Friday, April 29, 2011

H2H Corsi, Game 1

It's natural to be nervous after this game. I am, too. But trust me on this: if the Capitals play each of the rest of the games of this series like this one, they'll win the series. Sometimes, the bounces don't go your way, and that was pretty evident tonight. At any rate, the Capitals got pretty deflated around the middle of the second, thanks in part to some undisciplined play, and probably in part after giving up a late tally in the third. Tampa's puck control along the boards in their defensive zone seemed to improve dramatically when they were ahead (compared to score-tied or trailing), and that was frustrating to watch. Obviously, the Caps' PP needs be better, but on the whole, it was just one game.

I'll panic if the Caps fall behind by two games. Again, one game is just that--one game. Even if the Caps are 70% favorites over Tampa, that just means we expect Tampa to take one of two half the time. Win game two, take one or two in Tampa, come back and win at Verizon Center, and voila.

Preview: 1 Capitals vs 5 Lightning

Here's how the Lightning did at 5-on-5 against wasn't pretty. The Corsi numbers are from a Pens perspective, so any negatives are good for the Lightning. Not that there were many.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Preview: Conference Semifinals

Same deal as last time. You can check out my previews for the first round: Caps-Rangers, East, West, Corsi.

Blind Corsi: Lightning in 6, Flyers in 6, Canucks in 6, Sharks in 7.

I'll have more on the Capitals and Lightning in a later post.

Bruins-Flyers is an interesting series. Both teams are deep up front, but the Flyers have more top-end talent. The Bruins are thin on the blueline, and while the Flyers are deeper, without Pronger, that's not exactly saying much. Boston has the best goaltending tandem in the NHL, though. While neither Bs special teams unit stands out, the Flyers' PP is pretty bad (so you now know why they brought back Pronger in such a rush), but their PK, first round lack of efficiency notwithstanding, is excellent. The Flyers will have to win this series at even strength, and given how good they were in round 1, I think that's how it'll go. The Flyers will find some average goaltending from either Boucher or Bobrovsky, and their superior forward corps should beat Boston. It won't be easy, especially with great two-way players like Bergeron, Chara, and the certain Vezina winner Thomas defending the other net, but Flyers in 6.

Vancouver-Nashville may be lopsided. If Nashville is to be competitive, Pekka Rinne needs to play like a Vezina finalist, Roberto Luongo must not, and Nashville's special teams must be solid. The Predators also need to show good discipline so as to avoid Vancouver's power play. I'm confident Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, along with David Legwand, can stop the Sedins, but I'm afraid Barry Trotz will run into the same issues as Joel Quenneville--matchups in Vancouver. Quenneville was forced to separate Keith and Seabrook--having one of his studs against Sedin-Sedin/Kesler is better than none, and in Vancouver it was "none" more often than not--and while Jonathan Blum has progressed into a solid defenseman, Cody Franson and Shane O'Brien are less reliable, and Alain Vigneault will, no doubt, be looking to exploit that matchup. Asking for Rinne > Luongo, a special teams hot streak, Franson and SOB playing the best series of their careers, and Mike Fisher to best Ryan Kesler is an awful lot. The Predators are tough, resilient, deep, and balanced, but not as good as Vancouver. Canucks in 6.

San Jose-Detroit should be an excellent series. I'm looking for plenty of scoring, lots of skill, lots of speed, great puck possession, you name it. It's Vancouver-Chicago minus a bit of the history and minus the goaltending. The Sharks didn't drive Corsi very well against Los Angeles, but dominated scoring chances. Meanwhile, Detroit ran Phoenix into the ground (except with Phoenix on the power play), and that was without Henrik Zetterberg in the lineup. Johan Franzen should be ready to go for Detroit, but with without a game-changing Zetterberg in the lineup, I can't see Detroit topping the NHL's best team since the turn of the calendar, especially without home ice. Sharks in 7.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Ramblings

Just a few musings as I do my best Elliotte Friedman-impression:

1. I've seen people want Ovechkin down low on the power play. After thinking about it, I think that would require the Caps to change their power play scheme. Ovechkin isn't a great passer--while his accuracy is nice, his passes tend to be too hard, and he doesn't do a good job "looking off" the defensemen--and putting him to the goalie's right, on the goal line, takes away the backdoor play to the pinching D Green, Wideman, or Carlson. In 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, Viktor Kozlov was the great passer there, and the Caps ran that backdoor to Green all day. Since he left, the Caps haven't been able to run that play. Is that because they lack that passer there, or because teams wisened up? Is it because the Caps' PP runs more and more frequently through Backstrom, on the opposite side?

