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Brian Burke is a Dinosaur

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Old
03-01-2013, 09:38 PM
  #76
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Originally Posted by hototogisu View Post
To be fair, Burke led a team to a Cup not 20 years ago, but 5 years ago. He's justified in believing in his methods as they had success for him not all that long ago.

In his second quote, maybe he's trying to say that nobody ever won a championship purely with statistics, and that a measure of eyeballing and having an eye for talent is involved as well? I think hearing the entire discussion would provide some context, instead of just yanking a sentence out of what was probably a larger idea.
What were Burke's methods in Anaheim? Take over team mostly built by someone else...and have the luxury of easily signing Neidermayer because Rod was already there and use assets provided for him to grab Pronger. It sounds more impressive then it is. The deals that turned Anaheim from good team to Cup winner weren't crafty...they were kinda brainless.

He had a chance to build a team from the ground up in Toronto and failed miserably while many teams were using metrics. It's in its infancy but they've found a way to explain a lot of different areas of life with numbers, they may with hockey as well..although if it happens, it'll be a process.

It's never gonna replace the eye completely, and probably not even mostly....but the eye can be deceiving as well. His eyes led him to constantly beleive his goaltending was better than it was, among other delusions.

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03-02-2013, 01:42 AM
  #77
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Originally Posted by tml145 View Post
if advanced statistics are that be all and end all

then they should win every year
unfortunately this thing called 'life' happens and the best team doesn't always win the title every year. luck is a huge part of most sports.

i don't discredit a good eye, but any GM worth his salt should be trying to gain every advantage possible, and utilization of microstats is just another advantage. it isn't the be all and end all, but they are FAR more valuable than you give them credit for.

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03-02-2013, 08:20 AM
  #78
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Originally Posted by Minister of Offence View Post
What were Burke's methods in Anaheim? Take over team mostly built by someone else...and have the luxury of easily signing Neidermayer because Rod was already there and use assets provided for him to grab Pronger. It sounds more impressive then it is. The deals that turned Anaheim from good team to Cup winner weren't crafty...they were kinda brainless.

He had a chance to build a team from the ground up in Toronto and failed miserably while many teams were using metrics. It's in its infancy but they've found a way to explain a lot of different areas of life with numbers, they may with hockey as well..although if it happens, it'll be a process.

It's never gonna replace the eye completely, and probably not even mostly....but the eye can be deceiving as well. His eyes led him to constantly beleive his goaltending was better than it was, among other delusions.
If you can name another GM in the century long history of the NHL to take a team from close to last to first in a year and a half while literally overhauling 75% of the roster (I believe there were 6 or 7 players left), all the while trading away his top 5 scorers and assembling an entire D corps and having the offensive contributions of those stellar core pieces people like to cling to as a discredit to his work (which for the record are the worst offensive contributions any set of forwards has had since the lockout), well knock yourself out.



By the by, a day or two ago those goalies you speak of sat 5th and 6th in the NHL for SV %.

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03-02-2013, 08:23 AM
  #79
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Burke, makes a great point and those that ignore or do not lend any credence to his opinion are lost. Political Science is going through this debate as we speak with the quants having the upper hand, but data doesn't tell the whole story.

If one wanted to highlight this point, India and Bangladesh are a terrific case study. India's GDP and GNP are umpteenth times bigger than Bangladesh's, but Bangladeshis for whatever reason are living longer.

David Brooks wrote a terrific op-ed about the limits to the field a few days ago.

http://www.nytimes.c...t-do.html?_r=1

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03-02-2013, 10:50 AM
  #80
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Originally Posted by tml145 View Post
if advanced statistics are that be all and end all

then they should win every year
This is silly logic. I mean if Burke "eyeballing" is the be all and end all then his team would have won every year. They are a tool that helps team. But ignoring stats is as bad as ignoring "eyeballing" hockey.

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03-02-2013, 11:28 AM
  #81
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I'm using the like a lamp post for a drunk allusion...

that was pretty clever.

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03-02-2013, 08:02 PM
  #82
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It's an eyeball business. If you're looking at statistics, I want you in our division.
And what division is that, Mr. Burke?

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No one ever won a title with Moneyball.
I'd be interested to hear what his definition of Moneyball is. Mine is determining what drives winning and losing and finding undervalued players based on that determination.

