#Selke2Kopitar

#Selke2Kopitar…or, the article could well be called “The Jack Edwards Challenge.” For clarity, Jack Edwards is the bombastic, entertaining and absurdly over-the-top homer that does play-by-play for the Bahhstin Brewennns. During the Bruins game against the Flyers last Saturday, Edwards blurted out, “If anybody out there is more deserving of the Selke than Patrice Bergeron, I want to see him.” Well, Jack, I’m here to help.

My first kindness will be to assume that your failure to having yet seen a better Selke candidate than Bergeron is due more to ignorance than faulty analysis. Since the real candidate, Anze Kopitar, plays in the West, perhaps Jack you so exhaust yourself in orgiastic exclamation every time a Bruin does something positive that you simply cannot stay up, I mean awake, long enough.

Calling Jack a “homer” is not to say he is “Homeric;” though his quest is true, it is a fools errand. And here is why: Bergeron is actually getting less ice time this season than when he won it in 2010-2011, and meanwhile Kopitar’s season this year is better than both those seasons by Bergeron. A look at the graph below confirms it: (Graph 1)

KopitarBergeronOnlyGraph

Even though the NHL defines the Selke candidate as “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game,” we know that scoring enters into the equation. A Selke winner is expected to excel at Offense, too, as the extra threat while Defensively he holds off the opponent’s best scorers.

Kopitar has 65 points, this year. Bergeron has 60 now, and totaled 64 the year he won it. 

Kopitar has many more assists than goals, implying success across his line at 25G and 40A. Bergeron is much less a passer, as his goals/assists ratio is nearly even at 28/32 (7/8 yeah yeah yeah).

Kopitar’s plus/minus is 7th at +29; Bergeron is 2nd at +38. Both are excellent, and Bergeron has the edge, and you might say he has that edge with lesser goals so he must really stop the other guys. But in reality, Bergeron benefits from scoring by linemates, scoring that he is not involved with.  Also, Bergeron has a different focus on the PK, and his Pk Time On Ice has an impact on this stat, as well.

Let me explain: Boston is one of the highest scoring teams, while also being one of the best defensive teams. They are fighting for 1st in both stats. But, if a team scores a lot of goals across all lines, then the opponent cannot load up against one line defensively and that helps Bergeron. But with Kopitar, he is the #1 Center offensively and everybody knows it. It must be obvious that other teams start their scouting of the Kings with “so who can stop Kopitar?” Nonetheless, Kopitar has outscored Bergeron despite being the obvious target.

The site BehindTheNet rates Quality Of Competition: (linkalicious) It shows Kopitar faces much more difficult competition, as Kopi is ranked a full 40 places above Bergeron, at 60th to Bergeron’s 100th. So, tougher opponents, but does Kopi get more rest?

The answer to that is a resounding NO. Not even close; Kopitar is a Time-On-Ice beast. Bergeron puts out much less work, I mean, a TON less work. Kopi is 8th in total ice time per game, among forwards. Kopitar averages 20:57 per game. Bergeron averages only 18:01 per game, and where Kopitar is 8th Bergeron is 97th. That’s 97th I said. Might be easier to build that plus/minus if you jump off the ice like that…

As well, Kopitar’s impact on his team, which is virtually tied with Boston for allowing the fewest goals per game, has to be a greater impact than Bergeron; Kopi is out there for 21 minutes a game, Bergeron only 18. You might think that Bergeron has an edge, because he generated that plus #38 in less time, but that is faulty reasoning. More ice time means Kopitar is preventing goals for a longer period of time per game, while also facing tougher competition for that longer time per game.

Kopi kills an average of 2:36 per game on PK: Bergeron 1:31. Does PK count as Defensive play? Of course it does. And this is where the Plus/Minus draws closer between Bergeron and Kopitar.

Bergeron has 4 Short Handed Points (SHP) and Kopitar has zero. This gives Bergeron 4 to the Plus, as shorthanded goals are counted for and against, but Power Play goals do not impact the Plus/Minus stat. Bergeron’s focus is allowed to include offensive attack while shorthanded, because he spends much less time in the game and much less time on the PK than Kopi. So, if Bergeron plays 3 minutes less per game, and kills penalties for over a minute less per game, Bergeron can risk the shorthanded attack. Kopi needs to spread and conserve his energy; Bergeron does not.

