A Look at the 2013-14 CBJ WOWY Numbers

Posted by The Coach on June 17, 2014
Stats / 2 Comments

WOWY. Also known as With Or Without You. It’s not just a U2 love song, in fact it’s a pretty useful tool for looking at how players perform with certain teammates, what players are driving their lines, which ones are dragging their lines down, and which combinations seem to work at bringing the best out of each other. The basic data came from Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, and boy do they have a lot of data. Within those pages you can find WOWY details for pretty much every player over the last few seasons, combined seasons, when the score is close, and much more. For this post, I used 5v5 data from the 2013-14 season only (to keep the sample size as large as possible). So I took all that information, and made a nice big fancy chart. It shows the Corsi percentage that each player is better (or worse) with each player. So the corresponding space in the chart of Johansen With (along the top of the chart) and Foligno (on the left side of the chart) shows the difference between Ryan Johansen‘s Corsi For % with Nick Foligno, and Johansen’s Corsi For % away from Foligno. Got it? Good. Let’s take a look at the chart, then go over a few things that need to be considered. After that is the good stuff: the players who come out best (and worst) in this analysis, the best combinations of players, and various ideal/terrible/etc. lineups.

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Jack Johnson, James Wisniewski, and the Roles of Defensemen

Posted by The Coach on May 28, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets / 4 Comments

Jack Johnson. James Wisniewski. Two divisive players playing the same position. A quick Google search will bring up loads of examples of people saying how bad Jack Johnson is. A quick search of Twitter post-playoff elimination would have found numerous examples of people saying how bad James Wisniewski is. What all that super analysis tends to forget is the role of a defenseman. Which isn’t always easy to judge. It’s much easier to watch a forward play, look at his stats, and decide with reasonable accuracy how good (or bad) he is. For defensemen, it is MUCH more difficult. That stats aren’t quite as telling. Some of the most important aspects of playing defense have no stats, are barely perceptible to most viewers, and are significantly influenced by the role the defenseman plays on his team. Put a guy in his own end, against the best players, and make him the primary puckhandler on his pairing, and you’ll see a lot of goals against, a lot of turnovers, and not a lot of points. Put a guy in the offensive zone, against lesser competition, playing with scorers, and make him one of the focal points of the offense, and you’ll see less turnovers, lots of points and goals, and less goals against. Switch up either of those roles on the fly,  and you’re likely to see the results switch up. There are only six defensemen on a team, so unless they are just rolled over willy nilly, you can’t compare teammates (well unless they are partners). You need to look at how those defensemen compare to other defensemen playing similar roles. So that’s what I did for Johnson and Wisniewski to try and find out if they are good, average, terrible, or deserving of buyouts.
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The Second Annual tUB Awards: King Clancy Memorial Trophy

Posted by The Coach on May 23, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets, tUB Awards / No Comments

Here it is folks, the day you’ve all been waiting for. I bet every single one of you has been waiting on pins and needles to find out who wins the Clancy. It is awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community. Generally, this one goes to players who do extremely awesome philanthropy. As we aren’t exactly privy to that information (for the most part) it took on a little different flavor. And your winner is….. Continue reading…

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Memorial Cup Thoughts

Posted by The Coach on May 22, 2014
Prospects / 1 Comment

I had the great fortune of attending the first four games of this year Memorial Cup in London, Ontario. This tournament pitted the host London Knights against the WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings, OHL Champion Guelph Storm, and QMJHL Champ Val D’Oor Foreurs. Unfortunately the Portland Winterhawks (and Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand) lost to Edmonton in game seven of the WHL finals, so the CBJ prospect contingent consisted of 2013 1st round pick Kerby Rychel (19th overall) of the Storm, and 2012 4th round pick Josh Anderson (95th overall) of the host Knights. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the performance/future of the two Jackets prospects and a few other noteworthy players.
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2013 tUB Awards: The Vezina Trophy

Posted by The Coach on May 15, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets, tUB Awards / No Comments

BOBROVSKY! Continue reading…

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The Second Annual tUB Awards: The James Norris Memorial Trophy

Posted by The Coach on May 13, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets, tUB Awards / 1 Comment

I figured the James Norris Memorial Trophy, given to the best defenseman, would be an interesting vote. Considering that the bloom is off the rose for both Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski; reigning winner 2013 tUB Norris winner Fedor Tyutin had a slightly down year; and the emergence of youngster Ryan Murray, this vote could have gone any number of ways. Instead, we had a runaway winner, with unanimous across the board first place votes. That was surprising enough in itself, but then we also had a dead even tie for the runner up spot. Without further ado, the winner of the Norris is…..

