14 April 2015

SOTSO Hockey Podcast! - Episode 5 - Because It's the Cup

Welcome to Episode 5 of the State of the State of Hockey podcast.
MP3 hosted at sotohockey.com and embedded below.

58 Minutes of firings, should've been firings and playoff things :).

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Justin doesn't understand why Roy still has a job.
Jeff Simmons at Sportsnet Canada names the worst coach of the year. (Sportsnet.ca).
Mentioning a few coaches that actually were fired.
Okay Joe and Justin totally fail memory test of the 2013 Draft.  Edmonton drafted 7th that year and did not have a chance at Seth Jones.  (Wikipedia)
For the record, Edmonton took D Darnell Nurse that year.  Click to see how he's doing (Wikipedia)
Joe admits a secret about attending the Winnipeg game.
Debate about which Chicago beatdown was better (Tuesday or Feb 3rd)
Wild beat Nashville even with players sitting.
Nobody wanted to play on Saturday.
@dhd823 reminds us that Joe Sakic is a moron. (@dhd82, Yahoo! Puck Daddy)
Listener Tweets on Resting Players (@rebeccatherine, @MonsieurCRay)
Zucker's first game game back (@angelbear82711)
Three stars and honorable mentions!
Wild-Blues
Come join Joe and Justin at Joe Senser's in Bloomington on Saturday for Game 2.
Rest of the previews.
Listener Tweet on playing at home vs away (@uncanny_megan)
Justin gets browbeaten into changing a pick.

We didn't discuss this on the show, but we announce the SOTSOHockey "Win Justin Jelinek's Money" NHL Bracket Challenge.

In honor of his two favorite players, Justin is putting up $11.40 that says he has the winning bracket. But in the spirit of the greatest game show ever produced, he will defend his money by "becoming a common contestant."

(If anyone asks why not $40.11 Justin's two favorite players may suddenly become Keith Ballard and Charlie Coyle.)

If Justin wins the SOTSOHockey League at NHL.com's Bracket Challenge there will be no prize awarded!

To challenge Justin for the $11.40 grand prize:
1)  Enter the SOTSOHockey League at NHL.com's Bracket Challenge.
2)  Have the highest ranking entry among eligible contents and rank higher than Justin's entry, entry name: "Justin J".

NHL.com Bracket Challenge scoring and tiebreakers apply in ranking.  Prize will be divided equally in the event of winning entries tied after tiebreakers.

To be eligible contestants must do all of the following before NHL.com locks the brackets before play begins on Wednesday.

1)  Must follow both @SOTSOHockeyJJ and @SOTSOHockeyJoe on Twitter
2)  Must tweet Entry name to either @SOTSOHockeyJJ or @SOTSOHockeyJoe using hashtag #sotsohpod.
3)  Must only enter once. (Anyone caught with multiple entries will be disqualified!)
4)  Must not be Joe Hayford, Andy Carlson, their spouses, or Justin Jelinek's spouse.

Prize will only be paid using Paypal or Google Wallet.  Creating one of these accounts is required to receive prize.

Back to show notes....

Justin is now officially a season ticket holder next year.
Playoff tickets are scarce folks.
Viewing party Thursday night at the X. (wild.com)
Join us Saturday at Joe Senser's in Bloomington for another viewing party.

Next episode on Monday, April 20.
Most new episodes on Tuesday mornings.

Subscribe: http://sotsohockey.com/podcastgen/feed.xml

If you have questions or comments on the Wild for us to share on the show tweet using hashtag #sotsohpod.  Follow Justin at @sotsohockeyjj and Joe @sotsohockeyjoe.

09 April 2015

A tiebreaker that really annoys me...

So we're getting down to the end of the regular season. And there's a topic I want to bring up that is only relevant between now and Saturday when the regular season comes to an end, regular season tiebreakers.

First I'll spell out exactly what's on NHL.com's standings page.

