Monday, July 29, 2013

Ideas for a touches app

With all the coding I've been doing recently (both for my NHL code and for real-life projects) I got to thinking about maybe writing a puck-tracking app. I've written something similar for tracking shot locations for basketball, and I thought the only changes I'd have to make would be to track the location of the mouse, not just clicks, and somehow incorporate a clock as well as figure out a way to separate carries from passes and dumps as well as changes of possession. One person could chart the movement of the puck, and someone else, watching later, could match that information up to which players handled the puck. Not only do we quickly consolidate the scoring chance, zone entry, and zone exit projects (the latter two of which are looking for help for next season), but we add a ton of data on top of that.

Then, I remembered this article from Arctic Ice Hockey. Tracing the path of a puck on a tablet is much faster and more accurate, I'm guessing, than tracing the path on a computer screen. One person could track the movement, and one person the players, as before. Since so many people have iPads, I thought about writing an app, but then I saw it costs $99 to get a developer's license for a year—more than I want to spend for just one app. But it's free (I think) to put up Android apps, a lot of people have Android tablets or phones, and thanks to this tool I discovered from MIT, it might be surprisingly straightforward to get this thing up and tested relatively quickly.

Before I start, I'd like some feedback.

a) Do you think it's feasible to track touches for entire games? (It would basically need to be done without looking at the tablet/phone at all.)

b) How would you design the app?

Obviously, I think the answer to (a) is "yes." To (b), here's my vision:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ribeiro will be missed

One thing I've been meaning to do for awhile is look at how good a playmaker Mike Ribeiro is at even strength (along the lines of this post examining other top playmakers, like Sidney Crosby, Henrik Sedin, and Pavel Datsyuk).

If you look at Ribeiro's Behind the Net player card, you'll notice that he consistently has a very good on-ice shooting percentage. That does not mean that he is a good playmaker by itself, though: good players play with other good players, and good scorers can elevate shooting percentage though their own efforts (shooting skill, like Steven Stamkos and Ilya Kovalchuk, or getting to better locations, like Alexander Semin with his little toe-drag before every wrist shot). But Ribeiro in particular doesn't really shoot or score enough to elevate that on-ice shooting percentage himself, and he's usually been a second-line center, so it's likely that he does have some significant playmaking skill that elevates his on-ice shooting percentage to top-line level. The question is, how much, and how much will the Capitals suffer as a result.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Picking the European contenders

To follow up from my post over the weekend picking USA and Canada, I continue by picking Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Admittedly I'm not familiar with the talent in the SHL, SM Liiga, and KHL, so I'll leave some roster spots open. In Vancouver, Sweden brought one G, one D, and two F that were not playing in the NHL (and one of them was Peter Forsberg), and Finland brought one G, one D, and three F, so I'll leave one roster spot open at each position for the the two top Scandinavian teams. Russia, on the other hand, brought nine KHL players—three D and six F—but four were in the NHL the previous season (Dmitri Kalinin, Sergei Fedorov, Viktor Kozlov, Alexander Radulov). I'll just leave at least three forward and two defense spots open, maybe more.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pretending to be an Olympic GM

Since everyone has been doing these now that an agreement for NHLers to go to the 2014 Olympics has been reached, I figured I'd have a go, too.

Division D is rough

Some of the yellow ones could have gone either way, and I might have been a bit generous with the greens. It's also worth noting that it's tough to judge the West teams moving east because there was no interconference play. (If you follow the people that I do on Twitter, you know that quite a few fans of Western Conference teams thought the West was much better than the East this year. Not sure I believe that, especially with the emergence of Montreal as a strong possession team.) That being said, certainly looks like the Capitals got stuck in the tougher conference—the one with better team quality and more teams competing for the same eight playoff spots—and perhaps in the toughest division as well.

Unless George McPhee makes a major upgrade to the team between now and October (hint: signing Grabovski would do the trick), the Capitals don't stand out from the many second-tier teams in the East. (The first tier would be Detroit, Boston, Montreal, Pittsburgh, and maybe Ottawa.) That means that there's a realistic shot Washington misses the playoffs. The same goes for every other second-tier team.

I really hope this is somehow all worth it in the end for Caps land.

  • Boston—lost Seguin, Peverley, and Ference, added Iginla and Eriksson. Not sure they covered their losses, exactly, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt: they have young D that could step in.
  • Montreal—did the Canadiens do anything?
  • Tampa Bay—added Filppula, lost Lecavalier. Meh.
  • Florida—lost Weiss, but he was hurt most of the year, anyway. Young team, but I'm not convinced their youth will lead to rapid improvement immediately.
  • Detroit—lost Filppula, added Weiss and Alfredsson. Sounds like a win.
  • Buffalo—Re-acquired Tallinder.
  • Ottawa—lost Alfredsson, but signed MacArthur and should have Erik Karlsson healthy again.
  • Toronto—net loss of talent up front, but Randy Carlyle will actually play Clarkson more than he did Grabovski and MacArthur (who couldn't do much good on the bench or in the bottom six).
  • Columbus—added Horton, get a full year of Gaborik.
  • Washington—full year of Erat and Laich, no slow start again (probably)
  • New Jersey—lost Kovalchuk and Clarkson, got Clowe, who doesn't replace either of them. Old team, too.
  • Philadelphia—added Lecavalier and Streit. Still need to dump a contract, but even if it's Coburn, I'm calling this a net win.
  • Carolina—nothing to note here. Skinner should bounce back, and I anticipate better possession numbers from Eric Staal and Alexander Semin, but I'm not certain.
  • N.Y. Islanders—young team got better as the year went along, but lost Streit and Boyes.
  • Pittsburgh—will have more health from Crosby and Letang.
  • N.Y. Rangers—new coach...dunno what will happen here.
  • Colorado—MacKinnon is one of those guys I think will be a game-changer right from the start. Also, more from Ryan O'Reilly.
  • Chicago—nothing much to note here. Don't like Handzus staying in the lineup, but they ditched Bolland (who wasn't as good last season as he was a few years ago) and have young players ready to step in.
  • St. Louis—young team that replaced Perron with Paajarvi and added Roy, who may or may not be an impact player (he used to be, but he's been hurt a lot recently)
  • Winnipeg—Yawn.
  • Nashville—Added Seth Jones and a bunch of bottom-six forwards. Okay...
  • Dallas—I like adding Seguin for Eriksson. Throw in Gonchar, Peverley, and Horcoff, and this team is better.
  • Minnesota—Lots and lots of good youth here.
  • Vancouver—Lost Roy, but he was hurt a lot.
  • Phoenix—lost Gordon, got Ribeiro. Net possession negative.
  • Anaheim—Yawn.
  • Calgary—Already bad team, lost Iginla and Bouwmeester via trade, and not enough youth to compensate.
  • Los Angeles—sometimes they seem like they build with Corsi, sometimes they trade for Robyn Regehr and sign him to extensions while letting Rob Scuderi walk.
  • Edmonton—lots of really good youth (i.e. first-overall picks). Also may not have a single AHL-level D playing in the NHL this year, which is a departure from recent history.
  • San Jose—Yawn.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Free agency targets--Sign Grabovski!

My take on notable UFAs and trade targets, and whether they may be a fit in Washington:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Thoughts on the draft

I only had the stamina to sit through the first round and most of the second, but luckily that's when most of the interesting stuff happened.