #1 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING There isn’t a team with as much top end talent backed with great depth as much as the Lightning. Their forwards are fast, skilled and very opportunistic, especially with Kucherov and Stamkos leading the way up front. They were first in scoring with 296 goals last season. That was the highest amount of goals recorded in a regular season since the Washington Capitals filled 318 pucks in the net during the 09-10 season. Their defense is filled with workhorses as Hedman, Sergachev and newly acquired McDonagh are in for a full season. They can each run the powerplay and cover their man in the defensive end very well. Most teams are lucky to have just one of those guys as good as they are. Tampa has three. That will be very scary for opponents to deal with. Great goaltending from Vasilevskiy will once again vault this team over the top. He was outstanding for the Lightning last season and is likely going to do work his magic again this year. Overall Tampa will be one of the best teams in the league with a very dangerous team up and down the roster. Their weakness is the penalty kill as they just averaged 76% last season and was a direct result as to why they lost the very few games they did lose last season. Other than that, they’ll be a deadly team all season long.   #2 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS Fans have been gushing over the John Tavares signing in early July of this year. Why not? This is a great times to be a Leafs fan. The turn around of the team started with great management as Brendan Shanahan, Lou Lamoriello and Head Coach Mike Babcock turned water into wine with their consulting, drafting and signings they’ve made in the last three seasons. Rookie GM Kyle Dubas made a great first impression by landing the big fish in John Tavares. Dubas hasn’t even been GM for a month and he already signed him for 8 seasons on contract to play for the Buds. Toronto is a team that boasts a great top 6 forward cast with Matthews, Tavares, Nylander, Marner, Kadri and Marleau as the main scoring weapons up front. With a group like that, you’ll have a solid chance of getting 3+ goals per game average and score one out of every four powerplays (25%) which will most likely make you a top 3 scoring team in the league. On paper, their defense doesn’t have a bonafide powerplay quarterback or even a defensive stalwart but they’re still alright as they averaged over 80% on the penalty kill. They were slightly above average in goals allowed (232 GA, 12th in league) which is still good considering the weapons they boast up front. Having a goaltender like Frederick Anderson saving your butt combined with Mike Babcock’s excellent coaching will boost the team’s defensive prowess too. Overall, you’ll see the Leafs in high scoring games, they’ll be fun to watch, but they will need an additional defenseman at the trade deadline. They will get their man next Spring if they want to push for a deep playoff run. #3 FLORIDA PANTHERS Ok, so this a gamble and some of you will say I’m crazy for writing this but there is a lot to like about the Florida Panthers being a playoff team this year. My reasoning is that the Panthers young nucleus of Ekblad, Barkov, Dadonov, Huberdeau and Bjugstad still have the best years ahead of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if Huberdeau, Barkov and Trochek all had 80 point seasons and they are talented enough to make it happen. They made a terrific late season push last year and were just one point away from making the playoffs. Florida doesn’t have a ton of depth but they do have Borgstrom and Tippett on the verge of making the team and if they do, they’ll have a chance to make a great impression on the checking line and even special teams as well. Goaltending is a bit uncertain as Luongo is getting up there in age and James Reimer still needs to post better numbers to be a solid #1 goaltender. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. The Panthers are not known to be strong starters but they tend to play better late in the season. That’s the best time to watch them play. #4 BOSTON BRUINS There is no doubt that everything worked out for Boston last season. They were scoring, defended well, plus they were converting powerplays and killing penalties at a high-caliber rate. Sometimes, I wonder about Boston because they’ve had some great seasons with the same core of players. Sometimes, they’ve had some mediocre years where they’ve finished 9th in the conference two years in a row. Finishing 9th is really bad because it not only means you’re not in the playoffs, you don’t get a high draft pick either. Boston is still a really good team and they definitely do have talent but I think they over-achieved last season. We might see a correction in their stats. Marchand is a slippery player and hard to play against but it wouldn’t amaze me if he drops 10-15 points. Same goes with Pastranak and Chara. I can see the team trending sideways or even down because of how much better teams like Florida is getting plus with division rivals Tampa Bay and Toronto making strides in the off-season. Boston will be at least be a wild card team but their path to the playoffs will be inconsistent especially if Rask has a few off games but overall, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. #5 BUFFALO SABRES The Sabres will not focus on making the playoffs this year, they will focus on development. What’s positive about the Sabres is that unlike the other teams not making the playoffs in the Atlantic Division, they’re trending up, not down. Buffalo boasts the best prospect pool in the league with Rasmus Dahlen, Casey Mittelstadt, Alex Nylander and Brendan Guhle all projecting to make the team next season. The Sabres already have Eichel, Reinhart and Ristolainen on the team showing great play and excitement but the issue will be how they will gel playing with new players making the cut. I believe they’ll have a great nucleus in the future. They might surprise with a couple winning streaks this year, especially once the kids find their way playing in the NHL. They’ll show a huge improvement between now and April of 2019 but they’ll be golfing after that time. #6 OTTAWA SENATORS Let’s not talk about last season. That’s a topic for another day. This prediction is made assuming Erik Karlsson is finally out and it was a sad ending for him in Ottawa. They still have some good players in Stone, Duchene plus up-and-comer Chabot but the atmosphere in the locker room needs to be addressed. There are still controversies and issues that haven’t been settled since last season and that can affect the team this season. Some more moves on the roster will have to be made in order to clear the air to start fresh and no team needs it more than the Sens. Despite their shortcomings on the current roster, Ottawa does have a few good prospects. Brady Tkachuk is their top gun that can make camp this year as well as Logan Brown. There are spots available so look for them to make an impression right out of the gate. The Sens might be in for another fiasco if the garden hose is still kinked but I think it’ll be a little bit more stable this season, but just a little. #7 DETROIT RED WINGS If there was a word that would describe Detroit right now, it would be ‘underwhelming’. Nobody on Detroit was an impact player last season. Forwards like Larkin and Mantha are good, but they are better suited for secondary scoring roles, not top line duties. If this team gets one or two studs that can plug and play into the lineup(most likely won’t happen), the whole dynamics of this team will change for the better but it’s wise to go for the rebuilding strategy since Detroit is excellent at drafting. They got Pavel Zadina at the draft this Summer. He’s a pure goal-scorer who can make the team but he won’t a impact right away. Michael Rasmussen is very intriguing as well. He will most likely make the team with a great impression but overall the Wings won’t be taken seriously this season. They don’t have any established elite players at this point in time. Give it another year for Detroit be a much better team who can quietly make a massive leap forward if the development of Zadina and Rasmussen goes well. #8 MONTREAL CANADIENS I wish I could say that the Habs have something going for them but I’m afraid they don’t have much at this point, at least for now. The team on paper looks like it’s rebuilding especially with Pacioretty recently traded to Vegas for Nick Suzuki, Tatar and a 2nd round pick. Looks like a type of trade for a rebuild to start but GM Bergevin says otherwise. He still wants to keep Weber and Price on the club despite the club going on a downward trend. Drouin and Gallagher still had good seasons despite how poorly the team performed but they need a wealth of support around them if they want to improve their numbers. If the Habs want to trend upward, they have to focus on developing their current prospects. They have a long list of centers that are in development and that’s an area where they need top get much better at. They do have Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ryan Poehling aa their top center prospects but they won’t be ready for awhile yet. Now that they have Suzuki, it should be interesting where he slots in if he makes the club. Nikita Scherbak is talented and will challenge for a wing position as well. Victor Mete and Noah Juulsen saw some action last season and made an impression to the coaching staff. They’ll have an advantage in training camp because of the experience. The Habs have a much better prospect pool than what most people think and they still have decent pieces in place to make a good team down the road but their locker room is filled with distraction. The media always puts a spin on the team’s affairs which makes it difficult to focus on playing hockey. Because of that, they’ll have a rocky season ahead of them.   For more articles, predictions and more... go to https://oilfieldjerseys.com/
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  • oilfieldhockey

    NHL STANDINGS PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2018/19 SEASON: METRO DIVISION

    By oilfieldhockey

    #1 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS The perennial offensive powerhouse is back and ready to attack once again for another exciting season coming our way! It was a relatively quiet off-season for the Pens but they didn’t need to make many moves. They signed Jack Johnson to a multi-year deal to shore up the blueline which is one of the team’s weak spots. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Pens make it to another Stanley Cup Final and what’s different this year compared to the last couple of seasons is that they’re on the outside looking in. They were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup winners, the Washington Capitals, in 6 games of the Eastern conference semi-finals. The Pens will be fresher because of the extra rest compared to years before when they won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. There’s no doubt Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and company will still be at the top of their game to cement another great season in the best era of Penguins history. They have the deadliest powerplay as they were ranked #1 in that department last year plus they were #5 on offense. There’s no reason why that won’t change as of right now. Look for some exciting, high-flying games by them, especially against the Flyers and the Capitals. Mark it on your calendar when they play! #2 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS This might come as a surprise to some but I think the Flyers have a team that is a force to be reckoned with. Giroux, Voracek and Couturier had outstanding seasons last year. With Nolan Patrick on the verge of a breakout plus the signing of James van Riemsdyk, they now have a very scary offense that has great mix of skill, physicality and speed. On the back end, Ivan Provorov has established himself as a solid two-defender for years to come and Gostibehere (aka Ghost Bear) had a terrific season as well. Ghost Bear’s numbers might see a dip but he’ll still put up big numbers from the back. The Flyers aren’t as deep as the top contending teams but from what they lack in depth they make up for in prospects. Carter Hart is arguably the top goaltending prospect in the league and he’ll get a shot at training camp. Defenseman, Phillipe Myers has a great shot at making the team as well as centerman, Morgan Frost, a very explosive skater. Penalty Killing and goaltending are Philly’s weak spots but with an improved roster from within, they will get better in those departments. Their offense should make up for those deficiencies. #3 WASHINGTON CAPITALS The 2018 Stanley Cup champions had a year to remember! After many disappointments and early playoff exits, they finally made their mark in history and Alex Ovechkin got his Stanley Cup; he hasn’t let the cup out of his sights or been sober ever since, haha. The Caps earned their first Stanley Cup by having the presence of two elite centers in Kuznetsov and Backstrom. In the past, the Caps didn’t have this luxury, which is why they too often eliminated early in the playoffs. Their rivals, the Penguins, always stacked themselves down the middle with Malkin and Crosby. That’s why the Penguins have 3 cups since 2009. The Caps still have their main core intact and they’ve signed D John Carlson to an extension this summer. They’ll be gunning for a second straight cup and their odds are terrific. #4 CAROLINA HURRICANES It was a down year in Carolina and another missed opportunity to make the playoffs. That has been the case for the last 8 season ever since they made the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins in 2009. But that was a long time ago and none of the guys that were on that team are here today. There was no distinguished strengths of that team as they ranked in the mid 20’s in goals for, goals against, powerplay and penalty killing against other teams in the league. What they did have right was their shots for/ shots against ratio. They peppered 2780 shots on goal while having 2367 shots against. Do you realize how good that is? They had 413 more shots on goal than against. That’s huge! The problem is that they couldn’t finish opportunities and Scott Darling did not play well for the Canes last season. They easily would of been a playoff team if Cam Ward simply played more games. Now that Ward is gone, Darling will get a second chance to see if he is worth the starter’s job. We’ll see how it goes but I think he’ll improve. I believe in second chances for opportunities like what Darling has, except for getting back together with your ex. I don’t believe in that at all. Carolina’s strength by far is their defensive core from #1 to #6. They just got Dougie Hamilton who is very gifted offensive from the backend. Jaccob Slavin is a defensive stalwart plus Faulk, Pesce and van Riemsdyk round out a pretty solid backend. The Canes lack star power and they’ve especially missed it last year. Now with Svechnikov in the picture, he’ll most likely make the team. He’s the Cane’s main weapon for the future and he’ll get his feet wet this season. If he turns out to be any good, he’ll make the Canes a better team immediately. This team is closer to being better than what a lot of people think and it won’t be surprising if they contend for a wild card spot in April of 2019. #5 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS If it wasn’t for Panarin (aka Pan Bread) or Bobrovsky (aka Boobtitsky) the Jackets wouldn’t have a chance to make the playoffs. Consistent scoring was a struggle for them last season despite Seth Jones had an outstanding year from the backend. A lot of players experienced big drop offs including Cam Atkinson and Nick Foligno. Luckily Pierre-Luc Dubois had a nice rookie season for them and played really well with Pan Bread late in the season. Ever since Tortorella has taken over the head coaching job in 2016, he turned this team around and established an identity by getting his team to play a gritty, hard-nosed, in-your-face brand of hockey. Although they have depth and character, they lack someone who can score all season long. Only Pan Bread can do it and the rest of the team has streaky scoring. Although I like this team on paper, they are one distraction or injury away from having a bad losing streak faltering their chances on missing the playoffs. Speaking of distractions, Panarin needs a contract and he won’t likely stay with the club. They’ll miss the playoffs, but just barely. #6 NEW JERSEY DEVILS The Devils made a terrific run in the season to make the last wild card seed in the Eastern Conference. That’s how Taylor Hall won the MVP trophy this season as he shouldered this team to the playoffs. Much like Columbus, Hall is the reason why the Devils made the playoffs just like how Panarin was the reason the Jackets were successful. The depth chart falls immediately after Hall. Nico Hishier is good and will be an elite center in a couple of seasons but he isn’t at his prime yet. The defensive core is probably the most average in the league. Will Buthcer had a great rookie season but he may have been over-acheiving just a bit. He could drop a few points but that’s ok, he’s still a lte round steal for the Devils. Vatanen looked good for the Devils last season but he won’t be carrying this club from the backend. The Devils were probably the luckiest team when it came to their goaltending situation. As Cory Schneider struggled, Keith Kinkaid bailed him out and played way above expectations earning himself the starter job. Much like the stock market when things go much better than expected, a course correction is in Order for the Devils. #7 NEW YORK RANGERS In a letter published in a local newspaper to Rangers fans from Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton on February 8th, 2018, they basically told fans that they’re rebuilding from the ground up and that marked a significant change in the Ranger’s destiny for the coming years on that day. Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, J.T Miller and Michael Grabner were shipped out at the trade deadline for prospects and future considerations. The full rebuild is in effect at the Big Apple. They were loaded with 10 picks at the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas, Texas including three first round draft picks. They selected forward Vitali Kravtsov with the 9th overall pick, defenseman K’Andre Miller with the 22nd overall pick, and defenseman Nils Lundkvist with the 28th overall pick. With those picks, they’ll have the deepest pool of prospects in a couple of years. As of now, the Rangers are in transition. Henrik Lundqvist needs an opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup and they’ll most likely have him shipped out somewhere by the trade deadline in 2019. The Rangers won’t be good but they now a have a direction and that will bode well for their future. #8 NEW YORK ISLANDERS I’m not going to hold back on this one. The Islanders had a wasted season that could of been completely avoided. The Isles needed to chooses a path for the club while they still had a shot at the playoffs. They either had to buy or sell. Instead, they didn’t make a single move. The Isles were in desperate need of goaltending near the trade deadline. They easily could of snagged Cam Ward. He was available. A defensive stalwart would of made a difference as well. Their penalty kill was horrible as they ranked dead last in the league. Ryan McDonagh would of been terrific in fixing that problem. He was available. Islanders were even better off to sell than to do nothing. They didn’t even trade Tavares away while they still could of got some value from him and now he’s moved on with the Maple Leafs for nothing in return for the Isles. The team had these problems because of colossal mismanagement from Garth Snow and now he’s fired. Thankfully, Lou Lamiorello took over the General Manger role. Even with him at charge of operations, the Isles won’t recover from what happened last season. Now they have to suffer a painful season trying to figure how they can get back to being a playoff contender. Time to get to work.   For more articles, predictions and more... check out https://oilfieldjerseys.com/ 
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  • InsideEdge

