KORAB Grit Numbers: Kings-Blackhawks Games 3–6

The Kings have torn through the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs at such a frenetic pace that I’m still reeling from the Blackhawks series.  As a result, the KORAB Grit numbers are just now coming in from that series.

KORAB is an advanced stat you won’t hear about from the mainstream media – or lame stream media, for that matter – who is all hung up on their own definition of GRITTINESS.  Their definitions, while fine, typically ignore the scientific approach to classifying true WARRIORS.  That’s where KORAB comes in.  KORAB attempts to collect all of the grittiest, pluckiest, mettliest, and resilienciest of statistics in order to provide a true measure of a player’s worth to a team.  This does not necessarily measure ability, but heart, effort, endurance, and above all, passion.

For a re-introduction to KORAB, and an assessment of Games 1 and 2 of this series, click here.

Kings Game 3 KORAB:

g3 k

Blackhawks Game 3 KORAB:

g3 b

Kings Game 4 KORAB:

g4 k

Blackhawks Game 4 KORAB:

g4 b

Kings KORAB Through 4 Games:

g1234 k

Blackhawks KORAB Through 4 Games:

g1234 b

The Kings won these two games at Staples Center and roughed up their opponents in the process.  Their KORAB percentage was noticeably higher, and there is no doubt that the Kings controlled these two games.  Everyone on the Kings appears to be carrying their weight through these first four games, and not just the youth (as we saw in the Ducks series) or the veterans (as we saw in Sharks series).  Everyone.  The TEAM.

For the Blackhawks, keep an eye on the numbers of Toews, Kane, and Hossa.  All three have been quiet thus far in the series, and lost two out of three.  That said, other forwards like Kruger, Sharp, Smith, and Versteeg have also struggled to prove their worth on the stat sheet, and in the physical game.  This is the Western Conference, boys.  Leave the European skill junk to the Metropolitan Division.

Theory III: The Matt Greene Explanatory Postulate

Matt Greene did not start the playoffs in the Kings’ lineup.  In fact, only assorted injuries to other players has given the hard hitting, though maligned defensemen a chance to shine during this run.  Part of the reason for his lack of playing time are that fancy stats do not look at him kindly.  He doesn’t Corsi, and he can’t Fenwick.  Nope, the fancy stats give him no respect.  Not until now.  Greene has one of the highest KORAB percentages of any player on the Kings, or in the playoffs, since getting the nightly nod.  Part of this is due to his nature to throw his body around and take a hit, block shots, and make the most out of his bottom pairing minutes each night.

As we theorized in the previous post, hitting is not everything when it comes to KORAB, but it is important.

This hit was important, and GREAT!!!, but only part of a well-rounded KORAB game.

Thus, Matt Greene’s 41% KORAB is due in most part to his number of hits and blocked shots (the easiest of KORAB stats to achieve) within limited minutes.  41% of his time on the ice is spent playing like a warrior and showing his mettle.  Look at Kopitar, by comparison.  only 15% of the time he is laying the wood to someone or something, but 85% of the time he is on the top line trying to score, or trying to lock down defensively in the zone.  This is how we understand KORAB percentages.  Approximately 21% of the time in this series, the Kings are courageous grinders, gnashing their teeth and throwing their weight around.  79% is spent playing offense, defense, shorthanded, or slowing the game down.  As we have seen throughout these playoffs, a 21% would be considered about or above average, and this is how we understand KORAB in its purest form.

greene by LA Kings

 More on this later, but you don’t end up looking like this by playing like Marian Hossa.

Greene block blood vancouver quick


And when was the last time you saw this happen to Patrick Kane?

Kings Game 5 KORAB:

g5 k

Blackhawks Game 5 KORAB:

g5 b

Kings Game 6 KORAB:

g6 k

Blackhawks Game 6 KORAB:

g6 b

Kings KORAB Through 6 Games:

g123456 k

Blackhawks KORAB Through 6 Games:

g123456 b

The Blackhawks take Games 5 and 6, as their KORAB percentage improves.  Meanwhile, the Kings KORAB takes a slight dip, but its clear that the Kings are playing at nearly the same level throughout the series.  Sharp, Toews, Kruger, and Versteeg all slightly improve their tenacity, which makes a big difference in the Blackhawks style of play, and leads to two straight wins.  This sets up a Game 7 between two teams with nearly identical KORAB percentages.

Theory IV: The Future Prediction Hypothesis

Advanced stats are less of a telling of what has happened, and more of a predictor for what will happen.  Thus, what has happened in the past gives you the best glimpse at how the future will transpire.

As we have seen in previous series, the Kings drove KORAB percentages leading up to their Game 7s.  In the Sharks series, the Kings stayed close with the Sharks in KORAB throughout the series, but out-backboned the Sharks in Games 4, 5, and 6.  They would eventually win Game 7 and the series.  In the Ducks series, however, the Kings were out-KORABed through five games, but won the KORAB battle in the final two games.  Despite losing the overall KORAB battle, albeit slightly, their resurgence, and steady numbers throughout the series, could have predicted their KORAB for Game 7.  The Ducks, whose KORAB fluctuated based on each night’s performance, were still a bit of an inconsistent mystery.

The team with the highest KORAB is not necessarily the winner, which could be derived from numerous factors (playing from behind, playing with a vendetta, etc.), but a seven game stretch is typically a decent sample size to show the effectiveness, composure, and toughness of a team.  TeamTRH Podcaster General Jesse Cohen said throughout this series that the Kings have out-composured the ‘Hawks.

This is true in that the Kings have played at the same level of aggressiveness during the series, while the ‘Hawks only turned it on with their backs against the wall, or when they felt prodded by the Kings.  In this example, the Kings still drive the overall style of play.  That said, we know what to expect out of the Kings in Game 7, but who knows what Blackhawks team will show up.  A TEAM, or a bunch of individuals attempting to score the winning goal so they can get a nice, juicy segment on the postseason DVD and sell a few more jerseys with their name on the back.

Composure, in action.

More on Game 7, and (spoiler alert) the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, next time on KORAB Grit numbers!

Flubber McGee is TRH's resident Kansas City correspondent, and has survived as a Kings fan long before the dawn of Internet streaming sites. He has seen the Kings win exactly zero non-exhibition games in person. Have you ever achieved enlightenment? Flubber has, because he once witnessed Kevin and Brett Westgarth fight in, and get kicked out of, the same game (they didn't fight each other, unfortunately). In addition to being a part of TRH, Flubber runs a Kansas City hockey blog. It's exactly what you think it is. You can follow Flubber McGee on Twitter @FlubberMcGee.