Grind it Out: 6 Segments Breakdowns
The Hamilton Bulldogs’ coaching staff are examining the team’s performances under a 5 game lens this season. Disclosure alert: I’m going to be dropping some of the fancy hockey analytics into these posts throughout the season, and have a really raw understanding of them. Most of what I’ll add in here is either mined from @3Hayden2’s prospectstats.com or the OHL’s boxscores.
- Bulldogs in September 2015: 1-1-0
- Bulldogs in September 2016: 3-1-0
- Bulldogs in October 2015: 5-6-0
- Bulldogs in October 2016: 5-4-1
- Bulldogs in November 2015: 3-8-1
- Bulldogs in November 2016: 5-5-2
- Bulldogs in December 2015: 2-0-2
- Bulldogs in December 2016: 0-2-2
- Bulldogs after 30 in 2015-16: 11-16-3, 25 points (-32 goal differential)
- Bulldogs after 30 in 2016-17: 13-12-3-2, 31 points (-1 goal differential)
- Bulldogs PDO after 30: 99.47 (12th in the OHL)
- Segment 1: 4-1-0 PDO: 110.3 (details)
- Segment 2: 3-2-0 PDO: 102.0
- Segment 3: 2-2-1 PDO: 96.9
- Segment 4: 2-1-2 PDO: 78.0
- Segment 5: 2-3-0 PDO: 98.9
- Segment 6: 0-3-2 PDO: 92.2
The black and gold Bulldogs have shown positive growth over last year’s team. Hamilton had a stronger October and November than they did a year ago, although both teams had some significant slumps in November. Maybe next season, the league can schedule less games in November for the Bulldogs? The trend that is worrying currently is that the team has dipped in performance since the very promising opening 10 games. With only 4 wins in their last 15 games, they really need to right this ship and finish off with a strong December.
We’re almost halfway through this season, and we’ve seen some of their 5-game breakdowns with extreme PDO skews. Good chance is that over the course of the season, this team is likely going to hover around the 100 PDO mark. If we look at the records of the segments with average PDO marks (2, 3, 4), this is a team capable of a record of 7-7-1 over 15 games. Still too small of a sample size. Is this really a team that is only capable of trending water at .500 hockey?
.500 hockey will get this team into the playoffs, but really falls off the mark of expectations. Its fair to say that the organization and fans were looking at this team as a threat for home ice advantage in the first round. They’re hovering at that mark right now, but there is currently at lot of parity in the East. Hamilton needs to turn a corner, and hopefully they’ll be able to capitalize on a lot of team having star players gone for the World Juniors throughout December.
Running out 2016
Hamilton plays five more games in 2016, three of them against divisional rivals. Hamilton missed the playoffs last year largely thanks the losses suffered at the hands of the Mississauga Steelheads and the Oshawa Generals. The Bulldogs need to show up and make a statement to finish the year with this next 5 game segment, which could help cover a lot of ground in the conference.
Overall, the players are still confident that they’ve got what it takes to go deep this year. Connor Walters, who sparked the Teddy Bear Toss on Saturday with a sneaky wrister from the point, talked about the level of trust that exists in the dressing room. “We’re a tight knit group in the room. We know what we can do, we have our goals set out for us for the season, and that hasn’t changed. It’s just a little bump in the road here, and it’s going to turn around”. Walter’s confidence in his teammates was echoed by his coach as well.
John Gruden explained that the players are working hard and the best way that they’re going to shake this skid is by gaining confidence. It’s the coaching staff’s game plan to build that confidence by giving the players freedom to continue making plays; a criticism of last year’s team strategy was that the playmaking freedom was rigid. Gruden has been able to maintain an optimistic perspective on how the team will respond to this mid-season adversity. “We’re not going to stop working, and we’re not going to always be having this conversation”.
Fair to say everyone’s hoping his optimism pays off.
Feature Image: Barry Gray / The Hamilton Spectator