    Vancouver Young Talent Shines

    By InsideEdge

    Vancouver Young Talent Shines The preseason could not be going any better if you are a Canucks fan.  Preseason is a showcase for young prospects, and in Vancouver the young prospects look amazing………Olli Juolevi is staking claim that he will be a solid NHL player, but then there is the man…Elias Pettersson!  Wow is this guy impressive.  He is doing everything…  He is flashy, he is exciting, and more importantly he is making players around him look like superstars – right Sven Baertschi.   Leafs Tire Pumping The Maple Leafs will be good, but back the wagons up Leafs fans.  The season has not started.  I know..I know… Tavares has two goal in his first game…  I think there is a lot more ahead for this team.  They will be good, but relax Leafs fans… You’re not cup contenders… and honestly, I hope you prove me wrong.   Domi Disgrace The first preseason game that new Montreal Canadiens center was in turned out to be a disaster.  Domi tried baiting Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad into a fight. Ekblad would not give Domi the satisfaction of the fight – in return Domi sucker punched him in the face.  Not the showing the Habs fans expected or wanted. Well maybe it was not too bad. Below is a press release from the NHL: NHL PRESS RELEASE Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason for roughing Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad during NHL Preseason Game No. 29 in Montreal on Wednesday, Sept. 19, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today. The incident occurred at 0:56 of the third period. Domi was assessed a match penalty as well as a minor penalty for roughing. For a full explanation of the decision, complete with video, please click on the following link: https://www.nhl.com/video/t-277440360/c-61189703. The suspension shocked me and frustrates me.  I ask the NHL, is it really a penalty to punish a guy with preseason games.  No regular season games, none.  So Domi gets to practice and relax and prepare for the regular season without having to worry about in significant pre-season games. Look out NHL, you quickly set the suspension bar for the season, and it is low.
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  • oilfieldhockey

    NHL STANDINGS PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2018/19 SEASON: CENTRAL DIVISION

    By oilfieldhockey

    #1 WINNIPEG JETS It wasn’t a matter of how, it was a matter of when. When the Jets will finally play as a great hockey team. Many years of building a prospect pipeline is finally paying dividends and they are ready to contend for a Stanley Cup for years to come. In the most competitive division of the NHL, the Jets have what it takes to be #1 in the Central. Their offense is oozing with speed and skill. They play an aggressive up-tempo game and they have size to win key puck battles in the corners. The X-factor for the Jets will be goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who had an amazing 17/18 season. He had a really good playoff showing as well. Not many goaltenders make the conference finals in their first full season and there isn’t a reason why he can’t do it again. The Jets are poised to be a Stanley Cup contender this season and as long as distractions or the injury bug keep away, they’ll have a great chance to go the distance. #2 NASHVILLE PREDATORS Arguably the most well structured team in the league, the Preds had a disappointing playoff exit against the Jets in the Western conference semi-finals last season. They’ll look to bounce back and if they want to go anywhere in the post season, they’ll most likely have to go through the Jets again. They have the team to do it but they do have to keep themselves in check and make sure they’re prepared to match the up-tempo game the Jets like to play. Nashville’s strength by far is their blueline. They have the best defensive core in the entire NHL with Josi, Subban, Ekholm and Ellis rounding their top 4. They all play sound defensive hockey. With Rinne as their goaltender backing the defense, it’s very difficult to score 3 goals in a game against them. Their offense is really good but it’s not at the same caliber as their defense and that’ll be their weakness if they start scoring in streaks. Forsberg, Turris, Arvidsson and Johansen are solid contributors offensively but they are not at the same level as the Penguins, Capitals, Leafs, Lightning and Jets when it comes to fire power up-front. The Preds will most likely be a playoff team and maybe a Stanley Cup contender if their scoring gets hot at the right time but it’ll be a wait-and-see approach from here on in. #3 ST. LOUIS BLUES It was a disappointing season for the Blues as they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. It’s the Central we’re talking about so it’s tough for every team to get an advantage over their divisional rival. Blues management knows how hard it is to play in the Central so that’s why GM Doug Armstrong acquired Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak and David Perron in the off-season. That’s a nice score for any team in an off-season, but it’s extra sweet for the Blues because those players play Blues style hockey; a blue-collar, chip-and-chase brand that’s very aggressive on the forecheck. The Blues aren’t very good on the powerplay as they ranked 30th in that department last season. That’ll still be a concern when the season starts on October 3rd and will be their biggest weakness. None of the guys they acquired in the off-season are true powerplay specialists but their 5-on-5 game will be a huge plus. They’ll be much better even-strength. With a nice rest in the off-season, they’ll have a fresh start to what looks to be a promising campaign for the Blues in the 18/19 NHL season. #4 DALLAS STARS The Stars are an interesting case to look at because what you think the Stars are known for, their offensive talent, wasn’t their strength last season. The Stars were remarkably ranked 6th in goals allowed last season and that wasn’t expected from them whatsoever, but that was with Ken Hitchcock as coach. He’s retired now so Jim Montgemery will takeover. He’ll have an improved team to coach because Valeri Nichushkin is back with the team and they could have talented defensive prospect Miro Heskanen making an impact right away. Ben Bishop was a great goaltender with his first season with the Stars last season but injuries limited him to just 53 starts in 17/18. If he has a full season, he can push the Stars to the playoffs and that’s very achievable. The Stars will compete for a wild card spot next season and if their off-season acquisitions can improve their depth, they’ll make some noise this season. #5 COLORADO AVALANCHE Besides Vegas, the Avs had the best Cinderella story of last season. Mackinnon was a beast and Rantanen played his role as shotgun perfectly for Mackinnon. The Avs had the best comeback season in recent memory after having a dreadful season in 16/17. The Avs established themselves as playing very explosive hockey and Mackinnon thrived in that environment. He carried this team to it’s first playoff birth since 2014 and although they were defeated by Nashville, they show promise for the future. Tyson Jost is primed for a breakout season and they’ve added defenceman Ian Cole to shore up their blueline. The Avs are in a very good situation with how they are growing and they still have an elite prospect with defenceman Cale Makar primed for the future. As for this season, they’ll build off their success they had last year and will compete for another playoff spot this year.
        #6 MINNESOTA WILD   The Wild had a good season last year. They made the playoffs and were contending to advance once again. The problem is more teams in the Central have improved are in the toughest division in the league because of it. The Wild have a good team and have got the most out of Eric Staal and Devan Dubnyk, who performed way above expectations. Good for them but the team didn’t improve at all in the off-season while other teams were making moves. That’ll hurt the Wild this season. The Wild aren’t great at any particular part of their game but they’re not terrible either. What’s bad is that they are average in special teams and 5 on 5 play. While that may have worked in the past, it won’t cut it this season. Will a rebuild be in order after next season? Let’s hope for the Wild, that’s not the case. #7 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS The main core of the team is still in tact as Kane and Toews still play good hockey. Seabrook and Keith had seasons they want to forget but their play was severely hampered because of the lack of depth they used to when they were on top of the hockey world with 3 Stanley Cups in 5 seasons. The depth drops off very fast from their first line and had to use their 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines as a season long tryout camp for their prospects, with most of them not ready to make the leap. Alex DeBrincat was a diamond in the rough and was the only bit of good news the Hawks had all year. He led the Hawks in goals in his rookie season and is looking to build off that. If the Hawks want to make an impact this season, Corey Crawford needs to overcome vertigo plus Kane, Toews, Seabrook and Keith need to have monster seasons. In a division like the Central, it isn’t likely.   For more articles, predictions and more... go to https://oilfieldjerseys.com/
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  • oilfieldhockey

    NHL STANDINGS PREDICTION FOR THE 2018/19 SEASON: PACIFIC DIVISION

    By oilfieldhockey

    #1 SAN JOSE SHARKS Coincidence is funny sometimes. A few hours before I was writing this article, news broke out that Erik Karlsson gets traded to the Sharks. I also had San Jose slotted in to go #1 even before the announcement of the blockbuster trade so this was mean’t to be.   This team keeps finding ways to get good players on the team whether it’s trade or drafting, GM Doug Wilson gets the job done and he is the reason why the Sharks have been a consistently great team. Even with Thornton, Pavelski, Burns and Couture getting older, the Sharks keep drafting excellent talent that will back those players up and provide a great future for the club. Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi and even Kevin Labanc have provided great secondary support for Couture and Pavelski, who had average seasons compared to what they can achieve.   The Sharks now have Evander Kane for a full season as well. He came in as a late season pick up from Buffalo and was able to fit in like a glove in Northern California. This is easily the best team the Sharks had on paper in many years and I’ll bet this team is better than the one they had in 2016 when they went to the Stanley Cup finals against the Penguins. Expect them to take advantage of a very weak Pacific division and tear up the Western conference. #2 CALGARY FLAMES The Flames I see as a team that can come together and play well as a cohesive unit if they put their mind to winning. The Flames have a very good team on paper but last year they had no emotion nor spark to drive them to a playoff spot. That prompted a shake up in the off-season as the Flames acquired two players who feel they have something to prove in Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. They’ll provide the fire the Flames need as it’s their last chance to prove they can play up to their potential. Dougie Hamilton and Michael Ferland were subsequently shipped to Carolina as a result of the trade. The Flames also signed James Neal, who has been to the Stanley Cup Finals in two straight seasons, offers character and an insight of what the finals are like. He’ll be an asset going forward.   The Flames have a very good defensive core plus a fast, skilled, and speedy top 6 forward group. If they can find chemistry and get a good rhythm going, they’ll easily be a playoff team. I think they’ll struggle early on in the season but will find their groove from there on in. #3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS The best expansion season from a major league sports team in history is under the books and what a thrilling journey it was for the Vegas Golden Knights. The team of “Golden Misfits”, a team that had players that were outcasted by their former NHL clubs came together and played an incredible brand of hockey that nobody expected. Now we’re in year two and already this team is going through a shakeup. Perron and Neal are gone but they now have Pacioretty and Statsny. If you ask me, I think the latter is far more valuable than the former. Patches needs a rebound year and he’ll get one with Vegas without question.   Fleury needs to continue to be his superstar self if Vegas wants to make the playoffs this season and I think he’ll be successful. He’s been better in the last 3 seasons than he has been his entire career. Signs point that he’s one of guys who goes through his prime later than most athletes. Luckily for Vegas, that time is now.   It’ll be a tougher year for Vegas, as they can’t sneak on opponents anymore plus Nate Schmidt is suspended 20 games for a supposed drug violation. Schmidt was a valuable asset for Vegas last season and his services will be missed for the first quarter of the season. That’s unless they prove the suspension was unjust and reversed during training camp.   #4 EDMONTON OILERS Last season, a lot of people have claimed high expectations that the Oilers were going to be a force to be reckoned with last season. Sadly for the Oilers, it didn’t come to be. McDavid was the only bright spot the Oilers had last season as he won the NHL scoring title even on an under-performing team. Not much has changed since the off-season and the same glaring holes in the Oilers weak spots are still there. The special teams were dreadful for the Oilers the prior season placing dead last on the powerplay and 25th on the penalty kill. Goaltending isn’t where it’s supposed to be and the defencemen for the club give opposing forwards too much space on the ice. A big positive is the fact that the Oilers have the best player in the world in Connor McDavid and studs such as Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Regardless, this team still needs a few areas improved if they want to be a playoff team and I doubt this year will be their year. #5 LOS ANGELES KINGS The Kings pride themselves by playing very sound defensive hockey. They were #1 in both goals against (203 GA) and penalty kill (85%) last season. When you’re the best at both of those categories, your defense is like a wall that can’t be run through or climbed over. Goaltender Jonathon Quick has been outstanding plus the coaching structure contributed to the success on defence.   L.A. will continue to be great defensively but not as good as they were a year ago. It’s hard to see Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown continue their amazing play as they age. Even with Ilya Kovalchuk signed to a 3-year deal in July, teams like Calgary, St. Louis and San Jose have made strides ahead of L.A. this summer as they’ve acquired more impact players than the Kings. The team itself isn’t worse, but they did get 1 year older and in today’s game, age means a lot and is more crucial than ever before as players are having shorter careers because of how fast the game is played. Unfortunately, the Kings are not a fast skating team so that could be a problem for them. Signs indicate that this might be a trying time for the Kings this season. #6 ANAHEIM DUCKS The Ducks were one of the better defensive teams last season. They’re usually in the playoff hunt more times than not but were easily dismantled by the Sharks in 4 games last season during the Western conference quarter-finals last season. Fast forward 5 months and the Ducks haven’t changed their team very much. Their outlook isn’t overly favourable because Getzlaf and Perry are already 33 years old. Their best years are behind them. Kesler has a brutal hip injury he may not ever recover from. He may even miss the entire 18/19 season because of it.   Their defensive core is in good shape and are a tough group for forwards to compete against but their depth up front is an issue. Rickard Rakell is Anaheim’s only bonafide goal scorer and besides Getzlaf, nobody on the Ducks scored over 50 points. The scoring won’t go up with the current group and that lack of offensive punch is what will bite the Ducks during the season. Goaltender John Gibson has to be outstanding in order to give the Ducks a chance but he is simply not a brick wall. Expect a downward trend for the Ducks this season.   #7 ARIZONA COYOTES Another year, another chance of scoring a draft lottery pick. I want to be excited for the Coyotes. I really do. But, even for a rebuilding team, they don’t have a lot of high-end prospects. Dylan Strome is the exception and he has a fantastic opportunity to make the team this season. Clayton Keller can build off his successful rookie campaign plus Alex Galchenyuk is away from the drama that’s happening in Montreal. He has a chance at a fresh start and be an integral part of the Coyotes in the future. If the Yotes can get a win in their first 10 games of their regular season this season, they can consider themselves more successful compared to the same stage of last season. It took the Yotes 12 games to get their first victory and it took them 21 games to get their first win in regulation during the 17-18 campaign. Surely they can do better right? Let’s pray for them.   #8 VANCOUVER CANUCKS Let’s face it, the Canucks suck. But, it’s not all that bad. Unlike bottom-feeders like the Coyotes, Habs or Senators, the Canucks have an amazing list of prospects that tell the tale of what the future is in store for them. Elias Petterson is an insanely great talent and will make the team out of camp (pending injuries of course) and Thatcher Demko is arguably the best goaltending prospect in the NHL. They also have a great defensive prospect in Olli Joulevi as well. They have players currently on the roster that are still growing in their own too. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat shined last season and have a great opportunity to be the leaders of this club as the Sedin twins are now retired. The 2019 draft is in Vancouver next June and consensus is that the Canucks will be very involved in that draft. They might even score a lottery pick and draft Jack Hughes as their new franchise centerman.   Regardless how Vancouver performs this season, the future is bright on the West Coast and they’ll be a great team once again.   For more articles, predictions and more.... check out https://oilfieldjerseys.com/
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2nd Annual Play It Forward Casino Night

