I DO DECLARE (The NHL is Transparent)

So the NHL has released a new "Declaration of Principles" which really sounds great. It's all about inclusion, growing the game to different groups and genders, etc. The list is collectively "signed" by pretty much every noteworthy hockey league in North America, and the IIHF as well. It even has the blessing of the Pope. (Jokes about the inclusiveness of the Catholic Church aside, apparently NHL representatives participated in a summit held by the Vatican on using sports to unite people, which certainly sounds like a noble, if unlikely goal).

But NHL fans are a cynical bunch, and some jumped at the chance to question the NHL's commitment to these principles. 

And for good reason. The Crack Staff #HockeyInsiders here at the Roenick Institute for Hockeymacation have been leaked a copy of an early draft of the Declaration, penned by none other than Colin Campbell, the NHL's High Prince of Head Shots and Unintentional Hilarity, with notes from Gary Bettman himself.

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Seems to me the NHL's true "commitment" comes through loud and clear here.

 

... Again I'm right in my analysis!

#ShadowOvechkin

#ShadowOvechkin.  #ShadowOvechkin when he's on the Capitals' power play, I mean specifically. It's something I've tweeted many, many, many times. It even lends itself to a character-saving play on words. I've been in reasonably-civil arguments online about it with people who make decent points. But so far, I remain steadfast in my belief: When on a 4v5 PK against the Caps, the penalty-killing team should have a F glue himself to Ovechkin to limit his shots from the Ovi Spot. Last night, the NYR let him fire away from that spot, and it ended up leading to the first goal of the night (originally credited to Ovi, but later changed to Justin Williams). 

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The Tanner Glass Experience

Whether Tanner Glass plays one game in 2016/17, or the rest of them, it probably doesn't matter much for the NYR's chances at the 2017 Stanley Cup. The Defense is just so so bad.  

But it's fun to look at players on the extreme of stats - the truly great and the truly awful.  So let's look at just how bad Glass has been...

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Federer's Backhand.

The conventional wisdom is that Roger Federer's weakness, to the extent that he has one, is in his one-handed backhand. This is especially an issue against Rafael Nadal, who has traditionally, at least according to that same conventional wisdom, targeted attacks on Federer's backhand side with Nadal's high-bouncing lefty forehand. When Nadal gets that forehand kicking off the court, and makes Federer try to muscle an awkward one-handed backhand groundstroke from a hit point higher up towards his shoulder, it generally spells trouble for Federer.  ...

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NYR Top Penalty Killers - PART I - Forwards

The Rangers #fancystats at 5v5 have, aside from Kreider/Stepan/Zuccarello, been terrible. But one bright spot so far has been the special teams, especially the Penalty Killing.  What was a major mess in 2015/16 has become a team strength in 2016/17.  There are probably many reasons (the bottom 6 forwards signed in the off-season, improved play from the returning skaters, Dan Girardi being a magical broken clock that's on time more than expected) but who has the time to do a deep dive into that???

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NHL - The Grifts That Keep on Giving

The 2016 holidays are over, but I'm always hunting for a good bargain.  If you have lazy relatives, you probably have a few extra virtual dollars sitting on an impersonal bank Gift Card.

So if you don't want to be one of those people who let billions of gift card dollars go unused, the savvy marketers at the NHL are here to help.  As of today, there are approximately 3600 NHL-developed-and-endorsed products "on sale" at NHL.com.  I've painstakingly gone through all of them to find you the Best Deals (all prices USD, since that's all the NHL cares about).  

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I regret to inform you that David Staples is at it again...

David Staples is a writer at the Edmonton Journal...no no wait come back!!!  Stick with me...

He recently wrote his latest screed on apparent league MVP Kris Russell: "Why there's such furious disagreement on the merits of Kris Russell..." where he summarizes some of the different writings on Russell.  There's no reason for me to try and rebut Staples' argument - others who are smarter than me, and better writers/educators have done that before, and this time is no different.  ...

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Rangers Review...10 Games in (Part 1 - 5v5)

Based on Watching the Games, it seems like the Rangers are playing better than last season. While the 2015/16 team started 6-2-1-1 in its first ten games, I think the conventional wisdom was that the team was being outplayed, but riding a hot start from the normally slow-starting Lundqvist. The 2016/16 team has started out 7-3, and I'd bet the CW is the opposite - this is a strong team mostly outplaying the opposition, and the skaters performance is overcoming a slow start by Lundqvist. 

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Puck Dummy...

Wyshynski got into it on twitter dot com today (with people dumb enough to follow him) about Matt Murray's "case" for being named the Conn Smythe winner if the Penguins win. [UPDATED to reflect post Game 5 stats]

To be fair to Wyshynski (I just threw up in my mouth a little), he's not making this the hill he wants to die on, but he does say that Murray has the "best" case.  He poo-poos (legal term of art) the fact that the Pens have routinely dominated their opponents in this Cup playoffs.

This is a list of the last 10 Stanley Cup champions, their total shots +/-, and their all-situations shots-for% for that playoff year.  [Updated through Game 5]

That 2008 Red Wings team was unreal, but the 2016 Penguins are sitting comfortably in in 2nd place.  Wyshynski can call out any intangible he wants, but Murray has been basically an average-to-good goaltender - and that's all he's needed to be.  Cool, he gets "points" for being a rookie and not, I dont know, pooping his pants every game?  But this is a dominant Pittsburgh and smart award voters should recognize that.  

By the way, as of the time I write this, the Pens are out-shooting the Sharks 26-13 in Game 5.

UPDATE:  Wyshynski is sad that I "cherry picked" his tweets.  

I'm admittedly an idiot, but I don't see how this helps the overall argument that Murray has been the MVP of the entire playoffs.  He was good against the Caps, and maybe that was the key factor in them advancing. But

Again, Murray has been good. He may have been CAPITAL LETTERS GREAT against the Caps.  But he hasn't been the MVP by any "case".  Unless, of course, you place a lot of weight on goalies who win above all else.

UPDATE 2:  

Again I'm right in my analysis.

Patrick Kane #s, Updated

A month ago, I took a look at how Patrick Kane's season stacked up compared to his peers - specifically the other Top 20 scoring forwards at that time.  I generally focused on offensive possession metrics (corsi, shots, and expected goals) because Kane has led the NHL in points scoring from the start, and I wanted to see if there was some way to really see if Kane was having the "outstanding" season people those points suggested.  At the time, I saw that Kane was individually producing a lot of offensive attempts, and was getting favorable shooting percentages while on the ice.  I also saw that his possession rates were in the middle of the pack, and that he was routinely at the bottom of the list in relative rates.  Not only was he not outperforming his teammates compared to his Top 20 scoring peers - he was actually under-performing compared to his team itself.

Time for an update...

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IT ME, PLAYOFF D

Anyone following the NYR season knows that the NYR are having a terrible defensive season, by #fancystats metrics, at least.  As of today, the NYR are 20th in Score-Adjusted 5v5 CorsiFor% in the entire league.  I think it's pretty well accepted now that good puck possession teams are better bets for playoff success.

I've also spent a fair amount of time marveling at the NYR's defensemen's possession results specifically, and, as I've tweeted before, they are bad, bad, and not good.  So I thought it would be fun to see how the NYR defensemen's current Score-Adjusted 5v5 CorsiFor% measured up to other playoff teams in the BtN era...

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