HFBoards

Go Back   HFBoards > General Hockey Discussion > By The Numbers
By The Numbers Hockey Analytics... the Final Frontier. Explore strange new worlds, to seek out new algorithms, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Introduce yourself!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old
07-30-2012, 01:18 PM
  #26
GKJ
Global Moderator
Entertainment
 
GKJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Do not trade plz
Country: United States
Posts: 107,561
vCash: 6115
I joined the dark side about last summer. I rejected it because I was bad at math. Then I said 'well, they can just do the math for me.' Now it works better.


Last edited by GKJ: 07-30-2012 at 01:25 PM.
GKJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-30-2012, 02:26 PM
  #27
TheDevilMadeMe
Global Moderator
 
TheDevilMadeMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Brooklyn
Country: United States
Posts: 37,224
vCash: 500
I'm the only moderator of the History Board who isn't also a mod here (and there's still time for that ).

I think advanced statistics are an invaluable tool, but I think a lot of stats people get so bogged down in numbers that they sometimes loose track of the essence of the game itself. I find instances where the statistician overreaches and claims his stats how much more than they actually do to be unhelpful.

Two specific criticisms of mainstream hockey analytics:

1) The assumption that "conventional hockey wisdom" is worthless if it can't be statistically proven. Countless times, I have seen conventional wisdom tossed aside by the latest man with "The Answer" only to see later statistical work indicate that yes, the conventional wisdom had something to it. Off the top of my head, "goaltenders have no effect on shots against" and "skaters have no effect on save percentage" to be mindbogglingly ignorant statements (especially the second one), yet for a time were (and in same cases still are) accepting as truisms by some in the hockey analytics community.

I think the responsible thing to do would be to start with the assumption that conventional wisdom has a grain of truth to it, and should only be thrown out in the face of convincing evidence to the contrary (which we do have in quite a few cases). The current assumption seems to be that conventional wisdom should be dismissed off the bat unless convincing (statistical) evidence can be found in favor of it.

Taken to the extreme, the collective opinions of paid NHL GMs and coaches are dismissed as those of a bunch of meatheads stuck a past without the newfangled stats.

2) The tendency to dismiss every effect that can't be easily explained statistically as "luck." The easiest example I can think of is the commonly used blanket statement that any increase or decrease in playoff performance is due to random variation. This would make sense of players were simply machines driven by probability engines, but completely ignores the psychological difference between the playoffs and the regular season both in terms of pressure and in terms of playing the same opponent over and over again.

This might be a specific example of #1 (dismissing conventional wisdom as luck out of hand).

Back to me now: In case you haven't noticed, I'm much better at criticizing studies than coming up with my own

TheDevilMadeMe is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
07-30-2012, 03:03 PM
  #28
Chainshot
Global Moderator
Give 'em Enough Rope
 
Chainshot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Costa Rica
Country: Costa Rica
Posts: 55,965
vCash: 500
Awards:
I've poked around with some of the stats to validate my opinion on certain players for a few years now and now it's starting to gain traction. I find them very useful tools and a good way of finding more information (but not ALL information about) how a player plays.

__________________
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. - Aristotle
Chainshot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-30-2012, 03:17 PM
  #29
Czech Your Math
Registered User
 
Czech Your Math's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: bohemia
Country: Czech_ Republic
Posts: 3,358
vCash: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I think advanced statistics are an invaluable tool, but I think a lot of stats people get so bogged down in numbers that they sometimes loose track of the essence of the game itself. I find instances where the statistician overreaches and claims his stats how much more than they actually do to be unhelpful.
I agree. Some of the best studies and metrics are the simplest in principle. For instance, Overpass' adjusted plus-minus is very simple in principle. Even the math used to estimate SH/PP GF/GA on ice is relatively simple. It's recognizing how to use the available data properly is not always so simple. In contrast, some "all-in-one" metrics that utilize more complicated math without reasoned support for the methodology are of little use and can be misleading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Two specific criticisms of mainstream hockey analytics:

1) The assumption that "conventional hockey wisdom" is worthless if it can't be statistically proven. Countless times, I have seen conventional wisdom tossed aside by the latest man with "The Answer" only to see later statistical work indicate that yes, the conventional wisdom had something to it. Off the top of my head, "goaltenders have no effect on shots against" and "skaters have no effect on save percentage" to be mindbogglingly ignorant statements (especially the second one), yet for a time were (and in same cases still are) accepting as truisms by some in the hockey analytics community.