I don't really mind the current scheme. Have Green, Carlson, or Wideman as the single D on PP1, with Ovechkin and Backstrom creating the top of the umbrella, Semin down low on Ovechkin's side, and Laich/Knuble/Fehr in front of the net. I just want Ovechkin to participate a little more in board play and puck retrieval, since he's difficult to knock off the puck. On PP2, use the other two righty-D to replace Ovechkin and Green, Johansson instead of Backstrom, and the other two net-crashers.

If Ovechkin is down low, then there's a slower, less powerful skater playing D (if it's a forward, like Arnott). I'm not sure I like that. Of course, AO could be replaced by a defenseman, but then Semin or the net-presence gets kicked off PP1. I'd rather keep things mostly the way they are. The Caps' PP generates plenty of shots and chances. Even if they haven't been going in, going forward, that's the way to play (quantity over quality).

2. The Chicago-Vancouver series was very, very fast. The Caps-Rangers series was pretty slow. I wonder how the Caps will hold up against a faster team.

I commented the other day on how Detroit's possession game differed from Chicago's and Vancouver's. Chicago, Vancouver, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh play a much more up-tempo, aggressive forecheck game with the score tied, and are not afraid to just throw the puck at the net from anywhere in the offensive zone. Detroit is slower and much more methodical, preferring to keep the puck in lieu of trying a low percentage play. Detroit executes to perfection, and Chicago last year executed to perfection.

Given that the Caps have players like Jeff Schultz, Jason Arnott, Mike Knuble, and John Erskine, who aren't exactly fleet-of-foot, I'm not sure if the Caps can play that up-tempo game anymore. Moreover, in my opinion, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, Eric Fehr, and Scott Hannan aren't fast enough to play like Chicago or Vancouver. If they try to play at that way, I think they'll get burned pretty badly.

The Capitals will need to make responsible decisions with the puck and play more like Detroit. Puck possession is simultaneously the best offense and the best defense. Barry Svrluga writing about Jason Arnott (definitely a must-read):

In his very first game with the Capitals, at home against the lowly New York Islanders, Arnott was surprised at what he saw from such a talented group. Irresponsible decision-making, a lack of attention to detail — the failures of teams that can’t win in the playoffs. So in between the second and third periods, with the Capitals down 1-0, Arnott surprised even himself by speaking up.
“I just thought, ‘We’re not going anywhere playing like this,’ ” he said. “I thought: ‘You know what? I got to say something.’ I figured hell, I’ll throw it out there and see how they respond.”
Such a brash response from someone who had played just 40 minutes with his new club?
“Veteran guys, they know where they stand,” Capitals forward Eric Fehr said. “He knows that what he has to say is more valuable than a lot of other players.”
“He’s said some pretty key things here that have helped with a lot of things,” forward Jason Chimera said. “It means the world.”

The Capitals will have to pay very good attention to detail in order to beat a more aggressive team. This time around, they're not the deepest team up front, but they still have plenty of skill. That skill will need to slow the game down to counteract any speed from the other team. Then the Caps' size--for the last four years, they've been the biggest team in the league in terms of height--can take over on offense.

Speed from the other team is also the only way to bruise the Caps' D. If the puck gets in deep, but the opposing forwards don't get to the puck quickly, the Caps' D--not all of the puck movers, but all good enough to make that first pass, once Wideman gets back--will simply play the puck out.

