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patience is a virtue

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patience is a virtue last won the day on July 17 2013

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Bantam (5/23)



  1. People play and watch hockey for different, and evolving, reasons. Sure, you can let your Neanderthal-side get riled up by the bloody stuff - I know I use to as a younger player. But it all just seems like so much unnecessary and gratuitous thuggery to me now. Especially in light of recent concussion research which has parents all over the country, like my wife and I, reconsidering organized hockey as a pastime for their kids. Just not worth long-term brain damage, sorry. Personally, I have come to believe that the game is better without fighting and related-violence. But, I use to believe otherwise, so I can sympathize with those who still do. Body contact is another story and can be done well with minimal violence and injury. Murray was once very good at that. The key issue here is that ALL the evidence (not just some) points to the fact that he has suffered a serious decline during the past few seasons in speed and effectiveness. He is no longer clearing the net or his own zone effectively enough to be a contributor at the NHL level. His team is getting hemmed in its own zone more and more when he is one the ice, which leads to shots and goals against, and losses. I think we can all agree that we want the Habs to win. Murray is going to hurt that effort if he plays. Therrien is a good enough coach to recognize this, so I am not worried about him seeing very much ice this year. If he can turn his career around after three years of decline, good on him. But it is doubtful.
  2. OK, I'll buck the trend here: Murray is a waste of cap space by MB. Worse yet, he might play 15 mins per night. That's the big difference between Parros and Murray? They can both add much needed toughness. But Parros can ride pine on the 4th line and play 5 mins and rack up a couple of 5 min penalties. The 3rd d-pairing is far more important than the 4th line. Murray is slow and getting slower, and his stats show that he is amongst the very worst veteran dmen in the NHL. I won't start citing the stats or cutting and pasting graphs, because the tone above seems to be hostile to such approaches. Yet the fact is those stats reveal that, increasingly over the past 3 seasons, when Murray is on the ice his team gets hemmed up in their own end, pounded with shots, and scored on more often then when he is not on. He happened to be on excellent +/- teams the past couple of years (Sharks, Pens) and was nonetheless a minus. His PK stats are also bad - he is not a good penalty killer. And his fenwick and corsi numbers are ugly. But like I said, forget stats. Just look at his speed and imagine Markov towards the end of last season (getting burn right, left and centre) and imagine slower, and without ANY of the amazing offensive upside Markov still brings. That's Murray. Sure, he can hit (if he can catch a guy) and he can fight. But you do not want a dman playing 15 or more minutes a night costing your team goals and games. That's what will happen if Murray plays for the Habs, and that is why Therrien will not play him very much, which is why Bergevin just wasted cap space.
  3. I see. BS stats and Chara, Lucic and Horton are heros? Hmmmm. BS. Bergeron, Krejci and Marchand are more important to the Bruins offense than Lucic and the guy they let walk. Chara I will agree with - he is an extraordinary hockey player in every regard. But that, nor some smoke and mirrors about how stats on the size of teams is somehow cooked books + ZERO counter argument or evidence presented, besides smurfs suck and that must be why the Habs lost, even tho an even smaller Habs squad went to the semi final a couple of years ago, because this year's playoff loss to Ottawa explains everything. No, sorry. The Habs lost this one series due to a combination of being out-goaltended and out puck-lucked. Some blame it on injuries, and that may bear some weight, but the fact is that despite the injuries the Habs outshot and outchanced and carried the play against the Sens when the score was close in almost every game. But one playoff series does not explain anything anyway. Year after year, season after season, series after series, puck possession trumps size and hitting. Skill and speed are simply more important than size and grit (no problem with those factors, just not the top priorities). See Blackhawks, Chicago. Read this again and go read the guy's methodology (he did control for time on the ice): "During those 12 playoff seasons [1999-2011], there have been 17 series where the average weight of the players on the ice for one team was 10 pounds or more than the average weight of the players on the ice for the other team. If anything, this is where we would really see the physical punishment of a larger team take its toll, right? If it does, the smaller teams don't seem to be bothered much by it. The bigger teams have gone just 4-13 in those 17 series." All the evidence you look at will confirm this. Except the visual spectacle of a big hit. Which has so very little to do with scoring goals and winning hockey games. But hey, I welcome a strong reaction. That's what happens when you question long held erroneous assumptions with evidence.
  4. And lastly, for today's anti-MOAR BIG crusade. Here are links to two articles which make it as clear as day that not only is size NOT the key to success in the NHL, but that on average, smaller teams might do better (because they are faster and more skilled), especially in the playoffs: 1) From "Does size matter in the NHL?", http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7986703/fast-small-vs-slow-big-ice, written at the beginning of the Kings-Devils SC final series in 2012: "During those 12 playoff seasons [1999-2011], there have been 17 series where the average weight of the players on the ice for one team was 10 pounds or more than the average weight of the players on the ice for the other team. If anything, this is where we would really see the physical punishment of a larger team take its toll, right? If it does, the smaller teams don't seem to be bothered much by it. The bigger teams have gone just 4-13 in those 17 series. Maybe the guy who always chose four of the small, fast players in Ice Hockey was right after all. Of course, this doesn't mean that the Kings are cursed for being too big and about to lose to the Devils. What recent history suggests, instead, is that the Kings didn't make it to the Stanley Cup finals because they were any particular size at all; they've made it because they were a great hockey team. In the NHL playoffs, bigger has had absolutely nothing to do with better." MY NOTE: the Kings were the top puck possession team in the NHL in 2011-2012 2) James Mirtle's blog post with 2013 average team heights and weights, http://mirtle.blogspot.ca/2013/01/2013-nhl-teams-by-weight-height-and-age.html You'll note that Chicago, Boston, and Detroit are amongst the smallest teams in the NHL. And Chicago was the, yep, the top puck possession team in the NHL last season.
