Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Importance of a Preseason Record

It's ok, Varly. You'll save it when it matters - right?

Last night's 6-0 drubbing by the Los Angeles Kings seems to have a lot of Avalanche fans worried.

In fact, Twitter filled with so much worry that Matt Duchene felt the need to give us the following two tweets:
Sorry to all the fans that paid their hard earned money tonight to watch that terrible performance of ours. We WILL be better
[...]
This Avs team is not the same one from last year so don't get used to seeing games like that. We're not gonna disappoint you guys again
As Adrian Dater put it,
Four games into the preseason, and we’re already getting apologetic tweets to fans from Avalanche players. This can’t be good, right?
So what I'm wondering is, does Colorado's current 1-3 preseason record (two games to play) indicate anything about the season to come? I took a look back at a decade's worth of preseason games and compared those results with the amount of regular season success. Here's what I found:

2000-01
Preseason: 5-2-1
Regular Season: 118 Points, President's Trophy, Stanley Cup Champions

2001-02
Preseason: 2-5-0
Regular Season: 99 Points, 2nd in West, Lost in Conference Finals

2002-03
Preseason: 2-5-0
Regular Season: 105 Points, 3rd in West, Lost in Round One

2003-04
Preseason: 4-2-1
Regular Season: 100 Points, 4th in West, Lost in Round Two

2005-06
Preseason: 4-0-2
Regular Season: 95 Points, 7th in West, Lost in Round Two

2006-07
Preseason: 5-1-0
Regular Season: 95 Points, 9th in West, No Playoffs

2007-08
Preseason: 4-0-2
Regular Season: 95 Points, 6th in West, Lost in Round Two

2008-09
Preseason: 4-1-1
Regular Season: 69 Points, 15th in West, No Playoffs

2009-10
Preseason: 3-3-0
Regular Season: 95 Points, 8th in West, Lost in Round One

2010-11
Preseason: 2-5-0
Regular Season: 68 Points, 14th in West, No Playoffs

For those of you keeping score at home, over the last ten preseasons, Colorado has had a winning record six times, a losing record three times, and a .500 record once.

In the years they had a winning record, the Avs averaged 95.3 points. There are two outliers (the team's best year, 2000-01, and one of the team's worst, 2008-09) but even if we take them out, the average only rises to about 96 points.

From these winning preseason teams, there came one Cup Champion (01), three Round Two losers (04, 06, 08), and two No Playoffs (07, 09).

In the years they had a losing or .500 record, the Avalanche averaged just 91.75 points.

From this group, there was one Conference Finals Attendee (02), two Round One losers (03, 10), and one No Playoffs (11).

What does all of this say?

Not much. The Avs are normally a pretty decent preseason club, with an overall record of 35-24-7. Is the 3.55 point gap between the winning and losing teams that significant? Not at all. The Avs have remained remarkably consistent through the years. If we take out the stellar Stanley Cup season, the winning preseason record teams are left with an average of just 90.8 regular season points.

The lesson from all of this?

These games don't count, and for guys who have to put 100% effort into 82+ games over the next 7+ months, it has to be pretty hard to get full adrenaline pumping over a meaningless preseason game.

I understand that people are worried that Landeskog hasn't scored and that Duchene isn't dominating, but things will come around. If Avalanche history has taught us anything, we're looking at, the very least, 95 points this season.

If not, be ready for a lottery pick, Capitals fans!
Go Avs

*Thanks to AvalancheDB for preseason numbers

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Avs Training Camp: First Cuts

First of all, props to Mile High Hockey and The Avalanche Guild for being all over Avalanche training camp. For those of us who can't be there, it's a tremendous help to have recaps and tweets every single night. That said, all of the analysis (if any) surrounding training camp will be based from what I've read by people who were actually there.

We're now a day away from Colorado's first pre-season game against the Dallas Stars. Per tradition, the Avs made their first cuts today, one day after the annual Burgundy and White game.

No surprising names on that list. Perhaps the most interesting player reassigned is Sami Aittokallio, who by all accounts has been phenomenal over the last week.

More cuts will continue to come over the next week, and there are still several position battles to be fought. Here's a look at the current shoo-ins, as well as the guys with a legitimate chance of earning a spot on the opening night roster.

Lindstrom-Stastny-Jones
Apparently, this Lindstrom guy is for real. It would be REALLY nice to have an actual top-6 left winger for a change.

Mueller-Duchene-Hejduk
Any questions?

Landeskog-O'Reilly-Galiardi
Landeskog hasn't been fantastic, but word is that the kid is ready to play in the NHL.

?-?-?
A ferocious battle to play on the fourth line. In order of likelihood of landing the spots: McClement, Winnik, McLeod, Malone, Yip

Hejda-Johnson
It's actually really exciting to have a true shutdown defense pairing

O'Byrne-Quincey
Two of the four defensive shoo-ins. They probably won't be paired together, depending on who takes the 5th and 6th spot.

?-?
The candidates for the last two spots (in no order) are Ryan Wilson (no training camp due to injury), Shane O'Brien (solid but unspectacular), Duncan Siemens (impressing, but probably too young), Matt Hunwick (NOOOOOO), Jonas Holos (terrible camp), Cameron Gaunce (not much being said about him), Stefan Elliott (turning heads, great camp), Kyle Cumiskey (again, terrible camp), and Tyson Barrie (solid camp).

So it would be an understatement to say that there are going to be some interesting decisions to be made. My money would be on Wilson, O'Brien and Elliott staying in the big leagues at the start of the season.

One day until hockey (sort of).
Go Avs


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Monday, September 12, 2011

Fantasy Help / Blogger Roundtable

Two programming notes:

For the third year in a row, I was invited back by the wonderful people of Fantasy Hockey Scouts to answer seven fantasy questions about the Avalanche. You can check out the article at this link. The Scouts produce some really great stuff, and some of their resources have really helped me out in my leagues over the past few years.

Also, Mile High Hockey is the midst of the 2011 Avalanche Blogger Roundtable. Definitely worth reading if you haven't already.

Regular content here will return shortly.

24 days until hockey.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lyle Richardson: Where Are They Now? [2001 Avalanche]

It feels like a million years (actually, almost two full months) since I've made a post, but to be honest, it has taken me a little longer this year to feel that hockey itch. Don't fret, original content will be back soon. It also feels like a million years ago (actually, a little over ten years) since the last time our beloved Avs won the Stanley Cup. That said, check out this awesome piece by Lyle Richardson of Spector's Hockey.

Lyle went through the 2001 Stanley Cup winning Avalanche squad and figured out what each player has been up to.

My personal favorite:
Scott Parker. Retired in 2009, currently runs a barbershop in Castle Rock, Colorado.
Anyone ever get a haircut from the Sheriff?

Oh:

We are 37 days away from hockey.

Go Avs

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