Friday, January 20, 2017

Tigers Defeat Regina 8-5

Regina's #1 goaltender Tyler Brown is out day to day with an injury. They called up 16yr old Max Paddock and gave him his 3rd career whl start.

First Period

Tigers start this game on fire....They had some good pressure to start the game in the pats zone.

Steven Owre gets the Tigers on the board on the PP with a top shelf shot.

Off a broken play James Hamblin flips the puck to the net and it rolls off the young Paddock's blocker. Mark Rassall somehow gets a stick on the rebound. Maybe a bit of luck off a young goaltender.

The next goal was a beauty by Mark Rassall.  Rassall completely undressed a recent acquisition for Regina in Dawson Davidson(from kamloops) in front of the net and poked the puck in five-hole passed Paddock.

The Tigers jumped out to a very quick 3-0 Lead.

Pats Comeback
Honestly the pats were really lucky here. Both goals were PP goals. Both penalties the Tigers took were accidental calls.

The one call was a high stick but they took the wrong player to the box. Kirichenko high sticked a pat  player on a back-hand follow through(which shouldn't be called)  They took the wrong player Matt Bradley to the box.

It was Connor Hobbs with a one-timed blast from the point with traffic in front that beat Schneider. Schneider just missed this one. It hit his blocker but the shot was hard enough that it was a glancing stop and deflected into the net.

Pats Second Goal
Macpherson accidentally tripped a pats player in the corner, Going for a pokecheck that hit the skate.

Here Sam steel walked the perimeter and passed over to Adam Brooks. The Tigers here resorted to some bad habits. Brooks was at the far boards, but none of the Tigers had their heads on a swivel, and Schneider didn't go post to post properly.

Brooks scored on a shot where he didn't get good wood on the shot from the boards. It could have been prevented.

Score: 3-2 Tigers

Final Chances:
I calculated the Tigers out-chanced the Pats 7-6

Second Period
It seems Connor Hobbs is a plus 1000 against the Tigers but he made a mistake on this one. He lazily went into his own end and made an outlet pass that was intercepted.

Some quick passing by the Tigers turned into a rocket shot by John Dahlstrom that the young Max Paddock probably should have corralled.

Sam Steel Show
Moments later Sam Steel would chase Nick Schneider from the net. A puck squirted out from the board and Steel was given an opportunity to fire a wrist shot from the slot.

Schneider lost his crease positioning and steel's shot beat Schneider stick side up high.
The Tigers pulled Schneider after this play

John Dahlstrom Show
The Tigers would reclaim a 2 goal lead.  In the high slot off a pass a hard shot Beat Max Paddock Blocker side. A negative of a younger goaltender in net. Dahlstrom's hard shots are proving tough for Paddock to stop.
5-3 Tigers

In this period the pats had a lot of pressure in the Tigers zone. Michael Bullion made a number of high quality saves to keep the Tigers in the game. If not for him this game might be tied. Tigers got away from their strong positioning that they displayed in the first period.
Total Prime Chances: 12-11 Regina.

Third Period
The pats opened up with a lot of pressure.Michael Bullion made a number of highlight reel saves, one which you will likely see in the WHL weekly Top Ten.  The Brandt Centre already had their red lights on, a darkened arena, and smoke going off behind the net before they realized Bullion made the save.

Pats Tie the Game
However the Pats kept pressing and would tie the game.
The pats 4th goal was complete luck. Jeff Dewitt was  turned around and attempted a pass though his legs. mason Shaw tried to stop the pass with his skates and he re-directed it past Bullion.
5-4 Tigers

Moments later  Zach Fischer was a little too slow getting back and left his man an opportunity to receive a pass in the high slot. Dawson Leedahl popped the puck in top shelf 5-5 TIE

Tigers Finish Strong
Another misplay by Connor Hobbs. he was pinching but got caught and no-one was covering for him. Steven Owre made him pay with a hard shot from the top of the circle which beat Max Paddock.
6-5 Tigers

Off a broken play Zach Fischer rang the puck off the post. The puck landed right in front of Paddock. Paddock momentarily put his glove over the puck but lifted it up, and the puck kept it's momentum going into the back of the net. 7-5 Tigers

Fischer also got an empty netter after Regina pulled their goaltender early.
Final Score 8-5 Tigers
Final Chances: 16-19 Regina

Summary
The Tigers started the game very well, perfect positioning but got extremely unlucky with 2 accidental penalties which resulted in Pats PP goals.

The Tigers took advantage of a young goaltender in net with 8 goals. Micheal Bullion came in relief of Nick Schneider and played outstanding hockey.

The pats out-chanced the Tigers in this one but Bullion made some very good saves which kept the Tigers in the game when Regina was pressing. Rassall, Owre, Dahlstrom, James Hamblin had very strong games for the Tigers.

This is likely a good confidence booster for most of the team beating the #1 team in the CHL without 2 of their better defenceman. The Tigers first period was one of their better periods they have played the past 10-15 games.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Trade Deadline - 7 Team Summaries

Well The Tigers were pretty quiet. They picked up a 2nd line Dman, as well as a goaltender on the cheap earlier in the week.

Tigers Acquisitions
I am a bit disappointed they didn't go out and pick up a #1 Dman. They did address their goal-tending need and helped their defensive need, but will it be enough?  I guess time will tell.

Trade Deadline Deals
I'm going to do a brief synopsis from teams who choose to "go for it" or add pieces to the puzzle, and why they did so,  as well as lay out a foundation to how this will effect them for the next few seasons.

Notes
An average team acquires 3 core players through the draft each year.  Players when their younger, play 3rd/4th line minutes but start making impacts into the lineup when their 18,19,20 and become key pieces of the team.

Above average or championship teams usually acquire or recruit 4 or 5 core to key players in at least 2 consecutive years in a row. When that age group matures that becomes 8-10 core/key players that are supplemented with 3 overage players, 2 imports, as well as trade deadline acquisitions that push teams over the top and give them more depth in case of injuries.

Draft Picks
5 Years ago I did an evaluation of draft Picks.
1st Rounder = 98-99% chance of a core player or better
2nd Rounder = 50-50 Chance of a Core player or better
3rd Rounder = 15% chance or a core player or better
4th rounder = 3% chance of a core player or better
5th Rounder = 2.5% chance of a core player or better
After that it is a relative crapshoot.
Goalies were highly volatile, Their are many 1st/2nd round picks that don't turn out.

