Why Gretzky Had It Easy

One of the most interesting statistical nuggets I ran into while researching a piece about NHL goalies was the improvement in leaguewide goaltending over the past 30 years. It hasn’t just been a small improvement — the league’s save-percentage leaders during the 1980s and early 1990s put up statistics that would rate below-average in recent seasons.Here’s the league’s average save percentage since the 1983-84 season, when the NHL began tracking shots against:Save percentage rapidly increased during the so-called dead-puck era of the 1990s and early 2000s. It’s no coincidence that over that period, the NHL’s rate of scoring also dropped sharply. A lot of fans blame strategies such as the neutral-zone trap and left-wing lock for triggering the dead-puck era, but more of the blame belongs to better goalies.As for why goalies are so much better now, well, that’s a subject of much debate in hockey circles. One of the most popular explanations is that the sheer size of goaltending equipment has exploded since the 1980s. That’s hard to argue when you look at how pads have grown over time. But since pad size first became a talking point in the mid-to-late 1990s, the league has gone to some lengths (no pun intended) to police the dimensions of puck-stopping technology — and it’s had scarcely any effect on save percentages.Instead, I think a bigger reason save percentages improved so sharply in the 1990s was a dramatic change in the goaltending techniques being employed.During the 1980s, the prevailing style was still the so-called stand-up method, in which a goalie largely remains upright on his skates while making saves, using his stick and skates to stop low shots. In the middle of the decade, though, goaltending phenom Patrick Roy made his NHL debut. Emboldened by recent advances in arm and chest protectors, Roy used a different technique — the “butterfly” — wherein the goaltender drops to his knees to make saves, effectively sealing off most shooting targets along the bottom third of the net.Using the butterfly, Roy was sensational — he backstopped the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup as a 20-year-old in 1986 — and it wasn’t long before the butterfly style spread throughout the league. The effect was profound. Stand-up goalies who were the mainstays of the mid-1980s were almost completely phased out of the game within a decade, replaced by a younger generation who used the butterfly or at least a hybrid technique featuring butterfly elements.In retrospect, this seems like an obvious tactic — it’s a goaltending truism that the majority of goals are scored on shots at or near ice level — but older equipment made dropping low a dangerous proposition. Once falling to the ice became safer, goalies no longer had to rely purely on reflexes, instead being able to stop a greater percentage of low shots on technique alone. It’s no surprise that save percentages skyrocketed when one of the most common subsets of shots suddenly became much tougher.One final note: Watch the Wayne Gretzky highlight reel below and pay particular attention to the goalies in the early portion of the video, when the Great One was with the Edmonton Oilers.Compared with today’s game, you can really see the difference in goaltending technique (notice how many of the goalies tried to stop Gretzky’s shots without dropping to the ice). Modern goalies are more athletic and mobile, and, yes, their pads are plainly bigger. But they’re also using a style much more grounded in the probabilities of where pucks are shot. read more

