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Hockey Challenge 2014

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The first 10 games, and the rest of the month

I am so very excited about this team and the start they are having.  The fact that Everett and Spokane are off to virtually the same start has me thinking about things.
Is this start the result of the Birds playing really well, the quality of the teams they have played, both or neither?

After last night, the birds are 8 wins and 2 losses.

Here is a list of the results

Shootout Win 4-3 over Portland
Win 6-0 over Vancouver
Shootout win 5-4 over Tri
Loss 10-4 to Portland
Loss 3-0 to Tri
Overtime win 5-4 over Medicine Hat
Win 6-2 over Lethbridge
Win 4-3 over Kootenay
Shootout win 4-3 over Kelonwa
4-2 win over Tri

So, that is
3 wins in Shootout
1 win in Overtime
4 wins in regulation
2 losses in regulation

Looking at things this way gives us a better view and shows that Seattle is not exactly destroying teams. But, they are finding ways to win games and very good teams find ways to win games.

Now lets look at the records of the teams they have played:

2 game against Portland 4-3-0-1 (8-6-0-2)
1 game against Vancouver 1-7-1-1
3 games against Tri 4-6-0-1 (12-18-0-3)
1 game against Medicine Hat 7-1-1-0
1 game against Lethbridge 1-7-0-1
1 game against Kooteney 4-4-1-0
1 game against Kelowna 5-1-0-2

Combine all that up (and count the Tri's record 3 times, and Portland's twice, to make it equal out).
Looking at it that way shows Seattle has played a bunch of games against teams that are slightly below average.
Beating teams like this is what puts you NEAR the top.
Winning games against other top teams is what puts you AT the top.
So far, Seattle has handed the #1 team in the East (Medicine Hat), and the number #2 in the West (Kelowna) 1 of their 2 losses. The most impressive thing is that they did it in each of those teams home rinks.

So what all does this tell me about the great start. If you remove Kelowna and Medicine hat games, Seattle has played teams that are 18-39-2-6. So, 8 games against teams with not very good records.  But they have gone 6-2 in those games. So they are taking care of business against teams that based on their records, you should beat and that is a great thing.

The other great teams

Here is a quick look Spokane and Everett (the two other teams off to great starts).

6-2 win over Tri
6-2 win over Victoria
6-1 win over Victoria
2-1 win over Tri
6-4 loss to Portland
1-0 Overtime win over Everett
6-3 win over Kelowna
4-1 loss to Edmonton
3-2 win over Red Deer

2 games against Tri 4-6-0-1 (8-12-0-2)
2 games against Victoria 6-5-0-0 (12-10-0-0)
1 game against Portland 4-3-0-1
1 game against Everett 6-1-2-0
1 game against Kelowna 5-1-0-2
1 game against Edmonton 4-5-0-0
1 game against Red Deer 6-5-0-0
Combined record of 45-37-2-5.

8-4 win over PG
4-1 win over Vancouver
6-3 loss to Kelowna
2-0 win over Tri
1-0 Shootout loss to Spokane
2-1 win over Red Deer
4-2 win over Edmonton
3-2 Shootout win over PG
4-3 Overtime loss to PG

3 games against PG 5-4-0-1 (15-12-0-3)
1 game against Vancouver 1-7-1-1
1 game against Kelowna 5-1-0-2
1 game against Tri 4-6-0-1
1 game against Spokane 7-2-0-0
1 game against Red Deer 6-5-0-0
1 game against Edmonton 4-5-0-0
Combined record of 42-38-1-7.

So lets put these next to each other

45-37-2-5 - Spokane
42-38-1-7 - Everett
38-44-3-9 - Seattle

As you can see, Seattle has played games against teams far worse on average then either Spokane or Everett.
So the true test will come when Seattle starts playing them.

The rest of the month

Now, lets look ahead for Seattle
The next 6 games Seattle plays (through the end of October)
2-7-0-0 Kamloops
5-4-0-1 PG
6-3-0-1 Swift Current
4-6-0-1 Tri
1-7-1-1 Vancouver
5-4-0-0 Brandon

23-27-1-4 overall
So basically .500 teams, with Swift the only team with a winning record (and 1st place in the Eastern division).
So lets say Seattle goes 4-2 (a couple slip ups like Swift, and one other).
Heading out of the month of October, having played 16 games, Seattle could easily be 12-4.
Without only one slip up, 13-3.
And technically, if they take care of business against the teams they should be, could be 14-2.
Any way you look at it, that is an AMAZING start, and one most didn't expect (including myself).
The only problem, both Spokane (7 games, 2 against winning records) and Everett (5 games, 1 against winning records) could (and should) be basically the same.

