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Saturday, January 31, 2015

TRP: Snow Rinaldo, #JagrWatch and the New Jersey Yawn by @LCJS

11:00:00 AM 0

By: Lee C.J. Sobotka | Staff Writer

This is Three Rivers Philosophizer - A weekly review of stuff that is going on in my brain... at least the stuff that has to do with hockey. If you don't like it, I don't blame you.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Morning Drive: Radio:PI 1/29/15 with Josh Yohe

12:00:00 PM 0
Morning Drive brings you the latest episode of the Radio:PI Podcast Network for easy access.  This morning: Radio:PI

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Looking Forward at the Salary Cap by @BrianK_PI

9:03:00 AM 0

The NHL had announced at the December 8th Board of Governor's meeting that the salary cap would likely be $73 million for the upcoming 2015-16 season, though the falling Canadian dollar could push that projection lower. Reportedly the salary cap wouldn't drop below $71 million for next season, though much remains to be seen before that number is finalized. Though next season's cap ceiling won't be set until the offseason, it's never too early to take a look down the road at the cap situation. After the break I'll take a look at how the Penguins project for the next couple seasons, assuming a $3 million cap increase each year to $72 million in 2015-16 and $75 million in 2016-17.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Around the Metro 1/22/15 - 1/29/15 by @kjcmalakai

3:00:00 PM 0

The farce that was the All-Star Game has come and gone, much like the hope that was the Penguins' season (#HotTake).  What started out so promisingly with what looked like an unstoppable power play and reservations at the top of the Metro has eroded into an injury plagued, mumps infested, 17-12 mockery of its former self.  There is a lot of hockey left to play, and a lot of time to get things right, but right now the Penguins are trending in the wrong direction.  Yes they are a still in second place in the Metro, and yes, this may (definitely) be an overreaction, but at 3-4-3 in their last ten games, what has started as a slump has devolved into what appears to be a legitimate problem.

Metro Games to Watch This Week
Thursday, January 29 - Montreal Canadiens @ New York Rangers
Friday, January 30 - Pittsburgh Penguins @ New Jersey Devils
Saturday, January 31 - New York Islanders @ Detroit Red Wings
Sunday, February 1 - Nashville Predators @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Monday, February 2 - Florida Panthers @ New York Rangers
Tuesday, February 3 - Los Angeles Kings @ Washington Capitals
Wednesday, January 28 - Boston Bruins @ New York Rangers
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Morning Drive: Radio:PI- 1/29/15 with Ryan Wilson

12:00:00 PM 0
Morning Drive brings you the latest episode of the Radio:PI Podcast Network for easy access.  This morning: Radio:PI

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stop Thanking Johnston for Letang by @wutendeskind

2:00:00 PM 1
In the wake of Letang’s five-point night against the Winnipeg Jets, let me get this out of the way: Kris Letang is not a different hockey player this year than he’s been in his career, but his bandwagon welcomes you.

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Kissing a Competent 4th Line Goodbye by @BrianK_PI

9:33:00 AM 1

The downfall of the Pittsburgh Penguins last season was a bottom six that was often along for the ride and incapable of driving play and adding value on their own. It was a focus for Jim Rutherford when free agency opened, as he made a couple of great value signings in Blake Comeau and Steve Downie. Those players have been great, but the drive the rectify the team's shortcomings has fallen by the wayside since the season has started. While injuries have forced players higher in the lineup than they might be playing otherwise, the one constant in the equation has been the team remaining committed to an awful 4th line. Craig Adams and Zach Sill, despite being players that would struggle to hold down a roster spot on lottery teams, have somehow managed to play 42 and 33 games, respectively. They've combined for 2 goals and 5 assists during that timespan while managing a FF% of 47.6%. The team has previously brought in possible 4th line options in Rob Klinkhammer and Mark Arcobello before trading Marcel Goc for Maxim Lapierre. The front office that had decided (rightly) to try improving the 4th line in the offseason has now gone in the opposite direction.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pens Trade Goc For Lapierre

10:13:00 PM 0

The Penguins have traded Marcel Goc.
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Crosby and Fleury and This and That by @ChicksDigHockey

2:00:00 PM 0

This week there was not much this and even less that going on with the Penguins. There were, however, injuries wrapped in mystery and goalie goals. 