Join the Play It Forward Foundation for its Second Annual casino night on May 13, 2017 at 7 PM.  Proceeds from this event will support our continued efforts to provide assistance to youth hockey athletes and their families who are struggling to overcome a significant hardship.     In furtherance of those efforts, we will also be awarding the Second Annual Play It Forward Award to the person that exemplifies the ideals of playing it forward and supporting his or her local community through charitable efforts.  Last year's award recipient was Allen Maggie, a coach who initiated a campaign with his own players to support and raise awareness of a different worthwhile cause each month through the use of different color tape at their games.  This year's winner will be honored at Casino Night and featured here on the website.  
This years event will be bigger and better than our inaugural Casino Night in 2016.  With the new addition of a poker room, there will be a game for everyone.  Other games include craps, roulette, and blackjack.  Every dollar in chips that is won can be redeemed for raffle tickets for some great prizes.  Thanks to a number of donors and corporate sponsors, there will be plenty of chances for every guest to walk away a winner.  Prizes include four Walt Disney World Park Hopper Passes, a Suite at the Kalahari Resort in the Poconos, One Week at Liberty Day Camp, and many others.  A complete listing of the prizes is available on the event page.   In addition to great games and prizes, dinner will be served and open bar provided for all guests featuring local craft beers.  Other sponsors at the time of publication of this article include DeLorenzo's The Burg and Generation III Solutions.  Sponsorship opportunities still available.   Get Tickets at www.playitforwardhockey.com/casino When:
Saturday May 13th 2017 - 7 PM - 11 PM Where:
German American Club 
215 Uncle Pete's Rd
Trenton, NJ 08691 $79 per Individual or
$150 per Couple Registration includes:
One $75 Casino Voucher
5 raffle tickets (chips won can be redeemed for more raffle tickets)
Dinner 
Open Bar featuring local craft beers Check out the link above for a list of prizes available already. More will be added!  

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pags569

 

THE RICH CULTURE BEHIND THE PITTSBURGH PENGUINS OUTDOOR SWEATERS

The Pittsburgh Penguins have experienced a plethora of highs and lows since the tale of the club first began in 1967. The Penguins are a team of destiny. When they were down and ready to fold as a franchise, a superstar was there to save them. Mario Lemieux led the Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cup victories in the early 1990’s after a miserable decade in the 1980’s. Same scenario played out in the early 2000’s when the franchise was playing terrible on the ice plus it was on the verge of bankruptcy. Sidney Crosby came into the league in 2005 to lead the Penguins to 10 consecutive years making the playoffs and that includes two Stanley Cup championships branded to the history books. Now that the Penguins are fifty years young and counting, here lies the history of the Penguins expressed through the form of their outdoor sweaters: Pittsburgh Penguins 2008 Winter Classic Worn on January 1st, 2008 in Ralph Wilson Stadium – Orchard Park, New York As part of the league’s first ever Winter Classic, the Penguins went back to their colour scheme from 1967 and quickly adopted the retro jerseys as alternates for the following season. These alternates were short lived as they only wore them in 10 games for the rest of the 2008-09 season and another 10 games in the 2009-10 season. They were retired shortly after.   It’s hard to believe at first glance that the light blue base and Penguins logo would work well together but indeed it has. The blue is supposed to resemble ice overlapping the glare of water, the habitat of a penguin. The large white stripe coupled with the dark blue strips is an excellent complement to the light blue body of the jersey.   The logo offers a great presentation of boldness to balance the mild colours on the rest of the jersey. The large white “Pittsburgh Penguins” letters shows a strong message on letting everyone else who they are when they are worn. The letters also adds a nice vintage feel to it. The yellow and black Penguins logo in the center of the circular crest adds a healthy contrast to the blue and white base of the sweater. Overall, this jersey is very well put together. Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 Winter Classic Worn on January 1st, 2011 in Heinz Field – Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Although most Winter Classic jerseys are supposed to replicate the jerseys worn in each team’s past, this particular sweater features different aspects multiple past jerseys from the Penguins franchise. While the jersey may look like a classic, the overall design is actually brand new but it’s still based from the team’s history – not a common theme for most Winter Classic jerseys. We once again go back to the late 1960’s for the inspiration of the design for this sweater. This jersey is a lot like the 2008 Winter Classic but vice-versa. The body of the sweater is navy blue which was used prominently by the Pens in the 1970’s. The bold, baby blue striping on the waist and wrist portions is a standout that was inspired by the very first Penguins jerseys with the diagonal “Pittsburgh” lettering in the inaugural year of 1967. Those jerseys were only worn for just one season. The unique, baby blue striping of the jersey was widely criticized because it didn’t look like it matched with the rest of the jersey but it was part of team history so why blow that detail out of proportion. The logo was an improvement from the 2008 Winter Classic as the circular base is now vintage white plus it’s coupled with retro-style “Pittsburgh Penguins” letters circling the penguin. That very same penguin logo that was used in 2008 now has a scarf and that detail was by far the best aspect about this jersey. The logo itself is also very large and it sticks out well to onlookers. The only criticism I have with this jersey is that the blue letters circling the penguins doesn’t standout, instead, it blends in to the navy blue body of the sweater a little too much. Overall, this is a nice jersey that has standout features but it was a little overdone. Pittsburgh Penguins 2014 Stadium Series Worn on March 1st, 2014 in Soldier Field – Chicago Illinois 2014 marks the first year of the Stadium Series outdoor games. Unlike the Winter Classic where historic elements are used for their main theme of the sweaters, the Stadium Series theme moves into a modern direction by trying out new designs and features that were never displayed before. For this jersey, the Penguins unveiled a jersey that still uses the same logo and colours, but in an entirely different layout. The black shoulder yokes are a welcome detail as well as the mid-size black and gold stripes along the waist and elbows portions of the sweater. The jersey features a chrome-treated Penguins logo design inspired from the chrome details of the NHL shield, a dynamic and modern look to conventional team identity. The numbering on the back of the jerseys is enlarged and sleeve numbers are angled to improve visibility in outdoor venues. The font on them looks really good too. Overall, this jersey looks better than their primary road whites they have used from 2007 to 2016 but the Pens really should of have tried to think ”outside-of-the-box” more with this one. The New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings took a chance on some brand new concepts that turned out to be huge winners in their Stadium Series games so that left fans wanting more so that was a slight disappointment. Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stadium Series Worn onFebruary 25, 2017 in Heinz Field – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania This is probably the most standout outdoor NHL jersey that has ever been unveiled. There are so many features this jersey has that makes it unique and there is no other like it. This jersey is mean’t to look industrial because Pittsburgh is also known as “Steel City.” The captaincy patches have the gold triangle around it and that golden triangle is normally behind the logo but instead they have it integrated with the “A” and “C” captaincy patches. The most attention-grabbing feature is the giant patch on the left sleeve touting “City of Champions” in big silver letters. This is the largest secondary patch that was ever featured on a NHL jersey. Inside the patch there are four gold stars, marking the Penguins’ Stanley Cup championships, with crossed hockey sticks all inside a keystone shape — for the Keystone State. The overall body of the jersey is representative of the first alternate jersey ever used in the NHL and that honour belonged to the Penguins. Those jerseys were worn between 1982 to 1985.   You May Also Like...   THE HISTORIC COMPILATION OF THE DETROIT RED WINGS OUTDOOR JERSEY   LEGACY OF THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS OUTDOOR UNIFORM…SO FAR   THE 2016/17 NHL OUTDOOR JERSEY CLASS – ALL ABOUT LEGACY      

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THE HISTORIC COMPILATION OF THE DETROIT RED WINGS OUTDOOR JERSEY

The Detroit Red Wings are an iconic franchise with a terrific history. For 25 consecutive years, the Wings have made the playoffs and during that time, they have vaulted an already outstanding legacy to a brand new height of glory in the 1990’s and 2000’s. During their incredible playoff streak, the Wings have won 4 Stanley Cups and have participated in 4 outdoor games. The Wings have made appearances in 2009, 2014, 2016 and 2017 and have accumulated a 2-0-2 record in those games with both overtime losses coming to the Toronto Maple Leafs.   Detroit Red Wings 2009 Winter Classic Worn on January 1st, 2009 in Wrigley Field – Chicago, Illinois This vintage style jersey is simple and light with no complexity whatsoever. When it comes to throwbacks, you don’t want to change the simplicity much except for the material that makes lifts the jersey’s visual appeal. The white-based jerseys are a throwback to those worn circa 1926-27, including an old-school logo on the chest with a current ‘winged wheel’ on the shoulders. The Old English ‘D’ served as the hockey team’s very first logo and is widely recognized as a symbol for Detroit and its sports teams, a true for the city. Detroit Red Wings 2014 Winter Classic Worn on January 1st, 2014 in Michigan Stadium – Ann Arbor Michigan Detroit wore the iconic red and antique white uniforms featuring a striping pattern and arch Detroit wordmark inspired by the late-1920s Detroit Cougars. The front crest on the jersey featured an early iteration of the winged wheel from the late 1930s Red Wings. There’s even a touch of the early 1980s Red Wings with the custom Detroit wordmark and the number system. Both are exclusive to the typeface worn by the Red Wings from 30 years ago. The captaincy marking has been moved to a diamond shape on the left sleeve, which is a very non-traditional move. It’s also against league rules, but the league gave them special permission, as they did for the Sabres. It also looks great but only for the one-time use of the sweater. Detroit Red Wings 2016 Stadium Series Worn on February 27th, 2016 in Coors Field – Denver Colorado Just like every other Stadium Series jersey, it blends modern twists with details that exhibit vintage qualities and this sweater is no different. It’s loaded with secondary details plus there is a story with every feature that was designed on the jersey. The coloration of the uniform is primarily red, with simplified white accents, creating a bold, striking stadium scale visual while staying true to the color identity of the franchise. The crest features a redesigned “D” logo, updated in its design style to connect more directly with the iconic modern day Winged Wheel logo. The single white diagonal stripe across the chest celebrates the iconic stripe of this storied Original Six franchise. Its diagonal placement is inspired by modern automotive aesthetics, and is a tribute to the automotive industry that has been a foundation of the city of Detroit. Stadium size numbers on the sleeves and back have been redesigned to better connect with the modern font style of the new “D” crest. The nameplate lettering is arched, as a way of connecting to the design of the team’s current nameplate lettering. On the inside of the neck it inscribes “Est. 1926”, the year the Detroit Red Wings were founded. The white “Red Wings” inscription on the outside portion of the neck adds a nice touch of character to the jersey. Detroit Red Wings 2017 Centennial Classic Worn on January 1st, 2017 in BMO Field – Toronto, Ontario As part of the theme of the Centennial Classic, the features and designs of the Red Wings were based on the legacy that the franchise has built to honour the NHL’s 100th birthday. This jersey is a very simple design with one significant detail about it; The silver stripes on the arm. Engraved on each silver stripe are the years the Red Wings won Stanley Cups. The years listed on the right sleeve are 1936, 1937, 1943, 1950 and 1952. The years listed on the left sleeve are 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008. Why the stripes are silver is because its supposed to resemble the Stanley Cup. The four red stripes on both sleeves are a tribute to the original Detroit Cougars, which prominently displayed stripes in their jersey designs. You may also like... LEGACY OF THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS OUTDOOR UNIFORM…SO FAR THE 2016/17 NHL OUTDOOR JERSEY CLASS – ALL ABOUT LEGACY

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LEGACY OF THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS OUTDOOR UNIFORM…SO FAR

