In case you weren't paying attention, the Stars didn't do so well in overtime last year, stumbling to a 2-6 record. And while we probably remember both of their OT wins very vividly, the fact remains that they were never really able to ratchet up their play during the 4-on-4 period after regulation. How bad was this? Well, the Stars' winning percentage in the extra period was 28th in the league, which is Pretty Bad. Considering how competitive the Central Division is supposed to be next year, it would behoove the Stars to figure out what they are doing on the (very chopped-up) ice in overtime in order to acquire as many tallies in the ROW column as they possibly can. We all know that it's not like they can just hang on until the shootout, given recent history.
Here are a couple of what I will call observations rather than analysis, because they are essentially just me throwing numbers at you about overtime with really half-baked conclusions. Maybe you will figure out the problems and get hired as the next Dallas Stars Overtime Person. It is literally possible for that to happen at some point in the future.
Observation #1: The Stars didn't go to OT all that much
Dallas played Bonus Hockey 17 times last year, which was tied for 5th-fewest in the NHL. (The Rangers had the fewest, at only 12 games). This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the teams who reached overtime the most were as follows:
NYI, DET, OTT, PHX (24 times)
NJD (27 times)
WSH (28 times)
That's a lot of non-playoff teams and Detroit, who made it to the dance despite a negative goal differential, albeit one that was right behind the Stars. One would think the Stars would be very happy to avoid OT as much as possible, especially during intra-division games. No points for you, other team!
Conclusion: Not going to OT very often was probably a good thing.
Observation #2: The Stars
absolutely blew didn't play well without the fifth skater
Let's look at Extra Skater and see how the Stars did during 4-on-4 hockey in general compared with their 5-on-5 rankings, which I'll list (in parentheses):
19th in save percentage (also 19th during 5-on-5)
26th in shot differential (11th)
24th in CF% (14th)
22nd in shooting percentage (9th)
23rd in PDO (11th)
Those are a lot of bottom-third numbers for a team that was otherwise right in the thick of things.
Conclusion: Let's hope they switch to 3-on-3 overtime, like, tomorrow.
More hopeful conclusion: Having some more firepower behind Benn and Seguin may help this problem.
Tertiary conclusion: Offsetting minors put the Stars at an apparent disadvantage. You listening, #21 and #16?
Observation #3: Teams usually don't end it in overtime
Only 42% of games that went to overtime last year ended with an actual hockey goal rather than a shootout tally. The Panthers were the worst offender, as they went to a shootout in 14 of their 16 overtime games. They lost the two that ended in overtime, so perhaps this was "strategic" on their part, as they went 8-6 during the shootout. Perhaps many things the Panthers do should be described as "strategic," using air quotes when speaking.
New Jersey ended 14 of their 27 overtimes without a shootout--they may want to do that even more, considering their 9-5 record in overtime versus an 0-13 record (in multiple senses of the word) during the shootout. That's like a third of New Jersey's games that went long. I hope their game day staff is paid by the hour.
Dallas? They ended 8 of 17 during OT, although it would be more accurate to say that the other team usually ended it.
Conclusion: If you're Dallas, you've got to start hanging on to the puck in OT (see that raunchy 4-on-4 shot differential in point #2), even it's just to "boa-constrict' the game until the shootout.
Less sober conclusion: Did you know that Dallas spent more time on the power play last year than any other team in the NHL, yet they were only 23rd in power play goals scored? Granted, that formula seemed to not destroy LA, who was at least solid on the PK, but Dallas needs to find a way to capitalize with the extra man in order to avoid going to OT in the first place as much as possible.
Grumpy conclusion: Why did we bring up the power play at all, this is an article about overtime. Now I just started thinking about how Gonchar was supposed to bolster the Dallas PP and I looked at his $5 million cap hit and started absentmindedly gnawing on this coaxial cable I was supposed to be laying in the attic. Why did I even bring my computer up here in the first place?
"Gotcha" conclusion: Aside from Florida at 0-2, do you know the only other team who did worse than Dallas in overtime? Chicago, at 1-7. So, forget everything I said. Overtime means nothing, and this is all meaningless. Have a horrible day.
* * * * *
Here are some links for Monday that you can read during your federally-mandated break time at work.
You can watch the Stars' new intermission mogul Josh Bogorad (and some guy named Jim Nill) on video for free. What a deal! Here's the ominously-titled "Ask the GM: Part 1" video from the team. [Stars]
Mike Heika talks about the Stars' goaltending situation. Summary: Let's hope Kari can afford to play fewer than 77 games this season, maybe. [DMN]
Friday was Dallas Stars Day at Pro Hockey Talk, which apparently does not mean bothering to search Ask Jeeves for "Spezza trade" before going to print: "[Jim Nill] acquired Jason Spezza from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Alex Chiasson, Ludwig Karlsson, Alexander Guptill, Nicholas Paul, and a second round pick." We actually traded for Ludwig, thank you very much. [Pro Hockey Talk]
I'll just go ahead and cherry-pick the most inciting comment from Tim Cowlishaw's recent chat: "Biggest threats in the division? The fact that Chicago's still a lot better, St. Louis is better, Minnesota is probably better." Discuss! [DMN]
Word is trickling out of the old leaky pipe that we like to call Summer Hockey Media that Jason Spezza will be expected to produce for the Stars. This is news. [Pro Hockey Talk]
If you're bitter about the Chicago fans invading the AAC, offer to go run their blog and show them how things are really done around these parts. [Second City Hockey]
Let's read about Roberto Luongo's grim humor when it comes to mentoring his fellow goalies. (Bonus: watch the massive gaffe by Roberto that got Vancouver knocked out of the 2007 playoffs. [Skip to 3:30 if you forgot.]) [The Score]
Here's the latest from "Getting to Know the NHL Rulebook" by Winging It in Motown. So many Things to Know and Do! [Winging It in Motown]
EA Sports has released NHL 15's top five centers, and Tyler Seguin is not among them. Disagree? [EA Sports]
Part two in the search for hockey WAR series is up. [A.C. Thomas]
Icethetics ranks the uniforms worn by ice girls from each team around the league. They like the Dallas Ice Girls' uniforms, but click anyway if you're so-inclined. [Icethetics]
Down Goes Brown with a humorous piece of online web blog writing entitled, "Signs you've hired a bad advanced stats guy." [Down Goes Brown]
The Boston Globe says the NHL is about to explode with intelligence, which is only true if you believe that most clubs have not cared about any of this stuff before the summer of 2014, which is kind of not true. [Boston Globe]
Not hockey, but the (up to this point) greatest American soccer player has retired. Farewell, Landon Donovan. [Grantland]
And because we all love soccer as well as hockey's home network, here's your video. If you don't watch the Premier League on NBC Sports (all rights registered, like how cars are), then you may have missed the Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) bits they've done in the past. Part one is here, and the most recent one is below: