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Canes 2010 general off season talk

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I think the 1-3 games estimate is a very kind. I wouldn't be surprised if it hits double digits.

Do you mean double digit losses based on face off losses, or double digits out of the playoffs, or both?

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Anyway, while it might be a touch embarrassing, I would suggest that Jokinnen take all powerplay and shorthanded draws with Staal starting out on the wing for those plays, maybe even staying there for those plays. Staal takes all draws between the bluelines, and 5 on 5 draws in the attacking zone. This continues until Staal puts up at least 50 faceoffs in a row with at least a 49% win rate. That's a solution.

Now, I've never played organized hockey. If this is a dumb idea I'm ok with it, but I'd like to know why. This year there will be no Brind'Amour to mask the Staal effect on faceoffs. We could move to around last in the league in face offs. This will cost us 1-3 wins. If this team is in contention, it will likely be very close and 1-3 wins could make a big difference.

It could work, but it can sometimes get a little confusing. Also it can really hurt a guys confidence in his all around game if the coach makes the decision to this. I think you under estimate the importance of the faceoff with an estimate of it costing us 1-3 wins. Look back to the 2009 Playoffs against Boston. Game 7 there is an awful icing call made. Boston wins the draw cleanly and quickly makes the game 1-0. This could have been huge if the Canes didn't have the team they did.

For Staal, the best thing might just be learning how to tie a guy up better so the support from the winger can get in there and help out. Taking the draw is an artform which takes patience, practice, and discipline.

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It could work, but it can sometimes get a little confusing. Also it can really hurt a guys confidence in his all around game if the coach makes the decision to this. I think you under estimate the importance of the faceoff with an estimate of it costing us 1-3 wins. Look back to the 2009 Playoffs against Boston. Game 7 there is an awful icing call made. Boston wins the draw cleanly and quickly makes the game 1-0. This could have been huge if the Canes didn't have the team they did.

For Staal, the best thing might just be learning how to tie a guy up better so the support from the winger can get in there and help out. Taking the draw is an artform which takes patience, practice, and discipline.

I appreciate the response about switch Staal over. I still think Staal's ego could handle it, but maybe as captain it would not be worth it.

On the 3-4 game differential. I was surprised by that also, but have found many sources that suggest it's true. And the 3-4 wins is between the best team and the worst team. In between it is even less.

Here are quote and links to back it up:

The most significant result of this analysis is that teams should use their best face-off men on face-offs deep in their own end to decrease the likelihood of being scored on. Similarly, they should also use their best face-offs takers in the offensive zone. If a team improves its face-off winning percentage in these situations from 50% to 60% (say, by signing Yanic Perreault, assuming all other things are equal), it can expect, on average, to improve its goal differential by 25 goals over the course of the season. In today’s NHL, this translates into an additional three or four wins...

http://www.behindthenet.ca/faceoff.html

The difference in faceoff performance from the best teams in the league to the worst has been estimated to be worth roughly 3 wins within a given season - not a huge amount, but certainly significant.

Link: http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2010/6/7/1505557/breaking-down-faceoff-winning

Last season, the correlation of faceoff percentage and total standings points was 0.51; when compared to other statistics such as goal differential (0.95) and shot differential (0.63), it ends up low on the totem pole of things that correlate with teams winning hockey games.

http://www.fearthefin.com/2009/11/11/1125724/the-importance-of-faceoffs

The extreme case of one player who takes and wins the maximum number of offensive and defensive faceoffs of any player currently in the league (this player does not exist), that player is likely worth about 3 (or at most 4) goals to his team from his faceoff wins. That is why faceoffs do not correlate well with winning.

http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.php/psh/comments/the_importance_of_faceoffs/

To repeat, over the course of roughly one thousand playoff games since 1997-98, having a 55 percent to 45 percent faceoff advantage over your opponent statistically gains you zero goals and zero wins.

http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=101

These guys may all be wrong, but I found nothing suggesting the effect was greater.

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I appreciate the response about switch Staal over. I still think Staal's ego could handle it, but maybe as captain it would not be worth it.

On the 3-4 game differential. I was surprised by that also, but have found many sources that suggest it's true. And the 3-4 wins is between the best team and the worst team. In between it is even less.

