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Thread: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

  1. #521
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Dorn View Post
    There are a lot of positive things going on with this program. The play of Taylor this season is much improved from last season. We have two pretty solid goalies. Yes, the first goal last night was from a very poor angle, but maybe it was more about the shooting accuracy of the Providence player. He found the few inches that were open.

    The special teams are the main issues at this point of the season, especially the penalty kill. The more I look at the penalty kills and power play opportunities over the last few weeks one thing stands out to me, the face-off that starts the power play. If we win the draw and possession of the puck the chance of success (both penalty kill and power play) is a lot greater. I would make sure I had one of my best face-off players taking every draw. On the penalty kill, he could go for a line change as soon as we clear the zone. Focusing on face-off strategies and understanding their importance would go a long way with improving our special teams.
    Face offs DO matter...who knew? Our stats in that dept have been better recently. Thanks for the perspective of just how important they can be. When you don't have the puck....

  2. #522
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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Dorn View Post
    There are a lot of positive things going on with this program. The play of Taylor this season is much improved from last season. We have two pretty solid goalies. Yes, the first goal last night was from a very poor angle, but maybe it was more about the shooting accuracy of the Providence player. He found the few inches that were open.
    Watching the goal on video replay today … first issue was the defensive giveaway that led to the chance. But once that happened, then it was Taylor's fault on the shot for not holding the near post (left shoulder tucked up flush with the left corner of the net). Kudos to the PC kid for taking advantage of a challenging top-corner target, but if we're being honest here, those "few inches" never should have even been available for him to get a clean look at the net. Goalie play doesn't get any more basic than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Dorn View Post
    The special teams are the main issues at this point of the season, especially the penalty kill. The more I look at the penalty kills and power play opportunities over the last few weeks one thing stands out to me, the face-off that starts the power play. If we win the draw and possession of the puck the chance of success (both penalty kill and power play) is a lot greater. I would make sure I had one of my best face-off players taking every draw. On the penalty kill, he could go for a line change as soon as we clear the zone. Focusing on face-off strategies and understanding their importance would go a long way with improving our special teams.
    With all due respect, having a designated face-off taker in high leverage situations (and shuttling him off the ice if necessary) is hardly a new concept. And unless that player is dead-solid money to win those draws, oftentimes against the best guy on the dot for the opposition, then if you don't win the draw, you're saddled with someone who might not be your best defender up top when you're handling the rest of the post-draw flow of play during the actual PK, especially if you don't make that initial clear. As long as he wins that initial draw - or if he's part of the regular PK unit - it's a good concept. But it falls apart if/when he doesn't - or isn't.

    And if you lean on that same guy for the PP draws … again, he's likely up against one of the other team's best guys on the dot, and even if he wins the draw … if he's not one of the guys regularly assigned to your PP unit, you either have to live with a downgrade, or switch him out on the fly after the opposition clears, OR temporarily go down to 4 v.4 during your PP while you spend those few crucial seconds getting your face-off specialist off, and the regular PP guy on while in possession in the attack zone. The analytics don't weigh any of those details.

    I'm sure MS7 is weighing all of this in what he and his staff are doing. From a coaching standpoint, the best solution is to just get your guys (all centers, and a few high usage wings for those times someone gets tossed) to be more proficient on the dot. The other stuff (i.e. one face-off specialist) is something that may make sense for pure numbers-crunchers, but ignores the realities of the up-and-down constant flow of the game. Some of this works better for games where there are defined breaks in the game, like baseball (pitches) and football (downs), but is way overrated for more meaningful applications to the constant motion games like hockey and soccer (and maybe even field hockey, in HR's honor).
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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Aw thanks Chuck for mentioning a sport near and dear to my heart...and yes, there are 'specialists' and set plays in the game. Its come along way and I hope the UNH team gets back to playing our Men's hockey team in the Spring for a fundraiser! Fun to see the guys coping with the fact you can only use one side of the stick!

    I'd like to say thanks to the posters who spoke of the overall positiveness of the weekend, despite the loss. I was in def whining mode after Sat. nite but I think I just felt badly/was hoping they could have that sweep; for them. In reality, it really was a great weekend for UNH hockey. Could've been different; we got the split and in a road game at that. Right now we are seeing some upsets here and there and it really is true 'on any given night' so I like UNH's chances going forward. Loved reading the term 'patience' in reference to our re-building process and that is really the truth of it. No question if you listen to any of Coach Souza's pressers you get right away his ultimate sense of responsibility to creating a successful team and he owns what he needs to as well. The team is playing some decent hockey right now; I am confident in our 2 goalies (tenders?? ha) and with the stuff we've talked about (areas of improvement) they can do some damage! Go 'Cats!

    Have a good week and here's to another big weekend...
    Let's Go SouzaCats!

