Tag:Brad Staubitz
Posted on: November 23, 2011 10:11 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 5:30 pm

Are the Wild, Rangers for real?


Pucks and Numbers: a weekly statistical look at what's happening around the NHL. This week: A look at the fast starts of the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers and whether or not they are for real.

By: Adam Gretz

The Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers enter their games on Wednesday night as two of the hottest teams in the NHL, with the Rangers winning seven of their past eight games and the Wild riding a four-game winning streak that has helped propel them to the top of the NHL standings with 27 points.

The Rangers were expected by many to be a playoff team this year, coming off a season that saw them take the No. 8 seed in the East and add the top free agent on the market, center Brad Richards. But Minnesota's meteoric rise to the top under the leadership of first-year coach Mike Yeo has been quite a surprise to say the least.

Are these two teams as good as their early season (and most recent) records would suggest? Or are they both setting themselves up for a sudden fall?

If you're a believer in PDO  (or familiar with it) you're probably placing your bets on the latter.

Along with their recent hot streaks, these teams have three things in common.

1) Both teams are getting crushed during 5-on-5 play in terms of shots for and shots allowed. The Wild currently own the third-worst shot differential per game during even-strength play at minus-6, while the Rangers are currently the worst at minus-7. Neither team scores a lot of goals, mostly because...

2) ... Neither team is particularly dominant on special teams, especially when on the power play.

3) As a result, both teams are relying almost entirely on their goaltending, which is good in the short-term, but could be very, very bad in the long-term. In the case of the Rangers, it's Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron, while in Minnesota it's the tag-team duo of Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding.

All four of the aforementioned keepers are near the top of the league in terms of even-strength save percentage (they're all in the top-12, actually) with Backstrom pacing the league with a mark of .953. Which is unbelievable.

(Harding, for what it's worth, isn't far behind at .946, while Biron and Lundqvist are currently checking in at .944 and .939 respectively.)

Now, Backstrom is a fine goaltender. Probably one of the better ones in the NHL. But unless he's suddenly become the best goalie in NHL history he (along with the other three -- at least Harding and Biron) probably aren't going to maintain their current save percentages all season, especially given the amount of rubber they face every night. Just as an example, in the post-lockout NHL there have only been seven instances in which a goaltender finished a full season with an even-strength save percentage north of .940, and two of them belong to Boston's Tim Thomas.

Only once (Thomas last season) did a goalie finish over .943. In other words, this probably isn't going to continue all season.

And that brings us to PDO, a relatively simple but often times telling statistic about hot teams that could soon fizzle out and cold teams that could suddenly catch fire.

Originally the brainchild of Brian King (you can check out a recent interview he did talking about the subject by clicking right here) PDO is simply the sum of a team's shooting percentage and save percentage. For individual players, you take the sum of the shooting percentage and save percentage only when that player is on the ice.

On a league-wide level, this number will equal always 1000, but will vary from team-to-team and player-to-player. Teams (and players) with a PDO above or below that will, over time, see it start to regress back closer toward 1000.

Over the past four seasons the PDO range, from low-to-high, for individual players that have played at least 50 games in a single season have been as follows:

2007-08: 937-1056
2008-09: 944-1068
2009-10: 932-1069
2010-11: 934-1062

And let's take a look at the current ratings for the Wild and Rangers players. In an effort to avoid what is an even smaller sample size than we're already dealing with this early in the season, I've limited it to players that have played a minimum of 10 games this season:

Wild And Rangers -- PDO
Team Player PDO Team Player PDO
Wild Guillaume Latendresse 1087 Rangers Michael Sauer 1100
Wild Justin Falk 1060 Rangers Michael Del Zotto 1079
Wild Clayton Stoner 1045 Rangers Ruslan Fedotenko 1058
Wild Pierre-Marc Bouchard 1042 Rangers Erik Christensen 1056
Wild Mikko Koivu 1041 Rangers Derek Stepan 1050
Wild Dany Heatley 1039 Rangers Ryan McDonagh 1046
Wild Marek Zidlicky 1039 Rangers Dan Boyle 1046
Wild Matt Cullen 1035 Rangers Dan Girardi 1028
Wild Nick Schultz 1032 Rangers Brandon Dubinsky 1028
Wild Nick Johnson 1031 Rangers Jeff Woywitka 1027
Wild Jared Spurgeon 1028 Rangers Ryan Callahan 1026
Wild Nate Prosser 1028 Rangers Marian Gaborik 1022
Wild Devin Setoguchi 1025 Rangers Artem Anisimov 1017
Wild Kyle Brodziak 1024 Rangers Brad Richards 1010
Wild Cal Clutterbuck 1014 Rangers Brandon Prust 996
Wild Brad Staubitz 1011 Rangers Steve Eminger 993
Wild Marco Scandella 1010      
Wild Colton Gillies 1009      

The only two regulars on either team with a PDO currently under 1000 are Brandon Prust and Steve Eminger, both of the Rangers. Many of the others are well above their career norms, mainly due to what are almost assuredly unsustainably high on-ice save percentages.

There are currently 551 skaters that have appeared in at least 10 games this season, and out of the top-100 in PDO, an incredible 15 of them play for either the Rangers or Wild. There's a very fine line between winning and losing in the NHL, and right now these are two teams that are probably getting their fair share of breaks and bounces, while also being led by what are probably unsustainable levels of goaltending.

We've seen teams in the past get out-shot, out-chanced, and ultimately, out-scored at 5-on-5 the way the Wild and Rangers currently are and not seen a regression in the win-loss column. Last year's Anaheim Ducks are one such example. The biggest difference between that team, and these two teams, is that while Anaheim also had stellar goaltending, it also had a power play that scored almost at will. This season, Anaheim is once again getting consistently beat during 5-on-5 play, and now that its power play isn't scoring the same way it did last season, it finds itself near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

It should again be pointed out that in the case of the Wild and Rangers, these are currently two of the worst power plays in the NHL, in terms of not only scoring goals, but also generating shots.

So how long can we expect the wins to keep coming at this pace for New York and Minnesota? Probably as long as their goaltenders continue to stand on their heads.

(PDO and shot data via BehindTheNet)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: September 26, 2011 8:22 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 9:51 am

James Wisniewski suspended 8 regular season games

By: Adam Gretz

The Columbus Blue Jackets will have to wait until the end of October to see one of their biggest offseason additions play a meaningful game.

Just hours after Minnesota's Brad Staubitz received a three-game banishment for an illegal check on Friday night, Brendan Shanahan announced that Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski will miss the rest of the preseason, as well as the first eight games of the regular season, for an illegal check to the head of Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck in the same game.

The hit took place after the horn sounded to end the third period.

Shanahan explained that since the play was a violation of Rule 48.1, occured after the horn sound, and while Clutterbuck never had possession of the puck, he (Clutterbuck) should have had no reason to believe he was about to be checked at that moment, making him a defenseless player. He also pointed out that Wisniewski's four suspensions since March of 2008 season weighed heavily into his decision.

Wisniewski will not appear in a regular season game for the Blue Jackets until Oct. 25 when they host the Detroit Red Wings. His suspension will also force him to miss an early-season game against Clutterbuck and the Wild.

Said Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson in a statement released by the team, “The decision has been rendered and we will comply with the ruling made by the League."

After recording a career-high 51 points last season with the Islanders and Canadiens, the Blue Jackets acquired Wisniewski this summer and gave him a huge contract (six years, $33 million) to be one of their top defenseman.

Here's the video of the play, as well as Shanahan's explanation for the suspension.

Here's what Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel had to say about the suspension after Columbus' 3-1 loss to Washington on Monday night:

"Yeah, I found out about it between periods," said Arniel. "It was a tough one to swallow. Obviously the league has a mandate, you know they are trying to really set a tone early on in the season. It was harsh, it was very harsh. It was a lot harsher than I was expecting. But not much we can do about it. We have got to move forward. They have made their decision, we have already put our best foot forward when it came to our side of the story. Obviously the league felt that being a repeat offender and a blow to the head that that was the call that had to be made. So we'll live with it and move on."

