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zhaoqi123 Jul 15 '16
In the pantheon of brutally difficult things to accomplish in the National Hockey League, succeeding as a 21-or-under defenceman ranks near the top. Clay Matthews Jersey . It takes a unique combination of talent and early physical development to even bring a guy into NHL consideration at such a young age, and only a portion of this small-group can hold down regular shifts without getting killed against the world’s toughest competition. And, it’s worth remembering that a huge majority of 21-or-under players are not NHL-regulars – the junior leagues, international leagues, and American Hockey League are filled with guys still rounding out their game. There are myriad reasons why making a super-early jump as a defenceman is tougher than as a forward, but two of the big ones include expectations and exposure. Expectations at the position are tied into shot and goal suppression, and slowing down some of the world’s best players from scoring is a tall task. Exposure also makes things tricky – it’s a bit easier to insulate a young forward with at least one quality linemate, or hide the player on a third or fourth line in limited minutes. On defence, since only six defencemen play, it’s harder to hide a guy by sheer limitation of ice-time. You can run out a quality partner with the young defender, but doing so ensures that they’ll play a fair amount each game. No third-pairing minutes here. Naturally, I’m always intrigued to see how coaches bring along these players, because it varies from team to team. Believe it or not, there are only 11 regular 21-or-under defenders this season. Success has been variable. First, let’s take a quick look as to how these skaters have been deployed based on teammate quality and competition quality. For the sake of this graph and this graph only, I have omitted both Nikita Zadorov and Rasmus Ristolainen. As is always the case this season, the Sabres – by virtue of being a historically awful hockey team – distort data visualization. Just know that both players frequently play with terrible teammates and against difficult competition, and would sit far east of Morgan Rielly in the graph below. The dotted line gives us a nice first look at what the players are generally seeing on a day-to-day basis. The three names to the left (Rielly, Ceci, and Murphy) of the dotted line generally see more oppressive competition, somewhat due to the fact that they play on average or subpar teams. Severson splits the middle. On the other side, you can see that Aaron Ekblad, Dougie Hamilton, and Seth Jones are being supported by virtue of their common linemates being of higher quality than their opposition. Quality of Teammate and Quality of Competition isn’t the only way to look at how a player is being used, though. We can also look at how frequently a player starts in the offensive zone as another way to capture whether or not a playing is being insulated in his deployment. Here, we can look at Relative Offensive Zone Start% -- players above 0.0% start more shifts in the offensive zone relative to the team norm, players below 0.0% start less shifts in the offensive zone relative to the team norm. We know from the first graph that Morgan Rielly, Connor Murphy, and Cody Ceci were seeing significantly tougher competition than teammate quality. Here, only Cody Ceci sees tough deployment as it pertains to offensive zone start numbers – he sees fewer shifts than the regular Ottawa Senator in terms of starting in the offensive zone; Morgan Rielly and Connor Murphy, on the other hand, see more shifts than the regular player from their respective teams. The two other names that pop from this table are Damon Severson (brutal zone starts) and Aaron Ekblad (lofty zone starts). At this point, we can start to draw conclusions about a handful of players, and use it to craft future analysis: Damon Severson, Cody Ceci, are in pretty tough spots for young defenders, and Morgan Rielly – by virtue of team effects – isn’t far behind. Aaron Ekblad and Seth Jones are well protected. Both Buffalo Sabres guys are getting killed by their team, but Rasmus Ristolainen sees much more difficult deployment than Nikita Zadorov. Through this, we can contextualize to some degree the performance of each player by their raw Corsi% numbers. For each of the eleven skaters, I pulled each team’s Corsi% with the player on the ice, and each team’s Corsi% with the player off of the ice. We know Seth Jones and Aaron Ekblad are being put in positions to really succeed, so we expect the team to have a better Corsi% with them on the ice than off. For both players here, that’s true, though the data seems to suggest Seth Jones is having a more favourable impact than Aaron Ekblad in fairly comparable minutes. This graph is the most damning for Connor Murphy. Recall that Murphy has been given plenty of offensive zone starts, and he isn’t experiencing the kind of competition/teammate disparity that the two Sabres’ skaters, Morgan Rielly, and Cody Ceci are. Despite that, the Arizona Coyotes are significantly better with him off of the ice. Who is the player with the most encouraging