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Corsi, shot quality, and the Toronto Maple Leafs

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Old
10-15-2013, 05:41 PM
  #1
Badger Mayhew
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Corsi, shot quality, and the Toronto Maple Leafs

http://blog.philbirnbaum.com/2013/10...nto-maple.html

Interesting theory on why the Leafs had such a successful season last year despite poor corsi/fenwick close numbers.

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10-15-2013, 06:59 PM
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mapes
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They did so well because of Kessel and Reimer. This year Lupul, Kessel and Bernier are carrying them.

I'm not a fan of advanced stats. A goalie can carry a team with solid play. I don't call that "lucky"

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Old
10-15-2013, 11:22 PM
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Personally i love that the Leafs are giving a big ol' middle finger to advanced stats. Tonight's game was a perfect example of that, we were outshot 38-14, but the Leafs absolutely had much better scoring chances. Of the 38 Wild shots, probably less than 10 of them were closer than 15 feet away from the net. I am 100% ok with giving up the amount of shots that we do because the majority of them are nothing shots from the perimeter. That's the system Carlyle plays--own the middle of the ice, collapse around the goaltender and keep the shoooters high and outside. It works damn well and the moment the other team makes a mistake in our zone we jump on it and produce a high percentage scoring chance off the rush.

I was expecting Uncle Randy to come in and try and force an offensive team to play defense first hockey, but in his time here all he's done is basically add structure and zone strategy to Wilson's offensive system. The Leafs are the most dangerous team in the league off of the rush, and we can expect to see a lot more games where we score more than 3 goals off 20 or less shots. We now have the personnel to disrupt the opposition's forecheck and cycle, which leads to odd man rushes. Im totally ok with being outshot 38-14 because on any given night now we have the quality goaltending to pull it off. Don't expect the Leafs to "regress to the mean" any time soon. Their game is now based around the aforementioned strategy.

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10-15-2013, 11:25 PM
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Would you rather have 3 quality shots on goal or 20 from the outside with no traffic? the answer is obvious. Any stat that goes by total shots is just flawed to me, at least some of the time which means the stat can't be totally trusted.

This isn't baseball where eventually everything evens out, there are variables in hockey that make these stats fun and everything but they don't tell you everything. Corsi shows us the top teams and the worst teams, so do the standings.

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10-15-2013, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NugentHopkinsfan View Post
Would you rather have 3 quality shots on goal or 20 from the outside with no traffic? the answer is obvious. Any stat that goes by total shots is just flawed to me, at least some of the time which means the stat can't be totally trusted.

This isn't baseball where eventually everything evens out, there are variables in hockey that make these stats fun and everything but they don't tell you everything. Corsi shows us the top teams and the worst teams, so do the standings.
Leafs fans know this better than anyone. Wilson vs Carlyle. Plenty of shots, a poor speciality teams and no D vs quality of shots, tops in the league in specialty teams and decent D. Hockey is based on your PK and PP. It's not rocket science.

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10-15-2013, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by VoicexOfxReason View Post
Personally i love that the Leafs are giving a big ol' middle finger to advanced stats.
To CORSI, perhaps. Not to "advanced" stats in general.

Besides, if you've paid attention to me long enough, you know that I hate the term "advanced stats". There's nothing particularly advanced about addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. We're not splitting the atom here. We're not curing cancer. It's a game.

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10-15-2013, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NugentHopkinsfan View Post
Would you rather have 3 quality shots on goal or 20 from the outside with no traffic? the answer is obvious. Any stat that goes by total shots is just flawed to me, at least some of the time which means the stat can't be totally trusted.

This isn't baseball where eventually everything evens out, there are variables in hockey that make these stats fun and everything but they don't tell you everything. Corsi shows us the top teams and the worst teams, so do the standings.
The hyperbole is a bit much here with this post, it's not like teams are regularly getting 3 breakaways while another gets 20 wristers from the point. The shot quality thing is precisely why there's value in Corsi, teams don't play to maximize their Corsi, they play to score goals. Teams work on getting quality shots, they don't just throw random pucks on net to inflate their Corsi numbers.