The Chicago Blackhawks have participated in the most NHL outdoor games with five appearances including it’s 4th straight in as many years. The Blackhawks showcased two very bold black jerseys in their first 2 appearances in 2009 and 2014. For the last 3 outdoor showings, the Hawks have featured sleek white jerseys in 2015, 2016 and 2017. If you’re a Hawks fan that loves collecting all their jerseys, this post is dedicated for you! Chicago Blackhawks 2009 Winter Classic Worn on January 1st, 2009 in Wrigley Field – Chicago, Illinois   This jersey was a great first choice to use for an outdoor game for the Hawks. The jersey used for this Winter Classic date with the Detroit Red Wings was the throwback retro uniform Chicago used in the ‘Original Six’ days during the 1936-37 NHL season. This particular jersey design is very bold for a classic uniform as the engraved “Blackhawks Chicago” circled around the vintage Hawks logo show a sense of branding, honour and pride about it. The black base combined with the red and beige stripes add to the boldness of this uniform plus it suits the iconic center logo very well.   Chicago Blackhawks 2014 Stadium Series Worn on March 1st, 2014 in Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois The Blackhawks 2014 NHL Stadium Series jersey is the reintroduction of Chicago’s first alternate jersey that debuted in 1996. Eventually, they were retired after 2011. Three years later, the Hawks brought back the black alternates with very subtle changes to match with the Stadium Series theme. These NHL Stadium Series uniforms utilize colors within the teams’ existing color palates. Each jersey features chrome-treated logo designs that are unique to the NHL Stadium Series and inspired from the chrome details in the NHL shield, bringing a dynamic and modern perspective to conventional team identities. The chrome crest was developed using new technology that fuses print and embroidery and allows logos to be displayed as a high-resolution image incorporated into the crest. This technology also reduces the weight of the crest, resulting in a lightweight jersey to help improve athlete performance. Numbering on the back of the jersey is enlarged and sleeve numbers are angled to improve visibility in outdoor venues. Overall, this is a great jersey, especially for the young fans. Not too many jerseys based from old school designs blend in very well with any new school tweaking but this uniform was done just right. Chicago Blackhawks 2015 Winter Classic Worn on January 1st, 2015 in Nationals Park – Washington, D.C. Inspired by the 1957 jersey worn by the Chicago Blackhawks, the white Winter Classic jersey features a lace-up collar and secondary logos on each sleeve; the secondary logos overlap the top two stripes on the sleeve rather than the traditional shoulder placement. The vintage logo in the 1957 jersey will not used. Instead, the current logo will be used to add a dash of modern to it even though the current logo has been used since 1964. Another detail about the jersey is on the inside portion of the neck it inscribes “2015 NHL Winter Classic” in white letters. Besides that small detail and the placement of the secondary logos, this sweater looks just like the current road jerseys used today. Chicago Blackhawks 2016 Stadium Series Worn on February 21st, 2016 in TCF Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minnesota The white NHL Stadium Series jersey pays homage to Chicago, featuring four, six-pointed red stars on the white collar, which are derived from the City of Chicago’s flag and were incorporated as a symbol of regional fan pride. Additionally, the black shoulder yoke serves as a visual representation of the city’s nickname, the “City of Big Shoulders.” The team’s secondary logos overlap the top three stripes on the sleeve rather than the traditional shoulder placement. The stripes, letters and numbers were purposely made bigger to match the Stadium Series theme plus it improves visibility in outdoor venues. Chicago Blackhawks 2017 Winter Classic Worn on January 2nd, 2017 in Busch Stadium – St. Louis, Missouri Very similar to the 2015 Winter Classic sweater, the 2017 Winter Classic jersey was also inspired by the 1957 original. This time they used the vintage logo instead of the current one plus the secondary logo is more modern than the one used in 2015. This sweater is not only inspired by the 1957 originals, it was also inspired by the playing era of legends Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull. The uniform stands as an homage to the legends of the past while preserving the classic aesthetic of the franchise by using details from uniforms of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Just like all of the other white uniforms used in the outdoor games, the Hawks once again used single-layer black lettering because black is the perfect contrasting colour to the white body of the uniform. THE 2016/17 NHL OUTDOOR JERSEY CLASS – ALL ABOUT LEGACY    

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THE 2016/17 NHL OUTDOOR JERSEY CLASS – ALL ABOUT LEGACY

The 2016/17 NHL season has seen the unveiling of 8 NHL outdoor jerseys that were worn in-game by NHL players for their respective NHL teams. Most of the jerseys unveiled were inspired by past designs and colours used in the ‘good ole days’. There have been some interesting classic themed jerseys used this year and most of which are supposed to commemorate team history. Since this is the 100th NHL season, the ‘blast from the past’ route for the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic games made the most sense. The Centennial Classic and Stadium Series jerseys had elements of their past but the designs were brand new and never used before. Edmonton Oilers 2016 Heritage Classic This particular jersey was used prior to the Heritage Classic in Winnipeg when they unveiled it at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft as an alternate. The only reason this jerseys counts on this list is because the Oilers wore it for their outdoor date against the Winnipeg Jets. What a lot of fans didn’t know about this jersey is that it was the original jersey of the Oilers franchise. When they were the Alberta Oilers in the WHA back in 1972, they introduced this jersey before they changed it to their current blue jerseys a few years after that. The unique lay-over neck design was not a new implementation of the current throwback, it was also introduced as part of the design back in 1972 as well. Everything about this jersey is according to the exact specifications as the throwback in 1972 except for the white strips separating the blue and orange. The vintage jerseys have a thicker white line than the modern throwbacks played during the Heritage Classic. Besides that, this jersey a true classic. Alberta Oilers original from 1972 Winnipeg Jets 2016 Heritage Classic The Jets, just like the Oilers, were part of the WHA until they both absorbed by the NHL. The first generation Jets were inaugurated one year after the Oilers were in 1973. These jerseys are now a fan favourite in Winnipeg after they were worn during their Heritage Classic matinee against the Oilers on October 23rd, 2016. There are 2 exceptions that the new throwback is different from the one introduced in 1973. First, the blue used in the modern throwbacks is a darker navy blue compared to the lighter royal blue from the original sweater. Second, the neck tie from the new jersey is a cross-layover just like the Oilers jersey. The original had a thin cut V-neck. Winnipeg Jets original from 1973   St. Louis Blues 2017 Winter Classic The original from 1968 surged back to life after it was unveiled for the 2017 Winter Classic in St. Louis. This jersey proved to be very popular among fans and it immediately replaced the other alternate jersey St. Louis wore since 2008. The round fibre-collar neck added to the true authenticity of the throwback. It’s a simple design that stands out because of the bright colours and that’s why it’s a hit. The main difference between this jersey and the original is the thinner white strip on the new throwback as opposed to the thick white stripes from the original. Thinning out the white is a common theme to the reintroduced throwbacks because it shows off the main colours more. St. Louis was never part of the Winter Classic until this season and they needed this badly as other rival teams like Chicago and Detroit were already part of several outdoor games already. After the success St. Louis experienced with this Winter Classic, there is strong indication that they will be part of another outdoor game in a few years from now. St. Louis Blues original from 1968 Chicago Blackhawks 2017 Winter Classic The Blackhawks are back at it once again with the Winter Classic jerseys. This is Chicago’s 4th consecutive outdoor appearance and it’s 5th overall. They now have a ton of different outdoor jersey designs and it’s a collection that deserves an honour of it’s own. This is also the 3rd straight year that Chicago has went with a white uniform after making their first two appearances in black. For this jersey, the Hawks modified the throwback from 1958. They made some adjustments with the minor details of the jersey. First, they made the red and black stripes on the waist bigger and they placed the bottom black stripe on the very bottom instead of letting it overhang on top of the white base. Second, they took the “C” from the arm portion of the sweater and completely changed it. All aspects of the secondary logo were changed including the tomahawk ax and ax head portions.  The justification for this is because the Hawks already used the original “C” secondary logo in the 2015 Winter Classic jersey and they didn’t want to use it again. They did however use the same main logo from the 1958 original as opposed to before when they used their current logo which is a big positive. This jersey, similar to the original, is not a true replication of the older version but it still looks great nonetheless. Comparison between the old and the ‘old new’ Detroit Red Wings 2017 Centennial Classic This jersey is a very simple design with one significant detail about it; The silver stripes on the arm. Engraved on each silver stripe are the years the Red Wings won Stanley Cups. The years listed on the right sleeve are 1936, 1937, 1943, 1950 and 1952. The years listed on the left sleeve are 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008. Why the stripes are silver is because its supposed to resemble the Stanley Cup. The four red stripes on both sleeves are a tribute to the original Detroit Cougars, which prominently displayed stripes in their jersey designs. Toronto Maple Leafs 2017 Centennial Classic Just like their Centennial opponents, The Detroit Red Wings, The Leafs unveiled a simple but fresh design. There is a lot of depth when it comes to the symbolism represented with this jersey. Naturally, it pays homage to the past. The words ‘Honour, Pride and Courage’ stitched into the back of the neck of the sweater, similar to the team’s new sweaters, are taken from a famous Conn Smythe quote and represents the values the franchise strives to represent. The horizontal singular band of white across the body of the sweater is reminiscent of the Toronto St. Pats sweater worn from 1922 to 1925. Philadelphia Flyers 2017 Stadium Series Although this jersey is a new design, all of the elements taken from it are meshed from the past. The new jersey stands as a contemporary homage to the unique characteristics of 50 years of the Flyers uniform – a bold design for a passionate city. The primary colour of the uniform is black, fiercely showcasing the traditional winged-P on the chest. The single dominant orange bands are a reinterpretation of the singular bands of color on the team’s current home and away uniforms. In addition, these bands of colour are complemented by a contrast color name-plate, which is a signature design feature of the Flyers’ NHL uniform. Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stadium Series This is probably the most standout outdoor NHL jersey that has ever been unveiled. There are so many features this jersey has that makes it unique and there is no other like it. This jersey is mean’t to look industrial because Pittsburgh is also known as “Steel City.” The captaincy patches have the gold triangle around it and that golden triangle is normally behind the logo but instead they have it integrated with the “A” and “C” captaincy patches. The most attention-grabbing feature is the giant patch on the left sleeve touting “City of Champions” in big silver letters. This is the largest secondary patch that was ever featured on a NHL jersey. Inside the patch there are four gold stars, marking the Penguins’ Stanley Cup championships, with crossed hockey sticks all inside a keystone shape — for the Keystone State. The overall body of the jersey is representative of the first alternate jersey ever used in the NHL and that honour belonged to the Penguins. Those jerseys were worn between 1982 to 1985. You May Also Like...   LEGACY OF THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS OUTDOOR UNIFORM.....So Far            THE RICH CULTURE BEHIND THE PITTSBURGH PENGUINS OUTDOOR SWEATERS   THE HISTORIC COMPILATION OF THE DETROIT RED WINGS OUTDOOR JERSEY  

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TOP 10 - NHL's Most Remarkable Personalities - Volume 2

#5 – Matthew Barnaby The master at getting under peoples’ skin. If Matthew Barnaby could fight with his lips, he would be heavyweight champion of the world. He’s quite a bit like Sean Avery except that he has the gift of gab, but not in a positive way. Matthew was famous for his constant chirping against any opponent no matter if it’s tough guys like Tie Domi, Donald Brashear and even Zdeno Chara. The man can certainly talk the talk but can also walk the walk as he would always stand up for himself when he had too. The man had no fear and is very courageous. His constant taunting made him a fan favourite with the New York Rangers. He was also famous for his huge smile that players wanted to punch out because everybody knows what kind of filth that comes from his mouth. He is very quick-witted and he constantly used references from movies to his advantage to insult people. For example, he often referred to Lyle Odelein of the New Jersey Devils as “Cornelius”, a character off of Planet of the Apes. He used to also pick on minor league players coming into the NHL by making fun of their low-end paychecks plus he would always tell them that their teams will send them back down to the minors. I really wanted to hear more of what Matthew said during his career but apparently most of the language was so offensive, it couldn’t be aired on television. #4 – Ilya Bryzgalov When you find out the universe is humongous big. Ilya Bryzgalov; the entertainer, the jester and the philosopher. He is a man who has an imaginative spark to his personality. People crowd around him just so they would listen to his crazy theories. One of his philosophies is that Siberian Husky’s are like hot blondes because they’re both known for their beauty plus he has an entire theory on comparing outer space to life in general. What makes it funnier is that he has a college degree in philosophy. Ilya is most famous for talking about his favourite subject, the universe. He’s always wondering how it’s made and constantly points out how big it is. One interesting note he has on the universe is that he compares how small the world’s problems are compared to the size of the universe. It’s interesting because that analogy matches his personality in the way that he is easy-going, calm and humourous. Even when things aren’t going well for him, he doesn’t appear to be angry but he does get sarcastic. Even his sarcasm is funny because he makes himself the butt end of the joke and he is comfortable with it. For example, when Ilya apparently got benched from the Flyers for sleeping during a team meeting, he asked the journalists who reported the story on it to “look at themselves in the mirror” plus he told them that were doing “a great job of reporting.” Ilya has a soft side to him. When it came to painting one of his masks, he decided to let his children design his mask when he played for the Edmonton Oilers. On one side, there is a drawing a goalie guarding and on the other side, it appears to be the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. I really wished he didn’t play such horrible hockey during the twilight of his career, otherwise we would of heard more of Ilya’s philosophies about things in life. He should write a book on it! #3 – Alex Ovechkin Don’t we love Alex in the all-star games or what? When Alex entered the NHL in 2005, we was nothing more than a shadow to the hype that Sidney Crosby brought to the league when he entered with Ovechkin as a rookie. Fans found out right away that there are 3 things that Alex scores; goals, girls and interviews. How it sequenced was a lot like this; When he scored the goals, he scored the interviews. When he scored the interviews, he scored the girls. That cycle repeated until he got engaged to Nastya  Shubskaya in 2015. Before that he lived the ultimate bachelor lifestyle in the off-season. Alex would show up to wild DJ parties in limousines filled with beautiful women and tagging alongside him is fellow countryman Evgeni Malkin. He also loves being a rockstar as he used to play in rock concerts plus he even tried his hand at rapping. Around the locker room, Alex is a lot like Ilya Bryzgalov with his care-free attitude but he is more boisterous and playful. His antics make him a favourite on and off the ice with teammates as well as fans. One of the best moments of Alex was him making fun of teammate Alex Semin’s fighting skills using Nintendo Wii remotes. Personally, I laughed a little more than I should have but it was great. Ovechkin once interviewed rival player Sidney Crosby and it was comedic gold. He is also very funny at the receiving end of interviews as he always has out-of-the-box answers to many of his questions from interviewers. He has become more serious in the last couple of seasons but his fun side does pop up from time to time. #2 – P.K. Subban Welcome to Smashville P.K.! He’s living the dream isn’t he huh? P.K. is a very special person. He is very special because he has the most heart and spirit in the game of hockey today. P.K. freely expresses his appreciation of playing in the best hockey league in the world by being himself. He has the most heart because he is one of the most generous donors that Montreal Children’s Hospital has ever had. In 2015, P.K. has pledged $10 million to help sick kids at the hospital. But it’s not like P.K. to just drop a pile of fun coupons and walk away, he actually gets his hands dirty by spending time playing with the kids and getting involved in the community. The kids at the hospital love his enthusiasm, energy plus he makes them laugh which is so important. On the ice P.K. brings the spirit to the locker room as he is always getting himself psyched up during warm ups before every game. He is loud, energetic and confident plus his teammates feed off that. P.K. is very emotional and that’s good when you’re winning but has shown emotion in a negative way when things aren’t going well in the past. P.K. hates losing and has expressed frustration in the form of bombastic cursing and throwing Gatorade bottles in the locker room. Analysts have always said that P.K. Subban can drive your team to a win or loss becuase of his play on the ice but that’s only half true. It has everything to do with his emotion. Another side of P.K. that most fans like is his personality shown on small t.v. stints. His best performance came when he dressed up in one of Don Cherry’s suits then started to impersonate him in a mock Coach’s Corner segment with George Strombolopoulos. P.K. is very lively, playful and happy-go-lucky when on camera and he is like that because he appreciates his life as an NHL player. He is a standout presence in any locker room you put him in as he is intrinsically motivated as he doesn’t need an outside influence to light his spark. With that personality comes with a dash of swagger and that comes when you’re as confident as P.K. You’ll see that swagger when he celebrates his goals on the ice as he’ll do a majestic celebration after he dishes the puck into the net. There will never be a another person like P.K. Fans, teammates and everybody involved in hockey will miss him when he is gone. #1 – Jeremy Roenick Ladies look out! (Just kidding, he’s married) Fiery, colourful and a true showman. That’s why he is #1 on this list. Jeremy was as great as a hockey player as he was a talker under the spotlight. He used to always establish rapport with fans by greeting them and signing their merchandise with his autograph. He’d do it more than any other player. For Roenick, it was an understanding of what it meant to be the fan on the other side. As a child, he attended Hartford Whalers’ games; during one visit, hockey legend Gordie Howe picked up a pile of snow off the ice and threw it over the glass and on top of Roenick’s head; Howe then continued to skate around but looked at Roenick again and winked. Roenick recalled what a lasting effect it had on him and he quoted;   “I thought that was the coolest thing that ever happened in my whole life, it took three seconds. It was me, Gordie Howe and no one else…That moment stuck with me for years and years and years. It was little, it was small and it took nothing out of his power or time but it resonated with me my whole life. So, as a player, as I got older, I tried to reach out to fans, reach out to kids whether on the ice or on the street or in a restaurant. I try to do little things where I can make the same impression on a young child that Gordie Howe made on me. That’s a gift that was given to me. And I made sure I did it, every, single day. Without the fans, without their support, the NHL would be nothing, the NFL would be nothing, basketball, baseball, you name it right down the line … The two or three seconds you give each day to make sure you appreciate the people who appreciate you, goes a long way.”   Roenick was candid as he said whatever he felt like on the camera. He talked about his controversial views on the 2005 NHL lockout, made statements about the NHL commissioner and had a public exchange of words with Patrick Roy during the 1996 playoffs, a debate he lost.   Jeremy loved to gamble and was part of the controversial gambling stunt known as Operation Slapshot which forced Roenick, several NHL players and personnel to give affidavits to New Jersey authorities for allegedly placing bets on hockey games when they were playing and coaching in the NHL.   After Roenick retired from hockey in 2009, he took on a couple of analyst roles for NBC and he has also appeared on several cameo appearances in different movies and sitcoms. He lives the cameo life and just like every other role Jeremy had in his life, he embraced it and made the best of it.

