nhl power rankings and projections: nov. 5

It’s the third week of power rankings here, and things are beginning to normalize everywhere except for No. 1 and No. 30. The Penguins have not only stayed at the top, they’ve separated themselves from the pack big time, while Buffalo continues to remain historically awful.

Meanwhile, the recent play of the Kings has been troubling as they had the biggest fall this week along with the Canadiens who have been downright putrid despite an 8-4-1 record.

If you haven’t read it yet, this is how I’ll be measuring each team this season. And here is last week’s rankings.

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nhl power rankings and projections: oct. 29

It’s still very early as some teams haven’t even played 10 games yet, but the rankings are looking better already.

In the second edition of my power rankings powered by math, the Kings make their entry into the top 10, while the Blue Jackets fall very far out of the top 10 as injuries strike. Plus, a new addition to the season projections: playoff odds.

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nhl power rankings and projections: oct. 22

Two weeks into the season, it’s finally time to do some power rankings apparently. It’s still stupid early in the season to judge or predict anything, but everyone else was doing it so here’s mine.

Most power rankings are done with subjectivity and gut feel. This is not one of those. I don’t think you care who anyone thinks is the best team, because no one really knows, it’s just an opinion. I want to change that and rank the teams as objectively as possible, but even that won’t be perfect either, especially this early in the season.

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2014-15 top 50 nhl players

Who are the 50 best players in hockey? It depends on who you ask because everyone has an opinion on who belongs among the league’s elite, and any list will spark controversy. So rather than complain (anymore) about the lists out there, I decided to make my own list along with my good pal Steve Tzemis. Is this list perfect? Yes No. But I personally think it’s a decent picture of who the best players are going into next season and beyond. And that’s meant as no disrespect to any other lists, I just always end up disagreeing with them, hell I disagreed with most half some of Steve’s picks too. This is our Top 50.

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why possession isn’t everything

It’s true. Possession isn’t everything. The problem with that argument is no one seriously looking at it disagrees. It’s a strawman argument.

But while no one is arguing that puck possession is everything, it does seem to be the only thing that people really focus on when analyzing hockey (with some exceptions obviously).

That’s not a wrong thing to do, possession is a tremendous indicator of future success, but it’s missing part of the pie. The part where shooting and goaltending talent exist. The part of the game that isn’t played 5 on 5. These things matter. It’s not at the level that possession matters in the long run, but it’s a vital part of a team’s success. Factoring those two pieces creates a better measure of future success and arguably a team’s true talent.

That’s what I aimed to do this summer, put the pieces together in a way that makes sense given what we know about the game right now. (I swear it was to further the discussion and not for gambling).

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2013-2014 stanley cup final preview

The Stanley Cup Final is set and it’s a match made in TV heaven. The two biggest markets in the USA square off in what will likely be a ratings bonanza.

New York. Los Angeles. Somewhere Gary Bettman is smiling while a paid butler makes it rain. This matchup is probably all he ever wanted.

This is a matchup that many analytics types had predicted from the get go (one even made over $3,000 from a $75 bet on twitter dot com).

The Kings led the league in puck possession, and got even better after acquiring Marian Gaborik.  They were the fourth best POP team in the West and seventh in the entire NHL. But in their last 25 games they were second to only Boston in the entire league.

The Rangers were a Stanley Cup dark horse going in, quietly being the sixth best possession team in the league. They were right behind the Kings as the eighth best POP team, but also the fourth best in their last 25 games of the season (behind Boston, Los Angeles, and San Jose).

Coming in to this playoffs, POP was at 56-19 in accurately predicting series outcomes. This year it’s stumbled to an 8-6 record through three rounds after going 1-1 in Round 3 (POP over the last 25 games is 10-4 and was 2-0 in Round 3).

Five of those six losses came in a seventh game against a road team. A bounce the other way and that record would be a bit more respectable.

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turn blue

kflyfm.com (The Black Keys)The Black Keys – Turn Blue

May 13, 2014

45 minutes

From the get go, you could tell that Turn Blue was going to be a different album than anything done before by the Akron, Ohio duo.

Whether that get-go was from their first single, the synth-induced and infectious Fever, or whether it was album opener Weight of Love, it was very unlike anything the Black Keys have done before.

