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Old
11-11-2012, 01:12 PM
  #1
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People who challenge Plus/Minus

I'm pro plus / minus.

I think that those that criticize it as a true measure of a players' ability are agents/fans of 1-dimensional players.

plus / minus is a measure of even strength ability. there's nothing wrong with having a measure of how players do at even strength. if your fave player is only getting his points on the PP and not in even strength situations then he is not a solid all around player. there's nothing wrong with having players on your team that can score in PP situations, but +/1 honours players who bring it at even strength.

"because the power play is also part of the game" is a line i keep hearing over and over, but no one will dispute that.

i honestly think that most of the fans who put down +/- are those that have never seen great players show greatness in even strength situations.

you want to tell me that Doug Gilmour's career high of +45 is meaningless "because the power play is also part of the game"?

you want to tell me that Tucker's +24 in the 2001-2002 didn't reflect how much heart he brought every night?

yes. Sylvain Lefebvre's +33 was a reflection of how well he played as a leaf's D.



you cannot keep telling me that Phil and Joffrey rule because "because the power play is also part of the game". i will admit that under a better system their +/- will increase, but their +/- is a true reflection their two-way ability.

i know you're going to come at me and say "Dan Hamhuis sucks!" because and his 4 goals and 33 assists sucks. and that his +33 doesn't mean anything. i will say that no. he's not paid to be a sniper like Phil. i will say that his +33 still allows him to earn a salary like 4.5 million per year, and shows how good he can be.

anyway, that's my rant.


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11-11-2012, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForSpareParts View Post
you cannot keep telling me that Phil and Joffrey rule because "because the power play is also part of the game". i will admit that under a better system their +/- will increase, but their +/- is a true reflection their two-way ability.
Phil Kessel was +23 in his last season with Boston.

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11-11-2012, 01:45 PM
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VanW27
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You must be a big Grabovski fan then. Plus 17 over the last 3 year's on lousy teams. Led the team in +/- one of those years, led all forwards in +/- in another.

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11-11-2012, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by htpwn View Post
Phil Kessel was +23 in his last season with Boston.
it's a good stat. it shows that he can be a dangerous player at even strength. it shows that if he plays in a good system with good two-way players around him he can be affective in even strength situations. this is why BB traded for him.

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11-11-2012, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by ForSpareParts View Post
yay! the internet!

why don't you join the discussion?

just post why you disagree.
It is more of a team stat and every bit as much an indicator of offense as it is D.

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11-11-2012, 02:02 PM
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The +/- stat has very little to do with individual players. It is a team stat and can be impacted both positively and negatively as a result of pure luck. For instance a player who steps on the ice for a line change seconds before a goal for or against is positively or negatively rated based on a play that likely had nothing to do with them.

Goaltending plays a huge role as well. A good goaltender can save pucks that would have certainly resulted in goals in most cases and a bad goaltender may not be able to stop a beach ball. It is very common for good defensive players to be on the ice with a piss poor goaltending and thus wind up with a lower plus minus than crappy defensive players who play for teams with excellent goaltending. Ever notice that the best +/- players are generally playing for great teams with very high positive goal differentials? It may be simply goaltending or it may be the team itself that is better not simply the player with the excellent +/- rating.

There are simply too many holes in the stat for it to be a rating for an individual player.

Also if it is supposed to be a stat based on even strength performance how come short handed goals count as a negative? Simply put, +/- is a team stat and a pretty stupid one to boot.

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11-11-2012, 02:03 PM
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Wasn't Jeff Schultz a +50 on a successful Caps team recently? No one will confuse Jeff Schultz with an elite D-man.

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11-11-2012, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hurt View Post
Wasn't Jeff Schultz a +50 on a successful Caps team recently? No one will confuse Jeff Schultz with an elite D-man.
Jason Blake scored 40 goals, that doesn't mean we should discount goals as a measure of offensive ability.

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11-11-2012, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christ View Post
The +/- stat has very little to do with individual players. It is a team stat and can be impacted both positively and negatively as a result of pure luck. For instance a player who steps on the ice for a line change seconds before a goal for or against is positively or negatively rated based on a play that likely had nothing to do with them.

Goaltending plays a huge role as well. A good goaltender can save pucks that would have certainly resulted in goals in most cases and a bad goaltender may not be able to stop a beach ball. It is very common for good defensive players to be on the ice with a piss poor goaltending and thus wind up with a lower plus minus than crappy defensive players who play for teams with excellent goaltending. Ever notice that the best +/- players are generally playing for great teams with very high positive goal differentials? It may be simply goaltending or it may be the team itself that is better not simply the player with the excellent +/- rating.

