Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Habs vs. Edmonton 3-1 loss November 8, 2011

Returning Emelin earns top risk/reward rating

The Montreal Canadiens lost 3-1 to the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night. Montreal managed more than twice as many shots on goal as Edmonton, but Nikolai Khabibulin shut the door. Incredibly, the Habs gave up only 7 even-strength shots to the Oilers.

What is this? 
I track each and every play during a game. The main focus being on puck-possession. Any play by a player that maintains or acquires puck-possession is deemed a positive-event, while any play that fails to acquire, or loses puck-possession is considered a negative-event. I input the result into a database, allowing me to track players' successes or failures. I average approximately 1100 points of data per-game (when covering an entire team), or about 70 points of data per-player. Most players average just over 3 events per minute of ice-time. Whether it's an incomplete or complete pass-attempt, a won or lost race to a loose puck, a won or lost puck-battle, etc.; each result is tracked for each player. The results are also tracked by zone (offensive/defensive/neutral) and by situation (even-strength/powerplay/short-handed) and inputted into the database as such. This allows us to track how each player performs in each zone, and in each manpower situation.  Click the FAQ tab above for further information.

Nine players had overall grades above their season average. Petteri Nokelainen earned the top overall grade, but saw limited ice-time. Although no player earned a grade above 80, nine players earned grades north of 70. A testament to the Habs consistency during the game.

Micheal Blunden had the lowest overall grade, but played only 44 seconds the entire game. The only other player with a grade below 60 was David Desharnais. Desharnais has a grade below his season average in each of the last 4 games.


Click here for an explanation of risk/reward ratings

Ten players had overall risk/reward ratings above their season average. Alexei Emelin had the top risk/reward, followed by Max Pacioretty. Emelin's best numbers occurred in the defensive-zone, while Pacioretty's best work occurred in both the offensive and defensive-zones. Five players had overall ratings above 1.50.

Micheal Blunden's team low overall risk/reward rating is a statistical anomaly, as he barely played. Among players with substantial ice-time, Desharnais had the lowest overall rating. Number 51's numbers were consistently low through all 3 zones, but his o-zone rating of 0.00 was particularly disturbing.



Ten players had EVEN-STRENGTH risk/reward ratings above their season average. Nokelainen had the top even-strength rating, followed by Pacioretty, Emelin and Cole. Incredibly, fourteen of Nokelainen's 15 offensive-zone events were successful.

Blunden had the lowest ES rating. Among players with substantial ice-time Desharnais had the lowest EVEN-STRENGTH risk/reward rating.



Ten players had EVEN-STRENGTH offensive-zone risk/reward ratings above their season average. As mentioned earlier, Nokelainen was the Habs top player in the offensive-zone. Among players with more playing time however, the honour goes to Erik Cole. Number 72 completed 5 of 7 attempted passes, and he was successful with 5 of his 7 attempts to beat opposing players 1on1 (deak). Pacioretty also earned a solid o-zone rating.

Jaroslav Spacek was the only player with an offensive-zone risk/reward rating in the negative. Spacek lost his only o-zone puck-battle, and wasn't able to complete any o-zone passes. Other players with low o-zone ratings include Desharnais, Blunden, and Subban.


Seven players had EVEN-STRENGTH defensive-zone risk/reward ratings above their season average. The Canadiens also spent substantially less time than usual in the defensive-zone. We can determine this by looking at the total number of defensive-zone events. Montreal averaged 416 even-strength events in the defensive-zone this season, but there were only 360 d-zone events against Edmonton. This indicates 14% less d-zone events than usual. Expressed differently, we could say that theoretically Montreal spent 14% less time than usual in the defensive-zone.

Subban had the top d-zone rating, ahead of both Gill and Emelin. The lowest d-zone rating was posted by Blunden. Among players with substantial ice-time, the lowest rating belonged to Weber. Weber's d-zone rating at even-strength can be traced to his low ice-time, and having played much of the game out of his natural position.


Eleven players had EVEN-STRENGTH neutral-zone risk/reward ratings above their season average. Blunden had the top rating, but played few minutes. Among players with substantial ice-time Plekanec and an out-of-position Weber had the top n-zone ratings.

Nokelainen was the only player with a negative n-zone rating.


Three players had short-handed risk/reward ratings above their season average. Five other players had short-handed ratings in the negative. Cammalleri had the top SH rating, while Diaz and Spacek had the lowest ratings.

Ninety-four percent of the Habs players' short-handed events occurred in the defensive-zone. Compared to a season average of 84%. Expressed differently, this shows that the Habs spent 94% of their time short-handed defending inside the defensive-zone.



Four players had powerplay risk/reward ratings above their season average. Diaz, Subban and Cammalleri had the top PP ratings, while Desharnais had the lowest. Desharnais completed only 4 of 6 PP pass-attempts, and won neither of his 2 PP puck-battles.

Seventy-six percent of Montreal players' powerplay events took place in the offensive-zone, compared to a season average of 61%. This shows that the Habs were able to establish 15% more offensive-zone pressure on the powerplay than usual.


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