Black Box: Week 24

Robert Vollman
March 19 2012 08:13AM

 

 

“Hanging around, hanging around. Kid's got alligator blood. Can't get rid of him.” - Teddy KGB.

Going into Sunday nights games Calgary is still hanging on to post-season hopes, with the general consensus being about a 1-in-3 chance. Chicago can probably book their tickets, but no team is yet to drop out of the race for the other three.


Team         1   2   3
Chicago     98% 95% 94%
Dallas      64% 73% 68%
San Jose    71% 64% 66%
Los Angeles 58% 51% 57%
Phoenix     47% 44% 46%
Colorado    29% 42% 37%
Calgary     33% 32% 33%

OZQoC Charts (explanation)

Having seen the AHL players for a few weeks now, we can see how they were used. Brent Sutter, who generally doesn't like to tilt the ice in anyone's favour, really helped out Krys Kolanos and Guillaume Desbiens, giving them starts in the offensive zone 60% of the time, far more than even Paul Byron. He didn't do the same for Greg Nemisz, Lance Bouma, and especially Sven Baertschi – who started in the offensive zone less than 30% of the time – and I think that says a lot.

Competition wise all the AHL-level players were generally carefully used against opposing depth lines.  Matt Stajan consequently has finally started seeing some more NHL-level competition.

Even-Strength Scoring (explanation)

The fundamental problem with the Calgary Flames? Their top-six forwards are dominated possession-wise. It's a good thing they've had near-elite goaltending this year, otherwise a team whose stars who allow their opponents to control the play 55% of the time wouldn't be in the play-off picture this late in the season.


Top-Six Forward ESP/60 CEF CEA  CE% SCF SCA SC%   GF   GA    G%
David Moss        1.8   57  50 53.2% 12 15 44.8% 2.21 1.98  52.7%
Mikael Backlund   0.9   53  50 51.6% 16 14 51.7% 1.57 2.92  35.0%
Mike Cammalleri   1.7   48  55 46.8% 17 22 43.9% 2.37 2.81  45.8%
Curtis Glencross  2.3   48  58 45.3% 14 18 44.1% 2.87 3.10  48.1%
Alex Tanguay      2.2   47  58 44.7% 18 17 51.1% 3.01 2.39  55.7%
Olli Jokinen      2.0   47  59 44.5% 15 19 44.8% 3.12 2.95  51.4%
Jarome Iginla     2.2   47  60 43.8% 16 19 46.2% 2.76 2.87  49.0%

This week we've moved Roman Horak and Matt Stajan up to the middle tier of forwards. Due to injuries, both of these players have played up on higher lines at one stage or another, and are certainly scoring slightly above the 4th-line level, unlike Blake Comeau, Blair Jones and Lance Bouma.


3rd Line Forward ESP/60 CEF CEA  CE% SCF SCA SC%   GF   GA    G%
Lee Stempniak     1.9   54  51 51.3% 16 15 51.7% 2.61 2.70  49.2%
Blake Comeau      0.8   49  52 48.7% 13 15 45.4% 1.14 2.13  34.9%
Matt Stajan       1.3   49  52 48.6% 13 14 47.8% 1.73 2.59  40.0%
Blair Jones       0.9   45  52 46.4% 19 19 50.6% 1.06 1.60  39.8%
Roman Horak       1.2   41  51 44.7% 12 11 51.4% 1.89 1.47  56.3%
Lance Bouma       0.8   43  54 44.0% 13 12 51.6% 0.80 2.13  27.3%

It's hard enough to win people over with this type of objective statistical analysis, but when our data shows that the beloved Sven Baertschi was dominated, we might lose what few we had. In fairness, he started in his own zone so it's quite normal for Calgary to get badly outshot and outchanced with him on the ice. 

The good news is probably Krys Kolanos, who has quietly been playing very well, even if the scoring hasn't been forthcoming – although again that's probably due to favourable playing conditions. Then again, Guillaume Desbiens has enjoyed similar playing conditions and the team hasn't done nearly as well with him. The big caveat here are the awfully small sample sizes.