I really feel like this whole debate just comes down to positions that aren't mutually exclusive. Nobody's saying a guy with a PhD in stats who has never played or watched hockey will be able to outmanage the best in the NHL, nor is anyone saying there isn't value in watching a player/team and valuing things other than their Corsi ratings, but to just throw up our hands and say we'll never understand it because of the variables involved is the wrong approach. What stats can lack in context, the eye test lacks in objectivity, when you watch a game there are biases and preconceptions that fog everything you see in the game. Stats can help you step back and get a better look at what really happened in a more objective way. I don't see why you can't use both, and I don't see why there's such resistance to the idea of using stats to further your analysis of the game.

As for the Wilson vs. Carlyle anecdote, it works the other way if you're a Habs fan. Under Jacques Martin the Habs played a much more passive style and were commonly outshot, and the fanbase said many of the same things that Leafs fans are saying now, that the D kept the shots to the outside and the forwards capitalized. Under Michel Therrien, the Habs were one of the best possession teams last year and finished 2nd in the Eastern conference playing a very aggressive style and regularly outshooting opponents. Why aren't the Habs proof of the value of possession metrics? Why does the Leafs winning 6 games mean it's all wrong?

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Old
10-16-2013, 12:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taco MacArthur View Post
To CORSI, perhaps. Not to "advanced" stats in general.

Besides, if you've paid attention to me long enough, you know that I hate the term "advanced stats". There's nothing particularly advanced about addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. We're not splitting the atom here. We're not curing cancer. It's a game.
Oh i've paid attention to you, you've given me like 6 of my 8 infractions lmao

Seriously though i get what you're saying. Certainly "Advanced stats" is a bit of a misnomer, but that's what they're called. Although some people like to think they're splitting the atom in analyzing more complicated metrics haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noob616 View Post
As for the Wilson vs. Carlyle anecdote, it works the other way if you're a Habs fan. Under Jacques Martin the Habs played a much more passive style and were commonly outshot, and the fanbase said many of the same things that Leafs fans are saying now, that the D kept the shots to the outside and the forwards capitalized. Under Michel Therrien, the Habs were one of the best possession teams last year and finished 2nd in the Eastern conference playing a very aggressive style and regularly outshooting opponents. Why aren't the Habs proof of the value of possession metrics? Why does the Leafs winning 6 games mean it's all wrong?
It's not the Leafs winning 6 games. It was like this all last season too. Going back to Carlyle's time with the Ducks they were similar as well. The difference is that under Martin the Habs were one of the best defensive teams in the league. No such accolades for the Leafs. They are nowhere near the level of defense that Martin's Habs were. Also under Therrien the Habs didn't play off the rush like the Leafs do, they peppered the goalie with shots til they scored. In fact there really is no comparison to made lol.

And who says that the Habs aren't an example of possession metrics and their value? I haven't seen anybody refute that. The only problem is that the Habs roster was not, and is not, built to sustain high possession in the offseason imo. You need tougher guys that don't roll over and die in the playoffs like last year. The way i see it is like the LA Clippers in basketball. Great regular season team, one of the best, but just couldn't hack it in the playoffs because they just weren't built for it and weren't ready for the onslaught of tougher teams.

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10-16-2013, 01:16 AM
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Badger Mayhew
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So uh...did anybody actually read the link?

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10-16-2013, 02:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badger Mayhew View Post
So uh...did anybody actually read the link?
Really compelling...the part where he puts the Corsi alongside the condition alongside the shooting percentage is very interesting.

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10-16-2013, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoicexOfxReason View Post
It's not the Leafs winning 6 games. It was like this all last season too. Going back to Carlyle's time with the Ducks they were similar as well. The difference is that under Martin the Habs were one of the best defensive teams in the league. No such accolades for the Leafs. They are nowhere near the level of defense that Martin's Habs were. Also under Therrien the Habs didn't play off the rush like the Leafs do, they peppered the goalie with shots til they scored. In fact there really is no comparison to made lol.

