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Thornton's 00-01 Season

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07-26-2014, 03:11 AM
  #1
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Thornton's 00-01 Season

Tell me about this season of Jumbo's.

37G, 34A. Never has he come close to this type of G/A ratio even going back to Juniors. It's a complete outlier from the rest of his career and really boggles me mind.

Although being familiar with him at the time, I don't really recall watching him much as a young player. I watched a ton of hockey, but not much Boston during that time frame unless they were playing Detroit or on HNIC against Toronto.

So how did this season happen exactly?

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07-26-2014, 03:19 AM
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Darth Yoda
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Originally Posted by silkyjohnson50 View Post

So how did this season happen exactly?
He was a true power forward at the time, more like Lindros then his current self. Some say the lost fight against the very same 88 changed his game, although i dont relly know why that sounds reasonable to believe. Well, knowing Thornton it might just fit since he really is no warrior through adversity. His heart does not live up to his talent.

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07-26-2014, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
He was a true power forward at the time, more like Lindros then his current self. Some say the lost fight against the very same 88 changed his game, although i dont relly know why that sounds reasonable to believe. Well, knowing Thornton it might just fit since he really is no warrior through adversity. His heart does not live up to his talent.
I hear that a lot and his PIMs would reflect that for a handful of years, but that doesn't change the fact that he was always a higher assist/goal guy, except that one season. The following season, for example, he had 22 goals and 46 assists.

Additionally, that fight with Lindros wasn't until 03-04. And even though he was considered a power forward, his fight card has always been light. He's never had more than 4 fights in a season. But he took a lot more penalties during that "power forward" stretch so I'm assuming he played much more physical.

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07-26-2014, 04:33 PM
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The difference was due to his production on the power-play where he was the go-to guy when the Bruins had the man-advantage. At even-strength he had 17 goals and 27 assists, which is more in line with his usual G/A ratio.

That was the season Mike Keenan coached the Bruins, and Thornton responded well to Keenan's methods. Had they stayed together for a few more of those early formative years, Thornton may have turned into a much different player.

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07-26-2014, 05:36 PM
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The difference was due to his production on the power-play where he was the go-to guy when the Bruins had the man-advantage. At even-strength he had 17 goals and 27 assists, which is more in line with his usual G/A ratio.

That was the season Mike Keenan coached the Bruins, and Thornton responded well to Keenan's methods. Had they stayed together for a few more of those early formative years, Thornton may have turned into a much different player.
Thank you for the information. Great post.

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07-26-2014, 05:46 PM
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He shot 20.4% that season. We don't need to go too deep into imaginary stuff like "Keenan lit a fire under him" or whatever. He took 181 shots that year, and if his shooting percentage had been in line with his career average (14.1%) he'd have ended up with around 25 goals.

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07-26-2014, 08:11 PM
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Iain Fyffe
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Originally Posted by Hollywood Burrows View Post
He shot 20.4% that season. We don't need to go too deep into imaginary stuff like "Keenan lit a fire under him" or whatever. He took 181 shots that year, and if his shooting percentage had been in line with his career average (14.1%) he'd have ended up with around 25 goals.
Occam's razor strikes again. His G:A ratio was also high for his career because he hadn't yet developed into an elite playmaker. He had only 34 assists that season, and only 37 the year before.

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07-26-2014, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Hollywood Burrows View Post
He shot 20.4% that season. We don't need to go too deep into imaginary stuff like "Keenan lit a fire under him" or whatever. He took 181 shots that year, and if his shooting percentage had been in line with his career average (14.1%) he'd have ended up with around 25 goals.
The hockey gods don't just arbitrarily distribute goals based on a percentage that they have in mind before the season starts, there can certainly be a more nuanced explanation behind the numbers. One scenario could be that a player could have an increase in S% because he got moved from playing the point on the PP to an area closer to the net. Instant higher percentage shots. I don't remember how the Bruins rolled that year, but they did have another elite playmaking C play the whole year, the only time that ever happened during Thornton's good years. That could have affected how he was utilized and what kind of scoring situations he'd find himself in.

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07-26-2014, 08:55 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
The difference was due to his production on the power-play where he was the go-to guy when the Bruins had the man-advantage. At even-strength he had 17 goals and 27 assists, which is more in line with his usual G/A ratio.

That was the season Mike Keenan coached the Bruins, and Thornton responded well to Keenan's methods. Had they stayed together for a few more of those early formative years, Thornton may have turned into a much different player.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Burrows View Post
He shot 20.4% that season. We don't need to go too deep into imaginary stuff like "Keenan lit a fire under him" or whatever. He took 181 shots that year, and if his shooting percentage had been in line with his career average (14.1%) he'd have ended up with around 25 goals.
no, reckoning is right. think about it: WHY was thornton's shooting percentage so high that year? because he played with an elite playmaker on the PP, jason allison. and allison was the guy who controlled the puck. even without watching the games, the stats sheet tells the tale: thornton scored 19 PP goals. 19. meanwhile, his ES G:A ratio was slanted the normal way: 17 goals, 27 assists. not as lopsided as the later 20 goal, 80 assist thornton, but not too far off from his usual pre-prime pace.

his role under keenan was very very different from his role under later coaches. and that's not to say that keenan made jojo play like a man for once in his life, but it did mean that keenan made thornton, who as we all know has a wonderful shot, shoot with authority. he would take more shots later in his career, but watching thornton all these years, when has he ever shot before thinking about it? that's what keenan did to him, at least on the PP, and not to speak for reckoning or anything but i think that's what he meant.

