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  • Locked thread
myron cope
Apr 21, 2009

ASK ANY QUESTION , no matter how stupid you think it is. Although if it's something in the OP and you didn't bother to read it I'll be sad

Hockey is the best sport, this is scientific fact. And yet, it is the #4 major sport in America (or #5, or lower, depending on what you consider a major sport). Why is this? I think one problem is the "I can't find the puck" syndrome. This is remedied by having an HDTV. Seriously, watch an HD broadcast of hockey and it will change your entire outlook. Secondly, nobody understands the rules, particularly offside and icing. But don't worry, they are easy!

Updated 10/22/13

Table of Contents:
- Basics
   - The League
   - The Ice
   - The Players
      - The Officials
   - The Game
   - The Playoffs
- More advanced stuff
   - Faceoffs
   - Stoppages of play
      - Non-manpower reducing
         - Offside
         - Icing
      - Manpower reducing ("penalties")
- Slightly more advanced stuff
   - Defensive responsibilities
   - Stats breakdown
   - Line changes
   - Things you might hear an announcer say if you are watching a game
- Advanced stuff
   - Forechecking
   - The trap 
--The League--
The NHL consists of 30 teams, unequally divided into two stupid conferences/four dumb divisions. The two divisions in the East have 8 teams each, and the two in the West have 7 teams each. For now. Until the NHL inevitably expands and/or moves the Phoenix Coyotes.

(I found this image from the article on the realignment)
To spare me the trouble of finding a new image: "Division A" is the "Pacific", "Division B" is the "Central", "Division C" is the "Atlantic" and "Division D" is the "Metropolitan" (seriously). Stupidly, the "Atlantic" was the name of the division that 5 of the "Metropolitan" teams were in before.

The regular season is 82 games long. How they figure out who plays where is convoluted and stupid and made up by idiots, but hey, at least we get home-and-home with non-conference teams!! I'm just going to copy/paste from their dumb article about it:


Western Conference (7-team divisions)

Within Conference (Division): 29 games

* 5 games vs. five teams (3 Home/2 Away vs. two teams, 2 Home/3 Away vs. three teams) AND 4 games vs. one team (2 Home/2 Away). Teams rotated on a yearly basis.

* 5 X 5 =25 games

* 1 X 4 = 4 games

Within Conference (Non-Division): 21 games

* 3 games vs. each team (2 Home/1 Away vs. four teams, 1 Home/2 Away vs. three teams). Teams rotated on a yearly basis.

* 3 X 7 = 21 games

Non-Conference: 32 games

* 2 games vs. each team (1 Home/1 Away)

* 2 X 16 = 32 games

(Exception: one team from each division plays one less game inside Division and one more game inside Conference outside Division)

Eastern Conference (8-team divisions)

Within Conference (Division): 30 games

* 5 games vs. two teams (3 Home/2 Away vs. one team, 2 Home/3 Away vs. one team) AND 4 games vs. five teams (2 Home/2 Away). Teams rotated on a yearly basis.

* 5 X 2 =10 games

* 4 X 5 = 20 games

Within Conference (Non-Division): 24 games

* 3 games vs. each team (2 Home/1 Away vs. four teams, 1 Home/2 Away vs. four teams). Teams rotated on a yearly basis.

* 3 X 8 = 24 games

Non-Conference: 28 games

* 2 games vs. each team (1 Home/1 Away)

* 2 X 14 = 28 games

See how hosed up this is? Who thought this was a good idea?

--The Ice--

This is the playing surface. Also called "the ice" or "the rink". The dimensions don't matter, but they are standardized. Directly in the middle, you will see a red line, known as the "red line". A little ways in either direction you'll see two blue lines, each called the "blue line". The space in between the blue lines is known as the "neutral zone". The thinner red lines at either end of the ice are known as the "goal line". Going around the entire surface are "the boards" and "the glass".

In addition to the neutral zone, there are two other zones: your attacking zone and your defending zone. Your defending zone has your goalie in it, your attacking zone has the other team's goalie. The net is just behind the center of either goal line. When the puck (legally) crosses the goal line and goes into the net, a goal is scored. The goalie (generally) stays inside his crease, the blue painted area directly in front of each net. The circles in front of and to the left/right of either net are referred to as "the circles". In between the circles and in front of the crease is the area known as "the slot". That area but further out toward the blue line is commonly called "the high slot". You'll see two diagonal red lines going back from the goal lines to the boards. The area between these two lines is known as "the trapezoid". This is the only area behind the goal line that the goalie is able to play the puck (i.e., touch it with his stick). Everyone hates the trapezoid. (If the goalie plays the puck outside the trapezoid, in one of the "corners", a delay of game penalty is called. Seriously, everyone hates the trapezoid.) Finally, you'll notice (if you're watching a game) netting behind/around either goal that goes from the glass up to the roof of the arena. This is because Espen Knutsen, a Columbus center, killed a girl in 2002 by shooting a puck into the stands. To this day, we're not sure what he had against that girl, or how he is able to walk the streets as a free man.

--The Players--
An NHL roster has a maximum of 23 players and a minimum of 20 players on it. Players on Injured Reserve don't count toward the limit. Those 20-23 are in two groups, "skaters" and "goalies". Everybody knows the goalie: the masked, padded man who sits right in front of the net and tries to keep the puck from going in. Skaters are further broken down into forwards and defensemen (with forwards even further broken down into centers and wingers).

Forwards are grouped into lines, generally 4 lines of 3 forwards, a center (C), a left wing (LW) and a right wing (RW) (or if you're a team like the Penguins, just all centers). Defensemen are paired into three groups.

Only 20 players can dress for a game. Almost always it will be 12 forwards, 6 defensemen, 2 goalies. Very rarely, you'll see something like 11 forwards with 7 defensemen.

-The Officials-
Every game has 4 on ice officials. Two referees and two linesmen. Referees are noted by an orange arm band. Referees call penalties, while linesmen do menial tasks like dropping the puck for a faceoff, watching the blue line for offside, or checking to see if icing should be called or not. They are generally considered inferior to referees, and get taunted regularly. Referees get all the babes, drive nicer cars and have nicer houses.

--The Game--
An NHL game is 60 minutes in length, divided into three 20 minute periods. Those periods are each separated by an "intermission" of 17 minutes, during which a zamboni cleans the ice. This constitutes "regulation" time. The team with the most goals after regulation wins. However, if the game is tied after regulation, 5:00 of overtime (OT) is played. Overtime is sudden death: first goal wins. If there's still no winner after OT, the game goes to a shootout. A shootout has both teams alternating, each having one skater go against the goalie, trying to score (See "Penalty Shot", below!). Each side gets 3 attempts. If it's still tied, then they go into "sudden death" rounds. No shooters may go again until every skater has had an attempt (shootouts almost never go this long!).

"Even strength" is considered to be 5 on 5. That is, 5 skaters against 5 skaters. Goalies are not counted for the purposes of this numbering system. In times of desperation (Note: technically it's allowed at any time, but you only see it in times of desperation! Or, when a delayed penalty is going to be called on the other team), the goalie is allowed to go to the bench and be replaced by an extra attacker. This is commonly referred to as "6 on 5". At no point is either team allowed to have more than 6 players on the ice--doing so results in a Too Many Men on the Ice penalty. Also, no team is permitted to have fewer than 3 skaters on the ice, regardless of penalties taken. Penalties that would reduce a team below 3 skaters then "stack", and start as other penalties expire.

Overtime during the regular season is always played 4 on 4 (at even strength). Overtime in the playoffs is 20 minutes and 5 on 5 (though still sudden death). Also in the playoffs, there is no shootout. If the game is tied after the first overtime, they go to another.

Teams alternate sides after each period. That is, goalies play the first and third periods in the one net, and they play the second period in the OTHER net. However, the benches don't switch. So the teams have the goal closest to their bench for periods 1 and 3, and the goal furthest from their bench in period 2. The second period has "the long change" then, as teams trying to get to their bench to change lines will have to cross the red line from their defensive zone.

A few more overtime oddities: During the regular season, there is no intermission between the third period and overtime. Teams do not switch sides going into overtime. That is, they play on the same side as the first and third periods. In the playoffs, however, there is a full intermission between the third and overtime, and the teams DO switch sides. So for OT1 they play with the long change (on the same side as period 2). If it's still tied after 1 OT, they have an intermission and switch sides. And the same for any overtimes after that.

--The Playoffs--
The NHL has the best playoffs of any of the major sports. If you're not a hockey fan from watching the regular season, you'll definitely be one from watching the playoffs.

