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03-30-2012, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Lafleurs Guy View Post
Is this always true? Show us the evidence.
In the long term, pretty much. Look up at the various links I posted for any number of posts that demonstrate this.

Originally Posted by Lafleurs Guy View Post
You make a blanket statement like puck possession wins hockey games... how true is this? What is there to back this up? Why does a player like Gomez who seems to have the puck so much suck so bad?
Not to turn this into another pointless Gomez debate, but essentially: because Gomez doesn't suck nearly as much as advertised. He's not worth 7 million. He's struggled with injuries this year. But there was an interesting point made here by someone who has no dog in the fight:

(That said, for the sake of completeness, since his last return from injury Gomez has stepped into an elevator shaft and hasn't been driving the play North. There's any number of reasons why that could be, of course -- going from a style that specifically de-emphasizes puck possession to the possibility that he might be playing hurt to the possibility that he basically hit the breaking point right there.)

Interestingly, notions that Gomez sucks have always been revolved around his lack of traditional points. This is basically admitting the notion that total points (which are a metric) are paramount. Not only is this also a statistical argument, it's not a particularly good one, as the whys and wherefores of total points and how they might fluctuate have been heavily studied.

(Other complaints about him tend to be rooted in that, either offered up as explanations for lack of counting stats, or basically projections of flaws into his games that aren't there (such as "taking too many penalties").)

Originally Posted by Lafleurs Guy View Post
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.
Here's another point that's very important to realize. In hockey, there is not ever going to ever be any such thing as a method that says "if you do X, then you are 100% guaranteed to win", regardless of whether it's via analytics or not. There is actually an important lesson here that studying analytics will tell you, though it's certainly possible to learn this very important lesson by other means:

It's hockey. **** happens.

More formally, Hockey is a game with a lot of variances, what might be called "luck" in a mathematical sense. Analytics will help you maximize your chances of winning games in the future. They will tell you what things will, in the long run, lead to better odds of winning. But better odds is all you are ever going to get.

You can never get to a point where you're guaranteed victory. The better team wins often but often doesn't win. You are going to lose games despite playing better than the other guys. Sometimes this will happen several times in a row. Sometimes you could be consistently playing worse than your opponents and keep winning games, so much so that you end up leading your conference, and then things get back to normal and you end up in the cellar and people wonder what the heck happened to your team, and in reality nothing did except regression to the mean, and you were just a bad team getting results over its head.

In a formal sense, at the NHL level, "puck possession and variance/mathematical luck and a bit of goaltending talent and a teeny tiny bit of shooting talent and some amount of special team talent wins hockey games". But because puck possesion and variance are by far the biggest factors, and teams don't have control over variance (it's why it's called that), "puck possession wins hockey games" is meaningful shorthand.

Also, puck possession wins hockey games, but goaltending can sure as hell lose them.

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