The NHL has, once again, provided the SB Nation hockey sites with a complimentary subscription to their NHL GameCenter Live service. The NHL does some things very poorly but their online presence isn't one of them so as a way to say thanks we've decided to discuss some of the cool GCL and nhl.com features that might help some of you poolies out. Hopefully there are a few features here you either weren't aware of or don't use as often as you should.
NHL GameCenter Live
If you're looking to watch games online you've got two choices. Free and poor quality illegal streams or some coin and GCL. I am a cheap bastard and I don't often use the phrase "good value" but I think that's the deal with GCL. Less than $100 for all the hockey you could ask? Sign me up. I would have paid for it if they didn't give us a free account.
The quality is excellent. You might get a few pixelated moments which are annoying, but it is much better than the alternative of buffering. I've checked it out on the laptop, ipad, iphone and apple TV and it looked great on all four.
I only have two complaint with GCL. First, they blackout commercials and the intermission shows. It's weird to say but the commercials are better than empty space and no sound. I don't understand which networks wouldn't want their intermission shows put on and I definitely don't understand which advertisers wouldn't want their ads put on. At the very least can't they sell some adds for this blank space?
Second, the local blackouts seem unnecessary to me. I have to think those with access to a TV will watch it on their TV, so why cut out the potential viewers who don't have access to a TV? Cruel.
I'm sure there are some legal reason for both problems, but it's still annoying.
Like most sites you can click on league leaders and get a nice collection of sortable stats. You can also filter by year, team, position, rookie and country of birth.
The area that offers the most benefit for fantasy players is the different type of stats reports:
Summary - the standard stats
Assists - assists by situation (EV/PP/SH), home, road, against own division and other division
Bios - DOB, birth city, height, weight, shooting hand, draft year/round/pick
Division - goals, assists, points and plus-minus against your division and outside of your division
Faceoff Leaders & Faceoffs - face offs by situation (EV/PP/SH), road, home,
Goals - all kinds of goals: EV, SH, PP, 1st goals, OT goals, GWG, goals at home, goals on the road, penalty shot goals and also by division
Home - standard stats but only for home games
Penalties - PIM's obviously but also number of minors, majors, misconducts, game misconducts and match penalties
Plus/Minus - plus-minus at home and on the road and also also info on each players team's GF and GA
Points - points by situation (EV/PP/SH), home, road, against own division and other division
Real-Time Stats - hits, blocks, missed shots, giveaways, takeaways, % of team faceoffs taken
Road - standard stats but only for road games
Shooting % Leaders & Shooting % - shooting % but also penalty shots info, and shots per game.
Shootouts - all the shootout information you could ask for
Special Teams (PP, PK, OT) - goals, assists and points for PP, SH and in overftime
Time On Ice - TOI for PP, SH, and EV, also per game averages for each. Shifts and average shift length as well.
Of course you'll get the box score and recap like you do on any other site but nhl.com has many other 'hidden' gems on each games boxscores. Check out the Rangers - Pens boxscore from last night. You'll notice a few links in on the right. These links take you to special pdf reports on the game.
- Game Summary - not much for poolies here, most of the info is found on a regular box score
- Event Summary - this one I like. Shift lengths, TOI (shorthanded, power play and even strength) and lots of other unusual goodies like missed shots, giveaways, takeaways and attempts blocked. Maybe not stats you'll need everyday but not a bad thing to check out occasionally.
- Faceoff Report - Interested in who is taking the offensive, defensive and neutral zone draws? For example total I learned Joe Vitale took nine of his 13 draws in the defensive zone last night.
- Full Play-by-Play - sites like Left Wing Lock, Fantasy Hockey 911 (it's been revamped by the way) and SportsNet are great for checking out the comings and going of line combos. But sometimes you need a bit more detail. This is play by play and lets you know who is on the ice for each event. Good place to go if you've got a bit of time and want to see what kind of situations Pat Maroon is playing with Getzlaf and Perry.
- TOI - Penguins & TOI - Rangers - very detailed shift information by player.
- Roster Report - other than telling you who has been scratched not much to see here
- Shot Report - what situation (EV, PP, SH) situation and what period each player recorded their shots.
There you go, hopefully you'll take a bit of a look around next time you're over at nhl.com and some of their free tools will help you in your pools.