Bring your abacus, and a gas mask, to the hockey rink

I hope you've had your morning coffee because our morning look around the NHL has a great deal of weighty issues and number crunching. All this on top of Game Six tonight in Pittsburgh, and a court date in Phoenix? It sounds like a great day for hockey news...

Air quality at Nashville Predators practice rink - Nashville Predators Examiner
Some great work by Jim Diamond following up on an ESPN piece about air quality at ice rinks. Between poor ventilation and poorly maintained Zambonis, you can get some nasty stuff hanging in the air even though the ice looks fresh and clean. Jim checks out the air quality results for the Centennial Sportsplex (where the Predators practice, and I play in the fall/winter), and finds an issue that needs to be addressed.

Irreverent Oiler Fans: Real Effects and Team Shooting Percentage at Even Strength
A phenomenal post by Vic Ferrari looking at the question of Team Shooting Percentages, and whether there is any persistent difference among NHL teams. This builds upon work done over at Objective NHL earlier this season, and argues against any significant difference, at the team level, to "finish". Shots For & Against is what it's all about in the long run. It also touches on the notion that players with sub-standard goal scoring, given otherwise solid performance, might prove to be a bargain on the NHL market. If there was ever an opportunity for a Moneyball-style market opportunity in hockey, my hunch is that this is it (and why I'm OK with giving Antti Pihlstrom another shot with the Preds).

Objective NHL: Scoring Chances by Game State
Jlikens takes a look at the frequency of scoring chances for and against based on Game State (whether the game is tied, or the team in question is ahead or behind). There seems to be quite a bit of "playing to the score" in the NHL, where teams sit on leads and leave themselves at risk of a comeback.

Coleman Analytics, Pt. II - mc79hockey.com 

Following up on the NPR segment the other day featuring Mike Smith, the ex-NHL general manager whose company, Coleman Analytics, advises NHL teams using statistical analysis, mc79hockey notes one of the members of that group, and discusses the existence (or lack thereof) of "clutch" hockey players, which is one point of analysis that Smith uses..

How hard is it to win the Stanley Cup? - From The Rink
Dr. Mirtle digs through the data to see, as the NHL has changed over time, just how likely an individual player is to win the Stanley Cup in the course of his career. This ain't the days of the Original Six when you you had a much smaller field contending for the prize.

 From the desk of Risto Pakarinen - School of hockey

Now that you've finished your homework, Finnish hockey writer Risto Pakarinen gives a graduation address that any hockey-loving student would be thrilled to hear.

Outlook: Chicago - Puck-rakers
The Chicago Blackhawks were the feel-good hit of the NHL season, but Aaron Portzline points out the significant challenge that they'll have in terms of upcoming free agents and salary cap considerations.

Chris Zelkovich's Sports Media Watch
I don't know why Gary Bettman insists on keeping six NHL teams in Canada - TV ratings are down for the Stanley Cup Final up there, so obviously that hockey market is over-served. (hat tip to Kukla's Korner).

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