Monday, September 14, 2009

Season Preview In The Gates

I'm just putting the finishing touches on the season preview for 2009-10, and the first installment should be with you tomorrow. For those used to checking for one post a day here, I'll try to make accommodations so that the layout doesn't cause you to miss my opinion on Travis Moen, which you've all been dying to see.

I'm starting with the forwards, line by line, top to bottom, followed by defencemen pairings, and then goalies. With coverage of a few players every day, the team should get a proper run through by the time training camp is well and truly over.

I have to say that playing with some of the statistics has been an interesting game this summer. For one thing, I don't think I quite appreciated how bad defensively most players on the team were last year (compared to the league). By the same token, there are pleasant surprises as well. In trying to be a bit more thorough this year than perhaps previous years, I have expanded the facets of the game I will look at. For completeness, there always has to be some mention of the basics (i.e., GP, G, A, Pts, etc.). However, in addition to those things, I have gone walkabout and come back with some of the metrics that people at other blogs around the league are looking at, and even concocted a few (albeit simpler) ones of my own. Things such as total chances generated (shots + blocked shots + missed shots), total chances allowed, the difference between (aka CORSI), and some newer stats like zone shift, balance of takeaway to giveaway, etc.

I should also say that this experience has made me a lot more positive about the prospect of all these new faces – as I hope reading the previews will do for you. With one exception, Gainey has done his homework here, and we shouldn't be on the cusp of a Samsonov scenario, unless something very strange occurs.

I wanted to thank both Tobalev and frequent commenter and statistics-fan Olivier, with whom I have been having frequent conversations about this year's team offline, and who both contributed to the content and the direction of these previews.

Tobalev (name still TBC), will of course be back helping with the game previews and reviews throughout the season. We hope to be able to build as big a repository on why Gomez, Cammalleri and Gionta are more than their end of season goal and point stats indicate, as we did for Koivu and Kovalev.

Olivier will hopefully continue his valuable input and insight through the comments, but also keeps himself busy with his musings on the new-wave statistics that have taken hold almost everywhere but Montreal through his own blog: En Attendant Les Nordiques.

Enjoy the skating. Not long till game action now...

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