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TOP 10 – NHL's Most Remarkable Personalities - Volume 1

There’s an expectation that all NHL players have to live to their performance on the ice. Then there is some who go the extra mile by building rapport with fans, media and sometimes other players. They are the guys who are perceived to be the masters of charisma; full of antics, charm, grace, flow and style. Each of these players that are listed below are unique in their own way. Some are loud, some are bombastic, they say what they think and they say what they feel. It doesn’t matter how skilled they are on the ice, the players listed in this top 10 leave an impression in our mind that not only stick out, but leaving an everlasting impression as well. This list is comprised of PLAYERS who played in the NHL for about the last 20 or so years dating back to the late 1990’s. Iconic figures like Don Cherry and Brian Burke will be excluded only because they’re more well known for their personality displays off the ice. This article is about new school personalities rather than old school, but don’t get me wrong, old school is great too. The list is rated as a top 10 so that means some players will be honourable mentions if you provide who they are in the comments plus everybody’s opinion of who should be on the list is different. If you don’t agree, vote or comment on your case constructively in the comments section as long as your argument is worth taking into consideration. #10 – Jaromir Jagr The dude still hits it off with young models. Remember when Jaromir slept with that 18 year old model? Most fans know the story behind this but in case you didn’t, I’ll tell you. This chick tried extorting Jaromir for $50,000 by threatening to post the picture you see above on Instagram thinking that it would jeopardize his career. Well unfortunately for her it backfired. Jagr simply said “I don’t care” when confronted with the potential blackmailing. So what the girl did was post the picture on Instagram anyways and all what that did was build Jaromir’s rapport as a legend – a god to some. All what it did for the girl was…well….make herself look like a blackmailing puck-slut. Jaromir is not just 2nd all-time in points by NHL player, he’s also funny, a prankster and overall just a cool guy. People think he has a fountain of youth in his backyard because he still plays tremendous hockey even at 45 years of age. When Jaromir played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, he used to have an insanely huge mullet back when it was popular in the early 1990’s. A lot of players had the mullet back in those days but Jagr wore it best. #9 – Paul Bissonette As Don Cherry would phrase it; “Someone’s hot dogging.” A big dude (6′ 4″, 220 lbs) with a big personality, @BizNasty2point0, as he is known as on Twitter is the type of guy who will give it to you straight. He answers questions during interviews in a raw, thought-provoking fashion that will sometimes shock people and that’s what makes him stick out. He chirps a lot and a good example is when he did an interview for Michael Landsburg in 2011. He called the Edmonton Oilers an AHL team. Of course this was during the Pre-McDavid era when they couldn’t draft or sign free agents for the life of them because, well, Edmonton is too cold play in (cough, cough, Chris Pronger) and they had a management team that was just made up of former Oilers players who had pretty much no knack for managing a hockey team. To add more about Paul, he has a dirty mind plus he loves junk food, alcohol and women. He uses junk food as a mantra to build rapport on his Twitter (Japanese Kit-Kat bars) plus he uses the topic to enrich conversations during interviews. He mostly uses this when he talks to men. When he talks to women he sometimes uses alcohol to keep the conversation going but he’s mostly just outright flirtatious with most girls, even on camera. He always refers women he talks to as “future ex-wives” and sometimes “puck bunnies”. He builds his image up by saying he scores a lot of goals on the ice but in reality he was just a plug that scored 7 career NHL goals in over 202 games played (shots fired!!!). It doesn’t matter though because he scores women more than he does goals and that’s more important in life. Or is it? I don’t know, maybe not when you’re a diehard I suppose. When observing Paul’s hockey profile, I’ve noticed that he was named captain of the Saginaw Spirit during his junior days back in 2003. Players mostly get named captain because they lead by example on the ice. Remember when I said that Paul doesn’t score a lot of goals? Well he didn’t score a lots back then neither. Not even in Junior. He was only 9th in team scoring during the season he was named captain and he was a forward to boot. So the question remains. Why? Simple. It was because of his larger than life personality. In life, a personality that people adore gets you anything you want in life and it was the reason because Paul made it so far in his NHL career. #8 – Sean Avery He does this **** all the time. Believe me. Remember when I was talking Paul Bissonette’s personality and how it was so attractive and magnetic. Well, uhh Sean Avery is not like that. He is the exact opposite. He is mischievous, outspoken and crafty.  He is out to become notorious in what he does and has certainly achieved that during his NHL career. Sean has pulled some outrageous stunts over the course of his NHL career including the infamous “sloppy seconds” interview that ultimately got Sean kicked out of the Dallas Stars. What he was trying to do was shift the attention of the upcoming game against the Calgary Flames toward his favour by making Dion Phanuef (Star player for the Flames at the time) a victim of a bombastic comment about his current girlfriend, Elisha Cuthbert, who once dated Sean. Sean said that he was honestly wondering why NHL players were falling in love with his “sloppy seconds” but I think this was just another one of his antics. He was definitely jealous and he tried to use this type of drama to gain an edge. Of course, that interview made headlines around the sports world and it backfired on Avery as he got suspended for 6 games by the NHL because it was beyond trash talking, it was downright piercing. He was eventually kicked off the Dallas Stars for the incident. If you haven’t watched the interview yet, YOU MUST! It is definitely shocking! Sean is not only mischievous off the ice, he’s just as mischievous on it and there is no better way to prove it than to have the NHL make a rule made after you. Avery was screening New Jersey Devils’ goaltender, Martin Brodeur by waving his stick in front of Brodeur’s face during an important NHL playoff game. Nobody has ever screened a goalie like the way Avery did before. Whether you think it was a tactic or an antic it proved to be effective as he scored the goal during that play. Sean has definitely done more than what I described above. He got into a shouting match against Darcy Tucker of the Maple Leafs during a pregame skate when there were no refs on the ice. He also has a history of heckling at fans, posted videos on Snapchat bullying homeless people plus there were rumours of him being engaged to Andy Cohen but that turned to be fake news. There is yet another side to Sean that is very interesting and it’s that he has a flair for fashion. He served as an intern for Vogue Magazine starting in 2008. He has since entered in modeling, acting and business, mostly with restaurants. Sean retired from the NHL in 2012. Despite all of the controversy he has faced throughout his career, there is absolutely no denying that his story is one of a kind and has gone the distance with his controversy. #7 – Roberto Luongo Roberto acting like he’s in space wearing a “Spacey in Space” hoodie Once again, we have a personality that is in no way in comparison to the last. This time we have someone who is a little milder but still makes his presence known, especially on the Twitter. What makes Roberto so great is that he’ll take any situation that is negative, turn it around to make it positive. He lifts the pressure off of himself to make the atmosphere around him lighter. He mostly does this in the locker room but I’m sure he does this everywhere he goes as well. This is something he is very clever at doing plus he does in a very subtle fashion. A great example of one of these situations is when Roberto was in a competition with Cory Schneider for the starting position when they both played for the Vancouver Canucks. Normally this would of been a tense and uneasy situation but instead of being at odds with each other, they both decided to have a little fun with it by making a little comedic stint on TSN by having a friendly competition with each other. It made the situation better for both Cory and Roberto as they have become better friends after the saga. Not to mention the fans enjoyed this too. There is no doubt about one thing and it’s that he is the master of the Twitter. He has posted some cheeky stuff on there that makes you think; “Yepp , Bobby Lou has done it again with the Twitter.” He’s one of the few athletes to have their tweets make the news on multiple occasions but Roberto has done it the best. What makes his Twitter unique is that he has profile picture of a goaltender figure with a question mark on it. It is believed that nobody really knew that Bobby Lou ran the @strombone1 twitter handle at first until people started to catch on. That is great because that adds mystery to his online presence. The common theme with most of his posts is that he makes fun of himself. He is comfortable with making himself the butt end of his jokes and its a hit with fans. He is also a master with emoji’s as he can send out tweets that make a huge impact just by adding a couple of smiley faces. This Tweet is a tremendous example and I’ll explain why: For those that don’t know, this tweet caused a flurry of trade rumours that he has going to be traded to the Florida Panthers. Once again, he loves to add mystery and it’s all because of this simple palm tree emoji. It was only a few hours later that it was confirmed that indeed Roberto was traded to the Florida Panthers. Who knew a palm tree could build so much hype?? Hopefully there will be many more tweets and cheeky antics coming from Bobby Lou in the future as he is far from done from playing in the NHL. #6 – Brent Burns Ladies and gentleman, here is the most badass hockey samurai. A fan favourite in San Jose, Brent Burns is one of those guys who just attracts abundance by his fun-loving, happy-go-lucky personality. He is very loose and relaxed off the ice plus he also plays like that on the ice. He’s an offensive defenceman that plays with a lot of flow in his game and that’s definitely a match to his personality. He is especially famous for his beard, lack of teeth and tattoos he has all over his body. While some might think he is ugly, a lot of people think he is quite masculine because of his physical features. Women love it. Burns is like a dynamic character in a great fiction novel. He started off as a player who was relatively unknown when drafted by Minnesota years ago but when he got traded to San Jose, more of his true colours came out. The more he became famous from his personality, the better he played and his stats show that. It’s as almost as if somebody brought the the best of him when he arrived in Northern California or maybe it was just the culture in the Sharks locker room. Whatever happened, it was for the best. Another interesting note about Brent is that he is an animal lover. He owns everything from dogs, cats, iguanas and snakes. He literally has entire rooms in his off-season home dedicated to just one type of animal. He has an aquarium room, a reptile room and he has many dogs running around his home as well. He loves all of his pets equally.   Not only is Brent a fun-loving animal lover. He is also a very generous and charitable person as well. In fact he won the NHL Foundation award in 2015 for all of his charity work that him and his wife has done. He earned that award by supporting the Sharks Foundation, Defending The Blue Line and other charitable causes through his participation in numerous events. Back in 2009 when Brent played for the Wild he even purchased a suite at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota so that members of the military can watch the Minnesota Wild games. He is very much a class act who is full of heart. READ MORE: Top 10 – NHL’s Most Remarkable Player Personalities Volume 2