There are simply too many holes in the stat for it to be a rating for an individual player.

Also if it is supposed to be a stat based on even strength performance how come short handed goals count as a negative? Simply put, +/- is a team stat and a pretty stupid one to boot.
Jesus, I think you would have enjoyed the early 90's when we did have good players and a good team that boosted everyone's +/-.

it's still hard to see why +26 is such a poor indicator of a player. flukes are part of the game too whether it goes against your amazing ability or not. and yes. if you are the ***hat that cough's up the puck on PP you deserve to have a negative rating. why is that such a poor indicator? Niedermeyer didn't cough it up much over his career, but the odd time he did.

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11-11-2012, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VanW27 View Post
Jason Blake scored 40 goals, that doesn't mean we should discount goals as a measure of offensive ability.
Players can create offense on their own. Jeff Schultz was not really responsible for that +50 hence the argument that +/- is more a 'team stat'.

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11-11-2012, 02:12 PM
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no GM or pro scout in their right mind would go on +/- alone. so stop thinking that ALL evaluations are based on +/- alone. i'm just saying that +/- shouldn't be written off like some agents like to do.

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11-11-2012, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hurt View Post
Wasn't Jeff Schultz a +50 on a successful Caps team recently? No one will confuse Jeff Schultz with an elite D-man.
And Mike Green.

IMO you use it within the team setting.

Can't compare AO to Kessel based on +/- when one plays for the Leafs and one plays for the Capitals.

I'd suggest you can compare Kessel on the Leafs against other players on the Leafs during the same period of time.

By watching him play I'd say Kessel isn't great defensively, and that his forte is offense. PP offense only impacts you if scored against, so +/- on the same team measures how you do at even strength against your teammates who suffer/enjoy the team strengths.

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11-11-2012, 02:17 PM
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The problem with +/- is that there are 5 players and a goalie on the ice for your team. It's a stat that reflects the ability of the team in general more so than the individual player. Stats like even strength points per minute are generally fairly constant throughout a player's career (other than when the player just breaks into the league, or starts declining hard with age), but plus minus varies wildly based on the team the player plays on. Generally, if you play a lot of minutes for a great team, your +/- will be terrific, while if you play a lot of minutes for a bad team, your +/- will be awful.

For example, let's look at a great 2-way player, Patrice Bergeron. Last year he lead the league in +/- at +36, but we should remember that the Bruins were a dominant 5 on 5 team, and the top 5 players in the league in +/- were ALL Bruins. However, in 06/07 the Bruins SUCKED (3rd worst team in the east, 2nd worst goal differential in the league), and guess what, Bergeron's +/- sucked too! He was -28 that year, worst on his team despite being an excellent 2-way player, and the 3rd worst +/- in the entire league, simply because he played huge minutes and was asked to go against the opposition's top lines on a regular basis.

Any stat that can rank the same player as either the best or 3rd worst player in the league, with both seasons being in his prime, has very little meaning. Bergeron is just one example, with virtually all players who have played on both great and awful teams you will find the same pattern. For example, Kessel was +23 on the excellent 08/09 Bruins, but he's been -8 to -20 every season on the awful Leafs. How about Filip Kuba? On the awful 10/11 Senators his -26 was among the worst in the league, but the next year the Senators improved dramatically, he got to play all season beside the terrific Erik Karlsson, and his +/- jumped to +26, one of the best in the league! His teammate Daniel Alfredsson made the same jump, from -19 in 10/11 to +16 in 11/12. How about Dan Boyle? He was -29 on the 07/08 Lightning, 2nd worst in the entire league that year despite playing just 37 games! Worst player ever, right? Gets traded to San Jose in the offseason, and has been a plus player ever since. Lightning teammate Martin St. Louis was tied for the 4th worst +/- that year (-23), despite having lead the entire league in +/- just a few years early when the Lightning were awesome (+35 in 03/04).

I could literally go on forever, the examples are endless. +/- depends INCREDIBLY strongly on a players teammates, as well as the role he is given. An individual player is just 1/6th of his team at even strength. Even if you assume that a star is twice as important as the other players on the ice, his +/- would still depend almost 70% on his teammates, and just over 30% on himself.