This is another area where the league hosed with things for the sake of loving with things. From their (still dumb) article:


The top three teams in each division will make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It will be possible, then, for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.

The seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the fewest points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second fewest points.

The teams finishing second and third in each division will play in the first round of the playoffs. The winners of each series will play for berths in the conference championship series.

The winners of the conference championships advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Each series is best-of-seven.

Overtime in the playoffs is different than the regular season (as covered above). It's still sudden death, but now 5-on-5 and a full 20 minutes. Additional overtime periods will be played until a winner is determined, there is no shootout. Full intermissions occur before every OT period. As a BONUS, there are NO COMMERCIAL BREAKS in overtime! At about the halfway point, they let the ice crew come out and shovel up the snow but that's it. Even then they don't take a TV timeout.

---More advanced stuff---
If you look at the diagram of the ice above, you'll see 9 little circles, called "faceoff dots" or just "dots". All faceoffs must occur on one of these dots, depending on the situation. The one in the very center of the rink is where you'll see the faceoff at the start of each period, and after a goal. It's also occasionally used when the puck goes out of play from the neutral zone. Still in the neutral zone, you'll see four other dots, nearer the boards and just outside either blue line. These are generally used to resume play after something like an offside call. And finally, inside each zone there are two more dots, inside the circles. These are generally used when the goalie has control of the puck and "freezes" it (holds on to it to stop play), or when the defense touches a puck last that goes out of play.

A faceoff is generally a simple event. Both centers line up across from each other at the dot, and a linesman will drop the puck onto the dot in between them. The centers then use their sticks and/or bodies to try to "win" by directing the puck to a teammate. When the puck is dropped, you'll also sometimes see the other guys that are on the ice "jump in" to try and help win (if the faceoff is not won cleanly). From time to time, you'll see a guy get "waved out" of the faceoff (signaled by the linesman putting his arm out in the direction of the man he's throwing out). This happens when the center tries to "cheat", by anticipating the drop of the puck and gain an advantage. It can also happen when one of the wingers (who generally stand on either side of their center, with the defensemen behind him) jumps early, again trying to get an advantage. When a center gets waved out, a winger has to take his place. If that person gets waved out of the same faceoff attempt, the team is assessed a penalty. I have never seen this happen. UPDATE: On May 10, 2013, Lawnie posted this:

Lawnie posted:

The blackhawks took a delay of game minor for having 2 guys thrown out of the draw last night. First, Andrew shaw was thrown out, then viktor stalberg came into the circle too early.

--Stoppages of play--
Non-manpower reduction stoppages
There are a variety of things that will cause a whistle to be blown but not result in a man being sent to the penalty box. Anytime a puck goes out of the playing surface (into the stands, into the player benches, into the netting behind the goals, etc) the play is stopped, and a faceoff resumes play. Sometimes if a player is seriously hurt (you'll most frequently see this when someone tries to block a shot) they'll stop play to let him get attention. And obviously for something like the glass getting broken they have to stop play to replace it.

But the two big ones are offside and icing.

(the rulebook says "off-side", but I don't like that so I don't have a dash in mine)
Very simply, an attacking player can't enter the zone before the puck.

For a player to "enter the zone", both his skates must be across the blue line. Also, the entire puck has to cross the line before it's considered in the zone. A linesman will stand on the end of the blue line and watch very carefully for this. Sometimes they make mistakes, but it's a fast game.

There is also the concept of "delayed offside". If an attacking player is in the attacking zone and the puck isn't (i.e., he is offside) and the puck is shot into the zone, the linesman will raise his hand but won't immediately blow the whistle. The player(s) in the zone will then have the opportunity to "tag up", or clear the zone, and not have the whistle blown. All offside players have to tag up before any other attackers can enter the zone. If any offside players play the puck, or go toward the puck, or try to hit a defender going toward the puck, etc., the play is then blown dead.

Basically, if any attacking player touches or attempts to touch the puck in the attacking zone, while he or any of his teammates is in the zone before the puck the play is whistled offside. The resulting faceoff is at the dot just outside the blue line.

The vast majority of offside calls will be in two situations: 1) when a player tries to carry the puck into the attacking zone but is preceded by an overzealous teammate or 2) an attacking team is already in the zone (e.g., on the power play) and the defense clears the puck. If it's right at an attacker on the blue line (generally a defenseman), he'll try to stop it (or "hold it in"). If he can't, and carries it back into the zone, it's offside.

An exception to the rule is that if the defense carries/shoots the puck into their defensive zone, it's not offside.

Icing just got a whole lot more complicated. There are basically two types of icing: touch and no-touch. In touch icing, a player is required to make contact with the puck in order for play to be blown dead. In no-touch, the linesman blows the whistle when the puck crosses the goal line.

The NHL used to use touch icing. For reasons of "player safety", they changed this season. To no-touch, right? Well, of course not. The NHL has come up with a bullshit half-measure that is harder for the officials to call, and arguably not much safer. The NHL calls it hybrid icing, as it is a hybrid of touch and no-touch.

When an attacking team (Team A)
1) fails to reach the red line before dumping in the puck, or if a pass goes awry [more on this in a second, as another 2013 rule change affects this], and
2) the puck then travels the length of the ice (to the defending team's (Team B) goal line)

then the conditions for icing are met. But, it doesn't end there. Next, there is A RACE! This race is the very dangerous thing that caused the NHL to search for a better way. A few times a year (maybe less?) someone would go careening into the boards at full speed, and break a leg or worse. Last season, Joni Pitkanen was such a victim. He is out for the entire 2013-14 season because of the injury. Preserving ~THE RACE~ is also why the NHL didn't just jump whole hog into no-touch icing. There is no chance for Team A to get the icing called off in no-touch.

Under hybrid icing, there is a race to the faceoff dot instead of to the goal line. If the conditions for icing from above are met, a race between Team A and Team B occurs. If a Team A player gets there first, icing is not called and play continues as normal. If a Team B player gets there first, the whistle is blown and the play ends. Obviously, a race doesn't have to occur. Sometimes, especially if there are a bunch of tired players are out, they ice the puck and just wait around for the whistle. Someone still has to go back to the faceoff dot, though, nothing is automatic. As I said before, another rule related to icing changed this season. It's called the "attainable pass" rule, and the NHL got rid of it. Basically, icing could be waved off if, in the linesman's judgement, a pass could have been touched by its intended receiver, even if it wasn't. Now, he actually has to touch it, no more technicalities.

A team guilty of icing faces two punishments. First, the resulting faceoff is in their defensive zone. Second, the guilty team cannot make a line change. The players that were one the ice when the puck was iced must remain on the ice for the resulting faceoff. It was a commonly used tactic before this rule was instated to ice the puck when they were on for a long time, to get a whistle and let them change lines. Also, there can't be a TV timeout after an icing call, because those could be used as rest periods too.

Manpower reducing stoppages
There are two types of penalties, a minor and a major. Minor penalties are two minutes in duration. The penalized team goes on the "penalty kill", while the opposing team goes on the "power play". If the team that's on the power play scores, the penalty ends. Most penalties are minor penalties.
Major penalties are 5 minutes long. They are sometimes called "all you can eat" penalties, because the team on the power play can score as many times as they are able, and the penalty doesn't end. Fighting is always a major penalty.

There is a third variety of penalty, called a misconduct. They come in the 10 minute or game variety. Many major penalties carry a misconduct with them. A 10 minute misconduct requires the player to leave the ice/bench, but that player can return after those 10 minutes. A game misconduct is functionally an ejection. The player has to leave the game and can't return. Frequently game misconducts result in off-ice discipline (fines and/or suspensions).

(There's also a match penalty, but in-game it's equivalent to a game misconduct. I think the only difference is the severity of the call. So a game misconduct may or may not result in a suspension, but a match penalty almost certainly will)

A note about how penalties are called: In almost all cases (except for a fight and probably a penalty that causes a severe injury) when a penalty occurs, the referee will put his arm up to signal he is about to call a penalty. However, he will not stop play until the team that committed the penalty gains possession of the puck (although in most cases just them touching the puck is enough). This is called a delayed penalty. Since it is not possible for the team that the penalty is being called on to gain possession and shoot the puck (the play is immediately dead), the team that is about to go on the power play will almost always pull the goalie. That is, the goalie will go to the bench so that an extra attacker can join the play. Any goal that is scored while awaiting a delayed penalty call will negate the upcoming minor penalty call. Note: it is possible for the team about to be awarded the power play to score on itself. A goal in that circumstance very much counts. The main way it happens is a bad pass and/or bad bounce, although players do sometimes think the goalie will still be in the net and try to pass to him. An own goal scored in this manner wouldn't negate the upcoming power play, it is only hilarious. Also, if a team that is already shorthanded takes another penalty, and a goal is scored on the power play before it can be called, the "old" penalty expires and the "new" one is called/served in full.

