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Old
04-06-2012, 12:39 AM
  #201
Miller Time
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Originally Posted by Talks to Goalposts View Post
I think your letting the perfect be the enemy of the good here.

You don't have to have the Grand Unified Theory of hockey that explains everything for analytic method to be useful. This the basic way practical science works, progressively looking for a better explanation than the previous one.

The mark of a good theory or system isn't that it will explain anything to be useful. It just needs to be something that you can use to make testable predictions which are as or more accurate as ones you can make by other means.

Its not like NHL scouts are consistently good at finding St. Louis types. And the track recorded at drafting junior players isn't much better than just taking the guy with the best junior scoring rates adjusted for age (might be worse, I know that's something that's been looked at).

What you're asking for is awfully close to asking for Laplace's demon which is a practical impossibility. What you should be asking for is something better than the collective wisdom of experts like NHL GMs.

As for finding a St. Louis by numbers, I suggest not ignoring guys that can manage 2+ points per game in NCAA hockey at 19 regardless of size to be a pretty good start.

As for finding clutchness, its a pretty open question if that's a skill an individual possesses (i.e. the continual ability to do better in important situations). Its pretty easy to find clutch events, harder to be sure about clutch individuals. After all, something like doing well or poorly in a couple of high pressure situations is going to be practically indistinguishable from random chance in the sample sizes most people talk about.

Roy is talked about as the pinnacle of a big game goalie but he's had his fair share of important situation were he failed to step up. I'd attribute his success more towards being good enough to have had lots of opportunities to succeed that the times he did he was remembered for them.
i'm not trying to argue that using stats is a bad thing because they aren't perfect... in fact I'd argue that any organization committed to winning should incorporate as much cutting edge statistical analysis as possible...

i just think that when it comes to decision time, you need to lean heavier on quality "scouts" over what the "numbers" are telling you (and really, if you have a top-quality person running your scouting department, he (she?) will certainly have a stat expert on staff that they lean heavily on).

taking your Roy example, the question is "what about his play/personality, as a junior, gave evidence (if any) that he'd progress into one of the best clutch goalies ever...

as a junior, he played only 4 p/o games in 3 seasons, seasons that were all sub .500 for him and his team.

there is no one narrative to why he "succeeded", in hindsight we can write just about any one that is convenient.

scouting is about trying to maintain a high "batting average", and while I agree that using advanced metrics is a hugely valuable tool that should be used to its fullest, i don't believe it replaces or should superceed the judgement of a quality "scout" (expert observer), b/c said individual is, imo, more likely to be able to see beyond what is happening on the ice.

no one method is, or will be, "perfect"... but part of the danger/problem of relying too heavily on "math" is that the discipline itself implies a level of certainty that biased just as much, if not worse, than the human bias of experience.

a computer model can't be aware of the "unknown unknown", it processes what you plug into it as absolutes and produces absolutes... in hockey as in life, absolutes don't exist.

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04-06-2012, 02:24 AM
  #202
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if anyone is interested in scientific research on hockey

http://www.sloansportsconference.com...loan-Final.pdf

Referee Analytics: An Analysis of Penalty Rates by National Hockey League Officials

Michael Schuckers, Lauren Brozowski

St. Lawrence University and Statistical Sports Consulting, LLC

Abstract

Penalties in ice hockey change the game by reducing the number of players on the ice from the team that committed the infraction. In this analysis, we investigate factors that impact rates of penalties with particular focus on the impact of individual officials. Using play-by-play data collected from NHL.com for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 regular seasons, we develop a logistic regression model to predict the probability of a penalty occurring that accounts for the on-ice officials as well as how close the score is, the period, the time remaining in the period, and the teams playing the game. Our original use of play level data accounts for the amount of action at a given time in a game. This is the first analysis of referees done at the individual play level of which we are aware. We find that no individual referee or linesman differs significantly from the rest. Further we confirm empirically two things that even casual NHL fans have observed. First, the home team is less likely to be called for a penalty than the visiting team and, second, late in close games, the rate at which officials call penalties drops precipitously (and the same is true for overtime games).

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04-06-2012, 11:54 PM
  #203
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I haven't forgotten about this thread. I've been thinking about it a bit over the past few days. Thanks to the folks for providing some insight here... it's been enlightenign as I hoped it would be. I'm going to think about some of my thoughts some more before weighing on anything.

