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Joined: 18 Oct 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:53 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The phrase most valuable player is a tricky one for a lot of people, me included. I think there is a large sect who, without pause, heap that label onto Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, indisputably the league’s most talented player. However, I think it’s impossible to ignore the fact that team effects play a significant role in determination of how valuable a player is to his team. While Crosby plays second fiddle to no one in the National Hockey League, I think there’s a compelling argument to be made about the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins being an adequate hockey team. That is to say, when Sidney Crosby’s off of the ice, the team is doing a bit more than just surviving. On the other hand, we got our first taste of Philadelphia without center Claude Giroux Saturday night, and it wasn’t pretty. The Flyers conceded five goals to the lowly Devils in a game that wasn’t particularly close. Giroux, of course, missed the game after suffering a left leg laceration, and could miss a week of action. The problem with the Flyers -- perhaps true for them more than any other team pushing the thresholds of the hard salary cap -- is that they don’t have enough talent on the roster. A large reason why this is true is because the team made indefensible decision after indefensible decision over the past couple of years to bleed the cap dry, including a six-year, $30MM contract for already-healthy-scratched Andrew MacDonald (contract originally described as an “atrocity”), and trading a productive Scott Hartnell for a less productive R.J. Umberger (“trade is pretty clearly a loss for the Flyers”). So, too, does $22.5MM for an already-healthy-scratched centre (“Why would you spend precious remaining dollars on an aging center?”) and trading James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn (“Luke Schenn was one of Toronto’s worst defensemen last season”). These moves aren’t hindsight-guessed – the links, from the blogosphere and beyond, were posted around the time of the moves. Surprise! Extremely few of these worked out. And it’s created a situation where the Flyers basically have nothing to offer outside of their top-line. I note that this top-line is fantastic – Jakub Voracek complements Claude Giroux so well, that it hardly even matters who the third player is in that group. However, the Flyers are nothing short of a lottery team when they come off of the ice. This gets back into the ‘most valuable player’ part I alluded to earlier – just how dependent the Flyers are on Giroux to do, well, everything. To show this, I pulled the Corsi% and Goal% numbers for both Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux in 2014-2015 at even-strength. The difference is startling. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are comparatively dominant when their top-lines are on the ice. We can see this in the Corsi% With Player On and Goal% With Player On, where Crosby, et al., and Giroux, et al. routinely dominate the opposition. The difference is when those players are peeled from the ice. In Pittsburgh’s case, without Sidney Crosby, the team controls 49.7% of play and scores 50.0% of the goals – a respectable number made from the team’s weaker forwards and defensemen. In Philadelphia’s case, without Claude Giroux, the team controls 45.4% of play and scores 43.8% of the goals. That’s a good way to lose a bunch of hockey games at even-strength. What’s ultimately problematic about Philadelphia’s situation at the team-level – and what’s certainly going to be their downfall this season – is that the gap between their toughs and the forward/defense depth compiled by the front office has grown to unbelievable levels. To illustrate this, I pulled Scoring Chance% and Corsi% data for the Flyers over the last four calendar years, and noted the beginning of the 2014-2015 season with a vertical black line. For years, Philadelphia’s depth has lagged behind their top-line, one that’s regularly featured superstar Claude Giroux. Now, we know second, third, and fourth lines – and the associated pairings they play with – have different performance expectations. In most cities, pulling 50% away from the top-line is usually good enough to routinely pick up playoff berths, assuming the top-line routinely wins their battles. Sure, Philadelphia’s depth players have lagged behind for years. But, they have never been this bad. The gap is sad. Draft lottery worthy, really. And for a team that’s pushing the outer limits of the salary cap, it’s inexcusable and unacceptable. As a result of all of the above, I’ll be interested in seeing how the Hart Trophy ballot looks at the end of the year, especially if, by some miracle, Philadelphia reaches the postseason. Claude Giroux, to me, feels like the league’s most valuable player. Partially because he’s great at hockey, and partially because his teammates – assembled by the front office, I remind you – are tragically bad. Oscar Robertson Kings Jersey . Every. Single. Game. Thats 1,230 in total to cover the regular season. The man is Corey Sznajder, a soft-spoken 23-year-old Salisbury University grad who lives in Annapolis, Maryland and has been charting zone entries and zone exits throughout the NHL. I love big projects, he said. No kidding. At the 2013 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, I met Eric Tulsky, who presented research on the value of controlled zone entries (short answer: about twice as valuable to enter with control of the puck