Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
Montreal Expos Forever ...
I'll never understand coaches or front offices (or fans) who only use/prefer analytical approaches nor, especially, those who want to eschew analytics from the process entirely. Its about gathering ALL of the information available and making the right decisions and installing the best lineups and practices.
UNH's penalty kill has been dreadful. They currently rank THIRD WORST in the entire country. They're 7-for-20 (65%) in the second half. They've had fewer attempts on the PK than almost anyone and they've given up more PPG against than almost anyone. Would it really ruin UNH hockey for people if the staff took a deeper look into the numbers regarding who they're running out there to verify what their eyes initially tell them are their best PKers? Especially if it resulted in a stronger unit? I tend to doubt it and in reality it would be coaching malpractice not to do it...
Would anyone enjoy the season more if all of UNH's current momentum wasted away because the coaching staff ignored statistical evidence of their PK's performance and stubbornly stuck to the same units and tactics? I wouldn't. I want to see them sure up their biggest concern and actually make something of this season. Everything is clicking except for one singular unit and people are talking Boston/NCAA Tournament - now imagine that unit getting up to par with the rest...
The staff should absolutely be looking into the numbers offered above and re-evaluating PK line-ups and tactics. They have little to lose and much to gain. I would imagine they are doing this and would disagree that rectifying the PK through whatever means necessary would be boring or ruinous in any way.
Most notably I often find their PK to be especially passive. I assume they do not wish to be caught out of position for easy back door goals, etc. That makes perfect sense, except it isn't working and too often they're giving opponents far too much time and space. When I watch the UNH PP (ranked 12th best in the country) they seem to have the worst go of it when opponents are aggressive in pressuring Gildon and other playmakers at the top of the zone. This can lead to getting beat for bad/easy/ugly goals against but it also leads to more rushed passes, turnovers and clears. The goals against might be unattractive, but does it really matter if you're giving up fewer?
The staff also need to take a look at shaking up the PK units - even if the only number theyre looking at is 30% goals against. The status quo isn't working. And finding out which players are excelling on the PK, or those who are struggling and making the right adjustments isn't ruinous. Its the coaches' job. I think anyone would have pegged Maass, Wyse, Blackburn, etc as their best PKers prior to the season. It SEEMS obvious, right? But the results are clear and using whatever they have at their disposal (video, eye tests, even numbers) to get to the bottom of things (potentially leading to something so terrible as math driven adjustments) is absolutely necessary if they want to maximize their potential success in 2020...
Last edited by Dan; 01-18-2020 at 01:47 PM.
Live Free or Die!!
Miami University '03
However, it was a great game where we looked very skilled and they looked like the tide coming in at us again and again. Will the clock be our friend before that tide takes our sand castle? Yup plus we got that great effort goal from AC! And by the way their goalie clearly carried the puck into the goal area. But it could have been a quick whistle and probably not conclusive as to timing in the replay.
Let's Go SouzaCats!
Your post today is very well written and to the point!
I agree that analytics can ruin a sport. Coaches start coaching toward what is currently the trendy stat. The players play with the thought of the stats being tracked. The Corsi and Fenwick statistics are very trendy today. I predict in a decade people will look back at them and laugh at how off they were.
Another statistic that stood out to me last night were face-offs. UNH won the vast majority of face-offs in the first period (3 goals for and 0 against). Providence won the vast majority of face-offs in the second period ( Providence 2 goals and UNH 0). The face-offs were pretty equal in the third ( UNH 1 and Providence 1).
Were the face-off results and goals for/against per period a coincidence or is there a correlation between the two???
I am sure Dan can dig up more specifics on this!
Last edited by Ray Dorn; 01-18-2020 at 01:36 PM.
Tonight's game will show if any adjustments were made, and, or....just stay out of the box!!! Go 'Cats!!
Let's Go SouzaCats!
In taking a brief look at the numbers indicating who has been on the ice for PK goals against, it does become clear that the PK has relied heavily on four specific defensemen and five key forwards. And they're mostly the players you'd expect. At first glance there are some that would cause you to raise an eyebrow when the numbers tell you they aren't performing on the PK - eye test and skill sets indicating they should be good killers - while for a couple others, the high PK goals against aren't necessarily a surprise and you might see opportunities for changes in roles. Now, again, in both cases this is just one piece of a large puzzle of information that coaches need to piece together...