With their last album El Camino, a garage rockabilly foot stomper from start to finish, the Black Keys rose to become one of the biggest mainstream rock bands in the world. Mainstream is a funny word considering not only their roots, but also their classic rock approach which has become a dying breed on new rock radio.

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2013-2014 nhl playoffs preview: round three

In case you haven’t read it yet, this is the system I’m rolling with this year that combines possession, talent, and special teams.

It’s going really well so far…

POP is currently 7-5 after going 2-2 in round two (goddamn east). Which is not very good. Before this year it went 56-19 since 2008-2009, so this year has been very crazy compared to other years in terms of upsets and a lot of series could’ve went the other way.

Take for example the six (!) series that went to seven games.

The home team is 1-5 in those games. They all had a 3-2 (or better) series lead. POP had them all to win except Anaheim in Round 2, so a 2-4 record in series that went to seven. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. In only one of those instances where the series went to seven, did the team that played better in that series win (Minnesota over Colorado) although you can say the San Jose-LA series was a toss-up.

Basically, a lot of bad luck going the home (and arguably better) team’s way, and in turn, my way as well.

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what’s wrong with sidney crosby?

Nothing.

And I can end the post right there and be right. Because the best player in the world shouldn’t need defending. But for some reason it’s become in vogue to rag on Crosby this season, especially after a “disappointing” Olympics where he only had three points in six games.

Fast forward to the playoffs and Pittsburgh barely got by Columbus in a series where Crosby didn’t have a goal. In fact, he’s goalless in his last 11 playoff games dating back to last year. Crosby was even booed in Pittsburgh! They’d be in Kansas if it weren’t for him!

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2013-2014 nhl playoffs preview: round two

Wow. That’s all I can say. Round 1 had some of the best hockey I’ve seen in a few years.

If you missed it, this is how I said I would be predicting the playoffs this year. To summarize I combined fenwick close (possession), goals close adjusted for PDO (talent), powerplay and penalty kill (special teams) to get a number that was accurate 75% (56-19) of the time over the last six years.

In Round 1 this year, it went 5-3. Which is okay, but definitely not great. It’s below the 75% average, so I’m a little disappointed. Especially considering it was 5-1 going into the last two game sevens where both teams were on home ice, had leads in the games, and 3-2 leads in the series. But thats sports. Anything can happen. Luck is a big part of the game and it’s something I mentioned in the last post.

That’s not to say the teams that won were lucky to win, it means that a bounce or two the other way and maybe San Jose wins in game 4…or 5… or 6… or 7 (jesus..) or Colorado puts it away in overtime. In any sense, stats are always a probability, not a destiny. Seeing a team go against the odds like LA (although it’s because of luck that they were down 3-0 in the first place) and win is what makes sports great. No one would watch if everything that happened was predictable.

With all that being said, here’s what I think will happen in round two, a round that’ll probably be much more cut and dry than round one.

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2013-2014 nhl playoffs preview: round one

I wrote something yesterday about how I would be predicting the playoffs this year, based on a combination of stats. That stat is better used over larger sample sizes especially with how volatile special teams can be. But just for fun, this is for the “what have you done for me lately crowd.”

Basically I took 25 game averages throughout the year of each team’s POP and compared it to the teams opponent. It’ll be interesting to see if this works better than looking at a team’s overall number, and it also shows how close the teams have been throughout the year. Also, due to the small sample size, some teams will be over 100%, which is pretty neat I guess. Also, for the record, anything below 70 is really bad. No team has ever made the playoffs with a POP below 70, and some of the teams below played like that for significant stretches of time.

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predicting the nhl playoffs

Using Stats to Predict the Playoffs

No single stat will ever tell you the entire story in hockey. And that’s especially true when you want to use them to to look at what the future holds. On any given night, any team can win. Luck plays a big factor in that.

Over a large enough sample size, some of that randomness will be tuned out.

But then we get to the playoffs and it’s decided in a gruelling seven game series, where luck again plays a huge role because of the small number of games. It’s why the playoffs are so exciting, they’re unpredictable.

And yet, everyone tries to predict them.

Some just say “well this team stacks nicely up against this team” with their chests puffed out, knowing full well they’ve probably seen both teams play two or three times a year when they came through Toronto to play.

Most people use what they remember from watching those past games and using any number of stats to fill in the blanks. Mostly because using just one stat won’t tell you the whole story.

If you did, these are the stories they would tell.

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