BTW, very cool article here:http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/more_...kUUFsZJHZsri6O

Key quote: In its first year of publication in 2009, “Hockey Prospectus” used GVT, along with other advance statistics, to correctly predict the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup. In fact, Seppa has picked the past three winners of the Stanley Cup Finals (series only) and in the correct amount of games

Now THAT's pretty wicked.

GVT is btw, Goals vs. Threshold: "GVT is a broad, brush stroke stat,” Seppa said. “It breaks down into offense, defense, goalies and shootouts. Of course it’s more complicated than that, but it serves its purpose as how good a player is.”

And here is a Glossary of Terms as provided by them here:

GVT: Goals Versus Threshold is a measure of how much value a player contributes above what a replacement-level player would have contributed. GVT is to hockey what VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) is to baseball. It’s broken down into four categories — offense, defense, goaltending and shootout — so it’s used for all players on the team. Each player is assigned a positive or negative number. Divide that number by six, and you get a concrete number of many wins that player was responsible for, like baseball’s WAR.

VUKOTA: A projection system for future results based on finding comparable players throughout hockey history and projecting what the current player likely is to do next season. It’s named after Mick Vukota, an old Islanders enforcer, who is in the bottom 1 percent of players all time with a -12.7 GVT.

Corsi: A number put on puck possession based on shot attempts. If a player is on the ice for five shot attempts created while there were only four taken against his team, he is a +1 Corsi for the game.

Goalie Quality Start: Defined by when a goalie stops more than a league average percentage of shots (typically 91.2 percent) or when he allows two or fewer goals while stopping 88.5 percent.

UFO%: An advanced stat for faceoffs, based on even-strength, non-empty net situation, road faceoffs. Then, it’s adjusted for strength of competition.


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Old
04-07-2012, 12:23 AM
  #204
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Originally Posted by Lafleurs Guy View Post
I haven't forgotten about this thread. I've been thinking about it a bit over the past few days. Thanks to the folks for providing some insight here... it's been enlightenign as I hoped it would be. I'm going to think about some of my thoughts some more before weighing on anything.

BTW, very cool article here:http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/more_...kUUFsZJHZsri6O

Key quote: In its first year of publication in 2009, “Hockey Prospectus” used GVT, along with other advance statistics, to correctly predict the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup. In fact, Seppa has picked the past three winners of the Stanley Cup Finals (series only) and in the correct amount of games

Now THAT's pretty wicked.

GVT is btw, Goals vs. Threshold: "GVT is a broad, brush stroke stat,” Seppa said. “It breaks down into offense, defense, goalies and shootouts. Of course it’s more complicated than that, but it serves its purpose as how good a player is.”

And here is a Glossary of Terms as provided by them here:

GVT: Goals Versus Threshold is a measure of how much value a player contributes above what a replacement-level player would have contributed. GVT is to hockey what VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) is to baseball. It’s broken down into four categories — offense, defense, goaltending and shootout — so it’s used for all players on the team. Each player is assigned a positive or negative number. Divide that number by six, and you get a concrete number of many wins that player was responsible for, like baseball’s WAR.

VUKOTA: A projection system for future results based on finding comparable players throughout hockey history and projecting what the current player likely is to do next season. It’s named after Mick Vukota, an old Islanders enforcer, who is in the bottom 1 percent of players all time with a -12.7 GVT.

Corsi: A number put on puck possession based on shot attempts. If a player is on the ice for five shot attempts created while there were only four taken against his team, he is a +1 Corsi for the game.

Goalie Quality Start: Defined by when a goalie stops more than a league average percentage of shots (typically 91.2 percent) or when he allows two or fewer goals while stopping 88.5 percent.

UFO%: An advanced stat for faceoffs, based on even-strength, non-empty net situation, road faceoffs. Then, it’s adjusted for strength of competition.
GVT is interesting. Its designed to recapitulate a teams goals for/against record over the season. Its a pretty decent measure of what a player did on the surface but it has some major flaws and is better for measuring what a player did rather than what they will accomplish in the future. Its attempts at measuring defense tend to be a bit weak for one thing.

