The NHL has completed Week 3 of play. This is the last weekly update as we turn now to (almost) daily blogs with Game 10 (G10) calls coming all week. That said, what have we learned as one team has met and the rest approach their G10 mark?
The NHL As A Whole
1. East Versus West. This is a theme of the year, so far. Last week, the East was 9 – 19 – 2 (a relative .333) versus Western teams with the Atlantic Division (6 – 7 – 1 / .464) more than 50% ahead of the Metropolitan Division (3 – 12 – 1 / .219). This week, the East improves to 20 – 32 – 5 / .395 Hockey against the West (despite Edmonton’s penchant for mostly losing on their Eastern road trip). The Atlantic Division is still outpacing the Metro .435 to .375 Hockey, a bit more of a meeting toward the middle. Who are the main contributors affecting these numbers? Buffalo (0 – 4) in the Atlantic and the Rangers (1 – 4) in the Metro.
2. Last week, the OT/SO percentage was 20.27% versus 25% in Week 1. Week 3 brought us to 20.49% in OT/SO, showing that we are beginning to even out so predictability of teams’ futures is gaining in accuracy daily.
3. PP / PK numbers are evening out a bit now. The PP spread this week ranges from 33.3% efficiency for Washington (down 4.2% from St. Louis’ No. 1 ranking last week) to a dismal 3.7% for Anaheim (who dropped off 3%). Thirteen teams are at or better than 20% with the man advantage, down from 19 last week. Both Boston and Vancouver are 90% on the PK with Calgary at 69.6% (up from Anaheim’s low of 61.5% last week). Finally, there are 19 teams standing at 81% or more (up from 12) when down at least one man.
4. Finally, where do the goals come from? The great goal scorers will tell you the ice has a sweet spot for scoring. Well, for the top 31 players who all had four or more goals as of 19 October, the distance from goal shots are taken averages 29.4 ft. with a low (Tomas Hertl) of 20 ft. and a high of 37.2 ft. (Justin Williams). In other words, these 31 goal scorers – all forwards – earn their stats from the area out from the goal to the edges of the faceoff circles. Defensemen with two or more goals range from 43 ft. (Jack Johnson) to 64.8 ft. (Ron Hainsey), or above the faceoff circles to just inside the blue line.
How do Conferences look in light of the Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) and what is the PQC Call schedule as this week runs?
The Eastern Conference
Our chart below indicates how the Eastern Conference projects against the PQC through Saturday, 19 October’s games:
Some notes here:
1. Only one Metropolitan Division team still has a shot at a Chasing Stanley (CS) call, or IN the playoffs for this season.
2. Only one other team in the Atlantic Division can rank as high a PQC call as Sharpening Skates (SS) or just short of IN the post-season.
3. Most of the Conference (12 – of – 16 / 75%) lands at In The Curve (ITC) or about average for Eastern Conference play.
4. One team cannot surpass a Dusting Off Clubs (DoC) call or just short of OUT of the Playoffs.
5. And one team is already at Tee Time (T2) or OUT of 2014 Playoff contention – see below.
6. ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ shows the Top 8 teams and who their opponents project to be. Some notes here:
a. The Home Team / 1 – 4 Seed are on top with their visitor below.
b. Last week, we had a projection of the Detroit and Pittsburgh which many fans would more like to see as a potential Conference Finals. This week, the Penguins potential competition is Tampa Bay in the No. 8 slot.
c. Original Six’ers have to like the Montreal at Boston and Toronto at Detroit pairings.
7. 19 October 2013, First Niagara Center, Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Sabres have been called at Tee Time (T2), or eliminated from potential 2014 playoff contention. It is more than their record which stands as a definition of the sum of their efforts. It is also undeniable that Buffalo has just produced their lowest G10 ranking and any rating for a team at G10 that wound up with a playoff seed since the 2004/05 Lockout. Given they will not finish as a Top 3 Team in their Division, current projections show they would have to play .625 Hockey to at least tie Tampa Bay. They are playing .300 Hockey right now, a too daunting requirement to more than double team Win production for the rest of the season. And they also sit at 30th in the NHL in Corsi For and Fenwick For advanced stats, and 28th in PDO advanced stats. (See dudesonhockey.com and their Stats Glossary for a good, simple explanation of complicated statistics. You can follow these stats on extraskater.com as well.)
8. The rest of the Eastern Conference PQC call schedule rolls out like this (Atlantic Division teams in BOLD text):
SAT., 19 OCT – BUF (the first G10 call of the season)
MON., 21 OCT – DET
TUE., 22 OCT – FLA, TOR
THUR., 24 OCT – CAR, MTL, NJD, WSH
FRI., 25 OCT – CAR, NJD, OTT, WSH
SAT., 26 OCT – BOS, PHI, TBL
MON., 28 OCT – NYR
The Western Conference
Our Western Conference chart below indicates their PQC projections through Saturday, 19 October’s games:
1. Two teams from each Division still have a shot at a CS call.
2. One Central Division team can still pull off a SS call.
3. Eight – of – 14 / 57.1% of Western Conference teams, the largest majority, sit at ITC.
4. And one, final team cannot surpass a Dusting Off Clubs (DoC) call at this time.
5. No teams currently project a T2 maximum call yet.
6. Changes from last week’s ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ minus simple seed adjustments are:
a. Minnesota and Calgary are off the Playoff chart.
b. Vancouver and Los Angeles are now hold a Playoff seed.
7. The Western Conference PQC call schedule kicks off tonight and looks like this (Central Division teams are in BOLD print):
SUN., 20 OCT – VAN
MON., 21 OCT – LAK
TUE., 22 OCT – EDM, MIN, NSH, PHX, WPG
THUR., 24 OCT – ANA, CGY, CHI, SJS
FRI., 25 OCT – COL
SAT., 26 OCT – DAL
TUE., 29 OCT – STL (the last G10 call of the season)
We now begin the daily rundown except this Thursday as the G10’s are coming.