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Thread: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

  1. #281
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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Meh. If they had sucked for years and had to pay ridiculous prices every game night they wouldn't be filling this place. Let them chirp about attendance all they want. It's a stupid argument and I've never understood why people engage in it.

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    The better team won this weekend. It's now on to the Gophers vs. BADgers football game where I haven't been this excited to watch them in almost a 17 years.
    Slap Shot - 444 might want to consider a restraining order.
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    Quote Originally Posted by state of hockey View Post
    Meh. If they had sucked for years and had to pay ridiculous prices every game night they wouldn't be filling this place. Let them chirp about attendance all they want. It's a stupid argument and I've never understood why people engage in it.
    Itís just a bad look for college hockey especially when itís happening to an elite program like Minnesota. Donít recall it being like this back in the WCHA days

  4. #284
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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    The football program is a stark reminder of how bandwagon the Gopher fanbase is. If the hockey program starts winning, attendance will increase, but that will be bandwagon game to game, single game tickets. The years of huge waiting lists for season tickets are long forgotten

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    The ongoing debate of controlled zone entry vs dump and chase seems to have reared it's ugly head again. During the last two seasons of Don Lucia's tenure as coach, the yawning effect of the D 'n C style of entering the O-zone was in full throttle. Most would agree that D 'n C is just not fan friendly and entertaining hockey. Studies seem to suggest that if you control the neutral zone, the risk factor of a successful zone entry by carrying the puck into the O-zone vs D 'n C is low. Programming D 'n C into an offensive game plan in all cases is anti-climatic for fan fun.

    But more importantly, it's not effectual for SOG totals and scoring chances vs a controlled entry either, barring the occasional mismatch when the opposing D talent level is clearly through the roof.

    Now it seems Motzgo is gradually retreating into a proverbial snail shell of offensive precaution and encouraging a similar style of "get pucks deep" at the expense of......that's right, SOG. Given SOG this season are below the historical mean of previous Gopher teams, there's no need to look any further to explain why the Gophers can't tickle the twine AGAIN this season.

    I'm tired of the "they're young", "give 'em another year or two" excuses. I can pull research all day on previous Gopher teams that had similar young talent, had consistently 35-40 SOG and scored much more often per game. There's plenty of talent on this year's squad to teach this effectively and inevitably increase SOG and GPG.



    Notice in the graphic (in 60 min.) that uncontrolled or D 'n C entries have the lowest correlation with shot rates and teams failing at entering the offensive zone. Defensive Zone Faceoffs have a higher correlation to Unblocked Shots and All Shots rates than Controlled entries. Considering that a defensive zone faceoff takes place IN THE ZONE where the attack will be launched, this is not surprising. The fact that the difference in the correlation between Defensive Zone Faceoffs and Controlled Zone Entries is only -0.04 (Unblocked Shot Attempts) and -0.0243 (All Shot Attempts) is pretty astounding and again stresses their importance.

    A coach may preach the values of getting the puck deep, but that's not really the best strategy for generating shot attempts. Certainly, there are times when it is necessary or advisable to dump the puck in, but statistically it should be considered a last resort option. Moreover, it often depends on a coaches evaluation of whether the strength of the team is offense or defense.

    For example looking at the past two NHL seasons, the stats suggest that over 50 percent of goals scored off of controlled OR D 'n C are clearly within 5 seconds of gaining the attacking blue stripe. A proponent of D 'n C might argue then that in general, the more a team carries the puck through the neutral zone, the more susceptible they are to turning the puck over and risking a scoring chance off the impending rush.

    Case in point, with the exception of the Flames, the top 5 NHL teams in controlled zone entries per game this season, Chicago, Washington, Montreal, Calgary and Tampa Bay, all turn the puck over at a high-rate in the neutral zone, ranking bottom-third in the league in this category.



    From a defensive side, the New York Islanders are a low-risk team that prioritizes defense over offense. The Islanders rank 25th in controlled entries per game and dump the puck in more than any team. But the tradeoff is they rarely turn the puck over in the neutral zone currently at 8.9% of their possessions, 4th best in the league. So there are exceptions.



