rulururu
Two dudes blogging and podcasting about the San Jose Sharks, straight from sunny California.

post DOH 243 – Pavs Extended

August 10th, 2013, 5:18 pm

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

Joe Pavelski has been extended with the same contract as Logan Couture, but very little else is happening in the world of hockey.  The Dudes soldier on.

post DOH 234 – SWEEP

May 9th, 2013, 5:04 pm

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

Incredibly, the Sharks sweep the Canucks in the first round, with Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, and Logan Couture leading the charge.  Mike and Doug try to determine whether it was the Sharks winning the series or the Vancouver losing it, then move on to other 1st round matchups, and who the Sharks might face in the second round (rhymes with snackhawks).

post DOH 175 – Mommy, Is There Hockey in India?

November 1st, 2011, 8:05 pm

Filed under: podcast — Written by Doug

The Sharks finish up a road trip just as Mike begins his. Live on tape delay from India, Mike and Doug discuss the Sharks 5-1 east coast swing, the emergence of Joe Pavelski and preview the homestand. Enjoy this Podcast Masala, extra spicy!

post TLDR – Third Line Strategy

June 18th, 2011, 5:28 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

The first of several TLDR (too long, didn’t read) posts this summer concerns a key aspect of this Sharks team- the third line.  Generally on most teams, the third line is a defensively minded trio that should shut down the opponents’ best players, maybe contribute 20-25 points per player, and have the trust of the coaching staff to kick in some PK time.  However, some teams go another way, a road less traveled, yet more treacherous.  These teams like to continue to pour on the pressure in the offensive zone, field three scoring lines, and dare their opponents to keep up.

So where did the Sharks reside in this spectrum?  Mostly on the offensive side- Pavelski/Mitchell/Wellwood had some great scoring punch (102 points in the regular season, 22 in the playoffs, mostly due to Pavelski’s 66 and 10, respectively), but Pavs was the 2nd most used shorthanded forward, with Mitchell 6th.  And as many Sharks fans have noted, they did not serve a ‘shutdown’ role, T-Mac likes to match power with power.

This is pretty similar to Detroit’s style (sound familiar?).  Detroit’s third line this year was largely Hudler, Filppula, and Modano/spare parts, tallying around 100 points if we include Modano’s 15 points contribution in the 40 games he didn’t play.  Detroit went even more offensive with these guys- none of them played significant PK time.

Or we could look at Vancouver, as Tom mentioned in a comment in the last post, with Malhotra/Hansen/Torres (not always Torres, but probably close enough).  All agitators or defensively-minded, all tough to play against, all can play the kill.  Tom also accused us of flip-flopping a bit, since we seemed to endorse more of the Vancouver style third line instead of the Detroit model in the last podcast.  Admittedly, this would be a sea change for the Sharks.

My opinion is based on what a wise man once said to Woodward and Bernstein- “follow the money.”  I furtively wish that the Sharks could go and gather as many great players as they possibly can, pay them Yankees money, go win the Stanley Cup, and I’ll live out my days watching the championship DVDs over and over again.

Unfortunately, reality intercedes.  Two inconvenient truths:

  1. The Sharks defense is not amongst the best in the West.  In fact, it might be considered merely average.
  2. The Sharks do not have a lot of money to spare on said defense.

For me, it comes down to a question of salary mix.  Detroit is spending good money on their third line, around $7.5M, for the privilege of third line scoring punch.  And why can they afford it?  Because they are only spending around $24M on their top 6 forwards.  Vancouver had a good shutdown third line, for which they only spent an economical $4.5 or so.  And why?  Because they spent a ton on their D, about $24M.

In contrast, the Sharks spent only $18M on their defense last year, but they spent $24 on their top three forwards- Jumbo, Heater, and Patty.  Then another $7M and change on the second line, which was unquestionably a great deal.  Only the Kings and Caps spent more than the Sharks on forwards last year, and it was close- the Kings spent less than $100k more, the Caps spent about a million more.