  1. The fewer number of games played (i.e., superior points percentage). 
  2. The greater number of games won, excluding games won in the Shootout. This figure is reflected in the ROW column. 
  3. The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any "odd" games, shall be used to determine the standing. 
  4. The greater differential between goals for and against for the entire regular season. NOTE: In standings a victory in a shootout counts as one goal for, while a shootout loss counts as one goal against. 

Now the first "tiebreaker" is not really a tiebreaker because it's only only relevant to how NHL.com sorts the table while the season's in progress if teams have played a different number of games. It can be ignored once all teams have completed their schedules.

The second tiebreaker, regulation and overtime wins, was a change before 2013-14, from the tiebreaker being total number of wins, including shootouts. I find this to be a positive change because it devalues the shootout, though not as much as if the NHL were to adopt the 3 point system the IIHF and KHL use, but I'll save that rant for another day.

You guessed it, it's the third tiebreaker that I'm talking about today. It starts off simple enough. "The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs," I think this is a reasonable tiebreaker when teams are even on points and ROW.

But then they make this odd allowance for series with odd numbers of games. "If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included," is a poorly worded confusing exception. It is not clear if this sentence refers to being tied on Points and ROW, or if it refers to being tied on the games between the teams.

There is a better way to word this in either case.  If the "odd" head-to-head games are discounted right away they could word it like this:

(my changes in bold)

"The greater number of points earned in included games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied on season points and ROW, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included."

 If the "odd" head-to-head games are discounted right away they could word it like this:

The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied on points in the games between each other, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included.

Take Anaheim and St. Louis for the top seed in the West for example.  If Anaheim wins their last game against Arizona in a shootout, and St. Louis wins their last two in regulation or overtime (yes Wild fans, I know Minnesota's going to beat St. Louis on Saturday, but just hear me out) they would finish tied at 109 points and 42 ROW. So Head-to-head comes into play.  Here are the results between them this year:

@ANA, Su, 19 Oct - ANA 3-0
@STL, Th, 30 Oct - STL 2-0
@ANA, Fr, 2 Jan - ANA 4-3

So it's the first game in Anaheim that's in question.  If the first interpretation is correct then that game gets thrown out right away, then they are tied head to head (2 points each) and goal differential becomes the determining factor, in which St. Louis has an advantage at +44 to +9.  (I know St. Louis has had goaltending issues, but I think the hold on with two games to spare.)  If the second interpretation is correct, then Anaheim wins the tiebreaker 4 points to 2 because that first game is only thrown out if the head to head is tied overall.

For what it's worth, of first few Google results for "NHL head to head tiebreaker explained" bring up this post from The Puck Report and this HF Boards thread from 2012 before ROW was even a thing seem the most relevant.  (Google also brings up results for NFL and FIFA tiebreakers.  Oh Google!) The common understanding in these posts is that the first interpretation is correct.  I imagine that TSN link in the HF Boards thread would probably spell that out if it weren't now broken.  But not a lot of digital ink has been spilled on clarifying this.

But if the first interpretation is correct, the intent is not to give advantage to a team that gets an extra home game because of schedule rotation.   Well if you're like me, you've spotted the flaw.  Would St. Louis get punished if they had won the first game at Anaheim?  You bet they would.  (Also, if St. Louis had beat Anaheim in regulation in that first game, both teams would have 41 ROW, inviting more possibilities of a tie on points and ROW at season's end.)

Before realignment in the three division per conference format, every team played an even number of games against each opponent in the conference.  Six games against division foes, and four games against the other teams in the rest of the conference.  So this wording only came into play for the President's trophy because teams across conferences only played one or two games against one another.

This exposes another bug in this tiebreaker.  There will be "odd" games in almost every series between any two teams of the same conference with the post realignment schedule.

(read x*x as number of opponents times number of games against each)

Western Conference Schedule:
Div (29): 5*5, 1*4 (x)
Rest of Conf (21): 7*3 (x)
Other Conf (32): 16*2

(x)- Because there are an odd number of teams in the Western Conference divisions, one team in each division gives up a division game to play an extra game against each other.

