Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Drawing penalties while on the penalty kill

While yesterday's post looked at teams and players that take penalties on the power play, thus killing their momentum, today's post is a look into teams that get themselves out of trouble by drawing calls against the opposition while short-handed.

There is obviously some luck involved in this, but getting the other guy to do something stupid does require some amount of skill. You could also call it poor sportsmanship or cheating (which is what we all call it when we see the other team do it to our favorite).

Here are the top 10 teams at drawing the call to even things up:
Blue Jackets32
Maple Leafs28

Here are the 9 players that have drawn 6 or more calls:
Dustin Brown12
Ryan Kesler8
Brandon Backes7
Chris Kelly7
Vernon Fiddler7
Mike Smith6
Kyle Cumiskey6
Jordan Staal6
Marek Zidlicky6

A few notes (again):
  • Mike Smith was the top goalie, somehow drawing 6 calls, including a double-minor from Chris Neil. If I'm the goalie, I'm not sure I want to mess with Neil.
  • Kyle Cumiskey pulled the trick twice in the same game (in the same period), against top penalty taker Aucoin (per yesterday's chart) and Lombardi in a game against Phoenix.
  • Dustin Brown is pretty good at this.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Taking penalties while on the power play

There's nothing quite as deflating as going on the power play, only to have the advantage end because of a penalty. Special teams are a crucial part of the NHL regular season (not to mention the playoffs), and it is important to make the most of those chances. Losing them because of a preventable action is a recipe for losing points in the standings.

As a fan, there are few things that can happen during the game that are quite as depressing.

First, let me say that while I removed all fighting and misconduct penalties, I did not remove or coincidental minor penalties. My gut feeling (without checking) is that you normally don't see coincidental minors while on the power play.

Either way, the long and the short of it is that the data may not be perfect, but it gives us some grounds for discussion.

Some teams are far more guilty than others, and some players stand out above the rest. Here are the top 10 teams in the NHL in taking penalties while on the power play, thus negating their advantage:
Team #
Coyotes 33
Sabres 33
Stars 33
Rangers 32
Canucks 30
Blues 29
Senators 28
Penguins 27
Sharks 27
Oilers 27

Here are the players that have taken a penalty while their team was on the power play 6 or more times this year:
Player #
Steve Ott 9
Mikael Samuelsson 8
Joe Pavelski 7
Scott Hartnell 7
Corey Perry 6
Kristian Huselius 6
Todd Bertuzzi 6
Marek Zidlicky 6
Adrian Aucoin 6
Brendan Morrow 6
Rene Bourque 6
Dustin Byfuglien 6
Bill Guerin 6

A few quick notes:
  • Some of these guys took double-minors, so while that officially lowers their count by one, I think it's still double-dumb.
  • Hartnell did two of these in one game, with the second one being a double-minor. He just loses his head sometimes.
  • Guerin leads the list of Penguins, but Geno had 5 and Sid had 4.

Fun with Numbers!

We're going to have some fun with numbers this summer at Igloo Dreams. If you're a longtime reader, you may remember several previous efforts along these lines.

I've just revamped my program for pulling and aggregating these stats, this time from a better source - NHL.com Play by Play pages. They're insane on the level of detail they provide.

I'm still kicking around some of the information I can pull together. I'm thinking in terms of answering questions like:
  • What is average shooting distance for each player / team and can we tell anything from it (like finding D-men that actually jump into the play more often - they'd likely have a lower average shot distance, right?)
  • Which players are the best at getting their shot on net? Who gets their shot blocked the most?
  • Can we tell if teams are trying to go up on some goaltenders versus others in a systematic way?
  • Are faceoff results influenced by the linesman? Does Sid, for instance, fare better with some linesman than with others?
  • What about the refs? I'm keeping this one broad, because there are a million different directions we can go here.
I'll have a post up later tonight that should whet your appetite: Which players took the most penalties while they were on the power play during the 2009-2010 season? If I had to come up with a name for this (dubious) honor, it would be the DOH! Award, or maybe [head / desk].

