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 Quick Thread

June 26th, 2010, 5:26 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

Leaving town tomorrow, so unfortunately I don’t have the time to properly write up what’s been happening, so I figured I’d create a new post for draft weekend discussion.  Topics of interest:

  • Drafting Charlie Coyle 1st round (who?)
  • Ducks getting both Cam Fowler (at 12!) and Emerson Etem
  • Trade of Keith Ballard to the Canucks
  • Sharks re-signing Wallin and Nichol (Wallin?  $2.5M?  I sincerely hope we only saw an injured Wallin last year)
  • Possibility of trading Nabby’s rights for something
  • Seto?
  • Hamhuis sweepstakes
  • Anything else your little hearts desire

I hope you’ve been following our thoughts recently on twitter. Link on the right there.

post Them Lil’ Habs Is Frisky

March 5th, 2010, 8:50 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

I’m not sure what I expected last night when I went to the Canadiens game.  I always try to see the Original Six teams when I can, there’s just so much history.  I’m reminded of that one episode of the Simpsons where they sent Bart to military school, and the school’s motto is “A Tradition of Heritage”.  Anyway, I just re-read The Game by Ken Dryden, and I agree with the blurb on the cover- it’s the best hockey book ever written.  You get some great writing about day-to-day stuff of the Canadiens in the 70s, with some really excellent portraints of some of the players on that team. These are guys as hockey fans we know, but not because we remember them as players.  Jacques Lemaire, Bob Gainey, Guy Lafleur, Mario Tremblay, Larry Robinson.  The team of Béliveau (one of my all time favorites), Richard, Geoffiron, et al, is still a little something special, despite the fact that they haven’t won a Cup since ’93 and haven’t really been in contention for a while (#1 seed notwithstanding).

The big knock against the Habs this year is how small they are.  They went out and got Mike Cammaleri, Brian Gionta, and Scott Gomez, giants none.  The only giant they have is Hal Gill, a 6’7 behemoth, but he gets knocked a lot for being too slow.  Think Alexei Semenov with bad ankles.  Damn, I told myself I was done with Semenov cracks.   Guess I need to take a new sobriety date.

There was a ton of extracurricular activity last night, lots of face-washing, pushing and shoving, and general nasty jabbering.  No fights broke out- both teams have jettisoned their resident enforcers.  We saw Tomas Plekanec get into a couple of altercations after some questionable play against Thornton and Marleau, then get decked by Heatley in the 3rd.  We saw Nichol injured after getting run from behind into the boards without a call.  We saw Josh Gorges (who almost led Montreal in ice time (!))  and Thornton trading a little bit of something.  And we saw a beleageured goalie, Cary Price, stand on his friggin’ head for much of the game.  The Sharks scored their second goal on their 35th shot.  No NHL team averages 35 shots per game.

But now we know why he is beleageured.  It wasn’t enough, and the Sharks turned a 2-1 third period deficit into a 3-2 victory on goals by Heatley and Malhotra.  If you were looking at the box score very quickly, you might say that Price managed to cough up another one, but really he kept them in it for much of the game.  Well, his friend The Post helped as well.  Boyle hit the bar on a penalty shot after Hal Gill somehow accidentally-on-pupose threw Price’s errant goalie stick into his path.  Then Heatley hit the post again less than a minute later on one of his signature one-timers.  Those shots go in, or one of the other 30-odd shots go in, and the Sharks win going away.

I was a little surprised at the Habs’ pluck, but I suppose they are trying to make the playoffs.  It turned into another test for the Sharks, and unlike the game against the Devils, it was a test they passed.

Update:  Here’s the Lapierre hit on Nichol.  I’m even more jazzed up about it after hearing Ray Ferraro rant.


post Time To Break Old Habits

January 12th, 2010, 2:32 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Doug


After winning a close one last night in LA and semi-redeeming themselves for laying two eggs on home ice last week, the Sharks might have some fans feeling pretty good. So then why do I fully expect the Coyotes to dump us like Conan O’Brien at an 11:30pm timeslot?

Jay Leno is the Steve Ott of Late Night.

