April 21st, 2010, 10:07 am
Last night, the prominent emotion I felt after Pavs scored was relief, and not elation. The Sharks are seemingly back on track for the moment, tying the series, again putting up more scoring chances than the opposition, but this time they won. I got the idea for today’s post by reading this, and to a lesser extent, tweeting this last night. Marleau, for some reason, looks largely disinterested in this series, and outside of a couple of speedy drives to the net, has seemingly avoided the Flying Body Show that this series has been so far. The difference in his play from Seto’s, for instance, could not be more stark. Seto is hitting everything that moves, grinding it out, and Marleau is trying the shifty thing, neither taking nor issuing hits. But judging a guy on how he ‘looks’ is awfully subjective, and prone to bias. How can we judge their effectiveness?
One way is Corsi number. This is a number that Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda talked about on the telecast many times, though they call it “shots directed at net”. That is, shots + missed shots + blocked shots. Corsi is merely that, but you also subtract the opponent’s number from yours. At that point, you have something kind of a like a shot +/-. The events are much more common than goals, so you have a much larger sample size and thus less variation. Corsi (or Hardwick, which is the same as Corsi but doesn’t include blocked shots) can also be calculated for each individual player. Here are the season numbers for San Jose. I believe this is normalized for ice time, otherwise we wouldn’t have fractional numbers. But as we can see, we have Boyle #1, and Marleau #2 (I don’t count Ferriero really). Thanks to timeonice.com, let’s look at playoff numbers through four games (not normalized for ice time).
First thing to notice is that all of these numbers are positive, which is really remarkable. That’s just another way of saying the Sharks have vastly out-chanced and out-shot the Avs in the series. Also, we can see Marleau is currently 5th among forwards, and behind Kent Huskins, who was barely positive in the regular season. Thornton and Heatley did not have good games 1 or 4 (and Heatley even missed game 3), and that accounts for their low numbers. As one would expect, the numbers for the top line are all more or less in line for each of the games- low single digits for games 1 and 2, around 10 for game 3, and back down for game four. The main reason why Marleau is above the other two is because of game 4, where he was +8, where Thornton was +1 and Heatley -1. So my observation that Marleau was doing particularly bad was almost completely backwards. Still, all in all, this chart confirms with hard numbers what we already thought- the top line is not performing. Not even close. If we can get those guys rolling, we can expect the Sharks to roll better too.