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GreekHockeyCoach

Canadiens fast start  

25 members have voted

  1. 1. Based on the Montreal Canadiens fast start, do you feel they can maintain this pace of winning

    • Yes
      0
    • No
      10
    • Yes but they will slow down a little
      13
    • Same thing as last year will happen even without injuries
      2


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I won't go as far as the implosion of 15/16 however our current pace will drop-off especially with the dreaded west coast swing & month of December looming ahead. 

Oh & I just checked the schedule, not only do we go to Anaheim & San Jose, they come here (in Dec.)  with a game against Washington sandwiched in-between. Feeling good that I didn't shell out $220 for Center Ice now.

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The coach drives me nuts.  He makes crazy line-up decisions, his system is awful, yadda yadda yadda, I think we'd do better with someone else.   But that doesn't change the fact that, no matter who's coaching, we've still got a pretty strong team when everyone is healthy.  It's by no means a perfect team or a dominant team, and there are certainly some holes that we need to fill, but looking around the East I don't see anyone as a perfect or dominant team.  We're right there with any of them, so my guess is that we'll let off the gas a little but by and large we'll continue winning.

By the same token, the same parity in the conference that has worked to our advantage so far also means that there are a lot of other teams that who are close by and ready to pass us if we do falter.  So I wouldn't say I would be completely surprised by a big drop either.  But then, hey, we've got Carey Price.  As long as that one fact remains true I'm going to keep putting my bets on the Canadiens winning.

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19 minutes ago, Manatee-X said:

The coach drives me nuts.  He makes crazy line-up decisions, his system is awful, yadda yadda yadda, I think we'd do better with someone else.   But that doesn't change the fact that, no matter who's coaching, we've still got a pretty strong team when everyone is healthy.  It's by no means a perfect team or a dominant team, and there are certainly some holes that we need to fill, but looking around the East I don't see anyone as a perfect or dominant team.  We're right there with any of them, so my guess is that we'll let off the gas a little but by and large we'll continue winning.

By the same token, the same parity in the conference that has worked to our advantage so far also means that there are a lot of other teams that who are close by and ready to pass us if we do falter.  So I wouldn't say I would be completely surprised by a big drop either.  But then, hey, we've got Carey Price.  As long as that one fact remains true I'm going to keep putting my bets on the Canadiens winning.

Ditto for me on that sentiment

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According to Corsica.hockey, we're sitting on a middling and uninspiring 50.72% adjusted 5-on-5 Corsi For to go with our fourth highest in the league PDO of 102.83. Of the three teams with higher PDOs than us, two are significantly better in adjusted Corsi (Chicago at 51.35%, Washington at 54.11%; Washington is entirely for real), and one is significantly worse—the Rangers with 47.98%. The PDO components paint a worrying picture of the Rangers and us. Our 5-on-5 shooting percentage is 8.7%, and the Rangers' is 12.15%. League mean since 2007-08 for full seasons is 7.84% with a standard deviation of 0.813%, which means our shooting percentage so far is a little bit over one standard deviation (or sigma) above the mean. Normal probability is not a way to predict what our shooting percentage will look like in a month, or two months, or the end of the season. But what we can say is that if we end the season with this shooting percentage, it would be greater than or equal to 85% of the seasons played by all the NHL teams since 2007-08. The Rangers' aforementioned 12.15% shooting percentage is more than 5 standard deviations above the league mean. That's off the charts. It's so high, it's more than two standard deviations above the league record for 5-on-5 shooting percentage since 2007-08 (Toronto's 10.67% in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season). With the same caveats about normal probability, that would be the highest team shooting percentage recorded in a decade. I'm not going out on much of a limb when I say neither of these teams are going to keep this pace up.

