Thursday, December 22, 2005

 

Olympian Oilers

The Oil only have three Olympians this time around. Smyth and Pronger for Canada, and Hemsky for the Czech Republic.

It is somewhat suprising that Dvorak was left of the Czech team -- especially considering how well he has played for them in the past -- including scoring a pretty huge overtime goal in the World Championship semi-final. I imagine his groin was a concern, but still . . .

The fantastic news (for Oilers fans) is that Jussi didn't get picked for the Finnish team.

The last time we sent a goalie to the Olympics he came back . . . altered.




k

Comments:

But surely the bigger news is that the presumptive Finnish #1--a certain M. Kiprusoff--isn't going to Turin either.

Kiprusoff has inflammation of the hip and upon advice from doctors will use the period during the Olympics to help heal the injured area.

What's this now? "Inflammation" suggests that the doctors don't know the cause and can't treat the injury; it hints at a possibility of arthritis; and hips are hard to treat even when you do know what's going on. Plus I think we'll be seeing a little more of Phillippe "Not As Good As Bob" Sauve over the next few months. The only real question is, do you think Matt's worried yet?
 


Ask me once the real story comes out a bit more. The initial report I heard on the radio -- "Wants to let it heal in February, but in the meantime it won't affect his play or his workload" -- is self-evidently utter bullshit. He either needs more rest, or he doesn't. Clearly he believes it's (A) affecting his play, and (B) that the effect will get worse, not better, over time. That, in general, is bad news for Flames fans.

There is a glass-half-full-or-so way of looking at it, though, which you'll no doubt be surprised to learn is the way I'm leaning. I think Kipper plays too much, and Sauve needs to play more. This forces that to happen, or ought to.

A 3-week rest in February, plus a reduced workload (say two-thirds of games) until then and hopefully afterwards, equals a better Kipper come playoff time. That's my belief, anyway.

I'm guessing the Flames beat Vancouver tomorrow night; if they announce tomorrow morning that Flip Sauve will be starting for the Flames, I'm no less confident whatsoever (likely facing Maxime Ouellet doesn't hurt...).
 


P.S. everyone remembers that the Flames got it going last season after trading for Kipper ~15 games into the season. A lot fewer people remember that he missed 6 full weeks in midseason, after the Flames had scratched into a playoff position. They held that position, with Turek and Jamie McLennan splitting the goaltending duties.

Kipper is the Flames' best or 2nd-best player; he's not the whole team, regardless of what Chris! says.
 


Roman Turek's not walking through that door, son.

On the statistical evidence, if you replace Kiprusoff with an average goalie--i.e., someone significantly better than, say, Jussi Markkanen--you end up with a hypothetical team roughly equidistant in quality fom Phoenix and Columbus. I believe most objective observers outside Calgary would agree with this assessment. The question is how well Sauve can be expected to play--because, as you say, the official story on Kiprusoff is bullshit.
 


(Either way it's totally awesome that we are talking about this)
 


Poor Salo.
 


A lot fewer people remember that he missed 6 full weeks in midseason, after the Flames had scratched into a playoff position. They held that position, with Turek and Jamie McLennan splitting the goaltending duties.

Kipper is the Flames' best or 2nd-best player; he's not the whole team, regardless of what Chris! says.


Even fewer people would bother to go back and check the Flames record over that span, which was 7-9-1. Iggy, Kipper and 18 guys named Duane.
 


By the way...Salo's post SLC save percentage was .930 for the 01-02 season. That goal didn't destroy him, regardles of the myth.
 


It amazes me that fans of a team populated by the likes of Ulanov and Cross and sporting a #1 center named "Horcoff" and 3 #2 (or worse) goaltenders casually toss out epithets regarding the Flames "roster of pluggers". "Hey kettle!" said the pot, "you sure a deep shade of black!"
 


It amazes me that fans of a team...sporting a #1 center named "Horcoff" and 3 #2 (or worse) goaltenders casually toss out epithets regarding the Flames "roster of pluggers". "Hey kettle!" said the pot, "you sure a deep shade of black!"

