Sabremetrics/Microstats in Hockey
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03-30-2012, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Originally Posted by
I agree. But see my question immediately below:
Problem is that giveaways and takeaways vary hugely from rink to rink. And that leads to another big problem in analytics for a fluid sport such as hockey... subjectivity. What constitutes a giveaway for one person doesn't for another... if the NHL can't get it right themselves, then it casts doubt on the ability to 'count things' doesn't it?
I addressed this slightly up thread (with hits too... I assume you're working your way down) but as they're counted in the NHL hits, takeaways, and giveaways are basically useless when it comes to any kind of evaluation. If the Habs (or anyone) wanted to use them and get something out of it they would have to put come to a definition of each event and track them in-house.
Sure, but if you don't have an answer to the objection it's going to breed a lot more skepticism. We've seen that with CORSI and Gomez. Brett Hull is another example.
You come out with a statement like 'puck possession wins hockey games'... well, maybe as a general rule that's true. But it certainly doesn't always seem to be the case. And when I hear somebody defend the hell out of Gomez because of a microstat, it casts doubt on that person's credibility. If you can't come up with a reasonable answer to somebody's objection... you can't blame them for being skeptical. And you can't sit there and argue... well analysts probably have thought this out already... okay, if that's the case what's the response?
I'm cherry-picking the Hull thing and I hope I get this posted before everyone piles on, but Hull led the league in shots on goal on 3 occasions and regularly broke 300 shots from 1988-1997. We don't have the data to be absolutely sure, but he was probably a good possession player because of the huge number of shots he could get off. He may not have carried the puck from end-to-end but when he was on the ice his team likely had the puck more than the oppposition and his work away from the puck and working with linemates probably meant he would be a high Corsi player... probably.
As with most things, it's a matter of actually having the data in order to truly be sure.
Gomez has dropped into an elevator shaft this season and has been terrible. I think his play being different than the shot-metric based expectations MathMan, myself (I picked him for my fantasy team because of the Pacioretty-Gomez-Gionta trio lighting it up last season), and others had are for a number of reasons.
For one, we under-estimated how good Pacioretty is -he's close to being a star winger if not already and Gionta hasn't been a slouch there either. Gionta and Pacioretty were probably driving the play for Gomez last year just like Pacioretty is doing the main driving on the Desharnais line this year. Gomez' getting injured multiple times hasn't helped but his play has dropped off to a point (and his cap-hit) mean that there's no point waiting around any more.
If Molson wants to win Gomez won't be here next year. My expectation was to have him around for this season soaking up minutes (like an old, soft-tossing starting pitcher who just eats up innings) while Eller and Desharnais were given more time to develop. With Gomez' early injuries that didn't happen, his play has taken a considerable hit since his second injury of the season, and Eller and Desharnais are actually doing better than I expected. Had Gomez been able to soak up the minutes and the disastrous December-February Gauthier moves not been made the Habs probably would have been better off. It didn't happen.
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