A Tale of Four Teams Part III

While we are not officially at the halfway point of the NHL season yet, the Christmas break is a time to pause and take stock of how teams are performing.  With that in mind I figured I’d return to my exploration of how the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and Washington Capitals are fairing in terms of generating scoring chances (and high-danger chances) for and limiting scoring chances (and high-danger chances) against. Continue reading “A Tale of Four Teams Part III”

Some Words on Zone Starts

As a more analytical mindset pervades discussions about the great game of hockey it’s become increasingly common to defend some players poor possession numbers because they play tough minutes.  “Tough minutes” are frequently defined as either playing against better competition (as measured by the average time on ice for the opposing skaters), because of a greater frequency of starting in the defensive zone, or a combination of the two.  While I’d agree that playing against the other teams better players is definitely a component of playing tough minutes, there are reasons to consider the emphasis on zone starts dubious.   Continue reading “Some Words on Zone Starts”

A Tale of Four Teams Part II

In Part I, data on scoring chances and high-danger chancers from roughly the first two months of the 2015-16 season for four anonymous teams was presented.  All four teams play in the Eastern Conference and at the end of play on November 27, 2015 they were at or above NHL .500.  One team, Team B, clearly has played a low-event style.  Another team, Team C, seems to be – for lack of a better phrase right now – living dangerously.  The remaining two teams have been winning the scoring chance battle more often than not, although Team D has consistently generated more scoring chances this season.  In this follow up, I’ll reveal who the four teams, note where they currently stand in the Eastern Conference, and discuss what their scoring chance numbers may mean for December and beyond. Continue reading “A Tale of Four Teams Part II”

Tim Murray is Right, Hockey Journalists/Pundits Don’t Get It

Dear Hockey Journalists and Pundits,

Can we stop equating goal-scoring with good, exciting hockey?  I’m serious.  When I read a section of an article titled “Inside the Numbers” and it says this:

It’s been more than four years since an NHL team scored 10 or more goals in one game, according to STATS. St. Louis was the last to do it in a 10-3 win at Detroit on March 30, 2011.

As for the last time NHL teams combined for 14 or more goals in one game? That would be Winnipeg’s 9-8 win over Philadelphia on Oct. 27, 2011.

I just get mad.  I really don’t understand the obsession with goal-scoring from the hockey media.  Well I think I do, but when I think of the reasons they may be so obsessed it just makes me madder. Continue reading “Tim Murray is Right, Hockey Journalists/Pundits Don’t Get It”

A Tale of 4 Teams Part I

We are already through a quarter of the 2015-16 NHL season.  While 20 to 25 games is not a large sample I wanted to take a look at how some teams have been doing in terms of generating high-danger chances and scoring chances (see this post at war-on-ice for a quick explanation).  What I’m interested in starting to explore here is the idea that it may be more valuable to generate scoring chances, and particularly high-danger chances, than simply generating a greater volume of shot attempts.  In other words, my thinking is that good teams will more often than not generate more scoring chances and high-danger chances than their opponents.   Continue reading “A Tale of 4 Teams Part I”

My Thoughts Were So Loud

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what I want this blog/site to be.  Of course, I have some general idea, but it’s not entirely clear.   The name, Puck Theories, just seems cool, it was available, and in a rough sense I think it will capture what this site ultimately becomes.  Broadly, I guess I want this to be a place where the game of hockey is analyzed and discussed critically, using all resources available.  I’m aware that I’m not writing anything new when I make note of a growing divide over the use of newer statistics or analytics to evaluate team and player performance.  However, this divide and the point about using all the resources we have to inform our analysis and discussion of the great game of hockey, is where I will begin.   Continue reading “My Thoughts Were So Loud”