    For the Gophers, I'm not confident enough from what I've seen this season on D to rely on a low risk offensive D 'n C strategy. In fact, many of the turnovers I've seen from the Gophers this season have happened in the D-zone. My strategy of choice given the Gophers have some high end speed is controlled zone entries which provide far more opportunity to create offense and thus should be the go-to option for an offensive attack to elevate SOG and GPG, two areas where this group is really struggling right now. Long post but a decent read...plus Bob reads USCHO Fan Forum all the time.
    Last edited by SteveO; 12-04-2019 at 05:16 PM.

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveO View Post
    The ongoing debate of controlled zone entry vs dump and chase seems to have reared it's ugly head again. During the last two seasons of Don Lucia's tenure as coach, the yawning effect of the D 'n C style of entering the O-zone was in full throttle. Most would agree that D 'n C is just not fan friendly and entertaining hockey. Studies seem to suggest that if you control the neutral zone, the risk factor of a successful zone entry by carrying the puck into the O-zone vs D 'n C is low. But programming D 'n C into an offensive game plan in all cases is anti-climatic for fan fun. But more importantly, it's not effectual for SOG totals and scoring chances vs a controlled entry either, barring the occasional mismatch when the opposing D talent level is clearly through the roof.

    Now it seems Motzgo is gradually retreating into a proverbial snail shell of offensive precaution and encouraging a similar style of "get pucks deep" at the expense of......that's right, SOG. Given SOG this season are below the historical mean of previous Gopher teams, no need to look any further to explain why the Gophers can't tickle the twine AGAIN this season.

    I'm tired of the "they're young", "give 'em another year or two" excuses. I can pull research all day on previous Gopher teams that had similar young talent, had consistently 35-40 SOG and scored much more often per game. There's plenty of talent on this year's squad to teach this effectively and inevitably increase SOG and GPG.



    Notice in the graphic (in 60 min.) that uncontrolled or D 'n C entries have the lowest correlation with shot rates and teams failing at entering the offensive zone. Defensive Zone Faceoffs have a higher correlation to Unblocked Shots and All Shots rates than Controlled entries. Considering that a defensive zone faceoff takes place IN THE ZONE where the attack will be launched, this is not surprising. The fact that the difference in the correlation between Defensive Zone Faceoffs and Controlled Zone Entries is only -0.04 (Unblocked Shot Attempts) and -0.0243 (All Shot Attempts) is pretty astounding and again stresses their importance.

    A coach may preach the values of getting the puck deep, but that's not really the best strategy for generating shot attempts. Certainly, there are times when it is necessary or advisable to dump the puck in, but statistically it should be considered a last resort option. Moreover, it often depends on a coaches evaluation of whether the strength of the team is offense or defense.

    For example looking at the past two NHL seasons, the stats suggest that over 50 percent of goals scored off of controlled OR D 'n C are clearly within 5 seconds of gaining the attacking blue stripe. A proponent of D 'n C might argue then that in general, the more a team carries the puck through the neutral zone, the more susceptible they are to turning the puck over and risking a scoring chance off the impending rush.

    Case in point, with the exception of the Flames, the top 5 NHL teams in controlled zone entries per game this season, Chicago, Washington, Montreal, Calgary and Tampa Bay, all turn the puck over at a high-rate in the neutral zone, ranking bottom-third in the league in this category.



    From a defensive side, the New York Islanders are a low-risk team that prioritizes defense over offense. The Islanders rank 25th in controlled entries per game and dump the puck in more than any team. But the tradeoff is they rarely turn the puck over in the neutral zone currently at 8.9% of their possessions, 4th best in the league. So there are exceptions.



    For the Gophers, I'm not confident enough from what I've seen this season on D to rely on a low risk offensive D 'n C strategy. In fact, many of the turnovers I've seen from the Gophers this season have happened in the D-zone. My strategy of choice given the Gophers have some high end speed is controlled zone entries which provide far more opportunity to create offense and thus should be the go-to option for an offensive attack to elevate SOG and GPG, two areas where this group is really struggling right now. Long post but a decent read...plus Bob reads USCHO Fan Forum all the time.