underlying numbers? Damon Severson. Severson’s numbers and deployment are somewhat to comparable to that of Cody Ceci and Morgan Rielly, but both of those players had significant NHL-experience last season. Severson’s a full-blown rookie. For that reason, New Jersey should be thrilled about what they have found in their 2012 second-round pick. Johnny Jolly Jersey . Nearly half the field, including defending champion Charl Schwartzel, failed to complete their rounds on the West Course following a four-hour afternoon delay because of thunderstorms at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Mike Daniels Packers Jersey . Now they know theyll have home-ice advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. LOS ANGELES -- Although his San Antonio Spurs have the NBAs best record and the longest active winning streak after four weeks of unbeaten basketball, coach Gregg Popovich can always find areas of imperfection. The Spurs defensive performance against the woeful Los Angeles Lakers made it easy this time. Tony Parker scored 25 points, Kawhi Leonard added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the Spurs beat the Lakers 125-109 Wednesday night for their 11th consecutive victory. Danny Green scored 16 points and Tim Duncan had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the NBA-leading Spurs, who havent lost since Feb. 21 while winning 14 of 15. San Antonio managed to hold off a decent challenge from the Lakers with strong shooting down the stretch and 14 second-half points from Leonard, but Popovich wasnt overly impressed. "Probably the only thing I liked is that they hung in there," Popovich said. "I thought we played really porous defence. I thought a lot of that was because L.A. was very aggressive. They were in attack mode, and I dont think we adjusted to it until maybe the end of the third quarter. From that point, I thought our defence was very good." Green and Manu Ginobili hit three 3-pointers apiece for the Spurs, who opened a three-game California road trip by calmly matching their longest winning streak of the season. Parker took charge after halftime, scoring eight points in the third quarter and catalyzing San Antonios offence in the fourth. "We have to give a lot of credit to the Lakers," Parker said. "It took a lot of energy for us to win. We have to play better." With their seventh straight victory over the Lakers dating to last seasons playoffs, the Spurs opened a 1 1/2-game lead over Indiana for the leagues best record. San Antonio leads Oklahoma City by two games atop the Western Conference. "The Spurs are a fine-tuned machine," said Lakers centre Robert Sacre, who had a career-high 11 rebounds. "They have all the pieces to make it work, and if one guy goes down, they have someone to fill that spot." Xavier Henry scored 24 points and Pau Gasol had 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the Lakers sixth loss in seven games. A few hhours after longtime Lakers coach Phil Jackson got a standing ovation across the continent at his first game at the New York Knicks top basketball boss, his fiancee, Lakers executive Jeanie Buss, watched Los Angeles stumble to its 20th loss in 26 games. Demetri Goodson Jersey. . "It was a tough way to go out, but we fought," Henry said. "You could tell from the jump that we really wanted it. About six minutes in, the guys really pushed the tempo and really gave them a run." Kent Bazemore scored 13 points and hit three 3-pointers for the Lakers, who hadnt played since their 34-point loss at San Antonio five days earlier. That win was the biggest in this long-standing rivalry for the Spurs, who have followed up last springs four-game playoff sweep of Los Angeles with three straight wins this season. "In the last game, the effort wasnt there and the toughness wasnt there, and we got beat by a lot," Lakers forward Ryan Kelly said. "We realized we cant play that way, and tonight was different. We have to build off this and play like this all the time so that we put ourselves in a position to win some games." Green hit five of the Spurs 13 3-pointers in last weeks blowout, but the Lakers largely kept up with powerful San Antonio in the rematch. Los Angeles led for stretches of the third quarter before San Antonio scored 18 points in roughly 3 1/2 minutes with big baskets from Parker and Leonard. The Lakers yielded 100 points for the 12th consecutive game and gave up 110 for the seventh straight game. Los Angeles is the Western Conferences worst defensive team. NOTES: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Baron Davis and new Oakland Raiders left tackle Donald Penn attended the game. ... The Lakers will be without G Jordan Farmar for at least two weeks while he recovers from a moderate groin strain. Los Angeles still is without G Nick Young (sore left knee), F Jordan Hill (sore right knee) and G Steve Nash. ... The Spurs, who have no currently injured players, have missed 83 games due to injury this season. The Lakers have missed 260. ... San Antonio will attempt to sweep the clubs season series when they meet in Texas on April 16 in both teams regular-season finale. 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