The first international break is probably the first moment of a season during which you can analyze the teams. Therefore, we present you our analysis of the 12 National League’s teams.
Let’s analyze today…
“For now, the very best. It’s as simple as that!”
You just can’t stop clapping looking at Bienne and what this club is doing both on and off the ice. Because let’s face it, this brilliant first part of the season is by no means an accident, but it’s been earned with years of hard work.
In our opinion, Bienne are unique in Switzerland. Oftentimes in fact, the word “project” is being abused… but instead, in the Seeland this club started a real project years ago and they’re taking it forward with an impressive perseverance.
Now, after years of hard work both on and off the ice, the Seeländers are reaping the rewards. Actually, they have already started to reap the rewards last season… but now, de facto, Bienne blossomed!
The Seeländers are currently at the top of the table and it’s not by accident but it’s because they’ve been the very best so far, both in terms of results and performances. It’s as “simple” as that.
Bienne are gifting us with a simple but darn effective hockey. Which is, paradoxically, the hardest thing to do. Antti Törmänen has been able to take Bienne to the next level… He continued the work done by Kevin Schläpfer and Mike McNamara and brought the Seeländers into a new dimension. Namely, the dimension of the winners. The dimension of the self-confidence. The dimension where the team dominates its opponents. Bienne’s performances have been outstanding so far and the fans are salivating. No one, in terms of performances and completeness of it, is doing better in the National League. The coach assigned a precise role to each player and the players are following him.
Bienne are very self-confident. Törmänens troops are always and indistinctly ready from the first puck drop to play their hockey and try not to adapt to their opponents. Surely the staff studies the opponents… but then, the players are always able to adapt themselves to the circumstances and they are dominant. Bienne are capable of moving the puck around excellently but are always capable of being “anarchist” depending on the situation. The whole, it’s possible only when you have self-confidence exploding out of your face!
The club built an excellent roster. Bienne have 4 lines extremely effective and we can fairly say that the trio Neuenschwander, Lüthi and Schmutz are the best 4th line of the National League. We mean, the Seeländers roster is second to no one in terms of completeness. They have skilled players capable of making the difference. They have tough guys who can play physical. They have tactically clever players. And they even have some more “anarchist” players – see Damien Brunner – capable of bringing in different options. All this – together with the system of play – allows the team also to cope with injuries. See the one suffered by Beat Forster at the beginning of the season and the more recent one suffered by Dominik Diem.
Bienne are some sort of scoring machine… and it’s not an accident! Thanks to the system of play and the quality of their players the Seeländers are able to create countless clear scoring opportunities during each game. Moreover, the players self-confidence means that many of these chances are converted in goals.
EHC Biel-Bienne Spirit
EHC Biel-Bienne Spirit is the club’s youth movement. They’d deserve an article only for this. This youth movement is the proof that the Seeländers are now among the best National League’s teams to stay. Over time, the EHC Biel-Bienne Spirit will bear fruit. For now, the National League sensation Janis Jérôme Moser and Eliane Paupe are playing in the National League!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Lack of patience
Every team has a bad day… those days during which the opponent goalies are like walls. Those days during which the bloody puck simply doesn’t want to go in the net. All right, during those days, Bienne seem to lose their patience and tend to overdo in a counterproductive manner. We’d say that this happens also because of a bit of over-confidence. This, however, is something to improve especially in view of the playoffs.
Bienne’s power-play is good but not excellent. Sorry guys, but this team has got us used to almost perfection, therefore also in this case we’re nitpicking. Törmänen’s troops are almost always able to earn a lot of power-play situations because of their dominance. During these situations the players enter the offensive zone quite easily and are able to move the puck around quite well. But too many times, they don’t score in relation to the amount of chances created. Things improved compared to last season – also because of Salmela and Brunner’s arrivals – but can improve even more!
This is not something that didn’t work, obviously. But it’s actually an unknown. We mean, Bienne have been on fire basically since Antti Törmänen’s arrival… and are yet to enter a real negative vortex. We wish them never to enter it… yet, we’re curious to see how the whole club would deal with a long negative streak of results. It would be a litmus test!