There are many different penalties that can be called. They are listed in the rulebook as follows, in the category of "physical fouls": Boarding, Charging, Checking from Behind, Clipping, Elbowing, Fighting, Head-butting, Illegal Check to the Head, Kicking, Kneeing, Roughing, Slew-footing, Throwing Equipment. Most of those are self explanatory. Boarding is when a player is violently checked into the boards. You'll usually see a player a few feet from the boards when this happens. Charging is a similar penalty, involving a violent hit after "traveling a distance" and/or leaving his feet. Clipping is going at the knees/legs of a player (particularly the knees). Roughing is generally punching with gloves still on, but it's kind of a catch-all too. A slew-foot: (rule book again)


Slew-footing is the act of a player or goalkeeper using his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent’s feet from under him, or pushes an opponent’s upper body backward with an arm or elbow, and at the same time with a forward motion of his leg, knocks or kicks the opponent’s feet from under him, causing him to fall violently to the ice.
Nasty move. Throwing equipment can be yours or something you find on the ice.
Under "restraining fouls" we have Holding, Hooking, Interference and Tripping. Interference is sort of catch-all. It's called any time a player is prevented from playing the puck or hit when he doesn't have the puck.
Under "stick fouls" there are Butt-ending, Cross-checking, High-sticking, Slashing, Spearing. These are self-explanatory. High sticking will be called a double minor (4:00) if there is blood drawn. Double minors are two consecutive penalties. If a goal is scored on the power play 12 seconds into the first penalty, that penalty ends but the team stays on the power play for another 2 minutes.

And then there are "other" penalties. The big one is "delay of game", which can be called for a variety of reasons. It can be called when the goalie plays the puck outside of the trapezoid, if a defensive player/goalie shoots the puck directly over the glass in his defensive zone. Directly means it can't be deflected by a stick or off of the glass on the way out. Intentionally knocking your own net out of position is delay of game. The goalie freezing the puck outside of his crease is (sometimes) a penalty (if he's in the process of making a save, it's not a penalty. If the puck is just sitting there and he tries to freeze it, it's a penalty.) Falling on/covering the puck intentionally is delay of game.

For the 2012-13 season, a new (and also dumb) penalty was introduced: The face-off violation. When either center plays the puck with his hand before a third player touches the puck, the "face-off violation" penalty is called. It's stupid.

For the 2013-14 season, a few new penalties were added: A player removing his own helmet before a fight will be subject to a two minute "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty. Hilariously, the workaround of the two morons who are about to wail on each other gently removing the other guy's helmet is totally ok. The delay of game penalty outlined above has a new entry: if a player has his jersey tucked in (like how Alex Ovechkin had it all the time), he'll first be given a warning, and then with further non-compliance, be issued a delay of game minor. This applies to any violation of the way uniforms are supposed to be worn (sleeves have to go into the glove, no equipment can be showing, etc) but the jersey tuck is the most frequent. The NHL did relent a bit and say that it won't consider a jersey that became tucked on its own during play to be a violation.

And there's one extra special kind of penalty that I didn't cover: the penalty shot. If a player is on a "breakaway" (no players on the defending team between him and the goalie) and is judged to be interfered with in any way (hooked, held, tripped, etc) the referee points to center ice and the skater gets a penalty shot. Basically, it restores the breakaway opportunity to that player. All skaters go off the ice (or by the bench. Out of the way!) and the puck is placed at center ice. The player then gets to skate with the puck toward the goal and attempt a shot. Once the puck leaves his stick, he can't touch it again (e.g., no rebound attempts). He can't go backwards with the puck, either.

Check out the whole rulebook here: (pdf)

---Slightly more advanced stuff---

--Defensive responsibilities--
While it's fairly obvious that defensemen have defensive responsibilities, hockey is a team game. All five skaters have an area of the ice or a man they need to cover. The defensemen stay around the front of the net, trying to get in shooting lanes, box out attackers that get in the slot (and protect their goalie from any attackers crashing the net). Wingers stay out toward the blue lines (the ends of the blue lines, where attacking defensemen usually stand, are referred to as "the points") and are responsible for the defense. The center, then, gets the "behind the net" area.

Of course, hockey is a fluid game. Players get stuck up the ice or otherwise out of position. Attackers aren't stationary, they're moving around a lot and passing all over the place and things like that. Good goon Vaginal Engineer offers this


You'll note that almost every team collapses now, though. Which is to say that unless the puck is up at the point, the wingers come back low, sometimes all the way to the front of the net. Also, the first forward back always plays the role of the centre (coming back to help out the defence) in transition play (this will be a winger when his centre is caught up ice). Also, while covering the defence at the point (blocking passes, getting in shooting lanes, etc.) is very important for the wingers, an essential part of their game is helping to get the puck out when their team is hemmed in their own zone.

--Stats breakdown--

This is the standard format for stats, updated here at least once a day, but usually after games are played.

What they all mean:
GP - Games Played. There are 82 games in a season. Some players play them all, most don't. There were only 48 games played in the 2012-13 season because of the owner's lockout of the players
G - Goals. Being the last offensive player to touch the puck (legally) before it entirely crosses the goal line of the opposing team. Alex Ovechkin scored 32 goals last year for the league lead. Most in one year is Wayne Gretzky with 91. Ovechkin had 65 in 2007-8, which is the most in recent history.
A - Assists. Awarded to up to two teammates of a goal scorer who set-up the goal. Martin St. Louis led the league with 43 last year. Wayne Gretzky again has the record, with 163.
P - Points. Goals + Assists. Last year's leader was Martin St. Louis with 60. Again Wayne Gretzky has the record for 215(!!) in a season. Nobody comes anywhere near that number anymore. Joe Thornton had 125 in 2005-06, and that's the most in a while.
+/- - Plus/Minus. Players on the ice when their team scores even strength or shorthanded get a plus. Players on when the other team scores even strength or shorthanded get a minus. Power play goals give neither a plus nor minus. This stat is almost entirely useless. Don't ever rely on just +/- as an indicator of anything. Be wary of anyone basing any comment, positive or negative, on how good a player's +/- is.
PIM - Penalties in Minutes. This counts 'em all, minor, major, misconducts, anything.
PP - Power Play Goals. Goals scored while on the power play.
SH - Shorthanded Goals. Goals scored while on the penalty kill.
GW - Game Winning Goals. If the final score is 7-0, the scorer of the first goal gets the GWG. If it's 7-6, it's the seventh goal scorer.
OT - Overtime Goals. These are GWG by default, as overtime is sudden death. Note: shootout goals are not recorded in individual stats at all!*
S - Shots. Not the same as Shots Attempted (which I don't think the League tracks, but you'll hear announcers talk about them from time to time); to count as a shot, the puck must either be saved by the goaltender or score. Anything that gets blocked before reaching the net, misses the net or hits a post does not count as a shot.
S% - Shooting percentage. Percentage of shots that have been goals. Shoot once and have one goal? 100%. Shoot 10 times and have 1 goal? 10%. Math!
TOI/G - Time on Ice per Game. Sometimes written as "ATOI" for Average Time on Ice. Time on Ice is tracked for every player for every game. This stat is TOI divided by GP.
Sft/G - Shifts per game (average). Number of shifts taken per game. I'm not quite sure that this is a useful stat.
FO% - Faceoff percentage. Percentage of faceoffs won. 50% or so is "good", 55% is "great" and 60%+ is "incredible". These assume a reasonable number of faceoffs taken--not sure what number the league uses as a cutoff, but if you go to their in-depth faceoff stat page and sort by FO%, you'll find a bunch of 100% guys--but look at "tot" for total faceoffs taken. It's usually under 5 (and even then, usually 1 or 2). Faceoff leaders is a more useful stat page. It keeps out the guys who have under a minimum number of faceoffs taken. The main stat page filters them, too.

*Well, actually, they are tracked. They just don't count in any of the other stats.

They have a ton of stats, all with sortable columns. You can hover over the column header to see what it stands for!

Goalies have their own stats, though.