Maybe you're fine with this. On an intuitive level, it "feels" like shooting percentage "should" be something good players and teams can control, and thus perform better at. But it's just not demonstrable with empirical observations of the league. Much is made of the offensive firepower of Pittsburgh recently, and rightly so. But when their team's been good and competitive, their shooting percentage has been near league mean and often below it. The seasons when it's been inflated (8.99% in 2007-08, 9.72% in 2008-09, 9.66% in 2012-13) were also some of its worst for possession. It's notable two of those seasons were under Michel Therrien. How about San Jose, a powerhouse team for years? One season (2009-10, 8.71%) above league average, all others since 2007-08 under. The takeaway from this is pretty direct: shooting percentage is not an analogue for skill, it's better seen as a stand-in for luck. Good teams don't see a pronounced rise in shooting percentage because they're taking more shots. Lucky mediocre and bad teams do see a rise because they're taking just as few shots as before, but they're going in. You want to be taking more shots, because luck as a function of randomness (garbage goals, flukes, and laughers) happens for everyone roughly equally; think of it as a very nerdy way to say "winners make their own luck".

League mean 5-on-5 team save percentage since 2007-08 is .922, with a standard deviation of 0.00819. So our team save percentage of .941 is a little under 3 standard deviations above the mean. Only one team has maintained a team 5-on-5 save percentage above this for an entire season: Boston in 2010-11. "It doesn't matter because we've got Carey Price, the best goalie in the world" shouldn't be good enough for anyone here. Just because we've got the best goalie in the world, we should accept a team that—as the possession numbers indicate—regularly gives up significantly more chances against than it gets? If that keeps happening and we stop getting league record goalie performance for any reason, we're going to lose, and lose a lot. The team is not "defensively sound" because our goalies have great save percentages, it's a horrorshow because our goalies have had to put up great save percentages. A better system wouldn't demand as much from our goalies, which would mean losing the starter for a while wouldn't mean automatically writing off the season like it certainly does for us.

If you want to believe shooting and save percentages outside of the nearly ten year league means by multiple sigma are going to keep up for an entire season and postseason, then certainly feel free to do so. But when they don't, instead of hunting around for an easy scapegoat and reclining into a comforting bath of confirmation bias, consider coming back to threads like this and thinking about it a little deeper. There's precisely one element from the team's start that indicates it could possibly continue: Carey Price. That's it. Carey Price has demonstrated that he's the greatest goaltender of his generation. If you take away just one thing from this post, let it be this: Watch every second of his career in reverent awe, because we're truly privileged people to witness this. The team will rise and fall on his returns, and when he's healthy he makes a significant difference over large sample sizes. There's two big conditions there: healthy, and in large samples. No one here needs to be reminded what it's like when he's been injured, but the bit about sample sizes is equally important and easily forgotten thanks to human nature. We all want the Montreal Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup. That means succeeding in the playoffs, which owing to their seven-game series are heavily influenced by random noise (luck). There's a reason for the "President's Trophy Curse": so much luck is involved that the "best" team rarely wins the Cup.

If we're going to be beholden to luck, and in a game like hockey we are, why not go into it with the best possible chances? Right now, we're not. So I'm not optimistic. I want to be, and there are changes that could be made right now that would make me a believer. But the organization has shown no signs of being aware there's even a problem. It has consistently allowed itself to be fooled by illusory results and to draw the wrong conclusions. I sincerely hope it changes.

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21 hours ago, habs_93 said:

According to Corsica.hockey, we're sitting on a middling and uninspiring 50.72% adjusted 5-on-5 Corsi For to go with our fourth highest in the league PDO of 102.83. Of the three teams with higher PDOs than us, two are significantly better in adjusted Corsi (Chicago at 51.35%, Washington at 54.11%; Washington is entirely for real), and one is significantly worse—the Rangers with 47.98%. The PDO components paint a worrying picture of the Rangers and us. Our 5-on-5 shooting percentage is 8.7%, and the Rangers' is 12.15%. League mean since 2007-08 for full seasons is 7.84% with a standard deviation of 0.813%, which means our shooting percentage so far is a little bit over one standard deviation (or sigma) above the mean. Normal probability is not a way to predict what our shooting percentage will look like in a month, or two months, or the end of the season. But what we can say is that if we end the season with this shooting percentage, it would be greater than or equal to 85% of the seasons played by all the NHL teams since 2007-08. The Rangers' aforementioned 12.15% shooting percentage is more than 5 standard deviations above the league mean. That's off the charts. It's so high, it's more than two standard deviations above the league record for 5-on-5 shooting percentage since 2007-08 (Toronto's 10.67% in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season). With the same caveats about normal probability, that would be the highest team shooting percentage recorded in a decade. I'm not going out on much of a limb when I say neither of these teams are going to keep this pace up.

