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03-01-2013, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jagorim Jarg View Post
But then it's your better judgment telling you that since we know McClement to be better defensively, we need to adjust our definition of a defensive player to include more of what McClement does.

Ultimately, the most important aspect of defensive play is positioning, and positioning is fluid and relies in large part on anticipation, which is wholly intangible. How can you assign a metric to gap control? How can you measure a player's ability to effectively neutralize a passing lane on a penalty kill?
It's not a question of judgement. What we're trying to explain is what leads to fewer goals being scored against your team in a given situation. What are some of the factors we know to affect that? The play of your goalie, number or rate of shots against your team, quality of shots, the situation your team is on (i.e. discipline), and so on. We can now track where players are on the ice, where shots taken from, what distance there is between players etc. objectively. From that point on, through statistical methods you can quantify how important each action is.

Like I said, most the things you're talking about are measurable.

Originally Posted by Jagorim Jarg View Post
Still not perfect. You need to measure velocity of shot, position of defenders, length of possession of puck leading to scoring chance, etc. Too many variables.

There are so many brilliant minds working on hockey analytics that I would have to think a set of reliable metrics would exist by now if they were possible.
I never mentionned the word perfection. The question to ask ourselves is not whether or not analytics will lead to perfect decisions. The question to ask ourselves is whether or not we can make better decisions with analytics.

Btw, I hope you realize most "intangiles" you're talking about are quite tangible. Velocity is measurable, position on the ice is verifiable, time of possession (time) is measurable and so on. I'm not even getting into whether or not that's the direction a team would want to get into but that's another story.

Whether you like it or not there is some good work that has been done on hockey. That said, the ressources invested in hockey are nothing compared to what's being invested in basketball and baseball. I agree with you that there's tons of work to be done. Hence, that's why I think there's great opportunities for open-minded teams looking for an edge in building a winning team.

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