Read of the week
Fancystats quietly leading NHL teams to dump the dump-and-chase strategy
(Sam Page, Sports Illustrated)
Sam Page, formerly at Predsblog, delves into the findings of Broad Street Hockey's Eric Tulsky (BSH_EricT on Twitter) and the attempts of multiple teams, in particular the Minnesota Wild, to use them in order to go from classic dump-and-chasers to good puck possession teams. Page outlines all the streaky ups and downs that come with such a radical shift in strategy and talks to coach Mike Yeo in detail. This is one of those pieces that highlights not just what statistical analysis does but why it's so important to continue with it over a long period of time.
The push for the use of advanced statistics has always been about sacrificing small, obvious gains for bigger, though sometimes imperceptible, advantages. The Wild, faced with a tailspin, forsook a familiar strategy and reaffirmed their faith in a scientific solution. After all, they know better than most how quickly things can change in the second half of the season. It may turn out that Minnesota is what it is — a team that started hot and regressed to the level of its talent. But the Wild believe their new system will make them better, and the numbers suggest it can.
At Flames Nation, Byron Bader notes that Sean Monahan is on his way to a 20-goal season, and asks how other 20-goal rookies have fared in the seasons following.
Jen LC at Second City Hockey takes an incredibly in-depth look at the puck possession of the Blackhawks' defensive pairings in the first half.
The Montreal Canadiens are in the middle of a disastrous freefall, and at Habs Eyes on the Prize, Andrew Berkshire compares their first half to that of last year's team.
Cam Charron takes a look at the Maple Leafs' performance against the East compared to the West at The Leafs Nation, complete with a individual game Corsi Close graph.
And the Minnesota Wild, clearly realizing how popular the column at Puck Daddy has become, did their very own Hockey Hugs this week: A Season in Hugs!
Next game is Tuesday night against the Blackhawks—get your goal lights ready...