Brett is the technology guru of the staff who oversees all the video, but he is also much more than that. As Todd McLellan said, “Brett is the unsung hero of our staff, doesn’t get much recognition and people outside don’t know how much he does. When he started he had technical skills but our staff is more efficient now because Brett’s hockey knowledge has expanded so much.”
On a typical game day Brett arrives at the rink at 6:00am and gets home around 11:30pm. On a practice day he arrives at 6:00am and gets home around 3 or 4pm. Long days, but passionate days as he works with some of the smartest hockey minds in the world.
Brett’s hockey knowledge, especially of how the San Jose Sharks are hoping or expected to play, is on display during a game. This is when Brett has to be, and is, at his best!
During a game Brett captures, edits and marks the live video using an advanced sports software system. He captures a live timeline of the game, a single video file for each period that he works of off. Here is a rundown of his in-game responsibilities.
- Breaks down and does a live capture of all the situations in a game whether they are systematic in nature or of particular players
- During a typical game Brett will mark and create 600 to 800 separate video clips
- He indexes points on the video using pre-set key strokes that are labeled for specific entries, for instance; system plays, scoring chances for and against, individual players, plays from different zones on the rink etc…
- Knows what the coaching staff is looking for in regards to the Sharks systems, opponents, players
- Identifies adjustments and/or tendencies that he sees while watching the game
- Is in constant communication with Jay Woodcroft who is on the Sharks bench.
- Brett will let Jay know if he sees something on video
- Jay will communicate with Brett something the coaches want to see at the end of the period. They can then show players the video.
While Brett’s most crucial value from a job description is his in-game video marking and analyzing, that’s not all he does.
Brett makes sure the assistant coaches are prepared and have what they need from a video standpoint to pre-scout the Sharks next set of opponents, typically 5 games out.
Brett sets up all the video equipment, configures the network for file sharing (more prevalent on the road in different hotels and arena’s), makes sure all the video clips are ready for coaches meetings and when necessary sets up projectors, network cables and lastly oversees all the data backup, storage and filing.
Brett does data and video analysis and provides stats for the coaching staff.
On a typical practice day Brett organizes all the clips for the coaches meetings and also identifies additional clips or information that is needed for the meetings. He is at the disposal of the coaches if they are having any technical issues, whether it is network, hardware or software related.
Bottom line, Brett gives the coaches more time to do what they do best, coach and teach. Brett Heimlich, the guy behind the scenes we seldom see or hear of but who makes the team and organization better because of the tremendous job he does.
During every game, Dan Rusanowsky and I go over SAP Analytics and break down some numbers. It's a fun segment and considering we live in Silicon Valley where one's and zero's dominate our lives. I want to analyze and explain some numbers that I find intriguing.
TOI = Time On Ice
BS = Blocked Shots
FO = Faceoffs
+/- = Plus Minus
EV PTS = Even Strength Points
- Let's start the with the fist battle of every shift, the faceoff.
- 57.8 % - That is Pavelski's FO % and it's 1st on Sharks and 8th in the NHL
- 41-19 - That is Pavelski's FO record on the Power Play. So Pavelski's FO % is 68.3 when the Sharks are on the PP. Winning a faceoff that pretty much every time is in the OZ is a good way to start a shift on the power play.
- Even strength points, whether 5-5 or 4-4 is a telling stat over the course of a season. The Sharks have two players who are in the top 20 in the NHL in this category.
- 17 - Number of EV PTS that Thornton has, tied for 12th in the NHL with Jonathan Toews. Corey Perry leads all skaters with 22 EV PTS.
- 16 - Number of EV PTS that rookie Tomas Hertl has, tied for 14th in the NHL with Matt Duchene, John Tavares, Henrik Sedin, Pavel Datsyuk and David Backes. Hertl is keeping some pretty good company in the EV PTS department!