Maybe you're fine with this. On an intuitive level, it "feels" like shooting percentage "should" be something good players and teams can control, and thus perform better at. But it's just not demonstrable with empirical observations of the league. Much is made of the offensive firepower of Pittsburgh recently, and rightly so. But when their team's been good and competitive, their shooting percentage has been near league mean and often below it. The seasons when it's been inflated (8.99% in 2007-08, 9.72% in 2008-09, 9.66% in 2012-13) were also some of its worst for possession. It's notable two of those seasons were under Michel Therrien. How about San Jose, a powerhouse team for years? One season (2009-10, 8.71%) above league average, all others since 2007-08 under. The takeaway from this is pretty direct: shooting percentage is not an analogue for skill, it's better seen as a stand-in for luck. Good teams don't see a pronounced rise in shooting percentage because they're taking more shots. Lucky mediocre and bad teams do see a rise because they're taking just as few shots as before, but they're going in. You want to be taking more shots, because luck as a function of randomness (garbage goals, flukes, and laughers) happens for everyone roughly equally; think of it as a very nerdy way to say "winners make their own luck".

League mean 5-on-5 team save percentage since 2007-08 is .922, with a standard deviation of 0.00819. So our team save percentage of .941 is a little under 3 standard deviations above the mean. Only one team has maintained a team 5-on-5 save percentage above this for an entire season: Boston in 2010-11. "It doesn't matter because we've got Carey Price, the best goalie in the world" shouldn't be good enough for anyone here. Just because we've got the best goalie in the world, we should accept a team that—as the possession numbers indicate—regularly gives up significantly more chances against than it gets? If that keeps happening and we stop getting league record goalie performance for any reason, we're going to lose, and lose a lot. The team is not "defensively sound" because our goalies have great save percentages, it's a horrorshow because our goalies have had to put up great save percentages. A better system wouldn't demand as much from our goalies, which would mean losing the starter for a while wouldn't mean automatically writing off the season like it certainly does for us.

If you want to believe shooting and save percentages outside of the nearly ten year league means by multiple sigma are going to keep up for an entire season and postseason, then certainly feel free to do so. But when they don't, instead of hunting around for an easy scapegoat and reclining into a comforting bath of confirmation bias, consider coming back to threads like this and thinking about it a little deeper. There's precisely one element from the team's start that indicates it could possibly continue: Carey Price. That's it. Carey Price has demonstrated that he's the greatest goaltender of his generation. If you take away just one thing from this post, let it be this: Watch every second of his career in reverent awe, because we're truly privileged people to witness this. The team will rise and fall on his returns, and when he's healthy he makes a significant difference over large sample sizes. There's two big conditions there: healthy, and in large samples. No one here needs to be reminded what it's like when he's been injured, but the bit about sample sizes is equally important and easily forgotten thanks to human nature. We all want the Montreal Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup. That means succeeding in the playoffs, which owing to their seven-game series are heavily influenced by random noise (luck). There's a reason for the "President's Trophy Curse": so much luck is involved that the "best" team rarely wins the Cup.

If we're going to be beholden to luck, and in a game like hockey we are, why not go into it with the best possible chances? Right now, we're not. So I'm not optimistic. I want to be, and there are changes that could be made right now that would make me a believer. But the organization has shown no signs of being aware there's even a problem. It has consistently allowed itself to be fooled by illusory results and to draw the wrong conclusions. I sincerely hope it changes.

