This nugget came across Twitter in my morning scrolling, and, man, it’s so early to feel this queasy.
Not only to Los Angeles lose almost every game, they don't even do much while they lose. pic.twitter.com/y61OHo5f14— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) December 17, 2018
The truth hurts, and even if you’re not someone who buys into hockey analytics, the eye test tells you much of the same that this chart, and also pretty much any other fancy stats chart you look at.
Like this, for example:
xG Pace— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) December 17, 2018
EDM's been ~league-avg in xG per game (as a combined total for both teams) with a slight but consistent edge. That edge has started to slip under Hitchcock. pic.twitter.com/SfARa4LrqK
The Kings aren’t scoring. They’re not necessarily allowing a ton of goals against, either. (Save for those handful of blowouts.) That could be good, except, well, circle back to the beginning and: the Kings aren’t scoring. There’s just ... nothing happening.
Kings hockey has long been known as, well, not exactly the most thrilling game. In its heyday, it wasn’t exactly a trap game, but the Kings were a team that just suffocated opponents defensively, and when shots got through, Jonathan Quick was there to stop them. A lot — a lot — of 2-1 games.
This isn’t the same team as “back in the day”. There are a few bright spots in the lineup — Matt Luff’s good for an infectiously happy goal every couple of games, at least — but overall: yikes.
They’ve been getting more shots on net lately — their last five games average out to 34.6 shots per game, well above their overall season average of 28.8 — but they’re also not converting on them. Natural Stat Trick says that of the Kings’ shots that fall into the high danger category (there’s some math involved in determining which shots are high danger, but generally, think “right up in the goalie’s business”), only 15.14% of them are converted into goals. The only teams who are worse? San Jose, Carolina, and Arizona.
So: weak, ineffective shots, not a ton of shots on net in the first place, and not a huge push back when the team is down.
Sound like any games you’ve watched recently?
On the one hand I've obviously committed to short graph labels for aesthetic reasons, but today is not the first time I've been tempted to change the "Go Down Easy" label to "Not Only Will You Die It Will Hurt The Whole Time That You're Dying"— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) December 17, 2018
Cal Petersen talks with Jim Fox about his performance in the shootout against Chicago:
Shootout attempts by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews proved to be no problem for rookie goaltender Cal Petersen.— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 17, 2018
Find out what was going through Petersen's head as Jim Fox goes Inside the Play with him now, presented by @pepperdine. pic.twitter.com/rbAfNNdQXe
This is pretty cool:
Elsewhere in the World
Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen has 56 points in 33 games and is on pace for the best offensive season in modern hockey. [Mile High Hockey]
This is not the morning announcment that Flyers fans were hoping for:
Carter Hart is cool and all, but Flyers fans were hoping for Joel Quenneville. What’s going on with all that, anyway? [Broad Street Hockey]
Some early frontrunners for this season’s Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner. [The Ice Garden]
Corey Crawford left last night’s game with concussion symptoms. Last year around this time, he suffered a concussion that kept him out of action for 10 months. [Second City Hockey]
A high school in East Vancouver eliminated fees to join the hockey team, and created a gear library of donated equipment, in order to make hockey accessible to girls who otherwise would not have the opportunity to play. [CBC]
Is Andre Burakovsky on his way out of Washington? [RMNB]
Journeyman goaltender Chad Johnson has landed in Anaheim and is looking to take advantage of his next opportunity in the league. [The Athletic]
Only a few games on the schedule for tonight. I’d recommend tuning into the Bruins @ Canadiens game, airing at 4:30 PM Pacific (on the NHL’s streaming service, for non-locals). They’re a storied rivalry, Boston is trying to stay in contention while dealing with injuries to key players, and the Canadiens are surprisingly good in a season which everyone expected to be a bust. Montreal and Boston hold both wild card spots in the east and look pretty poised to continue that sort of jockeying for quite some time.