The below table contains a group of five first-line centres in the National Hockey League, with their Corsi% On (percentage of 5-on-5 shot attempts with the player in question on the ice) and Corsi% Off (percentage of 5-on-5 shot attempts with the player in question off of the ice). Logan Paulsen Falcons Jersey . I’ve omitted names in an effort to temporarily mitigate bias. First-Line Centres Centre (2014-15) Corsi% On Corsi% Off Player A 55.3% 46.6% Player B 53.8% 50.7% Player C 58.5% 48.9% Player D 56.0% 47.7% Player E 53.4% 48.7% I think we can comfortably agree that these five players share two things in common: one, their respective teams are in control when they’re on the ice, and two, there is depreciable performance when they come off of the ice. It’s important to note, though, that the Corsi% Off for each of these centres isn’t terrible – it’s actually at or around what we would expect for a weighted performance of lines two, three, and four based on prior work done at HockeyGraphs The point isn’t that these players are likely great at their craft. It’s that these players likely play on teams with at least fairly competent depth, perhaps enough to compete for a playoff spot. Let’s work this exercise one more time. We’ll focus on the same five centres but, this time, grab their Corsi% On and Corsi% Off for the years 2011-2014. First-Line Centres - On and Off Ice Corsi% Centre (2011-14) Corsi% On Corsi% Off Player A 57.7% 49.0% Player B 50.2% 47.9% Player C 54.7% 47.7% Player D 56.5% 50.6% Player E 47.2% 44.3% for Player A through Player D, we see more of the same – a range from very good to elite possession numbers via Corsi% On, and mostly average possession numbers based on line expectations via Corsi% Off. Player E, however, is substantially different. He was getting caved in by the opposition, and his team was just appalling with him on the bench. Players A through D, in order: Henrik Sedin, Nicklas Backstrom, Sidney Crosby, and Joe Thornton. As you might have expected. Player E? Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Though there’s been a lot of handwringing about another possible disappointing season in Edmonton, I think there’s something to be said about measurable improvement. I know Oilers fans – and probably the front office and coaching staff, too – dream of this team making a magical jump from draft lottery quality to legitimate playoff contender overnight. Unfortunately, progress often takes time. That’s especially true if you’re trying to build a team that can hang its hat on puck possession, and not riding the wave of variance to a fluky post-season berth. And make no mistake, Edmonton has improved at 5-on-5. Part of it is because Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and his linemates seem to be finally taking the next step, entering their playing primes as a group. Part of it is because Edmonton has done an excellent job at repairing some galaxy-sized holes in the lineup away from the top-line, enough that this team is no longer pulling dreadful 44% control with their top players off of the ice. Let’s touch on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first. We know he’s still towing positive RelativeCorsi% from the numbers above. Additionally, he – with assistance from Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, certainly – is on the verge of hitting a Corsi% he’s only seen a couple of times previously in his career. The graph to the left is a 15-game rolling average, which will let us capture his recent 2014-2015 uptick. While Nugent-Hopkins and the Edmonton top-line are starting to decisively control play, it’s not exactly uncharted territory – we have seen stretches, albeit brief ones, of that top-line clicking in the past. What’s made Edmonton respectable, again, is that the second, third, and fourth line are starting to pull their weight a bit, something that’s been as elusive as winning within the Oilers organization for years now. We can use the same 15-game Corsi% rolling average for the Oilers over all of the games Nugent-Hopkins has played, but specifically exclude all of the shifts in which Nugent-Hopkins was on the ice. How does Edmonton look now compared to years past? Just like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Oilers second, third, and fourth-lines have seen brief stints of respectability before. But, compare the first graph to the second graph, and you’ll notice that this team’s never really had both groups going at the same time. When Nugent-Hopkins was struggling early in his career, the rest of the Oilers group was doing OK. When Nugent-Hopkins had a great run during the lockout-shortened year, the rest of the Oilers lines couldn’t get out of their own way. Can Edmonton sustain this sort of success? Right now, the team sits at 48.5% Score-Adjusted Fenwick% through sixteen games – ranking 21st in the NHL. It’s only a start, but let’s remember the Edmonton teams of past, and their league-wide ranking by Score-Adjusted Fenwick%: 28th, 26th, 30th, 29th, 26th, 29th, and 28th. Improvement is a relative term. Edmonton’s doing it. In the event that they can fix the goaltending that’s really been the source of their pain for most of this season, the Oilers could be a team trending up in the standings. Deadrin Senat Falcons Jersey . But qualifying for her first Scotties Tournament of Hearts after years of falling short in tough Manitoba provincial championships is as good as consolation prizes get for the 29-year-old from Winnipegs Fort Rouge Curling Club. Logan Paulsen Jersey .Y. - Terry and Kim Pegula have no immediate plans to tinker with their new NFL team. http://www.falconsrookiestore.com/Falcons-Isaiah-Oliver-Jersey/ .com) - The Toronto Blue Jays will look to snap a three-game skid Friday night when they continue their road trip in the opener of a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.