Eastern Conference Schedule:
Div (30): 2*5, 5*4
Rest of Conf (24): 8*3
Other Conf (28): 14*2

So if it were up to me, simplyfing the tiebreaker to "The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs" without any caveat for home games is better.  This year the home team wins 54% of NHL and averages 1.2 points per home game.  It's not a huge advantage, this advantage rotates, and having the allowance for home games could punish a team that gets a road result.

Simpler is better, or at the very least, clearer wording is better.

***

Check out the State of the State of Hockey podcast!  Playoff preview edition comes out Tuesday, 14 April.  In which regular season tiebreakers probably won't even be a topic :).  It works better with digital ink anyway.

06 April 2015

SOTSO Hockey Podcast! - Episode 4 - Playoffs

Welcome to Episode 4 of the State of the State of Hockey podcast.
MP3 hosted at sotohockey.com and embedded below.

A post-easter diet of just 34 minutes :).

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MP3


Joe and Justin feel bad for Colorado's elimination.
Reviewing the game against the Rangers.
Love for Lundquist.
Reviewing the game against the Red Wings.
Joe says refs are just plain bad this week.
Dumba Love!
Controversial Shootout (Nino's attempt at about 4:30) (NOTE FROM JUSTIN: I think it stays out after review.)
Justin drops a Picard Quote.
Standings Update. (SportsClubStats.com)
Three Stars of the week.
Joe's love for the Wild Fanbase
Relive Granlund's amazing shift in Game 4 against Colorado.  (YouTube Gybon B)
Listener Tweets (Byfuglien: @drainscott, Koivu: @uncanny_megan, Playoff opponents: @JDangerDawson, @minngolf, @uncanny_megan)
No love for DPS in the sotsohockey podcast.
#PirateAngryMikko
Revisiting the most favorable playoff opponent.
We be gamblin'.
Previews for next week.
Joe still claims to be a "Vanek Neutral."
The playoffs are coming!
Does Kuemper get a start?

Next episode on Tuesday, April 14.
Most new episodes on Tuesday mornings.

Subscribe: http://sotsohockey.com/podcastgen/feed.xml

If you have questions or comments on the Wild for us to share on the show tweet using hashtag #sotsohpod.  Follow Justin at @sotsohockeyjj and Joe @sotsohockeyjoe.

31 March 2015

SOTSO Hockey Podcast! - Episode 3 - Symphony Of Destruction

Welcome to Episode 3 of the State of the State of Hockey podcast.
MP3 hosted at sotohockey.com and embedded below.

64 minutes of fan-centric Wild Talk!

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MP3



We didn't mean to call Stastny walking "a trade," our bad.
Joe drops a change of opinion on Vanek.
Excited the playoffs are coming soon.
Wild perfect week in review, guess where we give the credit?
Brodziak v Phaneuf, been out since.
Wild play well against Toronto, but Leafs make it interesting.
Isles run over the Wild, but still get a result.
We're both dads!
Joe wants one more visit to Uniondale for the Wild.
Ugh, why did they change the name of the Atlantic division to the Metropolitan?
Justin rips on Tavares' shootout attempt.
Revisiting Joe's idea to add a chaser to the shootout.
"Wire to wire" over Calgary.
Quick pulled despite good effort.
Winnipeg gets jobbed by the refs against Chicago, Justin actually feels bad. (Grantland)
Wild playoff probabilities. (SportsClubStats)
Justin mentions the Swarm.
Who's in the playoffs so far?
Pre-recorded, we're doing it wrong.
Three Stars of the week, nobody's going to be surprised about #1.
Many Honorable Mentions.
Listener Tweets.
Most favorable opponents.
Joe hates NBC Sports, Justin hates ESPN. Battle Royale this summer.
World Cup of Hockey is in 2016. (nhl.com)
Why is the playoff format so complicated?
Sean McIndoe is still right about the flaw in the Wild Card playoff format. (Grantland)
Many of Justin's old posts on realignment (SOTSOH Blog Archive)
Tough schedule (@angelbear82711)
Justin and Joe aren't always always on the same page.  Justin actually thinks Wild at Braemar is a good idea.
Justin admits his love for Billy Joel, Joe is non-plussed.
Agree on a spelling for Dubnyk. (@uncanny_megan@rebeccatherine, @DrainScott)  You will have to download to get the answer.  Or wait until we start tweeting on Thursday.
Justin likes many goalies.
Weekly predictions. (No agreement on either game.)
Rangers wrecked Kuemper's year.
Joe and Justin disagree about Fontaine hit being a headshot.  Justin revisits Ballard hit.
Joe revisits the trade deadline acquisitions one month later.
Joe doesn't notice Justin's tweets always, but it's okay.
Early talk of next year.  (The Fourth Period)
Justin hates Cooke.