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Faceoff statistics

I read about this idea on HFBoards and finally got to implement it.   Faceoff stats and Elo ratings.   The available views are: * career/specific season * per zone/per stick first   Here's a sample table: By stick first on the ice, 2016 season. FW - First Stick Wins, FL - First Stick Losses, FP - First Stick Win % LW - Last Stick Wins, LL - Last Stick Losses, LP - Last Stick Win % TW - Total Faceoff Wins, TL - Total Faceoff Losses, TP - Total Faceoff W % FR - Faceoff Rating (TW*TP/100), Elo - Elo rating.   Matt Duchene really surged this season.   # Player FW FL FP LW LL LP TW TL TP FR Elo 1 MATT DUCHENE 239 142 62.73 214 125 63.13 453 267 62.92 285.01 2099.16 2 PATRICE BERGERON 349 262 57.12 392 254 60.68 741 516 58.95 436.82 2078.38 3 RYAN O'REILLY 383 286 57.25 315 220 58.88 698 506 57.97 404.65 2070.72 4 ANTOINE VERMETTE 350 198 63.87 265 172 60.64 615 370 62.44 383.98 2067.26 5 RYAN KESLER 442 320 58.01 300 217 58.03 742 537 58.01 430.46 2065.49 6 MARTIN HANZAL 291 254 53.39 274 185 59.69 565 439 56.27 317.95 2063.27 7 CLAUDE GIROUX 281 218 56.31 433 350 55.30 714 568 55.69 397.66 2057.67 8 JORDAN STAAL 217 170 56.07 215 130 62.32 432 300 59.02 254.95 2057.40 9 JONATHAN TOEWS 268 216 55.37 333 227 59.46 601 443 57.57 345.98 2056.26 10 PAUL STASTNY 341 267 56.09 310 253 55.06 651 520 55.59 361.91 2054.49 11 KYLE TURRIS 226 181 55.53 272 261 51.03 498 442 52.98 263.83 2049.56 12 TYLER BOZAK 201 161 55.52 311 232 57.27 512 393 56.57 289.66 2049.46 13 BRANDON SUTTER 314 261 54.61 273 211 56.40 587 472 55.43 325.37 2049.30 14 MIKKO KOIVU 394 360 52.25 295 203 59.24 689 563 55.03 379.17 2047.14 15 FRANS NIELSEN 187 165 53.12 269 214 55.69 456 379 54.61 249.03 2046.67 16 DEREK RYAN 86 62 58.11 153 110 58.17 239 172 58.15 138.98 2046.05 17 RYAN JOHANSEN 236 224 51.30 297 244 54.90 533 468 53.25 283.81 2043.37 18 TRAVIS ZAJAC 325 293 52.59 267 216 55.28 592 509 53.77 318.31 2042.99 19 JEAN-GABRIEL PAGEAU 211 178 54.24 147 111 56.98 358 289 55.33 198.09 2040.48 20 SEAN COUTURIER 199 162 55.12 170 160 51.52 369 322 53.40 197.05 2038.48 21 BRYAN LITTLE 190 168 53.07 219 157 58.24 409 325 55.72 227.90 2038.16 22 JAY BEAGLE 297 220 57.45 144 114 55.81 441 334 56.90 250.94 2035.44 23 MIKE FISHER 300 249 54.64 240 200 54.55 540 449 54.60 294.84 2034.64 24 CODY EAKIN 165 153 51.89 138 126 52.27 303 279 52.06 157.75 2034.28 25 SEAN MONAHAN 214 189 53.10 346 310 52.74 560 499 52.88 296.13 2031.43 26 ERIK HAULA 163 141 53.62 156 129 54.74 319 270 54.16 172.77 2030.95 27 TOMAS HERTL 67 55 54.92 55 34 61.80 122 89 57.82 70.54 2029.31 28 TORREY MITCHELL 218 209 51.05 120 81 59.70 338 290 53.82 181.92 2028.69 29 JOHN MITCHELL 113 105 51.83 128 90 58.72 241 195 55.28 133.21 2027.15 30 HENRIK ZETTERBERG 207 194 51.62 275 248 52.58 482 442 52.16 251.43 2026.42

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Another rule change suggestion

Original post.   Better less, but better V.I. Lenin
I've got another rule change suggestion, this one even simpler:

Allow teams to decline penalty shot awards in favor of a regular power-play.

I think it adds more tactical variety to the game and discourages penalties on breakaways that are worse in penalty shooting.

As a side matter, I think: a player who is charged with the offense after which the penalty shot is awarded should still be added a minor penalty (2 minutes) in the statistics.

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On Leads Changes and Swings

Original post.     Wild thing, you make my heart sing You make everything groovy, wild thing   Also inspired by Twitter, and because I can, I decided to gather statistics on games with most lead changes* most lead swings** Here, for the 2016/17 season: By most lead swings: AWAY    HOME   Date        Sco LC LS CHI  vs DAL  on 2017/02/04: 5-3 7 3 CBJ  vs OTT  on 2017/01/22: 7-6 11 3 PHI  vs STL  on 2016/12/28: 3-6 7 3 MTL  vs PIT  on 2016/12/31: 3-4 7 3 CHI  vs NYI  on 2016/12/15: 5-4 7 3 ARI  vs PHI  on 2016/10/27: 5-4 9 3   with 60 games at 2 lead swings. Dallas leads the way with 8 games with at least two swings, and Carolina, Chicago, NY Islanders and Winnpeg follow with 7 each.   By most lead changes:       AWAY    HOME   Date        Sco LC LS CBJ  vs OTT  on 2017/01/22: 7-6 11 3 TOR  vs WSH  on 2017/01/03: 5-6  9 2 TOR  vs NYI  on 2017/02/06: 5-6  9 2 NYI  vs DET  on 2017/02/03: 4-5  9 1 CHI  vs COL  on 2017/01/17: 6-4  9 2 CAR  vs NYI  on 2017/02/04: 5-4  9 2 CHI  vs STL  on 2016/12/17: 6-4  9 1 BUF  vs OTT  on 2016/11/29: 5-4  9 1 ARI  vs PHI  on 2016/10/27: 5-4  9 3   with 31 game with at least 7 lead changes. Here we've got Carolina, Chicago and NY Islanders at the lead with at least 6 games with 7 or more lead changes.   And what do we get historically?
  The wildest games, regular season, by lead swings: AWAY    HOME   Date         Sco LC LS   PHI  vs BOS  on 2011/01/13: 5-7  11 5 COL  vs CGY  on 1991/02/23: 8-10 11 5 ARI  vs CGY  on 1991/01/15: 5-7  11 5 PHI  vs COL  on 1988/11/19: 5-6  11 5   with 30 games at 4 lead swings.   The wildest games, regular season, by lead changes: AWAY    HOME   Date        Sco LC LS   DET  vs SJS  on 2005/11/26: 7-6 13 4 MTL  vs COL  on 2002/12/06: 6-7 13 2 COL  vs SJS  on 1997/04/04: 6-7 13 2 ARI  vs PHI  on 1990/01/25: 6-8 13 1 TOR  vs PIT  on 1989/10/25: 8-6 13 3 COL  vs WSH  on 1997/11/18: 6-6 12 3 PIT  vs NJD  on 1993/04/14: 6-6 12 1 BUF  vs CAR  on 1991/12/07: 6-6 12 4 CAR  vs TOR  on 1990/02/14: 6-6 12 2 VAN  vs TOR  on 1988/01/04: 7-7 12 3   with 65 games at 11 lead changes (even numbers can only occur in the ties era).   The wildest games, playoffs, by lead swings: AWAY    HOME   Date        Sco LC LS   STL  vs DAL  on 1999/05/08: 4-5 9 4 MTL  vs COL  on 1993/04/26: 5-4 9 4 EDM  vs LAK  on 1992/04/20: 5-8 9 4   with 33 games at 3 lead swings.   The wildest games, playoffs, by lead changes: AWAY    HOME   Date        Sco LC LS   BUF  vs OTT  on 2006/05/05: 7-6 13 2 PHI  vs CHI  on 2010/05/29: 5-6 11 3 COL  vs SJS  on 2010/04/16: 5-6 11 1 PHI  vs WSH  on 1989/04/11: 8-5 11 3   with 42 games at 9 lead changes (only odd numbers can occur)   The data is presented since the year 1987 - the earliest boxscores from the NHL.com Now this one is going to make it into the website, I just haven't decided in which form.   *   Lead swing is defined as when a team takes the lead after the other team had it.  ** Lead change is defined as when a team loses the lead, even if only temporarily to a tied score.    

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On goalposts statistics

Why does the cat lick his balls? Because it can.   Recently I saw a request on a stats of goal posts / crossbars hit per game. While I do have that statistic per player, I haven't one for games, so - since I can - why shouldn't I produce one?

About half an hour of Perl-ing created the following summary:
  Irons altogether, top:
AWAY    HOME                P C T OTT  vs BUF  on 2011/12/31: 8 0 8 VAN  vs FLA  on 2010/02/11: 7 0 7 WPG  vs FLA  on 2009/12/05: 6 1 7 TOR  vs BUF  on 2007/10/15: 6 1 7 TBL  vs FLA  on 2006/04/01: 6 1 7 PHI  vs PIT  on 2006/03/12: 7 0 7 COL  vs NYI  on 2005/12/17: 7 0 7 NSH  vs DAL  on 2016/03/29: 4 2 6 PIT  vs NSH  on 2014/03/04: 5 1 6 NYI  vs TBL  on 2014/01/16: 3 3 6 DAL  vs VAN  on 2013/02/15: 5 1 6 STL  vs CAR  on 2012/03/15: 5 1 6 WPG  vs MTL  on 2011/01/02: 6 0 6 OTT  vs VAN  on 2011/02/07: 6 0 6 MTL  vs CAR  on 2011/11/23: 6 0 6 LAK  vs DAL  on 2010/03/12: 4 2 6 NJD  vs TBL  on 2009/10/08: 6 0 6 LAK  vs DAL  on 2009/10/19: 5 1 6 DAL  vs CBJ  on 2009/01/31: 5 1 6 COL  vs CHI  on 2009/11/11: 6 0 6 PIT  vs WPG  on 2008/01/30: 5 1 6 NYR  vs NJD  on 2008/04/09: 4 2 6 STL  vs ARI  on 2007/01/15: 5 1 6   followed by 109 games with 5 irons hit.   Crossbars, top: AWAY    HOME                P C T
CGY  vs CBJ  on 2008/11/08: 1 4 5 NYR  vs FLA  on 2007/11/23: 0 4 4 PHI  vs FLA  on 2006/12/27: 1 4 5 BUF  vs DAL  on 2017/01/26: 1 3 4 EDM  vs DAL  on 2016/01/21: 2 3 5 TOR  vs STL  on 2015/01/17: 1 3 4 CHI  vs ANA  on 2015/05/19: 1 3 4 BOS  vs VAN  on 2015/02/13: 1 3 4 NYI  vs TBL  on 2014/01/16: 3 3 6 CHI  vs ANA  on 2008/01/04: 2 3 5 CAR  vs FLA  on 2007/11/12: 1 3 4   followed by 50 games with 2 crossbars hit.   The data is extracted from the PBP files of NHL.com, from the year 2005 on.

However I consider this a one-time effort and will not add this to the website itself.  

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On streaks and breaks

Original post.   So after remembering the Botwinnik's quote, and after publishing the stats how the teams actually play after different breaks, a new idea came to me - check whether the teams on streaks are affected positively or negatively by breaks.

For the sake of the analysis, I assumed the following: A break is a period of three days at least between games. A streak is a sequence of at least three wins in a row, or at least seven points in four games. So we check for the last thirty years (as far as NHL.com would let us in) if the streaking team was able to keep the streak alive, or whether the streak was broken:
  SEASON ALIVE BROKEN 1987/1988 5 11 1988/1989 12 7 1989/1990 8 14 1990/1991 13 11 1991/1992 17 13 1992/1993 20 16 1993/1994 19 20 1994/1995 2 7 1995/1996 15 11 1996/1997 15 11 1997/1998 12 20 1998/1999 12 9 1999/2000 18 12 2000/2001 21 11 2001/2002 17 6 2002/2003 13 10 2003/2004 12 14 2005/2006 31 15 2006/2007 16 16 2007/2008 23 24 2008/2009 15 20 2009/2010 14 17 2010/2011 19 11 2011/2012 22 11 2012/2013 6 3 2013/2014 15 15 2014/2015 16 16 2015/2016 16 14 2016/2017 8 11 TOTAL 432 376
Actually, it looks like the streaks weren't affected by the break either way. 53.4% of the times the streak continued, 46.6% of the time it went dead. There is a very large discrepancy between the seasons, although I'd attribute it to lesser parity between the teams overall in these years. For the last 5 years, the probability for the streak to stay alive has been 50.8% (61 cases of extended streaks out of 120).

Now, what would change, if we define a break a little bit longer, by a single day:
  SEASON ALIVE BROKEN 1987/1988 2 2 1988/1989 4 1 1989/1990 3 1 1990/1991 4 4 1991/1992 7 8 1992/1993 8 2 1993/1994 7 7 1994/1995 1 1 1995/1996 6 7 1996/1997 6 2 1997/1998 5 5 1998/1999 6 2 1999/2000 9 3 2000/2001 7 4 2001/2002 6 4 2002/2003 5 1 2003/2004 3 6 2005/2006 16 4 2006/2007 8 5 2007/2008 10 6 2008/2009 8 8 2009/2010 6 6 2010/2011 9 3 2011/2012 8 4 2012/2013 2 1 2013/2014 3 9 2014/2015 5 9 2015/2016 7 6 2016/2017 3 8 TOTAL 174 129   The changes are rather interesting. Now, overall, the chances of streak to continue are up to 57.4%, and only in 42.6% of the cases it came to a stop. But in the last five years - since the last lockout - and with the schedule changes so that there are at least two games between every team (increasing travel), the ratio drops from 50.8% to the humble 37.7% (20 out of 53!)

Extending the breaks to five days provides too little data to draw any conclusions.

So I am inclined to agree with Dr. Botwinnik, that extended breaks of more than three days throw teams off their pace and should be reduced to minimum. Three days are borderline alright.

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A rule change suggestion

whoops, got the title wrong Original post. A rule change suggestion   There's no irreplaceable people. I.V. Stalin   Rushing this one up, because this idea already came to my mind before, but I forgot about it. The age is taking its toll.

Anyways. Everyone is talking these days about rule changes. I've already expressed a few thoughts on the scoring systems, but I am not original there. Now, however, I want to make a suggestion I haven't seen mentioned yet.

Allow soccer (baseball, too)-like substitutions in hockey. Allow the coaches to replace players in the original lineup at the start of the game with one of the "healthy scratches", as submitted in the roster sheet, like the one Peter DeBoer recently messed up in the game against Edmonton.

The substitution goes ONE-WAY. That means that the player that was substituted cannot return to the game. The substitutions may occur:
  During the intermissions During the commercial breaks During a time-out First and foremost this will allow teams to handle early injuries much better. Your D-man got injured at the 7:04 mark of the 1st period? Around 10:00 there will be a commercial break, you can substitute him with one of the scratches!   Second, it may allow coaches to send stronger messages to players they deem slacking. Rather than shorten the roster by benching that guy, you can send an eager healthy scratch in. Of course, then the "slacking" player is benched for the whole remainder of the game.   Third (oh, I did military service, so I have a natural obsession of providing three reasons for each thing), it may give the coaches some extra flexibility if a designated roster player gets slightly injured in the warm-ups. Then a scratch takes his place as usual, but if the original player is fixed by the 1st intermission, he can substitute the starting scratch.   The substitutes will have to come from the "scratch" list with the exception of the emergency goaltending contracts.   Oh, and I am sure the NHL website will make a mess out of it in their game reports.

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On A Hockey Website

Original post.   Just to not let the month of January slip away without another post, I got sentimental and decided to tell a small story about how my website came to life.