I.e. the opposite of what he did acquiring every available grinder and fighter.

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Originally Posted by hototogisu View Post
In his second quote, maybe he's trying to say that nobody ever won a championship purely with statistics, and that a measure of eyeballing and having an eye for talent is involved as well?
If that's what he meant, what a meaningless quote that would be. No team has ever tried it. I don't know of any team that's scouting budget was 0 for any year.

On the flip side, what team has won a championship relying purely on eyeballing?

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03-03-2013, 04:39 AM
  #83
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lol if you guys are using the red sox, or other teams who spend a ton of money as examples of money ball, then you obviously have not read or the book or do not understand it.

the point of it is teams with limited resources taking advantage of undervalued assets/players. all the red sox did was spend alot of money, there was nothing they did that took advantage of undervalued skillsets. at that time OBP, one stat Billy Beane found that was fundamental to scoring runs, and also highly undervalued, was becoming highly valued. there was nothing cutting edge about what they did

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03-03-2013, 10:13 AM
  #84
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Originally Posted by bleedgreen View Post
I agree with everything he says. Stats are pretty useless in hockey.
+1

Hockey isn't a sport that can be properly quantified. Hockey is about roles, spontaneity, and teamwork.

The best statistics are the ones you develop cognitively when you are watching a game unfold.

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03-03-2013, 10:38 AM
  #85
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Originally Posted by Minister of Offence View Post
What were Burke's methods in Anaheim? Take over team mostly built by someone else...and have the luxury of easily signing Neidermayer because Rod was already there and use assets provided for him to grab Pronger. It sounds more impressive then it is. The deals that turned Anaheim from good team to Cup winner weren't crafty...they were kinda brainless.

He had a chance to build a team from the ground up in Toronto and failed miserably while many teams were using metrics. It's in its infancy but they've found a way to explain a lot of different areas of life with numbers, they may with hockey as well..although if it happens, it'll be a process.

It's never gonna replace the eye completely, and probably not even mostly....but the eye can be deceiving as well. His eyes led him to constantly beleive his goaltending was better than it was, among other delusions.
Burke brought in that entire Anaheim D corp and most of the bottom 6. Don't let your bias against Burke cloud your view of reality. And how did he fail miserably in Toronto? Last I check they are a good young team this year.

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03-03-2013, 10:56 AM
  #86
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You can compare players in key situations. How they affect on teammates etc. It's very useful. Only an idiot wouldn't use advanced statistics while looking for new players or trade. After that analysis you have a vision what kinda player he is. What you see on ice in few games gives you very little insight compared to statistics.

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03-03-2013, 10:58 AM
  #87
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Originally Posted by skillhockey View Post
You can compare players in key situations. How they affect on teammates etc. It's very useful. Only an idiot wouldn't use advanced statistics while looking for new players or trade. After that analysis you have a vision what kinda player he is. What you see on ice in few games gives you very little insight compared to statistics.
That's why you have a scouting staff...

There's nothing advanced about these "advanced" stats.

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03-03-2013, 11:23 AM
  #88
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Originally Posted by OccupySheen View Post
lol if you guys are using the red sox, or other teams who spend a ton of money as examples of money ball, then you obviously have not read or the book or do not understand it.

the point of it is teams with limited resources taking advantage of undervalued assets/players. all the red sox did was spend alot of money, there was nothing they did that took advantage of undervalued skillsets. at that time OBP, one stat Billy Beane found that was fundamental to scoring runs, and also highly undervalued, was becoming highly valued. there was nothing cutting edge about what they did
If all the Red Sox did was spend a lot of money then how come the Cubs haven't done anything in years. All they do is spend money. This theory of spend money and you'll win is flawed. The idea is discussed in the book Wages of Wins. Even though I'm not a big fan of their basketball model, I liked that part of the book on spending vs winning. The Red Sox spent money on players whom helped them win.