Here, with a variety of further in-depth pages available.
GP - Games Played. Games in which the goalie appears! If there is an injury to the starter or if he sucks, the backup may have to play. So the GP number may be higher than the "GS" number (though obviously it can't be lower!)
GS - Games Started. Games where this goalie is the goalie in net when the puck drops to start play in the first period.
W - Wins. Playing while your team scores the game winning goal. This includes overtime!
L - Losses. Giving up the game winning goal. This DOES NOT include overtime! Note: It's "giving up the game winning goal", because it's possible to come in to replace a goalie that has given up several goals. Consider this scenario: Goalie A starts the game and gives up 3 goals. He gets pulled with the score 3-0. Goalie B then comes into the game. If his team never scores more than 2 goals, no matter how many more Goalie B lets in, Goalie A is credited with the loss (e.g., the game could end 10-2 but Goalie A let in the GWG, the 3rd goal). However, if at any point Goalie B's team scores a third goal, Goalie B becomes the goalie of record. If he then lets in a goal, and they lose 4-3 (for example), Goalie B gets the loss.
OT - Overtime Losses (also includes shootout losses). A loss in overtime still grants a point, so I guess it makes sense to keep this as a separate stat too.
SA - Shots Against. Total number of shots faced. Remember the "shots" category above for skaters does not include posts, misses or blocked shots. This doesn't either!
GA - Goals Against.
GAA - Goals Against Average. This one is a little confusing. It's (GA * 60) / TOI. Goals Against times 60 (for minutes in a game!) divided by Time on Ice. TOI by default won't count empty net goals, so GAA doesn't either. It also doesn't count shootout goals, as they aren't credited to an individual! Counted to two decimal places. Lower numbers are better.
Sv - Saves. Number of shots that were not goals.
Sv% - Save Percentage. Percentage of shots against that were saves. Sv / SA. E.g., 90 saves / 100 shots = .900 save percentage. Given to three decimal places. Also doesn't count empty net/shootout goals.
SO - Shutouts. Number of games without giving up a goal. Requires full 60 (or 65) minutes played. If a game goes to a shootout tied 0-0, both goalies get a shutout. Two goalies (on the same team) combining for a shutout doesn't give either credit (though the team still gets credit for it).
G - Goals. It's very rare to see a goalie get a goal, although it has happened.
A - Assists. Still rare to see a goalie get an assist, but certainly more frequent than a goal.
PIM - Penalties in Minutes. Goalies can (and do) get penalties. However, a goalie never sits in the penalty box to serve a penalty that he received. A player from his team that was on the ice at the time of the penalty has to serve it.
TOI - Time On Ice. Any game time that he is on the ice counts toward this.

Team Stats can be found here

--Line changes--
Line changes are actually very simple, but there is a lot of nuance to them. crusader donkey explains:


It's really as simple as when you are tired, you go to the bench. You can substitute any time you want; there are no limitations what so ever. Substitutions are almost always referred to as "changes", coming from "line change", in hockey.

The strategy is also fairly simple and intuitive. When play is even (5 vs 5, 4 vs 4) if you leave the play and go to the bench for a change, there will be an opposing player uncovered ("open") for a few seconds while your replacement rushes into the play. Players will wait for a safe time to change for this reason. You will often see players shoot the puck into the corners of their offensive zone (the farthest point from their own net) so they will have time to change all three forwards, or even all five players on the ice, at once with minimal risk. This is referred to as "dumping the puck in."

Tyrake mentioned match-ups already, it's also pretty intuitive. You don't want your worst players out against the other team's best players because you will get scored on and that is bad. Most matching up is done when changing during stoppages of play because trying to force a change while play is happening in order to get a match up, known as "changing on the fly", can be risky because of the reasons mentioned above. Most changing on the fly happens because players get tired, not because of match ups.

Goalies play the entire game but can be substituted if they are having a bad game or get injured. Every team dresses a back-up goalie for every game for such occasions. I was going to say you can't change goalies "on the fly" but I don't think that's true, it just doesn't happen because of the risk involved with having no goalie in the net.

edit: if you want to split hairs, substitute 'winded' in for all the times I said 'tired'

sellouts offers a further clarification:


I would really be careful with your wording here. It's not that players are tired per say, just that right around 40-45 seconds is the optimal shift time given their conditioning and the time for the other lines to play before that line is back out there again. You want your players to be basically pressing as hard as they can and still have enough energy to last until the third period and be ready to go at the same intensity when their line is called again. If a player was to skate until they were tired, especially early in games, they would probably be benched or heavily criticized for taking too long of shifts.

An example of this is Edmonton captain Shawn Horcoff criticizing rookie Taylor Hall for taking shifts too long (he was out on the ice 51 and 48 seconds per shift and that lead the team, including defensemen) Link

Also, the order in which lines are called are completely up to the coach and based on matchups and a bunch of other scenarios, but the default order they are usually called is Line 1, 2, 3, then 1, 2, 3, 4 and repeated. Given penalties and the need for specialty teams on the power play/penalty kill, it's probably pretty rare that they go exactly in that order but generally that's how it works.

Also Shadow Ninja 64 adds this:


One thing that should be mentioned about changing on the fly is that most of the time one forward will go in to chase after the puck and hassle the defending player trying to retrieve it while the other 4 players on his team change, and then that forward will quickly change once backup arrives. It is effectively the same as all five players changing at once, except sometimes weird poo poo happens and that forward doesn't actually get to make his change.

There are other times when teams will only manage to get a couple guys off the ice, making for weird messed up lines. For instance, if your team only manages to get the puck out to the neutral zone, but their bench is closest to their defending zone, they can still usually get off 1-2 forwards and the closer defenseman at least.

--Things you might hear an announcer say if you are watching a game--
(or things you might read on this very forum!)

"Pinch" or "activate" (while talking about a defenseman) - When a team is in the offensive zone, the three forwards are generally in the circles or lower (closer to, or over the goal line). The two defensemen are at the points, or near the blue line and close to the boards. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, a puck can end up around halfway between the blue line and the corner, with no players around it. Defensemen then have to make a decision: can they come in from the blue line and successfully play the puck (whether passing it to another teammate or shooting it deeper into the zone, or even on the net) or will someone from the other team get there first? There is almost always risk involved in a defenseman pinching. If the other team does get there first, he'll often be "trapped" down ice while the other team breaks out. Many times this leads to a scoring chance for the other team. Well disciplined teams will have a forward "cover" the point when a defenseman pinches.

"Draw" - Simply another term for a faceoff.

"Hat trick" (thanks to Lawnie for this one) - A player scoring three goals in the same game. Scoring two goals in the game and then getting a shootout goal does not qualify as a hat trick. People who claim those as hat tricks are fools, and you should mock them.

"Original Six" (Lawnie again!) - Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs . So named because before 1967, those six were the only teams in the NHL. Yeah, I don't know how it worked either.

"Five Hole" (Lawnie, with the picture from gently caress COREY PERRY) - If a puck goes between a goalies legs, it is said to have gone through the five hole.

But really, the five hole is the only one people regularly talk about.

"Forecheck" - An offensive player goes into the offensive zone, with the intention to at least harass the defensive team, and try to create a turnover and/or a scoring opportunity. Forechecking provides pressure. See also: "Forechecking" below

"Dump in" - When an attacking player shoots the puck from across the red line (i.e., not icing), usually into one of the corners. Sometimes used when the team needs a line change, sometimes used as a means of zone entry (as opposed to carrying the puck over the blue line).

"Waffleboard" - Doc Emrick, Versus/NBC play-by-play man primarily. Synonym for the blocker, or the piece of equipment on the hand of the goalie opposite his catching glove. It is worn on the same hand with which he holds his stick.

"DRIIIIIIIIIIIVE" - again, Doc Emrick. Slapshot.

"blueliner" - defenseman

---Advanced stuff---
A great post by Loqieu, in response to the question "what is a 1-2-2 forecheck":


The most basic forecheck formation where a single forward forechecks hard up front to create pressure on the puck carrier, and the other forwards and defensemen form a box shape, to negate open passes. The other forwards will also move in from the other side where the main forechecker forces the puck carrier to, thus trapping the puck carrier in a corner. Here's a drawing of where the forwards and defense would be when in the offensive zone on the forecheck for a 1-2-2.

Basic alternatives to this would a 2-1-2 forecheck or a 2-3 forecheck. The 2-1-2 forecheck is where the two high forwards create a layered or tandem forecheck, and the other foward hangs back with the defense to block passing lanes. Depending on which side the puck carrier moves towards, the defense will move in to create pressure from the other side, and the forward who was hanging back will take the d-man's place. The 2-3 forecheck works in the same way, but the forward is parallel to the defensemen rather than in front.

