Posts by IJay Palansky

Analytics Pixie Dust Can't Assume Away Ovechkin's Glaring Deficiencies

Surprisingly, many in the analytics community are in agreement with many mainstream analysts who believe that Alexander Ovechkin merits serious consideration for M.V.P. Considerably less surprisingly, I disagree with all of them. To be fair, Ovechkin has had a good season and there really aren’t any forwards that have stepped up and separated themselves from […]

Ducks Luck

With his Anaheim Ducks in first place overall, coach Bruce Boudreau is in familiar territory.  All too familiar, in fact. In his last three seasons as coach of the Washington Capitals (2009-2011) he won one President’s Trophy (first place overall in the regular season), and came second and fourth overall in the two others. But […]

The Power of Puck Luck

“Puck luck” is real. And it’s powerful. In early December, when Calgary was riding a white hot 17-7-1 start, we wrote an article explaining that its success was nothing but smoke and mirrors. We pointed out that puck luck was duping just about everybody from Toronto to Timbuktu into believing that the Flames were an […]

Why do most of the media refuse to get it? (Calgary vs. Edmonton)

By IJay Palansky NHL teams have finally bought into hockey analytics, so why is it that most of the media remains oblivious? As just one shining example, Sportsnet recently ran an article headlined “Flames and Oilers Heading In Opposite Directions.” That headline was pretty much the only thing the article got right, and even that […]

Bergeron Is A Monster

The best forwards in the NHL last season were Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Patrice Bergeron. And not necessarily in that order.  There isn’t much disagreement as to the first two, but most hockey fans wouldn’t put Bergeron in the same class.   They’d be wrong.   In almost every aspect of the game – […]

If Bozak Were Better He'd Get Demoted For Sure

In Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk the Toronto Maple Leafs have arguably the most potent pair of first line wingers in the NHL. Last year the two finished 6th and 16th in the league in goals, with a total of 67 between them.   Imagine the damage they could do if they had a […]

What We'd Tell The Leafs

The list could easily have 100 items, but since the Toronto Star doesn't give us 20 pages of space we started with 5:   The “summer of hockey analytics” continued on Tuesday, when the Leafs reportedly hired three shiny new additions to their analytics team. In light of the hirings the Star asked the Department of Hockey Analytics […]

Free Agent Bargains Part II: Benoit Pouliot

Originally published June 26, 2014 Last week we pointed out that a team looking for a steal in the free agent market should snap up Radim Vrbata if they could get him for anything like his 2013-14 salary of $3,000,000. Benoit Pouliot might be an even better buy. At first glance, Pouliot’s numbers are solid […]

Who's The Playoff MVP?

Picking the Conn Smythe winner doesn’t exactly require a crystal ball. 25 of the last 30 winners have been the Cup winner’s goalie or top scorer. Almost by definition, then, fancy stats don’t play much (any) role in the selection.   But if they did, who should win this year?   Let’s start with the […]

Defense Wins Championships (well . . . not really)

Below is this week's article for the Toronto Star, and at the bottom is a link to the pertinent regression results.  I think the article more or less speaks for itself, but I did want to add a couple of additional thoughts. First, even though the data set included all Finals and Semi-finals since 1980, it's still […]