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Ok, almost two full pages here on FOW%, but why now? UNH was 51.3% in FOW this past weekend. Pierson, Blackburn, and Engaras took 92.9% of FO, or 105 out of 113. Who would we rather have taking FO's? Makes the most sense to me for the centers of the top three lines to take FO's because those lines are on the ice most of the time.

    Now, I get the argument for having third and fourth line PK specialists while resting the top two lines for 5 on 5 and PP's, so a few FOs on the PK will need to be taken by the fourth line center.
    Last edited by Snively65; 01-20-2020 at 03:08 PM.

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Chuck - I didn’t copy your whole post as it was mostly off my topic ... in isolation your point on the first goal is spot on. And watching it happen live I had the same general reaction, he got beat in a gap that shouldn’t exist. I have a little more sympathy, apparently, because I think he had the same thought in his mind that I did which was the pass out front was imminent and he would have to slide over. There was an inadequately covered guy coming down the center and Taylor was trying to watch both players. Although he had the post (softly) his mind was leaning right. Unfortunately for us, the guy with the puck made a hell of a shot. But right up until he shot it I thought he was going to pass. Maybe Ty did as well. As a soccer guy you know how bad it can look when the goalie guesses wrong, but he still has to guess sometimes. All that said, he got beat and has to own it.

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerman View Post
    Chuck - I didn’t copy your whole post as it was mostly off my topic ... in isolation your point on the first goal is spot on. And watching it happen live I had the same general reaction, he got beat in a gap that shouldn’t exist. I have a little more sympathy, apparently, because I think he had the same thought in his mind that I did which was the pass out front was imminent and he would have to slide over. There was an inadequately covered guy coming down the center and Taylor was trying to watch both players. Although he had the post (softly) his mind was leaning right. Unfortunately for us, the guy with the puck made a hell of a shot. But right up until he shot it I thought he was going to pass. Maybe Ty did as well. As a soccer guy you know how bad it can look when the goalie guesses wrong, but he still has to guess sometimes. All that said, he got beat and has to own it.
    Aerman, you make a very good point. Actually, the "smart" play for the PC kid was probably to pass.

    Putting myself in Leaman's shoes … I'd have muttered "don't shoot … don't sh - great shot, kid!!"
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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    My point on face-offs is that they are much more important during special teams (both power play and penalty kill). There is a reason why the NHL changed the rule on face-off location starting a power play a few years ago. The hope of creating more goals by having the face-off in the offensive zone of the team on the power play. It is not just about the face-off winning percentage for the game. Here are two hypothetical situations: Both situations have each of the two teams having four power plays during the game (This would be eight face-offs starting each of the eight power plays). The first situation has the team winning 8 out of 8 face-offs starting their special teams, then going 18 for 44 during 5 on 5 play for a 52% (26/50) face-off winning percentage. The second situation has the team winning 0 out of the 8 face-offs starting their power play and penalty kill situations for the game, then going 26 for 44 during 5 on 5 play for the same 52% for the game.

    I am saying that face-off winning percentage (gaining possession of the puck off a face-off) is significantly more important during power play and penalty kill situations than during 5 on 5 play.

  8. #528
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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Dorn View Post
    My point on face-offs is that they are much more important during special teams (both power play and penalty kill). There is a reason why the NHL changed the rule on face-off location starting a power play a few years ago. The hope of creating more goals by having the face-off in the offensive zone of the team on the power play. It is not just about the face-off winning percentage for the game. Here are two hypothetical situations: Both situations have each of the two teams having four power plays during the game (This would be eight face-offs starting each of the eight power plays). The first situation has the team winning 8 out of 8 face-offs starting their special teams, then going 18 for 44 during 5 on 5 play for a 52% (26/50) face-off winning percentage. The second situation has the team winning 0 out of the 8 face-offs starting their power play and penalty kill situations for the game, then going 26 for 44 during 5 on 5 play for the same 52% for the game.

    I am saying that face-off winning percentage (gaining possession of the puck off a face-off) is significantly more important during power play and penalty kill situations than during 5 on 5 play.
    Yes … but is it worth having someone out there taking the draw who isn't one of your regular PP (or PK) guys, who might increase your chances (slightly) of winning that draw, when you then have to live with that player bogging down your PP even when he wins the draw, or hampering your PK unit when he loses that draw?

    Your example cites someone winning 8 out of 8 draws in special teams situations … I say that's not realistic anyway, since you discount entirely that the opposing team is likely going to counter your best guy on the dot with one of their best guys on the dot in most cases.