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07-26-2014, 10:17 PM
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So it was essentially his PP role and usage that was the cause. Interesting and thanks for the info.

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07-26-2014, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
no, reckoning is right. think about it: WHY was thornton's shooting percentage so high that year?
Before you answer a question, make sure there is a question that needs answering. Every player has variation in shooting percentage from year to year. Other than the 20.4%, he had seasons of 18.4% and 18.0%, so that one year was not outrageously high for him. By insisting that there must be some specific explanation, you deny that chance plays any role in hockey stats from year to year.

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07-27-2014, 12:19 AM
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By insisting that there must be some specific explanation, you deny that chance plays any role in hockey stats from year to year.
you sound pretty sure of yourself there, professor.

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07-27-2014, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Before you answer a question, make sure there is a question that needs answering. Every player has variation in shooting percentage from year to year. Other than the 20.4%, he had seasons of 18.4% and 18.0%, so that one year was not outrageously high for him. By insisting that there must be some specific explanation, you deny that chance plays any role in hockey stats from year to year.
There's more to consider than just his S% in a vacuum, it's everything else that happened to go with it. Like the fact that his goal-to-assist definitely is even more glaringly aberrative, with his assist total going down (APG about the same) despite him continuing to improve greatly. And the presence of a healthy Jason Allison just as Thornton had become a top player, with Allison filling the role eventually became synonymous with. You can chalk it up to luck if you want but there's a lot of interesting data here, Thornton was in an unusual situation here and his stats were unusual.

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07-27-2014, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
you sound pretty sure of yourself there, professor.
Indeed, I've had years of experience of people insisting that nothing is ever due to chance, that every variation has meaning. Often right here in this very forum.

Now, in this case there is a good argument that his role on the PP does play a part here. However, we also cannot be sure that Allison was not a beneficiary of shot luck on Thornton's part when on the PP. Correlation does not mean causation.

Even within the season you can see variation. In his first 18 games, he scored 8 PP goals. He had only 11 in his other 54 games. If it was just due to Allison feeding him with the man advantage, that shot luck did not play a part, you would not expect this.

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07-27-2014, 10:39 PM
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As others have said, he wasn't the #1 center in Boston yet. Jason Allison was. Hard to believe, but Allison was a heck of a player back then. Maybe Thornton got the easier checking lines going against him and that led to him being able to score more. Perhaps, since then he's been the #1 guy on any team and he's felt more pressure and was more comfortable dishing the puck off. I don't know. Strange thing is, despite that great season, he wasn't invited to Canada's Summer Olympic Orientation camp.

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07-27-2014, 11:55 PM
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Look at Crosby's record. There's a couple years in there where he was a big goal scorer, and had a G:A ratio of close to 1, but otherwise has been mostly a playmaker, with over 2 assists for every goal in other seasons. In his two big goal years, he also had a scoring % much higher than usual. Hard to say it's because his role changed, and then changed back.

Heck, you can see it in Malkin's record too.

All I'm saying is that before you start to try to find an explanation, make sure there's something that needs explaining.

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07-28-2014, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Indeed, I've had years of experience of people insisting that nothing is ever due to chance, that every variation has meaning. Often right here in this very forum.

Now, in this case there is a good argument that his role on the PP does play a part here. However, we also cannot be sure that Allison was not a beneficiary of shot luck on Thornton's part when on the PP. Correlation does not mean causation.

Even within the season you can see variation. In his first 18 games, he scored 8 PP goals. He had only 11 in his other 54 games. If it was just due to Allison feeding him with the man advantage, that shot luck did not play a part, you would not expect this.
Interesting, because the whole measuring a player's effectiveness by shots thing is based entirely on correlations.

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07-28-2014, 08:32 PM
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Interesting, because the whole measuring a player's effectiveness by shots thing is based entirely on correlations.
Eh? Have we said anything about measuring a player's effectiveness by shots?

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07-28-2014, 11:59 PM
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Jason Allison was a heckuva hockey player for a few years there. As a Kings fan, when we got him from BOS I was pretty convinced that he would be the final piece (though I was pretty young at the time, didn't quite understand how "depth" worked) to put us over the top. Scored at a PPG pace on a line with Palffy (my all-time favourite player) and Deadmarsh (guts incarnate) for a season, then that line completely fell apart. Deadmarsh retires due to concussions, Palffy messes up his knees, and Allison is limited to 20-some games. Team goes into the serious Dark Ages for about eight years before we start to see some silver lining.

TLDR: playing with an elite playmaker like Jason Allison circa the early 00's, even just on the PP is going to elevate just about anyones game.


Last edited by Sutter pours bourbon: 07-29-2014 at 04:43 PM. Reason: words
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