Don't you enjoy when you completely figure out what you're doing? The journey to reach that point is a struggle sometimes, but reaching the finish line usually ends up feeling as if it were worth the struggle. The Stars are fighting that battle early on this season under a new system, and I fought that battle last night in my first crack at scoring a Stars game for The Scoring Chance Project. Tonight I began to find my groove while the Stars looked like they were stuck on a 30 degree hill in an ice storm.
It happens to all of us from time to time, and just as the Stars will undoubtedly learn from their errors in tonight's game I, too, have learned. The recording was faster, crisper, and clearer. I'm coherent while writing this so I feel like I might have some opinions to share, and I have enough of the aforementioned mental faculties left to be able to clarify a few questions from last night's example. Follow the jump to read on about that clarification, and to confirm that yes, the game you just watched was as one-sided as it appeared.
Before we get to any of the night's stats I am going to take a moment to clarify a few general issues about these numbers. First, let's start with what happens when a scoring chance is recorded. Every player on the ice is awarded credit for a scoring chance when they are on the ice for both goals for and against (against being negative). The idea is that over time you will be able to compare how a team does with Player A on the ice by comparing what happens when he is on the ice to what happens when he isn't on the ice. It's basically the MVP argument. "If you remove Player A from Team Whatever, how much would the team miss Player A"?
One consequence of this is that an offensive line or a defensive pair will be awarded one scoring chance per player on the ice. So, when you see Radek Dvorak, Steve Ott, and Vernon Fiddler with a combined 20 scoring chances in tonight's game don't try to sum those up. Each player has been awarded a scoring chance so you're counting a few chances three or four times.
As for reading these charts...let's break them down. For the sake of clarity moving forward we'll weave analysis and explanation of the charts together this morning. The first chart I am going to post in these entries is the overall team total chances for the night.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
The column titles should be fairly self explanatory, but what you might get tripped up on is the data itself. The data is broken down by period and situation. Look at the Totals column. For the second period you see a two and a ten. What that means, and what it will mean for every chart, is that the Stars generated two chances while allowing ten. Stars specific entries will always be on the left for our purposes. The same thing holds true for every column in the chart. Look at third period SH. The Stars generated zero chances, and allowed the Hawks powerplay to create two chances.
What immediately jumps out at me from last night's totals chart is the disparity in scoring chances on the night. The Hawks outchanced the Stars by ten, and it wasn't even that close. The Stars had three chances in the final three and a half minutes to close the gap, and they had two powerplay chances in the final ten minutes of the third. Going into the final ten minutes the Stars were being out-chanced 20-7.
The second chart I will be using on a regular basis is the player summary. This chart is very similar to the team total chart, but, oddly enough, is broken down by individual player. The chart gives indentifying information about the Stars players, and is broken down by manpower situation. It also gives time on ice for each player in each situation. Like the team total chart you are given scoring chances for and scoring chances against for each player. Also like before, the number on the left is good while the number on the right is bad. Take Robidas for instance. At Even Strength (EV) his units generated seven scoring chances, and gave up five. Sheldon Souray on the power play? His units created two chances, and gave up none.
From watching the game we knew it wasn't particularly good, but this chart's value comes from giving us the ability to see where the chances for both sides were coming from. Last night the Stars top trio of Michael Ryder, Mike Ribeiro, and Brenden Morrow hemorrhaged scoring chances. The D pairing of Sheldon Souray and Trevor Daley was particularly poor in that regard too. This quintet was a -5, -6, -5, -5, and -6 in scoring chances at even strength.
Additionally, Gulutzan's top forward line is also serving as his top powerplay unit. Tonight they created zero scoring chances with the man advantage. Zero, and each had over five minutes of powerplay time. Both powerplay chances tonight were generated by the Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Steve Ott trio. If they aren't already (I'd argue they are), that trio will be deserving of a bump in powerplay minutes in short order.
