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01-28-2012, 02:20 PM
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I think hockey metrics are still in their infancy at this point so I can't take seriously these blogs that base their entire analysis on a mountain of statistical data. Watching actual hockey games still counts for something, doesn't it?

Sometimes the best statistics are the simple, good old fashioned ones printed in the paper every day--the standings. I don't mind if the Rangers don't sustain their current pace throughout the second half if they still manage to finish atop the divison. As much as people love Cinderella stories in the playoffs, the Cup winner is usually a division winner as well. Finishing with at least 100 points is another good indicator.

But teams in the NHL are starting to use it, but they're adopting it gradually and integrated with all the traditional forms of evaluation.

Some of those working for NHL teams, however, argue that the quality of analysis is only now getting to the point to be really useful.

ďItís not that everyoneís been blind to this stuff forever,Ē said Pittsburgh Penguins director of player development Dan MacKinnon, who used SAIís metrics extensively last season and was one of the members on the first hockey panel at MITís Sports Analytics Conference this year. ďItís more that, it hasnít been available until fairly recently. The NHL didnít even track this kind of [advanced data] until 2006 or 2007.Ē

Other than the Penguins, MacKinnon points to the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning as teams that have begun to invest in this type of analysis.

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