Blogs With Balls, Advanced Stats & the Buffalo Sabres
written by Ian C McLaren
"This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Blogs With Balls 5 in Toronto. Apart from the informative and entertaining hockey panel (which you can see here, courtesy of theScore), one of the sessions that stood out to me was entitled ‘Moneyballs – Measurement & Analytics in Sports Media‘. What was most interesting to me about this topic was the idea that stats have the power to tell a certain kind of story about sports in general and specific athletes or situations in particular, and that traditional measuring sticks can only reveal a limited view of a much bigger narrative that is being played out every time we turn on a game.
Accordingly, traditional stat markers can only tell us so much about any given player. As Tom Haberstroh pointed out (using basketball as an example), “just because you score a lot doesn’t mean you’re the best player on the court. It just means you take a lot of shots.” When it comes to digging a bit deeper into the realm of advanced stats, one can begin to uncover another part of the story unfolding, one that challenges traditional notions of what constitutes a valuable player.
Advanced stats, therefore, are all about the kind of story you’re telling about the sport you cover."