Thursday, May 08, 2008

 

Pensee

Is there anything like playoff overtime to reinforce the fact that hockey is much better described as a puck position game than a puck possession game? Watching parts of the Sharks/Stars 4OT with no stake at all in the outcome, this just seemed crystal clear: the drama arises almost entirely from where the puck is, and hardly at all from who has it.

When the other guy's D is collecting the puck in his own zone all by himself, there's no tension at all. When your D has the puck in your end, but hasn't gotten rid of it yet and is under pressure, you hold your breath. Yes?

Comments:

Absolutely. You know, Matt, you're pretty bright for a Flames fan ;)
 


And now that I've complemented you, would you be nice enough to toss my modest little blog on your blogroll? Pretty please?
 


Andy's in charge of Oilogroll management, but I'm sure it's on his to-do list. Good site.
 


Matt: Agreed re: "Copper & Blue", Jonathan has been doing excellent work. He's developed a beauty blog that deserves more traffic.
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I have been using the same terminology about "puck position" vs. "puck possession" for years. Looks like Tom Benjamin has been doing so for as long. I certainly agree that position is generally the more important of the two.

Two of the most exciting moments of the long OT were when Robidas fell right at the start of the second OT giving Thornton an uncontested shot from the slot; and when Ribeiro somehow passed the puck right in front of his own net and J.R. pounced. Neither guy missed his shot, Turco just beat them.

I was totally impressed with Turco's alertness, how he seemed to be ready for danger from a situation that seemed totally in control, and stopped two of San Jose's most accomplished snipers eyeball-to-eyeball. But with the puck in his zone, he never let his guard down for even a second and was ready for anything, as a good goaltender should.
 


When your D has the puck in your end, but hasn't gotten rid of it yet and is under pressure, you hold your breath. Yes?

100%. especially if "my" defenseman is anders eriksson, and one of the forwards waiting for the pass at the blueline is craig conroy....
 


When your D has the puck in your end, but hasn't gotten rid of it yet and is under pressure, you hold your breath. Yes?

100%. Especially if "my" defenseman plays for the Vancouver Canucks, and one of the forwards waiting for the pass at the blueline is ... um ... anyone.

Has there ever been a team as inept at clearing their own zone as the 'Nucks? "Shoot it up the boards, right towards their point man." Oh, sure, we've HEARD of the "breakout pass" and the "safely off the glass" plays, but we're not having any of that nonsense out here.
 


canuckfan Has there ever been a team as inept at clearing their own zone as the 'Nucks?

I vote for the disaster that was the 2006-2007 Edmonton Oilers.
 


That team never existed. Move along.
 


Yeah, 2006-07 was a lockout, remember guys? Nobody won the Cup, and Chris Pronger left the Oilers to go play in Mongolia at the start of the year.
 


On McCown's show a few month's back, our old buddy Ron MacLean had a nice spiel on the importance of "narrative tension" for creating interesting hockey.

Specifically, he was talking about how certain rule changes and enforcement standards (e.g., crackdown on stickwork against the puck carrier) had the negative effect of removing much of the narrative tension (and so the interest) from hockey games -- if it becomes nearly impossible to contact players to remove the puck from them, where's the interest?
 


if it becomes nearly impossible to contact players to remove the puck from them, where's the interest?

If the "narrative tension" of Dallas Stars/ New Jersey Devils hockey never returns, I'll be one happy fan. The product of the 90's and early 00's stunk.
 


Pitkanen for Redden is a loss, no doubt. But that's not the question, I think.

Better to ask what makes this equation work:

If: (Redden + X) > Pitkanen
Then: what is X?
(And can we get him/ them for Pitkanen?)
 


Interesting points Matt...

So if you're stuck in your end quite a bit and blocking shots all the time, would that be a bad thing?
 


Yes, why wouldn't it be?
 


Oh, 'cause the Fenwick number says that's cool.

;)
 


What does the Fenwick number "say"? I thought it was more like a watch: it doesn't tell time, you have to look at it.
 


I love semantic arguments.

I should be more explicit...

Matt, your "pensee" contradicts your position on the Corsi number.

There, is that better?
 


I don't think it does, not even close, but *I* will be more explicit about that in a summer post.
 


By the way Rivers, have you figured out the wild coincidence of the same people leading the Blocked Shot rankings every year? I find it strange, because generally there is a lot of turnover in the worst players in the league.
 


Matt said...
By the way Rivers, have you figured out the wild coincidence of the same people leading the Blocked Shot rankings every year? I find it strange, because generally there is a lot of turnover in the worst players in the league.


Come on Matt.

Have you paid any attention to what Vic has posted all year?

Not all players start the same number of shifts in their own end. I think you'd find that most of the shot blocking leaders are put at a puck position disadvantage to begin with. Lose the puck possession battle early and you're forced to block shots.

It still doesn't mean that's the preferred situation or course of action for the team, as you admitted here. If your team consistenly keeps the puck in the other end, those players don't have to clean up the mess when the faceoffs are in your own end.
 


Two very similar players who attempt the same number of shots. One of them consistently has a higher percentage of them blocked than the other.

You seem to be saying -- continually and persistently -- than the difference between these players is trivial... meaningless. I'm quite sure it isn't, and I don't think that's terribly controversial. Am I getting you wrong? Or is it that you're rebutting an argument that I'm not making?
 

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