Minnesota Wild at Anaheim Ducks, 7 pm
Anaheim Calling and Hockey Wilderness -- I think there's a 'Call of the Wild' joke somewhere in there.
(Author's note: normally I'd include records and western rankings, but I wrote this yesterday before any games were played.)
Still "holidazing" away with the family, but here's a statsy question that I can address for today, from a tweet from @marcposner:
I'd love to see Scott's stats when paired with Boynton vs. his stats paired with Festerling, Mikkelson and Sbisa.
Now normally I'd plug away at my own spreadsheet attempts for this one, but thanks to the recent update efforts of Vic Ferrari at Irreverent Oiler Fans, I can use timeonice.com's server power to do the heavy lifting for me. Before I get into the table data dump, though, let me try to explain what that site does in layman's terms.
Timeonice.com looks at NHL.com gamelogs and shift charts and summarizes even-strength shooting results for specific players or combinations of players. Empty-netters are excluded, and what ends up being delivered is shot summary data -- how many goals were scored with a specific player or players on the ice, how many shots were taken, how many shots were missed, and how many shots were blocked. Essentially it tells a story of offensive ability and to some degree offensive zone time; it uses shot attempts as a proxy for actual time.
The site is definitely a bit tricky to use and to decipher results, and doesn't include a TOI-total, but it can give some metrics as to how Scott Niedermayer performed at even-strength throughout this season with his various partners; included below is that summary for the first 38 Ducks games this season. GP is the number of games-played where each combination occurred (even if briefly), GF and GA are goals-for and against, SF and SA are shots-for and against, and ShotRatio is SF/(SF+SA) and just represents who is getting the better of the shooting during those even-strength minutes -- I've sorted each defensive partner by this metric. Additionally, I've included ASF and ASA, attempted-shots-for and against, which include actual shots, wide shots, and blocked shots, and a CorsiRatio which is ASF/(ASF+ASA), another measure of who is getting the majority of shot attempts. You may note that the combined rows don't match Niedermayer's solo total -- that's because there are odd minutes (usually right after a penalty kill) when there are actually three defensemen on the ice. Still, there's enough events included that those effects should be minimal.
Scott Niedermayer's Even-Strength Shooting Results by Partner
|Scott Niedermayer Total||38||23||32||344||345||.499||584||609||.490|
OK, enough set-up, let's talk a bit about results. First off, it's worth noting that Scott overall has been outscored significantly at evens this season -- 23 GF, 32 GA (again, no empty-netters here). With every single partner not named Brookbank, he is even or worse in the goal department. With some of the partners, though, it appears to be an issue of "puck luck" to some degree -- Niedermayer with Mikkelson, for example, nearly doubled their opponents' shot totals, but it didn't translate that way on the scoreboard. Niedermayer with Festerling, as another example, weren't able to generate a single GF even with 53 shots-on-net while they both were on the ice -- there's some rotten shooting luck there.
The really troubling partner by my eye, though, is Steve Eminger -- that's when Scott's getting significantly outscored and outshot and out-attempted (Sbisa's ShotRatio is worse, but in very limited scoreless minutes, and mostly because of blocked shots). I caught a lot of flak in the preseason for picking on Eminger at camp the one day I went, but this table seems to validate my impressions somewhat -- he hasn't been close to as good as any other partner Scott has babysat.
Generally speaking, it seems that part of Scott's problem this year has been the sheer length of this list -- it's a lot of partners to go through in less than half a season. If Coach Carlyle can stabilize to a shorter list in the second half of the season (one that doesn't include Eminger), I'd probably expect better results. That's my first-blush takeaway summary, at least -- feel free to leave your thoughts or questions in the comments.
While I have all these table columns explained, I thought I'd also run a few scenarios around how Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have played this season, first looking at how they performed with various third linemates:
Ryan Getzlaf & Corey Perry's Even-Strength Shooting Results by Linemate
The key in this table isn't probably so much in the shot metrics -- recently-waived Kyle Calder seems to hold up OK there. But Getzlaf-Perry with Bobby Ryan or Joffrey Lupul have been outscoring opponents at even-strength by a 2-to-1 ratio. Getzlaf-Perry with Kyle Calder have been outscored by opponents by a 4-to-1 ratio. Like I said a few posts ago, Kyle Calder appears to be quite good at top-line neutralization; the further away he is from Getzlaf and Perry, probably the better.
Additionally, I wanted to take a quick look at one other option of timeonice.com, the ability to segment these results according to the scoreboard. Now I should clarify -- "Leading" and "Trailing" have very specific meanings according to Vic, and there's a reason why these three rows don't add up to the Getzlaf-Perry Total above:
Lead' refers to leading in the third period, or leading by more than one goal in the first or second period. 'Trail' is the photo negative of that.
So nowhere in this table below is any situation when the Ducks are up by a single goal or down by a single goal in the first two periods -- still, it's interesting to see how Getzlaf and Perry's performance alters based on these scoreboard situations:
Ryan Getzlaf & Corey Perry's Even-Strength Shooting Results by Score Situation
I think this sort of effect is pretty common -- teams are conservative when leading big early or leading late, but it's quite a stark contrast between the top and bottom row. Getzlaf and Perry when "leading" are a pretty awful line, when the score is tied they seem to tread water, and when "trailing" really kick it up a huge notch. Probably won't matter a whole lot today, as Getzlaf will probably be absent, but it is something to think about in the future -- I'd like to see a bit better results in tied situations especially, but I've been harping about that for most of this season.
* * *
There's definitely a lot of data presented somewhat haphazardly in today's post, and congrats if you're still with me at this point. Still, the real takeaway isn't so much about who's best with Scott Niedermayer or with Getzlaf-and-Perry; these metrics are helpful but by no means definitive -- there's still lots of considerations for each line combination's results. The takeaway, I hope, is that Vic Ferrari has put together an excellent resource to help us knucklehead-fans consolidate lots of disparate game data, and while the results can definitely be a handful, I'm grateful as fuck to the guy for doing it. If this resource helps you or interests you at all, feel free to stop by his blog and thank him as well. IOF still represents one of the inspirations behind me getting into hockey blogging, and it's good to see it is still way outpacing my meager stats-crunching ability.
Prediction: I may be stopping in to comment a bit on tonight's game, but right now all indications are that I'll be watching from a sports bar or even possibly I'll be at the game in some cheap seats. Ducks 3, Wild 2. Goals by Whitney, Brookbank, and Ryan.