Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On the Firing of Scott Arniel

Yesterday the Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they had relieved head coach Scott Arniel of his duties. This shouldn't come as a surprise to many, the Jackets are in the midst of a disappointing 11-25-5 start, good for a league worst 27 points in the standings. After an exciting offseason, the Jackets were poised to make a run at the playoffs as predicted by a slew of excellent bloggers. Before the 'I told you so' comments start pouring in, however, let's take a look at a few of Columbus' underlying statistics (via BTN here and here):

ES SH%ES SV%PDOScore-Tied Fenwick %

For the past few weeks, Gabe Desjardins has been writing about the importance of PDO and its tendency to regress towards the mean as the season progresses. Columbus is currently rivaling the worst PDO we've seen over the past four seasons, yet their possession statistics indicate that GM Scott Howson has indeed built a strong group of skaters. In net, even though Steve Mason may not be very good, he is also well below his career ES SV% numbers. This is good news for interim coach Todd Richards should (when) the Jackets see a revival of sorts during the second half of the season. We've already seen Ken Hitchcock receive media praise for a turnaround in St. Louis that was bound to happen anyway, and don't be surprised if we see the same for Todd Richards in Columbus.


  1. Agreed.

    I said the same thing about Hitchcock (both before and after St. Louis revival) on a few radio guest spots and got some pushback, so it's always nice to have the analysis confirmed by some established statistical analysts.

    Timo has a take on Columbus and the Scott Arniel firing over at Hockey Prospectus (oddly missing from your blogroll - is that because of the paywall? If so, this one isn't behind it). What do you think about his thoughts on their power play?


  2. Thanks for the comment, Rob. Not surprising that you got some pushback re: Hitchcock, it's an opinion that I suspect doesn't fit the proverbial "eye-test" for those who aren't looking deeper into the possession metrics, PDO, etc. to evaluate a team's performance. St. Louis obviously had strong underlying evidence that things would turn around regardless, coaching change or not.

    Re: Hockey Prospectus, I think we just forgot to add it to the links so I'll go ahead and do that, thanks for pointing it out. Regarding Timo's article, I actually think I disagree with his conclusion completely for reasons I will point out in a post that I'll start working on right now since it'll be easier to post tables and things in there.