Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

BoC Gameday—Scott makes everyone look better (except himself)

San Jose Sharks (25-12-6, 2nd in west) at Anaheim Ducks (23-17-6, t-5th in west)

I'm way too fascinated by the mechanics of the Ducks' post-Niedermayer, post-Weight improvement (first 34 games: 15-15-4, 2.38 GF, 2.82 GA; last 12 games: 8-2-2, 2.67 GF, 1.50 GA). It's not just that the Ducks have improved, but really, what is happening behind the scene in order to generate better results?

The table below only covers even-strength play (5-on-5, or 4-on-4, or with a goalie pulled, or whatever), and here's what it contains. In the columns to the left are the even-strength results for the 34 games before Scott Niedermayer joined the team; the columns to the right are the same results for the 12 games since. In each set, you can see the even-strength minutes, the goals-for per 60 minutes, the goals-against per 60, and the goal-differential per 60. The very last column shows the improvement, and everything is sorted by the second-to-last column (goal differential since Scott's return).

Here's the key point, or at least the thing I wanted to emphasize. If you look at the "Change" column, note that every single Duck has improved his even-strength results since Scott's return, but check out the bottom line: Not only is Scott the worst even-strength performer since his return (by the goal-differential metric), but he's the only one not to be an improvement over previous results.

Click image to enlarge.

Now, to be clear, the Ducks have vastly improved their special teams play over the last dozen games as well, and Scott has much stronger metrics on both the PP and PK, but at even-strength, it's a bizarre trend. Essentially the addition of Scott has enabled the tough results to fall on his own back, enabling the rest of his teammates to enjoy more fruitful results.

Anyways, there's plenty in that table worth looking at or discussing in the comments, if you're so inclined.


Meanwhile, the Sharks roll into town tonight in what should be a real special game. I was a bit surprised to note that in calendar year 2007, the Ducks went 7-1-2 against the ever-scary Sharks (two wins by shootout, 28 GF, 18 GA), including 2-0-1 at the start of Scott's return. Still, this one-sidedness doesn't mean that tonight's game is decided by any means; since their last defeat to Anaheim in December, the Sharks have gone an impressive 7-0-1 (23 GF, 14 GA). Really this seems like a collision of two juggernauts, which is always a pleasure to watch.

And watch it I shall, as my kid brother and I will be in the Honda Center tonight. Once again, we'll be up in the exclusive 300 level, sitting in the wheelchair row in front of the Jack Daniels club (same seats as the Colorado game), as always sporting my lucky green shirt and helping promote Anaheim's alcohol sales industry. That Colorado game I ended up really smashed, partially with the help of BoC readers, and barely noticed the Ducks dominating play below me. This time I plan on being a little less aggressive on the ol' liver, but if anyone wants to stop by and make a tradition out of Sloppy Sleek, I doubt I'll put up much of a fight.

Prediction: Could this game really be the return of Sammy Pahlsson? I've heard rumblings that it may be so. Ducks 4, Sharks 2. Sammy scores 'em all.

Go Ducks.


Laura Lee said...

Wow Earl, 6:15am. See you tonight in the W/C row, which is nicer than what I call it (which I can, because I am one of them you see). I will be honored to ply you with one early Jack/rocks in hopes you abstain in the 3rd period of course to set a stellar example for your younger bro who no doubt looks up to you for all things Sammy! You can quiver & shake if he's in the lineup tonight, but I'll swoon if Brad's back. There's just something about a manly man....
PS. Teemu sat in the suite left of your seats in previous games - maybe bring a pair of skates for him......

Angie said...

I normally just read your site, never comment ... but have to this time ...


Jess said...

Sharks radio:

For the Ducks: Pahlsson is out, May is in.

For the Sharks: McLaren to IR, Alexei Pylonov activated and lining up with Vlasic. Thomas Greiss to make first NHL start in net.

Bryce said...

Brilliant move by Wilson.
Take advantage of the ducks weakness against second string goalies by finally resting Nabs. Nearly worked, too.

Whew, that goal by Weight was something else. Not sure what he MEANT to do, but I'll take the result every time.

And also, that's the first time in about a year I've seen Marchant do anything even REMOTELY useful on offense. Way to pick your spots, Todd.

Mina said...

Get well soon Kyle. The sooner Semenov is out of the lineup, the happier I will be.

voxel said...

Beauchemin is still underperforming golden boy, right? Nice goal tonight tho'.

Earl Sleek said...

Well, that was I think the luckiest win I've ever been to--it's really making me reconsider how lucky the lucky green shirt might really be. I apologized to Sharks fans as I left the building--those were really two dirty points the Ducks stole.

Then, I guess karma got to me, because I got home to find that our internet was out; thus no reaction.

Anyways, thanks to Laura Lee for the drink and the encouragement.

So, based on the end of that game, will Nabokov be making all the rest of the Shark starts?

Tim said...

LOL, I'll buy you another drink anytime Sleek.

Till then!