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

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 Let the Grind Continue

March 1st, 2010, 10:20 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

I don’t mean to sound too negative here, because the USA-Canada game yesterday was probably the best hockey game I’ve ever watched.  It’s hard to beat the suspense of multiple overtimes in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but this one came close.  It had a Game 7 feel with even more talent.  It seems some people are very crushed the US lost, but not me.  I’m disappointed.  Even amidst the disappointment, I’m still very happy about the results- most didn’t pick the USA to medal.  They still beat Canadan once, the most talented team, and held with them into overtime, creating an Olympic moment people will remember for many years to come.  It’s truly a victory for American hockey.  Even more so than 1980 because that game was a triumph of a system, philosophy, and coaching.  This tournament had the top teams all on roughly equal ground to start.

Now that it’s over, it’s time to attend to some Sharks business.  The trade freeze has been lifted, and trades have already started, with Jordan Leopold being dealt to the Pens.  It’s possible the Sharks could make big waves, but I think it’s less likely.  Boston is reportedly in the hunt for Dan Hamhuis.  Kaberle has re-re-reconfirmed he isn’t waiving his NTC.  Corvo is reportedly in the mix, but I would think that would have been part of the Wallin deal if it were in the cards.  We should steel ourselves for the fact that the Sharks could look very similar on Thursday.

That may not be a great thing, especially since Pollak has confirmed that Vlasic does in fact have a knee “tweak” (props to Fear the Fin on calling that one), and hasn’t skated yet.  With a whole host of Sharks not completely healthy for the playoff run last year, this provides a feeling of deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say.  At least he’s not trying to play through it, which is more than we could say for Patrick Marleau late in the season last year.  The last thing the Sharks need is to be more rickety on defense, trying to compete against the great Western Conference defensive corps of  Calgary, Detroit, Chicago, and L.A.

We’re waiting for the trade deadline to pass before we do the podcast this week, so look for that Wednesday night.

post Episode 85 – Two D Gone Means Bad Times

February 3rd, 2010, 8:34 am

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

After things have been going so well for the Sharks, they lose two of their top four defensemen, and lose in a disappointing fashion to both Chicago and Detroit.  The Dudes talk about what it all means, break down the blockbuster trades in the NHL of the past week, and still leave enough time for listener email.  Also, make sure to weigh in on the new poll question after you listen.


post Sharks, the Game Started at 7:30. It’s Now 7:45

January 29th, 2010, 9:16 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

Save the opening ten minutes of last night’s game, the Sharks put in a really good effort.  The second and third periods were more or less how we expected the entire game to be- fast, end-to-end, with dynamic chances.   After the longest layoff since mid December, the Sharks started the game flat, which certainly includes Nabby.  They coughed up three goals before you could say “Kris Versteeg douchey sunglasses.”  While the first goal was clearly a missed assignment, leaving Byfuglien alone in the high slot for an open shot, I thought the second two were mostly on Nabby.  He had plenty of time to get in position on Brower’s first of the night, leaving the near side open.  Then, on the third goal, a shot came from a sharp angle, and instead of Nabby kicking it to the corner or directing it behind the net, it was kicked back to Hossa, who passed it to Ladd for the tip-in.  I might have pulled Nabby right then and there.

But give the boys some credit- they woke up, and managed to tie the game eventually on the NHL’s #1 team in terms of shots and goals against.  Going back to the formula that beat the Hawks in their barn on December 22nd, the Sharks were shooting high all night on Huet, and several missed seemingly by millimeters.  All this without Marc-Eduouard Vlasic, who Doug and I only noticed wasn’t out there in the middle of the third.  He actually only played 7:25, his normal load for the first, and never came back for the second or third.  The fact that Huskins had more ice time than he’s had all season (25:46), Murray third most all season (23:54), and Blake third (24:26),  seemed particularly evident on the last play of the game, when Murray rushed the puck deep, the Hawks produced a turnover and an ensuing rush, and Murray looked even slower than usual in getting back in the play- from where I was it looked like dead legs.

I can’t find a single report that even mentions Vlasic’s injury, much less the extent of it.  I expect Pollak should have something on his blog today.  All I can say is, Boyle, we missed you, and Vlasic, get well soon.  Hurt even more because he had another strong offensive night, being in exactly the right place and passing the puck perfectly to Pavelski.  Say that three times fast.

post Breaking Up The Band

January 22nd, 2010, 10:51 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Doug
Me no like Blake. Me want Boyle or Demers.

Me no like Blake. Me want Boyle or Demers.

