Joe Corvo vs. Tomas Kaberle

The Carolina Hurricanes made their first significant splash in free agency a few days ago by signing long-time Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle to a three-year deal worth $12.75 mil. They followed this by trading Joe Corvo to the Boston Bruins for a fourth round pick in next year’s draft. This is the Canes attempt to juice up their sad powerplay a little bit by acquiring a guy who has a strong reputation as a great offensive defenseman and just helped the Bruins win a Stanley Cup only last year. The question is just how much of an improvement is Kaberle over Corvo? Or is he that much of an upgrade at all? While it’s certain that Kaberle will provide improvement on the powerplay for the Canes, there’s a lot of things that Corvo did that make him slightly more valuable than Kaberle might be now, especially when the former’s contract is a lot cheaper.

GP G A P Rating PPG 5v5 TOI/G 5v4 TOI/G 4v5 TOI/G 5v5 OZ%
Kaberle 82 4 43 47 4 0 17.16 3.86 0.28 51.8
Corvo 82 11 29 40 -14 5 17.17 3.86 2.63 49
Zone ∆ 5v5 Corsi 5v5 CorsiRel Qualcomp CorsiQualcomp 5v4 SF/60 5v4 G/60 5v4 A1/60 5v4 A2/60
-2.2 -1.02 0 -0.031 0.234 48.3 0 1.33 2.27
0.3 -1.62 -2.31 0.025 0.646 43 0.95 2.09 1.14

Corvo killed penalties, played tougher minutes against better competition in addition to having better basic stats on the powerplay. Kaberle was better at generating chances on the powerplay but he definitely had problems at even strength and didn’t kill penalties that often. Kaberle was also given heavily sheltered minutes in the playoffs and only played 10-12 minutes a night in Boston as opposed top minutes like he did for most of his career. If that continues in Carolina then there could be problems because Corvo played top 2 minutes there and unless they expect Tim Gleason or Bryan Allen to play  more minutes, which is possible.

Something important to take note of here is that Kaberle seemed to fare better against weak competition than Corvo did against tougher competition but it’s very possible that Corvo might see softer competition in Boston with the depth they have on the blue-line and it might be the opposite with Kaberle in Carolina because the Canes just lost one of their heavy lifters and someone else is going to have to pick up the slack. That guy might have to be Kaberle. Just hope that Kaberle is able to kill penalties like he did two seasons ago and if not, at least the Canes get slightly better on the powerplay but Boston may have gotten a more versatile and slightly better player for half the cost.

Advertisements

Canucks-Bruins series recap

Since this is my first time tracking scoring chances for an entire series, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at the data and see if it showed what happened in the series accurately. Some of the results surprised me.

This is what doesn’t surprise me. Both teams had relatively even chances 5v5 but the special teams played a huge factor. The Bruins powerplay got out the rut it’s been in all playoffs while the Canucks powerplay was terrible. Not terribly surprising to see the Bruins be outchanced in the third period because they were playing with a big lead in four games. The Bruins definitely got off to better starts in this series but some of the data might be bloated from the times that Vancouver was blown out in Boston.

Thought Chara and Seidenberg would have a higher percentage but the stats are skewed a bit from Game 7 when the Bruins sat on the 3-0 lead in the third period. These two played very well, I thought. Boychuk and Ference’s success is all thanks to Claude Julien’s ability to play matchups wisely. He was able to keep these two away from the Sedins and used them mainly in offensive situations and they thrived as a result. Also of note is that Tomas Kaberle had a great series for the same reason. The fact that no Bruins player has a rating worse than 45% (minus Shawn Thornton) indicates that almost everyone had a strong series. Krejci and Lucic were the driving force of their offense, though. Did a lot better after struggling for a good part of the Tampa Bay series. Take note of how well some of Boston’s penalty killers were. Campbell, Paille, Marchand and Bergeron were great.. Bergeron did great on the powerplay as well.

A lot of negativity was focus on the Sedins and while they didn’t finish their chances, I think a bigger problem was Ryan Kesler playing through an injury and the results show here. In fact, that entire line for Vancouver didn’t play well aside from Chris Higgins.  Also, Vancouver lost arguably their best defenseman in Dan Hamhuis as well as Aaron Rome so they had to dress a few players who didn’t see much time in the playoffs earlier. The Canucks have a lot of depth on the back-end but Ballard was abysmal in the game he played, Alberts got destroyed and Chris Tanev can only do so much as a rookie. Bieksa also struggled without Hamhuis despite what the numbers say here. He created a lot of chances but he sure as hell gave them back at the other end. Ehrhoff’s market value may have dropped here with how badly he performed on the powerplay. You can’t give up half of the chances that you create with the man advantage. Boston simply got more from their forward corps than Vancouver did. When the Sedins aren’t scoring, the others needs to pick up the slack and they didn’t. It doesn’t help that Allain Vingeault rides his top-six every single game and doesn’t use his 3rd and 4th line much. You can see why here. Hansen was the only one to produce consisently here. Everyone else aside from Raffi Torres was a liability.