Depth Forward  ESP/60 CEF CEA  CE% SCF SCA SC%   GF   GA    G%
Krys Kolanos     0.5   54  49 52.5% 11 10 53.7% 1.04 1.57  39.8%
Tim Jackman      0.7   50  48 50.6% 11 12 48.9% 0.81 2.64  23.5%
Greg Nemisz      0.0   43  42 50.5% 11 12 48.0% 2.71 0.90  75.1%
Tom Kostopoulos  0.7   49  53 47.9% 12 13 47.4% 1.56 2.65  37.1%
G. Desbiens      0.0   35  42 45.1%  7  8 46.7% 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%
Paul Byron       1.1   35  51 41.1% 11 11 51.3% 1.63 0.54  75.1%
Sven Baertshi    3.5   31  48 38.8% 12 15 43.5% 3.52 1.17  75.1%
Raitis Ivanans   0.0   27  65 29.4%  5 27 16.7% 0.00 5.41   0.0%

It's anti-climatic to write about the defensemen after such a provocative look at the newer Flames, but Mark Giordano deserves mention for his improved play these past couple of weeks, and he certainly deserves the bounces he's been getting.  Unfortunately, as we mentioned with the forwards, Calgary's top lines are getting outplayed and they could use another solid top-four player on the blue line.


Top-4 Defense  ESP/60 CEF CEA  CE% SCF SCA SC%   GF   GA    G%
Chris Butler     0.6   49  57 46.3% 16 18 47.7% 2.42 2.42  50.0%
Jay Bouwmeester  0.6   47  56 45.5% 15 17 45.9% 2.02 2.54  44.3%
Mark Giordano    0.9   47  57 45.3% 14 16 46.0% 2.62 2.41  52.1%
Scott Hannan     0.5   43  56 43.2% 13 18 42.4% 2.50 2.81  47.1%

Here's a sentence I never thought I'd put together: Anton Babchuk had a good week. Granted he just played sheltered third-line minutes as usual, but Calgary actually got the better of it. Of course, it would take several weeks like that to bring his season numbers up to respectability, not just one.


Depth 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      0.6   50  47 51.5% 15 13 53.3% 2.40 2.02  54.3%
Cory Sarich      0.5   48  48 49.7% 13 12 51.6% 1.78 1.86  48.9%
Derek Smith      0.7   49  53 47.9% 14 13 52.3% 1.91 2.20  46.5%
Joe Piskula      0.0   50  59 45.9% 19 14 56.7% 0.00 5.54   0.0%
Anton Babchuk    0.7   42  56 42.8%  9 15 37.1% 1.61 1.84  46.7%
Clay Wilson      0.0   29  48 37.5%  5 12 28.6% 0.00 0.00   0.0%

Special teams (explanation)

Calgary's power play remains league average, where it's been almost all season despite their relatively low shot count.


Primary Forwards    TOI/GP PTS/60 CE/60
Mike Cammalleri      2.9     2.8   94.1
Olli Jokinen         3.0     5.8   80.6
Jarome Iginla        3.2     4.2   79.8
Alex Tanguay         3.1     4.8   77.9

Curtis Glencross having a great season thanks to high shooting percentages by him and all those around him, especially with the man advantage.


Secondary Forwards  TOI/GP PTS/60 CE/60
Mikael Backlund      1.1     3.9   85.0
David Moss           1.2     0.0   84.3
Lee Stempniak        1.7     2.0   78.6
Krys Kolanos         1.0     0.0   68.4
Curtis Glencross     1.9     6.1   66.2

Despite being in the line-up Anton Babchuk was surprisingly used infrequently with the man advantage, and didn't play particularly well in what few opportunities he had.