    Is it preferable to win face-offs instead of losing them? Of course it is. But no one - and I mean, no one - wins them all. And it's not even close. Here is a link to the current list of best NHL men on the dot by percentage of wins. The Flyers' Claude Giroux (59.9%) leads the way among players who have taken at least 100 faceoffs so far this season. That's not a huge chunk over 50%, which again reflects the realities that BOTH teams are going to want their best guys in the circle in high leverage situations.

    https://www.foxsports.com/nhl/stats?...group=1&time=0

    The stats also appear to require each face-off to have a "winner" and a "loser" … and that's not always the case. Not all face-off wins are the same. What this raw data doesn't tell you is what (much smaller) percentage of those "wins" are clean wins - you know, as in you beat the guy cleanly, pull the puck back to your defenseman, who starts up the PP OR has a clean chance at a quick exit clearance. You watch face-offs and you realize that many aren't clean wins - they get kicked around and contested, and no immediate advantage starts. If the puck sticks on the dot for a second, then gets pushed off to the wing boards, where it is contested for a few seconds, then someone finally gets a clean handle 5 seconds or more later … is that really a "face-off win", or did your team just win a puck battle??

    Let's dig a little deeper then … you're on the PP, and you lose that initial draw. They clear. You reorganize, and you come back into the opposition's zone. You've lost, what … 15-20 seconds on average?? That means you still have over 80% of your PP time intact. Hardly the end of the world. On the other side … you're on the PK, and you win that initial draw, and get a clean and quick clearance. The other team is coming back at you in 15-20 seconds. Again, you still have over 80% of that penalty left to kill. Hardly off the hook, right?

    Long and short of it is … yes, it's better to win faceoffs than to lose them. Clean wins - by either side - are even better, as it allows those clean winners to get the PP underway in earnest OR to get that crucial initial clear. But it's a temporary advantage that likely disappears not too long after the face-off. The game returns to the regular flow of play. And it gets more and more difficult to measure that stuff.

    I guess my overarching point here is that FOW isn't some huge game-shifting strategic issue, and it's hardly a deep, dark secret out there waiting for analytic folks to have a "Eureka" moment to justify their existence in hockey. It's a nice piece of data, but more complex than you're making it, by ignoring some of these various little realities that lie not too far beneath the surface. Hockey isn't baseball. JMHO.
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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    2020 is the year of FOW. SOG is so 2019. 😀

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoreboard View Post
    2020 is the year of FOW. SOG is so 2019. 😀
    So, in with Ray Dorn, out with e.cat? :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snively65 View Post
    So, in with Ray Dorn, out with e.cat? :-)
    Stealing signs is out in 2020 also:-)

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Quote Originally Posted by scoreboard View Post
    2020 is the year of FOW. SOG is so 2019. ��
    Let me know what years we get to "Corsi" or "Fenwick", so I can plan to rearrange my sock drawer.
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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Trey Taylor (Ty's brother) commits to Clarkson.

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Dorn View Post
    My point on face-offs is that they are much more important during special teams (both power play and penalty kill). There is a reason why the NHL changed the rule on face-off location starting a power play a few years ago. The hope of creating more goals by having the face-off in the offensive zone of the team on the power play. It is not just about the face-off winning percentage for the game. Here are two hypothetical situations: Both situations have each of the two teams having four power plays during the game (This would be eight face-offs starting each of the eight power plays). The first situation has the team winning 8 out of 8 face-offs starting their special teams, then going 18 for 44 during 5 on 5 play for a 52% (26/50) face-off winning percentage. The second situation has the team winning 0 out of the 8 face-offs starting their power play and penalty kill situations for the game, then going 26 for 44 during 5 on 5 play for the same 52% for the game.

    I am saying that face-off winning percentage (gaining possession of the puck off a face-off) is significantly more important during power play and penalty kill situations than during 5 on 5 play.
    And new this year in the NHL the team coming onto the power play even has their choice of which circle to take the faceoff in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Murray View Post
    Let me know what years we get to "Corsi" or "Fenwick", so I can plan to rearrange my sock drawer.
    You roll your t shirts?

    Strike that, given you are a Bentley grad.

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    I know I kid a lot, but those were a couple great wins!

    You’ve made Maine jealous even lately. Imagine what can happen when you rebuild with young coaching with enthusiasm???

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackI View Post
    I know I kid a lot, but those were a couple great wins!

    You’ve made Maine jealous even lately. Imagine what can happen when you rebuild with young coaching with enthusiasm???
    Yeah they definitely were...we have our work cut out for us this weekend too...but hopeful for some points. Maine too...has a big weekend. Going to be interesting! Go 'Cats!!
    Let's Go SouzaCats!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyRef View Post
    Yeah they definitely were...we have our work cut out for us this weekend too...but hopeful for some points. Maine too...has a big weekend. Going to be interesting! Go 'Cats!!
    You have a genuine heart. Don’t stop. It flows. Any fan base would love to have you.

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    Question Must be warming up a little in the Downeast ...

    … looks like some of the denizens are emerging from hibernation.
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    Re: Must be warming up a little in the Downeast ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Murray View Post
    … looks like some of the denizens are emerging from hibernation.
    You must mean JvR, who scored a goal and two assists on Saturday night in 4-1 win over Kings, and another goal on Tuesday night in 3-0 win over Pens?

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