Next episode on Monday, April 6.
Most new episodes on Tuesday mornings.

Subscribe: http://sotsohockey.com/podcastgen/feed.xml

23 March 2015

SOTSO Hockey Podcast! - Episode 2 - Charlie O'Coyle

Welcome to Episode 2 of the State of the State of Hockey podcast.
MP3 hosted at sotohockey.com and embedded below.

50% bigger than last week's podcast, Packed with talk of the week that was, the week to be, listener tweets AND SO MUCH MORE!

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Yay to the Gopher Women's Hockey Team.
Dumba finishes off the Preds.
Washington loss is not Dubnyk's fault.
Stewart's great goal starts the onslaught over St. Louis
Listen to Justin surf the internet. (NHL Numbers)
We miss Josh Harding.
Dubnyk wants to stay. (Russo Star Tribune)
Justin still thinks the Blues are good.
Joe fears the Ducks the most.
Standings Update (SportsClubStats.com, NHL.com)
Justin and Joe are ticket buying fans.  (SOTSOHockey archive)
Three Stars (Justin totally meant to say "Washington" when he said "Vancouver")
Joe likes Dumba's funny Instagram.  (Instagram: matt.dumba)
We Still Love Dubnyk!
Remembering the first game against the Islanders. (Somehow this didn't turn into a huge rant against the Department of Ignoring Player Safety, Maybe next time)
#sotsohpod tweets. (@DrainScott, @DrainScott, @uncanny_megan, @TonyWiseau)
How good was Suter on the game winner against Nashville?
For the second time in two weeks, Justin totally rants against an entire fanbase.
Justin is a standings purist, hates shootouts, like new OT proposal a little bit.
Justin and Joe almost argue about ESPN and hockey.
Justin should be commissioner.
Joe and Justin are opposites on the proposed faceoff change.
Joe talks about playing right D as a Lefty while discussing Brodin's side switch.
Justin's thoughts on plus-minus.
Joe gets his dig in on Vanek.
Justin totally misreads Tony's tweet.
Previews and predictions.
Justin loves @downgoesbrown. (Twitter: @downgoesbrown)
Mrs. SOTSOH's (JJ) favorite players.
Justin admits to changing the channel to "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" last time the Wild played the Kings. (IMDB: "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles")
Joe and Justin are worried about being kicked out of the arena against certain opponents.
Will Dubnyk get a rest?

Most new episodes on Tuesday mornings.

Subscribe: http://sotsohockey.com/podcastgen/feed.xml

17 March 2015

SOTSO Hockey Podcast! - Episode 1 - Dooooob!

Welcome to Episode 1 of the State of the State of Hockey podcast.
MP3 hosted at sotohockey.com and embedded below.


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MP3

Wild trounce Jersey
Fall short against Anaheim
Dumba's on the Power Play
Wild defeat St. Louis with Dubnyk
sportsclubstats.com update.
Playoff Picture
Three Stars
Dubnyk Contract
Justin hates the Avs
Predictions for the week
Joe has something to say about Stoner
Prosser out
Carter and Scandella back
Talk with us on the Tweety-box

New episodes will post on Tuesday mornings most weeks.

However, Episode 2 drops the morning of Monday, 22 March, ahead of that evening's game against Toronto. Download again :).

Subscribe: http://sotsohockey.com/podcastgen/feed.xml