Biggest flaw though is it doesn't control for difficulty of situation. Which is why you can have things like Leino looking like a stud on GVT but predictably crashing and burning in Buffalo.

I usually completely ignore the shootout stuff because its pretty hard to tell who is actually any better than average at it considering how few events there are and how random the shootout is.

VUKOTA is pretty decent as far as a projector goes to the extent I've looked into it. I think its better use for picking a fantasy team by projected point scoring than making assessment on value. I like Snepsts a bit better because instead of a straight projection it gives you multiple comparable players to take a look at.

Robb Vollman explains:
http://flamesnation.ca/2011/9/1/flam...la-and-tanguay

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04-07-2012, 02:46 PM
  #205
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I'm ambivalent on GVT. For what it does -- assigning "win shares" to players regardless of context -- it's pretty good, but the fact that it ignores context leads it to underestimate players that handle tough minutes, like Plekanec, and overvalue soft-minutes offensive specialists, like Marc-Andre Bergeron (in 2008-2009, the Habs' 2nd-highest GVT D-man behind Markov and by a wide margin).

I also think it has the replacement-level goalie a bit low, so the top goalies collect massive GVTs. (But figuring out the value of a goalie vs. a skater is tricky business anyway.)

My problem with it really is not so much the metric itself, which does what it does well. It's that some of the Hockey Prospectus guys use it in ways that it is pretty much explicitly limited in. Evaluating goaltending ability based on GVT, for example, is very problematic because goaltending performance is so volatile for so many reasons -- besides ignoring context, GVT also explicitly does not differentiate true talent and luck. This also means that as a way to predict future performance it's prone to serious problems when a player's role changes -- for example, Seppa thought Ville Leino would be the ideal pickup for the Habs last offseason, because the metric didn't register that Leino played super-soft, super-offensive minutes with superior linemates.

At the team level, GVT strikes me as basically is a tweaked goal-differential, which is not a bad measure of performance. In a way, predicting playoff results based on GVT is not far off from predicting playoff results based on goal-differential... and that's a pretty decent yardstick of team strength right there.

So in the end, GVT is a coarse-grained measure of performance/results, while the Corsi-style shot-based metrics are more fine-grained measures of process.

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04-12-2012, 02:34 PM
  #206
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So long as we're on this subject here's an article on the best young defensemen in the league by last year's difficulty of situation and corsi micros.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2012/4/12...omparisons-nhl

http://i.imgur.com/Fsbpg.png

Subban has a conspicous place right next to Shea Weber as one of the rare players in an extremely difficult situation (top right hand side) to come out positive (blue). He's a stud blueliner right now, not just in a couple of years.

Size of blue bubble indicates degree of positive results. size of clear bubble indicates degree of negative results. Gorges comes of a little worse than he should because this method doesn't factor in shot-blocking. Which isn't normally that big a deal but bumps Mr. "Leads the league in shotblocks" from a small negative to pure even.

Nitka Nikiten's numbers are really high but I would't read too much into it unless he does it again next year. Columbus' defenseman numbers turned out pretty weird this season, some of it related to being an awful team in a powerhouse division.


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04-12-2012, 03:34 PM
  #207
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Originally Posted by Talks to Goalposts View Post
So long as we're on this subject here's an article on the best young defensemen in the league by last year's difficulty of situation and corsi micros.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2012/4/12...omparisons-nhl

http://i.imgur.com/Fsbpg.png

Subban has a conspicous place right next to Shea Weber as one of the rare players in an extremely difficult situation (top right hand side) to come out positive (blue). He's a stud blueliner right now, not just in a couple of years.

Size of blue bubble indicates degree of positive results. size of clear bubble indicates degree of negative results. Gorges comes of a little worse than he should because this method doesn't factor in shot-blocking. Which isn't normally that big a deal but bumps Mr. "Leads the league in shotblocks" from a small negative to pure even.

Nitkanikiten's numbers are really high but I would't read too much into it unless he does it again next year. Columbus' defenseman numbers turned out pretty weird this season, some of it related to being an awful team in a powerhouse division.
McDonagh seems to be the overall leader... Am I right ?

