Thursday, November 6, 2014

More On Playing 0.500 Hockey and What It Really Means In The Long Run ...

Back on November 2nd I mused on how important I think it is for a solid NHL team to be anchored by a goaltending duo capable of reliably, and regularly delivering a Save Percentage of 0.920 or better so there's not much sense on me thinking about it a bunch more.  Hoping it happens here in Washington, sure; thinking about it, not so much.  Every game the Capitals don't get that "magic number" has at least so far, reinforced that belief/statement.

So instead this morning, I'm going to look back and look ahead at the idea of playing 0.500 hockey and how that is also very likely to be a path to disappointment - keep in mind that as you wake this morning, the Capitals are 4-5-3 (11 points, so 0.453 on the year.)  Keep in mind the Capitals finishedThe team with the worst record to make the playoffs was the Dallas Stars with 91 points (0.559).  To have made the playoffs last season the Capitals would have needed 4 more points, as the wild card teams in the east had 93 points and more ROW than the Capitals.  The distance between the 17th place Capital at 90 points and the 25th place Vancouver Canucks with 83 points was a mere seven points.  The Canucks finished with a 0.506 record... so 0.500 hockey gets you a shot at the lottery, they aren't even "bubble teams" in this era of "three point games."  To be a bubble team you need 90 points - 0.549/0.550 hockey throughout the year.  To be a clear playoff team you needed at the end of last season you needed 96 points - a 0.585 record.
last season with 90 points (0.549).

How far were the Caps from that at the end of last season - 3 ROW, doesn't seem like a lot does it? Well it's 11% more ROW than the 28 they had.  Looking at the Caps today, they'd need to have 14 vice 11 points.  With 14 points they'd be tied for second place with the New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division. To do that they'd likely need five (5) vice three (3) ROW.  That's the bad news, the glass half empty view.  The glass half full view would be - could they have done that?  Simple answer is yes to date they have three (3) OT or SO losses.  If they had managed to win two of the three OT/SO losses - Canadiens in the season opener, San Jose on October 14th or Tuesday night's game against Calgary, which was possible they'd be that team.  Instead they now have 8 more games until the quarter way mark of the season to prove they are better than the 25th place team in the league.

Next up Chicago on Friday in the Windy City...


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