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04-04-2012, 11:19 AM
Lafleurs Guy
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Originally Posted by MathMan View Post
Lafleurs' Guy, we've been over all that before. Personally, I'm not interested in spending more hours putting together the same answers just so you'll reject them out of hand again.

I've said this before, but if you have interest in serious hockey analysis, you're going to need to start looking at things below the surface level. Analytics are about finding out the right process. It is a basic prerequisite when discussing them to understand that the quality of the results do not always (and in a game as variable as hockey, often do not) reflect on the quality of the process; the right process gives you the best odds of the right results, but nothing is guaranteed. In other words, the team that wins may not have been playing well and the team that loses may not have been playing poorly.

This is a difficult lesson for sports fans, because it forces one to give up some much-cherished notions, most notably that the team that wins always "deserves" to win. It took me a while myself. It only really fully resonated with me after looking back at the way the Habs fluked their way to the ECF.

This, I suspect, is why you don't really understand analytics; you only view the game at the results level, and then only the shallowest, least granular level. The kind of stuff you find in the average sports section in the newspaper, basically, and you aren't motivated in actually putting those assumptions in question.

Now. Montreal, it is true, has gone through a number of upheavals and odd occurences lately which makes it a difficult example for analytics, unlike most other teams; it hasn't landed in the middle of the bell curve very much, it's been either feast or famine from 2007-2008 on out. It happens, but it means the team we follow the most is not the best case study for analytics compared to most others. But personally, I'm interested in finding out why the Habs end up where they are, on a level of detail you don't seem to be interested in. That's fine, but maybe it means that analytics are not for you.

ADDENDUM: Also, if you want to discuss analytics cogently, it's important to acquire at least a basic understanding of probability science. If you don't want to do that, that's fine, but again: analytics may not be for you.
I can see how it works extremely well for baseball. I haven't seen the evidence of it working well for hockey. Maybe it does... I just haven't seen the evidence. I'm not saying it can't work for hockey or that it won't in the future. I do think it will be harder to do and I doubt that it will be able to capture all the subleties of the game.

Moreover, I don't think anything should be taken at face value. Too often in your explanations on things that don't support your arguments you resort to terms like 'luck' or dismiss objections with 'analysts have thought of that' but not following it up with any substantive argument. I think formulas have to be challenged. It's the challenges that force these analysts to re-think their formulas. And if they can withstand challenges then you know that the formulas have validity. But if they can't withstand the challenges, then we're all the better off.

Baseball SABR is far more advanced than hockey is. And yet people are STILL working on new formulas to capture subtelties of the game. Like I said, some formulas are revised and others discarded in favour of new ones. We're just at the start of these kinds of analytics now in hockey. Fact is that 'counting things' is a lot harder in hockey than in some other sports.

Saying 'maybe this isn't for you' doesn't really do anything but make you look weak. Dismissing questions or objections doesn't do anything but raise more skepticism. I'm not satisfied with your arguments. You've been wrong most of the time on the results and have continuously referred to microstats as being the basis of your beliefs. Gomez was supposed to be putting up 70+ points a season according to you. The Habs were supposed to putting up 100 point seasons according to you. It hasn't worked out. And it's gone more or less the way I thought it would.

I don't think that it's wrong to challenge you on this. I think that challenging you on this is pretty important if we're going to try to test the value of this kind of analysis. I understand 'regressing to the mean' unfortunately, all I've seen from Gomez over the past three years is regression. At what point does the guy stop being mean to us and start actually producing?

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