Archive for the ‘The Soft European Research Team’ Tag

Dr. Gainey and Mr. Bob

Sooo, what’s happening to the habs these days? Well, they lose, they lose and they lose. They get badly outshot every night, and the defense is seriously awful. But, apparently, all is not lost. They came back three times against the rangers last night, and never gave up (yeah, it’s not exactly a good sign the rangers were able to take the lead 3 times at the bell center, but shut up, I’m trying to be positive here!). Also, Price was great, once again. He is turning back into the goalie everyone wants him to be, and this is crucial for the habs.

I don’t really know what to think, to be honest. The habs are still in the hunt, and their play is apparently improving, so I guess there’s still hope. But at the same time, they haven’t been able to get many points during this important stretch of home games. So far, Gainey is 1-1-2 as a coach. This is not a good enough pace. If they want to make the playoffs, and make some noise there, they’d better get some points now. Because if they have to face the bruins or the devils in the first round, the postseason could be short and ugly.


So anyway, instead of focusing too much on the habs results, let’s speak about something else for a while: Gainey’s split personality problems.

dr-gainey-mr-bobAt night, the good GM Gainey secretly turns into evil coach Bob

Few people seem to have noticed the dangerous transformation of our good old friend Bob Gainey over the last few days. Since Guy Carbonneau was fired, Bob Gainey took charge of the team, in addition of his GM duties.  Those two jobs are obviously very demanding, and this got me wondering how Bob would cope with this extra pressure. As you know, I’m assisted by a team of devoted scientists, using the most cutting edge technology to analyze hockey. The Soft European research team, always attentive to small details, worked on the tapes of the most recent press conferences given by Gainey.  A careful frame by frame examination of these tapes brought a very worrying phenomenon to our attention. I’m afraid Bob Gainey is in the process of splitting into two completely different persons.

comparaison-1Exhibit A

GM Gainey: “hockey is a mind game”. Coach Bob: “what’s wrong? who’s talking inside my head?! Stop it!”

comparaison-2Exhibit B

GM Gainey: “Unfortunately for us, the Devils forechecking system was really efficient tonight.” Coach Bob: “Devils, what Devils? I AM the Devil! Why are you staring at me like that?! Stop it, or I’ll jump you!!”

As you can see, this is a very unusual, and pretty difficult situation. His double occupation is slowly taking its toll on Bob’s personality, and I think he should REALLY consider hiring a coach at the end of this season, because I’m afraid he will go nuts at some point if this carries on for too long!


A revolutionary hockey crowd rating system

As expected, I really enjoyed this All Star Game. Apparently, I’m not the only one, since most of the recaps are rather positive.

One of the things I liked during this week end was the attitude of the Montreal crowd. I liked the reception of the Bruins All Stars, with a mix of boos and cheers. I liked how there were no more boos, but only cheers after Chara broke the record for the hardest shot, and spoke about his charity. I really liked the way Lecavalier was greeted, not because I actually think he’ll be traded to the habs, but because I just thought it was pretty funny to see a fanbase trying to woo a player like that.

But of course, it’s always difficult, if not impossible, to judge the quality of the fanbase you’re part of. I can say that habs fans are one of the best crowds in the league, but it sounds hollow, because I’m one of them (even if I’m far away).

Here is why the Soft European Research Team came up with a revolutionary impartial crowd assessment system, to compare the fans around the league: the Gary Bettman Booing Index, or GBBI™.

research_labThe lab strikes again.

Here is how it works: You just need to confront a hockey crowd with a Gary Bettman sighting, and observe its reaction. Careful data analysis demonstrates that the loudness and clarity of the booing is positively correlated with the refinement and the level of hockey knowledge of the observed crowd. Of course, it is necessary to take into account the situation where the said booing occurs. It’s not the same thing to boo Bettman when he hands the Stanley Cup to the other team in your own building, and to stop celebrating after a Cup win for a few seconds just to make sure nobody believes you cheer for Bettman. Booing the commissioner during a draft, or after an All Star Game also deserve some appreciation, since for those events, the crowd will likely include a larger proportion of corporate people and less diehard fans.