Now these values are likely outdated, and I don't remember my methods, so if you're a math based person sorry I can't replicate this...yeah I know don't trust it.

Summary of Major Acquisitions
P = denotes prospect

Prince George
Gone:
Tyler Ho(16P), 
Yan Khomenko(18), 
Bartek Bison(18), 
Max Martin(17)
Justin Almeida(17) 
Kolby Johnson(18),
1st Rnd ’18, 2nd Rnd ’18,
3rd Rnd ’18, 3rd Rnd ’19
5th Rnd ’17,  
8th Rnd ’18, 

Aquired:
Tanner Wishnowski(19) 
Radovan Bondra(19) Top 6
Nikita Popugaev(18) PPG+(top 6 forward)
Brendan Guhle(19) Top 2 defenceman)

Summary
PG really loaded up for this season acquiring 2 PPG players, and a top line defenceman.
It cost them some of this years depth players, 2 potential core 17's, and significant picks for the 2018 draft

PG essentially sold the 2018 draft class.  In 2017 they will be drafting later in rounds, that will delay their recovery.

If we add the fact that they will loose half their team next season, the next 3-4 seasons will be a big struggle, and they will likely become sellers.

Unless they are able to find some gems and or get extremely luck in the draft, it may take them until  '24-25' before they could potentially ice another championship type team.

PG is a smaller market team. Their past history shows they have longer 6-8 year cycles. A Very interesting question will be Nikita Popugaev,  IF he does return PG should be able to reclaim a ransom next season to help with their recovery process.

I think their an "underdog contender". They have an older roster, a very good record and their future looked a little bleak so I can see why they "went for it".  They are playing in an incredibly tough division. While they should get out of the first round, after that it will be a big battle. They have the team to compete and challenge but rounds 2 through 4 will almost be 50-50 chances. They could make it, but it will be tough.

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Regina Pats
Gone
Lane Zablocki(18)
Dawson Barteaux(16)
Brady Pouteau(19)
Rykr Cole(19)
Riley Woods(18)
Luc Smith (18)
James Hilsendager(19)
Erik Gardiner(17)
1st Rnd ’17
1st Rnd ’18 or 19
3rd Rnd ’20 Conditional

Acquired
Joshua Mahura(18) Top DMAN
Jeff de Wit(19)
Wyatt Sloboshan(19) Probably a top veteran depth player.
Dawson Davidson(18)  Very solid Defenceman
Jonathan Smart(17) Talented young defenceman
3rd Rnd ’19
7th Rnd ’18
3rd Rnd ’17

Summary
Regina has done some incredible drafting and it gave them a full cupboard stocked full of goodies.

 They basically re-tooled their lineup for next season. They traded a combo of some vets, young players and picks to acquire bona fida 18yr players that will be here next season when they host the Memorial Cup, as well as a core group of younger players that should still be with the pats the season after.

They have given away a lot of higher round draft picks for the 2017,2018,2019 draft classes.  IF Tyson Jost reports to them next season from the NCAA they won't have any 1st rounders for the next 3 years.

Even through Regina has loaded up they have 7 (16&17) year old players and some really great prospects. The year after the memorial cup in 19-20, they will still have Jonathon smart, Jake Leschyshyn, nick henry, Jordan Hollett, among a stellar over-age class, proving they aren't leaked to the NHL.

That will be an impressive core group that initially 2 years later seems like they might challenge for a playoff spot after their memorial cup run. The question will be whether they sell and gain royal ransoms or not.

Even though the next 3 drafts have significant higher losses of picks, I would not doubt their ability to bounce back quicker than normal. While it is way to early to see when that would be, the next 2 seasons will be extremely exciting. The pats have potential to become back to back memorial cup champions.

While a memorial cup berth is never a guarantee and adding is never a sure thing, I really like how they have built and developed their team.  They will have a dynamite team next season and an automatic memorial cup berth. They also have a bunch of good younger players that will supplement and possibly be able to help recoup their losses faster after their runs are over with. Their goal-tending looks a little young this year and could be a weakness.

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Kelowna Rockets
Gone:
Jake Kryski(18)
Riley Stadel(20)
Jordan Borstmayer(18)
Jonathan Smart(17)
Tanner Wishnowski(19)
5th Rnd ’17
1st Rnd ’18 Opt
5th Rnd ’19 Cond

Aquired

Reid Gardiner(20)
Carsen Twarynski(19)
James Hilsendager(19)
Erik Gardiner(17)
Colum McGauley(16 P)

3rd Rnd ’18 Cond.
5th Rnd ’18
5th Rnd ’17


Summary

This was a very interesting decision from kelowna to jump into the ring. They aren't that far off from slipping into a wildcard position, but I think I understand why they made these moves.



Dillon Dube has only played in 25% of kelowna's games. With him in the lineup Kelowna was 10-4.  

Kelowna managed to acquire a bona fida goal scorer coming back in Gardiner. They also acquired some size and aggressiveness with the acquisitions of Twarynski and Hilsendager, as well as couple younger players.

Kelowna has an older veteran defence and goaltending. They have an interesting dynamic of younger and older forwards. 


They are 10 games above .500 and this trade deadline will be like acquiring 2 star forwards, a power forward, and an aggressive defenceman. 


I will be interested to see if they can go on a tear the next few weeks. They might have just developed into a pretty powerful team. I wouldn't be surprised to see them challenge for first in the conference even though they are 4-5 games back of PG. They will be the underdog and I wouldn't want to face them in the playoffs, they have a team that could potentially play in the western final, and they did it pretty cheaply.


Kamloops
Gone
Spencer Bast(20)
Conner McDonald(17)
2nd Rnd ’17
5th Rnd ’18

Dawson Davidson(18)
6th Rnd ’18 Cond.

Acquired

8th Rnd ’18 Lane Bauer(20)
7th Rnd ’17

Luc Smith(18)
Nic Holowko(19)

Summary
Kamloops has one of the best goaltenders in the league, and they don't give up very many goals.  Their offense however is just mediocre with a poor PP. Acquiring Bauer and towering forward Luc Smith was an attempt at shoring that area up.

