6/22/18 – The Decline of Jamie Benn

Disclaimer: Site Update

Jamie Benn has been a great player for this franchise. Seven years remain on the contract Benn signed prior to last season at an annual cap hit of $9,500,000. He continues to produce on the point sheet, but at various times throughout the season questions did creep in about his overall game. This quote from almost-colleague Mike Heika is but a small sample of what was going on:


I have no opinion about that because, really, who knows what leadership even means without being in the locker room. Heika hears things so if he says that someone is probably saying it so, I mean, whatever. The on ice production still looked good during a season that was mediocre overall playing under a defensive-minded head coach.

Going deeper into the data tracked by Corey Sznajder you could see a decline with Benn, but the same decline was there for all forwards. I put that together here, but I’ll include the image again.


The zone entry and exit percentiles Benn fit into saw a marked drop from 2017 to 2018, but those shot contribution numbers are alarming. Offensively Benn went from being super elite to merely being good. He still fit into the same percentile based on how many shots he personally took, but his overall impact on the offense per hour of ice time was significantly smaller.

But, that’s the impact you kind of expected under Hitchcock. The same didn’t really hit Tyler Seguin, but we could write that off as Seguin really taking to the two-way role Hitchcock made him play.


I’ve referenced the data Ryan Stimson released a week ago a few times on the Morning News website, but it’s really awesome information to be at the finger tips of a bored curious adult. It’s a lot of data. I haven’t been able to talk about it in depth on the Morning News website, but we’ll go into it more here.

I pulled screenshots of the last four years of Jamie Benn data from the release. It includes defensive, passing, and scoring information along with shot quality info. These four charts are going back in time from 2018. I’m just going to present them without comment first.


Benn in 2017.


Jamie Benn in 2016.


2015 data isn’t as thorough, but 2015 Benn was undoubtedly something to behold.


It isn’t elegant looking, but I took his year by year percentiles and threw together a quick and dirty graph of the trendlines in Excel.


The overwhelming trend for four years has been a decline in Benn’s overall play culminating with what appeared to be a one year hit last year, but maybe isn’t.. A few areas are major red flags, including SCB%. This is the percentage of on ice shots a player contributes towards. Four years ago Benn was in the 97th percentile. Benn held steady in the 87th percentile in 2016 and 2017 before falling off a cliff in 2018 down to the 47th percentile.

This is an indicator that Benn was less involved in the offense. I still wonder how much of that has to do with playing with Alexander Radulov since Radulov is best with the puck on his stick, but whatever the reason that drop is alarming.

ixA60 has steadily dropped from a superstar 99th percentile down to the 78th percentile last season. This is assists expected based on how the puck is moving prior to a shot. The puck isn’t coming off of Benn’s stick prior to shots enough for him to have maximum impact.

In transition in 2018 Benn was a borderline useless player down in the 33rd percentile after previously being good. Trans60 is shots and shot assists off of passes from the neutral zone. If the puck isn’t on Benn’s stick he can’t make that impact.

Shot contributions are where the biggest red flags are. I pulled the percentiles per year into a pretty little table to further drive the point home.


PSC60 is primary shot contributions per hour, so shots plus shot assists. SA60 is shot assists per hour, or passes that lead to a shot. Shots60 is shots taken per hour. Jamie Benn has fallen from clearly elite and arguably one of the top 5 offensive players in the game to merely being good with seven years left on the contract as we creep up on his 29th birthday.

If you want to call this the problem or a symptom of the problem I can’t argue against you one way or the other, but those last three rows are telling. 1T60 is shots taken off one timers per hour and iDZ60 is shots taken after a pass across the slot or from behind the net per hour. Benn went from never taking a shot off of a one timer to being one of the more frequent one time shooters in the league while simultaneously falling from taking an elite number of shots off of cross slot/behind the net passes. As Benn has progressively taken more and more one timers his expected goals (ixG60) continue to drop.

The data seems to suggest that Benn isn’t getting to the net the way he used to, and a higher and higher percentage of his shots are coming off of one timers from further out. If that’s the case that’s either a decision by Benn, a systemic issues, or an inability to get to the net as his body starts to show signs of the physical game he’s played for years.