As for the rest, I mean it's pretty ridiculous how some people are close-minded. Anyhow, it's not like all the A's do is OBP. The A's like the Rays have developped their own model ot maximize pitching and defense (mostly player placement). The A's greatest use of advanced stat wasn't OPS or OBP like discussed in the book. Sure it helped but what helped the A's most was how well their pitchers performed or even, over-performed due to great strategies. Zito was a league leader in ERA yet his DIPS or DICE was a point to a point and a half higher than his ERA. A's have been doing a great job managing their pitchers and have optimized their performance with great defensive strategies. It's not that their players on defense are great, in fact, they're pretty terrible for the most part. However, everything from pitch selection to player placement on the field is A+. Same goes for the Rays.

If Moneyball was about winning on a budget I don't think it would have had the success it did. There's a bunch of teams that have done this in the past. Them winning on a budget only inspired Michael Lewis to investigate what was happening there. He noticed a lot of similarities between the sports/MLB world and the stock market, where he previously worked. An old boys club, with the macho (truculence I guess in reference to Burke) attitude that led them to make terrible decisions.

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03-03-2013, 11:44 AM
  #89
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Originally Posted by OccupySheen View Post

the point of it is teams with limited resources taking advantage of undervalued assets/players. all the red sox did was spend alot of money, there was nothing they did that took advantage of undervalued skillsets. at that time OBP, one stat Billy Beane found that was fundamental to scoring runs, and also highly undervalued, was becoming highly valued. there was nothing cutting edge about what they did
It's been pointed out multiple times in this thread that the 2004 Red sox team was before they spent a bunch of money

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03-03-2013, 12:02 PM
  #90
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Um, wouldn't a lamppost still be useful for illumination as well as support, drunk or not?


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my thought as well

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03-03-2013, 12:07 PM
  #91
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Defining what Moneyball is, isn't really the point. The point is sabremetrics. The story of the Oakland A's was about using sabremetrics to find market inefficiencies so they could complete with the bigger spending teams. When you're discussing the importance of statistics in evaluating players, it's the sabremetrics part of that story that should be the focus, not the money part. Teams have won World Series' using advanced statistical analysis in building their teams. Players that were once cheap because of the market inefficiencies discussed in the book, are now payed more because teams realize how valuable they are.

Burke is just talking nonsense by saying Oakland/Moneyball hasn't won any titles, therefore stats are junk. He doesn't think stats are important and he sees that as an easy way to support his bias.

Now, that's baseball. Burke can be forgiven for not knowing what he's talking about. What about hockey? Hockey isn't baseball. The game isn't represented in the numbers like baseball is. It could be one day, but it isn't right now. So he's right, kind of, but he's right for the wrong reasons. He just doesn't like stats. If tomorrow we all woke up and someone had discovered the magic of hockey sabremetrics, it seems like Burke wouldn't want anything to do with it. That's the problem here. That's the problem with most sports. Hell, it's still a problem in baseball (see: 2012 AL MVP debate).

But I don't think Burke's problem right now is ignoring stats, it's that he pays too much attention to "skills", like truculence, that don't win Stanley Cups.

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03-03-2013, 12:54 PM
  #92
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But I don't think Burke's problem right now is ignoring stats, it's that he pays too much attention to "skills", like truculence, that don't win Stanley Cups.
It's funny that you mention that when the last two Stanley Cup winners focus heavily on skills like "truculence", though I know both Boston and LA use advanced stats as well, and both of GMs are rather progressive thinking. However the feeling I get from stats communities in sports is that they tend to focus too heavily on "dehumanization" as if because things like character or the effects of it can't be represented by numbers that means they don't exist or contribute to a winning team. One of the reasons I end up disagreeing with Pronman's prospect rankings most of the time even though I appreciate a different non-generic view that actually has a theme. You know I tend to roll my eyes a bit at stuff like psychology or management as well because it's not an exact science, being an econ major I thought management was a waste of time since it seems so intuitive and not exactly a science that you either get it or not, but that stuff - "the intangibles" is very real in terms of creating a winning team and organization.


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03-03-2013, 01:06 PM
  #93
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Red Sox are not an example of Moneyball. Yes, Epstein used a similar approach at times, but he had a huge payroll to work with. Neither are the Mavericks. Burke is right a lot here. Stats are pretty useless in hockey.
So you can't use the principals of Moneyball if you're rich? I'd suggest you read the book again.