At Least Phil Jackson Didnt Leave The Knicks In Ruins

Naturally, that surplus is made possible by the nature of the rookie scale, which artificially depresses pay for young players, but even going only by the real and projected value, this group of young players has been and will be worth far more than the veterans Jackson acquired. And the value isn’t all tied up in Porzingis, either — Hernangomez and Ntilikina both project to produce at a high level.With Jackson on the way out, the expectation is that coach Jeff Hornacek will have the freedom to move away from Jackson’s much derided triangle offense. Dolan is teasing the idea of chasing former Denver Nuggets executive Masai Ujiri, who helped pants New York in the ill-advised trade for Anthony, and then again in the even more lopsided Andrea Bargnani deal a few seasons later when Ujiri was working for the Toronto Raptors. (Somewhat infamously, Ujiri nearly traded Toronto’s star point guard Kyle Lowry to New York before Dolan, hesitant to be humiliated by Ujiri once again, called off the trade at the 11th hour.)The Knicks, who were 80-166 under Jackson, 29.5 games under their preseason Vegas win totals, are in possession of all of their future first-round draft picks for the first time in a decade.2Hell, the last time the Knicks’ draft outlook was promising for consecutive years was 2005 and 2006, when they had back-to-back seasons with multiple first-rounders. In 2005 they drafted Channing Frye and David Lee, and traded Kurt Thomas for Quentin Richardson and the draft rights to Nate Robinson. The following season, the team drafted Renaldo Balkman and Mardy Collins. Things are looking up.And so the Knicks move on to the next stage of their development, better off than they were three seasons ago. Phil Jackson did a good job — except for the parts where he didn’t. Or perhaps he did a world-historically bad job, except for a few draft picks that went his way. It was a mixed bag, full of drama and triangles, and maybe the best thing to be said about Jackson’s Knicks is that they never managed to completely bungle the future. But in this town, that’s not nothing. It’s borderline groundbreaking. Stick around long enough and even the New York Knicks might have a bright future to sell you.VIDEO: Phil Jackson’s legacy with the Knicks isn’t all bad In just three full seasons, Phil Jackson inflicted as much psychic distress on the New York Knicks fanbase as any executive in New York’s recent, storied, terrible history. Jackson signed with the Knicks on March 18, 2014. News broke on Wednesday morning that he’s leaving.Yet the fans’ discomfort was only possible, in large part, because Jackson’s front office drafted well and unearthed talented young players. Jackson built the team of the future, and then set about imperiling it.Jackson’s exit ends several weeks of turmoil which saw him feud openly with Carmelo Anthony over his no-trade clause (which Jackson himself negotiated) and entertain trade possibilities for Kristaps Porzingis, either in earnest or to send the young star a message to fall in line. It was a messy end, but then, things have been a mess for a while now.In Jackson’s first offseason, he made the biggest decision of his tenure: re-signing Anthony to a 5-year, $124 million contract, which included a no-trade clause. He also traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton for then-33-year-old Jose Calderon, a handful of cap filler and a pair of second round picks. Not quite an earth-moving rebuild, but not terrible.The following season, the Knicks made a three-team deal that sent J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland (and three straight Finals appearances), but returned three marginal players and a 2019 second-round pick. That offseason, the team drafted Porzingis with the No. 4 overall pick, and signed Robin Lopez to a 4-year, $55 million deal. The roster rounded out with peripheral free agents Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams and a trade for Kyle O’Quinn. Then the real trouble began.In the summer of 2016, Jackson signed Joakim Noah to a 4-year, $72 million contract, and traded Lopez (and his favorable contract), rookie Jerian Grant and Calderon to the Chicago Bulls for Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday and a second round pick. Rose remained a ghost of his former self; Noah was injured, ineffective and more expensive than Lopez.Going by FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection system,1CARMELO has been updated to once again use Real Plus-Minus, though it’s now blended with Box Plus-Minus. We’ll have more details in a few days, but for now, these numbers won’t match the ones in the interactive. we can see just how badly Jackson overshot on the veterans he acquired. The seven most significant players he brought in or re-signed — Anthony, Rose, Noah, Afflalo, Courtney Lee, Lopez and Calderon — made or will make a combined $253 million from the 2014-15 season to the end of the 2019-20 season from the Knicks. Over that same time, they will have produced $134 million of value. The Knicks overpaid by half. The rookies were a different story. Jackson famously preferred Jahlil Okafor to Porzingis, but should be credited for taking a talented but risky prospect. The same goes for trading second-round pick swaps for Willy Hernangomez, a viable center of the future, provided we live long enough to see a future without Joakim Noah on the books, and signing Mindaugas Kuzminskas. And last week’s draft selection, 18-year-old Frank Ntilikina, is a risky, home-run type pick at a draft position in which Jackson could have taken safer players with lower ceilings.Using the same CARMELO method as we did for the veterans, the key Knicks rookies look far better. They project to produce $203 million by 2020, but will have been paid just shy of $43 million. read more