So my opinion has to be based on this reality- the Sharks are extremely forward heavy in terms of salary distribution, and I believe a #2/#3 defenseman is their highest acquisition priority.  This means something has to give, and that must be the third line.  I don’t believe it’s wise for the Sharks to have a $4M third line center, even if he puts of 66 points.  You keep him, but he should be playing the second line.  Maybe that means Seto is the odd man out.  Or maybe it’s Pavs.  Or maybe it’s one of the big 3.  It would be incredibly difficult to make that call, and I don’t envy Doug Wilson’s position here.

The bad news is, I believe if the Sharks defense remains middle-of-the-pack, which it probably will be, even with Ian White, it will be the same old playoff slog next year.  The Kings are improving.  The Blackhawks will probably be better next year.  Vancouver might re-sign some or all of their free agents.  Now that Feaster is the GM, Calgary might do something worthwhile.  My new position is resources must be shifted.  They must be shifted to defense, and the third line should again serve a more traditional role.

Did I flip-flop?  Like a fish out of water on ketamine.  But as the proverb says, a wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.

post Game 1 Thoughts

April 15th, 2011, 9:51 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

Here are some random points on game 1, thoughtfully posted in bullet form.  So convenient, because then I don’t have to weave them into a coherent storyline.

  • The Kings controlled well over half of the game, I thought the Sharks were a bit lucky to make it to overtime.
  • I don’t believe in clutch players as a rule, but Joe Pavelski is making a damn compelling case otherwise.
  • The Stoll hit on White was unfortunate and borderline dirty.  My gut feeling is this gets 2 games in the regular season, but none in the playoffs.  Cue Mike being wrong in 3…2…1…
  • Thank God for Justin Braun.
  • It’s a bit of a strange feeling, but I’m hoping Huskins gets healthy, because with Braun in, our #7 is Mike Moore.
  • Demers should have gotten 2 for charging on that hit.  For a second there I thought he was auditioning for Cirque de Soleil.
  • Anybody else have visions of Craig Anderson when Quick came up huge in the 3rd?
  • Doug’s wife sang the national anthem, and was great.  I wanted to tweet that before the game, but cell phone reception at the Tank sucks, and I didn’t get permission in time.
  • I highly recommend the Chicago-style hot dogs sold near section 119.
  • I have a semifinal game of my own tomorrow night, but I have tickets to game 2.  I’d appreciate advice on this moral quandary.  I told myself I’d play if the Sharks won game 1, but that game was so good I don’t want to miss a minute of this series if I can help it.
  • Is it just me or did Doughty get beat on the outside a few times?
  • My beard looks like crap.
  • I love the playoffs.

post Stats, Glorious Stats

March 31st, 2011, 10:13 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

It’s been a while since I wrote a stats-related post, and I figured I’d write one to piggyback on an interesting post on the Behind the Net blog (not to be confused with Behind the Net, the numbers site).  A while back I did a purge on the RSS feeds I read, and for some stupid reason, this blog was amongst the casualties.  I really must have been in a slash-and-burn mood that day, because it’s really one of the best hockey blogs out there if you are statistically inclined. What I want to do today is highlight some of the stats talked about in the linked post, and who on the Sharks are the best at those categories.

First of all, some real quick and dirty explanations of some of the stats referenced there.  I would recommend reading more about them, but not everyone can spend hours reading about advanced hockey metrics.  And as Doug would say, why would you want to?

  • GVT – Goals Versus Threshold.  A complicated stat that tries to create one number for the value of a player, measured in goals in a season versus the value of a replacement-level player.  Similar to VORP in baseball.
  • Rating – a BTN stat that is the difference between your team’s +/- per 60 minutes when you are on the ice versus when you are off the ice.  Unlike the regular +/- stat, it helps level the playing field for those on bad teams.
  • QualComp – quality of competition.   The weighted average of the Rating of the players you face on the ice.
  • Corsi – a +/- stat that counts shots instead of goals.  Actually, it counts all pucks directed towards the net, including missed and blocked shots.  Unfortunately, it’s similar to the +/- stat in that players on good teams generally have better ones.  Of the 28 players that have played a game for the Sharks this season, only 10 have negative Corsi, and most (Moore, Mashinter, Desjardins, McLaren, Wingells) aren’t regulars.
  • Corsi Rel – The difference in your Corsi when you’re on the ice versus off.
  • Corsi Rel QoC – Quality of Competition calculated not by +/- per 60, but Corsi Rel.
  • Zone Starts – the percentage of shift-starting faceoffs being in the offensive zone.