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03-03-2013, 01:22 PM
  #94
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It's been pointed out multiple times in this thread that the 2004 Red sox team was before they spent a bunch of money
Yes it's been pointed out multiple times..... incorrectly:

http://content.usatoday.com/sportsda...ries/team/2004

Boston had the 2nd highest payroll in MLB that year. They spent $44 million more (1.5x as much) as the team they played in the World Series.

I don't doubt at all that the Red Sox used advanced statistics as a strategy that year, but when you spend 20m on Manny, 17m on Pedro, (both of whom were there before Bill James or Theo) 12m on Schilling, 8m on Damon (also there before James and Theo) and so on, it's not really a "moneyball team".

Especially since so many of the key players on that team were assembled BEFORE the "moneyball" front office came aboard AND since one of the most interesting things about that team was that the year before they tried to go with the advanced stats concept (touted by Bill James, and which I agree with) of not really using a "Closer" (as the role has become) and how that strategy failed miserably, and that for the 2004 team they threw away that strategy (despite it being part of the supposed advanced stats philosophy.

Also, it's important to note that several of the 2004 team were acquired because they were too expensive for their former teams: Manny, Damon, Pedro, etc.

So the question is, did this team win the title because they used advanced stats to assemble a collection of players that the "eye" wouldn't have? Or were they a group, largely collected by the previous regime, who were big stars that ANY criteria would have said were good players?

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03-03-2013, 01:23 PM
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It's funny that you mention that when the last two Stanley Cup winners focus heavily on skills like "truculence", though I know both Boston and LA use advanced stats as well, and both of GMs are rather progressive thinking. However the feeling I get from stats communities in sports is that they tend to focus too heavily on "dehumanization" as if because things like character or the effects of it can't be represented by numbers that means they don't exist or contribute to a winning team. One of the reasons I end up disagreeing with Pronman's prospect rankings most of the time even though I appreciate a different non-generic view that actually has a theme.
I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say there. I don't think Burke's problem right now is his aversion to statistics, never mind advanced stats. It's that he overvalues certain "eyeball" skills over others.

And on the dehumanization of players, it isn't that they are discounted because they can't be measured, it's that the measurement of advanced statistics often shows that they matter far less than people think. Sometimes they don't exist at all, see clutchiness. I don't think the state of hockey sabremetrics is at a level where a judgement can be made one way or the other, but the answer isn't to value them just because they make things more interesting for you.

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03-03-2013, 01:45 PM
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So you can't use the principals of Moneyball if you're rich? I'd suggest you read the book again.
I agree, a big market can still use sabremetrics. But big market high $ teams usually have guys who have really large counting stats (that' what has always been valued come contract time). Rich teams usually get the best players on the market, and many many times those "best" players are ones that are already considered "the best" before the use of advanced stats.

So when a rich team wins a championship with a bunch of high profile players that EVERY team (even non-statistically based ones) identifies as being great, does that count?

Now, let me say, I'm totally for using new statistical measures, exploring all evidence as a way to measure performance and open to any study that is being done.

I just think sometimes those methods get TOO much credit when traditional methods also play a part.

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03-03-2013, 01:45 PM
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So the question is, did this team win the title because they used advanced stats to assemble a collection of players that the "eye" wouldn't have? Or were they a group, largely collected by the previous regime, who were big stars that ANY criteria would have said were good players?
The correct answer is a bit of both. Their large payroll makes little difference to whether or not they deployed Moneyball/Sabremetric methods in creating that team. But this back and forth argument over the definition of "Moneyball" is kind of missing the point of what Burke was saying. Advanced statistic analysis does help you win baseball games and championships. To some extent every MLB team now uses it. The market inefficiencies that Beane exploited in Oakland in the book are now gone, because all the other teams recognize the value in those players.

Burke seems to equate statistics in baseball with the success/failure of Oakland, not recognizing how the events in Oakland have shaped the game since. He doesn't know what he's talking about.

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03-03-2013, 02:01 PM
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One thing I find strange is that Burke openly said in last year's conference that teams look at points, TOI and PIMs when evaluating players. You can also use regression analysis, whether in baseball, basketball, football and soccer. Using very simple variables like each sports equivalent of pts/toi and so on like tackles in football and whatnot. You'd find pretty quickly that you can explain a large part of a player's salary through those stats. What it shows is that teams actually rely quite heavily on basic stats even if they don't admit it.

