Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quick Fedorov WOWY

One of the reasons I remain optimistic about the Capitals this season is that their roster compared to the roster two years ago is very similar. The 07-08 and 08-09 Capitals were both legitimately elite teams, posting Fenwick% in the whereabouts of 55%.

I have two theories as to why the team has regressed to about 51% in the last two seasons.

One is roster turnover. Like it or not, players like Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov were Corsi-drivers, and replacements like Marcus Johansson, Mike Knuble, and Jason Chimera, to put it succinctly, are not (though Chimera is still an upgrade over Chris Clark). In this case, the Capitals could only be a couple of trades away from returning to elite status.

The second is that Bruce Boudreau has "lost the room." I firmly believe that part of the reason the 07-08 team was able to be so successful is not only that they had a ton of talent, but also that they still had the Glen-Hanlon-induced hard work ethic as well. Over time I believe this work ethic may have been lost. I remember how the Capitals, at least the media said, would take pride in the fact that they were never outworked under Hanlon; they are outworked almost every night under Boudreau, since September 2009 at least. When your team is winning, it is easy to think that you can be a little lazy--Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom will bail you out.

To check the first theory, I'll do a brief Fedorov WOWY, possible because of

08-09, score tied

08-09, total

How about this season? For sake of simplicity, I'll use Marcus Johansson as 2C and do a player-team WOWY for him. Team data from Objective NHL, and individual data from The "Team w/o 90" column is just for games in which Johansson has played (that is, not counting games in which Johansson did not play, at least I think--I used the GFOFF/60, GAOFF/60, etc, columns). Team total though is all games.

This team's problems run deeper than simply a 2C, that's for sure. Both Johansson and Fedorov, while in Washington, have been playing 2nd-toughs (~5th toughest Corsi Rel QoC among forwards) with 2nd line teammates (~6th in Corsi Rel QoT). Difference is, Johansson does it with a -10 Corsi Rel, and Fedorov with one north of +10 (17 in 08-09). I estimate swapping Johansson with a Fedorov-esque player boosts the Capitals' Corsi% by about 2%, which simply brings the team back to 08-09 w/o Fedorov levels.

53% Corsi, by the way, is 2nd tier in the East, along with the likes of Boston and Montreal but behind Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay.

Just two more notes:

I quickly adjusted Ovechkin's Corsi Rel for zone starts, putting him on pace for last season's +66 Ozone-Dzone differential. Assuming each Ozone start is worth 0.8 Corsi, I came out with a +1.8 adjustment to his Corsi Rel, which puts him close to +12 Corsi Rel, right in line with his 07-08 and 08-09 seasons. So he's not really been a huge issue.

It's also worth noting that while in previous years Ovechkin would bring up the rear in Corsi Rel QoC with a negative number, this year, though bringing up the rear again, Ovechkin is doing it with a slightly positive number. That says to me that Bruce Boudreau is spreading around the minutes a bit more and forward-line-matching less. Either that or by having to shelter some other players a bit, he has to give slightly tougher minutes to his top line.

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