- Blocking a slapshot that is coming at you anywhere from 80 to 100 miles per hour is not fun. To be honest, if you block it perfectly it doesn't hurt, but that only happens some of the time. The other times it hurts, more often than no, a lot. Blocking a shot is paying the price for your team. Here are the top three shot blocking forwards for the San Jose Sharks and where they stand in relation to all forwards in the NHL.
- 25 - Couture - Tied 1st team - Tied 3rd NHL
- 25 - Pavelski - Tied 1st team - Tied 3rd NHL
- 24 - Wingels - 3rd team - Tied 7th NHL
- Playing against the other team's top players night in and night out and leading your team in +/- speaks volumes. Here are the Sharks +/- leaders who often get the assignment of playing against the other teams top line.
- +16 - Braun - 1st team - 2nd NHL (Braun is +7 at home and +9 on the road)
- +10 - Couture - 2nd team - Tied 18th NHL
- Because of the Olympic Break in February this 82 game season is a compressed schedule making ice time distribution extremely important over the long haul. The fact the Sharks are 15-3-5, have had to deal with injuries to key players and yet they distribute ice time so well speaks volumes about the depth of the team.
- 21:55 - Braun - 1st Team - 55th NHL
- 20:57 - Boyle - 2nd Team - 90th NHL
- 20:41 - Vlasic - 3rd Team - 102nd NHL
- 20:21 - Marleau - 4th Team - 1st Team Forwards - 113th NHL - 23rd NHL Forwards
- 19:30 - Couture - 5th Team - 2nd Team Forwards - Tied 151st NHL - 43rd NHL Forwards
- 19:13 - Pavelski - 7th Team - 3rd Team Forwards - Tied 171st NHL - 55th NHL Forwards
Stats can never tell the whole picture but they are very interesting when studying players and teams.
Here are a bunch of one-timers, a Baker's Dozen to be exact, to get the week started.
- If the standings don't say it loud enough then just ask the Winnipeg Jets this question, "So how's life in the Western Conference?".
- How can you not love Brent Burns ... looks like a caveman for a couple of months and then shaves his head and beard for charity and raises over $23,000.
- The emotion Dan Boyle showed after scoring the PP goal against Phoenix pretty much summed up how hard it was dealing with an injury that ultimately could have been a lot worse. Great to see you back Boyler!
- Justin Braun is leading the Sharks in the one non-scoring statistic that says a lot - TOI or Time On Ice. Braun's value is shown in his averaging 22:03 TOI per game, almost a minute and half more than Vlasic who is 2nd on the team with 20:37.
- Speaking of Braun and Vlasic, they are tied atop the NHL for plus/minus at a very impressive +12.
- Logan Couture is 2nd for forwards in the NHL in blocked shots with 18. It's an impressive stat because blocking shots is not fun and you are paying the price for your team, and that's what Logan Couture is all about.
- Drew wrote about it in his last blog but I wanted to comment on what an amazing coaching staff the Sharks have. They are smart, work so hard it's ridiculous and are all good people ... and they have fun at what they are doing. Awesome stuff! Here's the link to Drew's last blog.
- People say Joe Pavelski isn't a 3rd line center. I say "Yes he is"! If you have the best 3rd line center in the NHL what does that say about your depth?
- After the game vs Buffalo on Tuesday night the Sharks next five games are against Western Canadian teams. Vancouver comes to SAP Center on Thursday and they are a motivated team that is playing well right now. Then the Sharks hit the road for a five game, nine day road trip that starts in Winnipeg before heading to Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton. Lots of double anthems coming up!
- The two teams with a better 5-5 F/A than the Sharks are Anaheim at 1.91 and Colorado at 1.87. The Sharks currently sit 3rd in the NHL tied with Minnesota with a 1.83 5-5 F/A.