- Marc-Andre Fleury scored two goals in the skills competition at the All-Star Game. I wanted to see him jump up and down….do cartwheels….something! But he was cool about it. You know he’s saving the celly for the one he scores that counts. 

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Morning Drive: Radio:PI- 1/26/15

12:00:00 PM 0
Morning Drive brings you the latest episode of the Radio:PI Podcast Network for easy access.  This morning: Radio:PI

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Shop Wars: @evil_shero vs. @ryannoble66 - Movie Posters #PIShopWars

9:00:00 AM 0

Shop Wars is a competition between Paul Clemente and Ryan Noble to where a random theme is picked from a hat and we have to incorporate Penguins players to fit this theme. The winner is determined by YOU ... yes ... YOU. At the end of the page please vote below.

Last weeks #PIShopWars winner was +Ryan Noble  The theme was Album Covers and though Paul brought the noise AND the funk, it was Ryan who won his third consecutive battle.

This week is Movie Posters:

Evgeni Maklin - I Am Legend

American Sniper - Sidney Crosby

Beau Bennett - Unbreakable

Sidney Crosby - American Beauty

Steve Downie - The Shining

David Perron - Almost Famous

free polls

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

TRP: This Week In #FartNoise by @LCJS

1:00:00 PM 1

By: Lee C.J. Sobotka | Staff Writer

This is Three Rivers Philosophizer - A weekly review of stuff that is going on in my brain... at least the stuff that has to do with hockey. If you don't like it, I don't blame you.

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The List: @Penguins All-Star Appearances 1968-2015 (Compiled by @ToonsBrian)

9:00:00 AM 0

This weekend - barring any last-minute roster changes - Marc-Andre Fleury will occupy the 70th NHL All-Star Game roster spot to be taken by a Pittsburgh Penguin in the franchise's history.

The following is a list of each year's participants and how they affected the score sheet for the NHL's talent showcase.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Watch Sid Stickhandle in Awesome GoPro Video

12:32:00 PM 0
The NHL and GoPro have announced an excellent new partnership that will begin this weekend with the All Star Game.  They're celebrating with this excellent video featuring prominent NHLers like Sidney Crosby.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Crosby to Miss All Star Game, Tuesday vs Winnipeg

7:13:00 PM 0

Sidney Crosby will miss this weekend's All Star Game with what is being described as a "lower body" injury.

Crosby has also been ruled out for Tuesday's game in Winnipeg.
Crosby will now join Evgeni Malkin in sitting out this weekend's festivities.

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Around the Metro 1/15/15 - 1/22/15 by @kjcmalakai

1:00:00 PM 0

I love hockey.  It is easily the most watchable sport on television due to the continuous action and high definition now allowing the viewer to more easily see the puck.  However, after the disappointment of last week for the Penguins, I could not be happier that the All Star break is up on us.  Watching hockey last week just wasn't fun.  It did remind me though how fortunate we are as Penguins fans that we have a successful franchise to root for.  While it was a bad week, it was only a week.  There are teams out there that do what the Pens did last week on a regular basis (looking at you Edmonton and Buffalo).

Metro Games to Watch This Week
Sunday, January 25 - All Star Game
Tuesday, January 27 - New York Rangers @ New York Islanders
Wednesday, January 28 - Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Pittsburgh Penguins' All-Time All-Star Defensemen by @DXTraeger

5:14:00 PM 1
"The Thin Blue Line," a film not made by Terrence Malick
Last week, I broke down the Penguins' All-Time, All-Star forwards in light of this coming weekend's All-Star game and surrounding festivities.

The Penguins have had an interesting mix of players and personalities patrolling their blue line since the Flightless Birds came into the NHL during the 1967 expansion.  In that time, Pittsburgh has dressed several players that played defense and whose busts now reside in the NHL Hall of Fame in Toronto.

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Metro Pothole or Major Problem? by @Nick422

9:00:00 AM 0
Sunday, bloody Sunday took on a new meaning on the 19th.  As the Rangers thumped the Penguins 5-2, it marked the official first real panic of the new era in Penguins hockey.  It summed up an issue that had been dwelling, and continued into Tuesday night.  The Penguins are good. The Metro might be better.

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Penguins This and That by @ChicksDigHockey

9:00:00 AM 0

- I think tonight’s game will be a statement game about the state of the Penguins. Being in second place is certainly not cause for panic but they sure could use a division win. Rally 'round the puck, boys!

