Nathan MacKinnon and the Sophomore Slump

The fabled “sophomore slump” is one of those media-driven narratives I mentioned in this post. It’s a storyline people believe instinctively, based on small sample sized anecdotal evidence. “Nathan MacKinnon regressed in his second year,” people say, “so ALL second year players probably struggle.” The reasons cited for the slump are many: increased expectations, more […]

Analyzing all of the possible outcomes of an NHL playoff series

In a recent post, I outlined some of the information I found about best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoff series from 1942-2014, and which of the seven games have statistically been the most important. I suggested some alternative formats, which would actually allow teams with home ice advantage to host more games in a series than their […]

Statistically, which game is the most important in an NHL playoff series?

I was dead wrong. I had an idea for a study and went into it with a concrete, seemingly well reasoned hypothesis. It could not have been further from the truth. To summarize: my father always had spouted the idea that the even-numbered games in a playoff series were the most important, and through years […]

New salary cap site General Fanager lauded by hockey fans

Much to Gary Bettman’s chagrin, there’s a new CapGeek. Presenting General Fanager. absence was felt far and wide. Sure, there had been imitators; NHL Numbers had one. So did Hockey Buzz. But neither was as easy to use, easy to understand, or as deadly accurate as CapGeek. Wuest’s accuracy was praised even by NHL general […]

Unearned hype surrounds Ray Shero as new Devils GM

Lou Lamoriello’s move away from the position of New Jersey Devils General Manager was only a matter of time. We knew this was coming, we just didn’t know when. We finally got our answer. Presumably, the Devils and Lamoriello waited to make this move until a suitable replacement for Lamoriello was in place. While most of the hockey world […]

Are the NHL playoffs really a “different animal” from the regular season?

The sports world is full of narratives, and hockey is not immune to their pitfalls. Narratives are woven so deeply into the culture of the sport that fans, broadcasters, and general managers alike fall victim to narratives without realizing it. We hear so often about “grit” and its cousins “sandpaper” and “determination,” etc. and their […]

The average NHL playoff series is getting longer

The heartbeat of the playoffs is the beautiful creation called the 7-Game Series. We take it for granted, at times, but the genius of it is everlasting; it provides a rhythm, a consistency, to the madness of the postseason. Since the dawn of the Original 6 era in 1942, there have been 614 completed 7-Game Series […]

The 10 biggest surprises from the 2014-15 NHL regular season

The NHL’s regular season ended on Saturday, and while all eyes will now turn to the playoffs, it’s worth remembering some of the biggest surprises—both positive and negative—of the 82-game marathon. These are developments that would have sounded so absurd if you’d predicted them in October. Yet here we are, desperately trying to pick our […]

In appreciation of Jaromir Jagr

There comes a moment in every great athlete’s career when the inexorable forces of time and age win out, and all of a sudden, the world sees that he just doesn’t have it anymore. Amazingly, that time doesn’t appear to be anywhere on the horizon for Jaromir Jagr. So, as Jagr approaches the end of […]

Should the NHL try daytime weekday playoff games?

The NCAA Tournament is still going, but let’s be frank: the best part is done. The first two days of the Tournament, which take place on the third Thursday and Friday of March every year, feature 32 games in a 36-hour span from noon on Thursday to midnight on Friday. Many sports fans consider those […]

Joe Thornton tells Sharks GM Doug Wilson to “Shut his mouth”

There might be no more fascinating—in a “can’t look away from a train wreck” kind of way—team than the San Jose Sharks right now. After years of building a hockey team the right way, of dominating possession and making the playoffs consistently, the lack of advancing to the Cup Final has taken its toll. This […]

The best teams that failed to win the Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are nearly impossible to predict. And as we know, recent Presidents’ Trophy winners have struggled to win the more important team trophy; only two of the previous 10 Presidents’ Trophy winners have also won the Stanley Cup. Anything can happen in a best-of-seven series, including the lesser team prevailing. Even juggernaut regular season […]

Leafs show how to game the market by trading value players

By and large, NHL general managers seem to undervalue third and fourth liners in July. So many good ones go unsigned well into free agency. To wit, Daniel Winnik, whom both numbers people and non-numbers people agree is a good player, wasn’t signed until July 28th. And he just fetched second and fourth round draft […]

NHL rolls out advanced stats page to mixed reactions

The advanced stats trend achieved a milestone today: public acceptance of the movement by the NHL. It’s been a long, arduous struggle for the advanced stats community that dates back to the 2004-2005 NHL Lockout. As the Marek vs. Wyshysnki podcast has noted often, the Internet kept hockey alive during those difficult hockey-less days. The […]

Is bigger really better for NHL goaltenders?

My Dad used to wonder: “Why don’t teams just get a sumo wrestler to play goal? He’d clog up the whole net!” As an impressionable young hockey fan, I enthusiastically jumped aboard the bandwagon and clamored for my favorite team to do it. I must’ve missed the hint of sarcasm in his voice. I also hadn’t […]