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04-09-2010, 02:07 AM
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Originally Posted by sarcastro View Post
Cute revisionist history work with the sample size.

When Lilja came back the PK was red-hot. 23/24 the previous 8 games. Games 9 and 10 going back were not great, and there were 2 PPG against in each game. Then again, the 9th game before Lilja came back the Wings were in fact missing their best PKer as Osgood was in the net.

Going back over 3 weeks, past those 8 games does not accurately reflect the state of the PK at the time Lilja returned.
Just because you don't like the sample set, doesn't mean it's revisionist history. The data I used were accurate. I chose 18 games before he returned, because he's been in 18 games since his return. I went for equal sample sets, as it is an even and fair statistical comparison. But fine, if you don't like those number, let's try these on for size....

Lilja has been on the ice for 32 short-handed minutes since his return. He has been on the ice for 1 PPGA. That's a 93.8% PK rate and a 1.88 short-handed GAA. That's better than any other defenseman on the team and better than any 18-game stretch you can cherry-pick this season. And even if you want to argue that Lidstrom and Stuart are options 1A and 1B and face the stiffer competition, that still makes Lilja the third best PKer on defense, well ahead of Kronwall and Ericsson. So how is it that he doesn't help the PK? How is it that either, or even one of, Kronwall or Ericsson are better than him on the PK? The evidence is clear that he helps the PK, is it really that hard to accept?

Originally Posted by sarcastro View Post
Let's look at another cute sample size:

Lilja's last 4 games he's a -5 and the PK 6 for 9. They have not been shorthanded a lot lately, which puts Lilja on the ice for more 5 on 5. Lo and behold, the Wings are giving up more goals and Lilja is piling up minuses.

Refresh my memory, do penalties increase in quantity during the playoffs, or decrease?
The PK is 7 for 9 in those 4 games, actually. And Lidstrom and Stuart were the defensemen on for both goals against.

With such a tiny (or is it cute?) sample size, these numbers need to be looked at more closely. Of those 4 games:

A -1 against Edmonton. He scored an ES goal and was actually on the ice for two ES goals against. The first was an Ericsson-Bertuzzi blunder that he had no part of. He was actually on the bench when Bertuzzi turned it over. He came on as the Oilers entered the zone. He showed great hustle and actually caught up to the play right as they scored, but couldn't do anything at that point. The second was Howard taking himself way out of position and forcing Lilja to try and play goalie. I admit, he's not a good goalie.

A -1 against Nashville. Accumulated when Holmstrom took himself way out of position and let Weber have a free point shot with traffic.

A -3 against Columbus. The first was the Lidstrom turnover... that happened while Lilja was on the bench. Like the first Edmonton minus, he came on as the BJs entered the zone and once again managed to catch up to the play, but just as the BJs scored. Nothing he could do. The second was a very broken play. Bad decisions by Draper, Ericsson, and Lilja. He gets partial credit for this one. The third he and Kronwall got burned on a 2-on-2, but it was Kronwall who let his man go and score the goal. Still, we'll give Lilja partial credit.

So, he was technically on the ice for 6 goals against in those 4 games. For 2, he was on the bench. Another 2 he had nothing to do with. The last 2 he played a part in, but was not the main culprit. I don't see how his ES play of late has been of any meaningful detriment to the Wings, especially since they won the only one of those 4 games he made consequential mistakes in.

Then there's this:

Lebda: 36ESga 928.75ESmin 25.8 ESmin/ga
Lilja: 11ESga 221.33ESmin 20.1 ESmin/ga

12 ESmin/game * 24 playoff games = 288 ES min at stake in the playoffs

288/25.8=11.16ga (keeping in mind that Lebda was only on for 5 ESg in the 09 playoffs, indicating his defense gets better in the playoffs)
288/20.1=14.33ga (keeping in mind that Lilja hasn't played a game at playoff speed and intensity since 08)

If you carry their ES goals against per minute over to the playoffs and you figure either would play roughly 12 minutes a night at even strength, Lilja costs the Wings 3+ goals at even strength. The Wings are capable of killing penalties at least as well as they have with Lilja - they have proven that. Could those extra 3+ goals cost them a series? Damn right they could.
Where did you account for the fact that, as Heaton put it, Lebda is treated with baby gloves? Coddled. Not put on the ice against the same level of competition. Guarded. Kept off the ice in more crucial situations. I must have missed where you accounted for that That accounts for at least the 3 goal difference, imo. And add in the fact that Lilja makes the PK better (no, your cherry-picked 8 game stretch proves nothing meaningful), and it's clear who should be playing ahead of who.

Lebda played more at even strength this season than Lilja because of injuries. He played more at even strength in 06-07, again because of injuries. Other than that, Lilja has always played more at even strength than Lebda. But if Lebda is so much better at even strength, why is it that the Wings always play Lilja more? Do you know something they don't?

Last edited by jaster: 04-09-2010 at 02:15 AM.
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