    Good points, and numbers, but so many variables. Some "dump" teams dump with the intention of aggressively forechecking (and Motzko certainly did some of this at SCSU) and getting it back, some dump because they're confident in their ability to get back, set up their D, and win a 2-1 game (Isles and Blues), and some dump because they're just not very good at getting it through the neutral zone (NJ Devils, and early season Wild would fall in that category). I think the Gophers might be dumping now, with some hope of getting it back, but also with the thought or hope that they'll get better at controlled entries as the year goes on and their young guys adjust to the speed and physicality of college hockey. Still, a lot to chew on. Good post!

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Quote Originally Posted by purpleinnebraska View Post
    I think the Gophers might be dumping now, with some hope of getting it back, but also with the thought or hope that they'll get better at controlled entries as the year goes on and their young guys adjust to the speed and physicality of college hockey. Still, a lot to chew on. Good post!
    Which illustrates how important it is to teach this before the season slips away. That's where I disagree with Motzko's strategy given the talent level we have. The Gophers are not good enough on the walls and corners for puck retrieval for a consistent D 'n C. SOG and GPG will increase with controlled zone entry, but it's more taught than caught.

    Successful coaches know how to do more with less and make no excuses. With OSU on the road this weekend, we could be realistically looking at being swept again. One would have to go back to the final years of the Doug Woog era to match that record.
    Last edited by SteveO; 12-04-2019 at 05:36 PM.

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Quote Originally Posted by purpleinnebraska View Post
    Still, a lot to chew on. Good post!
    Roger that, but I'd take some issue with the contention that the Gophers "have some high end speed". Like just about every team out there, the Gophers do have some high end speed, but overall this team is not built for an offensive speed game, like so many Gopher teams of yore. Other than Walker and Ranta I can't think of anyone who primarily relies on his speed to generate offense. And despite being blessed with tremendous speed the former hasn't generated much offense at all in the last half-dozen games or so. They did however use their size and (seldom seen!) physicality in the Saturday night game vs. UND. I wish we could see more of that because it was very effective in taking the Whioux completely off their game until...........they stopped doing it.
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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Quote Originally Posted by D2D View Post
    Roger that, but I'd take some issue with the contention that the Gophers "have some high end speed". Like just about every team out there, the Gophers do have some high end speed, but overall this team is not built for an offensive speed game, like so many Gopher teams of yore. Other than Walker and Ranta I can't think of anyone who primarily relies on his speed to generate offense. And despite being blessed with tremendous speed the former hasn't generated much offense at all in the last half-dozen games or so. They did however use their size and (seldom seen!) physicality in the Saturday night game vs. UND. I wish we could see more of that because it was very effective in taking the Whioux completely off their game until...........they stopped doing it.
    Ahhh. I dunno...look at McLaughlin*, Nelson, Burke, Meyers*, Walker*, Ranta*, they've all got pretty decent speed or some I'd say can accelerate to the high end category*. Agreed, I don't see the urgency yet to play a more physical game which IIRC Motzko highlighted in the very beginning as something he would emphasize. Still waiting...

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    I haven't had any time to track zone entries this year yet but I wrote about last year's team and how there was a slight uptick in controlled entries last year from the year before as well as an uptick in attempted controlled entries. I can post the link again if people are interested.

    This year the team lost pretty much all of its forward talent so I wouldn't be surprised if they're worse at entries, though I'd argue going from a top 5 PP unit to whatever the hell it is now and losing Robson is probably the biggest issue in terms of wins/losses. But in terms of the possession/shot rates being bad (again) that's probably part of the issue, if you had more skill at forward and less of Lucia's black holes you'd likely see more clean entries and I'm guessing Bob would be more likely to start having the D pinch more often as well as using a harder forecheck. I wanna say GE wrote a post along these lines last year saying that Bob didn't think he had the personnel to do those things yet.
    Last edited by trixR4kids; 12-04-2019 at 11:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UMD21 View Post
    The football program is a stark reminder of how bandwagon the Gopher fanbase is. If the hockey program starts winning, attendance will increase, but that will be bandwagon game to game, single game tickets. The years of huge waiting lists for season tickets are long forgotten
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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    I mentioned at the beginning of the season, as Sammy goes...so go the Gophers. With the exception of an ENG a month ago vs Mich., Sammy has not scored a goal in 12 games. Obviously Walker can't take all the blame for the Gophers ineptitude in finding the back of the net. As in the case of the 3-2 loss tonight, when you play a top 10 team like the Buckeyes, Penn St., UND, Notre Dame, etc. you're going to lose 9/10 times if you only score 2 goals.