rather than dumping it in) and Sznajder had charted a couple hundred games that were included in that study. Chris Webber Kings Jersey . - Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin has cleared league-mandated concussion protocol and has returned to practice as a full participant. . -- Sami Salo joked that as the shootout went on and on, one thing went through his mind: "Youve got to tie up your skates. Custom Sacramento Kings Jersey . -- Mississippi State was crushed twice by Florida last season, once by 35 points and the other by 25. Oscar Robertson Jersey . Sundays game against the Colorado Rapids at B.C. Place Stadium has important implications in determining Major League Soccers playoff picture and will also mark the final game in the career of veteran South Korean defender Young-Pyo Lee. PHOENIX -- Becoming NL West champions has been a notion off in the distance for the Arizona Diamondbacks for weeks, something plausible, yet still just out of reach. Now that its closer to becoming a reality, the Diamondbacks are ready to snatch it up. Aggressive on the basepaths and with their bats, the Diamondbacks jumped on the Pittsburgh Pirates early in an 8-5 win on Wednesday that cut their magic number for clinching the division to two. "You dont want to beat around the bush too much, just go ahead and get it done," said Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley, the biggest beneficiary of Arizonas take-it-now approach. A day after stranding 11 runners in a loss to Pittsburgh, the Diamondbacks put pressure on the Pirates from the start, setting a team record with four stolen bases while scoring three runs off Russ Ohlendorf (1-3) in the first inning. Miguel Montero hit a homer for the first his three hits in the inning and Arizona tacked on five more runs in the third with two-run hits by Aaron Hill and Ryan Roberts to finish with 11 hits. That was more than enough run support for Miley (4-2) and J.J. Putz closed it out with a flourish, striking out the side in the ninth for his 22nd straight save and 43rd overall. Now, with 90 wins after a pair of 90-loss seasons, Arizona is on the brink of closing out the Giants, who played the Dodgers later Wednesday. The Diamondbacks get a day off on Thursday before opening a three-game series at home against San Francisco on Friday. "We cant celebrate until happens," said Chris Young, who had two hits and drove in a run in a five-run third inning. "Im sure a few guys will be watching the Giants tonight and tomorrow, but if we can come into the Giants series ready and playing good baseball, we should be able to do this." Pittsburgh didnt go quietly despite the big early hole. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle used 15 different position players and six pitchers, and his team did manage to chip away at the lead in the later innings. But Pittsburgh, like it has most of the second half of the season, came up just short, losing for the 10th time in 14 games. Derrek Lee homered and drove in two runs, and Ryan Ludwick added a solo shot for the Pirates. "The attitude and the effort has been there all year," Hurdle said. "They are playing the game to win, whether it is September 21st all Aprril 21st that hasnt changed.dddddddddddd The execution has been problematic the last 50 games." Arizona lost to Pittsburgh 5-3 Tuesday night, thanks to ineffective hitting with runners on and several defensive gems by the Pirates, but still moved closer to its first division title since 2007 with San Franciscos loss to the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks went right at the Pirates in the series finale, pulling off two double steals in the opening inning. Justin Upton had a sacrifice fly to drive in one run and Montero added two more with his 18th homer to right. Arizona piled it on the third, chasing Ohlendorf after three straight singles -- Youngs drove a run -- and a walk. Roberts followed with a two-run double to the corner in left off Jared Hughes, who then issued a four-pitch walk to Miley, a .083 hitter. Hill made it 8-1 with a two-run single to left after fighting off several good pitches. Ohlendorf allowed seven runs on seven hits in two-plus innings. "I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand real good and I made good pitches, and they took good swings," said Ohlendorf said. "I had a really good approach and I didnt make enough good pitches." Miley wasnt particularly sharp, but plenty good enough with the support his teammates provided. The left-hander worked through plenty of traffic, giving up Ludwicks solo homer in the second inning and an RBI single to Lee in the fourth. Miley was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning after allowing two runs on five hits. The Diamondbacks had some nice defensive plays to help the effort, including Hills shovel throw from second to get Alex Presley in the third inning and first baseman Lyle Overbays over-the-rail grab on Matt Pagnozzis foul pop in the sixth. "Weve just got keep pushing, keep winning ball games and seal the deal," Miley said. Another game or two like this and they will. NOTES: Montero has an 11-game hitting streak at home. ... Arizona gets Thursday off before starting its series against the Giants. Rookie RHP Josh Collmenter will start for the Diamondbacks after allowing three runs in seven innings of a 3-1 loss to San Diego his last outing. ... Pittsburgh heads home to play Cincinnati with RHP Edinson Volquez facing Reds LHP Jeff Locke. Volquez will be making his third start in the majors after losing his first two outings with a 6.75 ERA. Wholesale NFL Jerseys ' ' '
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