If Tom Poti gets healthy and up to game speed, he could help here and supplant Jeff Schultz, if Schultz isn't playing well. Six good skaters who can make that first pass makes it tough to generate any sort of forecheck. It's how Vancouver, Detroit, and Chicago operate.

3. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin need to play at the same speed. Right now, in terms of speed, Backstrom is better suited to center Arnott and Semin, with Johansson and Chimera best suited to play up-tempo with Ovechkin. Either Ovi needs to slow down, or Backstrom needs to speed up (in my opinion, the latter).

4. Both Chicago and Vancouver had the 3rd forward collapse into the strong-side slot in the defensive zone. If their team got the puck, the forward is well positioned to be an outlet pass recipient; if the puck goes back to the point, the player can chase; if the puck stays down low, the player is covering the weak-side D pinch. The Capitals I think could do a bit more of that and be more aggressive in puck pursuit in the defensive zone. Instead of letting the other team pass it around to the outside (i.e. "protect net" in EA terms, which isn't bad, mind you, except for possibly sacrificing some time that could be spent in the offensive zone), control where they can pass it as well by using that 5th player effectively (i.e. "contain puck").

5. The Capitals aren't that much better than any team remaining in the East, or West (if they are better at all). The Caps forwards need to employ the same strategy as they did against New York--dump the puck in and be physical with the opposing defensemen to wear them down. The longer the series, the more it favors Washington's superior defensive depth and young offensive core, I think.

6. One thing to look out for is how Marcus Johansson plays without Brooks Laich on his line. Laich was the only solid possession forward on that line (save for Eric Fehr when he's at his best), and so that line is the one, if any, opponents will be looking to exploit. Johansson and Chimera need to play a pure speed game to move the puck up the ice.

7. I don't really care who the Caps play. The Caps should beat any of Montreal, Pittsburgh, or Tampa Bay. I think a series with Pittsburgh is likeliest to end in a win, but will also be the most physically taxing and longest (I'm thinking plenty of overtimes). Montreal is small and not all that deep, but the best of the three as it stands (i.e. no Crosby) and has the best goalie. Tampa is feast-or-famine, and as long as their power play and goaltending don't both get hot, the Caps should be fine.

I'm afraid of teams that have won all year in spite of goaltending, but Roloson by now must be wearing down. I'm afraid of legitimately good teams, but Pittsburgh has anemic special teams and spends lots of time at 5on4 and 4on5 (draw and take lots of penalties) and Montreal is beat up after their series against Boston. I think it's push. I'm predicting Caps in 6 no matter the opponent...I just want the next round to start.

That being said, not to tempt fate by looking ahead, but it would be nice to have a non-bruising series with Montreal and face the winner of a tough, nasty Pittsburgh-Philadelphia series, wouldn't it?

8. San Jose-Detroit should be all sorts of fun. Neither team is especially physical, and both prefer that slightly more conservative possession style. I also expect Vancouver to have all sorts of trouble with Nashville. I'm not sold on the psychological makeup of that Canucks team. The bottom of their lineup will have to battle a'plenty and best the deep Nashville forward group, and Suter-Weber should stop the Sedins (again). If Rinne plays like he did during the latter half of the regular season, this is an upset, or at least another seven game series, before Vancouver faces what I think is kryptonite to their style--methodical, responsible puck possession by mobile defensemen and speedy, skilled forwards.

Recap: Canucks 2, Blackhawks 1 (OT) least it wasn't Matt Cooke that scored twice, right?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Caps-Rangers Head-to-Head Corsi and TOI

Zone start tallies still don't work, so I didn't include those, and Corsi data still seems to miss one event per game for some reason. At any rate, here's what I have, and I added in head-to-head even-strength time-on-ice numbers (ripped from Vic Ferrari's timeonice reports). I also added in black bars to help separate the "cells" (forward lines) from each other.

Recap: Blackhawks 4, Canucks 3 (OT)

What an outstanding game. It may as well have come out of the Olympics.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Capitals-Rangers Game 5 Head-to-Head Corsi

In the grand scheme of things, the Capitals just took a game they should have. This was an example of that oft-sought "killer instinct" that has seemed to elude the Capitals recently. Now, we'll wait to see whether the Capitals draw Buffalo, Pittsburgh, or Montreal. All of the three will be a tough matchup.