I think the responsible thing to do would be to start with the assumption that conventional wisdom has a grain of truth to it, and should only be thrown out in the face of convincing evidence to the contrary (which we do have in quite a few cases). The current assumption seems to be that conventional wisdom should be dismissed off the bat unless convincing (statistical) evidence can be found in favor of it.

Taken to the extreme, the collective opinions of paid NHL GMs and coaches are dismissed as those of a bunch of meatheads stuck a past without the newfangled stats.
I think the opinions of knowledgeable hockey people should be given some respect. However, it should not stop there, but rather be an impetus to further support or (at least partially) disprove that "conventional wisdom."

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
2) The tendency to dismiss every effect that can't be easily explained statistically as "luck." The easiest example I can think of is the commonly used blanket statement that any increase or decrease in playoff performance is due to random variation. This would make sense of players were simply machines driven by probability engines, but completely ignores the psychological difference between the playoffs and the regular season both in terms of pressure and in terms of playing the same opponent over and over again.

This might be a specific example of #1 (dismissing conventional wisdom as luck out of hand).

Back to me now: In case you haven't noticed, I'm much better at criticizing studies than coming up with my own
While it may be rash to just dismiss conventional wisdom, it's also unwise to blindly accept it. I think what's most important is to use logic when analyzing and assessing data. For instance, playoff performance is difficult to study, because the conditions are unequal. One could say "Messier's playoff PPG is similar to his regular season PPG, which is unusual, so he must be one of the most clutch playoff players." This overlooks some important factors:

- Messier's regular season PPG was lower than a lot of other great players, and it's generally easier to maintain a lower PPG than a higher one.

- Messier was not in the playoffs his last several seasons, so his regular season PPG is decreased by these lesser seasons, while his playoff PPG isn't. Also, a player's playoff games each season varies a lot more than his regular season games, and since league avg. scoring varies each season, this also has an effect.

- Messier was often on strong regular season teams, which were often stronger than their opposition in the playoffs. Such strong teams will tend to outperform their opposition, so the players on strong teams will tend to outperform players on weaker teams.

It shouldn't be expected that everyone perform or cite a study to support their position. What's frustrating is that many abandon simple logic when assessing the data available. I can understand when someone doesn't believe they have the math skills to perform or understand a study. I can't understand when they refuse to use logic.

Czech Your Math is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-30-2012, 03:25 PM
  #30
Greg02
Registered User
 
Greg02's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,661
vCash: 500
Hi, I'm Greg. I', a CS/Math major primarily interested in theoretical computer science. I'm fairly skeptical of the ability to draw meaningful conclusions about hockey from Sabremetrics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lambda View Post
I'm going into my senior year of college majoring in Math and Computer Science. Id definitely consider myself more of a computer science student, I love programming and algorithms, but have also recently begun really delving into Machine Learning, and, by extension Stats! Id love to poke around here and learn a few things!
Hmm... Islanders, Haskell, Machine Learning...

We must be mortal enemies or something (Rangers/Scheme/PLT)

Greg02 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
07-30-2012, 03:51 PM
  #31
puckguy11
This Space for Rent
 
puckguy11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Somewhere in MN
Country: United States
Posts: 2,180
vCash: 774
I'm Andy. Big on the hockey (Not so much on the math), but the idea of sabremetrics in hockey intrigues me, considering the lengthy contracts given out the past few seasons especially for smaller markets that may not have the money nor the appeal to bring in free agents but still want to win.

puckguy11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-30-2012, 04:06 PM
  #32
team_alex
Registered User
 
team_alex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 514
vCash: 500
I always though HF should start a board for this stuff. There should be enough of us quant-types around to make things interesting. I have a Bsc in Econ and the CFA designation. My math isn't the best, but I've had a few levels of econometrics & calculus. So I hope I can have useful input somewhere along the way.

team_alex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-31-2012, 08:59 PM
  #33
Iain Fyffe
Hockey fact-checker
 