If you’re still reading, pat yourself on the back, because that’s a load of math.  Let’s highlight the different Sharks players leading the categories in the stats that the LOES highlighted, in the order that I think is most important. The following is all 5v5 stats, and I’m not including anyone that’s played fewer than 10 games.

Corsi Rel – Kyle Wellwood – 14.6

It’s surprising, and doubtless related to a red-hot Joe Pavelski and clicking third line since he arrived.  Still, Wellwood leads the team in a stat I believe is miles better than +/-.  One downside to Corsi Rel is that time-on-ice isn’t factored in, and it should be noted Wellwood has averaged only 13.07 minutes of even-strength ice time per game, good enough for 15th on the Sharks.  For this reason, it’s worth mentioning the second place player, Ryane Clowe (14.1), who’s averaging more than two minutes more 5v5 ice time, and who I might argue is the team’s MVP.  Top Corsi Rel among defensemen? Jason Demers (8.6).

QualComp – Patrick Marleau – 0.101

Marleau is way out in front on this stat, with the second place Joe Thornton at 0.087.  Despite the fact that Marleau tends to play the wing more now, traditionally not as defensively important as center, he’s  the go-to guy when the other team’s top line is on the ice.  Top defenseman – Dan Boyle (0.062).

Corsi Rel QoC – Patrick Marleau – 0.885

I’m not sure why the LOES like Corsi so much yet mention QualComp instead CorsiRel QoC.  If Corsi is better than +/-, then Corsi Rel QoC is better than QualComp.  Maybe that’s what they meant.  Anyway, unsurprisingly, Mareau leads again, but there’s a bit of shifting under him.  Jumbo drops to 5th on the team, and Joe Pavelski (0.747) moves up to 2nd.  Boyle moves up to 3rd.

Zone Starts – Scott Nichol – 39.4

This means when Nichol took a faceoff to start a shift, 60% of the time it was in the defensive zone.  That’s a lot of trust from the coaching staff, and certainly related to the fact that Nichol is the best faceoff guy on the team. Like the last stat, it’s a way of measuring how sheltered a guy is.  It’s been calculated that you give up about 0.25 shots every time you take a faceoff in the defensive zone, so this is why Nichol’s Corsi isn’t so good.  With that in mind, it’s unsurprising that Marc-Edouard Vlasic (46.8) has the lowest zone start percentage among defensemen.

Time on Ice – Dan Boyle – 19.13

No doubt Boyle is the workhorse, and even strength is no exception.  He also plays the most PP and ES time.  Contrast this to the Ducks (for instance), with Vish leading the category, but if you look for #2, you see that Toni Lydman and Cam Fowler play about the same amount.  However, Fowler plays almost no PK, and three and a half minutes per game on the PP.  Lydman is the opposite, almost no PP time, but is way out in front of PK time. Certainly important when trying to evaluate a player.

I didn’t include GVT here because there isn’t a day-by-day calculation of GVT that I know of, and to be honest, GVT makes a lot of assumptions about the weights of various measures that I don’t necessarily agree with.  I won’t go so far as to say the attempt to create one stat that measures everything is a fool’s errand, but I feel like I get a better picture of a player when I look at several stats, and not just one.

Just a note for tonight- Jamie Benn and Alex Gologoski lead the Stars in Corsi Rel, so watch out for those guys.

post Captain Jumbo

October 7th, 2010, 10:03 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

They waited until the very last minute as expected.  Joe Thornton is the new captain of the Sharks.  It’s a bit of a surprise, though not to everyone.   After talking with Randy, I’m certainly not as surprised as I would have been if it was announced a month ago.  If one guy ‘stirs the drink’ as Randy put it, it makes sense.  The other contender, Dan Boyle, gets the “permanent ‘A’”, with the other ‘A’ rotating.  Maybe the most surprising thing about the announcement is the news that Clowe will share the ‘A’.  No mention of Pavelski.

