Black Box: Week 12

Robert Vollman
December 26 2011 09:34AM

 

 

 

Christmas came right on time for the Calgary Flames, picking up 6 points in 4 games to pull into 10th place in the Western Conference, just two points back of Nashville Predators in 8th, who are 1 point back of the Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks.

This seasonal treat was thanks to the Flames winning the games they needed to at home, including a tough one against Detroit, and stealing one of their two road games against the Vancouver Canucks. Unfortunately happy fun time might be over thanks to six straight games on the road, where they are currently the worst team in the league, especially when none of them are in Colorado or Edmonton. 

And yes, we just described 10th place as “happy fun time.”

In the true spirit of Christmas, let’s rip open this week’s black box like it was a GI Joe (with kung fu grip).

OZQoC Charts
(explanation)

The OZQoC chart goes first because most of the other statistics are practically a consequence of the usage described within.



In Mark Giordano’s absence notice how Scott Hannan is starting in the defensive zone more and more often, and how Derek Smith is gradually playing against tougher competition.

Greg Nemisz and Pierre Leblond are not shown, as their OZQoC positions fall well off the bottom left-hand side of the graph, getting ice-time that Sutter would probably even be comfortable giving to the Scotiabank kid.

Even-Strength Scoring
(explanation)

Given that the even-strength data below is generally just a reverse-ordering of who has the toughest situational data covered in the OZQoC chart above, sometimes the most interesting thing to do is see who is having particularly good luck or bad luck and might be in for an imminent reversal of fortune. 

A good example of that is how Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross have had much improved goal percentages without any improvement in their possession numbers (Corsi Events).  As Kent Wilson covered in another article, their good results lately have been more a result of their luck taking a more favourable turn, and not necessarily due to improved play.


Forward        ESP/60 CEF CEA  CE% SCF SCA SC%   GF   GA    G%
Tim Jackman      1.1   54  45 54.4% 13 13 50.7% 1.33 3.04  30.4%
Matt Stajan      1.1   56  47 54.2% 14 13 52.1% 1.77 2.88  38.1%
Mikael Backlund  0.4   57  49 53.4% 17 16 52.7% 1.33 2.88  31.6%
David Moss       1.9   55  49 53.0% 11 14 43.3% 1.85 1.48  55.6%
Tom Kostopoulos  1.1   51  47 52.5% 13 11 53.3% 1.97 2.69  42.3%
Lee Stempniak    1.6   55  50 52.2% 16 15 51.3% 2.24 2.50  47.3%
Blake Comeau     0.8   54  52 50.5% 14 14 51.1% 0.90 2.70  25.0%
Brendan Morrison 1.5   49  53 48.3% 17 16 52.3% 2.47 1.48  62.5%
Alex Tanguay     1.8   50  54 48.0% 19 15 55.8% 2.48 2.62  48.6%
Jarome Iginla    2.1   53  59 47.4% 19 16 53.8% 2.69 2.58  51.0%
Olli Jokinen     2.4   51  59 46.5% 16 16 50.6% 3.37 2.76  55.0%
Curtis Glencross 2.3   50  58 46.2% 15 16 49.6% 2.97 2.97  50.0%
Rene Bourque     1.4   43  53 45.0% 12 16 43.2% 2.56 2.41  51.5%
Greg Nemisz      0.0   34  43 44.5%  4  9 33.3% 0.00 0.00   0.0%
P-L. Leblond     0.0   46  58 43.9%  8 12 40.0% 4.16 0.00 100.0%
Roman Horak      1.6   40  55 42.4% 14 13 51.0% 2.35 1.63  59.0%
Paul Byron       1.4   29  50 37.0% 12 10 54.5% 2.71 0.00 100.0%


That fourth line of Tim Jackman, Matt Stajan and Tom Kostopoulous have been playing well and beating their opponents in terms of possession and territorial advantage, but getting killed on the scoreboard.  That’s likely to change!  Same for Mikael Backlund and Blake "The Spanish Howe" Comeau.

On the flip side, Brendan Morrison has been riding a wave of fortune, as has Rene Bourque and especially Roman Horak and Paul Byron, and they’re at risk of getting brought back down to Earth on this next road trip, potentially to the same degree as the aforementioned top line.

On defense it was a good week for the third line of T.J. Brodie and Cory Sarich, and we can hopefully expect that to be reflected in the scoreboard soon, but Derek Smith and Scott Hannan are having some slight struggles in Mark Giordano’s absence. Chris Butler and Jay Bouwmeester are the ones whose numbers will probably suffer the most during these tough next couple of weeks.


