League News

League News

The following is a brief summary of a research paper that was presented this past weekend by Michael E. Shuckers at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, MA. DIGR: Defense-Independent Goalie Rating Goaltenders are generally analyzed and rated using save percentage as a key indicator of performance.  One of the common issues that crops up when using save percentage as an analytic metric is comparing one goaltender against another. Varying degrees of the quality of defense from team-to-team, and the distribution of shots faced by each goaltender, create a large margin of error for goaltender-to-goaltender comparisons. Michael E. Shuckers, of...

At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, MA (fellow bloggers, I highly recommend you check it out next year), I had an opportunity to attend a panel discussion regarding "The Decision" -- whereby the NBA's LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to team up to join Dwayne Wade in Miami -- and its impacts on other areas of the sporting world. Moderated by Michael Wilbon of ESPN, the panelists included former NBA player and current Celtics' colour commentator Donny Marshall, San Antonio Spurs' GM R.C. Buford, NBA and NFL agent Mark Bartelstein, and Toronto Maple Leafs' GM Brian...

The stretch drive is on and teams are aware of the implications of every game. Three-point games make the average fan cringe while driving NHL management crazy. Yesterday we point out the records of teams when playing a tired team on the second night of back-to-back games The following show how many games are left for each team taking advantage of tired teams, and opponents faced as the tired team. ADVANTAGE: Total amount of times teams play as the rested opponent, taking advantage of a tired team on the second game on back to back nights. TEAM SSN TOT Hm Rd Mar1-Tot %age of Tot FLA 17 3 1 4 23.53 ANA...

NHL Team Records in B2B Games vs Tired Teams With the NHL trade deadline now over, attention turns to the stretch drive for a playoff spot. The concept of a 3-point game will be in vogue as teams - and fans - cringe at the sight of so many teams entering extra time to determine the final outcome of games, while each club banks a point. As outlined in the preseason, some clubs enjoy a distinct advantage over others when facing a tired team that has played the night before against a rested club. For the records of NHL teams...

According to TSN, Pat Burns, the only coach to ever win the Jack Adams Trophy with three different NHL clubs, has passed away due to complications with cancer. "For those who know me well, I've never backed down from any fight, and I'm not going to back down from this one," said Burns. He was a man who was full of energy and determination both behind the bench and in life to the very end. We at MLHS send our condolences to the Burns' family as we remember our favorite Leaf moments of the legendary head coach. "I know my life is...

Darcy Tucker has officially called it a career. "After spending the whole summer anticipating I would play, it got to a point where I knew it was time." "I just knew, during workouts I didn't have that same feeling," Tucker told TSN, "and I needed to be fair with my family." Darcy Tucker had a successful career playing the role of a grinding pest. After beginning his career in Montreal and moving to Tampa Bay for his inability to transition his scoring abilities to the NHL level, the Maple Leafs brought him in where he instantly became a fan favorite. There...

First, a confession.  Or, more like an obvious statement. I love covering hockey.  I love covering it, in all of its forms and states.  I love writing game recaps and game previews.  I love writing opinion pieces, and I love talking with those in the hockey business, to pick their brains whenever possible. Also, one thing most know about me, is that I love the world of radio. To me, there is nothing better than a day at work when you have the sports radio station on, hours upon hours of good debate, quality guests, and overall exciting programming. In a perfect world,...

I was recently invited to a Canadian Tire press conference announcing their new five-year partnership with the NHL to become the League's Official Sporting Goods Retailer of the NHL in Canada. While I was unable to attend the event, which included a one-on-one interview with Olympic Gold Medalist and Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Toews, the promotion company generously offered a media release for the site. The agreement with the NHL includes the following for Canadian Tire: a five-year NHL partnership, the launch of the NHL-powered Canadian Tire Hockey School (CTHS) and the naming of Stanley Cup winner and Olympic Gold...

Is the leagues threat of retroactive contract withdrawal a smokecreen to create definition over the Kovalchuk ruling?

Now that the NHL has won the arbitration award based on "salary cap circumvention" with the Kovalchuk situation, they are ready to tackle the rest of the league. A year (and perhaps in a few occasions more than a year) ago, specific contracts were approved by the league and now the league has decided to reevaluate those contracts to determine if they too circumvent the salary cap. With all the power in the NHL's hands, these contracts could be erased instead of being grand-fathered into the new CBA. That spells bad news for the players, the NHLPA and even the...

The NHLPA filed a grievance against the NHL for rejecting Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils' mammoth 17 year contract. After an arbitration hearing for both sides, today the ruling was in favor of the NHL, thus making Ilya Kovalchuk a free agent. Excerpt from Michael Stephens Added This does bring up some concerning facts. The first is in regards to the NHL now winning a legal case over their control for player contracts. There is an incredible loop-hole in the current CBA which confirms that players who sign a contract at the age of 35 or over will stay on...