Hopefully, Mike Green will be ready to go.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Head-to-Head Corsi, Game 4

That was painful to watch. Too many penalties, too much chasing in the defensive zone, and misplaced nastiness the first two periods. Once the teams stopped running goalies and got down to play (and with the help of, perhaps, a slightly overconfident Rangers team and some shaky rebound control from Henrik Lundqvist, plus score effects), the Caps simply outclassed the Rangers. Special teams, even strength, goaltending, you name it. I was a little worried about Michal Neuvirth once it got to 3-0, and half-expected Boudreau to go with Semyon Varlamov, but Neuvirth came back with a vengeance (and that oft-mentioned mental toughness) later in the game, coming up with some great saves on Stepan, Gaborik, and Boyle, among others.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Head-to-Head Corsi, Game 3

That was painful to watch. Too many penalties, too much chasing in the defensive zone, and misplaced nastiness (especially on the game-winner, Scott Hannan being too occupied with cross-checking Christensen to cover Brandon Dubinsky, and also doing nothing about Prust continuously getting intentionally tied up with Neuvirth).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Games 1 and 2, Head-to-Head Corsi

My code is still in the "somewhat inefficient" stage, so I won't publish it just yet, but if you're interested, here are H2H Corsi and zone start numbers for the Capitals and Rangers. I didn't bother sorting the Rangers by lines, since Tortorella was doing plenty of line shuffling. Green background indicates a positive differential, yellow zero, and red negative.

Important note: the zone differential doesn't work yet. I'll try and fix it in the coming days. So ignore those rows for now. There's also a glitch with the Corsi numbers, but it's only a difference of one for a few players (Ovechkin in Game 1 for example was +21 according to Timeonice, but my computer spit out +20 instead). That shouldn't be a big deal, though.

Here's a direct link, in case you're having trouble seeing the Google Doc spreadsheets here.

Game 1, forwards:

Game 1, defensemen:

Game 2, forwards:

Game 2, defensemen:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Awards Watch: April

For this end-of-season edition, I'll trim the top-5 plus 5 honorable mentions format to simply top-3.

Hart Trophy:
  1. Tim Thomas--the save percentage record. Hasek won the Hart in a lower-scoring era with a lower save percentage; Thomas should get the Hart now.
  2. Corey Perry--possession demon he is not, but you can't ignore his 50-48-98. I thought that when Hiller went down Anaheim was done, and now they have home ice!
  3. Jonathan Toews--strong two-way play, ice time in all situations, and good raw totals. And my inability to pick Stamkos because of St. Louis, Daniel Sedin because of Kesler, and so forth.

The Lucky Underdog

As humans, we like to attach narrative to everything, especially sports. Sometimes, those narratives don't exist.

Teams like the 2010-2011 New York Rangers, the 2010-2011 Anaheim Ducks, the 2009-2010 Colorado Avalanche, and even the 2009-2010 Washington Capitals, we like to say are or were pretty good, despite getting dominated territorially (or, at least, significantly underperforming their goal differential with respect to Corsi). When you get lucky defensively over and over, that gives this feeling of invincibility.

I felt it watching Game 1 last night. Even though I firmly believe Semyon Varlamov is better than Michal Neuvirth, I feel like had Varlamov played, the Capitals would have inevitably lost, thanks to some crazy carom. Varlamov has had plenty of bad luck all season, especially with regards to the goal support he gets (compared to Neuvirth).

From a Rangers fan perspective, I might feel like my team played pretty well, despite getting out-Fenwick'd and outchanced by a significant margin and stifled on the whole. My team weathered the initial Capitals storm during the first period, and afterwards settled in. They weathered the storm, just like with any other game. If your team is pretty good, though, they shouldn't have to weather storms so frequently. Right? Unfortunately, this reasoning doesn't fit the narrative of the hard-working disciplined team overcoming adversity to win. And if the hard-working team didn't lose, well, they'll get 'em next time. Supposedly.