This is a great post and a treat to read. While I agree with some of it, I also disagree with certain points. Carey is by far the best goalie in the world. We rely heavily on his performances in order to win hockey games. However, in my opinion, that's a double edged sword. While we're lucky to have him, we're also unlucky. He plays too many games but no coach in their right mind would not play him if he asks to play 70 games. This limits the workload of the backup and that creates problems when Carey gets hurt. Management has also not signed any quality backup goalies in recent years. Last year was a debacle because they should have replaced Condon instead of letting a rookie goalie carry the majority of the workload with Carey injured.

As far as luck is concerned, in my opinion, it's a huge part of hockey, especially in today's NHL. Equipment is better, players are faster, shots are harder and the overall skill level is much greater than in any previous eras. The majority of goals being scored are junk goals. Deflections, rebounds etc. so there's a lot of luck involved in goals being scored. With bigger goalies and bigger equipment, all goalies have to do is be positionally sound and the puck will hit them even if they don't see it.

I do wholeheartedly agree with what you've been saying for a long time now that management doesn't pay enough attention to stats and all they look at is the results that are currently caused by the play of the best goalie in the world. Personally, what I'd see to see out of a team with a Carey Price on it, is a fully offensive mindset. You know he's going to stop the puck even on odd man rushes, so why not preach more offense and less defense.

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2 hours ago, GreekHockeyCoach said:

This is a great post and a treat to read. While I agree with some of it, I also disagree with certain points. Carey is by far the best goalie in the world. We rely heavily on his performances in order to win hockey games. However, in my opinion, that's a double edged sword. While we're lucky to have him, we're also unlucky. He plays too many games but no coach in their right mind would not play him if he asks to play 70 games. This limits the workload of the backup and that creates problems when Carey gets hurt. Management has also not signed any quality backup goalies in recent years. Last year was a debacle because they should have replaced Condon instead of letting a rookie goalie carry the majority of the workload with Carey injured.

As far as luck is concerned, in my opinion, it's a huge part of hockey, especially in today's NHL. Equipment is better, players are faster, shots are harder and the overall skill level is much greater than in any previous eras. The majority of goals being scored are junk goals. Deflections, rebounds etc. so there's a lot of luck involved in goals being scored. With bigger goalies and bigger equipment, all goalies have to do is be positionally sound and the puck will hit them even if they don't see it.

I do wholeheartedly agree with what you've been saying for a long time now that management doesn't pay enough attention to stats and all they look at is the results that are currently caused by the play of the best goalie in the world. Personally, what I'd see to see out of a team with a Carey Price on it, is a fully offensive mindset. You know he's going to stop the puck even on odd man rushes, so why not preach more offense and less defense.

We do rely heavily on Carey Price, but I don't think the issue is our not having quality back-ups. By definition, back-ups are back-ups because they're not good enough or not experienced enough to be a starter in their own right. So we're necessarily looking at goalies who are the 31st to 60th best goalies in the league, or thereabout. if we go back, Jaroslav Halak was Carey's back-up a few years ago, and he was outstanding, good enough to steal the starting job away briefly, and good enough to become a starter elsewhere. But it's hard to hand on to great back-ups because no team can afford to pay a back-up goalie to have him sit on the bench.

If you look at some of the others we've had, Alex Auld went 6-2-2 with a 2.64 GAA and .914 sv% in 16 games. Those are decent numbers for a back-up. Peter Budaj was a started in Colorado before coming here, and he put up .913, .908, and ..909 sv %'s here. Tokarski put up a 2.75 GAA and .910 sv% in the one season he was the true back-up here. Now look at some of the goalies in the league on other teams this year... Ben Bishop has a .904 save percentage, John Gibson's at .906, Brian Elliott's at .882, MAF at .901, Peter Mrazek's at .897, Halak is at .904, and Ryan Miller's at .910. Lundqvist is at .915, 1 point behind what Budaj has posted in more games this season. And those guys are all starters.