 

MVPs of the Series:
1. Tim Thomas

Only allowed 8 goals in the whole final and posted a .940 save percentage in the playoffs. Completely deserved the Conn Smythe Trophy.

2. David Krejci

He was one of Boston’s best forwards in this series and posted the most scoring chances at even strength for any player in the series combined. Did even better on the powerplay. Here’s something to think about; he had 13 goals all season and 12 in the playoffs.

3. Brad Marchand

Two goals in game 7 and he had 5 in the series. Also was a huge factor in Boston’s penalty kill being as good as it was.

Goats of the Series:

1. Roberto Luongo

What in the world happened here? Always thought that his playoffs struggles were overblown but he was simply terrible.

2. Andrew Alberts

30% scoring chance rating for him and he actually managed to get top-4 minutes in a couple of these games. Also was plastered shorthanded.

3. Ryan Kesler

Hate to pick on an injured player and he did well in game 7 but it was clear that the Canucks were hoping to get A LOT more out of him this series.

Canucks-Bruins Game 7 Scoring Chances

I will never get tired of this picture no matter which team is in it.

Sorry for this being a couple days late. I’ve been busy with some personal stuff and the only writing time I’ve had was for the player report cards. Writing about hockey doesn’t pay the bills, unfortunately. Another NHL season is in the books and I’m happy to say that the Boston Bruins are the Stanley Cup Champions. I said after game 5 that I would be pulling for them because there are some players on Vancouver who I didn’t ant to see win the cup and their general dirty play has really turned me off. Boston seemed to be playing a lot better than the Canucks did for most of the series and it all came together on Game 7 for them. They played, what I thought was, their their best game of the series and just shut down the Canucks completely. Both at even strength and with the man advantage. Also helps that Roberto Luongo was not at the top of his game and Tim Thomas was at the other end. Although, Boston’s D did their job of keeping most of the Canucks shots to the outside. A well deserved cup for them and it’s good to see Tim Thomas earn his first ring since he deserved it. As for the ‘Nucks, they will have another chance. That team is too good to not have another run left in them but Alex Edler’s going to have a lot of improvement to do with Christian Ehrhoff possibly leaving in a couple weeks. They had so many injuries to their defense corps in the playoffs that it’s kind of not surprising how badly they were torched on the road.

Scoring Chances:

Bruins had the advantage early in the game and they only ended up trailing in scoring chances because they elected to sit on a 3-0 lead and it worked. Their defense completely shutdown Vancouver and didn’t allow them to get any traffic in front of Thomas. Things could have been different but the Bruins had a couple bounces go their way. Zdeno Chara bailed himself out after his awful turnover and Thomas did have to make a couple big saves. That and Vancouver’s powerplay probably played one of the worst games I’ve ever seen. Also, Alain Vingeault failed to use the last shift to his advantage because he couldn’t keep the Sedins away from Chara and Boston’s first goal came off a defensive zone draw, where he elected to put the Sedins against Patrice Bergeron’s line. Bad move all-around and it killed a lot of the momentum for the Canucks.

Scoring Chances by Team: Boston

Best ES Forward: Rich Peverley, Shawn Thrnton, Michal Ryder, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin, Daniel Paille EVEN
Worst ES Forward: Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Marc Recchi -2

Best ES Defenseman: Tomas Kaberle, Adam McQuaid +3
Worst ES Defenseman: Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference -3

This folks, is what things look like when a team sits on a lead for 20+ minutes. The fact that a lot of these players had negative ratings doesn’t mean they had bad games, but more that they were playing in key situations. If you had asked me after the game, I would have said that Marchand was the Bruins best forward and that Bergeron played his best game of the series. Pretty much everyone for the Bruins played well, though for the most part. I also would have said that Chara and Seidenberg were fantastic, which they were for most of the series.