3 notes from Urban Meyers Monday press conference

On Monday, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer addressed the media for his weekly press conference to reflect on the Buckeyes’ first loss of the season against Michigan State while also looking forward to the season finale against Michigan. Here are three notes from what he said.All eyes on ElliottThe whole college football world was talking about OSU’s loss, but more specifically, a lot of the attention was centered on Ezekiel Elliott’s postgame interview. The junior running back put the coaching staff on blast about his low usage and confessed he spent time in the hospital with a leg infection, while also announcing he would be bolting for the NFL after this season. As expected, Meyer addressed Elliott’s comments heavily on Monday. “He’s a very well-thought of junior, and he gets a microphone stuck in his face, and obviously, we do not condone that and encourage that,” Meyer said. “Our rule is always talk about your teammates and move on. And he came to see me. We had a very long discussion — he’s great — and he apologized and he said, ‘You know, they didn’t have the whole interview in there.’”But Meyer said he is not planning on listening to the rest of Elliott’s interview because they “squashed it as a team.” Many thought Elliott’s frustration about only getting 12 carries in a game that was conducive to running football because of the weather was warranted, even if it was not the right time or place. Meyer agreed with the substance of Elliott’s remarks but, as expected, was not happy with the way they were delivered. “I couldn’t disagree with him, his comments, that he should have got the ball a little bit more but that’s not the place to do it,” he said. “That’s why I always like to decompress for at least a few minutes, because I’ve said some things I’m not very proud of, and I’m not saying that (Elliott’s comments are) not true, I’m just saying that’s not the forum to have those conversations.” Meyer said he would have welcomed a conversation in private with Elliott about his carries, but the way Michigan State was crowding the line of scrimmage factored into the play-calling.The coach acknowledged that he has to “do better” in that regard.  When asked if the running back’s comments were alarming and made him question Elliott’s character, Meyer was quick to knock it down. Meyer said it was a “very isolated incident,” while noting that he feels Elliott is one of the most selfless football players he has ever been around. In hindsight, the coach said he needed to feed Elliott a little more, but with a talented Michigan team on the horizon, Meyer wants to put it in the rearview mirror.“I know I’m probably going to get another 64 questions on it, but it’s done,” Meyer said. “We’ve got a really good team coming up that we’re playing and we’ve got to move forward.” Early exitsAnother hot-button issue that has developed as of late was the issue of players with eligibility remaining discussing their future plans. During the week leading up to the game, junior defensive end Joey Bosa all but announced he would be turning pro after the 2015 campaign came to an end. That was widely assumed, as the defensive end is considered one of the best prospects in next year’s draft. However, hearing Bosa be so open about his future plans did turn some heads. Then, after the loss to Michigan State, Elliott said there was “no chance” he would be back for his senior season. Redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones added oxygen to that flame after the game when he posted photo of him walking into Ohio stadium before kickoff on Twitter saying how it was his last time walking on the steps into the ‘Shoe. On Monday, Meyer was asked if he was concerned about the negative effects that players being so open about their future endeavors and how he balances that within the locker room.Meyer pointed to his time at Florida in 2009 when a dozen players sent in paperwork to the NFL to inquire about the possibility of their draft stocks.He admitted it causes “a little anxiety” for the coaching staff, but he said when so many players are talented enough to leave for the NFL early, it is a testament to the type of recruiting going on.Players discussing their future plans causes concern in two areas, Meyer said. The first is staying focused on the task at hand, which with Michigan on the horizon, “is playing a very good team.” The second is dealing with filling those voids in the recruiting department. Meyer said it can be a “nightmare” at times, but the coach maintained that it was a good problem to have because if none of his players were good enough to get drafted, that would be a bigger problem. Everything considered, Meyer said “it’s not easy” dealing with players leaving, but his job remains the same.“I have to just make sure we’re staying focused,” he said. “The good thing is, they’re really good guys … But there’s human nature out there, too.”Uneasy feelingsWhen the players came to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Sunday, Meyer said he held a team meeting. As imagined, the coach said there was a “knot” in everyone’s stomach after the loss. But Meyer said that is a good thing. “I would be really disappointed if it wasn’t there,” he said. “Today, you like to assess most of the guys … They are moving on. And it’s always good.” Meyer said he is trying to not be overly dramatic, but for him, Saturday “was a sleepless night.” When he got back into the facility on Sunday and started to see the players showing up, Meyer said it made him start to feel better. The coach recognized the challenges that await his squad with the Wolverines, as Meyer had nothing but praise for coach Jim Harbaugh’s team. But, even so, Meyer seemed to have no concerns about whether or not his players would respond against their archrival. OSU coach Urban Meyer walks off the field at Ohio Stadium following the Buckeyes’ 17-14 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 21. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo Editor read more