It was an attempt to get a little better, giving up a potential core player and 2nd overall pick, for some veteran forwards, a "little splash" so to say. It doesn't scream championship team, but we will see how they play down the stretch run. They didn't give up anything too substantial, and they shored up some weaknesses. 


They will be in tough as Kelowna got a lot better and victoria is right on their doorstep. It could be possible that these additions aren't enough to overcome a 1st round playoff victory like these trades were made for, nonetheless those trades won't affect their long-term development too much.


They remind me a lot of Lethbridge except their strengths are reversed. They will have some losses of top players next season, but retain a good core group of younger players.

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Lethbridge
Busiest Gm Award. This one makes my head spin.

Gone
Shaun Dosanjh(20)
Brett Davis(17)
Colton Kroeker(19)
Carson Dyck(15 P)
Brady Reagan(19)
Brayden Burke(19)
Shane Farkas(17)
Carter Folk(20)
Darian Skeoch(19)
4th Rnd ’18 Cond.
7th Rnd ’17
6th Rnd ’18
7th Rnd ’17 Cond.
2nd Rnd ’18
4th Rnd ’18
3rd Rnd ’17
3rd Rnd ’18
5th Rnd ’18
7th Rnd ’18

Aquired
Alec Baer(19)
Zak Zborosky(20)
Matt Alfaro(20)
Ryley Lindgren(20)
Kyle Yewchuk(18)
Brady Pouteau(19)
Ryan Bowen(18)
Ty Prefontaine(17)
Brennan Riddle(19)
Ryan Gilchrist(18)
Tanner Nagel(18)
Brennan Menell(19)
4th Rnd ’17
9th Rnd ’17
6th Rnd ’18
2nd Rnd ’17
3rd Rnd ’19 Cond
6th Rnd ’18
4th Rnd ’17

Summary
Lethbridge were pre-season favorites. However they stumbled out of the gate and GM Anholt publicly came out and said their were trouble-makers in the room, and traded away multiple star players which dashed hopes of a contending hockey team.

Their moves they made got them a more age balance roster. They got an extra 2nd round pick earlier in the year and spent it along with 2 older players for upgrades to their 20's, a recovery pick and a prospect goaltender.


Their forward group now looks pretty strong up front. Their defense is quite young and could be taken advantage of. Next year they will loose 4 of their top 5 scorers, but other than that retain a good chunk of core younger players.


The Canes have missed the playoffs for a long time, and last years good team made a disappointing exit in round 1. While they could have just re-loaded fans probably would have revolted as that has been their theme for a longtime.


 Instead they tried to balance their roster as well as making it competitive enough that they could venture into the 2nd or possibly 3rd round of the playoffs.  They have the potential to have a cakewalk in the first round. In round 2 they will be challenged.


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Moose Jaw
Gone
Brayden Watts(17)
Nikita Popugaev(18)
Ryan Bowen(18)
2nd Rnd ’17
3rd Rnd ’19 Cond.
4th Rnd ’18
6th Rnd ’19 Cond
8th Rnd ’18
5th Rnd ’17
2nd Rnd ’18

Acquired
Branden Klatt(18)
Spencer Bast(19)
Thomas Foster(20)
Justin Almeida(17)
Brayden Burke(19)
Yan Khomenk(18)
5th Rnd ’17
2nd Rnd ’18
8th Rnd ’17
5th Rnd ’18

Summary
Moose Jaw has a pretty good team this year. The Popugaev trade is really interesting and a bit confusing on the surface. They had some big additions early in the year and acquired some veteran players, yet traded one of their most dynamic weapons away.

Moose Jaw is playing under Regina's Shadow, as their roster looks like they will have pretty good team next season as well. The only reason that trade makes sense to me is if they feel Popugaev won't be here next season. If he comes back Prince George can then sell him and recoup more than what PG paid for him, so I'm kinda thinking this trade was a big gamble.  


This must be an attempt to get a little better defensively as their team has a rather poor +/- for a 26-10 record. Their competition in the first round also added, so the first round matchup could be a very close battle



Swift Current
Gone
Calvin Spencer(20)
Kade Jensen(19)
Travis Child(19)
Carson Dyck(15P)

Cole Johnson(18)
Tyler Adams(19)
2nd Rnd ’17
4th Rnd ’18 Cond.

3rd Rnd ’18
2nd Rnd ’19
5th Rnd ’18

5th Rnd ’18

Aquired
Jordan Papirny(20)
Jake Hobson(17)
Ryley Lindgren(20)
Mackenzie Wight(17)

Ryan Graham(20)
6th Rnd ’18
7th Rnd ’17
5th Rnd ’18

4th Rnd ’18
9th Rnd ’17

Summary
The broncos traded away their older depth players. In return they acquired a more experienced overage group, as well as a couple prospects, however they did give up some mid round picks, that could negatively affect their 2018 draft and their team 3-4 years down the road. Their later round picks in 2018 will be crucial to come up with late round surprises.

These moves were made in an attempt to be able to beat MJ in round 1 of the playoffs as they are neck and neck with them.


The Broncos could ice a pretty good team next season if they find a goaltender, as their losses will be minimal. Both MJ and swift will be in Regina's Shadow.


Also their Import Draft scouting has been phenomenal.  They have managed to snag some Top quality imports the past few seasons.



My Winners
Kelowna - They became overnight powerhouses for relatively cheap, but are in a very tough division. Still I think they gained a lot of value for a relative cheap cost.

Tough Spots

MJ and Swift are in tough positions with veteran older rosters when a powerhouse Regina is going for CuP runs.

Kamloops is in tough as well. I'm not saying they lost the trades, but their positioning taking into other teams is not ideal for this season and they are middle-men. They retain a pretty good roster but their are other powerhouse teams that will probably surpass them.


Tigers - One of the top offenses in the league, but a very mediocre defence. One of the only offenses capable of keeping up to Regina, but they decided not to add when they had multiple extra draft picks. Regina built for next season it feels like the Tigers missed a pretty big opportunity.


Interesting Notes
Victoria - They decided not to add significant pieces, understanding that their would be a high cost. Their roster looks like they have potential for a pretty good team next season, so they could be winners by simply choosing to wait till next season. 

PG - Would be extremely disappointing if they don't make it past the 3rd round. They kinda did a suicide run this year, and might have affected their team chemistry.