 They need to play a cleaner game. They’re spending way too much time in the penalty box.  In their last 3 regulation losses, Pens opponents have totaled 16 mins in penalties while the Pens have 30 mins total time in the box. That led to being out-scored 15-6. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out…..stay out of the box. 

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Perron Is Better Than Your Favorite Player* by @wutendeskind

3:03:00 PM 0

*As long as Pascal Dupuis is your favorite player

It looks like Sidney Crosby has found his new right wing in recently acquired David Perron, a position that’s been up for grabs since December 2013 when Pascal Dupuis tore his ACL against the Ottawa Senators.

Since then, the coveted position has been filled by the likes of Brian Gibbons, Joe Vitale, Evgeni Malkin, and even Dupuis himself, but none has stuck. 

When Dupuis' (regular) season was ended by a blood clot in November, there seemed to be a low-grade panic setting in among Pens fans that he was a player who couldn’t be replaced. After all, who else keeps the Penguins light like the guy who set Crosby’s toilet to spray him with water?

Can Perron replace Dupuis?

Let’s compare Dupuis and Perron across a few categories:

(Data courtesy of stats.hockeyanalysis.com and war-on-ice.com)


If we take a look at their possession data, Dupuis appears to have a bit of an edge. Since joining the Penguins, Dupuis has posted a 50.8% CF%. Over that same time span, Perron’s CF% is 50.1%. Digging into the numbers a little more tells a slightly different story, however.

Sidney Crosby has been Dupuis’s most common linemate since 2007, when Dupuis was a throw-in on the Hossa trade. Together, Crosby and Dupuis have put up a CF% of 53.9%. Away from Crosby, Dupuis’s numbers take a dive down to 48.9%. This tells us that Dupuis’s 7-year CF% of 50.8% was seeing a bump from the time spent with Crosby, who was driving possession on their line. 

Because Perron and Dupuis are also on different teams, it can be hard to compare possession statistics without a little more context. (For a good example of the effect a team can have on a player’s possession, in the 6 years Perron spent in the league before joining the Oilers, his CF% was 51.2%, much higher than the 49.9% we see after including his time in Edmonton, which is encouraging as to the success he could see on a good team.)

dCorsi, a statistic developed by Stephen Burtch, can help us account for some of these factors (such as age, position, time on ice per 60, teammate Corsi for, and team). I’ve used dCorsi impact to account for differences in time on ice. As Burtch writes, “As dCorsi is a normalized stat per 20 minutes of 5v5 TOI, dCorsi impact is determined by multiplying the player’s yearly dCorsi by the number of 20 minute intervals they have played in each season. To determine the player’s 3 year total, the yearly dCorsi impact values are then combined. The Average dCorsi Impact is determined by dividing the total by the number of seasons played by the skater in the data set.”

Having calculated their average dCorsi impacts, we see in the chart that Dupuis has overall had a larger positive possession impact on his teams than Perron, though both players have made positive contributions.


Perron has scored 7 points in 6 games with the Penguins, primarily playing alongside Crosby and Kunitz (the role Dupuis himself used to fill). He’s off to a pretty hot start, and the possibilities of what Crosby could do with Perron long term are exciting.

Perron and Dupuis have very similar points per 60 numbers, at 2.0 and 2.2 respectively. It’s safe to say Dupuis has seen a bump from playing with Crosby, and Perron will likely become the beneficiary of even greater offensive production as well. Although Dupuis has an impressive 56.3% goals-for percentage, that number falls to 51.7% away from Crosby, which gives the edge to Perron's 55.3% in this category.

It’s also worth noting that Perron is 26 and Dupuis will have turned 36 before he can even contemplate a return to the ice. Perron is still in the scoring prime for forwards, while Dupuis is well past that age.

Overall, in scoring I’d give the win to the much younger Perron, having never played with Crosby but still putting up pretty solid points per 60 and goals-for percentage numbers.


By and large, it would be a misnomer to say that the statistics community doesn’t believe intangibles exist. The problem is that intangibles are hard to quantify, and it’s near impossible to figure out what, if any, impact these qualities have on on-ice product.