If your team is pretty good (2007-2009 Washington Capitals), then putting the other team through such "storms" is the norm, not the exception. So when the passing clinic breaks down for a while, the team looks terrible. Selective memory, unfortunately, remembers the breakdowns, not the constant successful aggressive play the majority of the time, to fit the narrative of the unclutch, undisciplined, "soft" skill team.

Obviously, people with a better eye for the game (or people who watch with a "chances-eye") will be better prepared to see past the ebbs and flows of the game and recognize what truly happened. But that doesn't describe most people.

So as the playoffs keep going, make sure you're watching hockey with a "chances-eye." Recognize that the team that got the better of the play was almost certainly the better team. The Capitals were the better team in Game 1, no doubt about it. But the Rangers gave the Capitals some trouble, especially when they went up after Gilroy's goal in the third. The Capitals need to work on their defensive zone rotation when the opponent works the puck below the goal lines--I saw three Caps chasing two forwards, meaning the weak-side pinching defenseman, like Gilroy, will be left open--but on the whole, the Caps were better.

To quote Japers' Rink: "Win one game. Do it sixteen fifteen times."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Cup Bracket

You can see it here (via James Mirtle).


The main reason I pick Washington over Buffalo is because Dennis Wideman should be back by then. He can drive Corsi with very little help, making him the ideal guy to go out with the 3rd and 4th lines. I like the Caps' goaltending over Ryan Miller, and the Caps' special teams units are very strong. Pominville-Connolly-Hecht look like they make a strong power versus power outscoring unit, but aside from them, Buffalo looks thin. I'm not sure they will be able to handle Ovechkin-Backstrom in playoff mode. And considering the Sabres are solidly in the red without their tough minutes players on ice (Corsi Off)...I hope I'm not completely off base here.

I've been harping recently on Boston's poor possession game. The only reasons they've found success are shooting luck and Tim Thomas. They're a 50% Fenwick team, and the Penguins are a 55% team without Crosby. They may have him back by this time. While Crosby would see lots of Chara and Bergeron, there's a reason he's Sidney Crosby, and I don't doubt he'll dominate, or at least break even. Even Jordan Staal wouldn't embarrass himself. Pittsburgh's forecheck and cycling game should victimize Tomas Kaberle and the rest of Boston's thin D-corps repeatedly, and Fleury isn't terrible enough to blow the series. Pens should win, with the length of the series being determined by when/if Crosby comes back.

Vancouver will roll over Nashville. After Weber-Suter stopping the Sedins, who will stop Kesler and the others? Maybe Pekka Rinne can steal the series, but I doubt it. Nashville lacks game-breakers on offense, which won't help matters.

Sharks-Red Wings should be a good series, but like I've been saying, San Jose has been the best team for the past three months, and I'll take that over Detroit, as good as Detroit is. I can't see any game situation in which Detroit can make up the ground they lose in possession.

The Capitals always seem to play the Penguins well, and it's not just results--it's scoring chances and Corsi, too, with the teams tending to play a pretty even game (with an eye to score effects). This is a close one (probably not as close as I'd like to believe, though), and because of home ice I give it to the Capitals.

As good as Vancouver has been, San Jose seems better to me right now. 58% Fenwick > 54% Fenwick.

And I won't pick against Fenwick in the Finals. At this point, I like the Sharks to win the Stanley Cup this season.

To recap:

Conference Quarterfinals:
Caps over Rangers
Flyers lose to Sabres
Bruins over Habs
Pens over Bolts

Canucks over Hawks
Sharks over Kings
Red Wings over Coyotes
Ducks lose to Predators

Conference Semifinals:
Caps over Sabres
Bruins lose to Pens

Canucks over Predators
Sharks over Red Wings

Conference Finals:
Caps over Pens

Canucks lose to Sharks

Caps lose to Sharks

Playoff Previews: Western Conference Quarterfinals

Below you can see each team's Fenwick% on the season, since Feb 1 (~30 games), and since March 1 (~20 games), plus their 5-on-5 save percentage rank, 5-on-4 shots for/60 rank, and 4-on-5 shots against/60 rank. The shots for and against on special teams are pretty tightly clustered, except San Jose's power play, which is far and away the best.