According to CBC Sports, the San Jose Sharks are on the verge of signing free agent grinder Jamal Mayers. The Sharks announced on their website their plans for the veteran forward. "Jamal is a fast, physical, team-first player who brings the ingredients we were looking for to this role,” said Sharks general manager Doug Wilson. "He is an extremely fit athlete who can kill penalties and we think he will mesh well with our group of forwards." Mayers split last season between the Maple Leafs and Flames. He was dealt to Calgary in a multi-player deal that brought Dion Phaneuf...

The Chicago Blackhawks have decided to walk away from Antti Niemi's arbitration awarded $2.75M contract, and have instead signed veteran free agent Marty Turco to a one-year $1.3M contract. With the Blackhawks decision not to retain him, Niemi is now a free agent goaltender on the market and should attract some immediate attention. The last time a goaltender won a Stanley Cup with a team and departed for another the following season was in 2004 when the Tampa Bay Lightning lost netminder Nikolai Khabibulin to free agency. It's believed the decision not to retain Niemi was on the basis of too...

Got some interesting feedback from a couple sources regarding Kovalchuk's 17 year deal, and its potential impacts on future CBA negotiations. Source 1: "These long-term deals are getting ridiculous. How many teams can compete? Kovalchuk only had two suitors due to the number of years he wanted. The league is going to look at both capping contract term and moving toward non-guaranteed contracts in the next CBA.  Contracts signed 1-2 hrs after FA are also going to be looked at and hopefully resolved. The gloves will be off on both sides, but this stuff needs to be done." Source 2: "Kovalchuk may...

The book has (finally) closed on the Ilya Kovalchuk saga, as the Russian winger elected to remain with the New Jersey Devils.  This ends weeks of mind-numbing speculation and rumour-rehashing, including a recent explosion of news in the hockey world that had all signs pointing towards Los Angeles.  Thus, while there will be some surprise that Kovalchuk did not head down south, the overwhelming feeling amongst hockey fans today will be relief.  A side-effect of Kovalchuk's prolonged decision-making has been the absolute cessation of any other hockey activity.  The dam should finally burst as the remaining free agents and...

The two greatest military tacticians of the past 5000 years – Sun Tzu and Sgt. Slaughter – both spoke on the value of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your enemies in the field.  To effectively assess the situational realities of the Toronto Maple Leafs it pays to look at the status of their direct competition within the Northeast division.  Playing 24 games against teams from their own division, pride, points and position are all on the line.  While by no means comprehensive (as yet), take a gander at the past 3 weeks of moves. The Canadians, Senators, Bruins and...

According to Howard Berger, who reported live from the NHL Entry Draft this weekend, there is a ton of steam behind the Leafs and Bruins looking to make a trade for forward Marc Savard. It seems the Leafs understand he could have a long-term effect from a concussion injury, but the upside of putting him and Kessel back together is just too good to pass up on. Berger explains that the deal does not involve Tomas Kaberle and that Kaberle talks are actually down to minor whispers at this point. Expect that situation to become more relevant as the...

According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, the Chicago Blackhawks have traded forwards Dustin Byfgulien and Ben Eager along with defenseman Brent Sopel and prospect Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for New Jersey's 1st and 2nd round picks, top prospect Jeremy Morin, and forward Marty Reasoner. Holy Blockbuster! Chicago has been demanding sky high prices all offseason and it looks like someone finally bit... Morin scored 47 goals in 58 OHL games for the Kitchener Rangers this past season. A steep, steep price. With this move, the Hawks have cleared $4.33 million in cap space (not including Eager who...

Looks like the Halak trade may have opened up the floodgates.  At least, it has for the Nashville Predators, who announced two separate trades today. The Predators dealt the rights to defender Dan Hamhuis and a conditional draft pick in 2011 to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for former Predator Ryan Parent.  Hamhuis, strongly rumoured to be a target of the Flyers all the way back to the trade deadline, was also rumoured to be on the Leafs' wish list.  The value of the conditional pick be dependent upon whether the Flyers are able sign Hamhuis. In a separate deal, also...

TSN has reported that goaltender Jaroslav Halak has been acquired by the St. Louis Blues. Thus far there is no report on the return, but Halak has recently aided the Canadiens in reaching the Stanley Cup Conference Finals. Dealing him when his value is high could be either beneficial or disastrous should Carey Price not be able to handle the load. The Habs received Lars Eller and Ian Schultz in return. Lars Eller: Eller was drafted 13th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He is a 6'1" 200lbs Danish center who spent the year between the Blues and their affiliate,...