Sabremetrics/Microstats in Hockey
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04-03-2012, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Originally Posted by
I'll ask the question - does it matter? Does it matter that Chara hits like a truck and Desharnais is a lightweight? They both throw a hit and get the same "stats". They both (presumably) accomplish the same thing, which is to knock the puck carrier off the puck.
Desharnais goes into the corner, gives someone a light bump but enough to get him off the puck, then turns around and fires a pass off somewhere. 1 hit for Desharnais.
Chara flattens a winger coming down the boards who proceeds to fall down and lose the puck. 1 hit for Chara.
Does it matter to the outcome of a hockey game that Chara's hit was more powerful?
It's been said many times, but if there really is a difference, it will show up in measurable stats - Boston will have great defensive numbers becuase the other team is too intimidated and terrified to even try to take shots at the net, or the guy on the receiving end will be injured and the rest of the team will play with a shortened bench and less talent, meaning Boston should improve their defensive numbers. And so on.
What if it's not Chara, what if it's Phaneuf? We assume the "big hit" is a positive, but what if it's Phaneuf who goes 30 feet out of position to run a guy who has already passed the puck? The "big hit" is apparently more meaningful than a light Desharnais bump, but it cost the Leafs a goal as Phaneuf is lost, setting up a 2-on-1 on an AHL calibre goaltender. In that case, the "big hit" is actually a negative. So in theory, you should be measuring a hit's effectiveness, it's ability to give your team puck possession. How hard the hit was matters far less.
Measure the result, not a qualitative opinion of the action itself.
The result may be in the win column. It's just hard to show the direct link because hockey is a fluid game with lots of variables. But those hits in the corner have an effect. We just can't measure it. It's just a limitation that currently exists. It doesn't mean that the effect isn't there or isn't important... we just don't know how important it is.
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