And who says that the Habs aren't an example of possession metrics and their value? I haven't seen anybody refute that. The only problem is that the Habs roster was not, and is not, built to sustain high possession in the offseason imo. You need tougher guys that don't roll over and die in the playoffs like last year. The way i see it is like the LA Clippers in basketball. Great regular season team, one of the best, but just couldn't hack it in the playoffs because they just weren't built for it and weren't ready for the onslaught of tougher teams.
The Habs had the majority of the possession in last years series against the Sens. The difference was that Anderson was amazing.

The Habs showed in 2010 that a hot goalie can overcome bad possession, the problem is that a hot goalie won't last forever so being outshot all the time is not a good idea.

Even if this strategy of Carlyle's actually works in the regular season, I'd argue that it'll be less effective in the playoffs when teams spend more time 5 on 5. Also, instead of getting outshot badly by a team like Minnesota, you're getting outshot badly by a team like Pittsburgh. Look what happened in Game 7, the 2 goals to tie the game were created from those harmless shots from the outside that Carlyle lets happen.

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Old
10-16-2013, 09:44 AM
  #12
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From the article:


Last year, Toronto did not look good in the Corsi standings. In 5-on-5 situations, they took only 44.1 percent of the shots (meaning their opposition took the other 55.9 percent). That was worst in the NHL.

So how did the Leafs win so many games, finishing in the top half of the standings? Even though they took few shots, the shots they did take went in at an exceptionally high rate. The Leafs had a 10.56% shooting percentage (goals divided by shots on goal), the highest in the league. No other team was over 10. The league average was roughly 8, with a standard deviation of roughly 1, so the Leafs were well over 2 SDs above the mean.


Is the 10.56% shooting percentage referred to in the second quoted paragraph based on goals/shots directed at net in 5 on 5 situations? If not, what was the Leafs shooting percentage in that situation? That is the number that would be most meaningful in discussing the 44.1% 5-on-5 Corsi referenced in the first quoted paragraph.


Also, how much does the Leaf's success in non 5-on-5 situations explain their overall success despite the 44.1% 5-on-5 Corsi? A quick glance at the NHL team goals for and goals against stats pages shows that their goal differential was a relatively pedestrian +5 (105 vs 100) in 5-on-5, but an impressive +12 (31-19) in PP situations, and +2 (3-1) in 4-on-4 situations.

In other words, 5 on 5 they scored 5% more goals than the opposition, but 5 on 4, 5 on 3, 4 on 3, and 4 on 4 they scored 70% more goals than the opposition (34 to 20). In actual goals instead of percentages, they were plus 5 in the former situation and plus 14 in the latter.

That impressive non 5-on-5 performance probably goes a long way in explaining their success, leaving less to be explained by 5 on 5 luck vs. 5 on 5 quality shot skill.

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10-16-2013, 09:45 AM
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Here's a rebuttal to this argument

http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/20...n-shot-quality

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10-16-2013, 09:52 AM
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Shot totals are meaningless. Ask Jason Blake.

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Old
10-16-2013, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharks9 View Post
The Habs had the majority of the possession in last years series against the Sens. The difference was that Anderson was amazing.

The Habs showed in 2010 that a hot goalie can overcome bad possession, the problem is that a hot goalie won't last forever so being outshot all the time is not a good idea.

Even if this strategy of Carlyle's actually works in the regular season, I'd argue that it'll be less effective in the playoffs when teams spend more time 5 on 5. Also, instead of getting outshot badly by a team like Minnesota, you're getting outshot badly by a team like Pittsburgh. Look what happened in Game 7, the 2 goals to tie the game were created from those harmless shots from the outside that Carlyle lets happen.
Except it wasn't less effective. In fact most of the time it was more effective. If the Leafs had been a more experienced team, it's doubtful they would have collapsed in game 7. Remember, for much of the series outside of the 2 games Reimer stole they made a very good Boston team look foolish.

Once again, being outshot is meaningless. Being outchanced is the real issue, and the Leafs certainly are not being outchanced this season nor were they for much of last season.

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10-16-2013, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoicexOfxReason View Post
Personally i love that the Leafs are giving a big ol' middle finger to advanced stats.
They are?

