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Game On; Okposo Out; Metro Bragging Rights; Emergence of the PP; Corsi's Demise?

Bantering Points for Tuesday, January 27, 2015.

Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Ok so let's just clarify something. A blizzard, or anything, can't be deemed "historic" before it has already happened. It isn't yet in history.

That said, now that this "historic" blizzard, dubbed Juno, has mostly done its damage, how are things looking? From the photos I have seen, it looked like any old blustery snow storm in NYC.

On Long Island, they got a bit more snow in some areas. Around Nassau Coliseum? Not so bad.

Game On

Travel bans have been lifted. Roads are being plowed. And it looks like it is game on for Rangers at Islanders.

The Islanders are looking to stay perfect against the Rangers this season. They won the previous two handily. [CBS Sports]

Henrik Lundqvist is set to start. All Rangers were on the ice for the morning skate. Hunwick is playing tonight as Moore will be a healthy scratch. The rest of the lineup is currently TBD.  [SNY]

When these teams last met, the Islanders blanked the Blueshirts 3-0 at MSG, which started a brief two game scoreless skid. Since then, the Rangers have righted themselves in resounding fashion, most recently taking a 3-2 decision against the Senators at home before the All-Star break. [Yahoo]

Okposo Injured

The Islanders got the unfortunate news that first line wing Kyle Okposo, second on the team in points (14g 30a) will miss 6-8 weeks with an undisclosed upper body injury. There has been speculation that he had emergency eye surgery but nothing definitive has been released by the team. Mikhail Grabovski is expected to take his spot on the first line when he returns from his own injury, which could be as soon as this evening. [NY Times]

Grabovski isn't as much of a step down from Okposo as their point production might suggest. He is a strong player in his own right. He carries play quite well (58.1 SACF%) and has a quick and accurate shot that could benefit from Tavares late-breaking slot passing. If they find chemistry, don't be surprised if his goal rate jumps up significantly.

A bit of good news for the Islanders: Lubomir Visnovsky is set to come off injured-reserve after missing the past 7 games. [NY Post]

Still, the loss of Okposo should tell everyone quite a bit about the resolve and depth of this strong Islanders club.  [Puck Daddy]

Metro Bragging Rights

The Rangers are out to prove a point against the Islanders.  [CBS NY]

Both of these teams are playing great hockey and vying for the top of the Metropolitan. Larry Brooks argues that the Rangers don't want to win the division because they could potentially face the Wild Card Bruins in the first round. I'll let you guys decide on the merits of his argument.  [NY Post]

The Emergence of the Powerplay

As I highlighted in my article breaking down the Rangers' recent run of success, the Rangers' powerplay is clicking. These two articles break down a few of the reasons why it has emerged as a strength over the past two months.  [NY Times]  [Blueseat Blogs]

Since December 6th, when their run of solid play started, they are 7th in the NHL on the PP with 8.2 GF/60.

Corsi's Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Over the ASG weekend, certain "get-off-my-lawn" mainstream media members had a field day touting the introduction of RFID play-tracking chips as a nail in the coffin for analytics proponents and , specifically, Corsi. The thinking is that real-time possession tracking will render Corsi (all shot attempts) obsolete. This, ostensibly, is because one of Corsi's primary uses is as a proxy for possession.

Of course, this is silly. Corsi is like any standard hockey stat. It is a simple counting mechanism that has valuable information to be pulled from it, regardless of its proxy for possession. Specifically, it has correlative predictivity to goals for. That won't change because real-time possession may be trackable in the near future. If anything, it will just give the stat greater context, potentially ushering in what I think is truly the Holy Grail of goal scoring, Dynamic Shot Probability. I'll explain that concept more in an article this week.

The problem, as so aptly explained by the linked article from Andrew Berkshire over at Habs Eyes on the Prize, is that Corsi has many valid and valuable uses. This isn't about Corsi. And RFID will only open the door for greater and more contextually relevant analytical analysis (assuming the data is publicly available). Not less. What this is about is who created the stats. That is, part-time bloggers. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

Stop digging the mass grave, MSM. Hockey thinkers aren't going anywhere. While there is plenty of room for all types of sports writing, the more certain writers denounce the subsection of hockey writing that deals with advanced analytical thinking about the game, the more they expose themselves as dinosaurs who are unwilling to continue learning and expanding their knowledge-base about the sport they are supposed to have some form of expertise in. This only further assures that people will seek out blogs and bloggers willing to grapple with these concepts.