I could easily see the end of the month standings being (rough numbers)
13-3 (26 points) Seattle
13-3 (26 points) Spokane
10-2-2-0 (22 points) Everett
Yikes, what a fun start

A huge game

I know you have to say - one game at a time. Every game counts. Not looking past your next opponent, blah, blah.But hey, that's what the team does.
As a fan, I look ahead at the schedule and see games coming up.
And one big, huge one gets circled on the calendar.
NOVEMBER 2nd, Seattle in Everett
The first meeting of the season between these two teams.
The first meeting since Everett took back to back games in pre-season against Seattle (and convincingly so).
The first meeting of 10 on the season.
The ONLY meeting of these two teams until after the Christmas break.


Anonymous said...

Shouldn't you add Portlands record twice since we've played them twice?

Jon said...

Great catch about Portland and twice.
I corrected it above

Unknown said...

Well, you have to play the teams on your schedule. Good thing for the T-birds that most of the teams that they've had to play haven't gotten off to very good starts so far. It will be interesting to see if the T-birds can keep up the good play and see how we stack up with Everett and Spokane when they are on our schedule. I think the start all three teams are off to is very good regardless of opponent record considering as a trio they have only played 9 home games out of 29 games.

I think Spokane will need to get some more diverse scoring, Holmberg and Aviani have 21 goals and the rest of the team has 16 total. Can Everett continue to play so well on defense and between the pipes? They have 28 goals and given up 20, not a lot of margin for error. Hopefully a shutdown line/d pairing develop for the T-birds, they are continually giving up a lot of goals to the other teams top scoring lines. They need a few nights where they can shut down the opponent's #1 line and see if the others can beat you, which I don't think is very likely with the T-birds depth.

Anonymous said...

I'm loving the hot start, but they had a decent enough start last year, only to fall apart when the holiday break rolled around. I'm gonna enjoy things while they last, but the real indicator of what kind of team this is won't come around until December/January...

Unknown said...

I really like the article, however although it make sense doubling Portland’s record, I don’t think they are going to turn into an 8-6-0-2 team. Based on their schedule for the remainder of the month, I think they might fall closer to 10-5-0-1 (if not better). They play Tri in 2 of their next 3 games, and if they can win both (not that I want them too) as well as win the game against Swift Current in between, that will be a huge confidence booster for them moving forward. As much as I hate saying this, although Portland won’t be what they were last year, I think they are going to start winning more games moving forward. I know that doesn't make a huge difference, but that would bump the overall record from 38-44-3-9 to 41-43-3-8. Also, I do not foresee Prince George going to 15-12-0-3 over their first 30 games, especially with the upcoming schedule they have. At best (and I think I am being generous), I will put them at 14-14-0-3 which would drop the record of teams Everett has played to 41-40-1-7 which looks a lot closer to Seattle’s record (both with 41 wins). And while I will in fact agree with the record that Spokane has faced so far, it is currently coming down to just two players for them; Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani; so if either of them hit a dry spell or become injured, I’m not sure if Spokane can hold their current pace through the rest of the season (although they should be able to hold it through the remainder of the month at least).

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most fun posts I have been able to read lately. I love the way you are attacking the numbers here but I want to offer a few critiques. For one thing, as I am sure I do not need to tell you, early on in the year the pure-form statistic is highly fallible. I think our win against Kootnay for example should be worth more in this evaluation than it is currently. Moreover, the mere fact that we have played both Vancouver and Lethbridge is bringing our win value down significantly. Remove those two games (both of them wins) and we have a record of 6 wins 2 losses against opponents with a cumulative record of 36 30 2 7.
At least I think so, I'm not going to double check my math, but someone else can if they want to. At any rate, my point here is that I do not believe Everett and Spokane are actually off to better starts. In fact Everett has only played one game within the U.S. division according to your notations, and Spokane (as was noted earlier) has only one real scoring line. What I am leading up to here is that some incredible things are happening for the t-birds right now! I would never have guessed this could be true, but through the first ten games of the season, the birds look like the heavy-weight in the western conference. In all likelyhood Kelowna and Portland are going to prove better, but the birds definitely played the best through the first ten games.
all of this is totally going to get drowned out by the news of Gropp coming to the team anyway though. lol.

Anonymous said...

Just get over the traditional December dry spell. We can believe!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Can we just enjoy the season for awhile. The birds are also one bounce a puck a game for being 5-5. So lets not print memorial cup tickets off just yet, lets enjoy the season for a little bit, and see how we compare to the tips, chiefs and hawks first

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