NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 18, 2019

by | Aug 18, 2019 | News, NHL | 8 comments

An update on Mikko Rantanen, Mike Milbury offers up his opinion on analytics, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: (Stick tap to Shawn Lamba): Mikko Rantanen isn’t concerned over the lack of a new contract with the Colorado Avalanche. “Nothing’s wrong; there’s still one month until [training] camp starts,” said Rantanen. “I know what’s happening, but I’m not stressful. There are a lot of players who are in the same situation.”

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen remains confident of signing a new contract before training camp (Photo via NHL Images).

Rantanen, 22, is a restricted free agent coming off an entry-level contract. Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said he’s looking forward to the young winger returning to Colorado.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the dog days of the NHL offseason drag on, the unusually high number of top restricted free agents still unsigned dominates the slow news cycle. Most, if not all, of those RFAs (including Rantanen, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point, and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk) will probably be re-signed before training camps open next month.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury has no interest in using any of the analytic information from the league’s new Puck and Player Tracking system.

“I know they’re counting on it, but I’ve made my feelings known. No thanks. I mean, every move measured and calculated . . . what the [bleep] is the fun in that?! I guess I could be wrong, and there’ll be something in all of it that will catch my eye, but . . . ”

Milbury feels those numbers could be useful for player assessment. However, he doesn’t want them to bog down the broadcast or become a substitution for the trained eye. “How is a team adjusting its power play or forecheck . . . what are a player’s strengths? That, for me, is the fun of it. Now we’re going to be talking about equations based on that? Come on, really?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Milbury’s earned his fair share of criticism over the years for his coverage of the game. I daresay his remarks won’t go down well with the analytic community.

I believe analytics have a place in hockey and it could be worthwhile to share that information during the broadcasts if it’s done with the right balance. Bombard fans with too many numbers and it could detract from the overall coverage.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: As hockey analytics evolves, the Chicago Blackhawks are confident they’ll remain among the leaders in their assessment and usage of that data.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes signed college defenseman Chase Priskie to an entry-level contract. “At Quinnipiac, Priskie led Division I defensemen in goals (17), power-play goals (10) and game-winning goals (five) last season. He was a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in 2018-19.”


  1. Well said about analytics Lyle.

    I wonder was the deep stats say about shoe attacks…?

    • SSPM… Sole Strikes Per Minute

      ATR—Average # of top row player gets to in stands

      FAPG…. Fans Assaulted Per Game

      • Ha!

  2. Ya, but what a GM he was…….

  3. You can judge his pass or his GM skills but his point is spot on for TV entertainment value. Break down the play and talk about what needs to be done.
    I dare say no one watches a hockey game and wonders in the moment what someone corsi or face off percentage is. I watch more entertainment and I’ll judge you later.

  4. I fear that use of analytics in broadcasts will be not just crushingly boring, it will cause more inane nattering by broadcasters.

    There is a tendency to fill in every nanosecond of silence and stoppage of play with commentary. Consider how many times a goal is replayed, broken down almost frame by frame. We saw the goal already.

    Sometimes I watch the game with the sound off. The play gets to speak for itself.

    And I leave the room when Cherry comes on.

  5. I can research to the hundreth of a second how much faster any NFL player is than another over a certain distance, but there’s no NHL statistic that I know of that allows me to determine absolutely whether, say, Sebastian Aho is faster than Radko Gudas, let alone by how much. Please, someone, inform me of where I can find it if there is.

    With analysts and fans constantly stressing the importance of speed in today’s game, it’s astonishing that NHL statisticians haven’t supplied measurements that corroborate it. By providing such a resource, the Puck and Player Tracking system could lead the analytics community out of the era of counting by taps of a Mic-Mac hockey stick.

    • Hockey Night in Canada will show a player’s speed as part of a replay sometimes. Doesn’t mean much most of the time. I think this type of analysis will improve soon with technical advances.