THE PLAYER ON FIRE
Antti Törmänen (Coach)
We could have chosen any player and we wouldn’t be wrong. Bienne, however, are a real Team. With a capital T. Therefore, symbolically, we name the coach and his staff. The feeling from the outside is that in Bienne everyone’s important but no one is essential, and this is great!
Janis Jérôme Moser
We’re a little proud of ourselves. We mean, outside the Canton of Bern, we were the first one online who noticed Janis Jérôme Moser’s great performances! This, 18 years old defenseman is impressive. He’s got an out of the ordinary personality for a player his age. Moreover, he puts an impressive calm on display. He is rock solid and he’s even able to move the puck around very well. He’s the National League’s sensation. It’s as simple as that!
Goals For & Goals Against (vs NL average)
Bienne have the best attacking record of the league and the third best defensive record… In other words, it’s almost the perfect recipe for success. In this regard, we think it’s important to stress that already 6 players made it at least 10 times into the scoresheet.
Let’s see how these goals were distributed over the arc of the game.
Goals For & Goals Against per 10’
Bienne tend to score more than their opponents over-the-arc of the whole game. It’s impressive, however, to note how the Seeländers are able to make the difference during the first half an hour. And it’s impressive also that peak of goals scored during the last 10 minutes… it means that the players are in a good physical condition.
Shots on Goal & Shots on Goal Against
Bienne’s number of shots on goal is above the National League average… in fact, only Lausanne (573) shot more than the Seeländers, but the Vaudois played a game more. As regards the shots faced instead, Bienne are the 4th team of the league. Only ZSC Lions, Bern and Langnau faced less shots than the Seeländers.
Let’s see how these shots on goal were distributed over the arc of the game.
Shots on Goal & Shots on Goal Faced for each period of play
This chart shows once again that Bienne make the difference during the first part of the game. It’s a symptom of self-confidence and a symptom of the fact that players are ready from the first puck drop.
Scoring % – Saving &
A high scoring percentage is another symptom of quality and self-confidence. And Bienne’s scoring perentage is very high! In fact, it’s the second higher of the National League. Only Lugano (11.3%) have a highe scoring percentage.
Overall, Bienne have a very high saving percentage. Jonas Hiller is top class, nothing new. We’d like, however, to name also Elian Paupe… the latter played 3 games and did great! We mean, the Seeländers can count on an excellent couple of goalies and this is very important.
Power-Play & Penalty-Killing
Bienne have a decent power-play efficiency but not the best of the league. In fact, Ambrì-Piotta (23.7%), Lausanne (21.9%), SCL Tigers (21.0%) and Davos (19.0%) are more efficient during power-play situations.
Bienne are only decent penalty killers and they can improve. In fact, 5 National League’s teams (Zug, Langnau, ZSC Lions, Rapperswil and Bern) are better penalty killers than the Seeländers.
CORSI Index & PDO
CORSI Index (PP, PK, included)
Bienne have a good puck possession above the 50.0%. In fact, only Bern (54.8%) and SCL Tigers (54.2%) had a higher CORSI index compared to the Seeländers.
The PDO instead, is an unknown… Bienne in fact, have a quite high PDO and this should decrease over time. In fact, based on this statistic, the Seeländers are earning slightly more than they would have deserved.
So, from now one, every season can be THE ONE to see Bienne fighting for the title until the end!
Will they be able to do it already this year? Well, obviously only time will tell. But the Seeländers are ready to go as far as possible.
With all due respect, however, the winning mindset is still missing. The winning mindset can’t be bought at the market… one needs to build it over years and through experiences (also the bad ones like the one of last season against Lugano in the semifinals).
We mean, it’s not an accident that only 4 teams – Bern, ZSC Lions, Davos and Lugano – were able to win the title this century.
Having said that, it’s almost certain that Bienne – sooner or later – will make it to the final. We wish them to do it as soon as possible…!
Good luck for the season, Bienne!