Defensemen          TOI/GP PTS/60 CE/60
Clay Wilson          2.5     0.0  130.7
Anton Babchuk        1.6     3.4   98.1
Jay Bouwmeester      2.2     3.4   80.5
Chris Butler         0.7     2.9   79.7
Mark Giordano        3.1     3.0   75.6
T.J. Brodie          1.7     3.9   68.0
Derek Smith          1.1     5.2   66.3

Penalty killing

We've moved Alex Tanguay up to our list of primary penalty killers, moving Mikael Backlund down to the secondary options.  Tanguay's gotten a lot more opportunities with all the recent injuries.


Primary Forwards TOI/GP CE/60
Lee Stempniak     1.7    76.2
Blake Comeau      1.3    80.2
Curtis Glencross  2.2    83.9
Alex Tanguay      1.2    84.8
Tom Kostopoulos   1.5    88.3
David Moss        1.5   112.4

Matt Stajan, who was quite effective as a penalty killer earlier in his career, is starting to get more of a look, but hasn't had a strong season.


Depth Forwards   TOI/GP CE/60
Mike Cammalleri   0.7    68.9
Blair Jones       0.6    80.6
Mikael Backlund   1.0    90.5
Olli Jokinen      0.4    95.0
Matt Stajan       1.0   116.6
Lance Bouma       0.4   121.9

Cory Sarich has been added to the penalty-killing rotation in Chris Butler's absence despite Brent Sutter's tremendous reluctance to use anyone but the top four earlier in the season when Mark Giordano was out.


Defensemen       TOI/GP CE/60
Mark Giordano     2.1    84.6
Scott Hannan      2.7    84.6
Chris Butler      2.2    92.2
Jay Bouwmeester   3.2    92.4
Cory Sarich       0.9    97.3

Goaltending (explanation)

Miikka Kiprusoff was two for three in Quality Starts this week, maintaining his strong 60%+ rate - without which the Flames playoff aspirations would be but a distant memory. Leland Irving had a tough outing against a basement dweller, suffering from a long-standing local curse where the team just doesn't seem to play well in front of anyone but Kipper.


Goalie           GS QS   QS%  ESSV%
Miikka Kiprusoff 60 37  61.7%  .929
Leland Irving     7  5  71.4%  .911
Henrik Karlsson   5  1  20.0%  .906

The Columbus game will be the in books by the time this is published, which may be a tough one given how they've struggled against non-playoff teams so far in 2012. Otherwise it's a road trip through Colorado, Minnesota and Dallas, two of which qualify as 4-point games.

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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 kenta
March 19 2012, 08:38AM
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Yawn.

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#2 smtorsch
March 19 2012, 08:50AM
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"He didn't do the same for Greg Nemisz, Lance Bouma, and especially Sven Baertschi – who started in the offensive zone less than 30% of the time – and I think that says a lot."

What does it say? That Sutter trusts those guys in their own zone or that he's stupid? Is it a conscious decision on his part to favour no line over any other in terms of ZS?

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#5 Kevin R
March 19 2012, 11:15AM
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Robert Vollman wrote:

Calgary's post-season probability dropped to 24%-26% with that loss. It was around 50% before these two tough losses to non-playoff teams.

Not sure how our chances are even that high. After attending that piece of garbage game last night (I was the one chanting Bar Chee Bar Chee) lets look at simple math NHL style: Look at our March record, its actually pretty good until last weekend & we are still in 11th place. That means the teams we are chasing are winning games as well. So, I still stand here and will say it will take 96 points to guarantee your ticket to the playoffs. Forget who we play, it doesnt matter, we need 15 out of the remaining 18 available points to leap frog over all these teams we are battling it out with. Anyone else think we have a 24-26% chance of doing that? It's one thing to say we can still do it, we can afford to give up the 3 points. But we lost those 3 points to teams that are winning less than 50% of their games & we expect to win all the games against teams that are winning over 50% of their games.

I guess after witnessing that 3rd period in Edmonton & that 1st period here in Calgary & see the piss poor no urgency, no desire, no desperation from this team that needs every ounce of the above, is eating at me to the point I dont want to watch anymore of these hockey games or I'll punch holes in the walls at home. I just dont get it.

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