  5. The rest of your post is really about having tall guys who can stand in front of the net and screen the goalie. I'll give you the fact that Bickell had a productive playoff. I would like to know how many Chicago goals he was standing in front of the goalie screening him. My guess is not many. Penner has pretty much sucked since 2010. Malkin and Byfuglien do not spend a lot of time screening goalies. Maybe Lucic does. So, I will watch all the Boston and Chicago goals from last season and playoffs on video and report back on how many times (as a %) these two guys where screening the goalie. My guess is maybe a small handful. Like five or so each all year. If I am going to do that research anyway, are there any other things about MOAR BIGGER and goal scoring you'd like me to take note of? Seriously - might as well. My hypothesis is that your argument about this key role of screening the goalie that 6-3+ players play is next to inconsequential and not something to take into strong account when building a winning team.
  6. And you might be wrong. Parros and Prust are fourth liners. Prust is a top end fourth liner who provides leadership and can play on the third or even second line if more skilled players are injured, like last season. Parros? I hope he plays less than 5 mins per game, and less than 40 games.
  7. The reason for the contrast between home and away hits that you found for Chicago and Boston has less to do with goals scored and what happened during the games in question and more to do with who was counting the hits - the home or the visiting team's hit counter. This chart, from this article, http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=5617 summarizes home and road hits for and against (HF, HA and RF, RA) by NHL teams from the 2011-2012: EVERY home team out hit EVERY road team. Ummm, nope As the author understates: "It strikes me as a bit suspicious that no NHL team was credited with hitting more on the road than they were home. It seems awfully likely to me that there’s an issue with scorer bias here – home teams are probably more likely to be credited with a hit than road teams." Furthermore, some rinks are more bias than others - check out the full article. It's very interesting.
  8. Thank you also for reading my post. Any my apologies if I sounded a bit rabid in it - I was a little riled up after reading a couple of threads full of MOAR BIG. You make some calm and reasoned replies, which I will address. First off, about hits, as that is the easiest, and I promised to provide the references to the proof that teams that hit less win more and teams that hit more, win less: The study in question, by Brian MacDonald, who is a pro sports researcher, looked in detail at hits vs. goal scoring. The pdf of the academic article (which some may find alienating) is linked to in this more digestible artcle at CBS Sports: Study: teams that get outhit by opponents score more goals The title really says it all. Here is a quote which summarizes the findings: "When a team is in a position to pile up a large number of hits in a game, or over the course of a season, that probably means they're on the defense and not controlling the puck, which isn't an ideal way to go about winning a hockey game, a point that MacDonald made in his study. There is also the possibility that a player can take himself out of position, even for a split second, going for a big hit, which can then lead to a scoring chance (or goal) for their opponent." And the author says: "We remark that these results do not necessarily indicate that hits are bad, or that players should stop finishing their checks. But it does provide some evidence that hits, hits against, and puck possession are related, and that poorly timed hits can impact goal scoring." Here is a quote from another article http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/blog/eye-on-hockey/21833145/physical-play-and-hits-why-hits-is-the-worst-statistic-in-hockey which says it better: "It's not that hitting your opponent and physical play is bad. Hitting somebody in hockey can be an effective means of separating your opponent from the puck and forcing a turnover (how often that actually happens is up for debate). It can lead to winning a puck battle along the walls and gaining possession. I suppose it could even help set some sort of tone if it's a big enough play at the exact right moment. The point here isn't that any of that is bad. It's all a neccessity. What is bad is if you're constantly in a positition where you have to keep piling up a lot of those hits. (And the same thing is true with blocked shots.) Teams that score high on the hit chart (and blocked shot chart) are usually the teams that get referred to as tough, and gritty, and even (incorrectly, as it turns out) strong defensive teams. The reality is they're probably bad teams that are a losing a lot because they're never playing with the puck."
  9. you are probably right about this. i am just afraid of wasting Markov's last years of elite offensive excellence. he is so underestimated it's crazy. good thing is, Subban is also an offensive force and hopefully Beaulieu will be as well.