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04-12-2012, 03:46 PM
  #208
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McDonagh seems to be the overall leader... Am I right ?
In difficulty of situation I'd say second, Hedman had it worse with his crazy amount of defensive zone starts. Also, zone starts is tracked absolutely so its very reliable information while QoC is the result of a formula and should be considered to have a degree of error to it. What it measures is real but there's no reason to get too caught up in whose is a little bit higher than another. Its also more reliable comparing within a team rather than across teams.

He played those minutes essentially even rather than beating them (bubble size) so its debatable who provided better value, him or players that won their matchup a la Doughty, Pietroangelo etc. His plus minus has been driven by Lundqvist's insane year. Certainly a sign of an excellent young defender, although he and Gilradi have been attached at the hip this season so its hard to suss out how much was one or the other this season.

Timmins certainly knows his stuff.


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04-12-2012, 04:08 PM
  #209
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Difficulty of minutes measurements:

In my opinion the more important way of analyzing the modern NHL game isn't in whether you accept shot based metrics or not (goal based ones generally get you close enough on that front anyway, at least if you accept goaltending as a factor which is uncontroversial) its acknowledging the major role that what type of minutes a player plays is a major factor in both how he looks to the eye and what kind of results they put up. NHL most NHL coaches manage their bench for particular territorial or line matchup roles and if there are a few that don't they'll get matched by the opposition resulting in largely the same effect.

Doing so may not have the direct intuitive effect you'd expect, i.e. starting in the offensive zone more might not directly raise a player's offensive stats or playing tougher minutes might not result in more goals against since such things will also depend on how a player responds to different situations but the effect will be strong on a player's differentials.

Two flavours of quality of minute situations are in current use. Quality of Compition (strength of opponent) and zone starts (location of starting shifts). An obvious third catagory would be strength of teammates but no one has really found a reliable measurement for that, its extremely hard to disentangle the strength of a player's linemates versus his own contribution. For that kind of thing I'd suggest looking at most common linemates by ice time and forming your own conclusion although you can do a more labourious "With You Without You" analysis (WOWY).

Quality of competition is measured two ways currently in the mainstream. Opposition +/- (QUALCOMP) and opposition relative Corsi (relCorsi QoC). The methodology of both is a bit weak so the straight numbers aren't always reliable comparing between teams, largely because each team has a different schedule but they work well within a team. Generally relCorsi QoC is the more reliable one when the two disagree for basically the same reasons Corsi is more reliable than +/-. For following a particular team though I recomend also looking for yourself what matchup are used game per game. For Montreal, Oliver's scoring chance reports for each game will also have matchup information while Habs Eyes on the Prize game threads will have a like to timeoneice.com script for a breakdown on minutes played per opponent each game. From tracking matchups the past couple years I can tell you that relCorsi QoC corresponds very strongly with who gets what kind of opponent but your welcome to test it out on your own. I didn't believe they worked until I did that myself.

Measuring where a player starts his shifts is generally done by way of Ozone % which is simply the porportion of non-neutral zone faceoffs (neutral zone faceoffs are considered neutral events for this) taken in the offensive zone. Unlike quality of competition which basically every team will have a spread on, whether to control your player's starting position is a decision made by a particular coach so not all teams will have a meaningful difference in zone starts. Vancouver in particular embraces this method, with Malhotra basically taking only defensive draws while Sedin takes tons of offensive zone ones. Chicago is a slightly less extreme adherent with the much under-rated David Bolland taking the heavy defensive duties while guys like Kane and Toews generally get a favourable starting point.

Montreal under Martin seemed to favour this strategy to start the season (a departure from is normal modus opperendi of pursuing straight power versus power matchups). With Desharnais getting in the range of a 60% Ozone while Plekanec (and usually Gionta) was around 42-45%. This was pretty wise considering that early season Desharnais produced lots of offense when it the offensive zone but had a weak possession/territorial game and the bad tendency to get pinned in his own zone when starting their facing a good line. One time when this broke down due to injury in a game against Pittsburgh, Desharnais basically got pinned in his own zone the entire game and ended up with something like a -20 even strength shot differential for the game. This kind of set up became less pronounced as the season continued but fortunately Desharnais developed the ability to face better competition and was paired with a very good two-way winger in Cole to compensate.