There was a void. A lot of time people on hockey boards would wonder if specific statistics of players and teams were available, and they wouldn't, although the raw data seemed to be there. Then, there was the fantasy hockey world, with its pizzazz, and asking for a predictive tool, - and again, the raw data seemed to be there.

Now, I am a sysadmin by trade, with occasional forays into software development, and since I've been doing Perl for all of my career, I got a few exposures to the Web development process and to databases. I've got a college degree in Engineering, so that gave me some idea about statistics.

So I got a look at the publicly available NHL reports, but was unsure of how to use them. I tried some standard database approach, but it wasn't working.

The turning point came when I attended a lecture on MongoDB. That one turned out to be perfect, with the loosely compiled NHL stats documents, just spill them into the Mongo database. Then extract data from them and summarize them into tables. Store the tables in an SQL database for quick serving on the website. And along came more luck - a lecture on the Mojolicious Perl Web framework which equipped me with an easy solution for how to run a website.

Thus, I was able to actually implement what I had in mind. First came the spider part, to crawl and collect the data available on NHL.com. Fortunately, I was able to scrape everything before the website's design changed drastically, and the box scores prior to 2002 stopped being available. I got everything from the 1987/88 season on.

Then, I started writing the parsers,.. and had to take a step back. There was quite a lot of inconsistent and missing reports. Therefore I had to a) add a thorough testing of every report I scraped to ensure it came together, b) look for complementing sources for whatever data was missing. So before I got done with the parsers, I had a large testing framework, and also visited all corners of the hockey-related websites to get the missing or conflicting data resolved, even the online archives of newspapers such as USA Today. Some of the downloaded reports had to be edited manually. Then, NHL.com landed another blow, dropping draft pick information from their player info pages. Luckily, the German version of the website still had it, so I began to scrape the German NHL website too.

I was able to produce the unusual statistics tables relatively quickly and easily. However I decided that the website will not open without the prediction models I had in mind. Being a retired chess arbiter and a big chess enthusiast I decided to try to apply the Chess Elo rating model to the performances of hockey teams and players. Whether it really works, or not, I don't know yet. I guess by the end of the season I can make a judgement on that.

In October 2016 I opened my website by using a free design I found somewhere online. Unfortunately, I quickly realized it was not a good fit with the contents the site was serving, so I sighed, breathed some air, opened w3schools.com in my browser, and created my own design. And a CMS too. At least I am happy with the way the site looks now, and even more happier that when someone asks a question - on Twitter, Reddit or hockey forums - whether it's possible to measure a specific metric, I am able to answer, 'Already done! Welcome to my website!'

At the end I'm a software developer, a web designer, a DBA, a sysadmin, a statistician and an SEO amateur. Oh, and a journalist too, since I'm writing a blog.

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On Intangibles (a small addendum)

Original post.   One "intangible" being tossed around is "motivation" of the players. Which brings memories of an episode I was witness to.   In 2003/04, in the Israeli Top Tier Chess League (which is indeed no slouch) our club managed to assemble an outstanding team, featuring, among others, a former Champion of Russia and a former Champion of Europe. I was part of the management team, and orchestrated bringing the first of the two, who also happened to be my childhood friend back in Leningrad, Soviet Union.   And so, in round III we were to face our main rival for the title, and the club's GM (also a pedestrian chess player) gathered the team and carried out a pronounced motivational speech, how we have to beat the team we're facing, and so on, and so on.   We lost 1½-4½ without winning a single game and lost any chance for the championship we could have.

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On Intangibles. Carpe Jugulum.

Original post.  
Often the general managers, the coaches and the players talk about "intangible values". Sometimes it's about the "locker room contributions". Sometimes it's about "passion". In my opinion, these two are actually negligible and in certain cases even harmful. I remember such references, especially the latter one, made about Israeli soccer players, and that usually meant that the player doesn't have a lot of talent to go along, but contributes a lot of passion into the game. While a passionate play can indeed ignite the play and carry the team along, more often it indicated dumb physical low-talent execution that actually harmed the team.

However, there is one intangible that I take my hat off in front. It's the one that I always admired, and myself did not have enough in my chess career. It's the ability to go for the throat of the opposition at even momentary display of weakness by it, or as Terry Pratchett put it one of its books, 'Carpe Jugulum1'.

So what is it, in my understanding? It is the situation when your opponent puts itself into an inferior position in a volatile situation (for example, in a close score), such as by a penalty, or by an icing at the end of a long shift, or by allowing an odd-man rush, and you are able to capitalize on it, yanking any remains the carpet of security from under the feet of the opposition. And then, you continue to hammer the blows on the opposition until it collapses completely. Some also call it the 'killer instinct'. This blog (and this article too) sins with abundance of examples from chess, so let me plant one from tennis... Before the match between Lleyton Hewitt and Taylor Dent at the New York Open, 2005, the latter one complained: 'He displays a poor sportsmanship: taking joy in double errors at the opponent services as well as in unforced errors.' 'I don't care what Dent thinks about it', parried Hewitt, 'I always go for a win, and on the way to it many things are allowed.'

Machiavelli advised the rulers and the politicians, 'Don't be kind'. Winston Churchill also knew something about achieving the goals when he was recommending: 'If you want to get to your goal, don't be delicate or kind. Be rough. Hit the target immediately. Come back and hit again. Then hit again with the strongest swing you can...'

All the chess champions had it, the extremes going to Alexander Alekhine, Robert J. Fischer and Garry Kasparov. Many wonderful players that never got the title complained that they couldn't commit themselves to going for the throat of the opponent time after time.

These qualities were elevated to perfection by the two best teams of the first half of 2010s, by the Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks that split between themselves five cups out of six from 2010 to 2015. Even when both teams seem to be struggling and wobbling, they seemed to be able to instill some kind of uncertainty into their opponents - and certainty into the spectators that these teams are going to be able to make a fist out of themselves that is going to hammer their opponents once they display any kind, and minimal level of weakness. That capability was championed by their leaders, Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter for the Kings, and Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith for the Hawks. When the playoffs series between the Blackhawks and their opponents were tied 3-3, Chicago has always been the favorite to win the game 7 because of their Carpe Jugulum reputation. The Kings gained even more notoriety, first by burying their sword to the hilt into each and every opponent in 2012 en route from the #8 seed to their first Stanley Cup, and then from the reverse sweep they managed against the Sharks that started their 2014 Cup run - which included two more comings from behind, 2-3 and 1-3. And even in 2016, down 1-3 to the Sharks in the first round of the playoffs somehow fans around the league were not ready to commit to the Sharks as the favorites to win the series, because the Kings were a hair away from the Sharks' throat in game 4, from 0-3 to 2-3 in the 3rd period, and then in game 5, they indeed were able to erase the 0-3 deficit into a 3-3 tie.

Well, that tie didn't hold, the Sharks broke the stranglehold and got a boost that carried them all the way to their own first even Stanley Cup Finals, and that outcome got the Kings' reputation as the Carpe Jugulum team damaged to a degree. So did the Blackhawks' one, losing their game 7 to a team that - along with the Sharks and, for instance, the Washington Capitals - had a reputation of a somewhat nonplussed one - the St. Louis Blues.

It would be entertaining to see whether the Carpe Jugulum landscape changes this year in the league, and whether the teams who were able to overcome their "benign" reputation will be able to go all the way to the Cup Finals - through their opponents' throats.

Chess Grandmaster Gennady Sosonko wrote, 'A real professional, having thought about the situation on the board, acts most decisively. He knows, that during the game, there should be no place either for doubt, nor for compassion, because a thought which is not converted into action, isn't worth much, and an action that does not come from a thought isn't worth anything at all.'

And it's important to remember, Carpe Jugulum is a necessary key to success in a competitive environment only. Albert Einstein used to say that chess "are foreign to me due to their suppression of intellect and the spirit of rivalry."

1Carpe Jugulum (lat.) - seize the throat

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On Players Evaluation - Part VII and Final (Bundling it all up)

Original post.   Now that we obtained a way to estimate players' performances for a season, we can move on to estimate their performances for a specific game.   For the season of interest, we compute the average against for each teams, just like we computed the season averages. I.e. we calculate how many goals, shots, hits, blocks, saves are made on average against each team. Thus we obtain the team against averages Tavg. The averages are then further divided by the number of skaters and goalies (for respective stats) the team had faced.   After that we can calculate the "result" Rt of each season average stat in a chess sense, i.e. the actual performance on the scale from 0 to 1: For Goalie Wins/Losses:
  Rtwins = 0.5 + Tavgwins/(Tavgwins+Tavglosses)
For Plus-Minus:
Rt+/- = 0.5 + (Tavg+/- - Savg+/-) / 10 (10 skaters on ice on average)
For the rest:
Rstat = 0.5 + (Tavgstat - Savgstat) / K
where K is a special adjustment coefficient that is explained in part VI (and, as we remind, describes the rarity of each event)   And from the result Rt we can produce teams' Elo against in each stat, just like we computed the players' Elos.   Then, the expected result Rp of a player against a specific team in a given stat is given by:
Rp = 1/(1 + 10(Et - Ep)/4000)
  where Et is the team's Elo Against and the Ep is the player's Elo in that stat.   From the expected result Rp, we can compute the expected performance Ep just like in the previous article:   Pexp = (Rp - 0.5) * A * Savg + Savg   (See there exceptions for that formula).   Please note that we do not compute "derived" stats, i.e. the number of points (or SHP, or PPP), or the GAA, given the GA and TOI, or GA, given SA and SV.   Thus, if we want to project expected result of a game between two teams, since it's the expected amount of goals on each side, we compute the sum of the expected goals by each lineup (12 forwards and 6 defensemen):   Shome = SUMF1..12(MAX(PexpG)) + SUMD1..6(MAX(PexpG)) for the home team Saway = SUMF1..12(MAX(PexpG)) + SUMD1..6(MAX(PexpG)) for the away team   while filtering the players that are marked as not available or on injured reserve. Please note that we assume the top goal-scoring cadre is expected to play, if we knew the lineups precisely, we would substitute the exact lineup for the expected one.   You can see the projections at our Daily Summary page. So far we predicted correctly the outcome of 408 out of 661 games, i.e. about 61.7% . Yes, we still have a long way to go.   Now to the different side of the question. Given that a player expectation overall is a vector of [E1, E2, ... En] for all the stats, what is the overall value of that player. And the answer is, first and foremost, who's asking.   If it's a statistician, or a fantasy player, then the value V is simply:
  V = SUM1..n(WnEn)
  where Wn are the weights of the stats in the model that you are using to compare players. Fantasy Points' games (such as daily fantasy) are even giving you the weights of the stats - this is how we compute our daily fantasy projections.   Now, if you're a coach or a GM asking, then the answer is more complicated. Well, not really, mathematically wise, because it's still something of a form
  V = SUM1..n(fn(En))
  where fn is an "importance function" which is a simple weight coefficient for a fantasy player. But what are these "importance functions"?   Well, these are the styles of the coaches, their visions of how the team should play, highlighting the stats of the game that are more important for them. These functions can be approximated sufficiently by surveying the coaches and finding which components are of a bigger priority to them, for example, by paired-comparison analysis. Unfortunately, there are two obstacles that we may run into: the "intangibles", and the "perception gap".     But that's a completely different story.    

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On Players Evaluation - Part VI (Skater's [and Goaltender non-SVP] Elo)