+/- has some value when comparing teammates to one another, but even then on truly awful teams you'll generally see the best players having the worst +/- on the team, partly because they're on the ice a lot, and partly because they're asked to take chances to generate offence, as bad teams are generally "1 line teams" that rely heavily on a single line to carry them offensively.

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11-11-2012, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ULF_55 View Post
And Mike Green.

IMO you use it within the team setting.

Can't compare AO to Kessel based on +/- when one plays for the Leafs and one plays for the Capitals.

I'd suggest you can compare Kessel on the Leafs against other players on the Leafs during the same period of time.

By watching him play I'd say Kessel isn't great defensively, and that his forte is offense. PP offense only impacts you if scored against, so +/- on the same team measures how you do at even strength against your teammates who suffer/enjoy the team strengths.


yes yes yes!

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11-11-2012, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Hurt View Post
Wasn't Jeff Schultz a +50 on a successful Caps team recently? No one will confuse Jeff Schultz with an elite D-man.
Ovechkin was +45, Semin was +36 and Green was +39. In the same season Brooks Laich, arguably their best defensive forward was only +16.

This is why +/- is a poor indicator of defensive ability, especially for players on good teams.

Although it can work for players on poor teams, for instance Landeskog was +20 on a bad Colorado team. The next best rating from a full time forward was -1. In this case, +/- is a good indicator of how good Landeskog is defensively.

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11-11-2012, 02:24 PM
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ponder
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Side note, offensive stats like even strength points per minute or game do depend somewhat on teammates as well, but much less so. You will generally see minor variance from year to year based on teammates, but not much, while with +/- it's very common to see the same player being among the league leaders if he's on a great team, only to drop to roughly the worst in the league if he's traded to an awful team (or vice versa). When the exact same player can vary from among the best in the league to among the worst in the league in a statistic from one year to the next when his teammates change, that's pretty clear evidence that the statistic measures team performance much more than individual performance.

That's not to say that two way play isn't important, it definitely is! However, +/- is far from the best way to define defensive ability. I think it WOULD be possible to somewhat measure defensive ability if the league kept incredibly detailed stats on virtually everything that happened in a game (detailed puck possession stats for every player, scoring chances for and against when a player is on the ice, puck battles won and lost, etc.), but they don't. The stats they do keep are simply not adequate to give a good picture of defensive ability, so the only option is to WATCH A PLAYER PLAY. Does he consistently pressure the puck, and is he effective doing so? Does he cut off passing lanes well? How is his forechecking, and his backchecking? Does he close on players effectively? How is his stick checking? Does he get to loose pucks quickly, and does he win physical battles when both players get there at the same time? Is he good at initiating breakouts and/or clearing the puck when he gets it in his own end? Does he get caught out of position often, covering either nobody or players who are not in dangerous scoring areas, or is he almost always in the proper position to cut off passes and defend opponents in dangerous scoring areas? THESE are the things that define a good defensive player, but they cannot be measured accurately with the stats that the league keeps.


Last edited by ponder: 11-11-2012 at 02:32 PM.
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Old
11-11-2012, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hurt View Post
Players can create offense on their own. Jeff Schultz was not really responsible for that +50 hence the argument that +/- is more a 'team stat'.
Absolutely players in good teams will have better +/- then players on bad teams, but when looked at in context and within a team +/- is absolutely a useful stat.

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11-11-2012, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponder View Post
That's not to say that two way play isn't important, it definitely is! However, +/- is far from the best way to define defensive ability. I think it WOULD be possible to somewhat measure defensive ability if the league kept incredibly detailed stats on virtually everything that happened in a game (detailed puck possession stats for every player, scoring chances for and against when a player is on the ice, puck battles won and lost, etc.), but they don't. The stats they do keep are simply not adequate to give a good picture of defensive ability, so the only option is to WATCH A PLAYER PLAY. Does he consistently pressure the puck, and is he effective doing so? Does he cut off passing lanes well? How is his forechecking, and his backchecking? Does he close on players effectively? How is his stick checking? Does he get to loose pucks quickly, and does he win physical battles when both players get there at the same time? Is he good at initiating breakouts and/or clearing the puck when he gets it in his own end? THESE are the things that define a good defensive player, but they cannot be measured accurately with the stats that the league keeps.
You just described the anti-Kessel.

