With the draft and free agent frenzy firmly in the rearview mirror and the start of the regular season more than 70 days away, we are officially in the hockey doldrums.
Needless to say, if you're a Habs addict like I am, you're probably going through some serious withdrawal at the moment. I'm pleased to tell you that if you can just hold out a little longer, EOTP will bring you sweet release. For starters, our team of highly trained underwear gnomes are hard at work crafting the biggest edition of the EOTP Top 25 under 25 ever. Also, upon the recommendation from regular reader/sweet guy HFX-HabFan, some writers will be taking a look at the biggest trades in Habs history. Expect all this goodness in the coming weeks, with stuff getting crazy in August. In the meantime, enjoy this collection of fine links from around the hockey world.
Habs News and Analysis
- Hoth is generating more heat than the Montreal Canadiens' roster is right now. I searched high and low and couldn't find anything of note beyond Sven Andrighetto inking his entry level deal last Wednesday. You know the news well is dry when the Canadiens' official website places a Karl Dykhuis profile on the homepage!
- Everyone's favourite Canadiens' scout Christopher Boucher seeks to adjust his risk/reward ratings, which measure "how many more positive events than negative events a player produces per-minute of even-strength ice-time", for quality of competition. By his calculations, Lars Eller, Jeff Halpern and Tomas Plekanec posted the three best adjusted even-strength risk/reward ratings amongst Habs forwards. Despite his age, he'll be 37 years, five months old when the season begins on October 1; Halpern seems more than capable of filling a spot on an NHL roster.
General News and Analysis
- With the official release of the 2013-2014 NHL schedule, on Friday, comes the yearly tradition of schedule analysis within the hockey blogging community. Greg Wyshynski takes a look at the U.S. national broadcast schedule, noting Philadelphia's conspicuous position at the top of the pile. National broadcast schedules for all 30 teams have been compiled by SB Nation's Steve LaPore for those interested. Meanwhile, SB Nation's Matt Brigidi has a concise explanation of the new playoff format. Dirk Hoag joins the fray with his fantastic NHL Super Schedule that looks at travel miles and back-to-back appearances.
- So, where does this leave our beloved Habs? Well, fans of unintentional comedy will be pleased to know that Montreal has scored the most CBC broadcasts of any Canadian team. The Canadiens will appear in 29 CBC broadcasts compared to Toronto's 25, Ottawa's 17, Vancouver's 16, Winnipeg's 14, Edmonton's 13, and Calgary's 12. Montreal also leads the charge among Canadian teams on the U.S. national broadcast schedule, albeit with a paltry three appearances on NBCSN.
- With regards to the actual schedule, the Habs will travel the eighth-fewest miles of any team in 2013-2014. However, they will play 17 back-to-back games, which is two more than the league average. This is undoubtedly exciting for all the Peter Budaj fans out there.
- Chunklets over at the fantastic Russian hockey blog The Road to Khabarovsk has posted a primer for the 2013-2014 KHL season. The post describes the "mechanics" of the league, including a breakdown of the divisions, playoff format, farm system, and nationality-based roster constraints. If you want to dip your toes into the world of professional Russian hockey, this is a great place to start!
- In light of Craig MacTavish's pursuit of Cory Schneider and Jonathan Bernier earlier in the off-season as well as Devan Dubynk's UFA status in 2014-2015, the folks over at Copper 'n' Blue are trying to wrap their heads around goaltender valuation. Scott Reynolds takes a look at even-strength save percentages, considered by some to be the best goaltender evaluation metric available, of the 40 goalies that have started at least 100 games over the last four seasons. The results aren't particularly encouraging for Carey Price. From 2009-2010 to 2012-2013, Price has posted an EV save percentage of 0.923, placing him outside the top 15 starters in the league.
- Michael Parkatti, Copper 'n' Blue's man on the inside and editor of the great Boys on the Bus, takes a look at whether or not sustained high (or low) on-ice shooting percentages are a product of luck or skill. Parkatti's research points to a skill-based explanation, leading him to ponder how on-ice shooting should be factored into player analysis.
Archive Material and EOTP News
- With apologies to Dave Bidini and Stephen Brunt, Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer is probably my favourite piece of hockey journalism ever. I know it's not particularly relevant to today's links and that a lot of you have probably seen it already, but I thought I'd share it anyway. It's a powerful piece.