--The trap--
Another great post, this time by Vigilance:


The 1-2-2 is the trap and every single team in the NHL plays it or some variation of it now. They may not play it full time (the Penguins for example will employ a 2-1-2 forecheck early in games to generate pressure and gain a lead but once they have it or if the game is close they will generally use a 1-2-2 to try and protect their lead/keep the game close. Other teams, like the Canadiens, will use a 1-2-2 basically full time unless they are losing and it's late in the game and then they will obviously be more aggressive.) As Tremendous said the idea is to bog down the neutral zone so that the other team can't carry the puck through the neutral zone with speed. You have your one forward pressure, and his pressure goads the opposing team's puck carrier to one side of the ice. Because there's two forwards in the neutral zone, no matter which way the puck carrier goes he's going to have to go through two forwards (the forward on the north or south side of the neutral zone plus the back checking forward) and a defenseman in order to gain the offensive zone. Long passes past either forward are generally going to get intercepted by the defensemen at the other blueline. So basically long passes are difficult to do successfully as is rushing the puck. It's a very hard formation to break and usually requires the offensive team to dump the puck in unless they have skilled forwards or defensemen who can break the trap via their skating/stickhandling ability. Second/third/fourth liners generally don't have the ability to break the trap that way so you see lots of dump and chase hockey and games getting bogged down in the neutral zone. The other characteristic of the 1-2-2 is that it's very hard to get odd man breaks against the team using it. Watching the Jaques Martin Canadiens for instance will show you that they rarely give up odd man breaks. A team like the Penguins who are typically more aggressive unless they are protecting a lead tend to give up more odd man breaks because of their early 2-1-2 forechecking.

Also another term that just came to my mind is "third man high" and what that means in terms of a forecheck is:

-The first player in the zone goes for the puck carrier/puck.
-The second player goes to support him. (in a 1-2-2 they won't be in on the forecheck unless the first forechecker gains control of the puck in the offensive zone then a second man even in that system is going to come help out)
-The third player to enter the zone hangs around high in the middle of the zone to pick off attempted breakout passes in the event that the forecheck doesn't successfully gain the puck. Even if they do that player still typically stays high to offer passing options and to be ready to rotate on the cycle. For example if the offensive team is cycling the puck in the left corner and the puck ends up in the right corner then that third man high if he thinks he can get to the puck will go to play it and it will be the job of one of the other two forwards to pick up on that fact and then they become the new third man high.

Often times you will see announcers/coaches/players stressing the importance of having that third man high because if you have three players deep in the offensive zone what happens if the other team gets control of the puck? Then you have three players caught deep and an easy break out for the other team not to mention the other team is going to generally have an odd man rush.

Also, feel free to ask any questions here that I'm sure I didn't cover.

The first version of this thread is here: (Archives required)

myron cope fucked around with this message at Oct 22, 2013 around 07:40


myron cope
Apr 21, 2009

Updated 8/31/13
Table of Contents:
- Team/player breakdown
- List of awards
- Minor leagues
- Cunts around the NHL
- Captains: their responsibilities and a list
- Fancystats
If you're new to the game, you may ask, "Who should I cheer for?" The obvious answer to that is either your hometown team, or the team currently closest to you, at least. If you live in Idaho or something and want a team to back, try one that's on national TV a lot, like the Penguins, Rangers, Capitals or Red Wings. Otherwise you'll never get to see any games (legally and for free, at least).

Here's a breakdown of cool players/stars of Eastern Conference teams. Originally provided by Slotducks:

Metropolitan Division:
Carolina Hurricanes: Eric Staal (C), Jordan Staal (C), Jeff Skinner (C), Cam Ward (G)
Columbus Blue Jackets: Marian Gaborik (RW), R.J. Umberger (C), Cam Atkinson (RW), Sergei Bobrovsky (G), Nathan Horton (RW)
New Jersey Devils: Patrik Elias (C), Jaromir Jagr (RW), Andy Greene (D), Martin Brodeur (G), Cory Schneider (G)
New York Islanders: John Tavares (C), Kyle Okposo (RW), Matt Moulson (LW)
New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist (G), Derek Stepan (C), Rick Nash (RW), Ryan McDonagh (D), Marc "Cyclops" Staal (D)
Philadelphia Flyers: Claude Giroux (C), Scott Hartnell (LW), Jakub Voracek (RW), Vincent Lecavalier (C)
Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin (C), Sidney Crosby (C), James Neal (LW), Kris Letang (D)
Washington Capitals: Alexander Ovechkin (RW), Nicklas Backstrom (C), Mike Green (D)

Atlantic Division:
Boston Bruins: Brad Marchand (LW), Patrice Bergeron (C), Jarome Iginla (RW), Loui Eriksson (LW), Zdeno Chara (D), Tuukka Rask (G)
Buffalo Sabres: Thomas Vanek (LW), Ryan Miller (G), Christian Ehrhoff (D)
Detroit Red Wings: Pavel Datsyuk (C), Henrik Zetterberg (C/LW), Daniel Alfredsson (RW), Jimmy Howard (G), Stephen Weiss (C)
Florida Panthers: Jonathan Huberdeau (C), Jacob Markstrom (G), Ed Jovanovski (D), Brian Campbell (D), Alexander Barkov (C)
Montréal Canadiens: Tomas Plekanec (C), Carey Price (G), PK Subban (D)
Ottawa Senators: Jason Spezza (C), Bobby Ryan (RW), Erik Karlsson (D)
Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos (C), Martin "the midget" St. Louis (RW), Jonathan Drouin (LW)
Toronto Maple Leafs: Phil Kessel (RW), Dion Phaneuf (D), James van Riemsdyk (LW), Nazem "The Dream" Kadri (C)

And the Western Conference. Originally provided by The Prisoner:

Central Division:
Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane (RW), Jonathan Toews (C), Duncan Keith (D), Marian Hossa (RW)
Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene (C), Gabriel Landeskog (LW), Paul Stastny (C), Semyon Varlamov (G), Nathan MacKinnon (C)
Dallas Stars: Tyler Seguin (C), Ray Whitney (LW), Alex Goligoski (D), Valeri Nichushkin (RW)
Minnesota Wild: Miikko Koivu (C), Dany Heatley (RW), Niklas Backstrom (G), Zach Parise (LW), Ryan Suter (D)
Nashville Predators: Mike Fisher (C), Patric Hornqvist (RW), Shea Weber (D), Pekka Rinne (G), Seth Jones (D)
St. Louis Blues: TJ Oshie (C), Vladimir Tarasenko (RW), Derek Roy (C), David Backes (C), Alex Pietrangelo (D)
Winnipeg Jets: Dustin Byfuglien (D), Tobias Enstrom (D), Olli Jokinen (C), Evander Kane (LW)

Pacific Division:
Anaheim Ducks: Teemu Selanne (RW), Ryan Getzlaf (C), gently caress Corey Perry (RW)
Calgary Flames: Michael Cammalleri (LW), Sven Baertschi (LW)
Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C), Jordan Eberle (RW), Taylor Hall (LW), Nail Yakupov (RW), Justin Schultz (D)
Los Angeles Kings: Jeff Carter (C), Drew Doughty (D), Anze Kopitar (C), Dustin Brown (RW), Mike Richards (C), Jonathan Quick (G)
Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan (RW), Keith Yandle (D), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (D), Mike Ribeiro (C), Mike Smith (G), Radim Vrbata (RW)
San Jose Sharks: Joe Thornton (C), Patrick Marleau (C), Martin Havlat (RW), Dan Boyle (D), Joe Pavelski (C), Logan Couture (C)
Vancouver Canucks: Daniel Sedin (LW), Henrik Sedin (C), Roberto Luongo (G), Ryan Kesler (C)

(Slotducks and The Prisoner provided the original lists for the 2010 season, and they have since been updated for trades/free agency/drafts and may or may not represent the original lists)


Here is a list of the awards given out after the season (and post-season) is over, slightly edited and from literally just:

NHL differs from most sports in that instead of naming awards after particular achievements, they're named after famous players or people who were important to the NHL.

