Sunday, December 9, 2007

Return of the Crazy

I like ambiguous titles - see, I could be talking about Dominik Hasek's return to starterdom (or rather, 1A-dom) or I could be talking about my own return, as if a phoenix from the ashes, only instead of a phoenix I'm a geeky Wings fan, and instead of ashes, the first semester of grad school. No promises starting January 7th, when I go back - but at least for the next month, I should be on top of every little scrap of Wings news. Starting with the games against Carolina and Minnesota.

I only saw bits of each game, but of course, when you don't have access to the actual product, any blogger worth his salt can bullshit some analysis based on statistics! So here we go:

Dominik Hasek
Last 3 games: 1.00 GAA, .942 SV%, 100 IR

"IR" is a statistic I made up called "Insanity Rating". It's a scale from 0-100 and the most desirable for a goalie is 100. Patrick Roy is known to have a lifetime average of 97, Hasek's average is 99, which explains why those two are hall-of-famers. (Ed Belfour, however, had a 137 lifetime. ) Anyway, Hasek's game is on: he's healthy, confident, and willing as ever to throw himself out of the crease at lightning pace.

By the way, re: Wild fans' uproar over Hasek's move on Gaborik, the save was legal. Gaborik shouldn't have his head down. Hasek has done that a million times, and 999,999 of those times the forward has gone flying over top, albeit not in such dramatic fashion. Could Gaborik have gotten hurt? Yeah he could have. So could Jiri Hudler have gotten hurt when Phaneuf laid him out. Who's to blame? Hudler and Gaborik. Both of them need to have their heads up. Phaneuf and Hasek are playing by the rules, and doing what they should do to help their team.

Also by the way, I love this video of the save, which I assume is Czech in origin, which has the captions: "Hasek trammels like young. DOMINATOR flying instructor." Anyway, moving on.

Andreas Lilja
This Season: 100% GWGTGR

Another made-up statistical category: Game-Winning-Goal to Total Goals Ratio. As Ken Daniels said during the game, Lilja has scored twice, both game winners. Statisticians may argue about the sample size, but a 100% GWGTGR is a clutch goal-scorer in my book.

Jiri Hudler
Last 16 Games: 1.06 PPG

Another stat pointed out by Ken Daniels, this one actually meaningful. Thanks to Pavel Datsyuk's recent tear, Hudler hasn't even been the Wings' best forward of late. But his contribution is as important - with Datsyuk and Hank rolling the Wings are among the best in the league. Throw in secondary scoring, ie, Hudler? The Wings are unstoppable. That's what distinguishes them now from the earlier streak - both had dominant goaltending, both had suffocating team defense, both had a Eurotwin on fire. The difference now is Hudler.

By the way, here's a real stat: Hudler leads the team in points by a player not on a line with a Eurotwin. When you consider Sammy, Franzen, and Flip have underperformed thus far, Hudler picking up his game is huge.

Johan Franzen
3 PTs last 2 GMs

Franzen looks like he is starting to go the way of Hudler. If this isn't just a blip (given the way he was going in the preseason, I don't think it is) he's going to give the team a huge boost. I'd love to see a Cleary-Franzen-Hudler line, a Draper-Maltby-Drake line, and a Sammy-Fil-Kopecky line, once everyone's healthy. To me Cleary, Mule, and Huds are the top 4 5 and 6 scorers on this team, as far as what they've shown. But just as easily Sammy and Val could turn it up and replace the more grinderly Cleary and Franzen. How that fivesome progresses over the course of the year is going to affect the team more than anything, methinks. As long as three of them are going at any one time, the Wings have will have all the secondary scoring they need to win the Cup. If all five of them get going? Throw in a deadline acquisition forward, and you have three potent scoring lines, and assuming the two-headed goaltending monster is still in form, you have one of the best teams ever assembled, and a lock to win the Stanley Cup. Mind you that's a lot ifs, but none of them is unreasonable.

The European Union
Six-foot twenty, fuckin' killing for fun

Even though both goals were gravy, you knew the Flying Circus wasn't going to get left off the scoresheet. Holmstrom (6:03) had more PPTOI than Nick Lidstrom (6:01). But he's no PP specialist - notice he only scored his goal against the Canes because he was on for a clutch defensive situation. As for Datsyuk, his dominance is hardly quantifiable. You could start with his goals, assists, takeaways, and +/-, but none of that fully demonstrates how much he absolutely owns the ice. Zetterberg, with an assist Sunday, the hat trick against Minnesota; he's continuing a monster season. But I'll go out on a limb: not that it matters because they're always together, but Dastyuk is the better Eurotwin. It occurs to me that I haven't seen anyone ask that question. Well there's my answer, at least for now.