Scoring Chances by Player: Canucks

Best ES Forward: Chris Higgins +6
Worst ES Forward: Raffi Torres -3

Best ES Defenseman: Alex Edler +4
Worst ES Defenseman: Kevin Bieksa, Andrew Alberts -1

Inserting Jeff Tambellini into the second line with Kesler and Higgins worked as their line was very good for this game. Kesler played his best game of the series and Higgins seems to be thriving in his role in Vancouver, something he couldn’t do on either Montreal, New York or Florida. The Sedins again were not good and that played a huge factor while the other lines weren’t depended on much. Bieksa was on ice for over half of the Bruins chances as well as Bergeron’s short-handed goal. Edler really stepped up his game and played extremely well for someone who had an injured hand. Tanev did pretty well for himself, too and it makes me wonder if Vancouver will let one of Bieksa, Salo or Ehrhoff to make room for him on the roster next year.

Bergeron’s line played best against the Sedins and Bieksa which was something that played a huge role in the Canucks winning. Seidenberg had one hell of a game, too. Impressive stats from Kesler’s line as they won almos tall of their matchups.

Once again, congrats to the Bruins. Nice to see them win after many people say that this was Vancouver’s cup to lose. Also remember me saying that if this series went to seven games that Boston would win? Being correct for a change is a very nice thing.

Canucks-Bruins Game 6 Scoring Chances


In the playoffs, one questionable call, bad bounce or lucky break can change the dynamic of a game or the entire series. In this year’s Stanley Cup final, we’ve seen a ton of lucky breaks, bad bounces and bad goals to go around and it’s resulted in neither team losing  a game at home and thus, we have a game seven only a couple days from now. Tonight we saw the Bruins roll Vancouver at home again and this was coming on one of their strongest offensive showings of the series, even more than the 8-1 shellacking last week. Things could have easily been different if Roberto Luongo had hugged the post like he’s supposed to and not allow a bad angle shot from Brad Marchand to sneak in because after that goal, it was all Boston for the next eight minutes or so and they took a 4-0 lead out of it. A four goal lead is insurmountable when you are up against Tim Thomas and the way he is playing now. I see no reason why he shouldn’t win the Conn Smythe.  A good thing for Vancouver fans (and those hoping for good hockey) is that the Canucks showed some life in the third period so I expect them to come out strong at home and for us to be treated to a fantastic game 7 for the Stanley Cup. Doesn’t get much better than that.

The Bruins came out very strong and it was all energized by that goal from Marchand which, Luongo really should have stopped. Handing Boston two powerplays after that wasn’t such a good idea either and both of those goals were very soft, as well. Vancouver managed to get a lot more momentum later in the game but it was too little too late. The good news is that they still have a game at Rogers center left. This could have been another 7-8 goal game for Vancouver had it not been for Cory Schneider who did very well in relief duty. Still wouldn’t expect to see him start game 7, though. It does give the Canucks some options on what they could do with him this off-season though because this kid is way too good to be a back-up.

Boston Scoring Chances by Player:

Best ES Forward: Tyler Seguin +4
Worst ES Forward: Patrice Bergeron -1

Best ES Defenseman: Zdeno Chara +3
Worst ES Defenseman: Adam McQuaid -1

Krejci was on fire last night, especially on the powerplay. Also note how every forward but Patrice Bergeron had a positive rating. I have to think that he is playing hurt right now because he hasn’t looked like himself all series. Strong game from just about every line from Boston otherwise, though but they di give up a good amount of chances in garbage time. Chara being the best defenseman on the team is very good news and Boychuk-Ference are positive again thanks to Julien having the last change.

Vancouver Chances by Player

Best ES Forward: Alex Burrows +6
Worst ES Forward: Jannik Hansen -5

Best ES Defenseman: Christian Ehrhoff +6
Worst ES Defenseman: Alex Edler -3

Vingeault couldn’t seem to find a solid replacement for Raymond on the second line after he was knocked out of the game and considering that his rumored injury is a ruptured scrotum, I think he’s going to have a bigger problem filling that line for game 7. Hansen struggled pretty badly with more ice-time and Oreskovich didn’t quite work out there either. Maybe give Raffi Torres a shot? He did well when matched up with the right players in games 1, 2 and 5. That first line is finally clicking, though which should relax a lot of Vancouver fans. Kesler is definitely playing hurt because he needs to be a lot better than this. Bieksa and Ehrhoff were both very good tonight and Bieksa did it with a huge workload. Hopefully for the Canucks sake he isn’t gassed for game 7.

Head-to-Head

No player won all of their matchups but you can see that McQuaid’s getting abused quite a bit and so is Kesler’s line when he is up against Chara and Boston’s first line.

