NHL Playoffs: 2015 Wild Card Race

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As the 2014-15 season winds down many teams have all but clinched their playoff berth, but like most years the last few playoff spots are far from determined, with several close teams on the outside looking in. How good of a chance does your team have of making the playoffs?

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Stats: PDO

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Over the past few weeks I’ve taken a look at some of the advanced statistics (Corsi, Fenwick) that have been getting a lot of attention lately and an example of what they can be used for. Another statistic that has been gaining momentum recently is PDO, and like Corsi and Fenwick, this ‘advanced’ statistic is relatively simple to calculate.

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Stats: What is the Fenwick Rating?

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A few weeks ago I took a look at the Corsi rating and Corsi %, specifically if a team’s Corsi % ranking could predict how well they would do in the playoffs. It seems the highest ranked Corsi teams have a better chance of making it further into the playoffs and winning the Stanley Cup. There is room for improvement though, and with that in mind a modification called the Fenwick rating was created. Named after Matt Fenwick of The Battle of Alberta hockey blog, this alternative rating removes blocked shots from the calculation of the Corsi rating, leaving just shots on goal and shots that missed the net. The main idea behind the modification was that blocked shots generally come from lesser scoring chances and are therefore not as relevant to how well a team is playing. There are people who prefer one statistic to the other for different reasons, but is one any better than the other?

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Stats: What is the Corsi Rating?

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Over the past few years, different statistics in hockey have been given increased focus as teams try to gain any insight and advantage they can. Several of these statistics you may have heard of before – names like Corsi and Fenwick, are being heard more and more frequently in the hockey community. The rise of several websites that track these statistics makes it easier for fans to access this information, but just how useful are these new metrics, can we use them to make any predictions?

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NHL Rookie Review 2013-14

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Now that we’re over a quarter of the way through the season, predictions as to where teams will finish in the standings, how individual player statistics will finish, and the distribution of player awards handed out next summer begin appearing more and more frequently.

Crosby took home the Ted Lindsay, Hart, and Art Ross trophies at the 2014 NHL awards. (JOHN LOCHER / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Of those awarded each year, the The Calder Trophy is one of the most exciting. The Calder Trophy is awarded each year to the “Rookie of the Year”. This year’s early Calder favourite is Nashville’s Filip Forsberg. His 23 points (10 G, 13 A) in 22 games played are 7 better than next-best Johnny Gaudreau (3 G, 12 A; 23 GP), and he leads all rookies in both goals and assists. NHL.com currently ranks Forsberg ahead of Gaudreau and Aaron Ekblad for this year’s Calder trophy.

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Predicting the NHL’s Top Goal Scorers for 2014-2015

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Goals are the currency of the NHL, and in 1998-99 the league introduced the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy to recognize their importance. Awarded to the player who scores the most goals in the regular season, 12 different players have captured the title in the 15 seasons since it was created (2004 and 2010 saw multiple players tie for most goals). Alexander Ovechkin leads all player with 4 titles including winning each of the past 2 years (scoring 51 goals last year and 32 in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign). 

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California Road Trips

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Photo via Waymarking.com (http://www.waymarking.com/gallery/image.aspx?f=1&guid=fd40c405-aeb4-48c2-b641-b0677c5c3b5c)

Beginning last season as a result of the 2012 NHL Lockout, the league replaced it’s 6 divisions with 4 and introduced, among other things, a new regular season schedule format that has each team play every other team at least once both at home and away. This is good for parity and gives fans of teams in other markets a chance to see their favourite team play. It can also lead to some unfortunate circumstances.

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LA Kings: The Numbers behind their Playoffs

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Over the past 3 years, the Los Angeles Kings have totalled an impressive record of 10-1 in playoff series, leading them to their first 2 Stanley Cup Championships. They return this year with the goal of being the first team to win back-to-back championships since Detroit (‘96-‘97/’97-‘98).

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San Jose Sharks: The Sharks’ Hunt for a Captain and Playoff Success

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Getty Images (http://www.nhl.com/ice/gallerylanding.htm?id=45534&location=/photos&pg=5) - Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images.

With a 5-1 game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Kings last spring, the San Jose Sharks became just the fourth team in NHL history to lose a playoff series after having a 3-0 lead.

Their first round exit was just one of many disappointing post-seasons for the Sharks, a team that has never advanced past the Conference Finals despite having made the playoffs in 10 consecutive years and 17 of the 22 seasons since their inception. Management decided it was time for a change, and chose to reset the team’s leadership hierarchy. In late August they announced that training camp would begin with no named captains or alternates.

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