NHL: Behind The Numbers – The Canucks’ Penalty Kill
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

Over the past several seasons the Canucks’ have relied on their polished, effective special teams units. Its been a key feature of this club’s DNA, and a critical reason they’ve managed to win back-to-back President’s Trophies. Just in terms of their conversion rates, they’ve been a top-ten power-play club for three seasons and a top-ten penalty killing club for the past two.

If you’ve been paying attention you already know that, through 19 games this season, Vancouver’s special teams effectiveness has atrophied in a major way. The […]


NHL: The Return of Booth and Kesler to the Canucks’ Roster
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

At beginning of this 2013 lockout shortened NHL campaign, the Canucks were short-handed due to a couple of injuries to their best two-way forwards Ryan Kesler and David Booth.

Now Ryan Kesler is a Selke winner well known for his defensive prowess, but few observers tend to think of David Booth as a two-way ace. But he is. Booth doesn’t kill penalties generally speaking, and isn’t a guy who often appears to be doing the hard work in his own end. Largely that’s because he doesn’t have […]


NHL: Over/Under – The Top Undersized Players
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

The lockout of 2004-05 brought with it many rule changes. One of them was a crack down on obstruction-related penalties (hooking, holding, interference). The game became more open, and because of that, size has become less important than it was during the ‘dead puck era’ of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Size still matters, as hockey is a physical sport, but we have seen a vast number of undersized players succeed in the NHL (especially in recent years).

What does undersized mean, exactly? There isn’t an […]


NHL: Over/Under – Five Overperforming Teams
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

Yesterday, we took a look at five NHL teams underperforming relative to talent/expectations – Washington, Detroit, St. Louis, New York Rangers, and the Stanley Cup champs from Los Angeles.

Today, we will do the same type of analysis, but on five NHL teams that are overperforming relative to talent/expectations.

Anaheim Ducks (9-2-1, 2nd overall in the NHL)
Anaheim Ducks to Win Stanley Cup +1700
Unless a friend or family member of yours plays for the Ducks, I doubt you would have expected them to be […]


NHL: Over/Under – 5 Underperforming Teams
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

Last week we profiled five underperforming and five overperforming NHL players from the first month of NHL action in 2013. This week, we will do the same analysis on some of the 30 NHL clubs.

Read on to find out which five NHL clubs are underperforming relative to talent and/or expectations thus far in 2013.

Washington Capitals (4-8-1, 30th overall in the NHL)
Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning (-162, 5.5)
If  games were played on paper, the Capitals would be a lock for the postseason. They have […]


NHL: Art Ross Trophy Update
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

I did an Art Ross preview before the start of the season and with roughly a quarter of the season in the books, I figured an follow up would be in order.

THE FAVOURITES
SIDNEY CROSBY
Pittsburgh Penguins to Win Stanley Cup +700
Sid the Kid has been very solid to start the 2013 regular season. He is fifth in scoring with 17 points, and he is also fifth in assists with 12. Expect him to remain in contention (I’d still consider him the […]


NHL: Better Or Worse – LA Kings
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

I said it before, and I will say it again, Hockey is a game of ratios and percentages governed by randomness. It’s certainly not about raw numbers. Sure, in a vacuum, scoring seven goals in a game is better than scoring two, but giving up eight goals while scoring seven is a worse result than giving up one while scoring two. Beyond that, teams rarely have the ability to control whether or not they’re scored against: weird ricochets off of stanchions, bouncing pucks deflecting of skates, or […]


NHL: Over/Under – 5 Overperforming Players
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

Yesterday I highlighted my list of the five most underperforming players this season, so today here are five NHLers who are unlikely to sustain their strong starts to the 2013 season. None of the five players listed below are overrated or bad hockey players by any stretch of the imagination, but they each have performed above expectation and probably a bit above their respective playing ability, as well.

Thomas Vanek – LW Buffalo Sabres
Montreal Canadians at Buffalo Sabres (-150, 5.5)
With 19 points in […]


NHL: Better Or Worse – Edmonton Oilers
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

I find it helpful to think of Hockey as a game of ratios and percentages governed by randomness. It’s certainly not about raw numbers. Consider that scoring five goals is better than scoring two goals, in a vacuum, but scoring five goals while allowing six against is a worse result than scoring two and allowing only one. Beyond that, often times teams really can’t control whether or not they’re scored against. Weird ricochets off of stanchions, bouncing pucks deflecting of skates in front of the net, […]


NHL: Over/Under – 5 Underperforming Players
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

A two or three week slump is quite common in the NHL, even for very good players. However, in a 48 game season, a slump of that length equates to almost one quarter of the total season. Simply put, players that are struggling now are really doing a disservice to their respective teams.

Let’s take a look at five NHL players who are struggling relative to expectations.

JOHN CARLSON – D WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Washington Capitals to Win Eastern Conference +1900
Over the past few years […]