Anyway, that will be up later, with (I hope) much, much more to follow.

You'll also be able to see some of the more generalized work in my writing over at hockeyindependent.com, though I'll usually cross-post the content over here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 Draft - Sixth Round - D Reid Mcneill

The Pens added another blueliner with size with their second pick in the sixth round.

Reid played last year with the London Knights of the OHL.

This late in the draft, finding information about these guys (or strong opinions, even when you do find info) is tough. More depth for the blue line.

2010 Draft - Sixth Round - D Joe Rogalski

Joe Rogalski has played three years in the OHL with the Sarnia Sting. He contributed more offensively, but was also a -38 on the season this year, tied for worst on the team (though most of them were minus players).

Here's a video of a fight from two years ago against Andrew Yogan

He's a right-handed defenseman with decent size.

He'll likely have another year in the OHL before looking to join the AHL.

2010 Draft - Fifth Round - Kenneth Agostino

Agostino was a great high school player from New Jersey. He piled up tons of goals and points, and his team was ridiculously successful. His defense was highly praised.

So why is he just a fifth round pick? Because it's high school hockey in New Jersey.

Agostino is on the small side and plays wing. He'll go to Yale in the fall.

In Lou We Trust has a great article summarizing the information about Agostino that's available online here.

This is a long term project for the Pens. They'll need to see him perform at the next level first, much like Ben Hanowski, but not quite as promising.

2010 Draft - Fourth Round - RW Tom Kuehnhackl

Kuehnhackl was the fourth round selection by the Penguins. He is the son of Erich Kuehnhackl, who was voted German hockey player of the 20th century.

Kuehnhackl is the third straight winger the Pens have drafted, as they clearly appear to be addressing some organizational weakness at the forward spot.

Tom has some decent size and played as a teenager in a German men's league the past two seasons. Despite sporadic ice time, he still was able to produce points.

He'll play for the Windsor Spitfires next season.

He has to be happy coming to the Pens, since he states his most memorable game that he watched was Game 7 of the Pens Stanley Cup victory over the Red Wings.

2010 Draft - Third Round - RW Brian Rust

The Penguins selected Brian Rust in the third round with the 80th pick.

Rust is on the small side and has played for the US National Development Team. He also won a Gold Medal at the U18 World Championships, scoring 4 goals in 7 games.

He is a right-handed shot and has put the puck in the net in his time with the US team.

Rust will attend the University of Notre Dame in the fall.

Who writes these headlines?

From the Tennessean... here's a link to the original article, for when they change it...

Penguins acquire D Dan Hamhuis

The Pens acquired the rights to D Dan Hamhuis from the Flyers last night. They'll have exclusive negotiating rights with Hamhuis until Wednesday.

Obviously this has been noted as a hedge against losing Gonchar. My question is: Is there any way the Pens could sign them both?

I don't know if you sign Sarge long term, no matter what, but the Pens have about $12,000,000 in cap space. If they can get both for $8,000,000...

I'm not sure it is feasible, given that the Pens need help up front in their top 6, and those players are usually expensive. You don't want to go through the season with Max and Pascal in your top 6 for the season. Right now, your top 6 forwards are: Sid, Geno, Kunitz, Talbot, Dupuis and... Is Tangradi ready?

So, probably not going to happen, but interesting to think about. The cost for the hedge is probably a bit on the high side - a 3rd round pick next year. If it nets them either Sarge or Hamhuis, however, it will have been worth it.

2010 Draft - Beau Bennett

The Pens selected Beau Bennett in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft.

Beau is listed as a RW, but spent much of the later part of his season with Penicton playing center.

He has average size (6'1", 176 lbs) and will need to get bigger and stronger.

There's a good interview with Beau, done after he was picked, over here.

Here's a brief snippet from the interview, with Beau talking about his strengths and what he needs to work on:
Definitely bring some creativity to the game. I can create off the right side or the left side. Definitely need to work on some things, as well, with my defensive play and strength. I think going forward, I'll get better in some aspects.
Bennett will attend Denver University, so he's several years away from the NHL.

Nice pick for the future.