So with the Olympic break I was able to improve the code a little bit. I improved the ratio on the picture files, and I added markers for notable player absences. I hope this can shed some insight on how certain players worth mentioning affect different areas of the game. If anyone knows of a good database that provides the data on games players missed please let me know of this site. Picking out games that players missed by going through NHL’s gamelog is painful.
I’ll spare you with limited opinions, the main purpose of this post is the plots. Inferences be damned!
Even with closing out before the Olympic break with 6 out of a possible 8 points, the Caps still look to be treading water outside the playoff pace. They are however, just 2 points out of a wild card spot, (1 would tie them with Detroit, and their pitiful ROW count doesn’t win them the tiebreaker) thanks to the mediocrity of the Eastern conference as a whole.
Here’s the first plot where I thought we’d see some performance changes with players like Green and Grabovski out of the lineup. Unfortunately on the YTD scale there’s not a big difference seen lately. Additionally the big fall the Caps made in the possession department also corresponded to time Laich was out of the lineup. So he alone wasn’t driving that down. I don’t have the data in front of me of when Laich and Brouwer were split up though. I have a gut feeling that drove that bus a bit more than just Laich being out of the lineup.
Not much to report on this. The Shooting percentage has come back up a bit, but 5v5 is still below average. The total Save percentage took a much more favorable turn with 3 very strong goaltending outings (3 goals allowed in the last 3 games, no Shorthanded goals allowed).
Not a whole lot to report on the shots. More of the same it would seem. Caps still giving up over 33 shots/game and their SF/G has taken a small dip. Interesting to note that when Ovi and Green were out briefly earlier in the season. The Caps were shooting below (the current) league average. I don’t know if that was the league average S/G at that point though. I wish league average data for different statistics were easily accessible somewhere. It would be nice to see a running plot of that data.
With Green out it looks like the Caps power play suffers by some of these metrics. With him out earlier in the season the Caps took a dip in shot production, and a dip in Sh%. That continual downfall of the Sh% in the recent games though could be partly due to him being absent, or maybe teams have scouted the system better by now. The 4 games Ovi has missed have resulted in negative trends for most powerplay performance indices. Recently, the penalty kill took a good turn after 3 perfect outings and going 9 for 9. But overall for the 4 games they were just 10 for 12 with a 83.3% efficiency, which is just slightly better than their season total. I included Laich in the penalty kill plot, because he’s regarded as one of their more consistent killing forwards. I could include some of the other guys like Beagle or Latta and how their absence has affected the penalty kill, but picking out all those missed games is more work than I care to commit to this.
Now on to the rolling plots. These should hopefully reveal certain players’ absences as more influential, especially recently, since they’re not working against the weight of the rest of the season.
It certainly looks like Green and Grabovski’s absence are felt in the possession department when not looking at season total data. Green maybe moreso. The Caps were still above 52% with just Grabo out.
The last 4 games really brought the Sh% up (even with being shutout once), and the Sv% took a turn up overall. The only players I’d really expect to drive any of these charts one way or the other would be Ovechkin and Erskine. Ovechkin may drive Sh% up, and Sv% down, and with Erskine in the lineup I’d actually expect to see Sv% go down. Maybe I’ll include his absence in the next update. Seriously, if anyone knows of a site that reports player missed games, let me know.
No real pattern here to speak of without Green, Ovechkin, Grabovski, or Laich. The closest thing is that without Grabo and Green lately, the Caps are getting fewer shots to the net. The past four games have seen the Caps 10-game moving average shot differential return to positive though, so that’s good news.
This is actually not really what I expected. The Caps are still managing close to 20 Sh/20 without Green quarterbacking the powerplay. It’s also important to note that these graphs don’t reflect whether Carlson or Green are manning the point on the powerplay. I’d have to do some research to see if that big drop in shot production corresponds to any personnel changes on the top PP unit. But the last four games did see an overall dip in shot production yet we saw an overall improvement in conversion. The PK, however, did do a good job the past 4 games with limiting shots. Maybe Laich does do a good job on the PK of helping limiting shots. If you look at his extended time off, the Caps were allowing (sometimes well) over 20 shots/20.
The Caps are steadily climbing back up into a respectable point pace. They’ll have to do better though as March presents a much tougher schedule. And if they have any hope of playing meaningful games in April, they’ll have to prove they deserve it. They’re back on track to at least win the special teams battle. The even strength possession game presents a troubling trend of returning to below 50%. Hopefully Green and Grabovski will be fully healthy when NHL resumes league play. But just those two won’t turn this team into a cup contender. GMGM will still have to make some deals to bring in another solid defenseman, and help stop the revolving door of AHL recalls. It seriously is troubling when I (someone who does not follow the Bears) knows all of their starters on defense for Hershey. And just maybe Kuzya will live up to his hype and provide some secondary scoring when/if he makes it over. Holtby also may be able to steal us a few games as long as Olie doesn’t try to micromanage again. These are all best case scenarios though. So be cautious with your optimism.