And on whether or not it's a big blow to the Blue Jackets on and off the ice:

"Yeah, sure it is. It's 12 games in total, but eight games to start the season. You know how important getting off to a good start is. And Wiz being a new player, you want him to be a part of your mix through this exhibition. you want him to, Tyutin is his partner, you want to get that comfort level with the two of them playing together. Wiz wants to get his start to being a Columbus Blue Jacket off on a good note and obviously it's a little bit rocky right now. But he's got to move forward and learn from it."

EyeOnHockey's Brian Stubits contributed to this post

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: September 26, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:10 pm

Brad Staubitz suspended 3 regular season games

Staubitz1By: Adam Gretz

Brendan Shanahan announced on Saturday that Minnesota forward Brad Staubitz and Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski would be suspended indefinitely for two separate plays that occured in their preseason game on Friday night, which Minnesota won in overtime.

The hearings for both players took place on Monday, and it was announced in the evening that Staubitz has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason as well as Minnesota's first three games of the regular season for delivering an illegal hit on Columbus' Cody Bass. He will be eliglble to return to the Minnesota lineup on Thursday, Oct. 13 when the Wild host the Edmonton Oilers.

During the game on Friday Staubitz was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit.

Staubitz has spent three seasons in the NHL with Minnesota and the San Jose Sharks, scoring eight goals in 153 games. In 71 games last season for the Wild he averaged just a little over six minutes of ice time per game and scored four goals while recording a career-high 173 penalty minutes.

The suspension was announced by Shanahan in his latest video presentation that breaks down the hit and explains his reasoning for the suspension, and you can check it out by clicking right here. It's already the fourth suspension issued by Shanahan in the past week, as Staubitz joins Philadelphia's Jody Shelley, Calgary's Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Buffalo's Brad Boyes. Combined they've cost the aforementioned players nine regular season games.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: September 25, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:30 pm

Sabres' Boyes suspended two games for hit

By Brian Stubits

Another night of preseason games, another player leaves with a suspension from NHL chief disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan.

A day after Brad Staubitz and James Wisniewski were suspended indefinitely for their actions on Friday, Brad Boyes of the Buffalo Sabres had to face the reaper for his hit on the Maple Leafs' Joe Colborne and left with a two preseason-game suspension. He will be able to return for Buffalo's exhibition game in Germany before the season begins in earnest.

See the objectionable hit for yourself and hear Shanahan's explanation.

As you can see, Boyes nails Colborne with the principal contact of the hit coming near the head, the specific play Shanahan and crew are trying to weed out of the game. There was no penalty called on Boyes during the game, but that doesn't guarantee him no league discipline. This one isn't completely clear cut, but the NHL has shown it will air on the side of caution in these cases.

Having no prior discipline past helped spare Boyes from a tougher suspension.

Soon enough players are going to have to reprogram their brains to avoid these types of hits. These are the new rules of the game and they are not going back.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 24, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:31 pm

Wisniewski, Staubitz suspended indefinitely

By: Adam Gretz

Brendan Shanahan is enterting his new role in charge of discipline with a bang. After handing out two suspensions -- that combined for 15 games -- on Thursday, Shanahan announced two more suspensions on Saturday morning, suspending Columbus' James Wisniewski and Minnesota's Brad Staubitz indefinitely pending a hearing with the league.

Both incidents occurred at different times during their exhibition game on Friday night, which Minnesota won 4-3 in overtime on a goal from Dany Heatley.

Staubitz received a five-minute major for checking from behind -- along with a game misconduct -- at the 4:24 mark of the third period, while Wisniewski was penalized for an illegal hit to the head on Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck late in the third period.

Wisniewski was acquired by the Blue Jackets this summer after a career-year in 2010-11 that he split with the Islanders and Canadiens, and signed a six-year, $33 million deal.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com