Original Post   The most important conclusion of the last chapter that dealt with goalies' Elos is that it is defined by actual performance of a goaltender versus the expected performance of the team he is facing. That is the approach we are going to inherit for evaluating skaters.   For the start we compute the average stats of a league for each season. We do that for most of the stats that are measured, from goals and assists to faceoffs taken, up to the time on ice for the goaltenders. This is a trivial calculation. Thus we obtain season stat averages Savg.   Now we can begin to work with the skaters. We assign them a rating of 2000 in each stat. The first and the most difficult step is to coerce the actual performance of a skater in each stat to a chess-like result, on the scale from 0 to 1. This is a real problem, since the result distribution for the number of players looks something like one of these chi-squares:
    Therefore we need to rebalance it somehow while preserving the following rules: They should be more or less distributive, i.e. scoring 1 goal thrice in a row in a game should produce approximately the same performance as scoring a hat trick in one game and going scoreless in the other two. They should still have the same shape as the original one. The average rating of the league in each stat should remain 2000 at the end of the season.   So first, we do not apply rating changes after a single game. We take a committing period, for example, five games, and average players' performance in every rated stat over that period. Second, we apply the following transformation to the performance:   P'player = (Pplayer - Savg) / Savg   where Savg is the season average on that stat. It could be more precise to compute against the averages against of the teams played (see the first paragraph), but we decided to go via a simpler route at this stage.   Then we scale the performance by the Adjustment Factor A:   P'playeradj = P'player / A   The adjustment factor sets the result between -0.5 and 0.5. More or less. There still are outliers, but they are very infrequently beyond 0.5 . The A factor depends on the rarity of the scoring in the stat and varies from 6 (Shot on Goal) to 90 (Shorthanded goal). The adjustment for goals, is, for example, 9. The adjustment for faceoffs won is 20. The latter one might look a bit surprising, but remember that many players do not ever take faceoffs, e.g. defensemen. Naturally, only skaters stats are computed for skaters, only goalie stats for goaltenders.   The final Result Rplayer is then: Rplayer = P'playeradj + 0.5   So for the rare events we have a lot of results in the 0.48-0.5 area and a few going to 1. For the frequent events (shots, blocks, hits), the distribution is more even.   Now that we got the player's "result" R, we can compute the elo change through the familiar formula:   ΔElo = K * (R - (1/(1+10(2000 - Eloplayer)/400)))   where K is the volatility coefficient which we define as:   16 * √(A) * √(4 / (C + 1))   A is the aforementioned Adjustment Factor and C is the Career Year for the rookies (1) and the sophomores (2), and 3 for all other players.   'What is 2000', an attentive reader would ask? 2000 is the average rating of the league in each stat. We use, because the "result" of the player was "against" the league average. If we used team averages, we would put the average "Elo against" of the teams faced instead.   After we have the ΔElo, the new Elo' of a player in a specific stat becomes:   Elo' = Elo + ΔElo   And from that we can derive the expected average performance of a player in each stat, per game:   Rexp = 1/(1+10(2000-Elo')/400) Pexp = (Rexp - 0.5) * A * Savg + Savg   which is an "unwinding" of the calculations that brought us from the actual performance to the new rating.   The calculation differs for the three following stats:   SVP - processed as described in Part V. Win/Loss - processed as a chess game against a 2000 opponent, where the result is: Rw = Pw/(Pw+Pl), Rl = Pl(Pw+Pl) over the committing period. The only subtlety here is that sometimes a hockey game may result in goalie win without a goalie loss. PlusMinus - R+/- = 0.5 * (P+/- - Savg+/-) / 10 (10 skaters on ice on average)
Then, via the regular route we get the Elo' and the expected "result" Rexp, and the expected performance is: Pexp+/- = (Rexp+/- - 0.5) * 10 + Savg+/-   Please note that we do not compute "derived" stats, i.e. the number of points (or SHP, or PPP), or the GAA, given the GA and TOI, or GA, given SA and SV.   An example of the computed expected performances that lists expectations of top 30 Centers in Assists (Adjustment Factor 9) can be seen below:
  # Player Pos Team Games A a/g Avg. g. Avg.a  E a/g  E a/fs 1 CONNOR MCDAVID C EDM 43 34 0.791 44.00 33.00 0.706 61.54 2 JOE THORNTON C SJS 41 24 0.585 74.11 52.00 0.665 51.27 3 NICKLAS BACKSTROM C WSH 40 24 0.600 69.20 50.10 0.663 51.85 4 EVGENI MALKIN C PIT 39 27 0.692 62.09 44.73 0.659 55.33 5 SIDNEY CROSBY C PIT 33 18 0.545 61.67 51.50 0.655 46.15 6 RYAN GETZLAF C ANA 36 25 0.694 68.58 45.42 0.648 50.26 7 EVGENY KUZNETSOV C WSH 40 22 0.550 54.75 27.75 0.605 47.43 8 ANZE KOPITAR C LAK 36 16 0.444 72.73 41.55 0.594 40.33 9 ALEXANDER WENNBERG C CBJ 40 28 0.700 59.00 25.67 0.583 52.50 10 CLAUDE GIROUX C PHI 43 25 0.581 61.70 37.60 0.579 47.56 11 TYLER SEGUIN C DAL 42 26 0.619 66.86 31.14 0.566 48.65 12 RYAN O'REILLY C BUF 30 16 0.533 66.00 26.38 0.553 39.23 13 DAVID KREJCI C BOS 44 18 0.409 60.64 32.36 0.528 38.05 14 RYAN JOHANSEN C NSH 41 22 0.537 65.33 27.00 0.523 43.43 15 JOE PAVELSKI C SJS 41 23 0.561 69.64 29.09 0.517 44.21 16 HENRIK SEDIN C VAN 43 17 0.395 75.56 47.81 0.517 37.17 17 DEREK STEPAN C NYR 42 22 0.524 68.00 30.86 0.508 42.31 18 VICTOR RASK C CAR 41 19 0.463 67.00 22.67 0.497 39.37 19 MARK SCHEIFELE C WPG 40 20 0.500 44.50 17.83 0.493 39.23 20 JASON SPEZZA C DAL 35 18 0.514 62.71 37.79 0.490 37.60 21 JOHN TAVARES C NYI 38 16 0.421 68.50 35.00 0.488 37.46 22 MITCHELL MARNER C TOR 39 21 0.538 39.00 21.00 0.484 41.82 23 STEVEN STAMKOS C TBL 17 11 0.647 65.11 29.00 0.474 29.97 24 ALEKSANDER BARKOV C FLA 36 18 0.500 56.75 21.00 0.463 36.51 25 MIKAEL GRANLUND C MIN 39 21 0.538 55.80 24.40 0.460 40.80 26 PAUL STASTNY C STL 40 13 0.325 65.09 34.55 0.457 31.74 27 JEFF CARTER C LAK 41 15 0.366 69.67 24.33 0.448 33.35 28 MIKE RIBEIRO C NSH 41 18 0.439 62.88 33.06 0.447 36.32 29 MIKKO KOIVU C MIN 39 16 0.410 66.83 34.25 0.445 35.14 30 ERIC STAAL C MIN 39 22 0.564 74.46 36.77 0.442 40.99   You can see more of such expectation evaluations on our website,http://morehockeystats.com/fantasy/evaluation .   Now, we ask ourselves, how can we use these stats evaluations to produce an overall evaluation of a player?     To be concluded...

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On Players Evaluation - Part V (Goaltender's Elo)

Original post. The goalkeeper is half of the whole team
  Soviet proverb from Lev Yashin's times.
After a foray into the calmer lands of teams' evaluation using the Elo rating, it's time to turn our attention to the really juicy stuff - the evaluation of a single player. And we'll start with the most important one - the goaltender. DISCLAIMER: this evaluation concept is still a work in progress and one of several possible implementations of the idea.

By coincidence, it's also the simplest evaluation to make. While many stats describe the performance of a skater (goals, assists, shots, hits, blocks, faceoff wins, etc. - and even one that is accounted usually for goaltenders) only one stat truly describe the goalie's performance: the saves percentage. Usually, whole four stats are used to compare the goalies: wins (W), saves percentage (SVP), goals against average (GAA) and shutouts (SHO), but will show you first, why three of them are mostly unnecessary. Also, the name saves percentage is a bit of a misnomer, since the values of svp are usually not multiplied by 100 to look like real percent, but are shown more frequently between 0 and 1, and therefore would be more properly named as 'Saves Ratio', or 'Saves Share'.

Wins are truly results of team efforts. I always cringe when I read that a goaltender "outdueled" his opponent, when the both barely got see each other. The GAA is much more of an indication of how well the defense operates in front of the goalie. Shootouts are first, and foremost, a very rare thing, and secondly a 15-save shootout should not be the same as 40-save shootout, although for any of the four stats listed above they create two identical entry.

Therefore we feel ourselves on a firm ground evaluating goalie's performance through SVP only (with a slight input from shootouts, as described below) - and the Elo function, of course. For the start, each goaltender is assigned an Elo rating of 2000 for his first career appearance. We discard performances in which goalies faced less than four shots, because these usually are late relief appearances in the garbage time, not really an evidence of goaltending in a true hockey game. We only account for them to display the real SVP accrued in the season so far, and we consider dropping these appearances completely.

After the game we get the pure SVP from the real time stats. We adjust it in two ways: If, in the very rare case, the performance is below 0.7, we set it to 0.7 . If there was a shootout (not the shootout as defined by the NHL, but a performance where a goaltender was on the ice for at least 3420 seconds and did not let a single goal in during that time), we add a shootout bonus for the performance:   Bonus = (Saves - 10) / 200   If there were less than fifteen saves in the shootout, the bonus is assigned the minimum value of 0.025. We consider adding this bonus necessary, because the opposing team is usually gives an extra effort to avoid being shut out even during the garbage time.

Then, given the actual performance we can calculate the "Elo performance rating":
  Rperf = 2000 + (SVP - SVPvsopp) * 5000   Where SVPvsopp is the SVP against the opponent the goalie is facing - effectively the shooting % of that team minus the shots resulting in empty-net goals, sort of "Expected SVP against that opponent". That means that for every thousandth of the SVP above the expectation, the performance is five points above 2000 (the absolute average).

Wait, there seems to be an inconsistency. Don't we need ratings of opponents for Elo changes calculation? Actually, no. Given an Elo performance of a player, we can calculate the rating change as a "draw" against a virtual opponent with that Elo performance, i.e.
    ΔR = K * (0.5 - 1 / ( 1 + 10 ** (( Rperf - Rg)/ 400)) ) )   Where K is the volatility factor mentioned in the earlier posts. Right now we are using the volatility factor of 32, but that may change - including introducing a dependency of this factor on goaltender's experience.

And the new rating, is naturally,
  Rg' = Rg + ΔR   Now we can calculate the expected remaining svp:
  SVPrem = SVPavg + (Rg' - 2000) / 5000   Where SVPavg is the league average SVP. It would be more correct to substitute that value with the weighted averages of the remaining teams to face (with accordance to the matches remaining), and we'll be switching to this index soon.

We can also calculate the SVP expected from the goalie at the start of the season:
  SVPexp = SVPavg0 + (Rg0 - 2000) / 5000   where SVPavg0is the average SVP of the league during the previous season and the Rg0 is the rating of the goalie at the conclusion of the previous season (including playoffs), or the initial rating of 2000.

We post a weekly update on our Elo ratings for goaltenders, and their actual and expected SVPs on our Twitter feed. You can also access our daily stats on our website page.

It looks like we're ready to try to take on the skaters' performances. But I'm not sure it's going to fit into one posting.

To be continued...

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A small digression - about bye weeks.

Original post.   One of the greatest chess methodologists, if not the greatest one, the sixth World Champion, Mikhail Botvinnik, wrote in one of his books (about the 1948 World Chess Championship Tournament):

A tournament must go on a uniform schedule, so that the participants would get used to a certain pace of competition. ...

The Dutch organizers neglected that. They didn't take into account that plenty of free days (because of the holidays, and because the number of the participants was odd) may break that rhythm and take the participant out of the equilibrium.

When I found out that one of the participants is going to "rest" for six days before the last gameday of the second round, I suggested to my colleagues Mr. Keres and Mr. Smyslov that we would submit a protest together. Alas, they didn't support me! Angrily, I told them then: "You'll see, one of us is going to rest six days in a row at the Hague, and on the seventh day he'll lose without putting up any resistance..."

And here came true the first part of my prophecy: after the six-day rest, Keres, pale as a sheet, sat at the chess table across from me, worrying, probably, that the second part of it will also come true...

Keres lost a rather short and lopsided game.

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On Players Evaluation - Part IV (Teams Elo Projections)

Original post. Catching up...
We left our reader at the point where we demonstrated how to produce Elo ratings for hockey teams over season (and over postseason too, if anyone wondered) and how to apply it to the up and coming next games of the rated teams.

However, in its main eparchy, chess, Elo is rarely used to produce single match outcome projections. It's much more popular when used to create a long-term projection, such as the whole tournament, which in chess lasts between five to thirteen rounds, usually.

Therefore, the question arises, shouldn't we try to use our newborn Elo ratings to long-term projections? And the answer is an unambiguous 'Yes!' We can and should create the projections for the team over longer spans such as a seven days ahead, thirty, or even through the end of the season!

How do we do it? Since we computed the Elo ratings for all teams, and we know the schedule ahead of all teams, we can run the Elo expectation on all matchups during the requested span and sum them. And since we assume that each team performs according the expectation, their Elo ratings do not change during the evaluation span.

Eteam = Σ(Ematch1, Ematch2, ... , Ematchn)

All good? No. There is one more finesse to add. The produced expectations will all be calculated in 2-0 span per game, assuming only 2 points are in play in each matchup. However, due to the loser's point it's not so. Therefore on average there are 2 + NOT/SO / Ntotal points are handed out during the season in every match (where NOT/SO is the number of games that get decided in OT or SO). So we need to compute the NOT/SO value, divide it by two (because there are two teams in each match) and multiply the expectation of each team by this factor. By doing so we receive the reliable Elo expectation, such as one in the table below, as of Jan 2nd, 2017. Spans of 7 days, 30 days and through the end of the season are displayed (games, expected points and total).
  Elo ratings for season 2016 # Team Div Elo Pts Gin7 Pin7 Tin7 Gin30 Pin30 Tin30 GinS PinS TinS 1 Columbus Blue Jackets MET 2265.22 56 4 6 62 14 23 79 47 79 135 2 Pittsburgh Penguins MET 2186.57 55 1 2 57 11 16 71 44 65 120 3 Minnesota Wild CEN 2180.88 50 3 4 54 14 21 71 46 68 118 4 San Jose Sharks PAC 2137.87 47 3 4 51 14 20 67 45 62 109 5 Washington Capitals MET 2135.54 49 4 4 53 15 18 67 46 59 108 6 Montreal Canadiens ATL 2117.99 50 4 5 55 14 18 68 45 58 108 7 New York Rangers MET 2135.43 53 3 4 57 11 14 67 43 54 107 8 Chicago Blackhawks CEN 2103.27 51 3 4 55 12 15 66 42 52 103 9 Anaheim Ducks PAC 2105.41 46 3 4 50 13 18 64 43 55 101 10 Edmonton Oilers PAC 2092.89 45 4 4 49 14 16 61 44 53 98 11 Ottawa Senators ATL 2088.34 44 2 2 46 11 11 55 45 52 96 12 Toronto Maple Leafs ATL 2097.27 41 3 4 45 12 14 55 46 54 95 13 St. Louis Blues CEN 2066.58 43 2 2 45 12 12 55 44 51 94 14 Boston Bruins ATL 2079.41 44 4 5 49 15 17 61 43 49 93 15 Carolina Hurricanes MET 2093.06 39 4 5 44 13 13 52 46 53 92 16 Los Angeles Kings PAC 2066.68 40 4 4 44 14 16 56 45 52 92 17 Philadelphia Flyers MET 2079.35 45 3 3 48 12 13 58 43 46 91 18 Calgary Flames PAC 2076.79 42 4 5 47 14 16 58 43 49 91 19 Tampa Bay Lightning ATL 2068.90 42 4 4 46 13 14 56 44 48 90 20 New York Islanders MET 2070.87 36 2 3 39 12 14 50 46 51 87 21 Florida Panthers ATL 2059.66 40 4 5 45 13 14 54 44 46 86 22 Nashville Predators CEN 2055.15 38 4 4 42 14 14 52 46 48 86 23 Dallas Stars CEN 2052.77 39 3 3 42 13 13 52 44 46 85 24 Vancouver Canucks PAC 2049.05 37 4 5 42 12 15 52 44 46 83 25 Detroit Red Wings ATL 2033.62 37 3 3 40 13 12 49 45 43 80 26 Winnipeg Jets CEN 2017.50 37 4 4 41 14 14 51 43 40 77 27 Buffalo Sabres ATL 2009.45 34 3 3 37 13 12 46 46 41 75 28 New Jersey Devils MET 1994.66 35 5 4 39 14 12 47 45 37 72 29 Arizona Coyotes PAC 1921.41 27 3 2 29 12 8 35 45 30 57 30 Colorado Avalanche CEN 1910.42 25 3 2 27 12 7 32 46 29 54
The NOT/SO value right now is about 1.124 (i.e. about quarter of all games are decided past the regulation).
  So you know what's good for the people? But the people consists of men... Iconic Soviet movie
The team projection leaves us wanting more. After all, don't we want to be able to evaluate individual players and factor it somehow in the projection to reflect the injuries and other reasons that force top players out of the lineups? Stay tuned.

To be continued...

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