Bruins-Canucks Game 5 Scoring Chances

When I first started getting back into hockey, I really enjoyed watching the Canucks. Roberto Luongo was one of my favorite goalies in the league to watch and I liked watching the Sedins, Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond do their thing. After I watched more of their games and not just the highlights, I began to see why so many hockey fans dislike this team and watching them in these playoffs has got me on board with that mindset, especially last night’s game. Alex Burrows looking like he was about to cry after taking an embellishment penalties was embarrassing and one of them most pathetic things I have ever seen. Then the Sedins and Kesler falling down and clutching their faces every time someone from the Bruins touches them. I get trying to draw a penalty but the stuff I have seen from the Canucks in these playoffs has been embarrassing. The usual stereotype of Western Canadian teams is that they are supposed to be tough and the Canucks are the opposite of that. Max Lapierre is looking more like a fit there every game. Speaking of which….

Read more of this post

Canucks-Bruins Game 4 Scoring Chances


The series is tied back up at two a piece with the Bruins shutting out the Canucks 4-0 in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. I said after game 3, that I wasn’t sure what to expect from last night because game 3 was so lopsided and hardly any of the game was done at even strength. Game 4 was a tad different with how most of this game was played at even strength but similar with how the Bruins shut down the Canucks powerplay and beat them in the scoring chance battle. Some people say that home-ice advantage is overblown but it isn’t when you have a coach who can utilize his right to have the last change like Claude Julien has done in this series. Remember how I criticized Johnny Boychuk so much after games 1 and 2? He has done a lot better in these past two games hasn’t he? That’s because Julien managed to keep him away from the Sedins for this game and used Boychuk (and Ference’s strengths to their advantages. He also did a nice job of inserting Rich Peverley onto the top line and he scored two goals as a result.

*Note: 4v4 chances are not counted. Vancouver chances are in blue, Boston in gold.

The Canucks played a good first period..then they just completely fell off after it. Good lord. I found it funny that the Canuck fans watching the game at the Rogers Centre actually cheered when Luongo was pulled. Considering these are the same people who obnoxiously chant his name after he makes a routine save or the puck gets near him. I understand that they are frustrated (and I would be too if my goalie allowed 12 goals in 2 games) but you can not put all the blame on him for this. If your team can only generate five chances through two periods, constantly flub powerplay opportunities and get dominated by a team missing their best goal scorer, there are obviously more problems than your goaltender. Vancouver had a lot of bad breaks in this game (missed shots, poor ice conditions), especially in the first period, but they have looked like complete garbage when playing in Boston so far. No other way to put it.

Bruins Scoring Chances by Player

Best ES Forward: Brad Marchand, Michael Ryder, Patrice Bergeron +5

Worst ES Forward: Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton -2

Best ES Defenseman: Johnny Boychuk +9

Worst ES Defenseman: Zdeno Chara -2

The Sedins actually did pretty well against Chara and Seidenberg but most of their chances came early and they didn’t score on any of them. It could be something to worry about in later games, though. Also, I had to chuckle when Pierre McGuire called Shawn Thornton “the most efficient player on the ice in game 3” during his interview because I’m not sure what else #22 brings to the table other than a physical presence. He certainly doesn’t have much offensive upside and doesn’t kill penalties. Other than that? A lot to be happy about if you’re a B’s fan. Second line was on fire and Julien did a nice job of switching Peverely and Ryder on the first line because both of them did pretty well for themselves. As I mentioned earlier, I want to see how Boychuk does when Vingeault has the advantage in matchups in game 5 before I eat crow. The first line certainly gave up a lot of chances but they created a lot, as well. A big round of applause should go out to this penaly killing unit, too. Paille might not do much at even strength but he has been excellent when playing a man down. So has Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell to a lesser extent.

Best ES Forward: Henrik Sedin +4

Worst ES Forward: Ryan Kesler -7

Best ES Defenseman: Alex Edler +3

Worst ES Defenseman: Keith Ballard -8

Ok, time for me to eat some crow about saying that Vingeault should have played Ballard earlier. Holy smokes was he bad. The Sedins appeared to have played decent in this game and they were…in the first period. Four out of the six chances they were on ice for came in the first twenty minutes and they were invisible after that. Their second line was completely terrible, though. Yikes. Kesler was completely shut down by the Bruins and Mason Raymond struggled to get any of his chances on net. Kevin Bieksa appears to be a lot more like his usual self without Dan Hamhuis by his side as he finished on the negative side of the chance rating yet again. Remember when people said he should win the Conn Smythe? Me too. Edler did have a nice re-bound game, though.