- Are you asking yourself what the heck is 5-5 F/A? If not, go to next bullet point. If yes, then I am happy to help. 5-5 F/A is a team's average for scoring goals For in even-strength 5-5 situations versus having goals scored Against. If a team has scored 20 goals for 5-5 and has given up 20 goals against 5-5 then their ratio would be 1.00. So the higher the ratio, the better it is. The Sharks have scored 33 goals 5-5 this year and given up 18. So 33 divided by 18 is 1.83. Voila! This is an important stat because if teams are good 5-5 then they don't have to rely as much on special teams to win games.
- Three of the top four players in TOI for forwards in the NHL are on the same line and the Sharks will see them this Thursday at SAP Center. Ryan Kesler leads the way averaging 22:57 a game while Henrik Sedin is 2nd at 22:47. Third is Sidney Crosby at 22:37 followed by Daniel Sedin at 22:25. The top three forwards in regards to TOI for the Sharks are (where they are in TOI for forwards in the NHL): 1. Marleau 20:05 (30th) 2. Couture 19:38 (41st) 3. Pavelski 19:29 (44th).
- I am saving the best for last. This past Saturday my partner, the great Dan Rusanowsky, was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. What an honor and accomplishment for Ruzzie who is a total pro and just a great person whose loyalty to the San Jose Sharks is nothing short of amazing. I am in my 9th year working with my fellow St. Lawrence University alum and I am proud to have worked with him for all these years. The longest anyone worked with Dan prior to my arrival was 4 years because often they left for a TV analyst position. Well I couldn't be happier and am honored to working with a Hall of Famer! Now I just want to hear Ruzzie make his greatest call of all ... "Sharks win The Stanley Cup!"
I think it's important to note that all 4 of those teams made the playoffs last year:
Boston - went to the Cup Finals losing to Chicago in 6 games Detroit - Lost in the 2nd round to eventual Cup Champs Chicago in 7 games Ottawa - Lost to Pittsburgh in the 2nd round Montreal - Lost to Ottawa in the 1st round
Goals For: 8
Goals Against: 4
Players injured, not playing: Boyle, Burns, Torres, Burrish, Havlat
Discipline and patience - those are two of the characteristics the Sharks showed in a defensive gem as the Sharks shut out the Red Wings at Joe Louis and won the game in the shootout.
Spectacular - the save Neimi made on Bertuzzi to secure the win.
Stifling - The Sharks did that to the Bruins out-shooting them 39-17 only to get a taste of their own 'stifling' medicine by Tukka Rask who stole the game for the hometown Bruins.
Buzzer beater - we see it in basketball all the time but not very often in hockey. Unfortunately for the Sharks, who were the last team in the NHL without a regulation loss, the Bruins scored with 0.8 seconds left to win the game 2-1.
Suffocating - that's what the Sharks did to Montreal's offense as the visiting Sharks shut out the Habs 2-0 on Hockey Night In Canada.
Chien chaud - the hot dogs in Montreal are terrific. If I've said it once I've said it a million times, it's all about the bun and they toast the buns there.
Gumption - what the Sharks showed as they played about 20 hours after an emotional win in Montreal to defeat the Senators 5-2.
Perseverance - Alex Stalock getting his 1st NHL start at the age of 26 after overcoming a career threatening injury.
I don't think elaboration is needed in my blog, or extensive explanation, or reasoning. It's way to simple for that.
Guys, stop hitting each other from behind and stop hitting each other in the head. No one wants to see someone lay on the ice unconscious for over 2 minutes, especially knowing that person has family and friends watching the game.
3 stretchers in 1 week means we are getting closer to someone getting paralyzed, having a career ending injury of God forbid, dying.
Do you really want to live with the guilt of being that player, you know, the one who will forever be known as the player who paralyzed another player or ended someone's career, or the worst scenario of all, the God forbid scenario?
I know the game is played on the edge ... I was there! But at some point, it's not worth it! It's a game, a sport and you make a lot of money.
Be smarter guys, if not for each other, for all the family members and friends out there that care for you.