Before we get to the final chart I want to point one thing out that most Stars fans seem to want to ignore. This team sorely misses Brad Richards. They speak of depth, but they fail to mention that having Mike Ribeiro as your second line center because Richards is manning your top line is incredible depth. The Stars aren't generating enough offense so far, and the guys they are leaning on heavily to generate that offense are getting shredded defensively. They can't win like this long term. Nicklas Grossman coming back into the lineup should help fix that situation, but those three are also better players than this. Ribeiro and Morrow played tough minutes last season and succeeded. They've proven that they have it in them, and they're the unquestioned catalysts for this club as of now. The Stars need more out of them if they want to succeed.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Goligoski, despite his struggles, was still a net positive tonight
The final chart I will be posting is the detailed list of all scoring chances. I think this chart is fairly simple. It tells you the team name, period, time of the chance, and a note I made about each chance. You then have the number for every player on the ice at the time available to you followed by the man power situation. I have a spreadsheet that allows me to look at individual line matchups, but I'm still figuring out how to use it. When I get that going...watch out. You will be bombarded with information.
One thing I can tell you definitively right now is that Mike Ribeiro is going to be having nightmares about #36 Dave Bolland.
|CHI||1||18:36||Kane high slot||6||14||21||30||44||81||2||8||43||50||81||88||5v5|
|CHI||1||13:51||Hossa top right circle||6||30||44||63||73||2||5||10||50||81||4v4|
|CHI||1||13:00||Kane shot deflected||3||28||29||30||7||10||19||50||88||3v4|
|CHI||1||11:54||Brunette tip of Sharp shot||3||14||21||28||30||7||10||15||19||50||88||4v5|
|CHI||1||11:30||Frolik top left circle||6||10||30||44||63||73||2||4||29||36||50||67||5v5|
|DAL||1||10:08||Ott low slot||3||20||29||30||33||38||2||8||10||15||19||50||5v5|
|CHI||1||8:27||Bolland wrap around||10||28||30||36||63||73||4||7||29||36||50||67||5v5|
|DAL||1||6:15||Larsen screened high slot slap||16||23||28||29||30||36||8||10||16||19||32||50||5v5|
|DAL||1||3:04||Larsen shot tipped by Ryder||3||29||30||36||63||73||2||8||10||43||50||88||5v5|
|CHI||1||2:50||Kane shot over net||3||29||30||36||63||73||2||8||10||43||50||88||5v5|
|CHI||2||19:00||Hossa low right circle||6||14||21||30||44||81||2||8||43||50||81||88||5v5|
|CHI||2||16:48||Saad weak backhand||3||20||23||29||30||33||2||8||16||22||43||50||5v5|
|CHI||2||16:23||Kane loose puck in slot||3||16||20||23||30||33||5||6||15||50||81||88||5v5|
|CHI||2||13:58||Hossa low slot||3||10||28||30||33||63||2||8||29||36||50||81||5v5|
|CHI||2||11:12||Bolland low slot||6||10||30||44||63||73||4||7||29||36||50||67||5v5|
|CHI||2||8:39||Toews breakaway out of box||6||14||21||28||29||30||4||7||10||19||50||81||5v5|
|DAL||2||7:26||Fiddler low from Burish||3||16||20||30||33||38||6||7||10||15||19||50||5v5|
|CHI||2||3:15||Brunette low slot||14||16||30||33||36||2||8||15||29||36||50||4v5|
|DAL||2||2:30||Ryder right dot||3||10||30||33||63||73||4||7||29||36||50||67||5v5|
|CHI||3||14:47||Sharp right circle||6||11||23||30||44||81||2||8||16||22||50||81||5v5|
|DAL||3||12:15||Eriksson from Benn in slot||3||14||21||29||30||33||5||6||10||19||43||50||5v5|
|DAL||3||9:53||Ott deflection of Souray||6||14||21||29||30||44||2||6||16||22||50||5v4|
|DAL||3||6:52||Eriksson deflection of Benn shot pass||6||14||21||29||30||44||4||7||36||50||67||5v4|
|DAL||3||2:13||Ott alone in low slot from Eriksson||6||14||21||29||30||44||2||8||43||50||81||88||5v5|
As always, if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments or send me an email. You can get ahold of me on Twitter @JoshL1220 if you have any questions also.