Just a quick hit from last night’s game. The Sharks responded as we all hoped they would and have now made it five in a row over the Ducks. You think that’s not intentional? I can only imagine it is an unwritten team goal to sweep the season series with the Ducks this year and they are one more win away from just that. It makes me tingle inside with giddiness.

What did everyone think of the new D pairing last night? It certainly brought out the best in Vlasic and Blake, so has the coaching staff stumbled onto something here in Boyle’s absence? I thought Vlasic played his most aggressive game of the season, tying his career high of five shots and burying a goal from the point. Rob Blake got into the action and scored as well, activating from the point and batting in a Joe Thornton laser. So, is it coincidence that Blake and Vlasic played more effectively without each other, or are they just a mismatched couple to begin with? On paper, Blake and Murray seems like an immobile disaster, but they played pretty effectively together. They were out there for the Ducks goal, but Blake and Murray were out there in some form for every goal last night. Demers and Vlasic were fun to watch, pushed the tempo and it seemed to free up Vlasic’s game – which was also odd. But, whatever works baby.

So, is it time to break up the band? When Boyle returns, slide him next to Pickles, or if they decide to scratch Leach, play Boyle with Huskins. Could this solve the Sharks inconsistent returns on the blueline this year?



post Time to Make a Point

December 21st, 2009, 12:36 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Doug
Claude Lemiuex wants you to show up tonight, Sharks.
Claude Lemiuex wants you to show up tonight, Sharks.

Will the real San Jose Sharks please stand up?

This two game road swing is a pretty important moment for the Sharks franchise as they approach the halfway point of the 2009-10 season. As my holiday fingers type this post, the Sharks sit in a first place tie with the LA Kings in the Pacific Division and has lost their #1 seed in the Western Conference. Now, I don’t care about winning the conference, honestly I’d prefer if they didn’t so there’s not some eery sense of doom and gloom before the playoff series even starts – but winning the Pacific is very important. Whoever doesn’t (us or the Kings) will likely be in that dreaded 4 or 5 seed, and could have to dance with Calgary or Vancouver first. No thanks.

The Sharks have had no luck against the Stars and Blackhawks so far this season and if they come up with a stink bomb on this two game swing, I think Doug Wilson and company will have to pull the trigger on another move that rattles the core of this team. Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows that I firmly believe without an upgrade on the blueline, the Sharks are not going to be a real Cup contender. Dropping two games to teams that can’t figure out could finally be the straw that breaks the Vlasic’s back.

Here’s a stat that many of you know, and it’s rather sobering in terms of where the Sharks fall in the real power rankings of the NHL. If you take an overtime loss for a loss, here’s the Sharks record.

Chicago Blackhawks   23-11 .676
Nashville Predators 22-14 .611
LA Kings 22-15 .594
Phoenix Coyotes 21-15 .583
Calgary Flames 20-15 .571
San Jose Sharks 20-15 .571
Vancouver Canucks 20-16 .555
Colorado Avalanche 20-17 .540

When you take into account that Dallas is actually 15-20, losing to them tonight for a third time this year is unacceptable.

I think San Jose will deliver the good tonight on the road with a convincing win with a side of payback. The puck movement was so much improved with Demers on the blueline,  I think the offense that struggled in the last meeting with Dallas should be ignited. The effort against the Ducks was a good sign (except for about five minutes at the beginning of the 3rd). All four lines were rolling, hitting, winning face-offs. The Sharks are as deep as any team in the NHL and I think they will wear down a Dallas blueline that will be without Trevor Daley and Marc Fistric. Sharks let the good times roll tonight and keep an itchy Doug Wilson at bay for another day.

Plus I guarantee a fight between McLaren and Barch, probably in the first ten minutes of the game.

Prediction: Sharks 5   Stars  3

post What We Need Right Now is D, D, D

December 7th, 2009, 10:42 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Doug

Thanks to everyone who was able to tune in to the radio show last night. We hope to have a replay available for download on the website. The show was a blast, especially our interview with former Sharks player Mark Smith – who was amazingly candid and really entertaining. Great stuff.

One hot topic that we heard from some callers on the radio show has been in line with my final rallying cry to Sharks management. Doug Wilson has to be looking for an upgrade on the blueline. Now, I’m not talking about someone to come in and play a Kent Huskins type #5 role – I’m looking for a guy who can log big minutes, do the dirty works like block shots, kill penalties, dish out big hits – and also not be a total stiff offensively. It’s clear the Sharks 0-2-1 record against the Flames and Hawks is reason for concern, and the main difference between the Sharks and the other two teams are their top four d-men are flat out better than ours. I think Doug Wilson did an outstanding job in the offseason of making a Naughty and Nice list and managed to get rid of the three players currently under contract who were at the top of the Naughty list in Ehrhoff, Michalek and Cheechoo. So, who is next on the Naughty list? I think it has to be Vlasic.

Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray are untouchable. The team has made a commitment to Rob Blake by making him the Captain for this season, and I also suspect for next season – I’m 99.9% sure that there is a handshake, wink/wink, nudge/nudge, say no more agreement between Blake and DW that he is coming back for 2010-11. That leaves Vlasic in a put up or shut up situation, and I think he might be beginning to go silent…So, Doug Wilson should parlay his depth at the forward position and find a guy who can jump in and take this team over the top. Guys like Phaneuf, Shea Weber and Chara are not worth discussing – so I’m going to kick off a new weekly series where I’m going to bring a top four blueliner to your attention and why I think he’d be a good fit for the Sharks and what I think it would cost Doug Wilson to acquire him.

This weeks target:

St. Louis Blues/Barett Jackman

St. Louis Blues/Barret Jackman

Jackman is a stud and doesn’t get a ton of press because he’s been playing for a bad team that finally broke through and made the playoffs last year. In case you’re not familiar with Jackman, let me introduce you. He is the guy who stands in the net and blocks an empty net slap shot attempt like a human brick wall.


That is a guy willing to do anything to win a game. I doubt Nabby would have to ask him twice to block a shot. Jackman’s resume is impressive, he won the Calder Trophy in 2004 with 19 points and 190 PIM’s, beating that hack Henrik Zetterberg – not bad. After battling early career injury problems, he has responded by playing three full seasons back to back, averaging around 22 points and 86 PIM’s. He represented Canada at the World Juniors twice and was a member of the 2007 IIHF Canadian World Championship team in Russia, playing in all nine games.

This St. Louis blogger believes Jackman can be had, and possibly not for much of a return because of his 3.6M cap hit until 2012. If I were Doug Wilson, I would offer Vlasic straight up and if St. Louis didn’t like that offer, I would keep Vlasic and offer power forward Ryane Clowe. It would kill me to lose Clowe, but I’m not sure it would kill the Sharks. Moving Clowe allows a permanent top six forward slot for either Malhotra or McGinn, and they can certainly get the j-o-b done.

What do you say? Take one more look and tell me you wouldn’t love to see this guy in Teal.


MY OFFICIAL PROPOSAL: I think St. Louis might be looking for a change and the potential to get younger.

To St. Louis: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (signed until 2013@3.1M)
To San Jose: Barret Jackman (signed until 2012 @ 3.6M)

post The Blame Game

December 4th, 2009, 1:41 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Doug

1884In this corner, weighing in at 6 feet and 205 pounds, the ever testy, the outspoken, the King of the Shootout (Not), Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.


In this corner, coming in at a stout 6 ft, 1 inches and 200 pounds, the Dill of Defense, the Relish in your Roulade, Marc-Edouard “Why Didn’t You Block That Shot” Vlasic.

In case you didn’t catch the postgame buzz, Nabby was none too pleased that Pickles didn’t block that shot at the end of the Sharks 3-2 shootout loss to St. Louis last night. Vlasic’s point, which is well taken, is that there were five guys who dropped the ball (or puck) at the end last night, and six if you include Nabby.

So, what do you think of the Sharks version of “The Blame Game”?  Personally, I LOVE IT!

Why, you ask? Because it means these guys care. Haven’t we been asking for this? When was the last time we had guys calling each other out? Forcing others to take accountability? This team has been far too private and too laid-back for too long, and last night’s meltdown deserved Nabby’s quote-tastic response. The Sharks should be mad they choked that game away and it might inspire Vlasic, or Huskins, or anyone to do anything possible to win a game – which was not the attitude for the final minute of regulation last night. This team has been remade to win in the playoffs and if someone needs to be called out to pick up his effort, then so be it. Perhaps it is a little bit unfair to blast Vlasic for not blocking a shot, after all with 52 blocks he is tied for 20th in the entire NHL – so it’s not like he’s not willing to go there – but if the knock on Vlasic has ever been anything, it’s been a lack of intensity and flair for the big play. Blocking that shot would have been the big play.

So get amped up guys. You have a big contest with Calgary on Saturday night and you’ve got to bring the fire and then some. I like a little infighting from time to time. After all, we’ve seen what the Sharks “We’ll get them next time, boys” motto got us last year? Nabby’s comments might inspire Vlasic to throw himself in front of anything, if it means winning a Cup.