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Vulgar Statistics: Ryan Miller Rest Continued

03/27/11
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After the extremely illuminating and Pulitzer worthy (if I may say so) column on Ryan Miller’s performances before and after a night off that I wrote last week, some people wanted to see what Miller’s statistics looked like based on the number of days off he was getting between games (again, over the past three years).  Well I aim to please so…

There was some initial discussion on how to best show those numbers, with the final decision being to merely track the number of days off in between games and sort Miller’s stats that way.  Of course it can be said that oftentimes the goaltender’s stats are as much a reflection of the team’s play as they are of his.  So to account for that I will be presenting the same chart two different ways.  The first will just count the days of rest Miller received between games.  The second will count the days of rest Miller received between games only when the rest of the team has received the same amount of rest to throw out instance in which Miller is coming in fresh and the team is not, which would tend to make his stats and thus his performance look worse than they actually are..

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So to reiterate, those are Miller’s stats straight up.  In a few of the games used in the above chart, Miller may be coming in with three, four, or more days rest but the team isn’t, so those stats might be a bit lower than they normally would be.

 

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But they’re not.  They’re actually higher for the two and three day columns.  So that means that Miller is better off playing in those games when the team is more fatigued.  I’m not quite sure how that makes sense, but those are the numbers.

What I find most interesting is that Miller’s stats are so bad when he receives three days of rest.  However, that is one of the smaller sample sizes, and there are three games in which he allowed 6, 7, and 7 goals driving those numbers upwards.  If those three games are removed, his numbers for instances of three days rest increase pretty dramatically and his worst numbers then come with two days of rest.  I think it lends credence to a theory that a goaltender is at his best either when he is completely rested, or when he has an established rhythm of playing just the right amount of games.  Two to three games of rest seems to be an odd little in between period where the goaltender falls into a crack between being dialed into a season, or completely fresh and ready to go.

Final Thoughts:

I wasn’t sure what to expect in putting together this data.  That there’s a drop off in performance (per the stats) in the middle is really interesting to me.  It shows that having one goaltender log the majority of the minutes, and another perform sparingly is a viable strategy if you’ve got the right personnel.  It’s also nice to see that Miller’s stats are strong in back to back games, and that it would seem poor performances in those games is more of a team fatigue issue than a goaltender fatigue one.  It definitely makes me a lot less willing to criticize Lindy Ruff when he has Miller go in both ends of a weekend series and a lot more confident in Miller’s ability to perform in those games.  And I love that Miller is great when he plays every other night…because you know when that happens…

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