Jay Leno is the Steve Ott of Late Night.

Because this is the Sharks pattern. Up then down. Up then down. Winning two tough back to back games on the road would be a major statement to each other, as teammates, that they are ready for adversity and capable of beating two teams who have given them fits all year long. Last night the Sharks got solid PK work, a hard luck but hard fought performance from their second line, great goaltending from Nabby and two goals from two superstars in Boyle and Heatley. A solid effort against a good team.

Now do it again.

The Coyotes are going to play hard and are extremely well coached by Dave Tippett, but aren’t we one of the best teams in hockey? Don’t we have a Jack Adams nominee for a coach? Then go out there and kick this mediocre team in the Vrbata.


Mike and I have recently questioned Brad Staubitz’s presence on the Sharks roster, and of course he responds with his best game of the season last night, almost tipping in Boyle’s goal in the 1st period – but let’s not get carried away here. McLellan was so impressed that he didn’t play Staubitz for one single second in the third period, while Scott Nichol got seven shifts. There’s a ton of differences between Staubby and Nichol in my book – Nichol is one of the top faceoff men in the entire NHL and one of our best PK’ers. Staubitz is one of the best at taking a penalty. Here’s the thing – if Staubitz didn’t beat the tar out of the hated Tootoo last year, would you even know his name from Dennis McCauley?(BTW, McCauley is an enforcer for the Worcester Sharks…)

Doug Wilson and his staff met last week in Worcester to discuss the organization and was profiled last night at the first intermission. I thought his comments were pretty standard, but his admiration for Couture and his development was evident. He called him “one of the best players in the AHL”. Would it be far fetched to think that Couture could make this same contribution for San Jose in the playoffs, or at the very least, in 2010-11? This could be the most important player to watch come trade deadline, because his presence and success gives the Sharks the option to trade some forward depth to get help on the blueline.


November 10th, 2009, 10:22 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Doug


Marcel Goc makes his triumphant return to the Sharks Tank tonight after signing a one year deal with the Nashville Predators in the offseason. When you take a look at how much the Sharks bottom six forwards have improved, one has to tip their hat and give an assist to Predators GM Dave Poile for not resigning Scott Nichol and underutilizing Jed Ortmeyer, allowing them to fall into the clutches of our own Doug Wilson. Nichol and Ortmeyer have been two major keys to the transformation of the Sharks third and fourth line. Last season, the Sharks got limited offense and very little grit from their bottom six and this year these former Preds have brought a new attitude and work ethic to the mix. So, welcome back Marcel Goc. We may miss your blogging, but we do not miss your consistently disappointing play. I hope Poile is happy with your stat line and the $250,000 he saved by letting Nichol walk. Let’s look at the difference with the three stats that really matter for a bottom six center like Goc and Nichol: Hits, Faceoff % and PK time.

Marcel Goc (2009-10) 8 hits, 55.5% and 1:23 PK time.
Scott Nichol (2009-10) 53 hits, 64.2% (2nd in the NHL behind Paul Gaustad) and 2:07 PK time

Not to mention that Scott Nichol is a whopping 62% on PK faceoff draws and Goc is under 50%. Doug Wilson has delivered change in a big way with a player that might not get the press, but Nichol for Goc was a remarkable and much needed upgrade.

The Predators will be without their star blueliner, Shea Weber, tonight while the Sharks are getting back Seto and Vesce. I could see this causing semi-chaos upfront initially with the Sharks falling behind early, and I could also see this as what they call in the betting world a “trap game” with the Sharks perhaps looking ahead to a date with Dallas on Thursday. It’s for this reason that I hope McLellan starts Thomas Greiss tonight to keep the Sharks focused in their own end, forcing them not to check out against the weaker, hoe down dancing opponent. While the Preds are 2-9 against the Sharks in their last 11, I still smell trouble and a tight 3-2 win by the Sharks.

How do you like the new blog and sexy features? Just in case you were having trouble getting up for the game, a little dance down memory lane for you. Will McLellan play Staubitz tonight and scratch McGinn? We’ll have to see…