Red Deer - The rebels traded some high impact players that essentially recouped their losses from the past season and their memorial Cup run.


----------------------
Tigers Roster Healthy Lineup
Zach Fischer(19) Steven Owre(20)  Chad Butcher(20)
John Dahlstrom(19) Mason Shaw(18) Matt Bradley(19)
Mark Rassall(19) James Hamblin(17) Max Gerlach(18)
Ryan Chyzowski(16) Ryan Jevne(18) Tyler Preziuso(17)
Gary Haden(17)
Josh Williams(15)**

Kristians Rubins(19) Clayton Kirichenko(20)
Ty Schultz(19) Jordan Henderson(19)
David Quennevill(18) Brad Forrest(19)

Dalton Gally(18)
Dylan MacPherson(18)

Nick Schneider(19)
Michael Bullion(19)
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This is still a pretty powerfully offensively minded lineup.
Williams will likely be a callup and could potentially see ice-time after his team is finished for the season.



Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lazy Forwards vs Vancouver

Version 2
This is part 2 of the flying V defense I posted a couple days ago.

This post explains why defense starts in the offensive zone and how the Tigers are leaking goals because their forwards are LAZY or in poor position.
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First Vancouver Goal (1-0 Vancouver Lead minutes into the game)
Forwards not cycling properly.














In Deep
Here we see all 3 Tiger forwards in deep and the puck going behind the net. Notice that all 3 forwards are touching the end redline, that should almost never happen.

Luckily they get away with it here, as a Tiger Dman pinches and saves the day, however their is a reset and Vancouver tries a second time to breakout.
---

Uh-Oh ( A few seconds later)






















The Tigers maintain an aggressive attack that puts a lot of pressure on opposing defenceman as well as the first outlet pass out of the zone. Here we see a 2-1-2 attack pattern.

The reason Vancouver scored this goal was because of a simple mistake.

The red-circled player(Chad Butcher) Was lazy and half-assed skated back.
The black circled Player(Zach Fischer) is coming into the zone with speed and pressure, and the Vancouver player is looking to make a quick pass and almost bobbles the puck.

Offensive Switch
Remember last post when I talked about the "defensive switch"? Now the forwards also have a switch but it happens in the offensive zone.

Here the 3rd forward Fischer(black circle) now "switches" from 2-"1"-2  into the "2"-1-2 position
That means that the 1st forward Butcher(Red Circle) is now responsible for being the 2-"1"-2

However because he was "too tired" or "too lazy", the switch fails and if Vancouver breaks out they get an odd man rush.

Vancouver happens to get the odd man rush and they execute perfectly, grabbing a quick lead.

 This is why this pattern is sometimes more risky or offensive minded, than a 1-2-2 pattern.  If that switch doesn't happen or the giants transition is incredibly quick it leads to an odd man rush.
------

Vancouver Goal #2
Lack of defensive Awareness

The Tigers turn the puck over in the offensive zone and 3 forwards are caught deep, However they do not recover properly. The Vancouver forward just shot the puck on net























John Dahlstrom
He made 2 costly errors on this play. First: He turned the puck over creating an odd man rush.
Two: He wasn't aware of the dangerous player.(red circle)

Vancouver had a 3 on 2 and Dahlstrom skated hard to get back into the play.
Hi mistake is that he isn't eyeing up the only dangerous player in the area.

I should note that it could be a mistake to simply skate to the Vancouver player because the middle of the ice is open. Instead he should be at the hashmarks and anticipating when the puck may come out front. once danger has passed, look for a switch back to his regular positioin when the centreman is back in the Tiger zone.

What Happens
The New Tiger defenceman Henderson is now trying to cover 2 giants and the Giants managed to score off the rebound.

So While you could make a case about the goalie and covering the rebound,  the Tiger's aren't in proper position anyways.

------------

New Guys
I love that the coaches went with the New goaltender.
1. It gets Bullion quickly integrated into the team
2. Bullion played well. Schneider will have to play better if he wants to reclaim ice-time.

Defenceman Hendersen
Very solid defensive instincts. I think he he will fit in very well to the Tigers group.

Notes:
17yr old defenceman Cameron MacPhee was sent down to account for the new Defencemen into the Tigers lineup.

Up Next
Tigers play Edmonton Saturday, Edmonton has traded 2 overagers and one of their bigger defenceman over the last 2 days, so they will be adapting to a younger lineup

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tigers Make a Deal With Saskatoon

Medicine Hat Tigers acquire D Jordan Henderson (1997) from the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for a fifth round pick (2017). – MORE TO COME
http://whl.ca/article/whl-trade-deadline-live-blog
---------

Henderson is 6 feet 180lbs. Scouting report says he is a defensive defenceman who moves the puck well. The Tigers badly need a player like that, but a 5th round seems like he may be more of a 4th/5th defenceman, we will have to wait and watch him play

He was acquired by Saskatoon earlier in the year from Spokane for a 6th round pick.
















----

MH Tigers Article
http://whl.ca/article/tigers-bolster-blueline-with-acquisition-of-henderson-from-blades

Comments
This move leaves the Tigers with 9 Dmen. 8 for the next 4-6 weeks.
If nothing else happens someone could like MacPherson or even MacPhee could get sent down.

MH News Article
Article says Clouston is still looking to potentially add as long as the price is right and it doesn't involve giving away players on the roster.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Flying V Defence

Regina Kicked the Tigers butt last night. I want to show an example of the Tigers defense that is repeatedly causing them issues in their own zone.

They frequently adapt to "line defence"  If you watched the Oilers of yesteryear they used to do this often.  Their are a lot of little mistakes and a full line formation leads to poor zone coverage.

This play was goal #2 Regina scored last night.

Regina Goal #2 - The Flying V Defence
What is wrong with this picture below?



