March 21 2013 05:18PM
In the last two days, I've written posts in this space combatting some of the discussion about the debate over whether Alain Vigneault is the right man to lead the Canucks. This is a topic on which I take a much stronger tone because it seems like a lot of people think that the coach really matters in the grand scheme of things. A coach can put guys on the ice and make in-game adjustments, but ultimately the style of a team will be determined by the kind of players management acquires.
The first post is a defence of trusting the process. The second is about score effects and sitting back. This one is ultimately my thoughts on the positives and negatives of a midseason coaching switch. Read on the jump.
March 20 2013 07:18PM
Last night, the Vancouver Canucks nearly blew a 3-0 lead, hanging on for a 3-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues. They were not the only team to nearly waste such a lead.
Los Angeles had leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but Phoenix pulled to within one on both occasions. Boston lost 3-1 to Winnipeg after taking a 1-0 lead. Washington took a 1-0 advantage against Pittsburgh, but lost 2-1. Buffalo blew a late 2-goal lead against Montreal, only to win 3-2 in overtime. Columbus took a 4-1 lead over Nashville with 8 minutes left in the 3rd but hung on for a 4-3 win. The Islanders had a 3-1 lead over Ottawa, but lost 5-3.
A night earlier, Dallas had a 3-0 lead over Calgary but they pulled to 3-2. After Dallas scored a late goal to make it 4-2, the Flames eventually made it 4-3. Anaheim was up 4-1 over San Jose, but the Sharks made it 4-3 before the Ducks scored an empty net goal. That prompted this comment from fearthefin:
How many more thousands of times does the trailing team need to dominate their opponent in the 3rd before people stop praising the "effort"?— Fear The Fin (@fearthefin) March 19, 2013
March 19 2013 11:59AM
Joe Thornton and Roberto Luongo discuss how playoff success is over-rated.
If there's an NHL organization I can look at that has shared the same level of successes and failures over the past decade as the Vancouver Canucks, it's the San Jose Sharks (although the Sharks are a group that has somehow withstood more moments of wretched heartbreak and appear to be on a faster track out of contention.)
The randomness of a playoff series or a playoff tournament changes so many perceptions about how teams are built. This isn't just about how the Canucks failed to ride the percentages in a seven-game series with the eventual 2011 Stanley Cup Champions. This is about how, over years, singular seasons of a franchise become a bright beacon illuminating the success and process of a management group.
Read on past the jump.
March 12 2013 03:09PM
David Booth makes an awful lot of money to shoot hockey pucks at everything but a hockey net. Angry Internet commenters have been making sure to let everybody know that David Booth is goal-less, although in the games I have watched, Booth has looked to generate a few chances off his stick inside the scoring zone. I have some images below that show this.
But that's not enough. Of course, fans expect results. No team in the last three seasons has been more economic with its shots as the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks have the highest team average PDO in the last three seasons. PDO, the addition of shooting and save percentage, is known to drive results in the short term. Given that the Canucks have had the second best average shooting percentage since the conclusion of the 2009 season (9.0%, only Washington is higher, with 9.2%. League median is 8.2%) and the highest save percentage, it's weird for the Canucks to be within a time of crisis where nothing is going in, nothing is staying out, and the team isn't even generating quality opportunities.
Ah, but David Booth has been.
March 06 2013 03:15PM
Photo Credit: CANADIAN PRESS/DARRYL DYCK
The Vancouver Canucks are ninth in the National Hockey League in points, yet fifth in puck-possession. After a couple of years of tracking this sort of stuff, I don't even feel it's necessary to link all the math that shows a team's Fenwick record is more predictive of the team's future results than its actual win-loss record. A teams' hockey ability isn't best measured in how many games it wins, but in how many shots it's able to direct towards the net versus its opponents.
What determines wins and losses after the shots have been accounted for? Voodoo, really. Sometimes they call voodoo "goaltending" and even though it's the position played that's the easiest to track, it's almost impossible to predict how a goaltender will do in any given year.