    Like many hockey coaches, Motzko told the Strib in November he subscribes to the theory that the first team to score three goals in a game usually wins. Then Motzko and his staff must take responsibility for the fact that the Gophers are 2-8-3 since Oct. with a GPG of 2.3. To add insult to injury the Gophers are now #4 among 60 teams in the NCAA in GA (3.47). That's poor defending (Raboin's dept.) and inconsistent goaltending.

    The "this is a young team and we'll have to learn from this" excuse is getting old. We're 17 games in the season, are we going to hear this until March? Out of the 4 lines tonight, less than half are FR. That's manageable and that's teachable. "We're disappointed, we played hard tonight" said Motzko...ok but you lost! Is this what Pride on Ice has descended too...moral victory mantras?

    In the meantime, chicken little is knocking at the door and this season is just about toast.

    Quote Originally Posted by trixR4kids View Post
    But in terms of the possession/shot rates being bad (again) that's probably part of the issue, if you had more skill at forward and less of Lucia's black holes you'd likely see more clean entries
    The Sh% @ .092 is down from previous seasons (usually avg. around .105) but can easily be corrected, not a huge issue. However, puck possession IS a major issue with the Gophers. The CF% is the best metric for measuring it, and the Gophers are a dismal 47th and #1 in the nation in shot attempts allowed. That could mean a few things in the O-zone: turnovers, too much dump and chase, losing puck battles, poor playmaking and very little backchecking. From what I've seen so far this season it's all of the above.

    Is it any wonder that Mariucci is consistently < half full? I predict this season will be the absolute worst in OVER 20 years. Stop blaming Lucia for this dumpster fire! IMO Motzko does not get a pass.
    Last edited by SteveO; 12-07-2019 at 01:44 AM.

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    I donít give Bob a pass for the PP being this bad which is partly due to personnel decisions, the lackadaisical effort games, and I can understand your criticisms with the overall strategy, it was a lot of the same criticisms I had of Lucia ie too much dumping and a non-effective forecheck. Also after what weíve seen thus far out of Brodzinski he doesnít get a pass for that either (though there probably werenít a ton of better options).

    And I mostly agree that youth is a poor excuse other than maybe with the freshmen D who seemingly always have growing pains. When you have four D without much offensive instinct and two with potential that are super green, you can kinda understand the reluctance to have them go all out aggressive with pinching or forechecking for example. And there are just too many forwards on this team who wouldnít have been on the better gopher teams, Walker probably wouldíve been a fourth line center or 3rd line winger in 2012 when Bjugstad, Haula, and Boyd were on the team (Rau could play center in a pinch as well). A lot of these players and recruits are inherited from Lucia, itís hard to know whether Bob wouldíve recruited someone like Jaxson Nelson who has been in the USHL seemingly for five years. The problem isnít so much that theyíre young, the problem is that the older players are still fairly useless and only a handful of the current freshmen and sophomores wouldíve been on a better gopher squad. And to some extent I think thatís why some of the overall strategy isnít as aggressive as weíd like to see.

    So itís a mix, Iíve already stated that I think Bob could do some things better but itís hard to truly know what his overall vision is with this inherited mess of a roster.
    Last edited by trixR4kids; 12-07-2019 at 12:54 PM.

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Quote Originally Posted by trixR4kids View Post

    So itís a mix, Iíve already stated that I think Bob could do some things better but itís hard to truly know what his overall vision is with this inherited mess of a roster.
    I'd say, who ever heard of a Minnesota roster with CANADIANS on it?