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11-11-2012, 02:37 PM
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You just described the anti-Kessel.
I fully agree that Kessel is a weak defensive player, arguably one of the least effective defensive players in the league. However, I do not hold this opinion because of his +/-, I think he's weak defensively because I find it clear that he contributes little when the opposition has the puck. After all, Kessel had a terrific +/- when he was on a strong Bruins team.

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11-11-2012, 02:41 PM
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Not sure where this idea of plus/minus being bad came from. Oh wait, it's everyone on this forum saying x player is terrible and/or terrible defensively because look at his +/- !!

Maybe if people incorporated Corsi Rel and Qual comp with their arguments along with +/- it would be taken more seriously. In the end I don't really see a point in +/- when looking at individuals so I guess its redundant.

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11-11-2012, 02:48 PM
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I don't like +/- comparing players across different teams as effectiveness while even strength since there are too many variables. Even on the same team +/- ignores things such as difficulty of competition (which is where advance statistics comes in although they are still not that accurate).

What I like +/- for is following simple trends in a players ability. If the player is a +, in most cases they do at least an adequate job playing even strength and vice versa. I don't like looking at the numbers following the +/- in saying how good they are at even strength though.


By the way, another common example of +/- not showing accuracy is if a team is shorthanded and just successfully killed of the penalty, quite often the team that was on the PP will score within 10 seconds of the penalty ending, before the team that was shorthanded gets organized and thus not being a true even strength goal.

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11-11-2012, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew311 View Post
Ovechkin was +45, Semin was +36 and Green was +39. In the same season Brooks Laich, arguably their best defensive forward was only +16.

This is why +/- is a poor indicator of defensive ability, especially for players on good teams.
+/- is an indicator of even strength effectiveness not defensive ability. You need goals for to raise your +/- not just be good defensively.

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Old
11-11-2012, 03:48 PM
  #23
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Zdeno Chara

2000-01 (NYI): -27
2001-02 (OTT): +30

Ottawa 2005-06

Z.Chara: +17
C.Phillips: +19

A.Meszaros: +34
B.Pothier: +29

Plus/Minus is useless when comparing players on different teams, or on the same team.

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11-11-2012, 03:58 PM
  #24
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Originally Posted by ForSpareParts View Post
I'm pro plus / minus.

I think that those that criticize it as a true measure of a players' ability are agents/fans of 1-dimensional players.

plus / minus is a measure of even strength ability. there's nothing wrong with having a measure of how players do at even strength. if your fave player is only getting his points on the PP and not in even strength situations then he is not a solid all around player. there's nothing wrong with having players on your team that can score in PP situations, but +/1 honours players who bring it at even strength.

"because the power play is also part of the game" is a line i keep hearing over and over, but no one will dispute that.

i honestly think that most of the fans who put down +/- are those that have never seen great players show greatness in even strength situations.

you want to tell me that Doug Gilmour's career high of +45 is meaningless "because the power play is also part of the game"?

you want to tell me that Tucker's +24 in the 2001-2002 didn't reflect how much heart he brought every night?

yes. Sylvain Lefebvre's +33 was a reflection of how well he played as a leaf's D.



you cannot keep telling me that Phil and Joffrey rule because "because the power play is also part of the game". i will admit that under a better system their +/- will increase, but their +/- is a true reflection their two-way ability.

i know you're going to come at me and say "Dan Hamhuis sucks!" because and his 4 goals and 33 assists sucks. and that his +33 doesn't mean anything. i will say that no. he's not paid to be a sniper like Phil. i will say that his +33 still allows him to earn a salary like 4.5 million per year, and shows how good he can be.

anyway, that's my rant.

Yes, it'a rant. That's the only thing I can agree with. Players on the strongest teams almost always have high plus ratings. The best player on a very weak team will almost always have the highest minus rating on his team. Why? Because he'll be used more often than the poorest players, will face the best opposing players, and will suffer from the ineptness of his teammates. Please go back to the drawing board.

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11-11-2012, 04:21 PM
  #25
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+/- lost all its credibility when I heard people arguing Hal Gill was a good defenseman for us since he led the team in it one year. Thank god that pylon is nowhere near this team now.

I agree the +/- stat is a bit ridiculous, you could have 4 plugs doing nothing with Kessel dangling and sniping a goal and the entire line is credited for it. Or you could have 4/5 players playing solid defense but have one player (ex. Schenn blowing a tire last year) give the puck away leading to a goal and have the entire line suffer.

I personally don't put too much into the stat, as many players have had sh1tty +/- but are great players in my books.

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