Subban also tends to be used a lot in the defensive zone, pretty much since he took over the first pairing last season when he moved up to play with Gill. That he generates team leading results in 5 on 5 shots and goal differential with unfavourable zone starts and very high quality of competition measurements is another reason for considering him to be an exceptional player.

For example of how this kind of analysis can be helpful, look at how a few of us were arguing at the beginning of the season that Cole was an awesome sigining while Leino was terrible. It was based largely on the principle that while they had similar surface stats, Cole was getting it done in a difficult situation while Leino had probably the easiest job in the league. Buffalo couldn't put Leino in a similar situation as he had in Philadelphia and he sunk. Cole ended up playing in an easier situation in Montreal and flourished.

Meanwhile the major drop in both Cammalleri and Plekanec's offensive totals since 2009-10 co-incides with when they got moved to playing a heavy shutdown role to start last season. Previously both tended to play about 2nd line competition, albeit with a major defensive zone faceoff responsibility, and both were on pace for a very good ~45 even strength points the previous season in that role. For reference, 40+ ES points is pretty much only achieved these days by top scoring line players. 45 points was good for 33rd in the league that season, 40 points 55th.
There's no way to measure "strength of teammates?"
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Originally Posted by Talks to Goalposts View Post
In difficulty of situation I'd say second, Hedman had it worse with his crazy amount of defensive zone starts.

He played those minutes essentially even rather than beating them (bubble size) so its debatable who provided better value, him or players that won their matchup a la Doughty, Pietroangelo etc. His plus minus has been driven by Lundqvist's insane year. Certainly a sign of an excellent young defender, although he and Gilradi have been attached at the hip this season so its hard to suss out how much was one or the other this season.

Timmins certainly knows his stuff.
And Bob Gainey certainly doesn't. That trade looks worse everyday. I knew it would be a disaster and unfortunatly it's looking like I was right. One thing that's nice to see here is that it confirms (or at least reinforces) what I've seen from McD in that he looks like an absolute stud. Not flashy but really steady.

This is shot data right? I'm trying to wrap my head around whether on not the goalies on the respective teams would factor into this. Schenn's sitting there with zero goaltending behind him whereas others have great netminders.

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04-12-2012, 04:18 PM
  #210
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There's no way to measure "strength of teammates?"
There are for linemates but I don't think anyone really trusts them to be much more accurate than just tracking who was on ice with who. QoT will tell you Eller played with dregs this year but you could also find that out by checking linemates.

The biggest thing is just to keep in mind team-strength when making evaluations, often performance relative to team is just as important. Which is why for example Suter-Weber and Gorges-Subban are considered so great despite not absolutely dominating their circumstances.

This is goal-tending independant stuff. So McDonagh and Weber aren't getting the boost to GA that their Vezina candidate goaltenders gave them and Hedman and Schenn aren't penalized for poor goaltending.

Corsi/fenwick analysis is probably at its best for defenseman evaluation since team-shooting percentage is largely out of their hands and individuals seem to have no effect on save percentage (teams and coaching might but individuals not so much).

Schenn has definitely failed to live up to the hype.

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04-12-2012, 04:24 PM
  #211
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There are for linemates but I don't think anyone really trusts them to be much more accurate than just tracking who was on ice with who. QoT will tell you Eller played with dregs this year but you could also find that out by checking linemates.

The biggest thing is just to keep in mind team-strength when making evaluations, often performance relative to team is just as important. Which is why for example Suter-Weber and Gorges-Subban are considered so great despite not absolutely dominating their circumstances.

This is goal-tending independant stuff. So McDonagh and Weber aren't getting the boost to GA that their Vezina candidate goaltenders gave them and Hedman and Schenn aren't penalized for poor goaltending.

Corsi/fenwick analysis is probably at its best for defenseman evaluation since team-shooting percentage is largely out of their hands and individuals seem to have no effect on save percentage (teams and coaching might but individuals not so much).

Schenn has definitely failed to live up to the hype.
But if Gorges is on the ice when Subban is... how do we know how much of their scores depend on each other? Beauchemin for example used to play with Niedermayer. I've got to think that his analytics are going to look better than they otherwise would. How can you know how much is due to one guy and not the other?