Big Ten Media Days Urban Meyer fully supportive of suspensions

Junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa put on his helmet during a March 26 practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.Credit: Lantern file photoCHICAGO — A one-game suspension for a quartet of players may have been the first major setback to the 2015 Ohio State season, but members of the defending national champions aren’t letting it break their spirits.OSU announced Thursday that junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa, redshirt sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall, junior H-back Dontre Wilson and redshirt senior wide receiver Corey Smith had each been banned from the Buckeyes’ season opener on Sept. 7 at Virginia Tech for a violation of a Department of Athletics policy.While the suspensions were made public Thursday morning, OSU coach Urban Meyer said later that day during the 2015 Big Ten Media Days that it is an issue that he had been aware of for longer than that.“I kind of knew about this for a little bit,” Meyer said. “The athletic department has policies that we expect, and I 100 percent am fully supportive of it.”Meyer opted not to disclose the details of the violations, saying it was an “internal” team matter.Senior linebacker Joshua Perry said he was disappointed to see the punishments dished out, but he acknowledged there is a team code of taking responsibility for actions.“We’re disappointed because we value a high level of accountability,” Perry said. “But at the same time, you have to realize that guys do make mistakes; nobody is perfect, so as much as you want to eliminate those mistakes, you got to recognize them, you got to do something about them, and then you got to do something about it.”While each of the four suspended players are set to play major roles for the Buckeyes this season, Bosa’s absence against Virginia Tech — a team that handed OSU its only loss of the 2014 season — figures to be the most notable. Bosa was a unanimous 2014 Associated Press first-team All-America selection and finished as a finalist for three major national awards.However, Perry said he has faith in the depth and talent that the Buckeyes have to make up for the absence of the four.“If you go down our roster, and you see some of the other players we have that can step in, it’s not too worrisome,” Perry said.Missing a player who picked up 13.5 sacks last season in Bosa is never ideal for a defense, but Perry said the OSU defense has never been about the individuals.“We’re a no-name kind of defense,” he said. “What I mean by that is we want to take the individual identities away and we want to have a group identity.“We want to focus on that identity, the power of a total unit coming together. So when one guy goes down, it’s not even about the name anyway, you have to have another guy step up and know that with 11 guys doing their job, you can be successful.”The senior singled out players such as redshirt freshmen defensive linemen Sam Hubbard and Darius Slade, as well as sophomore defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes to pick up the defensive slack in the opener with Bosa out, and a pair of wide receivers in sophomore Curtis Samuel and junior Michael Thomas supporting the offense.Senior offensive lineman Taylor Decker was able to draw positives from the suspensions, citing a manufactured sense of urgency that can be valuable to a team.“I think it’s a huge opportunity for those guys who are going to step into those positions,” Decker said. “I think it might create a sense of urgency for the guys who are going to have to sit out that game because they’re probably going to be on scout team for the entirety of camp and those other guys are going to get the opportunity to take that spot and if they do a better job, they’re not going to get that spot back.”“So I think it’s going to create a sense of urgency all around, and I think it’s going to be beneficial, because if you break the rules you are going to punished no matter who you are. I don’t want to say I’m happy it happened, but I think there can be positives that come from it.”OSU — sans the four suspended players — is set to take the field for the season opener on Sept. 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m in Blacksburg, Va. read more

Governor Declares War On Criminals

first_imgScotty and Aaliyah Barr receive a standing ovation during Governor Dunleavy’s State of the State Address. Dunleavy: “Tonight, I’d like to recognize two Alaskan families that know firsthand the personal devastation that comes from violent crime. Edie and Ben Grunwald from Palmer, who lost their son David; and Scotty and Aaliyah Barr from Kotzebue, who lost a daughter and a sister, Ashley.Unfortunately, we all know their tragic stories too well — two beautiful young Alaskans taken from their families by individuals who have no regard for human life.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享“To the criminals, and to the rapists and molesters who see women and children as nothing more than opportunities, I say this to you: We will do everything in our power to stop you, apprehend you, and put you in prison for a very long time,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy in his State of the State address on Tuesday. Dunleavy promised that a wide range of proposals would be announced in the upcoming days. Including initiatives that were introduced during a press conference on Wednesday that will roll back Senate Bill 91, the 2016 law that overhauled criminal justice in the state. Scotty and Aaliyah Barr of Kotzebue are the father and sister of 10-year-old Kotzebue girl Ashley Johnson-Barr, who was tragically murdered in September 2018. Governor Dunleavy: “I say to you, and to everyone, today begins a new day in our state. From this day forward, we will not cater to the criminals and ignore the victims. We will not make excuses and turn a blind eye.”  Dunleavy: “To law-abiding Alaskans, I say this to you: I care if your house is burglarized; I care if your car is stolen; and I care if your loved ones are threatened.” Read and watch Governor Dunleavy’s full State of the State Address here. Dunleavy announced the following public safety actions that he has planned:We will expend the necessary resources for additional State Troopers, provide more local control, and more prosecutors.We will ensure that our courts will remain open five full days a week in order to hear cases.We will provide the focus and the resources necessary to combat the scourge of opiates and other illicit drugs driving up our crime rates and ruining lives.And we will repeal and replace SB 91.last_img read more