Kopi spends 1:31 on the Power Play, Bergeron 1:32 per game. The only difference there is total points, with Kopi at 23, Bergeron 11. Same ice time on the PP, more points. Go Kopi.

If being a Defensive expert involves facing the opponent’s scoring lines, and as the Qual Comp showed Kopitar has the more difficult opponents, then the potential is there for mistakes and resulting penalties. In total ice time, all season long added up, Kopitar is 3rd among forwards league-wide with 1,655:04. Bergeron is 54th, with 1406:10 this year (in one less game played). Even so, with almost 250 more minutes played in total, Kopitar has only 24 minutes in penalties; Bergeron has 43. No wonder Bergeron kills fewer penalties; more of them are his own.

Kopitar has 8 Game Winners, that’s tied for 5th in the League. Bergeron has 7.

Kopitar has fewer shots on goal, but a higher shooting percentage and as we said, more total points and more Power Play points.

Bergeron has the advantage in Faceoff Percentage, 58.8 (stellar) and Kopitar is very respectable at 53.4.

Since the 2005-2006 season, the winners were Brind’Amour 2 in a row, Datsyuk 3 in a row, then Kesler, Bergeron and last year, Toews. Below is a chart showing the numbers from their winning years. (Graph 2)

KopitarSelkeGraph

Kopi’s numbers this year are either in line, or ahead, of the previous winners. His ice time is unmatched among winners, and it is important to note that all but one other Selke Award winner played over 20 minutes a night. Bergeron’s 18:01 stands out in stark contrast. Brind’Amour is retired, Toews is injured at the crucial voting time, so is Datsyuk, and Kesler is a minus 17 and will probably miss the playoffs. So, why do I concentrate on Bergeron so much? Partly because I want to set Jack Edwards straight, but mostly because he is the only really viable candidate other than Kopitar.

No, it’s down to 2, and Kopitar is only behind in name-recognition.

So, Jack, now do you see? Have you seen?

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My Best Ever

On a positive note, looking back this article sticks out. It covers Game 5 against the Sharks from late May, 2013.

This is everything the site was meant to be. It had the Player X Ray infographic, deep analysis of the game’s pivotal contests, some clever press-speak, even some moments of prose, and the comments showed interest from people not afraid to spend 10 minutes reading and thinking about hockey.

We didn’t do popcorn here, folks. We feasted.

Kings Engaged? No, Just Going Steady.

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Signing Off

Sitting here faced with two games of summary and tracking undone, it is a Sunday morning and I am looking at four hours or more of work to even just get the X Rays done, plus another couple of hours at least to write up the articles for games that happened two and three days ago. I’d rather rest.

Over this past summer events in my life nearly overwhelmed me. My sister passed, from cancer, in our home after a terrifically courageous battle. It was brutal, and came only 15 months after my Mom passed away, also after a protracted, inexorably deteriorating, and inevitable loss. For 8 months I was my Mother’s primary caretaker before my terminally diagnosed sister arrived in California and got the last two months to share with my Mom. In the past year I bought a house with my sister, and moved us in, but she enjoyed her first home for only 11 months total, but my sister and I got only 6 months really, before the cancer took over again, and I was again a primary caretaker which this time culminated in 6 weeks hospice in our home. This paragraph has three basic ingredients: time, loss and effort.

I am simply not the same person that could muster the focus required to write at the depth of understanding necessary to be informative. My “niche” as I understood it was based on what Coach Sutter did, and why I thought he did it. I am proud that I shared a viewpoint and that I correctly anticipated many, many lineup changes, positions adjustments, and in-game coaching decisions. To find that wavelength requires more cerebral “RAM” than I am currently willing to commit.

Essentially, and crudely, my articles were really an exhibition of arrogance, in a way. I wanted people to know I understood certain things, and that I used available information in a uniquely tailored way, which yielded what I thought was a valuable and predictive perspective on the Kings. If I got it right, I had proof that I had anticipated it. I thought I did it to generate discussion, and that if I led the discussion I would learn more and become even better at understanding the Kings successes and failures. But really, the whole exercise is an ego stroke leading to the pettiness of an implied “I told you so.”