Still, from all accounts, Dupuis is as well loved of a teammate as it gets. Whether or not the Penguins can replace Dupuis off the ice, it appears they’ve more than satisfactorily replaced him on the ice, where games are won and lost. And with Dupuis remaining with Penguins in an off-ice capacity, it doesn’t appear as though they have to look far for his replacement.

Encouraging also is the way Penguins teammates have taken to Perron. Kris Letang took him grocery shopping. Simon Despres had him over for dinner. Perron says it took him weeks after he got traded to Edmonton to stop thinking of himself as part of the Blues, while thinking of himself as a Penguin was instantaneous. If off-ice relations have any impact on the ice, this is a good sign for the Pens.

One category where Dupuis has Perron beat? Hot Dad.
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Saturday, January 17, 2015

TRP: Crosby's Nuts, Downie's Face, and Nassau Smells by @LCJS

2:00:00 PM 1

By: Lee C.J. Sobotka | Staff Writer #409

This is Three Rivers Philosophizer - A weekly review of stuff that is going on in my brain... at least the stuff that has to do with hockey. If you don't like it, I don't blame you.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Breaking Down MAF's All-Star Season by @BrianK_PI

7:00:00 PM 0

Marc-Andre Fleury has been a controversial and polarizing figure during his time in Pittsburgh, to say the least, but the fact that he's having a career year for the Penguins is beyond debate. In his first year playing behind Mike Johnston's new system, and second season working with Mike Bales, Fleury has set personal bests across the board, and he's been rewarded for his play by being named to the All-Star Game as a replacement for Pekka Rinne. It's a well-deserved honor, and after the jump I'll take a look at exactly how this year stacks up against his career, as well as the rest of the league.

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This Week in Penguins History by @robullman

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Around the Metro by @kjcmalakai

2:25:00 PM 0
The best club in the history of Pittsburgh, and the silly name of the division that the Penguins are in
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.  It is in the spirit of this famous line uttered by Michael Corleone in the Godfather Part II that this weekly article will follow as I take a look at what the other teams in the Metropolitan Division have done in the past week and what is in store for them in the week ahead.  I'll review whats going on with the Penguins' divisional foes as well as injuries, transactions, and how each team fared in the past week leading up to this article.

Metro Games to Watch This Week
Friday, January 16 - Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders
Saturday, January 17 - New York Islanders @ Montreal Canadiens
Sunday, January 18 - New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Monday, January 19 - Philadelphia Flyers @ New York Islanders
Tuesday, January 20 - Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers
Wednesday, January 21 - Pittsburgh Penguins @ Chicago Blackhawks

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Pittsburgh Penguins' All-Time, All-Star Forwards by @DXTraeger

2:45:00 PM 2
Marc-Andre Fleury, 2015 All-Star Snub / Penguins All-Time All-Star
 When the NHL announced the rosters for the 2015 All-Star game in Columbus, the fan selections lacked the traditional star power and spectacle that generally surround hockey's all-star contest.

An All-Star game wouldn't be an All-Star game if there weren't a number of egregious snubs and omissions, and the omissions start in net, with Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (22-7-4, 2.16 GAA, .926 save percentage, 6 shutouts) hilariously skipped over by fans and league brass for the likes of the terribad Sergei Bobrovsky (15-12-2, 2.88 GAA, .914 save percentage, 1 shutout).

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Pens Claim Mark Arcobello From Nashville

12:25:00 PM 0
The Pens have claimed Mark Arcobello off of waivers from Nashville.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Game 42, Penguins vs. Wild Recap by @DXTraeger

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Penguins/Wild Brouhaha from November 4th (photo by Brace Hemmelgarn)
The Pittsburgh Penguins kicked off the second half to their 2014-2015 regular season with a Tuesday night tilt against the struggling Minnesota Wild.

The Wild, coached by former Penguins' assistant Mike Yeo, entered the contest losers of their last five and recipient of a now-infamous verbal rant at the hands of their coach, who left a Minnesota practice early after lambasting the effort he saw from his players.

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Penguins This and That by @ChicksDigHockey

2:00:00 PM 0

This week, I'm eating crow and singing praises.
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Glittering Gold Episode 3 by @pghgirl15222

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Thanks so much for watching the newest episode. Keep checking back for weekly updates.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Olli Maatta May Be Done For The Season, Pouliot Sent Down

5:13:00 PM 0

As reported by Dave Molinari in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Olli Maatta may be done for the season due to the injury that he suffered back in early December.