This post from Objective NHL showing cumulative Corsi differential (score tied) is also worth a look.

I know which team I'm picking to win the West.

Canucks-Hawks will be a very close series, I think. Although the Canucks have been at the top of the standings for almost the entire season, while the Blackhawks needed Dallas to lose its final game to squeak into the playoffs, the Hawks haven't been able to win as many games as they should be able to, for whatever reasons. Nevertheless, I place much more faith in goal, shot, and Corsi differentials over records, and those all indicate Chicago is every bit Vancouver's equal at 5-on-5 (except in net). With some great percentages on special teams, Chicago will win this series. But otherwise, Vancouver should win. This is the worst 1st-round matchup Vancouver could have drawn, and unfortunately for them, it likely won't get any easier. Canucks in 7.

Sharks-Kings seems like it will be a pretty lopsided series. San Jose has been the best team in 2011 by miles, and with Anze Kopitar now out with an ankle injury, the only way San Jose loses is Quick-ly. I can't see that happening. San Jose is deeper than Los Angeles at every position (even in goal) and is better at nearly every position on the depth chart (1D seems to be LA's only advantage). I'll change it up here and go with Sharks in 4.

Red Wings-Coyotes too looks like it will be fairly lopsided. Phoenix's only advantage is in goal. Even with Henrik Zetterberg out, the Red Wings can possess the puck and shut down other top lines (thanks to having a back-up in Pavel Datsyuk). Strong special teams and good possession = win in spite of worse goaltending (which isn't a huge difference over 7 games). Red Wings in 5.

Ducks-Predators will be a series to keep an eye on. The Predators are much better than Anaheim, but the Ducks' "RPG" line (Bobby Ryan-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry) is an absolute demon in possession, and Selanne and Koivu do a good job against toughs as well. Thing is, even Anaheim's top Corsi Rel players have negative Corsi Ons, meaning that Anaheim is being continuously outshot at 5on5. Trade deadline acquisition Jarkko Ruutu is the only Duck with a positive Corsi On (and that came before the trade). Between Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and the Predators' wealth of good two-way forwards, plus Pekka Rinne, I think Trotz can mitigate the damage RPG does, and then jump on the rest of Anaheim's roster, which is pretty weak. If Hiller were playing, I might have been persuaded to pick Anaheim, but without him in the lineup I can't see any way Anaheim wins, barring superhuman performances from RPG and Selanne. I won't pick Nashville to seal the series on the road, so I'll go with Predators in 6.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Playoff Previews: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Below you can see each team's Fenwick% on the season, since Feb 1, and since March 1, plus their 5-on-5 save percentage rank, 5-on-4 shots for/60 rank, and 4-on-5 shots against/60 rank. The shots for and against on special teams are pretty tightly clustered, except San Jose's power play, which is far and away the best.

You can see that 6 of our 8 teams have been stinkin' it up as of late, with only the Caps and Sabres exceptions.

I wrote about Caps-Rangers before. Still going with Caps in 5 (crosses fingers momentum exists).

Flyers-Sabres will be very interesting. Since the Sabres added Boyes, they've been one of the best teams in the league, if not the best outright. Between outstanding possession numbers, a very good power play, and above-average goalie Ryan Miller, the Sabres look poised for an upset. Luckily, the Flyers are still very deep and boast a top PK and decent goaltending.

The X-factor in that series will be Chris Pronger's health (broken hand). Look at how the Flyers tumbled without Pronger in the lineup. If he returns, that series will be very competitive. If not, well...I have half a mind of switching to Sabres in 5, but I won't. Sabres in 6.