Of course this is going to be covered and debated in Sharks Nation with zeal, and we’ve had our fair share of captaincy discussions over the past couple of years.  The more I think about it, the less I think I know about it.  This quote from McLellan is a bit of a clue:

The verbal leadership gets way overrated. We don’t  need cheerleaders on our team by any means. We need people  who speak their mind and then back it up on the ice.

Let’s face it, it’s not about us.  It’s not about how good or bad a guy is at a press conference after a game.  It’s not about whether we think a guy is too sunny, or too laid-back, or too intense.  The captain is the PR face of the franchise, and for that reason, we think we should have a say, and what we see is all there is.  Sure, it’d be nice if those two things agreed, and many times they do.  But the real measure is wins, losses, and Cups.  Warm fuzzies in the fan base aren’t counted.  Would you really want it any other way?

post Marleau and Pavelski Re-Sign, Sharks Help Punch Buff’s Ticket

June 24th, 2010, 9:02 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike
HAHAHAHA MONEY!!!

HAHAHAHA MONEY!!!

I never know to express the action of signing again. If I don’t hyphenate, it looks like they are resigning, like Nixon.  But is re-sign really correct English?  And why am I writing about this when the two major Sharks free agents have, uh, accepted new contracts?

Now, per Bob McKenzie’s twitter, we see that Marleau has signed a new contract worth $6.9M per year for four years, and Pavelski’s is good for $4M per year for the same duration.  First of all, I’m surprised that Marleau’s number was so high, but I guess it makes sense after a 44-goal season.  Like others have mentioned, I thought it was somewhat likely Marleau would get a ‘lifetime’ contract, for 7 or more years, with a more manageable cap hit.  Given that Marleau’s wife is from the Bay Area, and he certainly has roots in the community, it would seem a long-term deal would be right up his alley. But for a player who’s main asset is his speed, I can see the logic in only paying him until he’s 34.

Pavelski’s deal, however, could be a little on the low side.  During a podcast discussion we figured his salary range would be between $4M and $5M (between Kesler and Staal, in line with Plekanec’s production), and we just made it.  $4M for a good two-way second-line center that may be named the captain in two months?  Sounds like a good deal to me.  I’m not going to go into the whole cap situation just yet, but this should enable the Sharks to sign Devin Setoguchi to a new contract as well.  $3M sounds like the right number, given he only had 19 goals last year.

In other (good) news, Pollak reports the Sharks did a minor deal with Atlanta that greased the skids for Chicago sending Dustin Byfuglien there.  That’s Doug Wilson, always the facilitator.  Because of a certain maximum number of contracts that could be held per the CBA, ATL was up against the limit, and the Sharks were the white knight.  DW took a couple of low level prospects (and a seventh round pick) off of Don Waddell’s hands so the Thrashers could accept Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel, and Akim Aliu’s contracts.   I like that deal for Atlanta, and I like that deal for the Sharks.  Get the big lug out of the West.  It does give the Hawks some cap relief, but it cost them a top 6 forward and a great prospect in Aliu.  Atlanta, for once, seems to have this trade solidly in the win column.

All this, and we haven’t even made it to the draft yet.  Go Sharks.

post DOH 102 – Seto and Pavs

June 2nd, 2010, 8:47 am

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

The Dudes turn to the two big RFAs on the Sharks – Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski.  Mike and Doug try to identify comparable players around the league, and estimate the kind of money required to sign them, as well as the threshold (if any) where the Sharks should let them go.  Also a rash of signings in the past week, and the Dudes give their take on what these young players might contribute to the big club in the future.

post Pavs, and Anchors

April 21st, 2010, 10:07 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

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).

Rank Player Corsi
1 Vlasic 47
2 Pavelski 46
2 Clowe 46
4 Setoguchi 38
4 Mitchell 38
5 Blake 37
6 Boyle 34
7 Huskins 32
8 Marleau 24
9 Malhotra 23
9 Murray 23
11 Couture 21
12 Demers 20
13 McGinn 18
14 Nichol 14
15 Thornton 12
16 Ortmeyer 9
17 Heatley 7
18 Helminen 2

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.

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