Whatever the reason, there’s a clear trend down in Benn’s game that needs to level off so he can continue to be a difference maker for years to come.

6/22/18 – Fate of the Mooterati

The past few weeks I’ve spent some time thinking about how Mooterati is going to fit into what I’m trying to do. It has a place for me personally, and I think I know what that is now.

I don’t make any money from the Dallas Morning News, and I’m not going to. I’ll get paid according to hits, and I never signed anything saying I couldn’t disclose that so I guess I’m ok. I’m not a staff employee so major breaking stories will go elsewhere and be promoted over things I do. I’m not complaining. I knew the score when I signed up to do it.

With that being said, I do enjoy looking at the statistical side. I also know people aren’t signing up the the Dallas Morning News to read statistical stories about the Dallas Stars. So what I’ve decided to do is post anything with a heavy statistical slant here, and the more soft core stuff will be on Sports Day. That way anyone that is actually interested in seeing it can.

Just, you know, one way or the other I would appreciate it if you clicked on those links whether you’ve hit your monthly limit of stories or you do it some other nefarious way.

6/17/2018 – The Texas Hockey History Center is awesome and you should go immediately

I’m writing up a visit to the soon-to-open Texas Hockey History Center for the Dallas Morning News, but it would be impossible to show off all of the neat things they have on display in a short post for the Morning News. I’ve collected all of the pictures I took here with some of the fascinating stories behind the items on display.



This jersey is so clean that it looks like a reproduction, but it was in fact used in a game for the Houston Apollos who, for some reason, used a missile to represent the Saturn V rocket. The goalie who used it played in exactly one game and allowed four goals before he was pulled.


Even the hockey team was talking shit to the other Houston sports teams. The Houston Aeros original look was fantastic and would rank with the top modern uniforms in hockey had the NHL allowed them to join the league. They were the only WHA champion not to enter. The story of the NHL keeping the Aeros out is bullshit, and hopefully the league rectifies it soon.


This jersey is actually the jersey of Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau from his time with the Dallas Blackhawks. The trophy is the Dallas-Fort Worth Challenge Trophy, a forerunner of the Silver Boot I suppose.


They engraved the winners into it, but obviously due to a lack of space not the names of the players.

When you enter the center on the second floor you’re greeted with a timeline of hockey in Texas marked with engraved sticks. I. Love. This.


The stairs leading up to the center have character too.


Look at the wee baby Gordie Howe playing his first game in Texas in 1945.


The first official game was played in San Antonio. Who knew?

San Antonio.jpg

These two murals greet you as you walk upstairs to get into the center. I would totally buy prints if they were for sale.

Mural 1.jpg

Number two.

Mural 2.jpg

On the wall inside the center proper the members of the Hockey Hall of Fame who practiced their craft in Texas are enshrined. Shout out to Mark Messier of the Houston Apollos.TexasTrail.jpg

Proof that the Dallas Morning News has been covering hockey in some form since 1895.


This is Eric Nadel’s 8 track. He made 8 copies of this. This is him covering the Fort Worth Texans’ Adams Cup championship win. The audio has been copied and will have a special section in the center. Visitors will be able to come up and hear the legendary Texas Rangers broadcaster call a championship.


This graphic just outside the center lays out how the center is set up. It’s broken into three eras. Bonus fun fact: Texas is the only state or province to win all of those professional hockey trophies.

Trophies.jpgAnd of course, the Stars stuff is there.


These two trophies were essentially lost before turning up in the Big Texan Steakhouse office in Amarillo.


This Dallas Blackhawks jacket is on loan to the museum. It belonged to the late Roger Neilson.


I’m in love with this jersey. The former affiliate of the New York Islanders made a gorgeous Texas representation of the Islanders famous logo.


The amount of Fort Worth Fire items really hit home, and I’m going to focus on that for the Morning News so I’m just including them here for now.


That stick triggered me.


The center has more Aeros stuff than it knows what to do with. It’s almost like the Aeros were popular, people supported them, and they would be a successful NHL team.


