Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Coaching Carousel Stops at the Break

I'm sure this gag has never been done before...
Ah, the NHL All-Star game.  Is there anything more exciting?

Don't you remember last year when those guys scored and everyone was really excited.  I sure do.  Or how about two years ago, when we were blessed with the Olympics and the NHL took a month hiatus.  That was weird, but damn it was fun and much better than the All-Star game.

Look, the All-Star game is great, really.  Heck, it's the lead in for the Pro Bowl.  That's saying something. But, I'm sure you didn't come here to debate the validity of the ASG.  You came for the hardcore spreadsheet action!

At the break, with approximately thirty games remaining for all teams, seven, count 'em SEVEN, NHL coaches have been fired.  The most recent being the Blue Jackets now former bench boss Scott Arniel.  What follows are the superficial stats of each team, comparisons and contrasts of the hired and fired coaches, and pointless observations that will not help you to understand why sports happen the way that they do. 

What does this have to do with Kansas City hockey?  Nothing.  Continue after the jump.

*Remember that you are more than welcome to click to embiggen.  You might have to open the individual Excel sheets in another window.  It makes sight easier.  Semi-important details have been highlighted for your convenience.

*--* means interim

*--# means division leader

St. Louis Blues

The Blues are the most surprising and successful teams with a new coach.  They are in second in the Central Division behind Detroit, but in front of surging Chicago and talented Nashville.  Obviously, they aren't losing anymore, but only six games in 36 under Hitchcock ri-dick-ulous (see what I did there?).  The goal differential is another important number in seeing their turnaround, and for justifying Brian Elliot's ASG invitation (how is that Halak deal working out?).  Many of those goals, or at least more of those goals, are coming from Hitch's powerplay.

Car-Chair Analysis: The Blues have learned how to play offense while having some outstanding goaltending to push them to lose less.  That is all.  No need to look farther into it.

Washington Capitals

The Caps are one team that has not seen incredible improvement since Bruce Boudreau's firing, but they win games.  In fact, the only major differences that these stats show are the decrease in GF/G and GA/G under Hunter.  But, 2.81 goals per game for a team with Ovechkin does not sound like a team with Ovechkin, if that makes any sense.  Damn you, Dale Hunter!  Damn you!

Car-Chair Analysis: Eighth in the East, to as low as ninth, then back to division leaders.  Maybe the coach really has no bearing on how this team plays.  Maybe Ovi could just be a player-coach.  Maybe the Caps will move to KC.  Maybe...

Carolina Hurricanes

Ugh, talk about a team that has not improved.  Well, the powerplay has gotten slightly better while the PK has gotten slightly worse.  But really, an improved powerplay can only do so much drive down the goal differential.  Did you know Eric Staal is a -23.  Holy crap!

Car-Chair Analysis: Dead last in the Eastern Conference.  No, this coaching change did not work.

Anaheim Ducks 

What an odd team.  They are terrible, but they really aren't that terrible.  At this point, Boudreau has coached as many games as Carlyle had when he was fired.  Boudreau has won four more games, lost three less, and tied one less.  His team has given up eight less, but the special teams have not changed too much.  The biggest difference comes in the goals for department; a 17 goal and .71 goals for average improvement.

Car-Chair Analysis: Yeah, Anaheim is better, but will they continue to respond to Boudreau?  Eh, sure, why not.

Los Angeles Kings

Kings fans hate to see it, but this team still isn't scoring under Sutter.  Of course, they aren't giving up goals either.  Only four regulation losses since dumping Murray translates into points, which I guess is the point.  But, fewer points is not the point, if you get the point.

Car-Chair Analysis: Down with Murray!  Long live Sutter!

Montreal Canadiens

Another blah team.  It's hard to say what, if anything, they are doing differently under Cunneyworth.  He does appear to be gaining traction over the course of the past month.  I mean, if he's heureux au jeu, malheureux en amour, then I guess he will be able to get to his car unharmed after each game, right?

Car-Chair Analysis:  Cunneyworth can't speak French.  Failure.

Columbus Blue Jackets


Car-Chair Analysis: Yeah, they don't win a lot.

What do you see as the most surprising/intriguing/foreshadowing thing from these stats?  Give your opinion in the comments.

Stats are as of 1/25/12 at 11:00pm CT

Best Available Coaches:
Terry Murray
Randy Carlyle
Jacques Martin
Davis Payne
Paul Maurice
Craig MacTavish
Bob Hartley
Andy Murray (blog fave)
Pierre Maguire
Scott Gordon
Tony Granato
Scott Arniel
Senator Jacques Demers
Marc Crawford

Coaches on the Chopping Block:
Jack Capuano - NYI (still maybe)

Game by game stats

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