So is it really that our back-ups are worse than the rest of the league? Or is it that this team just can't cut it in the long run without a goalie pulling a .930 or .940 save percentage? It's simply unrealistic to expect a back-up to post those types of numbers over a full season nor is it realistic to expect to win when you can't score reliably nor when your PP comes up empty night after night, as it did the past two seasons. Al Montoya is just as good as Scott Darling or James Reimer or Kari Lehtonen or Jacob Markstrom or Mike Smith or so on. And most teams find a way to play their back-ups more than we have. But I think it's a cheap excuse to say we can't win because Carey was injured (and I've already posted about other teams having success with their starters going down) and I think it's unfair to say we haven't signed adequate back-ups, because our back-ups haven't been poor, it's the system in front of them that has failed so often.

 

 

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im standing by my prediction that we will crap out as bad as last year although if carey stays healthy i think its more realistic we are a bubble team.

here is why i could still see it collapsing though.

DD continues to get important minutes. chuck continues to get less minutes. and most importantly, coach T refuses to trust our 5-6 d and is routinely playing markov and weber 30 min a night

 

we have a weak fwd group, but so do a lot of eastern teams. the big difference is we have a coach who refuses to play his best players like his best players, and is living in some fantasy land where the guys he likes will get it done. this will hamper any potential offensive potency we have all year long

he also insists on riding an aging and slow weber and a flat out old and slow markov into the ground. this will not help our defensive game, whatever that is since we get outshot and outchanced with regularity.

with another coach, i feel like we can get in 6-8 without too much trouble, with coach T....god knows

am i rooting for the collapse? yes. yes i am. i love the habs, i have followed this team my entire life rabidly, and thats why i want this team to crap out. we cant win with this foxhole crew, and the only way they get out of the picture is by failing spectacularly. missing the playoffs in 9th or 10th will not cost coach or gm their jobs, and thats what needs to happen for us to turn a corner

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4 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

We do rely heavily on Carey Price, but I don't think the issue is our not having quality back-ups. By definition, back-ups are back-ups because they're not good enough or not experienced enough to be a starter in their own right. So we're necessarily looking at goalies who are the 31st to 60th best goalies in the league, or thereabout. if we go back, Jaroslav Halak was Carey's back-up a few years ago, and he was outstanding, good enough to steal the starting job away briefly, and good enough to become a starter elsewhere. But it's hard to hand on to great back-ups because no team can afford to pay a back-up goalie to have him sit on the bench.

If you look at some of the others we've had, Alex Auld went 6-2-2 with a 2.64 GAA and .914 sv% in 16 games. Those are decent numbers for a back-up. Peter Budaj was a started in Colorado before coming here, and he put up .913, .908, and ..909 sv %'s here. Tokarski put up a 2.75 GAA and .910 sv% in the one season he was the true back-up here. Now look at some of the goalies in the league on other teams this year... Ben Bishop has a .904 save percentage, John Gibson's at .906, Brian Elliott's at .882, MAF at .901, Peter Mrazek's at .897, Halak is at .904, and Ryan Miller's at .910. Lundqvist is at .915, 1 point behind what Budaj has posted in more games this season. And those guys are all starters.

So is it really that our back-ups are worse than the rest of the league? Or is it that this team just can't cut it in the long run without a goalie pulling a .930 or .940 save percentage? It's simply unrealistic to expect a back-up to post those types of numbers over a full season nor is it realistic to expect to win when you can't score reliably nor when your PP comes up empty night after night, as it did the past two seasons. Al Montoya is just as good as Scott Darling or James Reimer or Kari Lehtonen or Jacob Markstrom or Mike Smith or so on. And most teams find a way to play their back-ups more than we have. But I think it's a cheap excuse to say we can't win because Carey was injured (and I've already posted about other teams having success with their starters going down) and I think it's unfair to say we haven't signed adequate back-ups, because our back-ups haven't been poor, it's the system in front of them that has failed so often.