1.  Defenceman going into the corner
    • This is a non-cycle play. Sometimes it is necessary for a Dman to go into the corner, however it can be semi-dangerous, if the forwards are not aware or covering defensively, even when they have puck possession. 
    • 2 Dmen  in the corner often means their will be a defensive switch coming. (more on that later) 
    • 90% of the time the Tigers make this breakout successfully, but they should still be aware that a change in puck possession means Regina is likely going to get a good scoring chance.
    • It is wrong to assume that in order to correct this play the outlet pass needs to be better. Outlet passes will fail occasionally, they need to be better prepared postionally.
2. Tunnel Vision
  • Nobody has their head on a swivel, video does that better justice
  • Unaware of any potential incoming Regina players that will likely be skating in towards the play
3. Line Defence

  • Line defence leaves no passing options  if the Tigers recover the puck. 
  • One single Regina player can cover all outlet passing options.
  • On a turnover they are vulnerable to large on ice gaps





A Few Seconds Later



















What Happened
Forrest has recovered the puck and he appears to have room to escape; however, he is on his back-hand(which is difficult), and the Regina player coming in has a lot more speed that Forrest

His fellow Tiger line-mates are now  poor passing outlets, His only play is to 1v1 or bounce the puck off the boards. This positioning is extremely poor as we will see why next picture.


Pic 3














What Happens
Forrest doesn't connect on the outlet pass and it leads to a change in puck possession, uh-oh. 

Here is where 2 DMEN in the corner is dangerous. Their was a turn-over, 2 Dman are along the boards in very poor defending position. The forwards were expecting to breakout.

This is a complete breakdown in positioning, their are HUGE danger areas. The whole left side of the ice, the regina forwardsskating in front, and their is a lot of space for the Regina defenceman to make plays.

The one Red Circle has both a Tiger defenceman and a Regina forward. The Regina forward beats the Defenceman to the net, which is a big no-no. That can't happen. 


Defence
In a nutshell defensively, every-time a forward forces a defenceman  to make a decision, or "switch coverage" of a player it will create a gap, which leads to open space, as well as potential for errors in communication on forwards covering. Every-time you hear defensive switch, you should think "potential for extra space"

Very often, but not always 2 defenceman in the corner means a "defensive switch" is coming soon, aka  potential for gaps in communication and positioning.

Many offensive plays are designed to force the dmen to make decisions because it creates space.
This is what creates offence 5v5 at the NHL level.

Voluntary Switch

The Tigers here gave Regina a potential "voluntary switch" with the 2nd Dman going into the corner. Normally 1 v 5 you'd think that should be ok, and soemtimes the 2nd Dman is closer to the puck

However it should mean forwards should be more aware of the danger that brings.

The Goal























This was not Schneider fault at all. Their should have been somebody in front previously which would have led to better defense, then schneider would have been in good positioning for a pass out front.

Right now his anticipation of where the play is going, is not matching because the Tigers aren't doing a good job in their own end.

Poor Positioning
The Two Tiger defenceman (red circle) have both been beaten to the net by everybody because they both collapsed into the corner. 

Directly before this their was a momentary 2 on 0 while Regina almost deflected the puck into the net and that forced Schneider to swing hard to the right. He is now recovering to the middle as he is a bit unaware where the puck is, with the shot and a potential deflection by the Pats.

Tunnel Vision
Notice again that all Tiger forwards on the ice are looking at the puck carrier. The guy with the puck at the net could have easily have thrown it to the slot where an incoming Defenceman like a Hobbs could have blasted a shot, and broke a Tiger ankle....

Danger Areas
Their are now 3 big danger areas. The Pat at the corner of the net with the puck, the guy in the slot, as well as the high slot area(which we can't see) but a defenceman could easily be ready to walk in. Their is 1 Tiger out of picture but he likely can't cover both high points.

Conclusion
The Tigers shot themselves in the foot with really poor coverage in their own end. Regina didn't create this chance the Tigers gave them a free goal. A championship team forces the opponent to create their own goals, and not give them up for free.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Wish List

TigerTurf's Super Arm-Chair Wish List

Goal-tending
The top 10 goaltenders in the league have an average age of 19.1. It is extremely rare to see a starting goalie that is younger than 17.

The big weakness here is that the Tigers don't have a solid backup. I'm not knocking McGovern here. 16's with limited experience in today's game are simply too young to handle the experience and shot strength of 19's.

They will be forced to rely on Schneider for the majority of their games and their is a degree of risk of injury or being overplayed.

    Next Year
    Schneider will be an overage. Normally 20's under contract for more than a year don't return. Nick Schneider is signed by the flames and their goalie situation looks volatile for next season.  Quite often NHL team will place a player in  the AHL/ECHL or junior based on how many contracts they have in their system. It's not often what's best for the player, but what's best for their own system.

    If we look to next year; Schneider coming back is up in the air with the Flames volatility. Even so McGovern would still be hard pressed for the starters role being only 17.  If Schneider doesn't come back their is a high chance the Tigers will need to look for a temporary starter before McGovern comes into form for his 18yr old season.

    If the Tigers remain with the status quo; their are 2 scenarios that equal trouble.
  1. Schneider is injured this season. 
  2.  Schneider is plucked off to the Pro's next year and they don't have a goalie is starter material.

        If they acquire a backup
        If the Tigers acquire a goalie for this season, they would likely send McGovern down.  Then when Schneider finally moves on they can call up McGovern whether that is next year, or the year thereafter. 

        Worse case scenario, next year McGovern comes into form, and they have 2 goaltenders fighting for the starters job, while new prospects also compete for a spot. For the Tigers it seems like a win-win scenario. The only caveat here is the price that potentially comes with and their has been some goal-tending movement this season already. Even though Schneider will be the #1 guy and play the majority of games I think they should look for backup alternatives as long as the price isn't ridiculous.

Schneider
I have full confidence in Schneider as he is capable of making the big breakaway stop or a big save in critical times of the game. The Tigers defensive capabilities are underwhelming so his .897 save percentage is ok, despite the Tigers winning a lot of games.

An upgrade over Schneider would cost a lot and it would be a relatively minor upgrade in the bigger picture. Schneider is playing the bulk of the games, and goal-tending is big on mental sharpness and technique.  He looks a bit mentally tired at times.


Defense 
Whenever we talk about defense we should get away from "defenceman" and talk about the defensive play from the whole group.

 The Tigers forwards are offensively minded. They rely on fast transition and sometimes take off early, which means that turning the puck over in the neutral zone is a death sentence. They have to make sure they limit those turnovers. Their offensive players are sometimes not defensively aware.  One of their big weakpoints is that their forwards are out of position often and it leaves big gaps and puts more pressure on the defenceman.

    Elite Defenceman Vs a Good Defenceman
In the WHL elite and good forwards will own good and average defenceman. It takes an elite defenceman to stop elite and good forwards consistently. Defenceman peak later than forwards  why?

