Best of the Nation: 2.24.13

Photo: Resolute/Wikimedia

After the jump: the Nation Network turns five, predicting the end-of-season standings, talking about dirty hits and franchise-defining trades, and lots more good stuff from the past week.

Oilers Nation turns five! Sort of! The main point here: the site’s been around for five years now, and it’s time to throw a party. [Oilers Nation]

NHLNumbers predictive power rankings. Derek Zona debuts a model designed to predict where NHL teams will end up, based on what they’ve done to date and their underlying statistics. [NHL Numbers]

The Calgary Flames and Jarome Iginla. It is never easy to make a decision to move a franchise player, and there’s no question that for the Flames Jarome Iginla – the team’s all-time leader in goals, points and games played – is just that. Sometimes, though, the decision is in the best interests of the team. [Flames Nation]

Jannik Hansen vs. Marian Hossa. Were Jannik Hansen’s intentions as pure as the driven snow, or was his elbow on Marian Hossa a vicious attempt to injure a star player on a rival team? [Canucks Army]

While we’re on polarizing hits… How bad, exactly, was Taylor Hall’s hit on Cal Clutterbuck and how are the Oilers going to cope without their best player? [Oilers Nation]

Lessons from the Miikka Kiprusoff injury. I’ll just quote one paragraph from Kent Wilson’s piece, which is broadly applicable to a lot of NHL teams:

For an organization with apparent post-season aspirations, this is a series of rather egregious oversights. Not only is Kipper entering the twilight of his career but the chances of the unflappable Finn repeating his performance from last year were poor even if we assume no age-related slippage. In addition, thanks to a total dearth of worthwhile backup options in the organization, a Kipper injury all but guaranteed the club wouldn’t even receive league average netminding should he go down for any length of time.

[Read more at Flames Nation.]

Zone Entries and the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Authors at NHL Numbers have been invited to present a paper at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on their work related to zone entries – you can read the paper here. [NHL Numbers]

Big decisions: re-signing Ales Hemsky. Did the Oilers do the right thing a year ago when they signed the slumping winger to a two-year, $5 million/year contract? [Oilers Nation]

Should the NHL expand, relocate, or contract? Part two of a series looking at the possibility of more NHL teams, less NHL teams, or just NHL teams moved into different places. [Leafs Nation]

Ryan O’Reilly: is Winnipeg a fit? Should the Winnipeg Jets be looking to make a trade with Colorado for the holdout centre? [Jets Nation]

How cold is it going to get in Toronto? Right now, everything’s working out for the Leafs – which means that if you’re Don Cherry, you’ve seen proof positive that Colten Orr can move mountains if one just puts a little faith in him. They’re less optimistic here at the Nation; the expectation is that the Leafs will decline and the only question is how much. [Leafs Nation/Leafs Nation]

Oilers trade deadline preview. What do the Oilers have to move? What will they want coming back? [Oilers Nation]

      • The Soup Fascist

        Good Grief DSF,

        Lupul never had a 30 goal NHL season in his life, and Wasn’t Gardiner sent to the AHL by the Leafs a week ago?

        Who would see that coming!!!!

        • DSF

          Heavens to Betsy.

          Eberle rode on unsustainable shooting percentage to what is likely going to be a career season. Anyone with a clue could see that.

          Now that he has dropped back to normal levels, he would be lucky to have a 60 point season.

          Gardiner is in the AHL on a conditioning stint after being injured.

          Scored a goal and 2 assists this afternoon.

          He’ll be back shortly.

          • Wax Man Riley

            Good mother grief!!!DSF

            Actually Eberle is on pace for 36 points but we all know hes elite, hes special and hes only 22 years old.

            Lupul has zero,0, nada pts, as per Gardiner a goal and 2 assist in the AHL? Why don’t you check who are the top 5 scorers at the AHL.

            Like you said points matters.

      • The Soup Fascist

        I knew consuming the main cash crops in BC would get you eventually, but not this quickly.

        Of 30 GMs in the league exactly ZERO would trade that tandem of Oilers for those two Laughs – not even Tambo. I would bet my house on it.

    • DSF

      The Leafs have accomplished what they have while missing a top line forward, Lupul, a top pairing defenseman, Gardiner and their #1 goalie, Reimer.

      Imagine how the Oilers would be doing without Eberle, Schultz and Dubnyk.

      In addition, Kessel likely leads the league in hitting the post.

      He’s 4th in the league in SOG with 71 but has a shooting percentage of only 4.2 compared to his career average of 10.5.

      With all three of their missing players due back shortly and Kessel likely to regress to the mean, I would think expecting them to drop dramatically is just wishful thinking on your part.

      • Wax Man Riley

        DSF, you’re reaching again.

        There is no stat about hitting the post. Why does the shooting percentage argument only work in favour when talking about other teams?

        the Leafs are the also probably the only team with a worse recent history than the Oilers, so ya, I expect them to regress. History tells us so.

        • DSF

          Shooting percentage norms apply to all players. Have never said otherwise.

          Kessel has 4 30+ goal seasons.

          I think that’s a big enough sample size to see an established level of ability.

          Your argument about recent history is just dumb.

          The Oilers have finished 30th, 30th and 29th “recently”.

          So, should we expect that to be the case forever because “history tells us so?”

          • Wax Man Riley

            But what about Gomez who went from a decent scorer to near zero goals. Actually his Corsi is not all that bad and suggest he has been rather unlucky like Kessel has. Seems some people have a different criteria for Kessel.