Stanley Cup: Championship award, has the classy tradition of having each and every player from the winning team engraved on it. Probably one of the more relatively famous trophies in sports because of that? [Ed. note: The only major sports trophy of which there is only one. The Stanley Cup has been all over the world, and players from the winning team each year get to have a day with the Cup. Usually they take it back to their hometown, and there are parades/fundraisers/parties of all sorts with it.] - Currently held by: the Chicago Blackhawks

Presidents' Trophy: Officially it's for the team that had the best record during the regular season. As a hockey fan I'm not really supposed to let this cat out of the bag but it's actually awarded to the team that does the poorest during the playoffs. - Currently held by: the Chicago Blackhawks

Conn Smythe Trophy: Award given to the player deemed most valuable during the playoffs. - Currently held by: Patrick Kane, Chicago

Prince of Wales Trophy: Awarded to the team that won the Eastern Conference Finals. - Currently held by: the Boston Bruins

Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: Awarded to the team that won the Western Conference Finals. - Currently held by: the Chicago Blackhawks

Hart Trophy: MVP award for the regular season. - Currently held by: Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Vezina Trophy: Awarded to the best goaltender during the regular season. - Currently held by: Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets

Norris Trophy: [Note: Nicklas Lidstrom retired ] It used to be awarded to the best defenseman in the league, but instead they just give it to Nicklas Lidstrom so he can melt it down and build houses for the homeless or something. - Currently held by: PK Subban, Montréal Canadiens

Frank J. Selke Trophy: Awarded to the best forward in the league at playing defense which is usually whatever Russian guy is playing forward for the Detroit Red Wings. - Currently held by: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

Calder Memorial Trophy: Awarded to the best rookie, even if they're like 30 years old. It still counts because hey, come on, it's his first year in the NHL. [Ed.: as pointed out by The Prisoner and gently caress COREY PERRY, it can only go to players under 26 that have played more than 25 games] - Currently held by: Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers

Jack Adams Award: Awarded to the coach who makes the most improvement to a team/makes the most out of nothing. One of the more realistic coach awards in sports. ["adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success"] - Currently held by: Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators

Art Ross Trophy: Awarded to the player who amasses the most points (goals and assists) during the year. - Currently held by: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy: Awarded to the player who has the most goals during the year. - Currently held by: Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

William Jennings Trophy: Awarded to the goalie(s) of the team that had the least goals scored against it during the regular season. [Given to each goalie on the winning team with at least 25 starts] - Currently held by: Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, Chicago Blackhawks

Ted Lindsay Award (previously the Lester B. Pearson award): "most outstanding player" as voted by the NHL Players' Association. It's currently unknown as to why there are two MVP awards in the NHL and why the NHLPA uses an ' at the end of Players, unlike most other players unions. [The Ted Lindsay Award is technically not a most valuable player award, but there is some debate on this point] - Currently held by: - Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: This is one of the cooler awards in the league, even though it's usually some sad rear end event that leads to it being awarded. Each team nominates one of its own for displaying perseverance and fortitude. Usually it goes to a guy that suffered a freak injury but made a comeback or they suffered some sort of personal tragedy but kept playing hockey. - Currently held by: - Josh Harding, Minnesota Wild

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Awarded to the player that displays the best sportsmanship on ice ["player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability". Seven of the last eight winners have been Pavel Datsyuk (4) and Martin St. Louis (3)] Currently held by: - Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning


Minor leagues:
The NHL has a vast and kind of confusing web of minor league teams. T-Bone helps us make sense of it


The minor leagues are very similar to baseball's, yes. There are less levels (that have teams officially affiliated with a NHL team anyway), with the two main levels being the American Hockey League (equivalent to AAA) and the East Coast Hockey League (equivalent to AA). There are a number of leagues below this that range in skill, but very few teams in these leagues are officially affiliated with NHL teams.

Like in baseball, players are drafted by the NHL team, and then either assigned back to their college or junior team (a junior league is essentially a poo poo pay semi-professional league for young guys wanting to get drafted - the league in Canada, the CHL, is the main source of NHL talent). NCAA rules for college hockey work the same way as in baseball, I believe - you can't sign a contract and play at the NCAA level. However, in juniors you can sign and still play (although and I could be wrong here - the contract doesn't go into effect until you play a certain amount of NHL games). Even if a college player goes back to school without signing a contract, the NHL team still holds his rights (this isn't true in baseball, if I remember correctly) for something like four years.

Unlike baseball, the NHL draft is open not to just to North Americans, but every player in the world. In particular, many players get drafted from Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Finland. These players are subject to most of the same rules as the North American draftees. However, due to the strength of recently created KHL, a Russian professional league that is equal in skill to the AHL (think Japan's baseball league vs. AAA), NHL teams are less likely to draft Russian players because they are worried about prospects choosing to play in the lucrative KHL, or KHL teams demanding exorbitant transfer fees (which is still a tricky unsolved issue when it comes to drafting European players).

First round/high draft picks in hockey tend to be more successful than their counterparts in baseball and football, and many players contribute the year after they were drafted. However, they are less predictable than say, basketball, particularly when it comes to European prospects.

Minister Robathan adds a few more points about the CHL:


If you play a game in the CHL, or sign any kind of contract, you lose NCAA eligibility. For this reason, Canadians electing to go the "college route" play in the Jr. A leagues. Jr. A is a step down from the CHL ("major junior"), but quite a few players are drafted out of it every year.


Cunts around the NHL
A special post, brought to you by gently caress COREY PERRY:


In the NHL there are players known to the vast majority as being absolute cunts, or to fans of the teams they play on, lovable faggots. In polite company if one must they refer to these players as 'pests.' These players tend to be smaller players on the 3rd and 4th lines who's job is to enrage the opposing players by trash-talking, playing to the boundaries of the rules, bending the rules, and outright cheating. They're the kind of guys who will cross-check you in the back when the ref isn't looking, insult your family's sod farm, goad you into dropping your gloves/punching them in the face/hooking/slashing/tripping them, embellish and force the ref into giving you a penalty, and skate away laughing as they go to headshot your star center and put him out for a few months without any punishment. They can usually chip in a few points as well.

Examples of cunts include Sean Avery of <retired > (He's basically king stinkyhole), Matt Cooke of the Minnesota Wild, Jarkko Ruutu of the <playing in Finland>, Dan Carcillo of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Steve Downie of the Colorado Avalanche.


Captains: Their responsibilities
In the NHL, a team may designate a captain and up to two alternate captains. If a team does not have a captain, they may designate a third alternate. Captaincy is designated by a "C" on the player's jersey. Alternates get an "A". Most teams have this on the top left of the front of the jersey, with the first exception that comes to mind being the Detroit Red Wings (Presented by Amway) who have it on the right side. The captain's sole official duty is to "discussing with the Referee any questions relating to interpretation of rules which may arise during the progress of a game" Note that this does not mean they get to argue calls, but they get to discuss interpretation of rules. Officially. Most of the time you'll see both captains standing outside the little referee force field (you can see in the rink diagram above; the red semicircle below the main faceoff circle; only the referee/officials may be in the crease when he is conferring with the off-ice officials) waiting for clarification of what is happening and/or to plead their case. When the captain is not on the ice, one of the alternates may take the place of the captain for that purpose.

That's it, that's the only official duty a captain has. Now, unofficially, the captain is generally thought of as a/the "leader" of the team. Most of the captains you will see fall into two categories: 1) Veteran, been around the block, respected old guy. Examples of this are Zdeno Chara, Daniel Alfredsson or Shane Doan. 2) the franchise player/young gun. Examples would be Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews, Eric Staal or Gabriel Landeskog. (Note: these aren't hard and fast rules) They most frequently are the guys you see getting interviewed every single day. They're the public face of the franchise. They're featured heavily in marketing. Etc.

Instead of reproducing Wikipedia's list here, I'm just going to link to it:

Now, teams get 1C/2A or 3A. But some teams on there have more than 3A's even with a captain listed. Some teams choose to rotate who wears the A. Some do it by month, some (like the Penguins) do it by Home/Away. There's no real rules to how it's done, except that you can only dress 1C/2A or 3A a game. I don't think I've seen a team do less than that, and I'm almost certain that someone would be required to wear an A.



Since I don't know much about Fancystats myself, I got help from Hand Knit and Lawnie.

Hand Knit posted:

A Very Short Introduction to Fancystats

If you are on this site you have probably seen by now, either here or elsewhere, a bunch of strange looking numbers attached to names that don’t seem to actually describe anything. These are sometimes called “advanced stats,” but are probably better termed Fancystats because, once you get past the name, they aren’t particularly advanced. These stats, while not new to NHL front offices, have gained currency online over the past few years as bloggers like Gabe Desjardins, Eric Tulsky, and Vic Ferrari have gained an audience and exchanged ideas.

I’m going to write out just a little bit on a couple of the most important stats, and the ideas that inform them. If you want to look further, there’s a budding and infrequently updated reference library over at good stats site

An important thing to note is that all stats, unless otherwise stated, are for 5-on-5 play. This is because most of the game takes place at 5-on-5, and teams substantially change their play styles and strategies when either up or down a man. The expectations of what a team ought to do shorthanded are completely different from what a team ought to do at even strength.