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04-12-2012, 04:38 PM
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But if Gorges is on the ice when Subban is... how do we know how much of their scores depend on each other? Beauchemin for example used to play with Niedermayer. I've got to think that his analytics are going to look better than they otherwise would. How can you know how much is due to one guy and not the other?
Subban's numbers are better than Gorges is one thing to look at. The other is that Subban had great metrics the previous year and carried much worse partners then Gorges (Picard and Gill) and Gorges hasn't been lights out good before he played with Subban being another. Then again Gorges seems much better on two knees than just one. So historical context is the first thing I'd consider.

But your right, separating the two of them for 5 on 5 this season is pretty hard. Like Keith-Seabrook or Weber-Suter for the high end examples its more knowledge that they are a highly effective unit than measuring them as individuals. I doubt they are Chara-Boychuck or Lidstrom-White in terms of one being carried by the other (or Markov-Komisarek/O'Byrne) but not enough information to tell the two apart based on this year.

If you really care about that information you could also do a WOWY to see how each does together versus apart.

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04-12-2012, 05:00 PM
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Subban's numbers are better than Gorges is one thing to look at. The other is that Subban had great metrics the previous year and carried much worse partners then Gorges (Picard and Gill) and Gorges hasn't been lights out good before he played with Subban being another. Then again Gorges seems much better on two knees than just one. So historical context is the first thing I'd consider.
This is also interesting because when I think of who's better I'd say Gorges is from a defensive standpoint. I get that Subban is going to generate more shots but late in the game with a lead I'd much rather have Gorges on the ice than PK.
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But your right, separating the two of them for 5 on 5 this season is pretty hard. Like Keith-Seabrook or Weber-Suter for the high end examples its more knowledge that they are a highly effective unit than measuring them as individuals. I doubt they are Chara-Boychuck or Lidstrom-White in terms of one being carried by the other (or Markov-Komisarek/O'Byrne) but not enough information to tell the two apart based on this year.

If you really care about that information you could also do a WOWY to see how each does together versus apart.
With or Without You? Can't I do an Every Breath You Take study instead?


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04-12-2012, 05:25 PM
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This is also interesting because when I think of who's better I'd say Gorges is from a defensive standpoint. I get that Subban is going to generate more shots but late in the game with a lead I'd much rather have Gorges on the ice than PK.

With or Without You? Can't I do an Every Breath You Take study instead?
Its an interesting question to be sure. I'd guess that Gorges is better at preventing a goal within his own zone when the other team has the puck especially since his shotblocking talent is so high. But Subban has the terrific ability to take the puck back and bring it out of his zone, plus covers a huge area of the ice with his speed/agility.

The comparable situation were we have data on is the penalty kill and Subban absolutely shines there, despite being far from your prototypical penalty killer like Gill was.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a certain degree of synergy between the two of them defensively.


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06-05-2012, 10:35 AM
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So, I wanted to revive this thread as I thought the recent overhaul in the Habs front office and coaching staff might provide some fodder for discussion. What impact does the hiring of Bergevin, Therrien, et al have on the likelihood that the Habs begin to employ more analytical approaches to player evaluation?

As someone very much supportive of this approach, I have to say I'm apprehensive about the new group. They seem very much cut from the old school cloth. But maybe I'm jumping the gun?

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06-05-2012, 11:19 AM
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So, I wanted to revive this thread as I thought the recent overhaul in the Habs front office and coaching staff might provide some fodder for discussion. What impact does the hiring of Bergevin, Therrien, et al have on the likelihood that the Habs begin to employ more analytical approaches to player evaluation?

As someone very much supportive of this approach, I have to say I'm apprehensive about the new group. They seem very much cut from the old school cloth. But maybe I'm jumping the gun?
Doesn't look like they did it when looking at experienced coaches: http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/20...ichel-therrien

To be fair to Therrien Marc Crawford's underlying numbers are similar to Therrien's so it's not as if the Habs missed out on the sure-fire good experienced guy.

The good news is that you can win without being on the cutting edge. Even in baseball The Anaheim Angels still had playoff-making success in the late-00s despite not looking toward Sabremetrics, ditto the Minnesota Twins.

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06-05-2012, 11:46 AM
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Doesn't look like they did it when looking at experienced coaches: http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/20...ichel-therrien

To be fair to Therrien Marc Crawford's underlying numbers are similar to Therrien's so it's not as if the Habs missed out on the sure-fire good experienced guy.