Head to Head

Just to reiterate my earlier statement of  Vancouver’s first line doing well but their second line completely stinking up the place. Julien must have also used his last change to give his first line more offensive zone starts because it sure looks like that. Take note of how which lines Kelly-Seguin-Ryder did well against, too.

 

Curious to see what happens in game 5. The Bruins were playing close, tight games against Vancouver in the games they lost while the Canucks have been just terrible in their last two games. Will Vingeault having the last change make as much of a difference? I believe it will. If he can get the Sedins more matchups against Boychuk-Ference, then I think we could see Vancouver with a 3-2 series lead. Of course, their goaltending is going to have to be better because Tim Thomas has simply outperformed Roberto Luongo by a longshot thus far.

Bruins-Canucks Game 3 Scoring Chances

Hello all, first I would like to apologize for the inactivity on this blog for the past week or so. I have been experiencing some major computer issues recently and haven’t been able to post here as frequently. I have been following the Stanley Cup Final extensively, though and game 3 was probably the wildest game we’ve seen so far. Of the 41 chances in the game, only 20 came at even strength and we saw numerous line shake-ups due to players beign ejected or leaving due to injury. Much has already been said about the punishment Aaron Rome faced for his brutal hit on Nathan Horton, which knocked him out of the game so I will save my thoughts on that for now. Horton being knocked out seemed to jolt Boston in this game, though as they responded by scoring 4 goals int he second period and went onto win 8-1. Was this because they were rallying around their fallen comrade? Possibly. However, I think one big factor is that the Canucks were forced to play with five defenseman after Rome was ejected and when one of those players is Andrew Alberts, then there’s bound to be a lot of problems.

Note: Vancouver’s chances are blue and Boston’s are gold.

Boston did not score on their first powerplay (the five minute major they got for Rome’s hit) but they sure did generate a lot of chances on it, and that was really important. Also good that they capitalized on a lot of their chances int he second period and didn’t allow the Canucks to do much of anything for the first two periods. Vancouver had a lot of powerplay opportunities too and they did next to nothing with them and even allowed two short-handed goals. It is a little funny because many talked about how everything was going in the Canucks favor this series when everything went wrong for them in this game.

Vancouver Scoring Chances by Player:

 

 Best ES Forward: Mason Raymond +4

Worst ES Forward: Raffi Torres, Victor Oreskovich -1

Best ES Defenseman: Sami Salo +5

Worst ES Defenseman: Alex Edler: -4

Vingeault had to roll five defenseman for most of this game and you can tell that it showed here. Kevin Bieksa has been a horse all playoffs but this was not one of his finer games. Edler was brutal and Alberts was torched on the penalty kill despite playing less than three minutes there. Sami Salo and Christian Ehrhoff had pretty good games, though despite the canucks getting blown out, but I think Ehrhoff may have benefitted from a good chunk of offensive zone starts. Also, Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows failed to record a chance at even strength. Yikes. As much as I like Mason Raymond, he shouldn’t be the Canucks best forward in a game this big. I’m sure Burrows will rebound but he was a complete non-factor in game 3. Vancouver’s third line was a key to their success in game 1 but it appears that the Bruins are finding ways to stop it now.

Bruins Scoring Chances by Player:

 

Best ES Forward: Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille +2

Worst ES Forward: Brad Marchand, Gregory Campbell -2

Best ES Defenseman: Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference +1

Worst ES Defenseman: Dennis Seidenberg -4

Horton’s injury gives Julien some options on what he can do with his forward corps. He elected to move Rich Peverley up to the first line for some of the game and he played pretty decently. Shawn Thornton did not play as much of a factor as the Bruins would have hoped for but he was not awful. It would be nice to get soem more chances from this forward corps at even strength but there’s quite a few guys here doing well in other facets. Paille was excellent on the penalty kill and so was Peverley. Lucic, Krejci and Ryder also had great games on the powerplay and that’s great news for Bruins fans. Boychuk and Ference were given easier matchups and played better as a result. Same thing occured in game 2 after Julien decided to return to pairing Chara with Seidenberg instead of Boychuk. Seidenberg struggled a lot at even strength, though.

Head-to-Head

 

 Salo was the only Canuck player to win all of his battles with Raymond in a close second. Kesler’s line did well against most of their competition and they definitely got their chances, so I wouldnt’ be surprised to see that line get on the score sheet next game. Chris Kelly was the only Bruins player to win all of his matchups but Chara and Paille came pretty close.

Not exactly sure what this will say about game 4 because only a little over half of this game was played at even strength and there were a lot of other strange occurrences as well. I can safely say that there probably wont be another game like this in the final, although that’s not saying much.