Shot Attempts: Corsi and Fenwick

These are two metrics that measure the times a team or player launches the puck at the opposing net. Corsi counts all shot attempts on net: shots on goal, missed shots, and blocked shots. Fenwick omits blocked shots, since shot blocking is a repeatable skill. Both are often expressed as a percentage, so a team that has “60% Fenwick” is launching 6 unblocked pucks at the opposing net for every 4 pucks the opposition manages to send their way. Fenwick stats are often expressed in their ”close” form, to try and bracket out periods when teams will substantially change their strategies and stop trying to score as much (e.g. holding a two-goal lead in the third). Corsi and Fenwick are often referred to as “possession stats” since they work as proxies for which team has the puck more. Since teams are very close in shooting talent, and reasonably close in goaltending talent, Fenwick differential predicts future wins and losses as well as any single thing.

Tulsky on team Corsi.
Daniel Wagner on the relationship between shot events and goals.

Zone Entries

Motivated by the idea that neutral zone play is most important, zone entries count when and how a team send the puck into the offensive zone. Tracking zone entries is time intensive, so data on them is quite sparse, but from what we have it appears that they are the best predictor of a team’s shots and goals, and accordingly success. What we have also supports intuitions like entering the zone with control, as opposed to dumping it in, is superior: teams that enter the zone with control record twice as many shots and goals.

Blog post on zone entries.
Conference paper on zone entries.

Lawnie posted:

I'm going to talk briefly about Quality of Competition (qualcomp) and zone starts. I'll start with zone starts, as they're a lot easier to understand. So, for every faceoff, the coach sends a unit of players out. That faceoff can be in neutral ice or in either team's defensive zone. A player's zone starts percentage is the percentage of his shifts starting in the offensive zone out of all the faceoffs taken either in the offensive or defensive zone. So, a player that takes more faceoffs in the offensive zone is more likely to be being sheltered by his coach, as it's much more difficult to get the puck out of your defensive zone and into the attacking third than it is to simply keep the puck in the attacking third, and you have to play more defense if you're starting in your own zone all the time.

Quality of competition is the average Corsi of the players you take shifts against, weighted by head-to-head ice time. So, a player with a positive qualcomp is playing against opponents who generally create more offense, as more shots are taken for their team while they're on the ice. Conversely, if a player has a negative qualcomp, he's generally playing against opponents who typically give up more scoring opportunities than they create for themselves. This is another indicator of how a coach is using his players; players with a high qualcomp are usually playing against better competition, though their traditional numbers may or may not reflect that.

Here's a really cool tool you can access through This is the player usage chart for the Blackhawks this regular season. On the x-axis is each player's offensive zone start percentage, while the y-axis has their qualcomp. The size and color of each player's bubble is his Corsi relative; blue bubbles indicate positive Corsi relative while red bubbles indicate negative, and the size of each bubble represents the magnitude of their Corsi relative. Players with big blue bubbles have high positive Corsi relative, while those with big red bubbles have a high negative Corsi relative. Players on the top left of the graph are generally getting the toughest assignments, as they're starting in the offensive zone less than their teammates typically do and also face a higher quality of competition. Players on the bottom right are playing "easier" minutes; they start in the offensive zone more than their teammates and play against weaker opponents.

A couple examples for the Blackhawks: Dave Bolland has a big red bubble in the top center of the graph. He's starting in the offensive zone about half the time, but still facing the best players on opposing teams. As a result of this, he has a high negative Corsi relative; he's on the ice for more shot attempts against than for, which isn't all that surprising when you consider the circumstances. Brandon Saad starts in the offensive zone 56.5% of the time, but his qualcomp is negative. This leads to a Corsi relative of 9.0 for Saad, which is pretty drat good (second best in the league among rookies if I remember correctly). So he gets to start in the zone where you generate Corsi events, and against opponents that typically give up more chances than they create. Viktor Stalberg is the most sheltered player on the team with a qualcomp of -1.9 and a zone start percentage of 63.9%. He has a positive Corsi relative, but that shouldn't be all that hard to do when you start in the offensive zone more than any other player on the team while playing against some of the worst opponents.

I hope that's enough to give you an idea of what qualcomp and zone start percentages are. Player usage charts are a really useful, intuitive graphical tool to judge players on a team against each other, and with a little practice, you can certainly have a better idea of how your favorite team's players are being used, and adjust your expectations accordingly.

myron cope fucked around with this message at Sep 1, 2013 around 05:57

Dec 26, 2009

Can you explain offsides more? I always get sooo mixed up. And why are the players so mean to each other?

-signed, my ex-girlfriend

Mar 11, 2003

Bull in the China Shop

man I have watched hockey on HD and I still cant see the loving puck

e: and nice post.

Aug 31, 2006

Nick Bownino, Goalden Retriever

twitch125 posted:

man I have watched hockey on HD and I still cant see the loving puck

e: and nice post.

It gets easier the more you watch, players body language plays a huge part in following the game.

Aug 26, 2002

mcvey posted:

It gets easier the more you watch, players body language plays a huge part in following the game.
This. Basically, once you get an understanding of how the puck bounces you can almost predict where it's going.

myron cope
Apr 21, 2009

I guess I'm slightly overstating the difference HD makes in finding the puck, but it really does help. But yes, after watching a few games you can start to anticipate where the puck is going.

Aug 24, 2003

For he goes birling down a-down the white water

mcvey posted:

It gets easier the more you watch, players body language plays a huge part in following the game.

If you watch where the players are looking, that's where the puck is.

GI Joel
Nov 28, 2001

I was going to make a post like this. Nice job, dude ;D

People should ask whatever question no matter how dumb it may seem.

Jul 20, 2010

hey staalsie check it out lol, and while you're at it google "marco rubio cocodorm"

A post explaining the nuances of the butterfly, stand-up, and how history progressed using the two styles would be something good, if any crazy goalie wants to write that up.

This is a good post but the only thing hockey related I feel I can contribute is that if you are coming from basketball, the Dolans are polar opposites with regards to owning the Rangers compared to owning the Knicks. They let our GM, Glen Sather, run pretty much everything and he's really not a bad GM over the past couple of years, even with his penchant for, well, strange signings.

also under no circumstances should you EVER EVER EVER EVER look up the dolans on youtube because you might be linked to his band which is seriously reallly, really bad.

Lee Tunnell
May 21, 2007

chocolateTHUNDER posted:

The goalie is stopping the play/flow of the game. Why should the opposing team be punished for being in the other teams zone and putting shots on goal?

I'm use to soccer so I guess I see it as you took your shot and failed losing the puck to the other team

myron cope
Apr 21, 2009

I don't see it as either a punishment or a reward--it's just restarting the game. In soccer when the goalie gets the ball everyone backs off and the goalie can restart play. In hockey when the goalie has the puck he instantly gets swarmed--it's rare that the puck comes to the goalie without anybody around him. When it does happen, he can (and is in fact obligated to--freezing the puck when the referee deems it unnecessary is a penalty. It will at least get the goalie a warning to not do that again) keep it in play.

Lee Tunnell
May 21, 2007

I guess because the goal is a lot smaller?

Jun 9, 2005

Pew pew pew

And some goalies are really bad at handling the puck.

Before they added the trapezoid behind the net and made it a penalty for a goaltender to touch the puck outside of the trapezoid (but behind the goal line) goalies like Brodeur, Turco and... any of them who knew how to stickhandle, basically... they were all like a third defenseman because they could stop a dump in and pass it back up ice insanely well. This often caught the other team on a change and lead to a lot of odd-man rushes.

I think they're evaluating removing the trapezoid again, which I personally would like to see. Watching a goalie get caught way outside his net and try to flounder back in time to stop a goal is always funny.

Dec 26, 2009

Pleads posted:

Watching a goalie get caught way outside his net and try to flounder back in time to stop a goal is always funny.

Fleury had a problem with this, not too bad this past season that I recall but drat, if you cant handle the puck don't do it. This goes for Aaron Asham as well.

Mar 31, 2011

It's a pretty cool feeling

Pleads posted:

And some goalies are really bad at handling the puck.

Before they added the trapezoid behind the net and made it a penalty for a goaltender to touch the puck outside of the trapezoid (but behind the goal line) goalies like Brodeur, Turco and... any of them who knew how to stickhandle, basically... they were all like a third defenseman because they could stop a dump in and pass it back up ice insanely well. This often caught the other team on a change and lead to a lot of odd-man rushes.

I think they're evaluating removing the trapezoid again, which I personally would like to see. Watching a goalie get caught way outside his net and try to flounder back in time to stop a goal is always funny.