Keeping things extremely general, Forwards are the higher speed players. It takes experience and smarts for someone who is slower to stop someone who is faster while skating backwards.

        Defensive Scale

The group they have now in my opinion are mostly great skaters, but defensively average. 
I could create a scale, but this post is already getting long

Assuming everyone is healthy.....

In a nutshell an opponents top line has a minuscule advantage over the Tigers top defensive coverage.
However if we take into account the Tigers powerful offense as a whole, that swings the advantage into the Tigers favor. Still their is a bit of volatility and in the short-term anything can happen.

2nd line is where the Tigers have a gap. A strong team with strong players on line 2, will take advantage of the Tigers average defensive capabilities.  Right here is where the Tigers need their offense to overpower the opponent. If they don't or can't the opponent has a natural advantage.

3rd - Here is where the Tigers shine. The opponents offense and depth  isn't as great as the Tigers. The Tigers 3rd line can score and they create a massive advantage.  The Tigers essentially have near PPG forwards facing off against average  players. So for 15 minutes of a hockey game the Tigers get an automatic big advantage

4th - Similar to the 3rd line. Tigers have more depth offensively, and have good forwards playing against below average defenceman.  Here is another 6-8 minutes a hockey game where they have the edge.


Offense
When everyone is healthy they have 3 scoring lines, and a 4th line that probably a 3rd line on most WHL teams. They overpower a lot of opponents, as a team that doesn't have a strong top 4 defensive group doesn't stand a chance.

Right now with Fischer/Dahlstrom out, their offensive output has kinda shrunk to 2 lines. They really need some depth players like the Jevne's Hamblin, to step up. They also need the vets like Bradley to take pressure off players suck as Butcher and Shaw.

With their defensive gaps, the group needs to take care of their own zone first. Occasionally a player will get a bit selfish and take off risking their position for a chance. They really need to limit that to maybe 1 a game, and ensure their own zone is looked after.

Summary:
Prior to the injury to Rubins, and Fischer suspension, the Tigers were going into hockey games with 22 minutes or 1 period worth of matchups that are overpowering opponents.Combine that with a 30% PP, a top ranked PK, that is a significant advantage.

With Rubins and Fischer out, the Tigers  shrink to 2 scoring lines, as well as average defensive capabilities. That means the Tigers offense is good, but not overpowering, so the line 2 gap is now a disadvantage, the Tigers defense can be taken advantage of, and they become an average team.

 Even though it is only 2 players, it shrinks the overpowering nature the Tigers had. They need to try and get the opponent to utilize their 3rd/4th lines because the Tigers have a natural edge in play there.

When the Tigers offense over-powers they will win. Win their offense doesn't overpower they will loose. Edit: Fischer has since returned, but Dahlstrom will be leaving to go to the world juniors for Sweden.

Where to go
So they have a lot of good skaters on defence, but I think they need a 2 or 3 tiered approach to eliminate the bigger defensive gaps. Just one guy will help but won't magically solve their average defensive team play.

They need a 2 way defensively sound defenceman who can make great first passes out of the zone. Someone who can break up a cycle. A Burroughs/Stanton type.  Finding someone who is not just another great skater, but who is incredibly smart and defensively sound. It pushes their depth down, and suddenly a "good" defenceman like Kirichenko is playing more against the opponents 2nd line

Projected Lineup
Rubins New Guy
Kirichenko Schultz
quenneville  macphee/gally/forrest/macpherson

Then if an injury occurs to one of their top 4, they will will still have great depth. The only problem is that multiple teams will likely be looking to add a top defenceman so the cost may be really high.

Consider
A defensively sound forward. They are 1 guy short up front, but  they could use a guy like Dylan Bredo. A smart guy with speed, who has insane defensive instincts.  Someone who takes care of their own end first.

Fischer Butcher Owre
Bradley Shaw Dahlstrom
Rassal Defensively forward Gerlach
Jevne Hamblin   Prezusio/haden/chyzowski

Also they need to work on their D-Zone coverage. Too many times they bunch together in straight line formations which are terrible as it leaves a lot of open space.


My Christmas Wish List
Top line smart Defenceman
Defensively Sound smart forward
Backup goaltender

I think if they can fill those 3 holes, they have a very solid chance of playing for a memorial cup, as long as they can remain relatively healthy.

A defensively sound forward could be  cheaper to grab. a player like forrest would be more than enough value. A backup goaltender is a "nice to have" but with their other 2 needs may be the last thing on the plate to get.

Players that I think could be available
Dalton Gally - Bigger Dman. Tigers have a lot of depth, but may want to keep for next year
Gary Haden - Tigers have a lot of depth and he isn't getting much playing time. Could be worth a lot
Brad Forrest - A very good skating 19yr old Dman. Could easily play 2nd line minutes on most teams
Dylan Macpherson - good smart skating Damn, depth issues limit playing time.

Thoughts?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Tigers Vs Everett

This is a big test for the Tigers. Everett by far is the best defensive team in the league.

Pre-Game
This game is essentially offense vs  defensive, who will win?

Kristians Rubins
The Tigers will be without one of their best defenceman in Kristians Rubins as he has suffered an "upper body" injury. They list Rubins out for 2-4 weeks.  So it appears likely that the Tigers won't get him back until after the world juniors, as he is likely to suit up for his home country Latvia.

First Period
Everett gets a chance right off the hop. I think it startled everyone. Even Schneider stumbled, but luckily the puck skittered off the Everett players stick and it didn't result in a shot.

A lot of quick fast action. I don't think their was a whistle until 6 minutes had passed.  The quick action definitely favors the Tigers, as Everett plays more of a defensive style. They really look to find an open man and then stick to him. So Far the Tigers have managed to come into the zone with speed and break that up a little.

    Tigers Strike First
    Both the Tigers and Everett received penalties 14 seconds apart. During the 4 on 4  Steven Owre with a burst of speed gathers the puck behind the net. 2 Silvertip players converged in front of the net, but Owre used them as a screen and put a goal top shelf far side. 1-0 Tigers

Prime Chances: 6-4 Tigers
The chances were relatively close. Everett had a partial breakaway and a full 2 minute powerplay, Everett also hit a post after a failed wrap-around. Schneider made the saves he needed to and he was tested a few times.