Iain Fyffe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fredericton, NB
Country: Canada
Posts: 2,172
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
2) The tendency to dismiss every effect that can't be easily explained statistically as "luck." The easiest example I can think of is the commonly used blanket statement that any increase or decrease in playoff performance is due to random variation. This would make sense of players were simply machines driven by probability engines, but completely ignores the psychological difference between the playoffs and the regular season both in terms of pressure and in terms of playing the same opponent over and over again.
The problem here is that you have made a blanket statement yourself (by claiming that analysts make that blanket statement), and also rely upon a truism (the playoffs are "different" in a meaningful way). What you're probably missing is the amount of analysis that has gone into a question like that, which reveals the strong effect that variance has on the playoffs.

If there are real differences in these players, it should be persistent and repeatable. And yet, clutch players one year often disappear the next, and "playoff" teams fail to repeat their performance.

Luck is never the only factor. But it's a biggie, the fewer games you play. That some teams perform differently in the playoffs being used as evidence that the playoffs are different is circular reasoning, and normal variance explains it just as well without begging the question.

Iain Fyffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-01-2012, 02:12 AM
  #34
Karl with a C
RIP Локомотив
 
Karl with a C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: San Jose, CA
Country: Russian Federation
Posts: 15,697
vCash: 500
This is something that has always interested me, I've just never really sat down and thought at length about quantifying concretely hockey performance with pencil-in-hand. Maybe this forum can serve as a catalyst. Also, I have a degree in Math & Economics. I know a lot about statistics too, as the job I'm pursuing uses it extensively. I'm excited to see where this board goes and maybe I'll try to contribute some ideas.

Karl with a C is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-01-2012, 03:57 AM
  #35
Mint Berry Crunch
hfbrods pls...
 
Mint Berry Crunch's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Long Island, NY
Country: Pakistan
Posts: 1,937
vCash: 50
Send a message via AIM to Mint Berry Crunch
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
My username is my real name, and you can find my stuff online. My blog is here, and I wrote for Hockey Prospectus for some time but not really anymore. And my old site is still around. I've done a lot of statistical analysis on modern players and teams, but generally focus on old stuff now, pre-1927.
Your name is awesome. (I seriously mean that if it comes across as sarcasm at all.)

And back on track --

Hey all. Developmental psych major here. Love hockey; Rangers fan. Huge love for soccer as well (Arsenal). All-around lovable nerd, really.

Mint Berry Crunch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-01-2012, 01:14 PM
  #36
CanadianHockey
On the Alfie Wagon
 
CanadianHockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: uOttawa
Country: Canada
Posts: 28,313
vCash: 2391
I'm CH, minimal background in mathematics and statistics beyond high school level calc and my intro to statistics courses for an undergrad degree in political science. Looking forward to seeing some of the great minds of HF at work. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up a thing or two.

CanadianHockey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-01-2012, 08:17 PM
  #37
xtra
Registered User
 
xtra's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 3,052
vCash: 500
Ill be honest i don't have a fancy degree like some of you or have i been published in at any MIT Sloan conventions but im here to learn as this seems like the wave of the future and i would love to know what i am talking about before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon

P.s. I'm a canucks fan and i know they use this stuff so hopefully learning this cna help me see the value in some of their moves

xtra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-01-2012, 11:23 PM
  #38
Coconuts
Registered User
 
Coconuts's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Country: Canada
Posts: 881
vCash: 500
I have a degree in Mathematics, but now am working and continuing my education in the Computer Science field.

I've always been heavily into hockey statistics and trivia, but in the last few years I've become more interested in using all available data to be able to predict future results better than anyone has been able to so far.

About a year and a half ago my interest was at its peak and I wrote a program to retrieve all event and shift data from NHL.com so I could have all available raw data available for mining. It worked but was not very robust, and the algorithms I was using in my data mining were inefficient.

These days I have a number of other projects that must take precedence, so I am sure I won't be able to contribute as much in terms of substance as I would like, but I will definitely be reading. Maybe this will help spark some motivation again.

Coconuts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-02-2012, 06:24 AM
  #39
Pavelec4MVP
MVP! MVP! MVP!
 
