Sabremetrics/Microstats in Hockey
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03-30-2012, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: St-Augustin, Québec
Originally Posted by
I don't think anyone doubts that analytics can help or be enlightening in some way. I guess the question is... how much weight should be given to them?
In baseball (which I think most would agree lends itself very well to sabremetrics) the Billy Beane example is very interesting because he decided to forgoe 'intangibles' altogether and it was an unmitigated disaster. He didn't look at desire to win, behaviour or soft skills at all. His team absolutely sucked. Then he ripped it apart, got rid of the head cases and in the very same season ran up a 20 game win streak. It's obvious that it can serve as a valuable tool for baseball and we've seen teams using it to great success.
Still haven't seen a method in hockey that captures a smashing hit into the boards though. Even basketball (another fluid game) does not have this factor. How do you distinguish between a hit by Chara vs. one by Deharnais? That's the example I keep coming back to because I think it bears bringing up.
When I hear people dismiss size and grit altogether... I become extremely skeptical of whatever comes out of their mouth next. Size and grit ARE attributes that GMs simply can't ignore. And I'm not sure how you capture this via analytics.
There have been other advances in quantification of "intangibles". I remember a conference at the MIT Sloan Conference on a group of researchers who have analyzed speech of different players in order to predict future behaviour as well as another team measuring and assessing various leadership skills. For instance, players who touch teammates more than others like Garnett IIR ... I know it doesn't sound good but anyways ... I don't remember the whole thing but anyways, it's being analyzed.
Then again, you have to approach stats analysis in an open way. In general analysts will tell you that hits are vastly overrated unless you create turnovers out of it. Teams that hit a lot, don't have the puck a whole lot. Though 1 smahing hit may make an impact in injuring a player, in general it doesn't do a whole lot to help you win. It only serves the macho in us who wants "displays of power" if I may put it this way.
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