  10. Sorry, but quoting the goal results from one playoff series where the Habs outshot and outplayed Ottawa in almost every game (Anderson vs. Price + injuries being the big difference in that series) and then making the leap to say that the REAL problem is that the Habs need to get MOAR BIGGER, just doesn't cut it. First off, they placed fourth in the league last year and were one of the top 6 goal scoring, shots on goal, and puck possession teams. Those are the factors that predict playoff success, year after year, not SIZE, which has very little to do with it. Being one of the biggest teams in the league is in no way related to playoff success. See Blackhawks, Chicago - one of the smallest teams and two SCs in four years. Boston is also one the smaller teams (look at the stats for team height and weight), and no Chara and Lucic to not make up for it with their overwhelming physical presence. What both those teams have, and what the Habs have as well, is talented players who can score goals and stop goals, plus good coaching. That wins cups. Not size, or grit, or toughness. Prust is a great fourth liner who can play a small part, but Prusts do not win cups. Lastly, and I will get the references for this together and post them, hitting has been shown to be inversely related to winning in the NHL - regular season and playoffs. That's right, the teams who hit more, lose more. There is a simple explanation for this, which is that when you are behind, you start hitting more. All this to say, that although size is one factor that cannot be totally ignored when building a successful team, see McCarron, Michael and Tinordi, Jared, it is far less important than speed, skill, shooting, goaltending, and other key variables that Stanley Cup winners have in spades. Thanks to the excellence of PK Subban, Markov, Pleks, Patches, Gio, Bourque, and now Eller, the Gallys and Briere, these are now assets the Habs do have in spades. Now, if only Carey Price can be the franchise goalie we all hope he is, the deep runs are on the way. PS. Rewatch all the video of all the goals scored by any NHL team last year and observe how few are scored by big guys standing in front of the goalie screening him. Very few. Tips ins are more important, and that is a separate skill unrelated to size or toughness or grit. In fact, soft Michael Ryder is very good at it.
  11. Patches-Pleks-Gally (enough is enough, get Patches on the top line with the most minutes possible, he's an elite goal scorer and a possession beast entering his prime) Galch-Eller-Gio Bourque-DD-Briere Prust-Halpern(ok, ok, White)-Moen/Parros That's some great offensive depth in the top nine. Not a guy there who can't score 20 this season (not that they all will), and Patches and maybe one of the Gallys will be shooting for 30. The third line is pure offensive exploitation with a high percentage of offensive zone starts and soft minutes against other team's bottom six. Good thing about Briere is that he can play those soft exploitation minutes all year and be fresh for the playoffs, but he can also replace a C or RW in the top six, if needs be (and if he is healthy himself . Bourque is also an able top six winger, but he will compliment DD and Briere well by crashing the net. My point is, I think MB is done at forward, and I like. Forget Clifford. Is he a potential 20 goal scorer? http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=7370 No, he is slow with little offensive upside. Give Leblanc, Thomas and Bournival their opportunities when injuries hit. Dumont is your 4th line call up. Defense is another story, for the reasons CC and Trizzak outlined above, I don't think it's good enough to wait around for Emelin to heal and Tinordi and Beaulieu to mature into top four dmen. I have said before that my main reason is that I think the Habs are ready for Cup runs now. And a healthy Andrei Markov is a big part of that - people talk about him being over the hill, but he was #4 in dman points last year after 2 years out of commission. There's a couple or few years of gas in that offensive tank yet folks. It would be worth losing a top defensive prospect like Beaulieu, plus some salary (e.g. Moen or Bouillon), and a 1st round pick to bring in an established, young (25-ish), big, tough dman for keeps.
  12. Agreed, this is a playoff move as per the quote from Bergevin. More importantly, for me, Ryder scored at a 17% shooting percentage last season for the Habs. This is simply not sustainable. His career average is comparatively high at 12.79% (about 10% is normal for NHL scorers) but his average has been pulled up by his last two seasons (17% 2012-13, 16.59% in Dallas in 2011-12). Maybe Ryder has found the secret to beating NHL goalies in his 30s, but I think it more likely that he has had some puck luck the past couple years and the safe money is on his productivity declining/regressing to the norm this coming season. Briere is the exact opposite story – 6.9 SH% last season was well below his career average shooting percentage of 14.39%. Unlikely he returns to that level in MTL, but we do have some great set up men (Pleks, DD, Eller, Markov, Galchenyuk) to work with and I expect Briere to score at least 20 this year (if healthy), and hopefully more in the playoffs.
  13. Oh my. Four Habs Fans use to make me laugh so hard. Their break up was tragic. Just looked at four hockey fans and it seems to have degenerated into almost pure smut minus most of the non-stop cutting wit.
  14. rotfl. I love this. Yep, Berkshire can be a bit reactionary and come across as arrogant, but he's grown on me over time. He works hard on EotP and keeps on expanding the site and recruiting quality writers. That website is way more than him, and way more than advanced stats. That being said, some folks there can get a little high and mighty about puck possession (i.e. corsi... fenwick... i'm right). And that being said, possession stats do seem to work (better than any other stat) as a tool for analyzing and predicting success. Another good site is Lions in Winter http://www.lionsinwinter.blogspot.ca/. Simple format, excellent writing by Topham.
  15. That's pure silly. Best website by far for stats based analysis of the Habs; offers informative and valuable perspectives. Love this site for the links especially, and the, usually, quality discussion. The above comment notwithstanding
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