Monday, November 28, 2005


Quarter Pole

A few teams have now played 26 games, but the Senators only played their 20th on Friday afternoon. Below, I have posted the Standings based on the points and goal differential of every team through their 20th game. I don't really have much to say about them now (except for "Damn! The Senators are playing well!"), but I anticipate doing it again for each of the next three quarters of the season, and there may be some interesting comparisons.

Peter Maher, the only radio play-by-play voice the Flames have ever had, says that the second quarter of the season is where you find out who's for real and who's not. That is, if a team is playing over their heads, or way below their abilities, then they'll either revert to form in the 2nd quarter, or not at all. This sounds suspiciously like a hunch that's unsupportable by the numbers; I hope to find out one way or another.

Eastern Conference Standings thru 20 games

  1. OTT 34
  2. CAR 29
  3. PHI 27
  4. MTL 29
  5. NYR 25
  6. TOR 24
  7. BUF 22
  8. NYI 20
  9. NJD 20
  10. TBL 19
  11. BOS 19
  12. PIT 18
  13. ATL 17
  14. WSH 16
  15. FLA 16
Goal Differential:
  1. OTT 53
  2. NYR 18
  3. PHI 14
  4. CAR 14
  5. MTL 5
  6. TOR 3
  7. BUF -1
  8. TBL -2
  9. ATL -4
  10. NYI -7
  11. BOS -8
  12. NJD -11
  13. FLA -15
  14. PIT -23
  15. WSH -28
Western Conference Standings thru 20 games

  1. DET 31
  2. LAK 27
  3. VAN 26
  4. NSH 31
  5. DAL 27
  6. COL 24
  7. CGY 24
  8. EDM 21
  9. PHX 20
  10. MIN 20
  11. SJS 20
  12. CHI 18
  13. ANA 18
  14. STL 11
  15. CBJ 10
Goal differential:
  1. DET 28
  2. LAK 18
  3. COL 14
  4. DAL 11
  5. VAN 8
  6. NSH 8
  7. MIN 7
  8. PHX 2
  9. EDM 1
  10. CGY -1
  11. ANA -5
  12. SJS -14
  13. CHI -15
  14. STL -28
  15. CBJ -33
Note: don't try to use these numbers to calculate much else for the league as a whole, as it's not a "closed system" -- some teams played their 20th game vs. an opponent playing their 21st, etc. For example, the goal differentials don't add up to zero


If anyone's interested in the goal-differential components that Sacamano was describing earlier, here are the numbers from my spreadsheet (totals don't quite add due to rounding--but league averages for all categories are constant at zero):

Shooting accuracy, 0 goals
Shot creation -4
Defence +6
Goaltending 0

Shooting accuracy -13
Shot creation -3
Defence +9
Goaltending +8

Some league leaders:
Colo +18, Tor 16, Ott 15, LA 15
Ott +14, Phi 8, Mtl 6, Bos 6
TBL +12, SJS 12, Det 9, Cgy 9
Ott +20, Min 20, Phx 20, NYR 15

On an strictly opinional (opinional?) note:

Rangers, LA, Montreal

Atlanta, Anaheim


Why are the Rangers and Kings due to drop off, do you figure? (I'm not arguing, I'm curious). Their goal differential is even better than their record: what aspect of it seems like a bubble due to burst? (Rookie goaltending?)

Also, I see where you're coming from about Anaheim, but I'm skeptical about Atlanta. They walloped the Caps a couple of times, as I recall, and that 9-0 win over Carolina will skew a few stat categories pretty hard.

Have you seen how many goalie injuries Atlanta has had? Their top three guys have gotten hurt five times between them, and it's not even December. That situation is going to work itself out one way or another--Lehtonen is back skating again, and Dunham has looked OK when he's been able to play.

Some of these strong-starting rookie goalies are bound to revert to more typical form, but it's not so much stats I'm looking at. (And Lundqvist seems legit but you can't count on him to finish the year with a .930 save percentage.) The Rangers are just way too Jagr-dependent; aside from him they're just a big jumble of nonspecific foreign talent, and a few bitches like Tom Poti, waiting to collapse. Plus they're run by Sather, and the man's mind is porridge--watch him go off the rails with a couple of weird hair-trigger trades.

As far as L.A. goes, (a) I just can't, in a general sense, make their talent add up to a playoff spot, and (b) I can't stand them. They seem more like a collection of hockey cards than an actual team. Plus, everything revolves around Roenick down there, and I've always regarded him as someone whose obstinacy and oafishness were mistranslated as "toughness" and "heart" by a credulous big-market press.

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