So now, I see the time and effort required to maintain this site as something of a burden. It is now more something I am “supposed” to do, than something I am excited to do.

Time is much, much more valuable to me, now. I have suddenly gone from the youngest child to the sole survivor. I love the Kings, and they will see me through, but now as just another fan that thinks he knows what the hell is going on.

I thank you for your interest in this site. I am certain the activity and conversations provided me exactly what I needed, as distraction and company, during some very, very dark, the darkest, days.

Maybe I will find that person again, the one that goes to practices, reads everything, charts games, and spends 4 hours after each game making graphics and writing articles. That is not a very big maybe, though. Thank you, but for now, goodbye.

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Back From The Wilderness

Hold The Point is once again back on the interwebz, pumping out new content and driving the statistical analysis of meaningful data. First off, a few quick notes:

Game Breakdowns will include at least the Player X Ray. Text and descriptive examinations will likely sometimes be delayed or skipped.

This season the X Ray will be supplemented by “shift logs” tracking sheets. The coaching decisions and line choices are tracked in real time by me, in a format that shows all Kings on the ice at any time, in which order and with which linemates. Opposing centers will be tracked as well, as often as possible, but to fully list all Kings and opposition players would not allow me to actually watch the game as it is played, but rather I would only be looking for sweater numbers.

Now a couple of league-wide news capsules, and comments thereon.

PATRICK ROY- His blowup at the 8th Dwarf was so much fun… Boudreau probably got so mad he was spitting, but from the NHL Films record we already know that nothing could make Boudreau swear more. Still, seeing Patrick “Wink” Roy totally lose his shit was worth the pain to my eyes from looking at Ducks uniforms.

DUSTIN PENNER- Healthy for opening night, yet he was left out of the line-up by coaches decision. So, I say this… Pencakes: made from scratch.

OUR BROADCASTERS: “Hi everybody, Bob Miller along with Jim Fox. Well, we are getting screwed again by the networks and the league, letting NBC Sports call the game based on their tourist-depth Kings knowledge. So, we ask you to tune into KTLK and follow Nick “drunken slur” Nickson and Daryl “word count but little substance” Evans as they bring you all the play by play as Minnesota tries to hack its way thru the Kings stifling coverage. Hey fans, speaking of hacks, you can also catch the game on NBCSN.”

It wasn’t enough that we last saw our guys while listening to the NBC crew, now we have to wait another game until the real voices, the ones that know our team, are calling the game for us.  To Jim Fox: I love your work, seriously I do, but please tone down the volume level; you have begun shouting into the mike, which when coupled with your ample speed speech becomes too strong as an “enhancement” to the visual aspect of the broadcast.

That’s all folks, for now. Game Day!!

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Ladies And Gentlemen, Your Los Angeles Kings 2013-2014

With the only remaining decision being Kyle Clifford’s signing, we can finally examine the roster going into Training Camp 2013. First I am showing a depth chart, X Style. At the last will be a screen grab of CapGeek’s current listing, just to summarize the financial aspect and, if you like, you can use the relative salary amounts to help you prioritize your own depth chart.

As you will see, in some cases players are listed in multiple positions. If a player has played Center and Left Wing, as with Mike Richards, he is listed under both positions.

A few notes on the ranking system I used.

First, a player has to have played the position to be listed under it.

Second, the order from top to bottom is “best-to-worst” but is based on competence at fulfilling a certain role, either as a scoring player or a defensive specialist. What I mean is, I put Carter at Center behind Stoll; this only means that I think Stoll is better at being a Checking Center than Carter is at being a Scoring Center. Carter can play Scoring Center, and he would be the third in line for that, but again Stoll is better at his role of Checking Center than Carter would be at Scoring Center. So, the ranking assumes that you, the reader, knows a bit about the role each player most often has been assigned to play.

Third, when a close call came, I used a rule of “If I only had these two guys, who do I want more” which disregards the dynamic of needing 2 Scoring Centers, for example. Again, with Stoll and Carter, there are instances where I would prefer Carter, but in the most common usages it’s Stoll. Continue reading

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L.A. Kings Depth Chart 2013-2014 Pre-Season

 

 

 

 

Companion post for Side-By-Side reading of “Ladies And Gentlemen, Your Los Angeles Kings 2013 – 2014″ Continue reading

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