Pavelec4MVP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Your Mind
Posts: 30,763
vCash: 50
Hi I am KW
My math now a days begins and ends with 1+1=3

I don't have time to come up with funky numbers and spread sheets... but I do enjoy reading others.

__________________
Most Valuable Player
Most Valuable Player

Most Valuable Player
Most Valuable Player
Pavelec4MVP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-02-2012, 11:16 AM
  #40
Yurog
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Magnitogorsk
Country: Russian Federation
Posts: 29
vCash: 500
Hi guys
I'm 21 years old. I'm from Russia. I'm intersting History of hockey. I missed prelockout NHL. To catch up, I began to collect classic games and sistemize merit of players numerically.
My background is industrial automation, studied the numerical methods,mathematical models of technological processes, optimization techniques , statistical processing of data, betting, like programming on C++.

I develop goalies rankings since 50s


Last edited by Yurog: 08-03-2012 at 11:16 AM.
Yurog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-02-2012, 01:23 PM
  #41
malPHONEY
Registered User
 
malPHONEY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: LI
Country: United States
Posts: 1,984
vCash: 500
I'm Mike, at 18 years old. Loved baseball stats since I was 6 and learning Sabremetrics has given me a greater understanding and appreciation of the game. Have some statistical background because my father teaches Biostatistics at a med school and I'm majoring in Accounting for college.

Honestly I think hockey's where baseball was in the 1980s, in terms of condescending attitudes towards analytics and the reliance on narratives like clutchness and intangibles.

Arguments are just not as fun when a fan can just say "you don't watch the games" if you say anything's off about their player's game. Scouting has it's place as does watching games, but so do stats.


Last edited by malPHONEY: 08-02-2012 at 01:31 PM.
malPHONEY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-03-2012, 03:27 PM
  #42
LyricalLyricist
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Montreal
Country: Canada
Posts: 19,767
vCash: 1100
Great subforum. Not sure how much I'll contribute but I'll be passing by and looking around for sure.

I'm a mental math nut and my educational background is pretty much being in the process of an industrial engineering bachelor's degree.

LyricalLyricist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-03-2012, 03:54 PM
  #43
Mystlyfe
We're Touched
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 11,139
vCash: 500
Mechanical Engineer with a few undergrad prob & stat courses under his belt. Became interested in "SABR"-type stats through baseball, and followed that interest to hockey. Due to my workload and other commitments, I doubt I'll have the time or energy to invest in running or coordinating any of my own studies (would have done so well before now if I could), but I'm more than happy to be involved in the discussions and provide whatever constructive criticism I can.


I'm also not afraid to yell at you if you abuse statistics, especially if you wind up giving them a bad name. I'm look at you, Neil Greenberg (ESPN/Washington Post/ex-RMNB).

Mystlyfe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-03-2012, 11:00 PM
  #44
-31-
portnor, pls
 
-31-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Country: Canada
Posts: 13,763
vCash: 50
Very excited to see this sub-board.

I'm Jared, 25, Accountant. Very interested in performance metrics. The less we use viewing a player in a small sample and writing down how that player makes us feel as a method of evaluation, the better.

-31- is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-04-2012, 12:03 AM
  #45
Frank Gallagher
"Alcohol is a gift"
 
Frank Gallagher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: STM, PA
Country: United States
Posts: 688
vCash: 500
I'm Patrick. 19, History Ed. Major. I love stats and know way too many useless ones. I however probably shall contribute very little in the way of work... Regardless, I will definitely be watching to see what you number-crunchers can do.

Godspeed gentlemen!

Frank Gallagher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-04-2012, 12:10 AM
  #46
garret9
AKA#VitoCorrelationi
 
garret9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 9,079
vCash: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank Chinaski View Post
Hello all. My math background is modest (limited to the introductory calc and stats classes needed for my B.Sc), but I've always been fascinated by stats and their application in sports. I was especially drawn in by the work Ken Pomeroy, a college hoops stats guru.
Hi Hank!!! Haha

Everyone else:
Hi my name is Garret.
I'm a long time hockey fan, coming from a family that is deeply involved in many facets at many levles, but is new to online community (brought by the return of my childhood team).