(SportsNetwork.com) - With apologies to Paul Revere and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, winning is most certainly a two if by land proposition for the modern-day Kansas City Chiefs. The 2014 Chiefs have lived and died based on the fortunes of running backs Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis, whove combined for 1,388 yards on the ground and scored 21 of the teams 36 touchdowns. Itll be the same scenario for Week 16, when Kansas City visits Pittsburgh, whose run defense has allowed 183 yards and one score in its last two games. Davis had a pair of touchdowns in the Chiefs 31-13 defeat of Oakland last week, while Charles is listed probable to face the Steelers after dinging up an ankle and undergoing a concussion test after a hard hit. Every game from here forward is a playoff game. Were taking that mindset into every game, Davis said. For me, its just a dream to be in the NFL. To make the big plays and help this team win is just huge all around. Meanwhile, the drought continues for the Chiefs wide receivers, whove now gone 17 games across two seasons without a touchdown, matching Denver (1971-72) and Cleveland (2008-09) for the longest streaks since the AFL-NFL merger. Quarterback Alex Smith has 18 TD throws, including five each to Charles and tight end Travis Kelce and four to another tight end, Anthony Fasano. The two Browns teams involved in Clevelands streak were a combined 9-23, while the two Broncos teams were 9-18-1. The fact that theyre still winning games and havent been able to have passing touchdowns like that, it shows that theyre a very resourceful team, Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats said. Both Pittsburgh and Kansas City will need some success this week to stay playoff relevant. The Steelers, at 9-5, are tied for second with Baltimore in a competitively muddled AFC North, each sitting a half-game behind Cincinnati. The Bengals play Monday night against Denver - which has already clinched the AFC West ahead of the Chiefs - while Baltimore heads to Houston. Pittsburgh finishes the regular season with Cincinnati next weekend. The Steelers beat the Bengals, 42-21, in Week 14, then came back and won at Atlanta, 27-20, last Sunday. A win against the Chiefs and Pittsburgh will clinch at least a wild-card berth. The last couple of games have been playoff games for us, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. Weve had to take that approach and that mindset because of how important every game was where we were record wise, seed-wise whatever you want to call it. Weve kind of had that mentality for the last couple of weeks that its time to get hot and play our best football. So were just going to continue to try to do that. Kansas City was in prime playoff position about a month ago, before a three- game losing skid that was only halted by the win against the Raiders. The Chiefs are now among a gaggle of AFC teams at 8-6 or better and will finish the season against another, San DDiego, next weekend. Custom Atlanta Falcons Jerseys. Every game is playoff mode, Charles said. Every game, youve got to come with it. Pittsburghs offense have been the leagues most prolific through 14 games, thanks to an eight-game stretch in which its averaged 424.9 yards and 33.1 points. The Steelers are 6-2 during that run. Were trying to stack wins, cornerback William Gay said. Playing against good opponents and just putting everything on the line. The driving force has been the trio of Roethlisberger, running back LeVeon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger has already exceeded 4,400 passing yards and hes completed a career-best 67.2 percent of his passes. His 29 touchdowns are three shy of his high watermark, set in 2007. Browns 115 catches are tops in the NFL and a franchise record for a single season. Hes two yards from surpassing the 1,499-yard franchise record he established last year, and one more TD catch will make him the fourth Pittsburgh receiver to haul in 12 in a season, joining Hines Ward (2002), Louis Lipps (1985) and Buddy Dial (1961). Bell has 76 catches of his own, far exceeding the previous team best by a running back - 51 by John L. Williams in 1994. His 2,043 yards from scrimmage are also a franchise record. Bettering the numbers wont be a cake walk against the Chiefs, whose pass defense is No. 2 in the league with an average allowance of 199.2 pass yards per week. Its a good defense. We have to look at a lot more film because they get after the passer (and are) good in the secondary, Roethlisberger said. This is going to be one of our toughest tasks of the year. WHAT TO WATCH FOR A Multi-Toned Bell Pittsburghs Week 15 foe, Atlanta, came in with an all-in strategy to stop the run, and they were successful in limiting Bell to just 47 yards on 20 rushes. Problem is, the run is not the only thing with which Bell can hurt a defense. He caught five passes for 72 yards - including a 44-yard catch and run - and will be a vital element regardless on which way the Chiefs attack. Disrupt Big Bens Timing The Steelers have seen Roethlisberger sacked 32 times in 14 games, which doesnt sound terrific, but is still on pace to be Bens lowest number for a season in which he started at least 14 games. Keeping that pace could be an issue, however, if the leagues co-leader in sacks, Justin Houston, gets clear to add to his 17. He and fellow outside linebacker Tamba Hali have 23 combined. OVERALL ANALYSIS Its probably not a preview of the AFC Championship Game. In fact, theres a far better chance that the team that loses this game wont even make the playoffs at all. What it is, though, is a meeting of two teams with significant talent on both sides of the ball. The difference, it seems, comes in the fact that the Steelers have more Plan Bs when the Plan As dont work. Thats whatll matter here. 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