Defense        ESP/60 CEF CEA  CE% SCF SCA SC%   GF   GA    G%
Brett Carson     0.0   70  41 63.4% 19 11 63.6% 0.00 5.41   0.0%
T.J. Brodie      0.8   51  43 53.9% 17 13 57.4% 2.40 2.60  48.0%
Derek Smith      0.8   51  50 50.6% 15 13 52.8% 2.08 1.95  51.6%
Cory Sarich      0.2   49  48 50.5% 13  9 58.9% 1.65 2.13  43.7%
Chris Butler     0.6   52  52 49.7% 17 16 51.8% 2.70 2.12  56.0%
Jay Bouwmeester  0.7   52  54 49.1% 16 16 50.6% 2.58 2.05  55.7%
Joe Piskula      0.0   50  59 45.9% 19 14 56.7% 0.00 5.54   0.0%
Mark Giordano    0.7   48  58 45.7% 14 15 48.3% 2.29 2.29  50.0%
Scott Hannan     0.5   46  56 45.1% 14 16 46.0% 2.46 2.65  48.1%
Anton Babchuk    1.4   46  64 41.8% 10 17 36.8% 2.07 2.07  50.0%


Special teams
(explanation)
Though without a lot of power plays this week the Flames scored a few and moved up within spitting distance of league average, but don’t be fooled. Despite last week’s encouraging step in the right direction Calgary’s Corsi Event rate went back to its usual downward pattern. It’s unlikely Calgary will continue to score a roughly an average pace if they aren’t getting any shots on net with the man advantage.

  

Player              TOI/GP PTS/60 CE/60
Anton Babchuk        2.2     3.4   94.7
David Moss           1.3     0.0   88.7
Roman Horak          0.7     0.0   88.6
Jay Bouwmeester      2.5     2.0   80.6
Jarome Iginla        3.4     3.9   78.7
Olli Jokinen         3.2     5.3   78.7
Rene Bourque         3.0     3.1   76.9
Mikael Backlund      1.2     4.6   75.9
Lee Stempniak        1.9     2.6   73.9
Alex Tanguay         3.4     4.8   73.4
Mark Giordano        3.5     3.0   70.0
T.J. Brodie          1.8     3.0   69.5
Tim Jackman          0.5     0.0   68.7
Curtis Glencross     1.9     5.6   67.4
Chris Butler         0.6     5.3   66.3
Derek Smith          1.4     4.2   65.0
Blake Comeau         0.9     0.0   61.9
Brendan Morrison     1.3     4.7   56.1

 

On the flip side it was another solid week for Calgary’s penalty kill, which is rapidly approaching what we’d call reasonable.  Even in the absence of Mark Giordano practically everyone is heading in the right direction thanks to the addition of Blake Comeau and the usage of veterans Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen for the past month.

 


Player           TOI/GP CE/60
Jay Bouwmeester   3.7    87.5
Scott Hannan      2.8    79.4
Chris Butler      2.4    90.1
Curtis Glencross  2.3    85.9
Mark Giordano     2.2    92.6
Lee Stempniak     1.8    76.4
Rene Bourque      1.6    84.8
David Moss        1.5   143.1
Tom Kostopoulos   1.4    86.8
Blake Comeau      1.0    72.9
Alex Tanguay      0.9    70.3
Mikael Backlund   0.8    82.0
Olli Jokinen      0.6    67.8
Matt Stajan       0.6   139.5
Derek Smith       0.4    50.3
Cory Sarich       0.5   159.5
Brendan Morrison  0.4    93.7
Roman Horak       0.3   111.9
Brett Carson      0.3   109.1

Goaltending (explanation)

Could Leland Irving finally be the back-up goalie for whom the Flames have waited so very long?

In his recently published annual NHL Review, Alan Ryder blamed Miikka Kiprusoff and the lack of a decent back-up last year as the only material difference between the Calgary Flames and the Tampa Bay Lightning, and indeed the only difference between the Flames and a post-season position. Even those who disagree with the extent of Ryder’s statement can still agree that Calgary hasn’t had a decent back-up goalie since before the lock-out, giving Kiprusoff far more starts than he actually earns with his play.

Leland Irving had another Quality Start this week, setting aside 29 of 30 on the road against the Vancouver Canucks and Miikka Kiprusoff was 2 for 3.

 


Goalie           GS QS   QS%  ESSV%
Leland Irving     2  2 100.0%  .951
Miikka Kiprusoff 29 17  58.6%  .925
Henrik Karlsson   5  1  20.0%  .904

That’s how things look under the hood at the end of twelve weeks.  My nickname in Nashville is buzzkill for a reason, because sometimes a look at the underlying numbers can take some of the fun out of a hot stretch. On the bright side think of how you can really let me have it over the next couple of weeks if the Flames keep rolling.
 

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Rob Vollman of www.HockeyAbstract.com is a regular feature writer on ESPN Insider, co-author of Hockey Prospectus 2010-11 and 2011-12, and regular contributor to NHL Numbers, Flames Nation and Arctic Ice Hockey. Innovator of Player Usage Charts, Quality Starts, GVS (Goals Versus Salary), the Snepsts Projection System, and known for work in League Equivalencies (NHLE). Twitter: @robvollmanNHL
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#1 ChinookArch
December 26 2011, 05:41PM
Trash it!
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props

Its interesting that the Flames special teams are now entering into "average territory". Last season, i thought the late season surge was the result of a much improved PP. They are not getting enough shots, but they are now getting the puck in the ozone and at times keeping it there. Hopefully this road trip is a lot better than the last one.

Buzzkill in Nashville . . . Well it could be worse, what's the antidote to Viagra?

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