My mathematical/statistical background predominately comes from my undergrad experience (analytical chemistry, biostatics, multivariable calc, differential equations, etc)... but the statistical side of hockey was introduced to me by the lovely site of Arctic Ice Hockey.


Last edited by garret9: 08-04-2012 at 12:16 AM.
garret9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-04-2012, 02:50 PM
  #47
headsigh
leave at once!
 
headsigh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Atlanta
Country: Isle of Man
Posts: 9,857
vCash: 500
I like hockey and I failed math class almost as hard as the Thrashers failed.

But I'm here anyway.

headsigh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-09-2012, 01:26 PM
  #48
AlienWorkShop
No Ben! No!
 
AlienWorkShop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Country: Canada
Posts: 3,134
vCash: 500
Hellooooo (la la la)

Just noticed this subforum, cool stuff.

I've always loved stats and I'm the type that probably enjoys reading about baseball stats more than actually watching the game haha. I've come to realize part of my joy for hockey is given it's free-flowing nature and almost impossible to control environment, I can simply watch the game and not have freaking numbers running through my head the entire time haha

My background... did economics for my undergrad and I'll be starting a master's in economics overseas in the fall, so any actual contribution I can make will probably be pretty limited, but I'll be sure to drop by occasionally and perhaps make some contributions/suggestions/etc.

Random thoughts:
1) I'm hardly the first to say so, but I'm very skeptical of most hockey stats given how uncontrollable the environment is compared to baseball. I haven't really done much analysis on my own as I tend to get frustrated by biased numbers and I'm not much of an excel jockey. However, if optical tracking is properly implement in hockey one day... oooooh boy.

2) I get a little annoyed by both sides of "regression to the mean" arguments. I'm generalizing, but adherents to regression may treat it as an actual law and try to shut down discussion accordingly, while detractors will characterize it as a law and then simply point to deviations to disprove it. It's generally just a rule of thumb that is heavily dependent on variation depending on the data at hand (this may be more of a baseball stats issue haha, but just saying)

3) If hockey stats could be controlled like baseball stats (maybe one day...), I'd be very tempted to say goodbye to my econ aspirations and take it up as my career haha

4) There seems to be a lot of debate over just how useful advanced hockey stats can be, with good reason. In general, I tend to think that while some advanced baseball stats may explain, say, 75% of a team/player's output, the very best hockey stats are probably in the 10-20% range with luck and intangibles playing a much larger part. Even if that is "low", I still think it's worthy exploring.

uh, ok, cool.

AlienWorkShop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-10-2012, 11:43 AM
  #49
SaskRinkRat
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 343
vCash: 500
Really excited about this new subforum.

I'm really interested in whether or not the new movement toward hockey metrics can identify higher volume, more frequently occurring improvement-type metrics. A lot of the focus right now seems to be on post-hoc evaluation (i.e., over the course of five seasons, which events counted most in the win-loss regression analysis). I'm curious about whether or not those events can be further broken down into smaller events that happen during a game so that player evaluation can happen in the moment. If we know that shots lead to goals, then what leads to shots? Then what leads to those things that lead to shots, and what skill development is necessary to ensure those things occur with more frequency.

I think analytics have the potential to be a huge coaching tool in addition to a player evaluation tool. I feel like most are currently geared toward, say, a GM who is concerned with a player's past performance, whether it will continue into the future, and whether he can get good value for that player if he brings him on his roster. I'd like to see another branch start up that is geared toward, say, a coach who wants to understand how his players are doing right now in the areas that most lead to net goal production.

SaskRinkRat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
08-10-2012, 01:47 PM
  #50
Shrimper
WinItFor#58
 
Shrimper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Essex
Country: United Kingdom
Posts: 62,122
vCash: 50
Passed my maths at GCSE, failed at A-Level yet learning as an accountant. Will look to learn things here and participate.

Shrimper is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Forum Jump


Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:42 PM.

monitoring_string = "e4251c93e2ba248d29da988d93bf5144"
Contact Us - HFBoards - Archive - Privacy Statement - Terms of Use - Advertise - Top - AdChoices

vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
HFBoards.com is a property of CraveOnline Media, LLC, an Evolve Media, LLC company. 2014 All Rights Reserved.