At the same time, the Pens sent down Derrick Pouliot to Wilkes-Barre Scranton.
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Judging the Neal Trade: Midseason by @BrianK_PI

1:00:00 PM 2
***All stats through Saturday, January 10***

When Jim Rutherford took over the Penguins this past spring, the first major move he made was a draft day shocker. James Neal had been rumored to be on his way out of Pittsburgh before Rutherford even arrived in town, and he dealt the talented, but troubled, winger to Nashville for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. The trade was not initially well received by many due to a perceived lack of value and Spaling's inclusion in the trade. Those in favor argued that Hornqvist played a more complete game and would receive a similar scoring bump playing next to Malkin and Crosby.

It will take years to full judge the trade, just as all other deals need time to assess their full impact. After all, no one would have predicted after the Hossa trade that it would have been notable for bringing Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh. However, we can take a look at the early returns and try to judge the trade as it looks so far. I've previously taken a look at the trade after the first quarter of the season, and now with the year reaching the halfway point I'll assess how the second quarter has gone for the three players involved.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

TRP: Crosby Viagra, Neo's Puck Skills and A Wet T-Shirt Contest by @LCJS

10:58:00 AM 0

By: Lee C.J. Sobotka | Staff Writer

This is Three Rivers Philosophizer - A weekly review of stuff that is going on in my brain... at least the stuff that has to do with hockey. If you don't like it, I don't blame you.

This Week In #FartNoise:

If it were possible to sum up this past week in Penguins hockey, I could do it with one picture:

Beau knows "meh."
The Pens had one game this week up to this point, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins. That game ended with a rather questionable goal review where everyone that had eyes saw the puck was hit ABOVE the crossbar, only for the refs - even after review of the video - to say that what everybody saw didn't happen.

As it was pointed out by the guys at Benstonium...

It was a tough blue pill to swallow.

That game, of course, was on NBC Sports.  Not only did we get a guaranteed Mike Emrick Pirates reference, we also were graced by certain intermission talking heads. Upon further review, this fact still remains true:

Around the Web:

Is Crosby past his scoring prime?
Something to take note of: A story on CBSSports.com written by Adam Gretz about Sidney Crosby and his age when it comes to burying the biscuit.

If Crosby is indeed getting too old to score at an elite level, it's time to get working on the hockey equivalent of Viagra.

Only time will tell if Crosby can shake off this slump that he has been mired in.  While we may have already seen his best, I'm willing to bet that there is still lots of fantastic stuff yet to come.

Contest News:

Pens Initiative will be holding a wet t-shirt contest in the near future.  Get your hoses ready!

[CORRECTION] It's actually just going to be a t-shirt giveaway contest.  Details to follow... unless you really want a wet t-shirt contest, huh? HUH?!

[CORRECTION to the CORRECTION] My editors have told me there will be no wet t-shirt contest... that will remain for Pens Initiative Staff only.

This Week In PI:

Paul and Ryan continued their photoshop war. Who did you vote for?

Liz talked about "this and that."

Beth Mincin gave her thoughts on how the Pens have weathered this year's storm.

Mike Traeger opined on what the Pens can do to improve during the second half of the season.

Chris Barron gave his thoughts on the NHL in Vegas while being the best dressed of all of us.

Hockey Night In Pittsburgh:

Tonight the Pens take on Slew-foot Subban and the rest of Michel Therrien's Habs.

My prediction - Pens win 5-3.

Get your game face ready!
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Friday, January 9, 2015

Point and Laugh at NHL's All Star Jerseys

3:37:00 PM 0
The NHL's All Star Game takes place right next door to Pittsburgh this year, in Columbus.  In the past the NHL's All Star jerseys have been regal and wonderful.  This year... not so much.

Who Wants Mountain Dew?
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Chris' Corner for 1/9/15: The Insanity of the NHL in Vegas @chrisrbarron

3:00:00 PM 0

Chris' Corner for January 9th 2015:  The Insanity of the NHL in Vegas

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#Pens PK Better Than We Think by @wutendeskind

9:12:00 AM 0

Jason Mackey at the Trib recently posted these two tweets about the Penguins recent penalty kill efforts:

“Wow. Penguins have allowed 12 PPG over their past 36 games. They’re 120 for 132 during that stretch (90.9%).”