Does anyone like the trapezoid?

Ginette Reno
Nov 18, 2006

Nice guy, tries hard,loves the game. Play for the Pittsburgh Penguins

Removing the trapezoid would also lead to less defensemen getting pulverized on the forecheck which is always good. They really ought to do away with it.

Aug 31, 2006

Nick Bownino, Goalden Retriever

Vigilance posted:

Removing the trapezoid would also lead to less defensemen getting pulverized on the forecheck which is always good. They really ought to do away with it.

Removing the trapezoid could add years to Mike Greens career.

Dec 26, 2009

Removing the trapezoid would lead to more player/goalie contact which is always entertaining.

May 19, 2008

Satan is my lord
Bribe officials and kill goats
Hail Satan, Go Hawks

Pleads posted:

Watching a goalie get caught way outside his net and try to flounder back in time to stop a goal is always funny.


e: I just had a revelation about this video. Campoli is watching Turco's move VERY intently. Interesting foreshadowing!

Apr 25, 2007

As an Australian is drat hard to watch NHL games without pay/subscription TV but I've been a fan of hockey since at least 97/98 when one of the free to air channels used to put on a highlights show once a week. Through many iterations of NHL on PS2/360 I've gotten used to most of the rules (even the offside rule) so my questions are these:

What are the Stars chances for the next few years and what is the SAS opinion on the team as a whole?

Feb 9, 2003

Can anyone explain how New Jersey broke things in the early 00's, and what the league did to fix it?

Aug 31, 2006

Nick Bownino, Goalden Retriever

The Trap + Marty Brodeur + Scott Stevens + Scott Niedermayer =

then the lockout happened. Now hockey is better.

May 19, 2008

Satan is my lord
Bribe officials and kill goats
Hail Satan, Go Hawks

Franko posted:

As an Australian is drat hard to watch NHL games without pay/subscription TV but I've been a fan of hockey since at least 97/98 when one of the free to air channels used to put on a highlights show once a week. Through many iterations of NHL on PS2/360 I've gotten used to most of the rules (even the offside rule) so my questions are these:

What are the Stars chances for the next few years and what is the SAS opinion on the team as a whole?

The Stars are a scrappy and lovable Southern expansion team that'll probably be floating around 7-10th place in the western conference for the next few years. The loss of Richards and the lack of a real replacement will probably hurt their playoff chances for a good while. That's my opinion at least.

Mar 31, 2011

It's a pretty cool feeling

The Stars are not lovable at all

Apr 25, 2007

tofes posted:

The Stars are not lovable at all

Aww man that suck to he.....wait a second.

Jul 20, 2010

hey staalsie check it out lol, and while you're at it google "marco rubio cocodorm"

Franko posted:

As an Australian is drat hard to watch NHL games without pay/subscription TV but I've been a fan of hockey since at least 97/98 when one of the free to air channels used to put on a highlights show once a week. Through many iterations of NHL on PS2/360 I've gotten used to most of the rules (even the offside rule) so my questions are these:

What are the Stars chances for the next few years and what is the SAS opinion on the team as a whole?

The Stars are in a weird position IIRC because of their ownership situation. Their goaltending was pretty good last year with Lehtonen, but he's an injury risk. Goligoski/Robidas/etc. on defense is not bad, especially if Goligoski keeps up his late season form. Their offense will hurt from Richards, but they still have Eriksson and Ribeiro and Morrow and Benn, so that's a start.

I don't really know about their prospects too much, but they'd probably be a playoff team in the East if they were healthy, but their division and conference are extremely rough. They're probably looking at 4th in their division if Hiller and Selanne come back for Anaheim and Tippett can't salvage what's left of the Coyotes.

That might be good enough to sneak into a playoff spot but the Canucks, Red Wings, Blackhawks, and Predators are probably locks in my eyes as well. So they're competing with the Blue Jackets and Coyotes and whoever could sneak in from the Northwest because it's such a poo poo division.

Apr 25, 2007


The Stars are in a weird position IIRC because of their ownership situation. Their goaltending was pretty good last year with Lehtonen, but he's an injury risk. Goligoski/Robidas/etc. on defense is not bad, especially if Goligoski keeps up his late season form. Their offense will hurt from Richards, but they still have Eriksson and Ribeiro and Morrow and Benn, so that's a start.

I don't really know about their prospects too much, but they'd probably be a playoff team in the East if they were healthy, but their division and conference are extremely rough. They're probably looking at 4th in their division if Hiller and Selanne come back for Anaheim and Tippett can't salvage what's left of the Coyotes.

That might be good enough to sneak into a playoff spot but the Canucks, Red Wings, Blackhawks, and Predators are probably locks in my eyes as well. So they're competing with the Blue Jackets and Coyotes and whoever could sneak in from the Northwest because it's such a poo poo division.

Which raises another question, why is Detroit in the Western Conference?

Jan 15, 2008

Before a member of your family dies, it is best to have a photograph taken.

Franko posted:

Which raises another question, why is Detroit in the Western Conference?

To make the conferences an even 15 and 15 teams. All the Eastern Conference teams arewere located more to the east than Detroit or Columbus, both now in the Western Conference. The creation of Winnipeg Jets from the ashes of Atlanta changes things, and either Detroit or Columbus will switch conferences next season because Winnipeg takes a Western spot.

See map at

Jan 11, 2004

we're puttin' the band back together

Zat posted:

either Detroit or Columbus will switch conferences next season because Winnipeg takes a Western spot.

Nashville could also move because even though they are in Central Time they are the closest team to the hole Atlanta left.

It also depends where the Phoenix Coyotes end up after this season.

Fateo McMurray
Mar 22, 2003

tofes posted:

The Stars are not lovable at all

Seriously. gently caress the Stars.

The last few Bruins/Stars games have been fun though.

Doctor Butts
May 21, 2002


I would like the trapezoid to be removed as well.

Feb 20, 2006

I just wanted to point out that the OP totally hosed with my sense of time and space by putting the Central division on the left and the Pacific on the right. I'm kind of dizzy now.

Also, I'm a bit thrown off by all the changes to the Stars roster in the last 5 years ago. These are not the Stars I grew up loving.

tadashi fucked around with this message at Aug 26, 2011 around 14:08

Vital Signs
Oct 17, 2007


schmitty9800 posted:

Can anyone explain how New Jersey broke things in the early 00's, and what the league did to fix it?
Essentially the Devils used a system called "the trap." It is pretty well defined in the OP, and it essentially means that entering the offensive zone is a nightmare. Keep in mind that pre lockout the NHL didn't have a zero tolerance rule for hooking, slashing, and so on... and two line passes were not aloud. While the trap is still an effective system today, it is not nearly as good. This is because you can no longer hold people up in the neutral zone unless you want a penalty, and cross ice long passes on the breakout can now happen.

The Devils, as mentioned, were particularly good at the system because of the players they had available. Stevens was a monsters in the neutral zone for one...

Apr 25, 2007

tadashi posted:

Also, I'm a bit thrown off by all the changes to the Stars roster in the last 5 years ago. These are not the Stars I grew up loving.

Also the new jerseys are loving terrible.

Rusty Shackleford
Sep 13, 2008

excellent break down OP, the puck can't drop soon enough. Also I wasn't sure if the whole Thrashers moving to Winnipeg was official or not so that's good (?) to hear. Looking forward to an awesome season, no lock out full contact goodness. Just skeptical about the Rangers who keep hiring kids who can barely drive.

Apr 27, 2008


I wasn't aware Heatley played for the Rangers.

Dec 26, 2009

tofes posted:

The Stars are not lovable at all

They are quite lovable. Jamie Benns fat pudgy face knows no bounds. They will make the playoffs this year.

Stars cups-1 Sharks cups-

Rusty Shackleford
Sep 13, 2008

Rutkowski posted:

I wasn't aware Heatley played for the Rangers.

Haaaa, should of seen that coming


Reverend Sub-Zero
Jan 11, 2008

"When the best player in the world comes up to you and tells you, 'I don't know who you're planning on starting tonight, but I want that first shift', that says everything you need to know about Claude Giroux right there."

Vital Signs posted:

The Devils, as mentioned, were particularly good at the system because of the players they had available. Stevens was a monsters in the neutral zone for one...

Just ask the drooling shell that was Eric Lindros.

Scott Stevens was the perfect backend for a trapping team, a shutdown defenseman who dominates physically. Any forward who managed to pick his way through the trapping forward and backchecking forward usually saw his play end on Stevens' shoulder (which usually was targeting that forwards' head). He is almost completely responsible for cutting short Lindros' career (multiple concussions).

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