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Quote Originally Posted by Hockeybuckeye View Post
    I'd say, who ever heard of a Minnesota roster with CANADIANS on it?
    Our Minnesota women's team has three Canadians on it.
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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Quote Originally Posted by d2d View Post
    our minnesota women's team has three canadians on it. :d
    lol!

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0



    In the graphic above I decided to use moving averages which provides a better representation of the trendline than linear regression or polynomial regression. A moving average trendline can smooth out the noise of random outliers and emphasize long-term trends with a little more accuracy. The "White line" represents moving averages and creates a series of cumulative average values of different subsets of the full data set of 25 years of Gopher hockey W% from 1994-2018.

    A few points of interest are:

    1) The steep decline in W% from 1994-98 under Doug Woog including an all-time 1st half low in W% (.278) in 1997-98 season.
    2) Don Lucia's tenure as head coach began with the 1999-2000 season and matched Doug Woog's first half W% but finished above the previous year @ .512. It took Don Lucia one season to pull the Gophers out of a downward trend in W% over the two previous seasons under Woog.
    3) The 2001-02 had the highest season W% (.773) in the previous 25 years.
    4) The 1st and Final W% trend is highly correlated in the two championship seasons (2001-02, 2002-03), although the 2003-04 1st half was low, it rebounded with an excellent second half to .648
    5) The 2006-07 team had the highest 1st half W% (.861) in the previous 25 years.
    6) From 2006-10 there is a downward trend in season W% with consistently poor second half performances compared to 1st half W%. The new CBA that significantly affected college hockey recruits was ratified after the NHL lockout (2006-07) and encouraged an earlier exit from college to the NHL.
    7) With the exception of the 2015-16 season, the season W% is consistently lower than first half W% from 2006 onward.
    8) The 2016-17 season was the last season the Gophers were in the NCAA tournament.
    9) The BTHC and NCHC began in the 2013-14 season and from that point there is a downward trend in season W% until today. Concurrently there is a drop in season ticket holders during this same period. The moving averages indicates a steady downward trend in avg. W% from 2012 onward.



    10) Under Bob Motzko, the 2019-20 team recently finished with the second lowest 1st half W% in 25 years of Gopher hockey (.389). Based upon previous seasons from 2006-07 onward the 1st half is significantly higher than the final season W%. The moving averages trendline indicates that may continue and if so, the Gophers final season W% will be lower than .389, the lowest in 25 years.
    Last edited by SteveO; 12-11-2019 at 01:10 PM.

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Very interesting collection of stats, SteveO, thanks for posting! However for some unknown reason your first graphic does not show, at least on my computer; maybe you could edit your post so it appears?

    Also I don't place significance to the recent decline in W% under Motzko - he inherited a mess that will take a couple more seasons to fix. Time will tell.
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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Seems like a lot of data to say what is simple:
    -Fans don't care about the Big Ten
    -Lucia was held onto for at least three too many years
    -This has been the worst decade for Gopher hockey in probably 50 years
    -The team this year is underperforming
    -Combine a bad team with the fans' love for the Big Ten and the ticket sale situation is obvious
    -If they don't lower ticket prices again this summer your net STH count will continue to go down

    Until you start winning games, or have season tickets at about 450 bucks for at least two zones, Mariucci will continue to be embarrassingly empty.

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    Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2019-2020: Motzko 2.0

    Quote Originally Posted by D2D View Post
    Very interesting collection of stats, SteveO, thanks for posting! However for some unknown reason your first graphic does not show, at least on my computer; maybe you could edit your post so it appears?

    Also I don't place significance to the recent decline in W% under Motzko - he inherited a mess that will take a couple more seasons to fix. Time will tell.
    I've changed the image hosting URL, so let me know if you can see it now. I'm not making an assessment other than what the moving mean data indicates, which highly correlates with the regression predictability of the slope and intercept of both the linear and polynomial regression analysis. I have my own personal interpretation of the data and the subjective IV of Motzko's coaching tactics, and he and his staff's ability to reverse the current downward trendline. It's noteworthy that over this 25 year history there has never been a seven year downward trendline like what we are seeing now in Gopher hockey since 2012-13.

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