The Leafs have played like a playoff team for 60 games.

Often times regression won't hit until the next year, after an 82 game season.

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10-16-2013, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feed Me A Stray Cat View Post
They are?

The Leafs have played like a playoff team for 60 games.

Often times regression won't hit until the next year, after an 82 game season.
And personnel changes, aging of existing players, etc.?

Kind of a worthless prediction, then.

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10-16-2013, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feed Me A Stray Cat View Post
They are?

The Leafs have played like a playoff team for 60 games.

Often times regression won't hit until the next year, after an 82 game season.
Yeah ok. Then if the Leafs are still playing like this and still winning through the middle of next season, we'll have folks like you clamoring that the Leafs are still gonna regress after the next offseason!!!!!!111

At some point the world is going to have to acknowledge that corsi, fenwick, pdo, etc are just not very good for trying to predict the future. Especially in a game like hockey.

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10-16-2013, 03:25 PM
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Here's some food for thought for people fixated on shots on goal.

In 2009-10, the Leafs ranked 3rd in the NHL for CORSI (+422). We averaged 34.6 shots per GP. Only 4 teams had more shots and they finished 3rd, 7th, 1st and 8th respectively in league standings.

Anyone want to hazard a guess where Toronto finished in league standings? 29th overall.

Seems we've been defying CORSI for a lot longer than people think. Well that or there are certain things that are far more relevant to the outcome.

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10-16-2013, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoicexOfxReason View Post
At some point the world is going to have to acknowledge that corsi, fenwick, pdo, etc are just not very good for trying to predict the future. Especially in a game like hockey.
No one's come up with anything perfect - that's true.

Those who are working to advance the knowledge are looking at where the existing metrics fail, and building things to augment or replace those metrics.

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10-16-2013, 03:34 PM
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His analogy is more complicated than it needs to be.

A better one would be to card counting.

The house has the best odds of ending up with the majority of money. The house, in this case, being teams with positive corsi/fenwick. Teams with low corsi/fenwick have worse odds than the house at winning games. So high corsi teams and the house will win the majority of the money at the end of the night vs the customers or low corsi teams.

Except when one of the customers is counting cards. Card counters minimize their losses when they have a <50% chance of winning a hand and maximize the return when they have a >50% chance.

This isn't a new thing. Jacques Lemaire won this way for many years. Kevin Constantine, for fewer, but he succeeded the same way--manipulating both teams' shooting percentages.

But I am glad that the Leafs are doing it in the "stats" age. Maybe this will put the final nail in the coffin of "no such thing as shot quality exists," though, frankly, scatterplots should have already done so.

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10-16-2013, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billybudd View Post
Maybe this will put the final nail in the coffin of "no such thing as shot quality exists," though, frankly, scatterplots should have already done so.
People were actually claiming that?

Or is this another case of "over a large enough sample we assume it evens out" so that it can be ignored? (since it can't be objectively measured at the moment)

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10-16-2013, 04:37 PM
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It's easy to see just watching a few Leafs games that they are in their own end waaay too much. It's easy to see watching a few Leaf games that their goalies have been quite good.

The real reason they have been able to get away with their poor Corsi et all is their PP. That's what has saved them so far.

It's not unusual for special teams to make a team look a lot better early on but that typically flatlines. There is a lot of hockey to be played. I don't get why Leaf fans are so defensive. Enjoy the little run.

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10-16-2013, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG View Post
It's easy to see just watching a few Leafs games that they are in their own end waaay too much. It's easy to see watching a few Leaf games that their goalies have been quite good.

The real reason they have been able to get away with their poor Corsi et all is their PP. That's what has saved them so far.

It's not unusual for special teams to make a team look a lot better early on but that typically flatlines. There is a lot of hockey to be played. I don't get why Leaf fans are so defensive. Enjoy the little run.
You may have answered your own question.

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10-16-2013, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
People were actually claiming that?

Or is this another case of "over a large enough sample we assume it evens out" so that it can be ignored? (since it can't be objectively measured at the moment)
The second thing's a less snarky way of saying the first thing. But yes, it's been said that way frequently.

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