You should go as soon as it opens. There will be events out there during the draft. Make it a point to go. It’s awesome. Also click on the Morning News story when I publish it tomorrow so I can get those sweet clicks. I just wanted to share these pictures here.

6/8/18 – I think I know why I like Phil Kessel

I vividly remember all of the events that have triggered the most severe bouts of depression I’ve ever gone through.

I dealt with depression to a minor degree growing up, but the most traumatic events I dealt with as a kid didn’t hit me much until I was an adult. My parents divorce, my hospital stay, the indifference of my family to me after I left young childhood, and even the financially crippling events I dealt with as a new college graduate made little visible impact on me.

When my wife left me with very little morning at 11:30 pm on a week night late in May of 2016 I broke. I’m still broken, and honestly I know I’ll never be fixed. Every triggering event I vividly remember stems from that.

I remember her telling me then I remember going into convulsions and throwing up in the bathroom because I cried so hard every fiber of my body hurt.

I remember walking into the bedroom a few days later and seeing her looking at iTunes on this very computer listening to a song I would have never expected her to listen to. These are the lyrics:


They aren’t complex or even necessarily good, but they stuck with me. I think I had listened to it once or twice before that. Now? Number two.


I remember going into HEB and losing my composure the weekend after she moved out. I went to buy shampoo, and it occurred to me that I had never purchased shampoo on my own before. I wandered around the aisle aimlessly looking. The makeup lady asked if I needed help and I told her that story for some reason.

The most recent one might be the worst, but it could be recency bias. Facebook decided I should see her latest post, a list of ten things she reminds herself. It isn’t her fault I saw it, but I read it.


I’ve been in a very bad place since.

I saw the news about Anthony Bourdain, and I felt so bad for him. This was a man trying to do his best to cope, survive, and thrive. His passing and the responses to his passing on Twitter made an impact on me.

I see people trying to be understanding tweeting messages of support and I’m torn. They’re trying to be supportive, but I don’t think many know what it’s like to truly battle depression. The equating of being sad with the overwhelming feelings of depression is tough to read. Many times battling depression isn’t even a battle. Often, at least in my case, I simply don’t give a shit.

I know for myself that I do try my best, even if most of the time it isn’t close to good enough. When I see Phil Kessel I see a man doing his best to function in a culture not made for his personality. I see a cancer survivor putting points on the board while coaches have dick measuring contests with him despite the fact that he’s going to win the battle every time.

Phil isn’t right every time. He does things to ruffle feathers, but he’s doing his best. His best results in high quality production. I see a man fighting off bullshit to live to the best of his abilities in a culture where sexual predators and racists keep getting promotions and raises.

I think I like Phil Kessel for being himself despite everything. I probably always will.

6/3/18 – Dragging Steve Ott

I thought this might happen, but then it occured to me that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. I like Steve Ott, even if he wasn’t particularly good. He’s been retired for a year now. Why do that to him? You can probably search through the archives I’m putting together if you really want to find that info.

No, I wanted to say something about the state of this website. I’ve been asked to write things for Sports Day DFW, the Dallas Morning News’ online wing. It will inevitably make an impact on this place. Mooterati isn’t going anywhere though.

The reality is I’m going to make just as much money from the Morning News as I am from here, but the Morning News gives the prospect of a more immediate wider audience. I don’t expect them to be into me for the long haul either way, so for now I’m going to put my best foot forward and try to give the most interesting coverage of the Stars I can there. Maybe something good will come of it.

I appreciate the Pateron contributions. I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking the WordPress Business package is a guaranteed item at this point. I don’t really know. If you would like any money you’ve contributed back let me know and I will make every effort to get it back to you. Otherwise I’ll plan on sending all of it to the Dallas Stars Foundation down the road.

With all of that being said, here’s a roundup of everything I posted for the Morning News this week with headlines I would have prefered:

Bird Dogging Phil Kessel

Miro Heiskanen is Jesus Christ in the flesh

Seriously though, he’s really good.

Recap of game one of the Calder Cup Final

Brooks Orpik stole Craig Ludwig’s bit

Subversively sneaking in Fancy Stats into the MSM