 

 

The numbers though don't tell the real story of the quality of the backups. I'm not basing my opinion on save percentages and goals against. I'm basing it on watching games and noticing that when our backups needed to play a huge game or needed to step up that they were unable to do so. The only one that did that was Halak. Our backups let in too many soft goals in crucial situations. However, if we played more of a run and gun offensive style, that would carry over to the backups as well. If we outscore our opponents, who cares how many goals they let in. If we preach defense first with a goalie like Carey, then our possession numbers go down and that allows other teams to have the puck longer and thus create more scoring chances.

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52 minutes ago, GreekHockeyCoach said:

The numbers though don't tell the real story of the quality of the backups. I'm not basing my opinion on save percentages and goals against. I'm basing it on watching games and noticing that when our backups needed to play a huge game or needed to step up that they were unable to do so. The only one that did that was Halak. Our backups let in too many soft goals in crucial situations. However, if we played more of a run and gun offensive style, that would carry over to the backups as well. If we outscore our opponents, who cares how many goals they let in. If we preach defense first with a goalie like Carey, then our possession numbers go down and that allows other teams to have the puck longer and thus create more scoring chances.

Agreed with you on the last point. I've been saying that too: when you have Carey in goal, you WANT to play a style where you trade off chances with the opposition, that's in your favor.

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12 hours ago, GreekHockeyCoach said:

However, if we played more of a run and gun offensive style, that would carry over to the backups as well. If we outscore our opponents, who cares how many goals they let in. If we preach defense first with a goalie like Carey, then our possession numbers go down and that allows other teams to have the puck longer and thus create more scoring chances.

This is why I advocate for high event, fortune favours the brave hockey. We don't have the personnel to play like San Jose or Los Angeles of recent years. If we had a dominant, game-breaking young defenceman and a regular Selke contender, it would be a different story; we could rotate through mid-priced goalies and it wouldn't really matter. Instead, we have only one realistic pathway to sustainable winning: ride probability like a supercharged mechanical bull. It's wouldn't always be pretty, and it can fail just like anything else. But for the first time in quite a while our fate would be primarily in our hands, not that of our opponents, or random chance.

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Whether we trade offensive chances or play a style that truly limits the opposition and plays thee odds of the other teams goalie breaking first depends on the style of play of the opposition. Against a low scoring team like Detroit or Carolina I think we will win those on most nights by scoring one or two. Teams that play a more offensive style tend to leave a lot  scoring chances on the table and I believe we now have the scoring to win those games as well. The addition of Radulov and the development of Galchenyuk have made us more resilient but we can still get better. We have a few players who are off to slow starts and  although it hasn't been an issue on most nights it may cause problems down the road. I think we will continue to play well at home (perhaps .750 and should be able to be .580 (4 or 5 games over .500) or so on the road. So we will slip at home and improve a little on the road. December is here and I think we have a good December for a change.

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Whichever thread you want to post this

http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/about-last-night-canadiens-edge-detroit-2-1

 

The unlikely win in Motown … more about that shortly … left the Canadiens with 34 points.

No one in the NHL has as many.

A powerhouse hockey team, steaming toward a 25th Stanley Cup?

I don’t see many hands raised to support that notion.

A mediocre team riding an All-World goaltender?

I hear stirrings of grudging assent.

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2 hours ago, Habberwacky said:

Whether we trade offensive chances or play a style that truly limits the opposition and plays thee odds of the other teams goalie breaking first depends on the style of play of the opposition.

Not really. We simply do not have the personnel to limit shot attempts against with any real efficacy, even if we had a coaching staff that understood to do so (which we also don't). Conceding the initiative to the opposition is a loser's move. When it works—and it's rare—it works because of luck. We've wasted three seasons with this style of garbage hockey, and it's done absolutely nothing. Bergevin's already thrown the future away with his moves in the offseason; we either win this year or next. It's time to change. What do we possibly have to lose?

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