October 6th, 2013

Dobber Sports



I was at the ACC on Saturday night to cover a highly entertaining contest between the Maple Leafs and the Senators. 


Yeah, yeah, I know, nobody cares.


Moving on…




Question: What do Devan Dubnyk, James Reimer and Tim Thomas have in common? I mean beyond the fact that all three were totally and thoroughly ventilated on Saturday? 


Answer: All three remain reasonably likely to post above average seasons as starting goaltenders. 




It’s an 82 game season. We all know this. Yet we all also love to draw big sweeping inferences from the first week of games. Hell, it’s human nature to give greater weight to one’s first impressions. Which is why I’ll spend much of these ramblings doing just that.


But before I do, let’s offer up a qualifier. We don’t know much about the quality of any teams at this point in the season, and it’ll take a few weeks before things begin to shake out.


In the meantime our impulse to label random chance which occurs early in the season as “indicative” of anything really is shoddy, and will lead one astray. This is true in fantasy and more generally as a hockey fan who likes to be right about stuff.


In game 66 some of the guys who were stellar on Saturday – like Jaroslav Halak or Kari Lehtonen – will have crappy games, while Dubnyk, Reimer and Thomas are crushing it. And no one will remember the first weekend of the season. 




The Tampa Bay Lightning spat in the face of PDO on Saturday. Unfathomable that they emerged from that lopsided contest against the Blackhawks with two points. Truly. 




Are you ready to live in a world where the Minnesota Wild are fancy-stats darlings? Because that dawn is nigh, my friends.


First the Minnesota Wild out-corsi’d the Kings on Thursday (and lost). Then they controlled 51 shot attempts to 26 for the Ducks at 5on5 on Saturday night (and lost). Granted the Wild were playing from behind for most of the game, and the score effects adjusted stats suggest a much more even affair…


But the point remains that the Wild have a chance to be a legitimate good team this season. I thought that before the season started and have seen nothing to dissuade me of that likelihood in week one. 


They’re still a quality second-line away from slaying either of St. Louis or Chicago in the playoffs, however.




I highly, highly recommend extraskater.com, a new fancy stat resource that came about during the offseason and has had something of a coming out party this week. The game recaps are particularly user friendly and visually appealing, which hopefully will make these numbers more accessible and interesting to skeptical hockey fans.




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Every year around this time I get to fantasizing about playing in a fantasy