Is there an equivalent of a "Moneyball" for the NHL?
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04-23-2009, 09:20 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Originally Posted by
I agree with some others that I don't believe hockey is a sport that can be easily subjected to statistical modeling.
Baseball is pretty easy because, as Moneyball and Sabremetrics point out, it's a game of individual battles that occur 50-100 times per game, in every game, 162 times per year. The individual strengths of each batter/pitcher combination, fielders, stadium dimensions, etc. can vary, but over the course of a season (or multiple seasons), they tend to balance each other out. There are minor differences, but every at-bat is pretty much the same. Every shift in hockey is different.
Look at a guy like Jonathan Cheechoo. His goal totals went: 9, 28, 56, 37, 23, 12. You just don't see those kind of massive swings in home runs or batting average in baseball unless a guy misses half the season. Cheech has been relatively banged up, but he's played in no less than 80% of the games in each season. Granted most NHL players don't have swings that massive either, but they seem far more common than in baseball.
I'm pretty sure I could find some batters with some pretty wild swings in their HR numbers. How about Brady Anderson's HR totals?
I would also point out that in baseball each player's stats are skewed by park effects. In hockey there are no park effects to deal with in the modern since all rinks are the same dimensions.
Again, the question isn't "can you model hockey perfectly?" the question is "can modeling hockey help you improve your decision making?" and I think the answer is "yes" to the 2nd question.
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