The Tigers were buzzing in the Everett zone for the last few minutes of play. However the Tigers will start the 2nd down a man. Brad Forrest whacked a puck that was standing on edge and it vaulted into the crowd. So far the game is pretty close. The announcers were commenting that Everett was running around a little and needed to tighten up more defensively. The Tigers have a small edge in play, but lets see what the 2nd period brings.

Note: The Tigers broke Carter Hart's shutout streak. He had 3 straight shutouts

 2nd Period
Ug, The Tiger worst period of the Season by far. Everett exposed the Tigers defensively and took advantage of the Tigers frustrations.

Everett starts off with some momentum from their PP. They almost score a goal after a weak shot squeaks though Schneider's legs.

Everett Scores
Tigers turned the puck over in the neutral zone to the Silvertips. It was a 3 on 3 on the way back, but the Tigers defenceman were deep in their zone. It allowed Patrick Bajkov to walk in and wrip a shot from the top of the circle. It beat Schneider high glove side. 1-1 TIE

Everett Takes the Lead
 2 Tigers and 1 Everett player were fighting for control of the puck in the corner. Despite advantages in numbers  Patrick Bajkov walked out into the top of the circle and fired a shot on net. Max Gerlach managed a chop to the stick, but Schneider wasn't able to close his five-hole and Bajkov would get his 2nd of the game.
2-1 Everett Lead

Everett takes a 3-1 Lead
Right off the faceoff the tips pass back to the point. None other than Patrick Bajkov walks in and slaps a shot high glove side, with Schneider screened. 3-1 Everett Bajkov with the Natural Hat-Trick

Tigers Get Frustrated
Chad Butcher took a high hit in the corner and that was enough to set Fischer Off. He came in, and a big scrum developed. During the scrum Quenneville pulled an Everett player out of the scrum and Fischer walked by and sucker punched Matt Fonteyne in the head.

Fischer received a fighting major and game misconduct. Fischer might also face disciplinary action from the league.  Silvertips receive a 3 minute powerplay.

Everett Takes a 4-1 Lead
Soon after Shaw took a slashing penalty and that results in a 5 on 3.
Kevin Davis from the point walked to the middle of the ice and blasted one high glove side. 4-1 Tips

Prime Chances:  7-11 Everett
The only chance the Tigers had was a short-handed rush by Mark Rassall. Everett owned the 2nd period, as the Tigers struggled to get out of their end.

Ugly ugly period.

3rd Period
Everett gets the first chance, but after that the Tigers start getting some momentum.

Tigers Score
Tigers with a few good chances, but it's Brad Forrest taking a wrist shot right off the faceoff that beats Carter Hart.  4-2 Everett
7-12 everett

One Goal Deficit
Matt Bradley fed a cross ice pass to John Dahlstrom who managed to get a one-timer off despite an everett player trying to check him. the shot beat Hart low Blocker side. 4-3 Everett

Tigers with a powerplay, but Everett killed it off pretty effectively.Tigers didn't get a shot and spent most of the PP going up and down the ice.

That's the Game
Everett end up clinging and winning this one 4-3


The Tigers closed the gap in prime chances. Everett only had 1 off the start, and the rest of the period has been all tigers.
Total Prime Chances:  12-13 Everett.
Final Score: 4-3 Everett

Summary
The Tigers won 2 of 3 periods, but their disastrous 2nd period lost them the game. It was reminiscent of last years blunders. A positive to take out of this is that they managed to claw their way back to within a goal.

The Tigers 10 game winning streak is over, so it's time to start a new one.

Next Up: Seattle on Saturday. It could be likely that they play without Zach Fischer who sucker punched an everett player and received a game misconduct.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tiger Attendance

So while the Tigers continue to ravage the WHL on the Road, here are some Home Attendance Numbers.

This Graph is through all 48 game played @ The Canalta Center.




We can see a big high point and a steady  decline which  is normal for having a poor team. However what isn't normal is having the number continue to slide while the Tigers are near the top of the league.  The 2016 season starts at Game 38

TOTAL STATS
Total Attendance To Date: 200,178 Fans
Average Total Attendance: 4170 Fans


Broken Down By Day Of The Week (All 48 games)






Saturday is their high point, but if we take away the first 4 games, average attendance is 4176. Their isn't a whole lot of variance on the average. These numbers are relatively stable.


Ticket AVG Broken Down by Year
16-17 AVG: 3902
15-16 AVG: 4249
Difference: -347 or -8.2%


2016 Attendance By Day

















Weekday Drop
The biggest drop looks to be the weekday games so far. Saturday while down "a 100 or so" is still a decent draw.

I Imagine the poor economy is a big reason for declining numbers. I also think that in previous seasons the casual fan needed to have a season ticket in order to see hockey games. Now they don't need to eat tickets in order to see games with more seats in the new Canalta Centre.

Interesting Notes
Over 5000 Fans Their are only 3 games where attendance was above 5000 fans. All 3 of those games were against Lethbridge: (Sept 26,2015 (Opener), Dec 27/2015, MAR 19th 2015(Last Game).

Hopefully they add a few more during the playoffs this season.



Saturday, November 19, 2016

22 Games In

Tigers Defeat Red Deer 7-2
The Tigers just dismantled the  2nd best team in the Central Division: Red Deer by a score of 7-2.

Weak Central Division
Red Deer is currently in 2nd place, with a .500 record. If we compare a .500 record to the past few years, it doesn't make the playoffs since the 06-07 season. Not a knock on Red Deer but a general statement that the Central Division is unusually weak this season.

PreSeason  Expectations
Let's take a look at some of our preseason expectations for the Tigers and lets take a look at how they are performing.

Offense
In summary we knew the tigers possessed a really good veteran core who would be able to score by committee. We were a bit uncertain as to how the new import John Dahlstrom would fare. I think most of us knew that their offense was going to be one of their big strong points as they returned every impact scoring forward from the previous season.They also had a very high caliber group of rookies fighting for few spots up front.

Defence was their biggest question mark.
Defensive Expectations -  Last season they struggled. and graduated their biggest weapon in Ty Stanton. We didn't know how Kristians Rubins was going to perform, he wasn't NHL drafted but was the 6th overall CHL Import pick.

