The dog days of spring are upon Edmonton. The playoffs have been out of sight since December and the arrival of the messiah is still over a month away. In the meantime, there have been a number of very interesting articles that should be required reading while we waste away the spring months with our families and friends.
One of the sillier myths in hockey is that "aggressive penalties are easier to kill". This has been espoused by such lumenaries as Jason Gregor, Ethan Moreau and a couple of "panel" types. B.C.B. at Bringing Back The Glory has undertaken the task of tracking lazy penalties and aggressive penalties as a way of comparing multiple teams throughout the NHL. He decided to take a swipe at the myth of the aggressive penalty and it's inspirational message to penalty killers. From his article:
I counted all of the penalties by hand from the Oilers website’s "Boxscores" section. If the Oilers had a PPG against during the time the play was off for then it could as a penalty that was not killed off, henceforth know as power play goal causing penalty (I have no acronym). If there was a goal but not a PPG (so if the players had coincidental penalties, or a misconduct) then the goal was not attributed to the penalty. If the Oilers where two men down then I counted the first penalties based on the listing on the Oilers’ site to determine the penalty that caused the goal. I did not include ‘bench minors’ in penalties killed off, since they are neither Aggressive nor Lazy Penalties, but it does seem that the Oilers had a goal scored on them during one of these calls (based on the system of attributing goals that I used).
Read through to find his results.
The second article of interest is one that has been near and dear to my heart, having tracked scoring chances for the Sharks - Avs series. Of course, to track the chances, I had to watch all of the games, which was torture in and of itself. I got to watch the Sharks drill the Avs over and over again while people talked about how the Sharks were choking and the Avs were the cinderella story. The Contrarian Goaltender echoed my thoughts in his article about sports fans and why they ascribe non-existent characteristics to underdog teams. From his article:
I'm sure these results would be no different in hockey, and often explains why teams like the Colorado Avalanche are considered a plucky, gritty, group of warriors while teams like the San Jose Sharks are often described as lazy bunch of wimps. The problem is that the evidence from the games they played against each other showed San Jose heavily outshoting Colorado. When the underdog that is supposedly trying to so hard and giving it their all can't even get the puck away from a team that is allegedly made up entirely of soft players that don't even care, it either indicates the first team is really, really terrible or that the subjective observation is wrong.
The study linked to in the article describes sports fans and sports media to a tee.
Over at Gabe's joint, Tom Awad ran a study and tried to ascertain the amount of luck in goaltending. The mathematical concept of "luck" is really offensive to some, but Tom's methodologies are sound. The numbers say what people like mc79 have been saying for awhile.
There is still some sustainability in even-strength save percentage, almost none in 4-on-5 save percentage, and yet more when combining the two numbers. Also, overall save percentage predicts next year’s overall save percentage slightly better than even-strength save percentage. The results for the 4-on-5 save percentage are consistent with similar work performed by JLikens.
And finally, Jonathan Willis continues to ply his trade for Oilers Nation and is consistently putting out the best work that the site publishes, and it's not close. Jonathan takes some abuse for trying to bring the math to the masses, but he got to take a shot of his own at his commenters recently:
I decided it might be interesting to look at the shot data for the Stanley Cup champions, going back as far as the NHL makes the records available (1997-98). One quick caveat – this isn’t Corsi, but rather straight shot differential, which is less precise. Here are the regular season and playoff results for out-shooting, per game, for Cup-winning teams going back to 1997-98:
Read through his "Corsi wins championships" article.
The Vancouver Canucks have no hall of fame players, so their fans are relegated to really sad Sporcle quizzes like this: name the hall of fame players that have played for Vancouver.
Another Sporcle quiz for you: the top 200 goal scorers in NHL history.