Considering each of the skill set evaluations, video review (etc) and the numbers is the only way to figure out where the disconnect is and what you can do to get better. Anyone ignores one piece to the puzzle at their own peril, IMO...
With the team playing so well on the whole - and, yes Snively, finally getting great depth of scoring - the bar of what is possible raises greatly if they can continue to play well and figure out this last area of concern. I have faith in them doing ALL they can to do so, which is all you can ask for...
One thing that jumps out to me at the forward position on the PK is the guys they're relying on are the same guys they rely on to play big minutes 5x5 and play the PP. That adds up to a lot of ice time. I think they have capable PK type talents among their third and fourth line forwards and it would be interesting to me to see them experiment with more situational ice time for guys like MacAdams, Esposito, Engaras and Herrmann...
Last edited by Dan; 01-18-2020 at 01:50 PM.
Live Free or Die!!
Miami University '03
Looking at the numbers (box score) does not tell the full story. It just tells you who was on the ice when you got scored against on the pk. It does not show the players who were on the ice when you did not get scored on during the pk. Every coaching staff has the video of all of their penalty kills for the season and all of their power plays and many other areas of the game. They need to pull out all players' time on ice per goal scored against. A player who gets scored against for every 15 minutes of penalty kill time should be playing more than a player who gets scored against every 5 minutes of penalty kill time on ice! The player getting scored on every 5 minutes of penalty kill time should be playing less or not at all on the pk.
Last edited by Ray Dorn; 01-18-2020 at 02:31 PM.
EDIT: Here is the rule "A defending player, except the goalkeeper, shall not be permitted to fall on the puck, hold the puck or gather the puck into the body or hands when the puck is within the goal crease.
PENALTY—Penalty shot/optional minor; an additional penalty shall not be assessed."
So yeah, he gloved it and fell on it but it remained loose so who knows what the rationale is behind the eventual call. Again, my guess is that him not containing the puck and causing the stoppage was why they did not award the penalty shot.
Last edited by deltabravo62; 01-18-2020 at 03:07 PM.
The results match up with who Iíve seen killing penalties and UNH seems to have four preferred defenseman and four preferred forwards. With a fifth forward getting notable minutes on the shorthand. In that instance the numbers line up fairly well with who I see on the ice in these situations...
Obviously the numbers are not all created equal - for example all four defenseman have allowed between 8-10 PK goals against, but I would imagine itís very likely that two of them are first over the boards as often as possible and playing more PK minutes than the other two. Of course I donít know that which is why youíre dead on about the need to analyze this at a deeper level. I personally just donít have the means. The coaches do and hopefully theyíre doing the leg work because the analysis is necessary if not old school...
At forward for example, the raw numbers indicate high GA totals for the four main forwards. Two of them were significant pieces to a strong PK the last two seasons, while two others seem like less obvious fits on this type of unit. Again the numbers are just a jumping off point for further investigation, but itís all I really have at my disposal.
In doing the analysis one might learn that the experienced PK skaters were carried by stronger PKers of the last couple seasons (Nazarian, BVR, Vela, etc) or that the new PKers are not great fits. Or anything in between...
I think we agree entirely on the idea that a complete research including both eye test and analysis is what is needed to get to the root of the problem and if that turns off some fans, so be it in my opinion, as long as UNH gets things turned around...
I do think there might be something to the idea of asking too much of certain players to be your standouts in all three phases of the game. And my eye test tells me that MacAdams and Esposito, especially, have specific traits to fill (as well as a history of filling) this role. If analysis backs that up - and they certainly havenít been regularly victimized on the PK - then I think itís worth a shot. Engaras is another player who seems a natural fit and hopefully will continue to see more run on the unit as he gets more comfortable in the line up...
Other than being the best players - I donít know that the Fís given first crack were necessarily the best fits for this specific role by eye test or analysis. Iíd be very interested in PPGA/M and video might otherwise suggest - and I suppose weíll learn what they suggest over the next couple weeks as adjustments are made or not...
Last edited by Dan; 01-18-2020 at 03:03 PM.
I think we are on the same page here. I do not like to be negative. I feel like I am observing an accident about to happen and I can't do anything about it.
I do not know the answer here. It may be the wrong strategy with the right players. It may be the right strategy with the wrong players. Or it may be both the wrong strategy for this year's team and using the wrong players. I don't know, but it needs to be figured out.
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)