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Advanced stats highlights from the Caps 2010-11 season

Advanced stats for the 2010-11 season are now available on I highly recommend visiting Extra Skater to see the stats for yourself, but below, after a quick refresher on the season, are some Caps highlights I pulled from a glance at the new stats on Extra Skater.

With a record of 48-23-11, the Caps were not only Southeast Division champs, but finished first in the Eastern Conference, with 107 points. The Caps discarded the Rangers 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs before being swept by the #5 seed Tampa Bay Lightening in the second round. This was also the season during which the Caps, under Bruce Boudreau, shifted to a more defensive-oriented system. The Caps defeated the Penguins 3-1 in the 2011 Winter Classic and were featured on the HBO series 24/7.




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-The Caps finished 15th in Fenclose%, tied with the Kings at 50.4. The two teams have gone in opposite directions since, with the Caps (47.5%) finishing 25th in 2013-14 and the Kings (56.7%) finishing first.

-Nicklas Backstorm led all qualifying (41+ games played) Caps in FenClose rel at +5.0%, followed by Alex Ovechkin at +3.9% and Alex Semin at +3.5%. The top Caps defender was John Carlson at  +1.9%.

-Alex Semin’s PDO of 107.7 ranked highest on the team, aided by his teammates’ on-ice shooting % of 10.5%, 1.8% higher than any other Caps player.

-Marcus Johansson had the highest ZS% at 58.1%, while Boyd Gordon faced the toughest zone starts, with a ZS% of 41.8%

-As would be expected, the Caps top forward line of Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Mike Knuble faced tougher competition than any of their teammates. Carlson and Karl Alzner faced the toughest competition of any Caps defenders.

-To the surprise of absolutely no one, Mike Knuble had the shortest average shot distance (24.7 feet).

-Alex Ovechkin was on the ice for 82.4% of the Caps PP minutes during the season (this past season Ovechkin saw the ice during 93.2% of the Caps PP minutes).

This was after a quick look at the stats. If you look through Extra Skater and find any interesting tidbits, leave them in the comments below or give us a shout on Twitter.

Knuble’s comments on Caps fans were tame, but let’s put an end to some blanket statements

Knuble Next To Knuuuuble Sign

Knuble Next To Knuuuuble Sign (Photo credit: clydeorama)

Former Washington Capital Mike Knuble didn’t say anything incredibly alarming about DC hockey fans on Philadelphia radio today. According to a transcription from the Washington Post’s constantly-transcribing Dan Steinberg, Knuble was asked what Philadelphia is like as a hockey market and he replied:

“It’s great. You talked about New York and Boston, I mean, it’s just tradition. Being a Flyers fan, being with the Flyers is passed down from generation to generation. Washington, everybody’s a new fan. Nobody’s from there really, they’re kind of just jumping on the bandwagon.  But the cities like Boston, New York, Philly, Detroit, it’s like my grandfather was watching, my grandfather was a fan, he passed it to his son, then he passes it to HIS son. It’s all the way down.

That statement’s not the end of the world. And the four cities Knuble mentions are bigger hockey towns than DC; three of them are Original Six teams that date back to the 1920s and all four have won multiple Stanley Cups. There’s a lot of hockey history there.

But I will say this as a lifelong Caps fan and a native of the DC suburbs: My Maryland-born dad, whose parents were also Maryland-born, passed his love of hockey down to me and took my family to Caps games as a kid; to say we became huge fans feels like an understatement (this is a good excuse for me to link to one of my favorite Steinberg posts ever). I then passed my love for the Caps along to my now-five-year-old, hockey-crazy son, who has a Knuble jersey, a puck and stick he got from Knuble (the guy has always struck me as the epitome of class act) and a Knuble autographed picture in his room. I had to take some time to think about how to break it to him that Knuble was no longer a Cap after last season.

That makes three generations rooting madly for the Caps, a team that’s about the same age as I am, the middle of those three. And the DC area absolutely does have a ton of residents who aren’t from the region originally. But my family is far from the only one who can share a story of Caps tradition like the above, so let’s put an end to the untrue, blanket statements like ‘nobody’s from DC’ and ‘everybody’s a new fan.’ While I understand why they exist, these broad generalizations have grown tiresome and just keep creating more of the same talk.

HBO: Please #FreeKnuble and the rest of the unaired 24/7 footage

There’s quite a bit of material filmed for HBO’s 24/7 hockey series that never makes the show. For example, as mentioned below by Dmitry Chesnokov and Nate Ewell, footage on Washington Capitals players Alex Semin and Mike Knuble went unused.

Let this be my plea to HBO to release some of this footage. If it’s not shown on the network, it could made available online, through an additional DVD or they could cut a deal with someone like the NHL Network to air it. I know I’m not the only hockey fan who enjoys 24/7 and would like to check out more.

The Caps 3rd and 4th lines must produce or the season is over

Last year, the Caps watched enviously as Tampa Bay Lightening role player Sean Bergenheim scored 4 goals to help lead the Bolts to a sweep of the Caps.  Bergenheim’s heroics, coupled with the Caps lack of scoring from their grinder lines, led to moves in the offseason that were intended to give the Caps 3rd and 4th lines more of a scoring punch, especially come playoff time.  Jeff Halpern and Joel Ward were signed.  A trade was made to bring in Troy Brouwer, with the thought that he’d either play on the 3rd line or push Mike Knuble down the depth chart to strengthen the lower lines.  Unfortunately for the Caps, the lack of secondary scoring remains.   Here is a look at the Caps production (or lack thereof) from the bottom 2 lines through 3 games against Boston.

Man Games      Goals        Assists         +/-           SOG

18                    0                  0               -9            18

These numbers include the 5 players (Aucoin, Perreault, Ward, Hendricks and Beagle) who have spent all 3 games on the bottom two lines as well as a game each from Brouwer (Game 3), Chimera (Game 2) and Johansson (Game 1).  Beagle has 8 of the 18 shots. Perreault and Aucoin, two-thirds of the 4th line, have combined for 1 shot and a -3 rating.  How can we blame Joel Ward for not producing when these are his partners?  Ward never did and never will carry a line, so he must play with guys who are going to carry their own weight.

Perreault took some good strides this year when playing as our 2C, but the Caps have opted to go with more size on the top lines against the Bruins, leaving Perreault on the 4th line, a role he is ill-suited for.  Perreault either needs to be playing on one of the top two lines or be out of the lineup for a player (i.e. Jeff Halpern) who’s skill set is better suited for a checking line role.

Of all of Hunter’s questionable coaching decisions, giving Aucoin a jersey over Knuble, against an opponent like the Bruins, may be the most perplexing. If ever there was a time when we need to #freeknuble, it is Thursday night at Verizon Center.  The Capitals (much like any team this time of year) will be hitting the golf course sooner rather than later if they don’t get production from the 3rd and 4th lines.  So, Caps fans, who ya got, Knuble or Aucoin?  Perreault or Halpern?  I’m certainly hoping there are two different faces in the lineup for the Caps come Thursday night.

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