Scotty Bowman is often attributed with saying that your team's special teams percentages should add up to at least 100 if you want to be doing okay. The Islanders, at 18.7% + 80.8%, are close to 100 (99.5), but they are decidedly not doing okay.
Admittedly, this "formula" is a rather old-school, "ooh, look, numbers!" way of looking at things, but it's a nice rough gander at special teams. The problem for the Islanders, of course, is horrendous 5-on-5 performance undermines decent special teams play.
As I mentioned last week when looking at Forechecker's compilation of "PythagenPuck" rankings, a
six nine-game losing streak is no time to just pile on: We already know the team is bad. But we should understand just how bad, relative to the league, that the Islanders' 5-on-5 play has been. With a 0.48 GF/GA 5-on-5 average, the Islanders remain worst in the league by a country mile. [Big chart after the jump.]
The next-worst, the Blues, are at 0.78. After that 0.30 jump, the increments in the rankings are generally about .02 to .03 (except for Boston and New Jersey, who are at the top with 1.76 and 1.48, respectively).
Another way to look at this: J.P. at Japers' Rink did a rough sketch combining teams' rankings in 5-on-5, PP, and PK to get a picture of which teams might be better (underachieving) or worse (overachieving) than their records indictate. J.P. admits that 5-on-5 play should be weighted in his sketch (more goals are scored 5-on-5), but since it is not, the Islanders look like their record is "underachieving" their actual play.
But it's not, and the vast difference in their 5-on-5 performance from the rest of the league indicates how J.P.'s compilation could make them look like victims of misfortune.
We can tell observationally that -- whether by system or by inconsistent, constantly injured personnel -- they are a mess at even strength. They rely on their PP so much for offense because without it, they're just not generating nor preventing goals.
(Sumptuously, this situation provides evidence for two opposing camps of Islanders fans: the ones who say Gordon's system isn't working, so he needs to change; and the ones who say the weak personnel and/or injury carnage is the only problem, so he should stay the course and keep drilling it into the heads of the kids who will be here a while.)
League Team Stats for Dec. 21
Here's an overview of the whole league, ranked by 5-on-5 play, as of today. Note how Montreal is still struggling with an awful power play, but their 5-on-5 is near the top. (Which scenario would you prefer?) Amazing how the departure of a guy like Mark Streit makes such a difference, but we've seen why. I'll do a separate post on Streit later this week.
Note also that Atlanta (the Isles' next opponent), which is middle of the pack 5-on-5, is 29th in the standings with an absolutely atrocious penalty kill.
The look, as of Dec. 21 games, for posterity's sake. (Note: if anyone knows the way to a league "wayback machine" database where you can look up league stats/rankings on any given date, do drop a note in comments. That's a tool that would be lovely).