Paul MacLean was fired by the Ottawa Senators on the 8th of December. MacLean’s Senators were 11-11-5, four points out of the last Eastern Conference playoff spot. Dave Cameron has taken over and the results have been interesting. The Senators are 5-5-3 under the new coach.
So what, has changed since Cameron has taken over? The team is currently on a 3 game losing streak as of the writing of this article (January 9th). They sit eight points out of a playoff spot. So who has been the beneficiary of the coaching change? Are the Senators a better team under Cameron than MacLean?
The above table displays some key statistics. The statistics are tabulated across all strengths. The is that change Cameron has seemed to help the Senators offensively, as the Senators are scoring slightly more goals under Cameron. The team has seen a large increase in their CF% percentage, as they are now generating more shot attempts in a game than their opponents.
However, the Senators are giving up more goals under Cameron than they did under MacLean. I do not believe this is necessarily Cameron’s fault. In 2013/2014 the Ottawa Senators had a 90.9% save percentage. The average save percentage across the NHL is 91.7%. I believe the new coach has been the victim of poor goaltending, while MacLean was the beneficiary of the Senators goaltenders running hot.
Some of you might believe that is a crazy statement to make. Clearly the team must be doing something wrong if they are giving up more goals?
The above table displays the Ottawa Senators Corsi statistics under both coaches at even strength. Cameron has the Senators generating 3.4 more shot attempts per game. Cameron also has the Senators giving up 4.4 less shot attempts per game. Since the Cameron takeover the Senators give up less shots and attempt more shots of their own. Therefore the blame can be placed on Cameron.
The opponents get less shot attempts in a game, so scoring should be down.
Cameron and the Sens would be winning more games than they did under MacLean if they had the goaltending performances turned in earlier this year. For those interested in reading on Save Percentage and how to evaluate defenseman, a great article is located on BroadStreetHockey.
The above table displays the Corsi numbers for even strength play. Most of a hockey game is played at even strength. It is extremely important to prevent scoring and generate your own offence during even strength play. As well, Cameron’s even strength CF/60 trounces MacLean’s.
The Senators are a much more offensive team under Cameron and the Sens give up less shot attempts under Cameron. I believe they are better under Cameron than MacLean.
If the Senators could get a few more bounces to go their way they would be a significantly better team under Cameron. The next way to analyze the differences between MacLean and Cameron is to compare how players play/played under both coaches. This will be done in my next piece comparing the two coaches.