The NHL playoffs are turning out exactly as predicted…

1.  Before we get into the NHL Playoffs, lets talk about the Dallas Stars signing Ben Bishop to a six-year, $29.5 Million contract.  It is not shocking that Dallas went out of their way to pick up a goalie, but a lot is being made about the amount of money they have tied up in their ‘tenders now.  They now have $15.2 Million locked in at that position in Ben Bishop, Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi.  All three goalies have some form of a modified/limited NTC.  You can view all of this information at CapFriendly.

2.  How about Washington?  This summer is going to be a mess for that organization.  A lot of frustrating ‘hot-takes’ are being tossed around on social media.  At some point a team with that much talent needs to bring it all home, but I think people are ignoring the randomness of hockey.  The Capitals dominated the spreadsheets, but they couldn’t get it done on the ice.  There is a lot of blame to pass around, but that doesn’t mean you need to dismantle the squad.

3.  PDO is a good way of seeing how randomness may have impacted a series.  A PDO of 100 is considered normal; anything over that is luck, anything under that is considered unlucky.  The Penguins had a PDO of 104.  The Capitals had a PDO of 95.  To put that into perspective, the worst luck of any team during the regular season was Colorado with a PDO of 97, and the team with the highest PDO was Washington at 103.

4.  This is not to take away from Pittsburgh because they played a real solid series, but we use these numbers as a way to show what happened on paper.  It helps put into context what we are seeing on the ice.  It can be a good exercise to step back from the game itself, remove the emotion, and just evaluate the statistics.

5.  So how wrong was I with my predictions?  The answer is very wrong.  I knew better than to pick against Nashville, but I went and did it.  Thanks, St. Louis.  When it comes to Washington, I put aside the fact that they are a cursed club, and that was the biggest mistake I could have made.

6.  With Edmonton being knocked out, it was inevitable that we would start hearing about Ottawa becoming Canada’s Team.  Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in.  The Edmonton Journal was definitely not on board, but Alberta’s issues with the Nation’s capital existed well before this playoff run.

Sens fans are taking it all in stride:

7.  Edmonton and Anaheim just rounded out a real controversial, and intense series.  Connor McDavid, the second best center in the world, got his first taste of the post season.  He had a good run, but I think he has more to give.  It was not for a lack of trying, though.  The young man had a hell of a season, and got a taste of the highs, and lows of the NHL playoffs.  We are going to see an even better McDavid next season.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I definitely think that randomness can really help or hinder a great team in the playoffs in hockey.

    You can't say that a certain amount of luck and randomness doesn't help certain teams at the right times find success and for other teams hurt them in advancing further in the playoffs.

    Usually what happens is randomness hurts a RANDOM team (or teams) in a playoff year, but sometimes it seems to ravage a particular team year after year. Washington is an example of a team hurt by being unlucky in the playoffs. Certain Cup winning teams in the past have had luck on their side that helped them win the Cup in one particular year but never has worked out for them again.

    I think Washington should be aware of this and realize a firesale or dismantling of the team would probably do more damage than good. But I do expect to see some rather big deals for Washington before next year.

  2. Score

    I definitely think that randomness can really help or hinder a great team in the playoffs in hockey.

    You can't say that a certain amount of luck and randomness doesn't help certain teams at the right times find success and for other teams hurt them in advancing further in the playoffs.

    Usually what happens is randomness hurts a RANDOM team (or teams) in a playoff year, but sometimes it seems to ravage a particular team year after year. Washington is an example of a team hurt by being unlucky in the playoffs. Certain Cup winning teams in the past have had luck on their side that helped them win the Cup in one particular year but never has worked out for them again.

    I think Washington should be aware of this and realize a firesale or dismantling of the team would probably do more damage than good. But I do expect to see some rather big deals for Washington before next year.

    I agree 100%

    I remember the narrative of Sens and San Jose being chokers. Honestly, those teams had more success in the last 15 years than any team outside of cup winning squads. Caps haven't been out of the 2nd round, but ya gotta keep giving them the chance to get there. Anything can happen, and I think they would regret blowing it up.

  3. Score

    I definitely think that randomness can really help or hinder a great team in the playoffs in hockey.

    You can't say that a certain amount of luck and randomness doesn't help certain teams at the right times find success and for other teams hurt them in advancing further in the playoffs.

    Usually what happens is randomness hurts a RANDOM team (or teams) in a playoff year, but sometimes it seems to ravage a particular team year after year. Washington is an example of a team hurt by being unlucky in the playoffs. Certain Cup winning teams in the past have had luck on their side that helped them win the Cup in one particular year but never has worked out for them again.

    I think Washington should be aware of this and realize a firesale or dismantling of the team would probably do more damage than good. But I do expect to see some rather big deals for Washington before next year.

    The question is whether it really is a bad luck if it happens this many years in a row. (I'm not trying to answer the question in this particular case)

  4. cinnamon

    The question is whether it really is a bad luck if it happens this many years in a row. (I'm not trying to answer the question in this particular case)

    It's an interesting question. Just because a team has good underlying numbers, doesn't mean that they are doing enough to win these types of games.

    Firing shots on net is great, but maybe not all shots are created equal. It's entirely possible that players are nervous. I won't pretend to know how players handle nervousness, and I have a hard time thinking the entire squad is so nervous that they can't take quality shots.

    I tried to use PDO to reflect luck, but even that is a bit unfair. I think the Caps were on the wrong side of those numbers, but how much of that is their doing? In a small sample size (6 games), you can't really draw a ton of conclusions from that. I suppose we could look out over the last 10 years and see if any trends develop. Maybe that'd be an interesting article for the future.

  5. owa

    Firing shots on net is great, but maybe not all shots are created equal. It's entirely possible that players are nervous. I won't pretend to know how players handle nervousness, and I have a hard time thinking the entire squad is so nervous that they can't take quality shots.

    Indeed.

    Not all shots are equal. Just firing a lot of shots doesn't equal success. I've seen enough goals in this playoff season that have been off of weird deflections and bounces to know that a lot of factors need to come into play at the right time to score key goals in the playoffs.

    Some of these deflection or rebound goals I see are, yes, clearly because of a highly skilled player in the right place able to use eye-hand coordination to capitalize on a play, but some of these key goals scored off of deflections and rebounds are just wacky and are either way off net or went off three or four players or took three or four bounces until they crossed the line. That is a series of bounces that NEED luck or randomness to factor in for it to end up a goal.

    That's the interesting thing. Every team by now must know the concept of "No bad shots, any shot is a good shot, anything can happen" and that's largely true in hockey. But WHY is it that the 'anything can happen' works out so well for some teams and just seems to keep working AGAINST other teams?

    Also, what would be interesting to see for teams that did win the Cup is that if their ultimate success at winning the Cup could be traced back to a notable major turning point at some point in the playoffs where a lucky or random bounce turned the tables for them on their path to winning it all.

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