AYUSH Ministry to clamp down on permits to state govts for opening

first_imgKolkata: Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) has decided not to give permission to the state governments to open any AYUSH medical college and hospital for the next two years.The Centre, however, claimed that the move has been made to carry out a comprehensive drive to enhance existing infrastructure of the AYUSH medical colleges.For the next two years, the AYUSH Ministry will not accept any applications from any state government. The director of Ministry of AYUSH has already written to the chief secretaries of the states in this regard. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsState governments need to take no-objection certificate from the Centre for setting up an AYUSH medical college. The Union ministry has also decided not to construct any medical institutions under its fold for the next two academic years, as they will concentrate more on the development of existing infrastructure of all these hospitals. In a recent notification issued by the Ministry of AYUSH, all the state governments and universities have been urged not to give consent of affiliation to any institution which is under construction. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe restrictions will be imposed only for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. The Centre has also requested the states not to receive any fresh application, as the Centre would not entertain any such application.According to sources, there are around 626 AYUSH medical colleges across the country, among which around 17 are in Bengal. According to the ministry of AYUSH, there are areas which require some infrastructural revamp and hence it is the priority of the ministry to put in place adequate infrastructure so that people coming to the hospitals can avail best quality treatment. The ministry, during its inspection of colleges, will examine and assess if they maintain the prescribed standards. There will be a reform in the education system at all the AYUSH medical colleges in the country. According to the sources, the reforms will improve the quality of education, which will have an impact on providing quality healthcare delivery system rendered by the AYUSH system of medicine.The existing AYUSH medical colleges will, however, be able to admit candidates in various undergraduate courses for the next two academic years. The admissions will be made only through the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).The notification also mentions that AYUSH National Teachers Eligibility Test is to be conducted for appointment of all teachers in AYUSH institutions and an unique verification code for such teachers will be allotted before their appointment.The main purpose of the initiatives is to bring transparency and improvement in the quality of all the AYUSH institutions. The ministry also takes up initiatives to achieve standards in AYUSH medical education in the country.last_img read more

Smelling food may make you fat

first_imgThe ability to smell food may be making you fat, while its absence may trick the body into thinking that it has already eaten, scientists say. Researchers, including those from University of California, Berkeley in the US found that obese mice who lost their sense of smell also lost weight on a high fat diet.The slimmed-down but smell-deficient mice ate the same amount of fatty food as mice that retained their sense of smell and ballooned to twice their normal weight, they said. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe team also found that mice with a boosted sense of smell – super-smellers – got even fatter on a high-fat diet than did mice with normal smell.The odour of what we eat may play an important role in how the body deals with calories. If you can not smell your food, you may burn it rather than store it, researchers said.Sensory systems play a role in metabolism. Weight gain is not purely a measure of the calories taken in, it is also related to how those calories are perceived, they said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”This paper is one of the first studies that really shows if we manipulate olfactory inputs we can actually alter how the brain perceives energy balance, and how the brain regulates energy balance,” said Celine Riera, a fellow at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles in the US.Researchers noted that mice, as well as humans, are more sensitive to smells when they are hungry than after they have eaten, so perhaps the lack of smell tricks the body into thinking it has already eaten. While searching for food, the body stores calories in case it is unsuccessful. Once food is secured, the body feels free to burn it.Researchers used gene therapy to destroy olfactory neurons in the noses of adult mice but spare stem cells, so that the animals lost their sense of smell only temporarily – for about three weeks – before the olfactory neurons regrew.The smell-deficient mice rapidly burned calories up by regulating their sympathetic nervous system, which is known to increase fat burning.The team noted that the mice turned their beige fat cells – the subcutaneous fat storage cells that accumulate around our thighs and midriffs – into brown fat cells, which burn fatty acids to produce heat.Some turned almost all of their beige fat into brown fat, becoming lean, mean burning machines.In these mice, white fat cells – the storage cells that cluster around our internal organs and are associated with poor health outcomes – also shrank in size.Researchers found that the obese mice, which had also developed glucose intolerance – a condition that leads to diabetes – not only lost weight on a high-fat diet, but regained normal glucose tolerance.The study was published this week in the journal Cell Metabolism.last_img read more