The good news is that you can win without being on the cutting edge. Even in baseball The Anaheim Angels still had playoff-making success in the late-00s despite not looking toward Sabremetrics, ditto the Minnesota Twins.
Interesting stuff, but the problem I have with PPP's study is that the Pens were a very young team, that was bound to improve. Crosby turned 22, Malkin turned 23, Staal turned 20 and Letang turned 22. That year makes a huge difference. I don't think it's fair to compare Therrien's numbers directly against Bylsma's.

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06-05-2012, 11:58 AM
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Interesting stuff, but the problem I have with PPP's study is that the Pens were a very young team, that was bound to improve.
Fair, but going from 46% to 52% inside the same season cannot be explained by only this. The coach had to be a significant factor.

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06-05-2012, 12:00 PM
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Interesting stuff, but the problem I have with PPP's study is that the Pens were a very young team, that was bound to improve. Crosby turned 22, Malkin turned 23, Staal turned 20 and Letang turned 22. That year makes a huge difference. I don't think it's fair to compare Therrien's numbers directly against Bylsma's.
I Think comparing 08-09 Therrien to 08-09 Bylsma is fair and if you look at the shot metrics for Therrien in 07-08 (46.51% Fenwick) and compare them to only Bylsma's 08-09 it shows that the poor even-strength play in 08-09 before Therrien was fired wasn't an aberration.

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06-05-2012, 12:06 PM
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I Think comparing 08-09 Therrien to 08-09 Bylsma is fair and if you look at the shot metrics for Therrien in 07-08 (46.51% Fenwick) and compare them to only Bylsma's 08-09 it shows that the poor even-strength play in 08-09 before Therrien was fired wasn't an aberration.
Right, but looking at 07-08, we're still judging a different team. At that point, the Pens were still some talented but extremely young forwards and a paper thin defence.

There may be something to comparisons only within 08-09, but I'm still a bit skeptical. Isn't there always a brief surge when a new coach takes over? Over a smaller sample size, I'd still be looking for other factors.

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06-05-2012, 12:12 PM
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There may be something to comparisons only within 08-09, but I'm still a bit skeptical. Isn't there always a brief surge when a new coach takes over? Over a smaller sample size, I'd still be looking for other factors.
Even if there was a surge, the strong puck-possession performance continued under Blysma to this day.

We're talking about going from a coach who was ~46% over multiple seasons to a guy who has been ~52% over multiple seasons with the improvement being almost immediate. The coaching has to be a significant factor in that.

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06-05-2012, 12:20 PM
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Even if there was a surge, the strong puck-possession performance continued under Blysma to this day.

We're talking about going from a coach who was ~46% over multiple seasons to a guy who has been ~52% over multiple seasons with the improvement being almost immediate. The coaching has to be a significant factor in that.
I don't think that's such an easy assumption. Again, the superstars only entered their primes under Bylsma - Therrien's reign was development years. The Pens also got better at adding complementary players post 08-09.

I just think that players drive a team's success so much more than coaching. No collection of players is the same from season to season, even if some of the names are the same, careers evolve. I could be convinced that Therrien was not a good coach, but I'd rather see an analysis of tactics and results rather than just results. I think isolating the influence of a coach is a more complicated process.

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06-05-2012, 12:36 PM
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I just think that players drive a team's success so much more than coaching.
In general I agree, but I feel coaches are like goalies. Most are average and finding an average coach is relatively easy. A scant very few are elite and can really help your team on a consistent basis. And some are just awful and those can really screw up your club.

Based on his Pittsburgh performance, I think Therrien is in the latter category.

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06-05-2012, 02:00 PM
  #224
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So, I wanted to revive this thread as I thought the recent overhaul in the Habs front office and coaching staff might provide some fodder for discussion. What impact does the hiring of Bergevin, Therrien, et al have on the likelihood that the Habs begin to employ more analytical approaches to player evaluation?

As someone very much supportive of this approach, I have to say I'm apprehensive about the new group. They seem very much cut from the old school cloth. But maybe I'm jumping the gun?
Hopefully, very little.

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06-05-2012, 02:12 PM
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Hopefully, very little.
Are you against using information to inform decisions?

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