The defensive Core was a year older and their depth improved with a handful of prospects ready to step in. We were cautiously optimistic that with the improved Tigers offense,  the Defence would be capable of holding their own.

Goal-tending
Nick Schneider played (I think 8 games) last season in the AHL.,We knew the Tigers had a championship caliber 'tender. Any questions about goal-tending would be about a backup goaltender.

------------------
Lets Jump to Current Time

Top 8 Teams (Goal Differential) - Sorted by Winning Percentage
















The Tigers Off to An Amazing Start Offensively
4th in Winning Percentage. 2nd in Goal Differential. Now these stats can be misleading and mean nothing by themselves, but it gives a generalized comparison on how the Tigers are fairing offensively and defensively compared with the rest of the league. 

Highest offensive Team in the last 10 years in terms of Total Goals Scored.
 2014-15 Brandon Wheat Kings; 
Started: 5 Goals a game
Finish: 4.7 Goals per Game Rate
Right now the Tigers are higher than that.

Will Their Offense Sustain?

Tigers Historical Goals Scored Per Game
Lets check the Tigers History in terms of Goals Scored  in the first 20 games compared to where they finish.



Most seasons show a moderate slowing, but how much would this years group slow down??
Current WLL AVG = 3.12 Goals scored a game.

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Projected Stats
No secret algorithm run. Just a general projection based on their production. If numbers are off it's rounding errors by excel.














It is extremely unlikely to see some of these players continuing these rates for a full season. I highly doubt the Tigers will have 4 (almost 5)-40 goal scorers by seasons end and finish with 374 goals. That is a very high total. 

It is very likely that  Rassal, Quenneville's production slows in goals scored. Zach Fischer could also see a slowing. He is a very unique player as he suddenly exploded in his 18yr old season in the last 13 games. He went from a .1 ppg player to a 1ppg player overnight. That is not often done, especially so late. Fischer is also currently the league leader in Penalty Minutes.

We may see some goal increases too. Mason Shaw, Steve Owre, Chad Butcher are just as likely to increase their goal scoring rate a little, but they are enjoying more of a playmaking role.

Matt Bradley has always been a slow starter. He doubled his goal total in the last 3 games. With back to back to back 2 goal games He is catching fire. One would think he is capable of a big point increase this year.

Despite slowing down towards the end of last season Max Gerlach is fighting for the Tigers goal scoring lead.

John Dahlstrom has been a pleasant surprise so far. 1.2 PPG is very high for a first year Euro.

I don't expect to see the Tigers suddenly drop off the map, but over the course of time as weaknesses are shored up and teams have better scouting reports on each other, their production is bound to slow a little.


The Line Combos
Zach Fischer Chad Butcher Steven  Owre  
Matt Bradley Mason Shaw  John Dahlstrom
Mark Rassal James Hamblin Max Gerlach
Ryan Jevne  Tyler Preziuso
Gary Haden/ Ryan Chyzowski  (every other game on the 4th line)


The last couple games the Tigers have been rolling these lines. I love those combos.


Defensively
The Tigers are more than holding their own. 3.10 GAA is very respectable for a group that gave up almost 4 GAA last season.  However it could be better. Their are spurts where they run around in their own end and are unable to relieve pressure without giving up a quality chance. Will they be able to hammer that out? Or will a defensive upgrade be looked at? 

Rubins Kirichenko
Schultz Quenneville
Forrest Macphee/Gally/MacPherson

If the Tigers decide to go for it, they could very well be looking at a defensive upgrade come trade deadline time from one of their 19's. The Tigers are likely to loose both a Schultz/Forrest due to numbers.  Instead of scrambling for an off-season 5th-6th pick, it could be worthwhile to use one as a sidepiece in a trade.

Goaltending
The Tigers have been heavily relying on starter Nick Schneider at this point. Backup Duncan McGovern has played 4 games, however In today's game a 16yr old is almost too physically young to handle shots from 19's and 20's.  

Nick Schneider is pulling a very respectable .910 save percentage, while McGovern is putting up typical lower 16 yr old numbers. 

Is it worth it for the Tigers to acquire a veteran backup tender?   Schneider is eligible to come back next season as a 20. The Flames goalie situation is extremely volatile. 2 NHL tenders on 1 yr deals. 3 goalies in their farm system under contract for next year, + 1 euro goalie on a 1 yr contract that the flames took a flyer on and could re-sign. Their may or may not be room for him in the flames system and we won't know until the Flames roster takes shape for next season.

Nonetheless  their is a degree of risk if Schneider carries the load and McGovern isn't able to get in some quality games.

Special Teams
The Tigers lead the league with their Powerplay clicking at 32.4%. On the road it is a staggering 36.4%

The Tigers also Lead the League on the Penalty Kill with an 86.5% Kill Rate. A very slight increase over the first ten game mark which was 85.7%

Injuries
The Tigers have had a very clean bill of health so far *knock on wood*The Tigers do have a few players who have missed significant time the past couple season and so far those players have remained healthy.

Full Charge Ahead
In the Eastern Conference It appears that 3 teams  MH, Regina, Moose Jaw right now are starting to pull ahead.

Rubins+Dahlstrom
Have to give props to the Tigers for not only finding these players, but having the vision of drafting veteran players and turning last years down year into a very quick up season this year.

They have both been key parts to the Tigers so far

Summary
I kinda thought the Tigers would be a team that was  above average out of the gate and a team that grows stronger  as the year wears on. They have so many players who are later bloomers combined with a bunch of young players who show lots of potential.


They have a great record and I don't believe they are playing "over their head"  I think these guys are the real deal. As long as they don't get caught running in their own zone on any given night I think they have a pretty good shot at winning.

 While it is still pretty early, and many things can change, injuries can happen etc. I think every team wants to be in a position come the trade deadline where they are considering adding to make a run.  The Tigers are on that path.
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Some Stats
Tigers = 44 shots a game. Shooting Percentage 11.1%
League Leader Regina = 45 shots a game. Shooting Percentage 12.8%

PDO Factor aka The "Lucky Stat"

PDO - is a designation of how "lucky" a team is.  It has been proven that over the long term it heavily regresses to the mean of 100.
Tigers = 100.5%
Regina = 102.6%
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Basically means the Tigers aren't getting overly lucky. 2% over or under means a teams shooting percentage or save percentage is likely to start declining.