If you’ve been paying attention to the 2017-18 NHL season, you may have noticed something: There is no shortage of goals. We’re more than a third of the way through the season, and scores are, on average, the highest they’ve been since 2005-06. Through Sunday, there have already been 31 games settled in regulation in which the teams combined for double-digit goals. A year ago there were only 45 such games across the whole season. We’re still a long way away from the 1980s golden era of goals, but for a league that’s been repeatedly criticized for being too low-scoring, this sudden glut can only be read as a positive development.It’s difficult to point to just one cause for the scoring uptick. The league instituted a number of rule changes at the beginning of the season,1The NHL did something similar after the lockout of 2004-05, introducing a sweeping array of rule changes with the express purpose of increasing goal scoring. and those changes have contributed to an increase in power play opportunities — teams are averaging 3.3 power play opportunities per game so far this season, the highest mark in five years.2Those changes also include a crackdown on slashing and a conservative interpretation of what a center can and cannot do at the faceoff dot: If a center does not stand squarely facing his opponent’s side of the rink, he is subject to being thrown out of the dot. If that happens consecutively to centers from the same team, that team will be subject to a bench minor. The league wants to see less stick work and less cheating on the faceoff dots. And it’s evident the league wasn’t kidding about cracking down on slashing — through Sunday, officials had doled out 623 penalties for slashing. That number was just 791 for all of last season. Slashing0.641.22+0.58 Hooking1.030.97-0.07 Holding0.640.67+0.03 The box is getting crowdedMinor penalties per NHL game over the past two seasons Roughing0.840.67-0.18 More power play opportunities translate to more odd man advantages, which translate to more shots on net per game: Teams are surrendering more shots per game (31.6) than they have in the past three decades. The math is simple: more shots on goal equals more pucks finding the twine.And even though goals against averages are up across the league — the current mark of 2.76 is the highest it’s been in a decade — the goaltenders cannot be blamed for the league’s recent scoring outburst. Among qualifying goalies,3We looked at goalies who’ve played at least 200 minutes. the league average save percentage (92.18) is slightly higher than the league average expected save percentage (92.13), which is the save percentage an average goalie should post given the quality of shots faced.This suggests that goalies are actually outperforming expectations. During the 2016-17 season, goalies stopped fewer pucks than the data suggested they should have stopped (an actual save percentage of 91.94 versus an expected save percentage of 92.17), and yet goals per game totals remained roughly in line with numbers from the preceding nine seasons.Goalies in 2017-18 are also outperforming their peers from the previous year on high danger shots (unblocked shots with an expected scoring percentage of 9 or greater); this year’s cohort is stopping 79.4 percent of shots considered dangerous, while last year’s stopped just 78.5 percent of those shots.Even though teams are converting their power plays with effectively the same efficiency they did in 2016-17, they’re getting more of those man advantage looks, and likely the rule changes — and not poor goalie play4Goalies are always getting blamed; we need to stop blaming those poor goalies. — offer the truest explanation for the higher-scoring brand of hockey being played in the NHL at the moment.And let’s not forget the cadre of young offensive talent that has flooded the NHL in the past several seasons: Last year, six of the top dozen goal scorers were 25 years old or younger. And the top point getter (Connor McDavid) was just 20. All of these very young men are already sharing the leaderboards with future Hall of Famers like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, who are still both in the primes of their careers. This overlap of generational talent could be contributing to all the scoring, too.To be sure, no one in the league office of the NHL is losing sleep over this. More scoring is good news for a league that has been plagued by a spate of absurd calls from pundits to not only tweak the rules of the game, but to change the shape of it too. Reprimanding centers for lining up at the dots incorrectly? Fine, we can all live with that. But making the nets bigger? That’s downright sacrilege. Thanks to the relatively high-scoring climate of the present-day NHL, maybe we can put that tired argument to bed once and for all. Interference0.640.71+0.08 Goalie interference0.100.09-0.01 High stick0.690.58-0.10 Tripping1.081.20+0.12 Holding stick0.110.07-0.03 Penalty2016-172017-18Difference All minors6.657.09+0.44 Cross checking0.300.31+0.01 Through Dec. 17. Differences may not add up because of rounding.Source: ESPN
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has risen to Mohamed Salah’s defence following allegations that he’s been diving to win penalties.The Egyptian forward has been at the centre of a growing debate over diving due to an apparent willingness to fall to the ground too easily in a challenge.As a result, several spot-kicks have come in Salah’s favour this term with Crystal Palace players even confronting him during Liverpool’s last game on January 19 when he was not awarded a penalty for falling to the ground.But Klopp is adamant that Salah would never dive on purpose and suggested that critics are only targetting him due to the fact he plays for a big club like Liverpool.“[Crystal Palace] was the first situation where he went down without [a penalty] and you speak about all the other situations as well,” said Klopp, according to FourFourTwo.“The other situations there is nothing to talk about – it is a penalty, done. If this is the first then why do we talk about?“There are other situations, much more obvious situations, that we don’t talk about and nobody is talking about because it’s not [Manchester] City, it’s not [Manchester] United, it’s not Liverpool, it’s not Arsenal or it’s not Chelsea.“All the others can do it from time to time and nobody really talks about it. It’s all fine.Chelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“All the penalties against him were penalties, but people handle it like it was halfway diving – it was not. We don’t need blood for a foul in football. That’s all I will say about it.”Interestedly, Klopp then pointed out that Leicester City’s star striker Jamie Vardy falls to the ground in the same way as Salah does.The German made these comments ahead of tonight’s Premier League match against the Foxes at Anfield.“Did anyone talk to Jamie Vardy when, everybody saw [against Southampton], he jumped in? Is Jamie a bad person because of that?” Klopp added.“I don’t say now he is a diver. That is another situation.“You have them in the back, you are there, you feel something, do you have to go down?“Probably not. I don’t have to speak to players about obvious things. He knows that. Don’t go down in situations like that.”
In his first engagement at Brisbane, where he landed earlier in the day on the second leg of his three-nation visit, Modi visited the QUT. There was palpable excitement among the student community, which also includes a large number of those of Indian origin.Modi was asked to write a message on the agricultural robot, and he wrote in Hindi “research is the mother of development”, according to a tweet by the ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJICurious students gathered around the robot to read what the Indian prime minister had written.A translation of the entire message was posted by the university.It read: “Research is key to development. There is ongoing relationship between development journey of humankind and research. Increasing dominance of science and technology in the field of agriculture will surely prove to be beneficial to farmers and to the field of agriculture as a whole. It is an important endeavour for the welfare of mankind. Best wishes for your effort.” Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindThe Agro Robot is a lightweight machine that performs the functions of a large tractor, including weeding.Modi took a walk around the university to learn more about the agricultural research going on there, including how to enhance the bio-technological processes to fortify bananas with more iron content.The prime minster also wished the children on Children’s Day, celebrated on the birth anniversary of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. “I am fortunate to be among children on Chacha Nehru’s birthday,” an MEA tweet cited Modi as saying.Many researchers of the Indian origin community were seen taking selfies with the prime minister.Modi met researchers, the student community and got an update on projects focused on bio-fuels, bio-fortification and agro-robotics.Modi arrived earlier in the day from Myanmar to attend the G20 summit.He is the first Indian prime minister to visit Australia since Rajiv Gandhi in 1986.Modi was received at the airport by Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.Indian High Commissioner in Australia Biren Nanda was present.In Australia, Modi will attend the G20 summit in Brisbane Nov 15-16 and also hold talks with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Canberra during his five-day stay here.Among his other engagements here Friday is a reported bilateral meeting scheduled with British Prime Minister David Cameron.