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07-29-2012, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Smokey McCanucks View Post
Intangibles, clutchness, will to win, these are not things that can be statistically defined. Often the players who become heroes in the playoffs do so precisely because there's no reason to think based on their stats and their career trajectories that they will come through in a huge moment.

Would statistical analysis tell you that Dustin Penner would be one of the most key guys in the playoffs this season? The stats would probably tell you Penner sucks. But he came through when it mattered. What about a Max Talbot, or a Sean Bergenheim, or a Claude Lemieux, or a Bill Barilko, guys like that are legends (not Bergenheim but he totally came out of nowhere that one year, you know what I mean)... precisely because the immense value of their contributions was surprising and unexpected, because their lackluster overall stats didn't matter and they stepped it up when it really mattered. That's a part of hockey, it's intangible and it transcends "Sabremetric" statistical analysis, it exists on another level, another plane.
Clutchness is misunderstood and misrepresented.

Example, a goalie has strengths and weaknesses. Over the course of a season playing against the full range of league teams the goalie will have strong games and weak games. Same goalie in a 7 game series will look great against a team that cannot exploit his weaknesses and very average against a team that can exploit his weaknesses. String four such great series and a SC victory is possible. Next season or playoffs the same goalie reverts back to form and may have a weak playoff because he faces opposing teams that can exploit his weaknesses. See Michael Leighton.

Likewise for forwards and defensemen. If the opposition in the playoffs cannot play to the players weaknesses the player will look great, otherwise he will look weak.

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