Bruins-Habs looks like it'll be competitive all the way. In addition to all the history and bad blood, both teams are similarly talented. Boston clearly has an advantage in net (with a better, more rested starter), but up front and on the blueline, you could make a case Montreal has been better. Their special teams are better, but they lose in possession and in net, though not by much in either case. I'll revise my prediction here. With home ice advantage, Bruins in 7.

Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay is intriguing because the rosters suggest a completely different storyline from the underlying numbers. Conventional wisdom suggests Pittsburgh will roll over to the sheer talent Tampa has--Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier, Simon Gagne, etc. The possession metrics suggest Pittsburgh is playing much, much better hockey, though. Tampa will really need their PP to click, and against Pittsburgh's elite PK, I'm not sure that'll happen. I'm switching here, too. It'll take a lot of OTs to replace those shootouts, but Penguins in 5.

Blind Corsi Predictions

For this set of predictions, I'll just look at season-long Corsi and exceptional cases of goaltending and special teams. Nothing else. Home ice the tiebreaker.

Capitals-Rangers: Capitals in 6
Flyers-Sabres: Flyers in 7
Bruins-Canadiens: Canadiens in 6
Penguins-Lightning: Penguins in 6

Canucks-Blackhawks: Canucks in 7
Sharks-Kings: Sharks in 6
Red Wings-Coyotes: Red Wings in 5
Ducks-Predators: Predators in 6

My "real" predictions:
Caps in 5, Sabres in 7, Habs in 6, Bolts in 6.

Hawks in 7, Sharks in 6, Wings in 6, Preds in 6.

I don't like to play it safe all the time.

(I'm seeing information I hadn't seen before. Predictions are changing)

I hope to have other series previews up within a couple of days.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Playoff Preview: 1 Washington vs 8 New York Rangers

Rangers links: Blueshirt Banter Scotty Hockey Scoring Chances

I really, really, really wanted Carolina instead, but hey, at least it's not Buffalo the Caps are facing.

Washington: 1st in East. 43-28-11 = 97 points, 18-13 in Clear Games
New York: 8th in East. 35-35-12, 82 points, 17-12 in Clear Games

The records I put here try to minimize shootout importance by counting all shootouts, whether won or lost, as ties. I counted OT losses as simple losses. Clear Game records are compiled at the Copper and Blue (see here and here) and are victories or losses by 2 or more non-ENG goals.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Programming Note

You may have noticed that I haven't posted since April 1. That's part laziness, but also part studying for AP exams and doing other assorted schoolwork, working on future posts, and working on making a shot database (plus reasons I'd prefer to keep private).

At any rate, the issue I ran into in taking the NHL play by play is that the HTML tables don't present a nice format for me. I don't know how to code in Excel, so I've been trying to code in Java, and downloading the PxP as .txt and then looking at what I get...not pretty. Luckily, I've recently made some headway and I should be done with that part soon (I haven't yet attempted to tackle shifts and time on ice, though...planning on that after exams). I'm planning to get raw Corsi numbers and WOWY (though without time on ice numbers).

I'm perfectly willing to share, so just send me an email if you want code, or if you have any suggestions for what methods I should implement. Do note the PxP files are about 1MB each (a season is over 1GB).

Friday, April 1, 2011

This Summer, I'm Moving

I'm a high school senior and going to university. My choices:

Columbia [College]
Pros: Excellent academics, New York City, family and friends nearby in NJ, can easily see games at MSG, Nassau, and Prudential Center, and my dad's friends still teaching there.
Cons: Price, New York City

McGill University
Pros: Montreal (hockey + practice French), cold and fresh air, city, solid academics
Cons: Price, away from anyone I know

University of Virginia
Pros: Lots of people I know (TJ sends ~70 seniors a year there), very cheap, solid academics, Echols scholar program, nice campus
Cons: A bit out of the way

University College London (Math with Economics program)
Pros: Graduate in 3 years, will be there during Olympics, solid academics
Cons: Away from all family and friends, will be there during Olympics, expensive living costs, different from what I'm used to, still away from ice hockey

Costs aside from UVa I expect to be pretty similar. Which would you pick? I'm pretty sold on Columbia, though others have told me they'd pick McGill or UCL.