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12-02-2010, 05:56 AM
  #745
CapnCornelius
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The NHL's giveaway/takeaway stats are a fairly uselss as stats go because they provide no context and giveaways/takeways are something where context is everything.

Getzlaf would seem to be the perfect example of this. Since I watch him on a regular basis, my guess is that the bulk of those giveaways are because he is possessing the puck in the so-called "dirty" areas of the ice, in the offensive zone and ends up giving away the puck after being checked in the corners, behind the net and in the slot or in attempting to make a pass in high traffic areas.

It is a bit more troubling to see defensemen with significant number of giveaways...but some of that is still context. A giveaway by a d-man at the blueline can lead to a breakaway. A giveaway by a d-man deep in their own zone can be the result of a reasonable attempt to clear the zone...or a blind pass that yields a scoring chance in the slot.

You see some evidence of this context issue in the presence of so many Leafs defensemen on this list. Their defense is probably the best thing they have going for them. But their lack of offense and, I suspect, amount of time spent in their own end as a result puts their defensemen in a position where they are more likely to turnover the puck in an attempt to desperately clear the zone.

If plus/minus is an imperfect stat, giveaways/takeaways are less perfect still because of the number of factors behind the numbers. They might be more useful if they were broken down by which zone they occured in, but, as is, I just find them difficult stats to put a lot of stock in.

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