Like here on the prospects forum, sure it's a fan forum and not an ensemble of pro scouts. But people who'll reject advanced stats will very often use points for example, or GAA in evaluating player. We know that those stats are way flawed, yet people rely on them much more so than they'll say openly. Even watching shows like Oil Change, you see that we're far from the black magic, high level analysis people make it out to be.

Sure statistical analysis might not have an answer to everything that happens during a game but they sure help you understand the stats better than simply looking at points and GAA. Besides, there's no value for a team in waiting for others to come up with the answers. You're much better off doing like the Rays did in baseball and be proactive with the research. That way you'll remain far ahead of the competition even when they hear that OPS is a better predictor of future performances than batting average.

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03-03-2013, 03:29 PM
  #99
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If all the Red Sox did was spend a lot of money then how come the Cubs haven't done anything in years. All they do is spend money. This theory of spend money and you'll win is flawed. The idea is discussed in the book Wages of Wins. Even though I'm not a big fan of their basketball model, I liked that part of the book on spending vs winning. The Red Sox spent money on players whom helped them win.

As for the rest, I mean it's pretty ridiculous how some people are close-minded. Anyhow, it's not like all the A's do is OBP. The A's like the Rays have developped their own model ot maximize pitching and defense (mostly player placement). The A's greatest use of advanced stat wasn't OPS or OBP like discussed in the book. Sure it helped but what helped the A's most was how well their pitchers performed or even, over-performed due to great strategies. Zito was a league leader in ERA yet his DIPS or DICE was a point to a point and a half higher than his ERA. A's have been doing a great job managing their pitchers and have optimized their performance with great defensive strategies. It's not that their players on defense are great, in fact, they're pretty terrible for the most part. However, everything from pitch selection to player placement on the field is A+. Same goes for the Rays.

If Moneyball was about winning on a budget I don't think it would have had the success it did. There's a bunch of teams that have done this in the past. Them winning on a budget only inspired Michael Lewis to investigate what was happening there. He noticed a lot of similarities between the sports/MLB world and the stock market, where he previously worked. An old boys club, with the macho (truculence I guess in reference to Burke) attitude that led them to make terrible decisions.
You are proving my point, moneyball was about taking advantage of under-valued skills. the red sox simply had big name players all over their team, very few homegrown. The rays have taken it to the next level, but the difference between baseball and hockey, is the rays can get compensatory picks for letting guys walk. though they also have no problem making trades. If the NHL had a similar pick system things would be alot different

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03-03-2013, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by OccupySheen View Post
You are proving my point, moneyball was about taking advantage of under-valued skills. the red sox simply had big name players all over their team, very few homegrown. The rays have taken it to the next level, but the difference between baseball and hockey, is the rays can get compensatory picks for letting guys walk. though they also have no problem making trades. If the NHL had a similar pick system things would be alot different
Well sure it proves your point the A's exploited under valued skills. It still doesn't mean in any way that because a team has a high payroll that it can't use Sabremetrics. I'm not arguing that people can't figure good players from average ones. It doesn't take advanced stats to figure out that Sidney Crosby is a good hockey player. Same goes for baseball and other sports. That said, spending money doesn't equate success. Spending money on the right players is far more important. Sabremetrics will help you figuring out who to pay and who not to pay as much. A player like Manny Ramirez who may have brought 5-6 extra wins to Boston was worth a hell of a lot for such a team.

For each extra win Boston makes by getting closer to the playoffs, making the playoffs, winning a playoffs game, a series, WS and so on is worth a lot in that kind of market. Sabremetrics will help you figuring or get a good approximation of how much that is worth. I agree it wasn't hard figuring out that Manny was a good player but they spent the money on the right players. That said, I don't want to not see the forest for the trees. There's plenty of evidence in major sports that analytics have helped make better decisions, help building winning teams and so on. Humans will always be a part of it. I think people freak out way too much when we talk about these subjects thinking that computers will replace humans in society and end up with some sort of cyborg wars.

Sure things would be different in hockey just like they are different in the NBA or in the EPL. I still think it can be done in hockey and there's a pretty big opportunity for a team willing to do the work. Here I mean not just, hey we'll put a couple radars there and ending up measuring on subjective understanding of hockey. A team willing to re-visit everything they think about the game may come out of this as big winners IMO.

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