The 1992 NHL Players' Stike: A Relevant Story

JP Nikota
August 09 2012 01:46PM

I was only six years old when the NHL saw its first significant labour disruption in 1992, and to be honest, I had forgotten that it had happened at all. Having read Bruce Dowbiggin's Money Players, however, the story seems suddenly relevant.

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So how many folks actually got demoted to the AHL last season?

JP Nikota
July 26 2012 03:23PM

No, I mean besides anyone who has been traded to Columbus. Fans are often quick to dismiss a player's role on a team, and suggest that the player be sent to an AHL affiliate in order to free the NHL team of the cap hit. Fans of teams in larger markets are assuredly the biggest offenders, and it makes sense - their teams are the ones that can afford it.

I have put together a list of all the players with one-way SPC deals, a minimum of 82 games played in the NHL, and who were demoted to their club's respective AHL affiliate. I've also checked, in cases where the AHL stay is brief, to make sure that none of these players were simply on a conditioning stint.

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He Puzzled And He Puzzed

JP Nikota
January 27 2012 01:36AM


How many times have you been watching your team carry a lead, only to have the commentators announce that the opposing team has scored most of their goals in a later period? Listen, I get it; the talking heads on TV have to maintain a certain level of suspense. They can't very well say "It's looking pretty unlikely that this game takes a turn for the interesting." And although I love mythbusting when it comes to hockey, I will concede that sometimes narratives are more fun to build than reasonable arguments.

But, as any of you who are familiar with my work will already know full well, I'm never content to accept in-game narratives without some kind of verification. 

So what about teams that score more goals in the third period than any other? Are they successful? What about those teams that score most often early in the first? I took a look at 6 seasons' worth of data to check.

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An Evening With Jacques Demers

JP Nikota
November 12 2011 03:52PM

Because I teach literacy and basic skills with the Thames Valley District School Board, I was asked to attend Facing Off With Literacy, an evening headlined by guest speaker (and former Cup winner) Jacques Demers. Many of you probably remember that in 2005, Demers revealed to the world that he was functionally illiterate, that he was set to begin rectifying that situation, and also that he wanted to address literacy in a more public way. On Thursday night, he opened up to a room of nearly 450 people at the London Convention Center, and spoke passionately to raise support and finances for literacy programs. Leafs-Habs rivalry notwithstading, I have to say that it's a noble thing he's chosen to do.

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An Attempt At A Defensive Puck Possession Metric

JP Nikota
October 28 2011 09:22AM

I've been scratching my head for a while now, trying to come up with a puck possession metric that focuses on defense rather than offense-driven numbers. I mean, if you're Anton Volchenkov, you might be responsible for preventing a lot of goals, but there's always the chance that last year's New Jersey forwards were incapable of putting shots on the opposition's net, and that your Corsi numbers look bad. What's a defensive defenseman to do? There's got to be a way of measuring defensive contributions that isn't tied to shots or goals.

So here's my rationale: only the puck carrier can be hit, so if there is a lot of hitting in your end of the ice, the puck must be there a lot, right? Even if your team has the puck, and is getting hit a lot in their zone, doesn't that mean that you're struggling to get out? Leafs fans should certainly remember last year's broken-record recording of "to the line, but not out", so anecdotally, anyway, this makes sense. 

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