Here are quote and links to back it up:

The most significant result of this analysis is that teams should use their best face-off men on face-offs deep in their own end to decrease the likelihood of being scored on. Similarly, they should also use their best face-offs takers in the offensive zone. If a team improves its face-off winning percentage in these situations from 50% to 60% (say, by signing Yanic Perreault, assuming all other things are equal), it can expect, on average, to improve its goal differential by 25 goals over the course of the season. In today’s NHL, this translates into an additional three or four wins...

http://www.behindthe...ca/faceoff.html

The difference in faceoff performance from the best teams in the league to the worst has been estimated to be worth roughly 3 wins within a given season - not a huge amount, but certainly significant.

Link: http://www.onthefore...faceoff-winning

Last season, the correlation of faceoff percentage and total standings points was 0.51; when compared to other statistics such as goal differential (0.95) and shot differential (0.63), it ends up low on the totem pole of things that correlate with teams winning hockey games.

http://www.fearthefi...nce-of-faceoffs

The extreme case of one player who takes and wins the maximum number of offensive and defensive faceoffs of any player currently in the league (this player does not exist), that player is likely worth about 3 (or at most 4) goals to his team from his faceoff wins. That is why faceoffs do not correlate well with winning.

http://www.kuklaskor...ce_of_faceoffs/

To repeat, over the course of roughly one thousand playoff games since 1997-98, having a 55 percent to 45 percent faceoff advantage over your opponent statistically gains you zero goals and zero wins.

http://www.puckprosp...p?articleid=101

These guys may all be wrong, but I found nothing suggesting the effect was greater.

Good information, I was looking for something like this to read, but became a bit lazy in the search, so thanks for the leg work!

I think in our case what will be a bigger factor for us is keeping Staal healthy and scoring goals. It sounds obvious, but we have a greater statistical chance of winning when he is scoring goals then hoping someone else does. Or maybe the other way, we lose when he is off the boards. Same difference I guess.

"Eric Staal scores 3 goals and 2 assists in October, and the Hurricanes come out of the gate with a 2-7-3 record. In November, Staal plays five games, doesn't score a goal, and the Hurricanes lose all of them. In Carolina's 39 losses, Staal had 8 goals. "

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So, apparently the evidence suggests an average of 1-2 games lost being worst vs. average (the 3 games is worst vs. best) in the face-off circle. That said, in this crazy league where a team can make the playoffs at the last second and go all the way to the finals, 1-2 games is still important. Further, that's the average. It could end up being more losses. I still think Staal needs a goal of at least, say 47% wins. If he can do it, fine. If not, someone else takes the big draws even with Staal out there. Maybe it hurts his confidence, but I doubt it. As captain he should want what's best for the team. If his ego will be damaged because he doesn't take the draw in an ultra key situation despite his stats as the worst face off man in the league, then that is a bigger problem than the faceoffs.

With that said, even as a terrible faceoff man, Staal is simply the man in every other (far more important) way. He is a bone fide franchise caliber player who does just about everything else better than just about everyone else. He can take over and win games single-handedly, the only way he is not an All-Star this year would be injury. He's the only one on the team I can say that about (though if Cam is healthy he is close to that status). Even if all of the question marks fall into place, the only reason we would be a legit playoff team is the presence of one Eric Staal (and of course a healthy Cam also).

So if everyone has a weakness, face-offs is a pretty good one to have.

One more thing. Despite the lack of a legitimate set up man on his line, I still think Staal will have a great year. If he had a legit top line winger he could run after 100 points again, but even without that, I bet he ends up in the mid 80s.

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Do you mean double digit losses based on face off losses, or double digits out of the playoffs, or both?

Sorry, didn't see your reply.

I was referring to losing more face-offs this year and that it will probably cost us more than just 1-3 games. As far as the playoffs go, I think it might be a long shot and will largely depend on our start, confidence and how healthy key players can stay. I'd be more than happy to see some unexpected surprises coming out of camp though.

About the face-off situation: It's just my gut feeling. I checked out your links and thought they were pretty interesting but they were also pretty generalized or way too ridiculous with their conclusions, like...over the course of roughly one thousand playoff games since 1997-98, having a faceoff advantage over your opponent statistically gains you zero goals and zero wins. EH? Correct me if I'm wrong but in game seven, didn't Kaberle score the game winning Cup goal off a face-off? Or Cole the eventual GT goal in the Molson Miracle game? Makes me wonder how many other goals or wins they have missed.

