Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nashville Preview and Statistical Madness

Predatory Visit -- Nashville comes to town, which customarily has the local scribes and other pundits wailing and beating their breasts about the imminent loss. Never more so than now, on the heels of a shutout West Coast trip. Sure history supports their angst, but consider that half of the CBJ roster has no experience, background or understanding of past failures with Nashville, and frankly -- they don't care! Mason, Tyutin, Backman, Methot, Brassard, Voracek, Torres, Commodore, Huselius, Umberger are strangers to the fray, and Commodore made his feelings pretty well known earlier. Keys for tonight:
Short memory -- forget the road trip, forget the past. Play for tonight.
Stand them up -- the Preds get most of their offense from the back line. If we collapse, we create opportunities for them to jump in deep. Stand them up at the blue line and create opportunities for turnovers -- that keeps the D at bay.
Bury the chances-- no more excuses, take the time to tickle the twine when we have the chance. (See discussion below)

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics (Part I) -- With the recent road problems, there has been a lot of noise about how we are done, or will be by (Xmas, New Years - -pick one), and how the 3 point game makes it impossible to catch up. Based upon performances to date, here is how the Western Conference would shape up at the end of the season:

1. San Jose 140 pts
2. Detroit 128 pts
3. Chicago 104 pts
4. Vancouver 99 pts
5. Anaheim 99 pts
6. Minnesota 98 pts
7. Calgary 96 pts
8. Edmonton 88 pts
9. Nashville 88 pts
10. Colorado 85 pts
11. St. Louis 82 pts
12. Phoenix 82 pts
13. L.A. 79 pts
14. Columbus 76 pts
15. Dallas 73 pts

So, if we say that 90 points ends up as the magic number for the playoffs in the West, that means 65 points in 55 games. 27 -17-11. Or 30 - 20 - 5. Those are not unrealistic numbers for a young team that should be playing better as time goes on. Add a little help from Howson, some tightened defense, and it is very doable. Fans in Columbus never seem to account for a hot streak, which is how teams build a points advantage. We will have that hot streak, hopefully more than one, and simply need to minimize the down streaks, which everyone will have.

Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics (Part II) -- Target Practice -- Lots being said about burying chances, but what does that really mean? Consider this: through 27 games, the CBJ has outshot the opposition 805 to 736, but has been outscored 86 to 76. Our shooting percentage is a paltry .0944, while the opposition is shooting .1168. Tiny difference? Not so much. If we just shot the same percentage as our opponents, we would have 18 more goals, for a total of 94. Spread those across the schedule and see what that would do for our record. How about shooting practice, Hitch??

Go Jackets!!!

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