Now let’s use the GBBI™ to compare some crowds around the league:

Colombus, 2007 draft. Low start, but a good sustained booing. Nice effort. GBBI: 6.2

Ottawa, 2008 draft. Maybe a little less loud than Colombus, but even he had to salute the “passion” of the fans, with a huge grin. GBBI: 5.5

Tampa Bay, 2004 Cup win. The sound is shitty, but they are not booing. Sorry Tampa fans, but this is not good. GBBI: 0.2 (I heard a few fans booing in the cheap seats)

Carolina, 2006 Cup win. You had plenty of time to boo, canes fans. Fail. GBBI: 0.2 (Not better than Tampa, sorry guys…)

Pittsburgh, 2008 Cup loss. Mixed reaction, the crowd is still stunned. But kudos for not booing the Wings with the Cup. GBBI: 3.5 (Tough one, I think they deserve another chance.)

Devils, 1995. Wow, great fans right here. GBBI: 8 (And the Ookies weren’t even there yet…)

So, how did Montrealers fare yesterday?

5:30 – A nice, short but loud enough boo. GBBI: 7.

I’m relieved that the Montreal crowed passed this difficult test without too much trouble. I would have been pretty embarrassed to see our dear commissioner getting away without a good ol’ booing. Now, I just hope I’ll soon have the chance to watch the home crowd boo the hell out of him as he prepares to hand its 25th Cup to a certain franchise.

[Note: some franchises started a Sarah Palin booing competition at the beginning of the season, but their subsequent bad luck quickly doomed this noble attempt. Therefore, the GBBI™ remains the most reliable way to rank fanbases]

Numbers don’t lie (because they can’t speak)

After last night win against the Caps (woooooooooo!), the Habs have played half of their regular season games.

You saw it coming: here is an assessment of the state of the Habs, midway through the regular season.

41 games, 56 pts, 25 W, 10 L, 6 OTL. 2nd in the division, 4th in the East. That’s not too shabby.

Habs are on pace for 112 pts, 8 more than the 104 points they got last season.They might not end up with the 1st seed this time though, if the Bruins continue to play like they do.

Don’t worry, dear reader, I won’t inflict you the boring numbers you can find everywhere else, like goals for and against, PK and PP success failure rate,  5 on 5 stats, and so on. That’s not what you came for. You came for little known facts, and much more intriguing analysis.

And that’s where the Soft European research team comes in handy.


They still look sharp in 2009

My wonderful little hockey scientists provided me with the following list of observations:

– Josh Gorges is on pace for 2 goals (that’s an increase of 2 from his total of last season).

– Max Pacioretty has taken 0,3% of the team faceoffs, and has a won them all. (I mean, uh, he won 100% of the 1 faceoff he took)

– Since he plays on the same team as Kovalev, Lang apparently believes he’s back in 2001.

– On October 25, Habs shot 51 times at Giguere (season high), and lost.

– On December 27, they shot 19 times at various Penguins goalies (season low), and won.

– Kostopoulos is on pace for a nice 0-54 fighting record, or so it seems.

– The habs currently have precisely 97,39% chance of making the playoffs.

– Carbonneau is on pace for coaching 82 games in a row this season.

– He’s also on pace for a record 876 lines combinations.

carbo-tableau“See Boys? We got to keep things simple!”

– Guillaume Latendresse was used for 1 second on the PK this season. Talk about increased responsibilities!

– And finally, here is the statistical category where habs are the class of the league. The habs are FIRST IN THE NHL for blocked shots at home, with 406. (Wooooooo!)

OK, well, thank you researchers… Uh, I guess this gives us a better idea of what this team is made of, and uh, where it’s heading.

Cold, hard facts.

You may not know this, but this blog is written with the help of a dedicated and highly qualified research team, that provides me with the sharpest data, the best statistics, and the most relevant analysis about the game of hockey.


The proud Soft European research team, posing in our state of the art lab. (from left to right: Prof. Joseph Louis Dufour, Prof. Carl Gustav Johansson and Prof. Otto E. Von Reichenstein)

Once again, those superior brains brought me a new gem yesterday. It is therefore my duty, and my pleasure,  to share with you this glimpse of the brilliance of their great work: here is a (simplified) graph, showing the evolution of the habs faithfuls’ mood during the last two games.


Once again, science delivers.

As you can see, there were some highs, some lows, some higher lows, some lower highs, some lower lows, and even a few higher highs. To be honest, I don’t exactly know where this leaves us. But we have a few days to figure this out until the christmas break is over.

Posted December 23, 2008 by Grrrreg in Uncategorized

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