One thing they all seem to agree on is that winning face-offs infers greater puck possession, therefore more shots on goal and subsequently more goals for the attacking team or, fewer shots on goal and goals against for the defending team. One of their comments mentioned that it could mean an average of about 7 more SOG a game or 26 more goals over the course of a season. "All things being equal" it could mean anything from winning/losing no additional games at all to losing/winning 26 games. Who is to say for sure?

I think losing Whitney and our two best face-off guys this year will have the biggest negative impact on our special teams... or the potential is there anyways.

We had 332 powerplays last season and even with Brindy's and Cullen's most impressive PP FO% of 68.7% and 63.2% respectively, we still struggled way too much to score and use it to our advantage. Even with their excellent FO% we still only managed 22d place in the league. Now with Whitney also out of the equation and Brindy and Cullen's FO skills replaced by Sutter's 45.3 PP FO% and Staal's 43.7 PP FO%, I find it hard to get a warm and fuzzy optimistic feeling. Sutter just might be the big surprise this year since he improved from 47.7% in his 1st 18 games to 52.7% in his last 18 games.

Our penalty killing situation doesn't look to be much better. In 320 short handed situations Brindy won 55.3% and Cullen 50% of the face-offs. Now our PK lines are poised to win only around 39% of the face-offs (43.2% for Sutter and 35.7% for Staal) which suggests that the opposing PP will have even more opportunities to keep the puck in our zone, get more shots on goal and hence score more PP goals.

Like I said, I'd welcome any and all unexpected surprises be it Sutter on the face-off or much improved special teams but right now I don't see anything in the works.

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At first I was surprised by those statistics also. I could find nothing that suggested the effect was greater. I did not cherry pick those stats, they were the ones I found. My bias was that faceoffs were more important than that. Possession on the powerplay and shorthanded is clearly more key. A center should win most of those PP draws due to the extra man and defensive positioning. If we go from near the top to near the bottom and that alone costs us three wins, that is pretty key.

The difference between 8th place and 13th place in the East was 5 wins. 4 more wins and we'd have been tied for 8th last year.

When you consider that 3 wins is an average swing, it could be less, or more. Cleary 4 more wins is HUGE in this parity driven league.

Give 4 more wins to any team in the East except Toronto and everyone's within a game of the playoffs.

When one considers all of the factors that go into winning a game, faceoffs is low on the totum pole, but it's on the pole.

That said, on the PP, and short handed, it would seem to me that we could go with whoever is best in the circle. If letting Jussi take a few draws on the powerplay bums Staal out, then Staal can improve his face offs. If it leads to even ONE more win, it would be worth it.

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At first I was surprised by those statistics also. I could find nothing that suggested the effect was greater. I did not cherry pick those stats, they were the ones I found. My bias was that faceoffs were more important than that. Possession on the powerplay and shorthanded is clearly more key. A center should win most of those PP draws due to the extra man and defensive positioning. If we go from near the top to near the bottom and that alone costs us three wins, that is pretty key.

The difference between 8th place and 13th place in the East was 5 wins. 4 more wins and we'd have been tied for 8th last year.

When you consider that 3 wins is an average swing, it could be less, or more. Cleary 4 more wins is HUGE in this parity driven league.

Give 4 more wins to any team in the East except Toronto and everyone's within a game of the playoffs.

When one considers all of the factors that go into winning a game, faceoffs is low on the totum pole, but it's on the pole.

That said, on the PP, and short handed, it would seem to me that we could go with whoever is best in the circle. If letting Jussi take a few draws on the powerplay bums Staal out, then Staal can improve his face offs. If it leads to even ONE more win, it would be worth it.

I'm also surprised that there isn't more of an impact to winning games based on this stat. While Staal was pretty bad last year (down near 41%), the two previous years he was around 45%. Hopefully his injuries and off-the-ice situations were part of the problem last year. It would certainly be nice to see him get up near Roddy's 58%, but I think that's unlikely. Getting him up around 48-49% would be very helpful.

Sutter was at 49% last year as well, so perhaps he can be counted on to improve the more face-offs he sees.

I know I will incur more comments, but again the spectre of missing Cullen rears its head. Matt was an excellent face-off man for us, with percentages in the 53%+ range the last couple years.

If Dwyer actually wins the 4th line center role, it looks like he'll need to improve. His % was 34.8% last year, which is abysmal.

Finally, I firmly agree that we should let the Juice take some of the key face-offs that would have normally fallen to Rod in the past. As with penalty shots, Jokinen appears to excel at these types of things; his face-off percentage last year was 51.3% and in 08-09 he was 58%.

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