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The Second Annual tUB Awards: The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Posted by The Coach on May 08, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets, tUB Awards / No Comments

The Lady Byng. Every player’s least favorite award. The official description reads as such: “Outstanding sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” In general, this award tends to go to the good player with the least number of penalty minutes. Or, as many think of it, the good player who is also the biggest pansy. I object to that description, as there are a number of Jacket players who fit the bill this year, while also playing very hard shift in, and shift out, taking abuse, going to the corners, and playing a tough game in general. However, what sets those players apart from the Dubinsky’s is their ability to do so without putting the Jackets shorthanded very often, constantly being good sports, and playing like gentlemen. We actually had a tie this year, with most first place votes used to break it. Last year’s winner was Cam Atkinson. Can he repeat? Let’s find out… Continue reading…

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RJ Umberger, Playing Through Pain, and “Looking Yourself in the Mirror”

Posted by The Coach on May 07, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets / No Comments

So RJ Umberger was pretty banged up by the end of the season. Over at Blue Jackets Xtra yesterday were the complete transcripts of post-season interviews from a few players, including RJ. Turns out Umberger had been dealing with a broken finger, separated shoulder and herniated disc. Ouch. I’ve dealt with (and played through) two of those injuries in the past and it is not particularly fun. First things first: RJ Umberger. So turns out his healthy scratch was more of a “healthy” scratch. Not sure how that is allowed by the league, but whatever. It makes evaluating RJ’s season difficult, as he spent nearly half of it dealing with injuries significant enough to impact his playing ability. Similar to evaluating Nathan Horton, another player who played through pain and looked the worse for it on the ice. While RJ’s play may have been down late in the year, there is value to what he brought to the team. Continue reading…

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Goal Breakdown: CBJ vs Pittsburgh Game Six

Posted by The Coach on April 30, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets / 2 Comments

So the season is over. What a season it was. The best in Blue Jackets history by any measure you want to use. We’ll all have some thoughts coming later this week on the season, so let’s talk about this series for a minute. It took until the game five reminder, but keep in mind just how good this Penguins team really is. They had the two most talented players in this series by far, and probably four or five of the top five or six. Hell, they would have the two most talented players in ANY series they could possibly play. Their downfall the last couple years has been Marc-Andre Fleury, who was steady enough in this series. Basically, this is a very good hockey team. Yet the Blue Jackets gave them all they could handle. Unlike their last playoff appearance, this was a series. Actually, that verbalizes it quite well. 2008-09 was a playoff appearance, 2013-14 was a series. This team fought to the bitter end, well after others had given up. Our own RockmanHalo turned the television off. I headed over to the kitchen to do some cooking about two minutes before Tyutin scored (don’t worry I could still see/hear). I stayed in the kitchen through all three goals, but had to sit back down for the final furious minutes. Pretty sure it’s my fault. If I stayed in the kitchen, they probably would have tied it up. Dammit. Anyway, let’s take a look at some goals. Continue reading…

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Goal Breakdowns from CBJ-Pittsburgh Games Three, Four, and Five

Posted by The Coach on April 28, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets / No Comments

I was out of the country for a bit there, lacking internet and good watching locations (although a packed bar all rooting against the Penguins was a great place to watch game four), so I missed a few games for the goal breakdowns. So here is a supercut from the last three outings. Not every goal is covered, but a couple from each game that stood out for one reason or another.

Game Three: Boone Jenner from Jack Skille and Ryan Johansen, 1-0 Jackets

A few things on this goal. First, holy hell, that is a pass by Ryan Murray. You can’t even see if it is tape-to-tape, but it sure looks that way by the time the camera catches up to Ryan Johansen. The pass creates a nice little insta-rush, but it really shouldn’t have come to anything. The movement by Johansen, Skille, and Jenner is what makes this dangerous. I like the creativity by the Johan here. He has to slow up to get help, which usually means getting the blueline, stopping hard, letting the defense sink back, the following forwards crash in, and the puck carrier walks into space. But Pens defender Olli Maata expects this and steps up on Johansen, so Joey cuts right into the heart of the defense, which pulls everyone in. From there, Skille and Jenner do a good job of spacing themselves out and forcing a decision by Maata. The rookie has Johansen, passes him off, and then has to decide between Jenner and Skille. Skille takes a shot and goes wide, stops Maata cold, and Jenner has all day to bury the rebound. Any time you can force players to change coverage and make decisions, you are going good work. Continue reading…

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