Uhh, you mean Shawn Horcoff who's 19th amongst NHL centres in scoring, a position that would by definition seem to mean that he's a #1 C? Some Oiler fans think that Stoll, who's 18th amongst NHL C in scoring is the real #1, but I think they're wrong.

In any event those two, along with Hemsky and Smyth are all scoring at a better clip than your supposed #1 RW Jarome Iginla.

I'm baffled as to why this is so hard to figure out (I'll take a run at matt's Kipper post later on). Calgary rides excellent goaltending hard. The Oilers goaltending is something less than excellent and they're ahead of Calgary in the standings. It's not magic-the rest of the roster is better.
 


madcrutch, you are doing some fine work, some fine work.

I've been meaning to ask you, a while back at HF I thought I remembered you pulling up some numbers reflecting the "toughness" of icetime (i.e., who is playing how many minutes against the other team's top lines), but I can't find it now.
 


79, I don't see why you would insist that it's 'goaltending' rather than 'defense' that the Flames bank on.

Even if you were to cite stats on Shots Allowed or something, which you haven't, I still wouldn't be convinced that Flames success depends on goaltending, rather than the team as a whole keeping the puck out of their own net. SV% is a good stat, but it's not definitive by any means.
 


Even if you were to cite stats on Shots Allowed or something, which you haven't, I still wouldn't be convinced that Flames success depends on goaltending, rather than the team as a whole keeping the puck out of their own net. SV% is a good stat, but it's not definitive by any means.

OK, fair enough. How about if I cite expected ES save percentage? Basically, I've got a spreadsheet with all of the shots taken in the NHL in it. I have the save percentage for every five foot area-ie. 5-9 ft, 6-10 ft, 7-11 ft etc. For every shot, I assign it the expected save percentage of the range it falls in the middle of-ie. a shot from 11 feet away falls into the 9-13 range and those shots are stopped 80.6% of the time. Then, I can tally the whole thing up and take a look at each team's expected save percentage as opposed to their actual.

For Edmonton, it's an expected ES sv% of .915 and an actual ES sv% of .902. For Calgary, it's an expected ES sv% of .914 and an actual ES sv% of .935. Now I can see some criticism of what I've done here-I haven't accounted for rebounds (yet) and it's entirely possible that a 14 ft shot against the Oilers tends to be more difficult than a 14 ft shot against the Flames. It doesn't seem that likely to me though and it seems like the complaints about save percentage should be vitiated to a certain degree through application of this method.

Flames are full marks for keeping the shots against down but all of the statistical evidence suggests to me that they're being carried to the near-elite status that they enjoy by goaltending.
 


That's awesome; do you have it posted on Teh Intarweb somewhere? Because it also begs some interesting other questions. For example, if Flames goalies are 30 points ahead of Oiler goalies on 9-13 foot shots, but even on (say) 30-35 foot shots, what does this mean? There's probably 8 ways I could think of to account for that, all of which might be wrong.

Like you say, it's tough to account for everything. And again, their are many elements that contribute to good goaltending. "Talent of the Goalie" is by far the most important one, but it's not the only one, and when you're talking about 3% being a major discrepancy, well, it gets tougher.

Thanks for the contributions and the data. Go Flames!
 


That's awesome; do you have it posted on Teh Intarweb somewhere?

It's my project for Christmas, learning enough about this thing to put this stuff up online. I've got some webspace where I toss stuff up when I want to make a point about one thing or another that I can't do in the forum format, but I need to figure out enough to set up this stuff so it's easily updated.

For example, if Flames goalies are 30 points ahead of Oiler goalies on 9-13 foot shots, but even on (say) 30-35 foot shots, what does this mean?

I think I may not have explained myself well enough. I'm not saying that the Flames goalies are 30 points ahead on anything other than overall. I've assumed that their curve looks like the NHL curve in terms of save percentage, starting at about .800 and slowly rising until it's pretty much 1.000 from about 65 ft out up to 200. There are a ton of interesting debates one could have but I probably need to get the data online first.

...when you're talking about 3% being a major discrepancy, well, it gets tougher.

3% is a major discrepancy though. Over the course of an NHL season of 2000 shots, that's 60 goals.
 

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