“Even better, they’ve been shorthanded 147 times – second most in the NHL. Yet their 87.8 percent success rate ranks second.”

I’m pretty impressed by these numbers. I think we all remember how bad the penalty kill unit looked at the beginning of the season. Looked like the Pens couldn’t catch a break, couldn’t stop taking penalties, and like we were in for a long year. From Mackey’s tweets, it seems as though they still haven’t quite figured out how to stop taking penalties (second most penalized team in the NHL), but it certainly appears as though patience has paid off, and the penalty-killing unit has figured itself out.

As always, I wanted to dig into these stats a little further. I did some reading on how best to evaluate penalty kill units, and I was surprised at what I found.

Generally, the first thing I look at when evaluating play is shot attempts, since we have so many more shot attempts than goals. Consequently, when I’m looking at a player’s defensive ability, I like to look at shots against. It stands to reason, then, that shot attempts against would be the best way to measure penalty killing ability.

Not so, say Eric Tulsky and JLikens.

As Tulsky writes:

“Penalty kill save percentage turns out to be a lot more reproducible than power play shooting percentage -- teams have a lot more control over how many shots they stop than over how many of their shots go in. As a result, JLikens was able to show recently that this changes how we should look at penalty kill units. He found that if you take a random 41 games from a team's season and try to predict their PK% in the other 41 games, you do much better if you use PK% in the first set to make your guesses than if you use SOG/60. In other words, teams don't have all that much control over their shooting percentage, so a good power play is one that generates a lot of shots. But teams do have control over save percentage, and just using shot rate to evaluate penalty kills leaves out the skill of the goalie, so you actually do better to use PK%.”

To date, the Pens have played 40 games, just one game shy of the 41-game, halfway mark. The Pens (87.9%) currently sit only behind the Chicago Blackhawks (89.7%) in PK%.

Last season, the Penguins finished fourth on the penalty kill, with a PK% of 85.0%. So it should be said that the Pens have had very good penalty killing units for the last two seasons. Still, I’d like to take a look at what’s kept them dominant this year (and last).

With Tulsky and JLikens advocating that we look at both shot rate and the skill of the goalie, that’s what we’ll do.

Shot Rates

2014-2015 Shorthanded stats, sorted by shots against per 60 (SA60)

For the sake of comparison, here are the 2013-2014 shorthanded stats, once again sorted by shots against per 60 (SA60)

(Tables courtesy of hockeyanalysis.com)

As you see in the bolded column, the Penguins are giving up just about the same number of shots on the penalty kill this year as last year. We have a smaller sample for this year, but overall, they gave up 1.2 more shots per 60 last year (58.3) when compared to this year (57.1).

(Additionally, I looked at shorthanded scoring chances against per 60, courtesy of War on Ice, and the Pens are giving up slightly more shorthanded scoring chances this year than last—54.7 per 60 this year compared to 54.5 per 60 last year, 23rd and 25th in the league respectively—and the closeness of these two numbers to each other, and their position in the league, leads me to believe it hasn’t been a huge factor in explaining performance.)

Leaving the analysis here, however, would exclude goalie talent, so we’ll also look at Fleury’s performance.

Goalie Talent

Among goalies with at least 20 starts, Marc-Andre Fleury’s .930 SH Sv% is second in the league, behind only Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov (.963).

For comparison, Fleury finished 2nd in the league last year, with a .911. First in the league was New Jersey’s Corey Schneider, who posted a .918 shorthanded Sv% on the year (minimum 40 starts).

Fleury was excellent last year, when compared to his peers, and he continues to be quite good this season. What’s interesting to me is that although his SH Sv% is much higher this year, Fleury’s position in the league hasn’t changed, which I believe can be attributed to the small sample size. Fleury is still playing dominantly, but the numbers are higher now than they might be through 82 games because we are only halfway through the season.

Overall, I don’t think it’s likely that Fleury maintains his .930 SH Sv% (Varlamov even less so), but I think it’s clear that Fleury has been excellent for the Penguins, even as they have defensively been a below-league-average unit in front of him.

Note: Martin, Agnew, and others have noted that the Penguins are using a similar penalty killing system to last year, which may explain similarity of shot rates against.

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