When the Hawks left for the road trip we were all gushing about the faceoff prowess at the time and I mentioned that we had gone through a favorable home schedule and it would be interesting to see how the numbers moved on the road where the road centerman has to have his stick on the dot first.
In the last three games before the trip Madden went 10/16 (63%), 13/16 (81%), and 9/9 (100%). In the last four games before the road trip Toews went 13/20 (65%), 17/22 (77%), 10/15 (66%) and 8/18 (44%).
I decided to put my money where my mouth was and put all the Hawks face off stats into a spreadsheet. I uploaded it to google docs, but I don't use google docs a lot so if it doesn't appear properly please let me know.
A couple of things stand out:
- Toews was still pretty good on the dot during the circus trip going 50/92 (54.3%) but still well below his season avg of (59.8%) and even below his season road avg of (55.7%)
- Madden had a difficult trip winning the same amount of draws as Toews but taking many more, 50/113 (44.2%). Madden's line was generally given the assignment of going against the opponents' top line, and with the home team having the last change he was often up against an unfavorable matchup. Still his circus trip average was well below his season avg of (54.4%) and even below his season road avg of (49.0%).
- Here's the number of face offs taken in order Madden 390 (played all), Toews 316 (played 19/25 games), Bolland 223 (played 13/25 games), Fraser 157 (played all), and then you get into the experiments and irregulars - Versteeg 73, Ebbett 72, Sharp 49, Kopecky 45, Brouwer/Kane/Ladd 4, and Bickell/Dowell/Buff 1.
- The Hawks, particularly Madden, Toews and Ebbett are homers. The average of the top 200 faceoff takers last season was that they did 3.2% better at home than on the road, so far for the top 200 this season the difference is 3.0%. However Madden is 11.1% better at home, Toews 7.4% and Ebbett 6.9%. But then you have Kopecky, Bolland and Versteeg who are better on the road at 16.0%/1.5%/1.3% respectively. Overall the team is 5.3% better at home than on the road. If this continues then home ice in the playoffs will be very valuable.
- The Versteeg experiment at center hasn't been very strong for faceoffs. He didn't take any in either of the last two games of the trip but prior to that he was 22%/43%/20%/25% on the first four games of the trip. On the last two games of the trip Q put Sharp in the circle and he went 3/7 (42.9%) and 5/9 (55.6%) against ANA and LAK.
- Overall the team is winning 52.54% of their draws, with 54.99% at home and a very respectable 49.68% on the road. Last year this was our big concern at the trade deadline. This year we shipped out Pahlsson and brought in Madden and now it looks like a strength. Thank you John Madden.