The Rome-Sulzer conundrum

Cam Charron
November 02 2011 02:26PM

-"The finger biting thing is getting kinda old already, guys"

It's only usually when he's in the lineup that Aaron Rome becomes the de-facto "topique du jour" and not when he's sitting out injured as a potentially replacement for whomever the eighth defenseman is right now.

For readers that are fans of visiting teams, while the Vancouver Canucks may not have a lot of high-end defensemen, they have some depth: Alexander Sulzer, Andrew Alberts, Keith Ballard, and even Chris Tanev, who finds himself in Chicago for some reason, are going to be joined by Aaron Rome in the very near future.

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Cody Hodgson: Two-way force?

Cam Charron
November 02 2011 10:41AM

"That's Hod-son. The 'G' is silent."

Given the collective amount of odd Selke Trophy nominees that have popped up over the last 33 years or so, one would think that there's no good way to gauge defensive play in the NHL. I believe my old theory on this was whether or not a guy was liked, and if he was, he was also a guy who succeeded on defense (so long as he had a positive +/- on a good defensive team).

Defense, particularly for forwards, is more than back-checking and shot-blocking, but those are the visible talents that media and fans get to see night-in and night-out. With the advent of advanced micro-statistics, however, we can, for the most part, tell who was on the ice for each on-ice event. Not just goals, as is traditional, but shots, missed shots, blocked shots, faceoffs, hits, giveaways, takeaways, penalties, and, in some cases, scoring chances.

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Cam Davie
November 02 2011 10:35AM

Canucks: "Nice goal! Awesome! Woo!"
Jokinen: "Hey that looks really fun! Maybe I'll try to get a goal. HAHAHAHAHA! Just kidding."
(Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

What a difference a couple of games makes. Following their shutout loss to the St. Louis Blues, the Canucks bandwagon was filled with tumbleweeds and Roberto Luongo was quickly becoming a bigger pyrriah than Frankenstein's Monster. 

Then, the perfect storm rolled in and Luongo and the Canucks faced arguably their two favourite opponents.

And they laid a goal-scoring whooping on their absolute favourite opponent over the last two years.

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The Northwest Division Through 10 Games

Thomas Drance
November 01 2011 02:04PM

Though it's still early in the season, with a roughly ten game sample to work with, we can begin to gauge the quality of teams with some degree of sophistication. As you can see from the image above, at this current juncture in the season the Oilers are riding high, with the Avalanche hot on their tail. The Minnesota Wild are treading water while the Canucks and Flames play poker in the cellar. But how much is what we see a mirage, and how much of it is a more meaningful reflection of the respective team's actual quality?

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Canucks scoring chance totals: October

Cam Charron
November 01 2011 01:58PM

As you may have noticed, Thomas and I like to keep track of numbers. Some of those numbers are scoring chances. While a reader may dismiss Corsi (shot attempt differential) as not meaning much because the shot attempt doesn't tell you the quality of a shot, scoring chance does.

When a scoring chance occurs, defined by Edmonton Oilers blog Copper n Blue as:

a clear play directed toward the opposing net from a dangerous scoring area - loosely defined as the top of the circle in and inside the faceoff dots (nicknamed the Home Plate), though sometimes slightly more generous than that depending on the amount of immediately-preceding puck movement or screens in front of the net. Blocked shots are generally not included but missed shots are. A player is awarded a scoring chance anytime he is on the ice and someone from either team has a chance to score. He is awarded a "chance for" if someone on his team has a chance to score and a "chance against" if the opposing team has a chance to score.

The picture above is what's generally accepted as "the home plate area". Anyway, you may see these numbers glossed upon after games, but I've tallied a total for the month of October so we can determine the best and worst Canucks over the past month.

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